After serving Everton for over 25 years as a player, youth-team coach, and reserve-team coach, affable first-team coach Colin Harvey found himself offered the manager’s job following his close friend Howard Kendall’s surprise resignation.
With a promising start to his new career, Harvey’s side began the 1987-1988 season with a decisive victory over FA Cup holders Coventry City to win the FA Charity Shield. However, the luck did not hold, and his attempt to continue the winning streak begun by Kendall floundered almost immediately amidst injury and inconsistency.
A defeat by Arsenal in the League Cup semi-final and the loss of the League title to Liverpool ruined Harvey’s hopes of first season success, and in a desperate attempt to restore confidence, Harvey initiated a close-season spending spree. £4 million later, Neil MacDonald, Stuart McCall, Pat Nevin and Tony Cottee joined the rapidly changing Everton side.
With the departure of old favourites such as Derek Mountfield and Gary Stevens, Harvey struggled to hold together a team demonstrating great skill but little cohesion. Fighting their way through to the Simod and FA Cup Finals, Harvey’s side once again tasted defeat; the universal acclaim awarded their game against Liverpool offered little consolation.
After an undistinguished 1989-1990 season, the 1990-1991 season saw Everton again in distress resting near the bottom of the League table. After a defeat by underdogs Sheffield United in October 1990, Harvey, like many before him, found himself summoned to Goodison and summarily dismissed. Demoted to assistant manager, Harvey once again found himself serving under old boss Howard Kendall.
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