Jim Keoghan is a lead local Everton writer who has had success with a variety of books. This past week I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jim to discuss the current game, Everton squads and histories.
WHAT MADE YOU GET INTO WRITING?
I had been a keen follower of all kinds of sports from a young age, I worked in a bank which I hated, so I decided to literally write down my ideas and basically used all the free sites I could to write. When I look back on my previous writing experiences I think my god they was bad, but it took practice and the passion was always there for me to succeed with it.
WHY DO YOU SUPPORT EVERTON?
(LAUGHING) I didn’t have much of a choice really. At first I did say I liked the colour red (shame on me) and my parents who were avid Everton fans had threatened me by saying if I didn’t follow Everton, father christmas would not come to our house. After going to one game, I was immediately hooked on Everton, it was made very easy the fact that Everton had been very successful during that period.
WHAT WAS THE BEST EVERTON TEAM IN YOUR OPINION?
The 1985 team without any question. Not only was the team successful and a good team anyway, the turn around in the fortunes was amazing. The team had shown no signs of being this big time team then suddenly everything seemed to click. The team would go out and dominate teams obviously looking at the 5-0 win vs United and beating Liverpool. The team had the heart to beat literally anyone. I remember going the game thinking we would win every game, which is probably a foreign language when you look at the current team.
FOLLOWING ON FROM THE GOOD TIMES, WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE EVERTON MOMENT?
The Barry Horne goal vs Wimbledon in 1994. In the context of what could have happened if that goal hadnt been scored when it did. I remember hugging random people and thinking, we can stay up now. The fact that is completely out of nothing and the fact that Barry Horne scored it made it all the more special, I think after the goal went in. The whole ground knew we would score again and save ourselves.
ON THE SUBJECT OF RELEGATION, DID YOU THINK WE WOULD BE RELEGATED 94 OR 98?
In 1994, I didn’t think for one minute that we would be relegated due to a bit of a ignorant way of looking at it. The team wasn’t bad and I genuinely thought we was far too big to go down. I remember walking to Goodison Park that day with positivity and very much thinking, no way we will go down. 1998 was a total different ketlle of fish. I thought we would 100% go down. The team is one of the worst you will ever see in the past years, when Speed left it showed how much we relied on him and Duncan. The recruitment was awful. I was very surprised we stayed up.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE EVERTON PLAYER OF ALL TIME?
Easy one for me this, Peter Reid. He had the heart the passion to rival anyone who has ever played for us. You could tell he cared and would run through walls to be on the winning team. That’s one of the biggest things football teams need, a player who is horrible and make the other team fear our team and that was what Reidy was. Special mention to Leighton Baines, who I love mainly to do with me being a Left back in my playing days.
WHAT IS YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE CURRENT EVERTON SQUAD?
Its hard to judge at the moment as the manager hasn’t been able to stamp his claim on the team. The team is basically Silva’s team. I didn’t agree with the Silva appointment thought it was a bit of strange one given how we pursued and paid over the odds for him when he had no experience really to take us to the next level. The big thing with Everton is that we needed to beat the teams below us and we couldn’t do that under Silva, Ancelotti has shown he can do that in the games that we have saw recently (albeit the disastrous Newcastle game). Even though there is lots of talent there, the amount of deadwood on massive money was a big cause for concern. I will sum up this by saying look at Oumar Niasse, he is a joke of a player, but some 4 years on he is still on the bench being put on the field when we are chasing games, its madness and needs to be stopped. A new keeper and a centre halves are a must with a creative midfielder to go with them.
LAST QUESTION ON EVERTON NOW BEFORE WE START CRYING! DID KENDALL TARNISH HIS RECORD COMING BACK?
In a word, yes. I would never take away what he done because he is a legend for what he achieved and made my younger days a lot more bearable. The first time he came back was the first red flag. We just had Kendall and Harvey, then Harvey and now Kendall and Harvey again. We didn’t need this, we needed to move on to something new it was like we was going through the motions. The second return was silly I am glad we never got Andy Gray aswell. The only praise I can give Howard for his second return is that he stepped in when everyone else had swerved us (and rightly so). We stayed up by the skin of our teeths after Kendall had bought terribly and assembled the worst Everton team in the past 30 years. Legend, yes but should have never returned the first time let alone the second.
MOVING BACK TO YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHO HAS BEEN THE EASIEST PLAYER/MANAGER TO INTERVIEW?
Strangely enough, Roberto Martinez. I, like most Everton fans, am very bitter towards Roberto so I went into the interview with a ‘I don’t like you’ attitude. Within 30 mins, he had played this ‘jedi mindtrick’ on me and had me convinced that he was wronged at Everton and was very unlucky to be sacked. His positivity and likable demeanour has obviously got him where he is today. When I look back, maybe that’s why he failed In the end at Everton, we don’t like positivity as fans,we are very doom and gloom. He used to talk in riddles at interviews to make it sound better than we was. But on the whole, nice man but terrible manager.
ENDING ON A POSITIVE NOTE, WHAT IS NEXT FOR YOURSELF IN TERMS OF WRITING?
I’ve just finished one called how to run a football club, what I takes to run a club. Out in August I have also finished a book about number 9 forwards iconic- Everton number nines which is out as a e-book Also, in the middle of a book called Modern football is sh*t. Which is basically an A-Z of the modern game and why it is poor.
I would like the opportunity to thank Jim on this Q and A and wish him all the best in the future of his writing!