NOV
19
2013
Exclusive Interview With Wayne Clarke
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Wayne took time out to chat with me regarding his football career.  Being one of five brothers who all were professionals. Wayne came to Everton and ended up with a Championship medal scoring some memorable goals in his time at Goodison Park notably the one at Highbury which put Everton top of the league.

Then of course who can ever forget that memorable goal against Liverpool at Goodison to end the run of our rivals. Ladies and gentleman enjoy Wayne Clarke. COYB!!

 

Q1/   YOU COME FROM A FOOTBALLING  FAMILY WITH YOUR BROTHERS ALL BEING INVOLVED IN THE GAME. DID THAT MAKE IT ANY EASIER TO FOLLW SUIT?

 

A1/ It was probably a bit more pressure actually. I think from the age of 8 or 9 people were saying that I was going to be the best of the lot. My brother Alan was always singing my praises who at the time was in the prime of his career.

I was the only one out of the 5 of us that played for England schoolboys which probably put more pressure on to be honest.

I was also called up for the under 23's when I was at Wolverhampton Wanderers and the B squad with Birmingham City. I was injured at the time and the chance never came around again which was disappointing.

I suppose it helped me in good stead as I got older and as a pro in the game and having the pressure from a very early age I suppose.

 

Q2/ YOU JOINED WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS AS AN ASSOCIATE SCHOOLBOY AT THE AGE OF 15. HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?

 

A2/  To be honest I had trials pretty much everywhere from Arsenal to Liverpool and Manchester United. I went to Villa and Birmingham but I was a bit of a home bird even in those days.

It was one person that decided it for me and it was the chief scout at Wolves a lovely bloke called Joe Gardner who had been literally everything at the club from player to acting manager to coach, physio, and scout. He lived and breathed Wolves. I think he was there for over 60 odd years in total. He would have married the club.

I was at his bedside when he died at the hospital. He was a lovely fellow who took my mum and dad everywhere when I was involved with England schoolboys.  

Q3/ YOU ALSO REPRESENTED ENGLAND AT SCHOOLBOY  AND YOUTH LEVEL. HOW DID THAT UNFOLD?

 

A3/ I can't remember who the manager was but I have a strange feeling it was I guy called Cartwright  but it was in  Monaco.

It was a great experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

Q4/ TELL ME ABOUT YOUR 1ST TEAM DEBUT FOR WOLVES

 

A4/ I came on as sub at the end of the '78 season at Ipswich and was only 16 and a half -17. I think it was replacing either John Richards or Mel Eves, I'm not too sure. I think we beat them 2-1.

My full debut  the following season and funnily enough it was Ipswich again.  We got beat 1-0 but I hit the post that day.

I always remember my mum and dad were there and we went into the boardroom and Bobby Robson was in there. Of course he took our Frank to Ipswich in the early 70's and also he had managed our Alan for a brief period at Fulham .

He (Robson) said "I thought you played really well today and I will look forward to your career going forward. I know you got beat today but don't be too down hearted as when I made my debut we lost by 5"

That's one thing that always stood out with me about Bobby, he had such high regard for the family even in those days.

 

Q5/ YOU LATER TEAMED UP WITH RON SAUNDERS AT BIRMINGHAM CITY. WHAT WAS YOUR REASON FOR THE MOVE?

 

A5/  In my last season at Wolves I was on a month to month contract. Derek Dougan was the chairman at the time and I just said "If you can convince me that you can sign better players then we've already got then I'll sign otherwise I will stay on this rolling contract".

That season we only won about 3 or 4 games and got relegated. Funnily enough we went to Anfield that year and won 1-0 with the likes of Souness, Dalglish and all them lot. We literally had one attack and scored.

From that season when Wolves were relegated they went all the way down to the 4th division in successive seasons.

I had 2 calls in the close season from Alan Mullery at QPR and Ron Saunders at Birmingham City. To be honest I didn't want to move to London at this stage of my career as I was only 20 so I agreed to join Ron which went to a tribunal which was at Old Trafford.

I joined the rest of the lads on a pre season trip in Holland once the fee was settled. I enjoyed my time at Blues to be honest.

 

Q6/ YOU SPENT 3 YEARS WITH THE "BLUES" AND JOINED THE BLUES OF EVERTON. HOW MUCH OF A SURPRISE WAS IT TO YOU?

 

A6/ Surprised at first but John Bond later said to me that he knew Howard Kendall was looking at me 12 months prior to when he signed me. Apparently that's what Howard used to do in those days he used to check the character before going in with bids.

He (Howard) did the same with Pat Van Den Hauwe.

 

Q7/ DID HOWARD KENDALL EXPLAIN HIS REASONS FOR SIGNING YOU?

 

A7/ He told me that he wanted me on board as Sharpy was out injured  but going forward you're there on merit so it's up to you to go out and prove yourself which I think I did.

The biggest compliment paid to me was on my first day in training was from Peter Reid who told me that I didn't look out of place there.

Stuart Storer and  myself joined Everton but Howard told me that he had to take Stuart as part of the deal when John Bond offered him to Graham Turner at Wolves for free!!

I was on 19 goals for Birmingham before I joined Everton which I'm sure I would have ended up top scorer that season probably would have got 30. I would have been the first player since Trevor Francis.

I had every confidence in my ability and wasn't worried about the players that were already there from my first training session feeling completely at home.

 

Q8/ WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOUT YOUR EVERTON DEBUT?

 

A8/ I t wasn't the best of game if I can recall. It was at Watford on a Sunday, live on TV. We went 1 up through Inchy.

I remember just battling and it was very frustrating. The pitch wasn't in the best of conditions but I felt we deserved to come away with a point or two as it was in those days.

It was a sucker punch when they got the winner but it was good to get the first game out of the way and up and running and from then on it all went the right way.

 

Q9/ EVERTON AT THAT TIME WERE A QUALITY SIDE. WAS IT EASY TO SETTLE IN TO A TEAM LIKE THAT?

 

A9/ Yes of course it was. Like I said , I had total belief in my ability.

 

Q10/ YOU SCORED SOME IMPORTANT GOALS NOTABLY THE ONE AT ARSENAL WHERE YOU CHIPPED JOHN LUKIC AND PUT EVERTON TOP OF THE TABLE.

YOU GOT THE WINNER IN THE 1987 CHARITY SHIELD AGAINST COVENTRY CITY AND THE WINNER AGAINST LIVERPOOL.

WHICH OF THE 3 WAS YOUR FAVOURITE GOAL AND WHY?

 

A10/ Dear me. I would say it was 50-50 with the supporters because every time I go back to Everton they always remind me of the Liverpool goal to be honest.

A few of them remind me about the Arsenal one of course which really did turn the tide for us I think.

I knew John Lukic from the England youth and it was one of those instinctive things. I was about 40 yards out and saw him coming towards the edge of the box with his ball straight to my feet.

First I'm thinking that my touch has to be spot on but it seemed like an eternity before it dropped in.

We had a reunion last year for the 1987 Championship side at the Hilton and believe it or not but I had never seen that goal till somebody had showed it me that day. It's still as clear as it was as it was yesterday in my mind.

I still think about goals that I scored even the penalty at Anfield. I scored a header as well that day which got disallowed which ended 1-1.

I remember all my goals with Everton, my first against West Ham which was a shot off the post and my hat -trick against Newcastle United.

 

Q11/ CAN YOU RECALL YOUR HAT-TRICK AGAINST NEWCASTLE ON 20TH APRIL 1987?

 

A11/ Yes. The first was a header in, the 2nd was a pass of Inchy. There was a player on the line I think it was Glen Roeder and I managed to lift it just under the cross bar.

The last one was in the last minute a far  post header from a Trevor Steven cross.

Great memories and to be part of the success of Everton Football club was a. privilege.

 

Q12/ HOW DID IT FEEL TO BE PART OF A CHAMPIONSHIP SIDE?

 

A12/ When I first set out in football above anything else, I was to be a professional football first and foremost. The main thing that I wanted to win was to be the Champions of England.

When I set out at Everton, Howard gave me the platform to do that and thankfully I was able to play my part.

 

Q13/AT THE END OF THE 1988/89 SEASON YOU WERE PART OF THE DEAL THAT BROUGHT MIKE NEWELL TO EVERTON. HOW DID YOU REACT TO THAT?

 

A13/ I've a lot of respect for Colin (Harvey) but I felt a little bit let down at the end of that season to be honest which lead me to put a transfer request in part way through the season.

 

Q14/ WHICH OF YOUR BROTHERS ENCOURAGED YOU THE MOST?

 

A14/ They all did really. People used to say to me when I was young "Have you ever copied yourself on Allan?

I said "What a stupid question? When I'm in the heat of battle do I stop and think did Allan do it this way or did he do it that way?

It's just uncanny that were are so alike, similar in features , the way we run, celebrate and score goals. People even now call me Allan (laughing) We are all very proud of each other.

I don't know of any other family in World football that's had 5 brothers as professional footballers.

 

Q15/ WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE GAME AND GOAL?

 

A15/ My most memorable goal I would say would be the Highbury one. I remember scoring a goal for Wolves against Pat Jennings of Arsenal at the time. It was a left footed volley outside the 18 yard box but for importance it has to be the one at Highbury.

The significance and the fact that lot (Liverpool) got beat as well which gave us that bit of breathing space and we never looked back after that.

My memorable game would be the Charity Shield in 1987 against Coventry City. That was the next best thing from playing in a Cup Final.

 

Q16/ WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE STADIUM?

 

A16/ WEMBLEY (OLD WEMBLEY)

 

Q17/ BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT/ BIGGEST HIGH?

 

A17/ Not being involved when the lads won the league at Norwich as I missed out through injury. I popped my shoulder against Manchester City weeks earlier.

Not being involved in the 1989 FA Cup Final was another. Both teams were out on the pitch together when we arrived and Rushie came over to me and I asked him if he was playing to which he replied "No, I'm on the bench"

He asked me the same question and got the same reply but told him I wasn't even on the bench.

He couldn't believe it as he said that I had a good record against Liverpool.

I was gutted. I remember Jim Barron the goalkeeping coach seeing me alone in the tunnel and he came over to me but tried to console me but didn't know what to say.

I'm not ashamed to say it even now, I had tears rolling down my face.

Biggest high was being part of a Championship winning side.

Winning the league is the hardest thing to do because it's over a season.

 

Q18/ WHO WAS YOUR TOUGHEST OPPONENT?

 

A18/ Kevin Beattie (Ipswich Town), quick, strong and a great spring. He was our Frank's boot boy when he was at Ipswich Town.

 

Q19/ WHAT WAS YOUR FUNNIEST MEMORY?

 

 

A19/ Nothing springs to mind.

 

 

Q20/ YOU ARE WORKING AS A REP FOR A SOFT DRINKS COMPANY. DO YOU ENJOY IT AND DO YOU STILL GET RECOGNISED?

 

A20/ I do yes. If people want to speak to me I will do. I never bring anything up myself. I'm not vain enough to say I used to play football as at times it breaks the ice.

When I go back there to do the lounges I still see some of the players from my day, Sheeds, Snods and Sharpy. Howard Kendall was a great manager, I still bump into Harry Ross and always embrace them all.

They are like a family to me and the Evertonians are special. Everton are my club now and I will always be indebted to them. 

Email Bluekipper at enquiries@bluekipper.com

Comments about Exclusive Interview With Wayne Clarke
 
4
I honestly felt sorry for Wayne Clarke in the 1989 cup final. Still to this day I believe had Everton not paid so much for Tony Cottee he would have been in the team. Anyway thanks for the memories Wayne.
Tony, Perth Western Australia, 4:40 AM 22/11/2013
 
3
I was sat with Blue Echo at Highbury when Wayne scored "that" goal. We were sat at the back of the lower tier opposite the tunnel. We saw Wayne hit it but due to the overhang of the top tier we could not see the ball until it bounced into the net. Great memories.
Col, Mold, 4:23 PM 21/11/2013
 
2
Thanks for the memories, Wayne. Once an Evertonian, always an Evertonian................................
Joe Dids, Bury, Lancs, 8:54 PM 20/11/2013
 
1
I remember Wayne et al fondly,.... coming back from Wembley in the mid 80's (again!) sitting on the middle of a back seat of a Mk11 Capri, singing...... "Hey dagliesh with the Sad Face, come up to our place, and bring the League!, Just move across the Park, Where we have Wayne Clarke, and Peter Reid......" Still sing the song today, because we got back to Liverpool before last orders and sang it till we dropped!!! Lovely memories of being an Evertonian. Thanks Wayne (and Peter!). And Evertonia!! Gerard
Gerard D, Melbourne, 11:44 AM 20/11/2013
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