February 25, 2024

There’s an old saying that goes ‘happy wife, happy life’ and that even rings true for millionaire footballers in the Premier League.

An inability to sign Olivier Giroud contributed to Ronald Koeman – a man who blamed his good lady for the red decorations on his Christmas tree that Evertonians took exception to – losing his job as Blues boss, despite having the Arsenal striker “in the building” in the summer of 2017. The Dutchman’s successor at Goodison Park, Sam Allardyce, duly pointed the finger at the proposed transfer collapsing on Madame Giroud.

Asked if Everton would revive their interest in the January window, Big Sam remarked: “He doesn’t want to move north of London, I don’t think. “Or his wife doesn’t. It is very important to the wives you know. Normally they are the bosses, I say that with experience.”

On this day in 1996, Everton recorded what remains their last win at Arsenal in front of fans when Andrei Kanchelskis’ 84th-minute strike sealed a 2-1 comeback victory for Joe Royle’s side at Highbury. Following the defeat, Gunners boss Bruce Rioch – who played for the Blues himself in the 1970s – admitted he’d try to sign the flying winger himself the previous summer when he’d got wind that he was preparing to quit Manchester United but he was unable to hijack Kanchelskis’ club record £5million transfer to Goodison Park.

Although a language barrier prevented Rioch from trying to sell Arsenal to the Russian international himself, his attempts to lure Kanchelskis to the capital fell flat. After splashing out £12million on Dennis Bergkamp and David Platt in the first month of his reign, Rioch told Highbury directors that he fancied the pacy wide man too but by the time they made their move, their target was already on his way to Merseyside.


Everton's Andrei Kanchelskis celebrates his winning goal at Arsenal on January 20, 1996 with Duncan Ferguson and Graham Stuart

Everton’s Andrei Kanchelskis celebrates his winning goal at Arsenal on January 20, 1996 with Duncan Ferguson and Graham Stuart


The Arsenal manager lamented: “I didn’t talk to Andrei because he doesn’t speak English. But I did talk to his wife and his interpreter about a move here.”

Kanchelskis secured what proved to be Everton’s last-ever three points at Highbury with 84 minutes on the clock as he latched on to a Barry Horne throw-in, cut inside from his right-wing position and fired a left-foot shot beyond the grasp of ‘safe hands’ David Seaman, who would star for England on home turf in the European Championships later that year. It was the sixth of 16 goals he’d net his what was his only full season with the Blues who went on to secure a sixth place finish for their solitary top half placing in the first decade of the Premier League, missing out on European football to Arsenal on the final day of the campaign.

Arsenal away is the Premier League fixture that Everton have lost the most times – 24 so far – and this encounter, played on the day that George Michael’s Jesus to a Child went to the top of the UK charts and a mere 24 hours after Ian and Kevin Maxwell, sons of the late media mogul Robert Maxwell, were cleared of fraud at the Old Bailey, looked to be going the usual way when Blues nemesis Ian Wright fired the hosts in front on 37 minutes with his 13th goal against the club. However, Everton equalised four minutes into the second half when the offside Duncan Ferguson was deemed not to be interfering with play and Graham Stuart dribbled around Seaman before sliding in a left-foot finish.

Earlier that month, Terry Venables had been appointed England manager ahead of Euro 96 and Royle reckoned that versatile forward Stuart, nicknamed ‘Diamond’, was now sufficiently polished up for a place in the Three Lions squad. After the game, the Blues boss said: “As for Graham Stuart, he is getting better and better.

“I have said many times when I came to Goodison Park I thought he was a jack of all trades, but he is far, far better than that. If Terry Venables is looking for someone to run around the front two, he can do that, there is no-one playing better in that position in the country at the moment.”

The ECHO reported that there was at least one gleeful Gunner at Highbury as double-winning captain Frank McLintock took Bob Latchford’s advice and had £20 on Everton to secure their first win there since the Blues last title-winning season of 1986/87 at odds of 7/2. Former Goodison fans’ favourite Latchford, by this point a regional manager at Ladbrokes, said: “It was the best bet of the day.”



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