It was October 20 1984. The stage was Anfield. The match was in the third minute of second half. Gary Stevens, the Everton right back, sent a long, diagonal, aerial ball from well within his own half to the number 9 sandwiched between the opposition center backs. The number 9 plucked the ball out of thin air and took it around and away from Mark Lawrenson in one swift movement. He allowed the ball to bounce once, before slotting it past the hapless Bruce Grobbelaar.
That goal ended Everton’s 14 years long wait for a win on their fiercest rival’s home turf and sealed scorer Graeme Sharp’s place firmly in the pantheon of Everton legends.
Born in Glasgow, Sharp started his football career at Dumbarton FC in the Scottish League. At the start of 1980, having been signed by Gordon Lee for £120,000, he took the oft trodden path of Scottish footballers to Merseyside and donned the blue of Everton. Although he struggled to establish himself at Everton in his maiden year, he improved steadily in his craft and soon became one of the first names on the Toffees team sheet in an era that would prove to be the most successful in the club’s modern history.
Howard Kendall took charge of the Toffees in the beginning of the 1981-82 season and entrusted his faith in Sharp. The Scot paid back his manager’s trust with a return of 15 goals in 29 appearances in only his second season. He maintained his scoring spree over the next nine years during his stay at the club. His illustrious career at Goodison Park ended with 159 goals in all competitions after 447 appearances.
In an era when tabs for assists were not kept, there is no record for the number of goal scoring passes he made for his striking partners. He played with some of the best strikers of the era in Adrian Heath, Andy Gray, and Gary Linekar et al who greatly benefitted from his selfless play in front of the goal. Ian Rush, no less, went on to describe him as his ideal strike partner.
Sharpie, as Toffee faithful call him, scored the most goals by any Everton player post World War II, seven of which came in the 30 derbies that he played against Liverpool which ensured that he will forever be remembered as one of the greatest player to don the blues of Everton.