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Kevin Ratcliffe

Kevin Ratcliffe

Ratcliffe joined Everton as an apprentice in 1977 and made his début in 1980 but was not a first team regular until 1982. In 1983 at the age of 23 he was made captain, just as the club began a highly successful spell.  Whilst captain Ratcliffe won the 1984 FA Cup Final, the Football League Championship in 1984–5 and 1986–7 and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup 1984–85. There were also two other FA Cup finals. Ratcliffe made 461 appearances for Everton and scored two goals in that time (one a 30-yarder at Anfield).

Ratcliffe was considered one of the fastest central defenders ever to play football. On arrival at Everton he challenged the whole first team squad to a sprint race and won.

Ratcliffe was capped 59 times by Wales, often as captain. He also represented his country at under-21, youth and schoolboy level. Despite several near-misses and boasting famous players such as Ian Rush, Neville Southall and Mark Hughes as well as Ratcliffe, Wales failed to qualify for a major tournament while Ratcliffe was involved in the set-up.

In 1994, Ratcliffe joined Chester City as assistant-manager to Mike Pejic and continued to play for a year. In the summer of 1995, he became manager of the Blues and stayed at the helm until August 1999, when he left after falling out with new owner Terry Smith. The highlight of his years at Chester was guiding the club to the Division Three play-offs in 1996-97 and he later took credit for steering the club to a mid-table position in 1998-99 while in serious financial trouble. Reputedly Ratcliffe drew £5000 from his own bank account to help cover the costs of a water bill because the club’s cheques were refused.

Today, Kevin is an established after dinner speaker and a very much in demand.  He also works for BBC Wales sport.