On This Day In 1988: British Record Signing Tony Cottee Makes Instant Impact On Everton Debut With Hat-Trick Against Newcastle

Martin Cloake

27th, August 2015


Back in the days before Evertonians flew planes over football grounds demanding more ambition from their board, the Toffees top brass kept the fans sweet by lashing out £2.2million on West Ham striker Tony Cottee – the most expensive purchase ever made by a British club at the time.

On his debut on the opening day of the 1988/89 season, Cottee netted after 34 seconds and went on to score a hat-trick in a 4-0 home romp over Newcastle United.

Cottee finished the season on 14 goals, and Everton finished a disappointing eighth, although they did reach the FA Cup final – losing 3-2 to local rivals Liverpool.

In that first season, Cottee played alongside Graeme Sharp. The following year, manager Colin Harvey played three up front, bringing in Mike Newell to complete the three-pronged strikeforce.

Cottee went on to play alongside Peter Beardsley and Mo Johnstone in the six years and 184 appearances he made for the Blues – scoring 72 goals before being transferred back to West Ham in 1994 in a part-exchange deal involving David Burrows.

Now retired, Cottee has admitted he has a scrapbook containing clippings of every one of the 239 goals he scored during his career.

You can follow Martin Cloake on Twitter at @MartinCloake and find more about his books and writing at www.martincloake.com

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