Barry Horne: Team spirit is much like the class of '95
EVERTON'S charge to Wembley this year has evoked many memories and I've been asked on a number of occasions to compare this run with the one I experienced in 1995.
But while it's easy to draw comparisons, there are also one or two fundamental differences between the current crop and the team Joe Royle guided to success against the odds 14 years ago.
Firstly there are many similarities between the attitudes of both squads.
We had a fantastic team spirit and work ethic, as do this bunch, and you can see the players complement each other superbly to form a real team as opposed to a collection of individuals.
Every man appreciates their team-mates' strengths and weaknesses and knows inside out what they bring to the team. What's more, they are honest; there are no shirkers, divers or cheats. and do not rely on one star individual to change a game.
You can also say there is a similarity in the way Everton have reached the final this year compared to how we did it; not at any stage in the competition were we considered favourites and that is again true.
We had to overcome a big Premier League team (Newcastle by a single goal in the quarter-final) and that is what David Moyes and his players had to achieve when beating Liverpool in the fourth round.
After beating Newcastle, we were then considered the long outsiders of two against Tottenham; we were there to supposedly make up the numbers ahead of the 'dream' final between them and Manchester United.
This time everyone was expecting it to be Chelsea and Manchester United.
Of course, we then went to the final as even bigger underdogs against the 'classic' United team that many could still name now, a team that was dominating English football., having won double previous year.
But as strong a team as Chelsea are --their performances against Barcelona in the Champions League are now being seen for what they really were - you don't get the sense that they are in any way as formidable as United in 1995.
So while it is an easy comparison to make, personally it is not quite true. Everton, after all, were not a million miles away from Chelsea in the table this season, whereas we went into the battle having only just secured our place in the top flight a year earlier.
Having said that, we went into our final with a fantastic self belief and - it has to be said - a quiet and unspoken confidence.
Our form from the day Joe breezed into Goodison Park was much, much better than our league position suggested - the only reason it took us so long to stay up was because we were so far off the pace in the first third of the season.
Today's Everton team has shown time and time again a similar resilience and self belief, which is why I believe they should be travelling into the game full of confidence.
There is no need for anyone to doubt their credentials for being there. It will, of course, require a season's best performance from the Blues and it won't be easy when you think of the injuries David has had to contend with.
But that is a situation they have overcome many times. and they finished the season strongly to collect fifth spot.
That was not only a fantastic achievement but it will give every player involved at Wembley a boost.
Now all I can do is wish everyone the very best of luck and I sincerely hope they give David and his players the trophy that their performances have deserved.