When Howard Kendall sought to revive Everton’s flagging form midway through the 1982/83 season he brought in Sheffield United’s Terry Curran on loan. Curran, a flamboyant, highly skilful Yorkshireman, was a throwback to the mavericks of a previous generation.
As a rookie in the mid-1970s, he had been among Brian Clough’s first acquisitions as Nottingham Forest manager, but since then his career had been that of a journeyman, with five different clubs in the half-decade since he had left the City Ground.
With a dip of his shoulders and a twirl of his feet, he was the sort of player who could meander through opposing defences at will, illuminating even the darkest days of the early 1980s. But acknowledgement of Curran’s glorious talent was tempered by the realisation that he could be a frustrating player, prone to over-elaboration, tactical indiscipline and sulking.
WHEN KENDALL brought him into the fold, the loanee immediately impressed, inspiring several wins as Everton’s form set on an upward trajectory. Cries of ‘sign him up’ from the Goodison terraces were heeded as the Everton manager tried to make the deal permanent, but Sheffield United upped their price and Kendall had neither the means nor inclination to meet it.
Curran returned to Yorkshire, but at the season’s end a £90,000 deal was struck. On his return to Goodison, however, the winger was constantly beset by injuries, and when fit found himself third choice on the Everton flank, behind Alan Irvine and Trevor Steven. Through the 1983/84 season he made just eight league starts, and none in either of Everton’s cup runs. Everton’s glorious title-winning season a year later was watched mostly from the substitutes bench or, more often, the sidelines. At the end of the 1984/85 season, Curran was released and set off on the nomad’s trail once more.