Book Review - Greatest Games Everton - The Toffees Fifty Finest Matches
FA Cup finals, League title deciders, European nights under the floodlights, and passionate local derbies. Everton fans have experienced them all. There have been hundreds of big games illuminating a proud history stretching back over 140 years.
The greatest games though? It’s a tough choice but one man, Evertonian, Jim Keoghan has narrowed the list down to ‘The Toffees Fifty Finest Matches’.
Title: Greatest Games Everton – The Toffees Fifty Finest Matches
Author: Jim Keoghan
Publisher: Pitch Publishing
Date Published: 2017
So what defines a classic game, one worthy of such a list? Keoghan, admits it was a difficult process that is shaped by personal judgement. One fan’s experience can very much differ from another’s. But this is one of his books great strengths. It prompts debate that is the lifeblood of football. Some fans will agree with his selection some not. As a reader you cannot help but recall your own clubs great games, compiling a personal top 50 for the club you follow.
Written in chronological order, Keoghan begins with a number of games covering club ‘firsts’. First ever League game, first game at Goodison, first Merseyside clash. Games that hold real historic significance. There are games where trophies are won with nine English Championships and stories of epic cup encounters resulting in five FA Cups. Tangible success on which a great club is measured on.
Then there are matches which are all about emotional intensity. Special moments, cult heroes, a new era or the end of an old one. Whether it’s a display of perfect football or a backs to the wall scrap, Keoghan understands the unique bond between players and fans. He gets what it is like to be an Evertonian.
Throughout his book, he superbly captures the crowd’s involvement in these great games. The packed terraces, the atmosphere, noise, energy and bedlam. The anticipation and ‘sense of occasion’ of supporters who have witnessed something special. Through the games, you will re-live the tension, anguish and relief that comes with watching Everton. It is an emotional rollercoaster which fans of all clubs will relate too.
By its very nature, ‘Greatest Games Everton – The Toffees Fifty Finest Matches’ provides an overview of Everton’s long and illustrious history. Keoghan is helped by the fact Everton’s success has been reasonably well distributed over the clubs history with every period having its fair share of big games that have shaped Everton’s story.
Naturally, games during the clubs golden period of the 1980’s are well documented. As are games with Liverpool where the Merseyside rivalry provides a pleasant undercurrent throughout the book. This period will hit the spot particularly for fans of a certain age provoking memories and a feeling of nostalgia of a time when Everton ruled the English game.
‘Greatest Games Everton – The Toffees Fifty Finest Matches’ consists of short punchy chapters, three to four pages dedicated to each game. The chapter opens with some match statistics and the teams. The backdrop to the game is explored as is the aftermath and its implications for the team and players involved. It takes a theme from each game and explores it within the chapter. The games themselves are beautifully described with an attention to detail that displays a real knowledge of the club and match involved.
Each game has a relevant snappy title and includes plenty of contributions from players, managers, fans and local media that offer real depth bringing the games to life.
Obviously ‘Greatest Games Everton – The Toffees Fifty Finest Matches’ will particularly appeal to Evertonians. But I’m not an Everton fan and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you like football, its history and the story of one of England’s finest clubs then you will like Keoghan’s book - even those on the red half of the city!