Hi Derek. So it's 32 years since your team won the title - are you hopeful Ronald Koeman is bringing a new era of success?
This season might be a bit soon while everybody settles down but in general it's brilliant, there's a real air of optimism. I'm proud to be told I was part of the great Everton team of the 1980s, but I'd be delighted to find myself being referred to as the second best Everton team because that would mean my club have gone on to win more trophies and been successful. Nothing would give the players of the 80s more pleasure than that. All those grandads now who watched me and their sons have kids now, and they want to see their kids start seeing Everton winning trophies again.
What did you make of the Europa League games?
There were times I expected more urgency, but it is still pre-season and the side is still finding its feet. I do remember our pre-season games and we were very cautious about not doing too much too quickly. You would like to think that by the first day against Stoke we will be ready to go.
There's been a lot of money spent this summer.
Yes and we've been one of the few clubs who have set out to get players in early and let them settle to the manager's system. You don't see that at a lot of clubs, they wait until the end of the window but Ronald Koeman seems to have stamped his authority.
That must send good messages.
I've never known such a positive attitude and outlook of Everton fans for such a long time. The signings have got people sitting up, got the football world sitting up and taking notice and the squad is far stronger. I just hope he can integrate the players and keep the ones who are left out or on the bench happy, he will have to rotate his team, but it is nice to know he can do this. I think we've brought some really good players in.
Obviously Wayne Rooney is the highest profile signing, what's your take on that.
I think Wayne Rooney coming is phenomenal. A lot of Everton fans were very negative when he went to Manchester United but I always said we had to sell him. He was too good a player for Everton at that time, he had to leave to become a better player, but we became a better club too because the money was used pretty well. I always hoped he'd came back.
What effect could he have?
Well I think back to when I signed for the club in 1982. Howard Kendall had been there for a season, made his magnificent seven signings including Mickey Walsh, Mickey Thomas, Mick Ferguson and Alan Ainscow, but it never really worked. The only one that really came through was Neville Southall who was, of course, phenomenal. But as the seasons progressed Andy Gray and Peter Reid came to the club at the same time and they were both winners. Andy especially had been a winner, he'd won trophies, league titles, the double PFA and Footballer of the Year award, and he brought an atmosphere into the club. Once we got a couple of good results it began to build momentum.
So could Wayne have the same effect?
I hope so, I think he can be a catalyst and the comparison to Andy Gray is a pretty good one because he came in and made us believe in ourselves a bit more. We had a couple of good results and we never looked back once it all clicked into gear. It's been far too long since Everton had anything like that.
Where will he fit in the team?
That's for the manager to sort out, but he'll get better. There were times on Thursday night when you could see his mind was a second ahead of everybody else, and players are going to have to get used to that, for making runs for him. He will put the ball in situations where players will look at him and go "what are you doing" and he's going to go "you should have been in that channel." It will take time but I think Wayne signing is fantastic for us.
With the money spent by the top six is it possible to gatecrash them?
I think Leicester showed 18 months ago that if you have a massive self belief you can beat anybody. They smashed the myth that you can't win the title outside the top four. We have to break into the top six and consolidate this season and we have to start making sure we start winning games against the big teams.
As a defender what do you make of Michael Keane?
Very impressed. Whether the three at the back is the long-term solution I'm not sure, but he looks a very promising player, and for us to get him when he was linked with other big clubs is a major coup. He's obviously listened to what the manager said and believed this team and the club are turning the corner. There's a big thing about the new stadium and a massive buzz about what we can do not just on the field but off it in the near future.
Fingers crossed then, and we've a free £50 bet for a favourite charity to say thanks for your time.
Great. I'm an ambassador for the North West Special Olympics team and I'm off to Sheffield for the next week to support them in the National Games. That's for people with learning difficulties, and while the Para Athletes get massive financial support they have to do everything through charity. As for my bet, when the market opens I'll back Wayne Rooney to score at any time in the Everton v Stoke game on the opening day. If he doesn't, well he's got a few bob so I'll get the money off him anyway!