Graham Stuart made a number of vital contributions for Everton during his four years at Goodison Park. Here, the influential midfielder picks his three favourite games as he reflects on his most memorable matches whilst representing The Blues.
Everton 4-1 Spurs, April 1995
Without doubt, this is the greatest game I ever played in. We were a good side this year and went on to win the FA Cup, but this was the game when we all hit top form and basically just ripped Spurs apart. Everything clicked and if I’m being honest, I think we would’ve beaten any side that day as we were just relentless.
Quite a big deal was made out of Spurs that season after they had spent big money in the summer on Jurgen Klinsmann and they also knocked Liverpool out at Anfield in the quarter finals. But we blew them away in every way conceivable. Our fans at Elland Road for the semi-final were another level and we gave them a performance to remember as we ran out 4-1 winners to secure our place at Wembley.
Everton 3-2 Wimbledon, May 1994
It’s the game I’m probably asked about the most, but the build-up going into our win over Wimbledon was like torture because of what was at stake. The game got off to the worst possible start and we found ourselves 2-0 down really quickly, but once that happened, I think the whole team just knew that we had nothing to lose and we were going to go all out to keep Everton in the Premier League.
Once I got the first goal, there was like a feeling around the whole place that we were going to do it and we just kept on going. Believe me, it’s not a good feeling to be in a relegation situation the way we were, but the relief at the end was one of the best feelings I’ve experienced in the game, especially after scoring the winner. For Everton to go down, a great historic club like Everton, it would’ve been a disaster and it means a lot to have played my part in preventing it from happening.
Liverpool 1-2 Everton, November 1995
Many people will probably think the FA Cup Final would be in my top three games, but the reaction after we went to Anfield and played Liverpool off the park was something else. The scoreline was only 2-1 but in reality we could have come away from Anfield with something like a 4-0 win. Andrei Kanchelskis absolutely tore the Liverpool defence apart that day and his two goals in that game are remembered fondly by Everton fans.
I remember hitting an effort from about 30-yards that was going into the top corner but it just didn’t curl enough and it ended up hitting crossbar. If that had gone in, then I don’t think anybody would have stopped me celebrating! We had a really great side back then and that was one of our standout performances.