A way out of Sheffield United and a European trophy: Sheffield Wednesday legend Terry Curran looks back on his time at Everton

It wasn’t just a dashing flowing perm and moustache combo that suggested Terry Curran was a perfect fit for a football life on Merseyside in the early 1980s.

By Alex Miller
Friday, 22nd January 2021, 5:45 pm

The Sheffield Wednesday legend, who spent three injury-stained years as an Everton player at the peak of their glory years, arrived to play for legendary manager Howard Kendall in 1982, originally on loan from what he described as an ‘uncomfortable’ stint at Sheffield United.

Though there is little doubt who Wednesdayite Curran, now 65, would like to see win this weekend’s FA Cup clash at Goodison Park. But should the Toffees prevail as expected, he wouldn’t begrudge them their first piece of silverware in a generation, a 26-year struggle that seemed unthinkable during his time at the club.

Everton came calling when Curran found himself at Sheffield United, having completed what a controversial transfer down the road that was aimed at getting back at the Owls boss at the time, his great friend Jack Charlton.

Sign up to our Sheffield Wednesday newsletter

Sheffield Wednesday legend Terry Curran spent three years at Everton under Howard Kendall.

Looking back at his move to Merseyside, Curran said in conversation with The Star: “Everton had been trying to sign me since I was at Doncaster Rovers. I could’ve joined them before I joined Forest, who I joined because of Brian Clough.

“Howard Kendall tried to sign me three times when I was at Sheffield Wednesday. But the Sheffield United thing happened.

“The manager at United, Ian Porterfield, didn’t want me. I’d been signed as a bit of a PR stunt to be honest. So I went up two divisions and signed for Howard at Everton on loan.

“When I came back to United, Arsenal and Manchester United came in for me and then-owner Reg Brearley tried to play them against one another. So it took longer with the finances. But it was Everton I fancied.”

His loan move was a whirlwind of quality in just seven matches Curran brushed off any fears over his transition from Division Three to the top tier, where he wandered into a side sat second-bottom of the division.

Despite the fact his tally of 24 appearances was inhibited by injury after joining full time on a £90,000 deal, he has medals to show and enjoys cult hero status in Walton.

With a couple of years, the Toffees had won the First Division title, the UEFA European Cup Winners' Cup and the FA Cup. It’s an era fondly remembered by Evertonians even today.

“Howard was a great coach with great man management,” Curran remember fondly. “The facilities at Bellefield were the best in the country at the time and everything they went on to achieve was absolutely incredible.

“We had some great players; Neville Southall, Gary Stevens, Kevin Ratcliffe, Peter Reid, Kevin Sheedy. But I’m a confident player, I wasn’t bothered about playing with them, it didn’t excite me that much. I wasn’t overawed. I as more excited about working with really good managers.

“I played with Alan Ball, the greatest player I ever played with, one of the greatest of all time. I played with John Robertson, Colin Todd, Roy McFarland, Charlie George. So walking into that Everton changing room didn’t bother me.

“But when I was playing in the Third Division with Sheffield Wednesday, I wasn’t necessarily getting the quality of ball. That was the big difference for me.”

Curran’s swagger and eye for a pass made him a popular figure at Goodison Park. But after one or two niggles, a thigh injury in their run to the club’s 1984 FA Cup final cost him dearly.

He fell behind the likes of Trevor Steven and future Owls boss Alan Irvine on the Everton flank in the pecking order.

He said: “I was out for months and they rushed me back for the 1984 FA Cup semi-final, they knew I wasn’t fit and I ended up playing extra time. Howard was going to take somebody else off but I carried on playing. My legs were like rock. I played another game, got injured again and missed the cup final. The rest is history.

“The specialist told me they couldn’t operate for a month because I’d got a blood clot and it was too much of a risk.

“They won the league, the FA Cup, the Cup Winner’s Cup. It’s a great cup with great success, but it’s a club that thinks about winning, you felt that when you walked onto the training ground.”

Everton fans remember a passionate, sometimes ill-tempered working class player who in many ways mirrored their love of the game.

And despite his injuries, Curran looks back fondly on his time. This weekend, in fact, is the one match he hopes they lose this season.

“It’s a great opportunity for Sheffield Wednesday to get one over on a Premier League side, but it depends on the team they want to put out,” he said. “They obviously want to secure their place in the Championship. It’s a difficult one, isn’t it?

“When I was a kid the FA Cup was the cup to win, behind only the World Cup. Of course it’s been devalued. Times change.

“It’s a complicated thing. They might go there, name a strong team for minutes in the legs and make sure they don’t get hammered, they may look at it and think that Everton won’t play a strong team so we want to play a stronger team. You just don’t know what either team will go in general.

“It depends what team the two of them pick. Sheffield Wednesday are my team, you stick by them. I’ll give them a chance.”

MORE FROM OUR WEDNESDAY WRITING TEAM

*

SPECIAL OFFER: By subscribing to The Star’s sports-only digital package you help us to continue providing the best coverage of Sheffield Wednesday. Until February 1 there’s 20% off a year’s subscription, taking you through what is expected to be a busy transfer window. All the details are HERE, just use the promo code TRANSFER20.