When Howard Kendall made him one of his first signings as Everton manager, it meant Alan Biley had finally worked his way up through all the English divisions to make it to the top flight.
A £300,000 acquisition in July 1981, Biley had been a prolific marksman with Cambridge United and Derby County. At these clubs his explosive turn of pace and intuitive sense of timing had garnered him a reputation as a penalty area predator. With his spiky Rod Stewart haircut and penchant for a lively quip, he seemed to have the personality for the big time too. Indeed, all the early signs were good. A smart chip on his debut against Birmingham helped secure a 3-1 win, and he struck an early goal in Everton’s next fixture, against Leeds United.
But then the goals dried up and Biley lost his place to Graeme Sharp. He was loaned to Stoke City after Everton signed Adrian Heath from them, but this proved fruitless. Just over a year after his arrival he was sold for £125,000 to Portsmouth, where the goals flowed once more. However, Alan Biley would never return to the top flight.
‘I’ve got extremely fond memories of everywhere I’ve been but my time at Everton was probably the most frustrating,’ he later told evertonfc.com. ‘You’ll never be able to put your finger on why it didn’t have longevity. Everybody will have their own thoughts on it. For me it was about not being played in the right position but at the time Howard Kendall was new to the post and he was trying everybody.’