Few clubs' supporters, if any perhaps, laud their heroes in quite the same way as Evertonians. If you know your history after all, this grand old team has featured some of the English game's most notable pioneers — on and off the field — and some of its greatest ever players.
That desire to both recognise and celebrate our rich, Royal Blue history has been epitomised by our own “Dr Everton”, David France, who, having founded the Everton Former Players' Foundation, conceived of Gwladys Street's Hall of Fame in the late 1990s which sought to acknowledge the men who have have made significant contributions to the development, welfare and success of Everton Football Club.
By way of background for younger Blues, the initial inductees to this pantheon of Everton greats were elected by a panel of former-players, journalists, shareholders and season-ticket holders who assessed the accomplishments of the candidates during their careers at Everton. Since then, Hall of Fame inductees have been elected by supporters via postal ballots and Internet polls.
At present, there are 129 members, 35 of them still with us today. They include representatives from most of the 138 years of the grand old club's illustrious history — some playing careers stretch back to the days of St Domingo Football Club in Stanley Park. The most recent inductees were added in 2009. They included Duncan Ferguson, Tony Kay, Graham Stuart, David Unsworth and Bill Kenwright.
While some names are less familiar than others, others will evoke misty-eyed reminiscences of the great Evertonians of yesteryear who helped to establish our Royal Blue pride. The full list of Hall of Fame members is summarised on YouTube: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
The good news is Gwladys Street's Hall of Fame is back and with it the most exciting date on the Everton calendar. To induct four new members the Hall of Fame dinner will be relaunched at the Hilton Hotel in Liverpool on 10 March 2017 to raise much needed funds for the Everton Former-Players' Foundation and EFC Heritage Society.
It will be a smaller gathering than the Nuremberg Rallies held for 11 years at the Adelphi Hotel but, no doubt, will be equally raucous. Many fans have attempted to capture the emotion of the Hall of Fame celebrations. Few have succeeded. These include Ian Macdonald for ToffeeWeb in 2009.
Other attendees at the Hilton will include many Hall of Fame members, some former players and a sprinkling of modern-day counterparts. To date, the Everton managers Walter Smith and David Moyes attended regularly to address and connect with the match-going fans and the current manager will be invited.
Please note that the celebration is limited to 300 tickets, priced at £60 and £80. Details related to the availability and sale of these tickets will be announced in October.
Now to the imminent Hall of Fame ballot. The internet vote will be hosted jointly by ToffeeWeb and NSNO from midnight 11 September to midnight 18 September, 2016. All Everton supporters are eligible to vote — but once only - and must select 4 men from the following short-list of 8 candidates, namely John Bailey, Kevin Campbell, Martin Dobson, Tony Hibbert, Nigel Martyn, Joe Parkinson, Dave Thomas and Pat van den Hauwe.
The results will be announced formally by David France at The Everton Heritage Evening to take place at the Everton School immediately before the home game with Crystal Palace on 30 September. That event is organised to aid of Everton in the Community.
A few words about the candidates … in alphabetical order
John Bailey joined Everton from Blackburn in July 1979 for £300,000. The left-back featured in the sides that won the FA Cup in 1984 and the title 1985. Bails was a popular figure in the dressing room where there was more to him than a big hat and glasses. After losing place to Pat van den Hauwe, moved to Newcastle in October 1985. Everton appearances 220 (2) goals 3.
Kevin Campbell was signed on loan from Trabzonspor in March 1999. His impact was immediate - he scored 9 times in 8 games and saved Everton from relegation. The striker's transfer was made permanent in the summer of 1999 for a fee of £3 million. He has the distinction of scoring the most goals in the Premier League without earning an England cap as well as the winner in Everton's last triumph at Anfield in 1999. Everton appearances 139 (25), goals 51.
Martin Dobson was the first British player to be transferred for £300,000 when signed from Burnley in 1974. The elegant mid-fielder - whose silky skills became an integral part of the tactics of the Everton sides in the mid-Seventies which came so close to winning silverware - returned to Burnley in 1979. He was awarded five England caps. Everton appearances 230, goals 40.
Tony Hibbert, a local boy and Goodison favourite, was a member of the Everton youth team that captured the FA Youth Cup in 1998 and progressed to spend his entire professional career at Goodison. Despite many seasons littered with injuries, the right-back appeared in more competitive European games than any other Everton player. Everton appearances 297 (32), goals 0.
Nigel Martyn joined Everton for a nominal fee in 2003. Signed originally as back-up to the unreliable Richard Wright, the 37-year old became first-choice after six games. A confident and commanding keeper - the best since Neville Southall - he literally saved Everton from relegation. Awarded 23 England caps, his international career would have flourished but for David Seaman. Everton appearances 99 (1).
Joe Parkinson was signed from Bournemouth for £250,000 in December 1993. A important part of Royle's ‘Dogs of War', the uncompromisingly combative midfielder was a Goodison favourite and help to capture the FA Cup in 1995. Knee injuries resulted in his prolonged absence, retirement in 1999 — at age 28 - and appointment the club's first Fan Liaison Officer. Everton appearances 105 (2), goals 4.
Dave Thomas was signed from Queens Park Rangers for £200,000 in 1977. The skillful and pacey winger — who bombed down the left touchline with his socks around his ankles— was a key supply route of pin-point crosses to Bob Latchford especially during his 30-goals season. He was awarded eight England caps. Everton appearances 84, goals 6.
Pat van den Hauwe joined Everton from Birmingham in September 1984 for £100,000. The left-back helped to win the European Cup-Winners' Cup in 1985 and League titles in 1985 and 1987. His goal at Norwich secured the 1987 silverware. Psycho Pat moved to Tottenham in 1989 for £575,000 Born in Belgium, he was awarded 13 caps by Wales. Everton appearances 199 (2), goals 3.
Again, the ballot, hosted jointly by ToffeeWeb and NSNO, will start on 11 September. The dinner will be held at the Hilton on 10 March. The event is limited to 300 tickets, priced at £60 and £80.
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