20 July 2024

Everton landed £82m transfer boost this summer amid financial crisis

Everton could do with a signing like Andy Gray right now 40 years on from his arrival at Goodison Park- but if £25m signing Beto can have half the impact the 67-year-old did Evertonians will breathe an almighty sigh of relief Andy Gray joined Everton 40 years ago and they now have a new striker, Beto The former Toffee backs Beto to succeed at Goodison Park but fears for Everton Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off’ Forty years ago, Everton were in crisis when they signed a centre forward as a desperate last resort to get them out of trouble. Sounds familiar? It should do and if deadline week signing Beto has only half the impact Andy Gray did, Evertonians will breathe an almighty sigh of relief. Gray arrived at Goodison Park in November 1983 with Everton 17th in the table.

Their previous home gate against Coventry was just 9,000, yet within two years the Scot was lifting the FA Cup, the League title and the European Cup Winners’ Cup. Gray, 67, briefly returned to the UK from his base in Qatar. He will have lunch with his former teammate Peter Reid on Tuesday. The social gathering could extend to Scotland, who play England in a bar that night. He also hopes to return to Merseyside to interview manager Sean Dyche for his TV channel beIN SPORTS. Although he also enjoyed success at Dundee United, Aston Villa, Wolves and Rangers, Gray will forever be associated with Howard Kendall’s great team of the 80s, and has been involved in the club’s current woes, poor results, financial constraints and He admits that he is frustrated by the dissatisfaction of fans. He can cause some pain. “Disappointed, upset, whatever adjective you want to use,” Gray says. “Everton are paying the price for years of mismanagement.” They’ve been there for three years and of course we’re worried about them this season. “They weren’t in a particularly good position when I arrived either, but when you look at the dressing room with Neville (Southall), Reidy, Sharpie (Graham Sharpe) and Kevin Sheedy, there’s quality. I found out.” “Most of the teams were young, so once we had the confidence we went for it.” This Everton team doesn’t have that. Even if you play well, you can’t score goals. “Beto from Udinese has a lot to offer.” In the short term, I saw him as strong, fast and able to chase. Like me, he has to produce quickly. Howard was very keen to use the boys so he loaned me out for 24 hours on the Friday so I could play against Forest the next day. I told Inchy (Adrian Heath) to stay close to me, I would confuse the defenders and give him chances. In the end he scored the winning goal. “Once Dominic Calvert-Lewin is fit again, Everton must somehow get him and Beto into the team. This is the biggest challenge Sean has ever faced as manager, and that includes leading Burnley to the Premier League.” That includes keeping him in the league. People talk about Graham Potter. Please, what more can he do than Sean with the current group of players? ” Gray has had two outstanding careers. As a striker, he won the PFA Player Award and Young Player Award for the first time in the same season at Villa in 1977. When Wolves acquired him for £1.5 million in 1979, he became England’s most expensive signing, and victory in the League Cup final the following year was the club’s last major trophy. He had two brilliant seasons at Everton, eventually winning his first Scottish title in nine consecutive years with Glasgow Rangers. His international career is perhaps the only area in which he has lived up to expectations. He won just 20 caps at a time when Scotland had many top-class strikers. This week’s match against England is unusual, but the arch-rivals meet each other in the home Championship every year, with Gray playing twice and losing 2-0. “I didn’t play in the World Cup, but I should have played in 1978,” he says. “I had a good season at Villa and all of Scotland wanted me on the plane to Argentina.”

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