Top critical review
Should be - Colin Harvey's Everton- Already Public information
on 5 January 2017
I regularly attended Goodison when Colin Harvey was manager. I've often reflected on that period, and what exactly happened to the Everton side of the mid 1980s. An excellent team became an "OK" team. So I had high hopes that Colin Harvey - by all accounts an excellent man, an excellent coach, and man with plenty of insight - would be able to give his own perspective on that period, as well as the rest of his career.
Instead, it seems he took a vow not to mention anything that wasn't previously public knowledge; and he appears a curiously detached observer of his own decisions.
We learn - for example - that prior to his promotion from Reserve Team Manager to first team coach, the Reserves had been on an eight game winning streak. But the way this book reports that is to quote the public statement of Howard Kendall, the then manager, at the time of Colin's promotion. How did Colin do it? Was the competition weak? Was it his superior tactics? Was there unusual strength in depth in the squad? We didn't find out.
Did he take what he'd learnt managing the Reserves and apply it later? Did it turn out that some of the things that worked with the Reserves, didn't work with the first team. We are not told.
Instead the sum total of new insight was from Harvey's perspective was that he was "delighted" with his promotion.
Another (of many) examples - later on, in his period as manager, we are told that Mountfield is sold to Villa. At the time I recall this was somewhat of a controversial decision, as, along with the sale of Marshall, it meant that Everton were without a recognised central defender as cover for Ratcliffe and Watson, and Mountfield had been great for Everton. It was Harvey's decision, but it reads as though it was the result of impersonal forces beyond Colin's control.
It doesn't have to be this way - in Howard Kendall's recent autobiography he notes that his motivation for selling Martin Keown was that he felt Keown was responsible for a disproportionately high number of the goals that Everton conceded. He takes ownership of the decision, even though he acknowledges it doesn't look good in hindsight, and he adds some useful, previously unknown information to justify it.
Adding to the impression that this is not in Colin's authentic voice, are the sometimes notable, sometimes bizarre statistics that pepper his supposedly first person account. For example on one occasion we learn that a match against Barnsley was the first time Barnsley were watched by the day's highest attendance! For all his many undoubted talents, I do not believe that Colin is the statto that this implies.
Still, on the upside, I'm not averse to reading about Everton's history.