As the last few weeks have proven, just because a club spends money, it doesn’t mean what they buy is going to be that good. Sometimes, in fact, less can be more, as the following XI (plus sub) illustrates.
1 Neville Southall
Big Nev, former binman and hod carrier, one of few men alongside Magnum P.I. to carry off the bushy muzzy, came to Everton from Bury in 1981 for the paltry sum of £150,000. Nev played 578 games for us and aside from being the best keeper Everton have ever had he can also lay claim to being amongst the best keepers to have ever played in this country.
2 Paul Power
Guided by the ‘Southall Rule’, that the bushier the moustache the better the player, Paul Power was brought to Everton from Man City in 1986 for the tiny sum of £65,000. Despite only playing 54 games for us they proved to be important ones. At left-back, he was a key cog in the side that won the league during the 1986/87 season; his experience invaluable to a team that spent much of the campaign without several key players.
3 David Weir
Consistent rather than great, David Weir came to Everton from Hearts in 1999 for the cut price fee of £250,000. During more than 200 appearances at centre-half for the Blues he established himself as a regular presence in defence, even becoming club captain for a time. Weir was one of the rare highlights of the Walter Smith wilderness years.
4 Derek Mountfield
‘Degsy’ joined Everton in 1982 from Tranmere Rovers for £30,000, which turned out to be a bargain. Along with fellow centre-half Kevin Ratcliffe he formed the backbone of the FA Cup, League Championship and Cup Winners Cup winning sides of the mid-eighties. For a defender he was also surprisingly handy in front of goal too, netting 19 in just over 100 appearances.
5 Peter Reid
The simian Sid James holds a special place in most Evertonian’s hearts through the vital role he played in our magnificent sides of the mid-eighties. This combative and skilled midfielder was sold to us by Bolton in 1982 for the ludicrously small fee of £60,000, the low value attributable to his reputation for being injury prone. 159 games later he left the club with a handful of medals, the 1985 PFA player of the year and the love of grateful Evertonians everywhere.
6 Tim Cahill
Millwall sold Cahill to Everton back in 2004 for £1.5 million, a pittance by the standards of today. His contribution to the team during his time with the club can’t be underestimated. Versatile and committed, Cahill stood as proof that real bargains still exist in the modern game. He was rightly loved by the faithful and in turn, loved them back.
7 Johnny Morrissey
Few players that cross the park are ever truly taken to the hearts of Evertonians, the taint of evil proving difficult to eradicate. Yet occasionally it does happen. Morrissey came to us for the paltry fee of £10,000 in 1962, sold without Shankly’s knowledge (he’d been preoccupied with making up ‘memorable’ quotes). A talented and tenacious outside left, he played an important role in the glorious Catterick years of the sixties.
8 Andy King
Andy was a perennial crowd favourite who came to Everton from Luton for just £35,000 in 1976. A skilled midfielder with a knack for scoring goals, he managed to bag 38 in just 151 appearances for the Blues (first time around). Most notable of these was the twenty yard volley against the Shite during the 78 Goodison Derby, a goal that ended a seven-year nightmare for Everton, during which the club hadn’t beat the bastards once.
9 Brian Harris
Any player that cost a tenner needs to be included, but especially so when that player is as important as Brian Harris was to the Everton sides of the fifties and sixties. This versatile outside right (who was also able to seamlessly slot into any other out-field position) came to the Blues from non-league Port Sunlight in 1954. Over the following twelve years he played a key role as the club rose from the doldrums of division two in the mid-fifties to the pinnacles of Championship titles and FA Cup victories during the following decade.
10 Graeme Sharp
Sharp came to Everton from Dumbarton for £120,000 in 1980 and in over a decade with the club managed to net 111 league goals, form part of some of Everton’s most enduring strike partnerships and become an essential cog in the glory sides of the mid-1980s.He also scored a belter scored at Anfield against the Shite in October 84, a goal that put Everton on the road to the title.
11 Paul Rideout
Not Everton’s greatest forward but for a modest layout of £500,000 he was good value for money. Rideout came to Goodison from Rangers in 1992 and although he struggled to gain a first team place for the first few years, he blossomed during the desperate 94/95 season when 14 goals in 29 league games helped Everton avoid relegation following a disastrous start to the season under the management of the calamitous Mike Walker. And as the icing on the cake he also scored the only goal in the 95 FA Cup final against Man Utd.
When your terrace song makes reference to just how absurdly affordable you were to buy, you know you must be quite the bargain. Seamus ’60 grand’ Coleman is a rarity in modern football, a genuine ‘find’, a bargain basement who turned out to be a gem. Signed by David Moyes from Sligo Rovers in 2009 he has grown to become not just one of the best right backs in the league but arguably one of the best full backs in Everton’s history. As effective going forward as he is going back, Coleman rarely puts a foot wrong.