Roy Vernon - your memories needed

by   |   16/06/2017  52 Comments  [Jump to last]

Roy Vernon was posthumously announced as an Everton Giant at the club's 2017 End of Season Awards (he had previously been inducted into Gwladys Street's Hall of Fame).

The North Walian came to Everton from Blackburn Rovers in 1960. His impact over 5 years at Goodison was immense. He captained the team to title glory, had an impressive goal ratio, and forged an intuitive strike partnership with Alex Young. He moved to Stoke City in 1965 and left professional football in 1970. He died, at the age of 56, from lung cancer, in 1993.

I am researching Roy's career; if you have memories of him at club or international level please drop me an email – rsneston "at" gmail.com

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Paul Newton
1 Posted 17/06/2017 at 10:22:12
It is very tragic as he died from lung cancer, but when he was at Stoke there was a story that he was the only player sufficiently skilled to actually smoke in the shower. How times have changed!
Brian Murray
2 Posted 17/06/2017 at 10:56:07
My older brother, John Murray, was the permanent mascot in the title-winning season and beyond. Roy would take walk him through to the dressing room before games. We gave many a newspaper cutting v Fulham of my brother on the Lap of honour with the lads and the Division 1 trophy. Fast-track to two-nil at Anfield, he's on the pitch at the end in Tommy Smith's face.

Happy days... never knew we would have 14 years of Tiger Rod, Bernie, Dai the Drop and the rest of the idiots, 69 to 84 as you all know only too well.

Laurie Hartley
3 Posted 17/06/2017 at 11:34:19
Roy Vernon was a great striker and penalty taker. He was built, and could move, like a whippet and was a tough nut too.

Denis Law and Jimmy Greaves where his peers in that era – both great inside forwards who scored goals for fun.

Law was as quick as a flash whereas Greaves was a goal poacher. In my opinion, in his pomp, Royston was better than either of them, possessing pace, guile and shooting ability. Perhaps Law had the edge on him when it came to heading ability.

His party piece was to receive the ball on the half-way line with his back to the oppositions goal. He would turn the centre or wing half inside out and hare off up the pitch towards the opposition's goal. Nine times out of ten, when he was one-on-one with the goalie he would score.

He was deadly from the edge of the box and had a great body swerve.

It is a great pity that such a terrific footballer died from lung cancer, no doubt due to smoking, which is a scourge. I do remember seeing him walking towards the players entrance on Goodison Road in one of those old-fashioned trench coats smoking a cigarette. As a young teenager that was a great shock to me actually. Sadly, in the early 60s the dangers of smoking where only just coming to light.

Roy Vernon was a great captain of a great Everton team. RIP

Trevor Lynes
4 Posted 17/06/2017 at 11:40:46
I have so many pleasant memories of Roy playing for us. He, along with Collins and Young, was a wonderful trio of crowd-pleasers. Vernon edged out Young as my favourite as he enjoyed derby matches and he thrived on the physical side of those matches. He was very similar to Ian Rush as a goal predator and had a cocky streak like Collins, Kay and Ball.I well remember his penalty against Man Utd when he sent Gaskell the wrong way then stayed and pointed to the ball to the chagrin of the United goalkeeper. We turned around five up at half time in that game and Vernon scored two or three in a 20-minute burst. That was probably the best single half of top quality football I have ever seen at Goodison, we just coasted the 2nd half.On his day, he was unstoppable yet he had no physical bulk at all. His era was completely different to this so I cannot compare the players of yesterday with those of today. However, I can say that he has given me more excitement and pleasure than any other Number 10.
Andy Weir
5 Posted 17/06/2017 at 13:08:21
He was from a small village in North Wales, Pen y Ffordd. He was a friend of my father-in-law. He tells me they went to watch him play for Blackburn and tells of meeting Roy in the pub for a pint BEFORE the game. How times have changed.
Geoff Williams
6 Posted 17/06/2017 at 15:21:52
He was the cleanest striker of a ball I have ever seen, great technique.

I always thought he was from Fynnongroew near Mostyn, Flintshire.

Andy Weir
7 Posted 17/06/2017 at 15:49:56
You may be right; Pen Y ffordd and Fynnongroew are next to each other.
Chris Williams
8 Posted 17/06/2017 at 16:32:01
Roy Vernon was a genius. One of those players who could seemingly turn it on at will, witness his hat trick against Fulham in the final match of the 1963 Championship winning season. He was in the mood!

I remember his first game against Wolves at Goodison early in 1960. We got beaten 2-0 and he didn't impress. Norman Deeley ran the show for them from memory.

He started scoring soon after that, and I've discussed on here the goal he scored against Blackpool on the Good Friday when he dribbled the ball in from a short corner and left a number of their defenders on their backsides before dribbling round the keeper and blasting in from one yard, one of 2 he scored in a 4-0 win.

His penalties were deadly daisy cutters, none better than the one he scored against Liverpool in the first league derby since 1954, in the championship winning season.

He was very bad tempered and knew how to look after himself, considering he was less than 10 stone and about 5 ft 9 in old money. Did a bit of that in the Battle of Goodison against Leeds.

He could smoke in the showers according to Labone and once led the team out and flicked what looked like a tab end on to the grass. He later said it was a Vick inhaler.

Catterick lectured him about his smoking and Roy agreed with him. As he closed the door after him Catterick could hear another match being struck.

There is a famous photo of him and Tony Kay sharing a match used to light Roy's fag and Tony's big cigar.

My favourite all time Everton player. Captain, genius all over the pitch, clinical goalscorer, scorer of 30-yarders, bad tempered and waspish.

If ever the club need to commemorate him they could have The Roy Vernon Smoking Area!

Jay Harris
9 Posted 17/06/2017 at 16:44:34
Like Laurie, I remember Roy regularly picking the ball up near the halfway line and dribbling past defenders, then around the keeper and into the net, and what a penalty taker too.

The stories of his drinking and smoking were legend. What a character. At least he enjoyed his life, even if he went too soon.

Alan J Thompson
10 Posted 17/06/2017 at 16:45:49
Trying to remember the name of the Man Utd goalkeeper (David Gaskill?) who was booked during the Charity Shield match at Goodison for continually moving before a penalty was taken.

Vernon would move in, dummy the spot kick and the 'keeper would dive while Roy stopped. After two goes, the ref booked him.

Chris Williams
11 Posted 17/06/2017 at 16:56:51
Roy used to point to where he was going to put the penalty. One of those bits of arrogance that only the great ones could get away with. A bit like Alan Ball sitting on the ball.
Paul Newton
12 Posted 17/06/2017 at 17:00:33
Alan,

I seem to remember the Man Utd keeper actually saved the first of his attempts taking the penalty in that Charity Shield match, but it was ruled out for an infringement by the keeper.

I remember the shock that went around when it was 'saved' – what, Roy can't actually have missed a penalty??!! It was almost unknown.

Paul Newton
13 Posted 17/06/2017 at 17:12:05
ps: I thought the goalkeeper was Harry Gregg, but I could be wrong –it's a long time ago!
Paul Newton
14 Posted 17/06/2017 at 17:33:40
No, I was wrong. I've just checked; should have done before – and it was David Gaskell.
John Keating
15 Posted 17/06/2017 at 19:46:06
I don't think I have ever felt more confident on us winning than I did before kick off when we played Fulham last game of the 1963 season.

They were all great players, Young for me but only a hairs breath before Vernon. What an all round player he was; tough and arrogant with it. What would he cost today???

Ray Atherton
16 Posted 17/06/2017 at 19:49:17
I met Roy on a few occasions in the early 60s, not only at a game. I went to a lot of away matches then.

In 1962, Roy came to a local pub to push the stack of old pennies on the bar counter for charity. My mother was a barmaid there and pulled a pint for him. I was outside with a lot of kids who asked me to get his autograph.

Being sixteen, I went in the pub, asking her approval. The men inside and my mother said to Roy, "He is a good Evertonian" and he said "I know him, he gets my table on the train from a far away game, for our card school." In those ancient trains, the tables were folded and strapped up.

In 1963, me and a mate went to Upton Park for the West Ham game. We had played them a few weeks previous in the FA Cup. This was an important game as we were going for the league title.

On the Saturday morning, about 11:00 am, we went to the Hotel that the Blues stayed at, Baileys Hote in Gloucester Road. The players came out going their different ways.

Roy and Alex came out (they were great friends). Roy said "We're going shopping (clothes), come with us." We were chuffed.

Roy had a column in the Daily Post, I think it was, on a Friday. Liverpool were playing Leicester in the semi-final of the FA Cup. Roy had said in his column "I want to see Liverpool to win after I get out of the bath at West Ham." I said to Roy, "What is that all about?" He said to me "I want the Bastards to lose" and lose they did. All ToffeeWebers know that we won the league that lovely year.

In 1964, I was working on the building in Maghull, now being 18. One Thursday, I got my wage packet; me and another apprentice went to the Hare and Hounds pub in Maghull, having a few pints... who walks in? Royston himself. He said "What are you doing in Maghull? Eyeing up the birds?" He knew where I lived in that penny-pushing back in 1962. We had a few pints with him and a lot of laughs.

The next week, I was going to the betting shop and Roy was behind me. He was with Fred Pickering who he introduced to me. Fred had only signed a few months.

Roy Vernon – a truly lovely man, down to earth. A giant in our 62-63 League Champions side.

Terry White
17 Posted 17/06/2017 at 19:50:15
Alan and Paul are correct; David Gaskell did save Roy's first effort in the Charity Shield game before Roy scored at the second attempt.

I may be one of the few people who saw Roy miss a penalty. It was a reserve game at Goodison, perhaps in 1964, against Burnley. Young was also playing and Gordon West in goal, going through one of his bad spells and replaced by Andy Rankin. We lost 5-3 and the team was jeered off with Gordon reacting badly to it so that we wondered if he would ever be back in the first team again.

But Roy was a great striker of the ball as well as finding the right place to be to turn the ball into the goal. His partnership with Young was a delight to watch and they jointly deserve all the praise they received for their performances in the title-winning season.

As mentioned, he was a niggly character on the pitch, got sent home early from the club tour to New York, but what a wonderful player and captain he was. I wish there were video of some of his long range goals which flew into the top corner, one against Wolves at home I recall, and one at Blackpool both early in the season.

Chris Williams
18 Posted 17/06/2017 at 20:08:45
Terry

I think that reserve match might have been after a couple of players were coming back from injury. There was a pretty big crowd that night if it is the same game.

There was a night League match under the lights at Goodison, which we won. Roy got the ball in midfield, advanced a bit and let fly about 35 yards out. Me and my mate were directly behind the goal at the Street end and we followed the flight of the ball as it flew into the top right hand corner. The ball lodged behind the stanchion in the net and had to be dislodged by the keeper.

Couldn't tell you who we were playing but I remember that goal.

Tony Heron
19 Posted 17/06/2017 at 20:13:42
Terry @17. I was at that reserve game, the goalie who saved the pen was called Harry Thomson and he was a cousin of Alex Young!

I recall Royston in one game when they used to have shots in before, with a ciggie in his hand which he flicked away just before kick off. A real character.

Terry White
20 Posted 17/06/2017 at 20:31:10
Chris (#18) the goal I referenced at Blackpool also stuck in the top corner stanchion, must have been something about the shape of the nets then.

I seem to recall the Burnley reserve game being a day game but I can certainly be proved wrong. I wonder if anybody keeps reserve game details? Tony at #19 may recall.

Vernon and Young were not especially favourites of Catterick who, of course, suffered them because they were great players, but I think he did look for opportunities not to play them.

Chris Williams
21 Posted 17/06/2017 at 20:46:31
Terry,

Alex's wife was pretty explicit about Catterick and his treatment of her husband in Becky Tallentire's interview featured on here. Also how she and Alex felt about Roy's transfer to Stoke, when they lost two friends, Roy and his wife Norma.

There is a great photo of Roy in a Stoke shirt surrounded by The Trinity, not having a chance.

I seem to remember when he was badly injured in a match at Goodison, I can't remember who against. He was carried off on a stretcher and I recall my heart sinking. He was out a while and never the same player again.

Chris Williams
22 Posted 17/06/2017 at 20:53:42
On reflection, I remember footage of an interview with Alex, later in his life, when he was asked who were the best players he knew at Everton. He said Vernon and Ball.

All 3 disliked by Catterick. I think Alex and Bally may have roomed together. It must be available to see somewhere.

Dave Abrahams
23 Posted 17/06/2017 at 22:17:47
Can't beat the great stories on here about Thomas Royston Vernon, to give his full name, but he was one of my favourite players for Everton.

A maverick but brilliant player, tragic him going at such an early age, but the memories he left will always stay with us fans lucky enough to see him.

Tommy Davis
24 Posted 17/06/2017 at 22:21:03
I remember Royston with that penalty vs Man Utd, Charity Shield game at Goodison in 1963, over a half century ago & I bet virtually every comment will vary slightly, due to what our minds can recall, but it was almost 54 years ago, so how could they not?!?

I thought it was 1-0 at halftime, with Gabby (Jimmy Gabriel) scoring? Dennis Stevens got the 2nd, then Royston with a thrice taken pen (I told you all comments would vary, right or wrong). Dave Gaskell was the keeper (dunno why I remembered him for); I think he moved early, or the ref was shocked that Roy didn't score from the spot, no idea why the ref ordered the 2nd pen to be retaken, but in my mind, Roy stepped up for the 3rd time, to send Gaskell the wrong way for our 3rd goal? Temple got the 4th I think!

We played Man Utd away 2 weeks later at Old Trafford in a league game, for some reason the Evertonians had taken over the Stretford End & we were in fine voice, especially with a rendition of the new Beatles song 'She Loves You' with a stunned Old Trafford crowd smiling & clapping, at other scousers singing! Only 2 mins or so into the game & Royston put us ahead via a deflection, cue scenes of unbridled joy & thoughts of another 4-0 victory perhaps, sadly, that was about the best we were to do that day, as Man Utd ran out comfortable winners 5-1, could have been more too!

When we played Man Utd at home around the '63 Xmas period for the league game, it was an amazing 4-0 victory again, with virtually the same scorers, Temple, Vernon, Stevens & Brian Harris (maybe?) The 4 goals all came in the 2nd half in a 20-minute spell, or close to it & could have been more!

Vernon was an amazing player, with a goal in every 1.75 games or something like that, top goal scorer every season too I believe & although I was only 9 or 10 when I first saw him at EFC, he was skinny, extremely fast, a deadly goal scorer & he wouldn't take crap from anyone!

In different games I remember him being Alex Young's minder, if someone picked on Alex, or tried to harm him, Royston was there in a split second, probably cussing in Welsh at the offending player, who had the temerity to hurt the Golden Vision!

Not sure why we sold Vernon to Stoke in 1965 – he was our top goal scorer by far, but I don't think him & The Catt got on too well, or their opinions clashed. Either way, the manager got rid of him too early, I thought!

David Midgley
25 Posted 17/06/2017 at 23:03:44
Nobody has mentioned how, when an opposing player had the ball he would run alongside them and flick the ball from between their legs.

He did it all the time. He never tackled them just flicked the ball off them. If memory serves, it was later banned by the FA.

David Midgley
26 Posted 17/06/2017 at 23:17:23
After home games Everton players would often have a drink in the Royal Tiger club on Manchester Street late Saturday night.

In the sixties, a great many more people used ciggies. It was like HMS Ajax laying smoke!!!

Tony Pemberton
27 Posted 18/06/2017 at 08:27:00
He sounds a popular player amongst our support. Did we have a song for him?
Dave Abrahams
28 Posted 18/06/2017 at 09:05:21
Tommy Davis (#24) my memory is the same as yours re the three times taken penalty and a 4-0 score line with the score 1-0 at half-time.

Incidentally I was at the game but the second half was on TV live, something they did quite a lot in those days.

Tony Kelly
29 Posted 18/06/2017 at 10:00:46
What a fantastic player Royston was. I campaigned on Twitter to make him an Everton giant,and i'd like to think the club realised he had been neglected for too long.

The tales about Roy were legendary. I was at White Hart Lane when he missed his only penalty, his foot stubbed the ground and the ball rolled tamely to Bill Brown in goal.

Ray Atherton (#16) and I attended a lot of games together then, but he forgot to mention during the card games on the train we would all be crowded in the corridors watching them play and everybody would be rooting for Roy to win. One of the players we all hated was Albert Dunlop, when he lost money he would jump up and slam the door shut so we couldn't watch them play!

Back to the football side of Roy, in my opinion he lies 2nd behind Alan Ball as our greatest post-war player. He had pace, could dribble and had a fantastic shot. He could sometimes leave his boot in also!

My abiding memory of Roy was when he was leaving the Bailey's Hotel to get in the team coach, he was singing a song that was high in the hit parade at the time: "Let's think about loving" by Bob Luman.

I could go on and on about the stories of Roy, but what goes on in Benidorm stays in Benidorm!!

Chris Williams
30 Posted 18/06/2017 at 10:03:39
Roy took a delight in dribbling round the goalkeeper. Not just pushing it past them and running round them, but doing it slowly and dribbling round their hands or just sending them the wrong way, but in slow motion.

A lovely arrogance.

I don't recall anybody doing this in such a way before or since, although maybe Greaves did it. Best did it but at pace.

Clive Rogers
31 Posted 18/06/2017 at 11:59:19
Heard this story about when he was at Blackburn just before he moved to Everton when he was a Welsh international and had become much sought after.

In an away game, Blackburn had played poorly in the first half and at half-time the manager berated them saying how terrible their passing was, ending with "and don't you realise we have Roy, an international player here and you've hardly found him with a pass".

Then turning to Vernon, "And you could help Roy by moving around more, you've been stood still most of the half." To which Vernon replied "Come off it, boss, if they can't find me when I'm stood still, they'll never find me when I'm moving around!"

Ray Roche
32 Posted 18/06/2017 at 12:22:40
Clive, I heard that one too, but I heard it was when he had moved down the Leagues and was playing non-league football.

Imagine what a combination Vernon and Young would be these days when you can't touch a player? What would they be worth?

Chris Williams
33 Posted 18/06/2017 at 12:42:23
Ray and Clive

I think it was at Great Harwood.

Ray you're right about them playing with today's protection. In those days defenders took man first and the ball if possible, and every team had a couple of right evil bastards whose attitude was forget about the ball and get on with the game.

Arguably Roy and Alex were past their best at 26 or 27, just when they should have been going into their peak years. This was as a result of getting hammered week-in and week-out, injuries and playing through them, and the poor medical treatment then available. In Alex's case, aggravated by his deafness.

George Stuart
34 Posted 18/06/2017 at 12:52:33
Me darh reckoned he was the best Everton midfielder he ever saw.

"Better than Alan Ball?" I craftily countered.

"Yeah," he said. "He was that good."

Tom Bowers
35 Posted 18/06/2017 at 13:04:16
Like many strike duos, Vernon and Young went through a spell where they were unstoppable. Both were only slightly built but the chemistry was magic.

Vernon had a great body swerve something very few players have had since and Young was amazing in the air despite his size.

Admittedly in those days, teams played in a more cavalier fashion, unlike the boring possession stuff of today, so the game was more exciting in an attacking sense.

Chris Williams
36 Posted 18/06/2017 at 13:22:05
Roy was sent off against Nottm Forest, I think for a foul against Ian Storey Moore. The referee may have been Ken Stokes but I could be wrong. The Echo called it a travesty of justice or something like that.

I think Roy threatened to quit football because of his sense of injustice . He didn't thank God, but it shows an unusual mindset at a time when sendings off were very much an unusual event, not routine like now.

Dave Abrahams
37 Posted 18/06/2017 at 13:33:16
Chris (#36), every time Liverpool got beat, Shankly said, "It was a travesty of justice."
Clive Rogers
38 Posted 18/06/2017 at 13:35:25
Ray (#32),

You're probably correct. It was ages ago when I heard it and remember the comment mostly.

Chris Williams
39 Posted 18/06/2017 at 13:39:07
Yes, I remember that, Dave. I actually hesitated over saying it because of that. I think it must have been either Horace Yates or Len Capeling who reported it in the Echo and from memory they were pretty scathing about the sending off.

I never cared for Storey-Moore after that and then he went and scored a hat-trick to knock us out of the Cup.

Clive Rogers
40 Posted 18/06/2017 at 13:41:29
I remember reading some Brian Labone comments about Vernon when he recounted the smoking in the shower story then went on to say how he used to eat very little.

At team meals Labone said he just seemed to move his food around on his plate while the others wolfed it down and he would leave the table with most of the food still on his plate. May explain why he was so thin.

Ray Atherton
41 Posted 18/06/2017 at 16:48:51
Clive (#40),

In one newspaper, can"t remember who, said if you put a beret on Roy.s head about 20 yards away, he would look like a knitting needle.

Clive Rogers
42 Posted 18/06/2017 at 22:49:20
Ray,

I think he got most of his sustenance from beer and whisky.

Derek Thomas
43 Posted 20/06/2017 at 02:09:01
Carey signed him for Blackburn, moving on later to Everton. Roy had very firm opinions of what was right and wrong in relation to himself and would not back down. I believe he got on well with Carey (one of the few he did), but not with his replacement.

Carey on the back of rave reports, iirc, moved heaven and earth to sign him as a youngster and really rated him, so of course tried to make him one of his first signings for Blackburn. Carey of course later left for Everton.

But Blackburn knew a good player when they saw one and when Carey came back in to sign him for Everton they weren't too pleased. They didn't want to be seen selling one of their best players to the team that just poached their Manager.

Throw in these things and the fact that the new Manager, who was maybe under orders to put him in his place, put Roy's back up and started agitating for a move to Everton – which didn't help his situation at Blackburn.

In the end – as per usual, money talked and off he went, sadly before too long so did Carey. With the result that Roy 'I know my own mind' Vernon, was able to lock horns with - 'So do I and I'm the Boss' Harry Catterick.

But despite that, or was it because of that, History was made.

There is video footage of Roy (vs Wolves?) winning the ball about the halfway line, then losing the player(s) with a Cruyff turn – about 12 years before it was 'invented'; threading a ball through on to Young's foot for him to slot in on the run with barely a break in stride.

Worth watching if somebody can dig it out and link it.

Terry White
44 Posted 20/06/2017 at 04:07:06
Derek (#43),

That video snip of the Wolves game is available on YouTube.

Derek Thomas
45 Posted 20/06/2017 at 05:08:56
Roy Vernon vs Wolves – 1962:

Alasdair Mackay
47 Posted 20/06/2017 at 13:46:17
Thank you so much for this thread.

Vernon was my Dad's hero. We lost him 18 months ago, so it's brought a tear to my eye reading some of these.

Thanks.

Reg Gates
48 Posted 21/06/2017 at 14:56:52
The story of Roy and the manager saying he was a Welsh internatonal who had done nothing in the first half was actually at Stoke, Tony Waddngton being the manager.

After having a go at the midfielders for not hitting the forwards with balls, he says to Roy, "I don't know why I bought you – you have not made any runs."

Roy's reply was, "If they cannot hit me with balls standing still, what chance do they have if I'm running around?"

That was from his bio.

Chris Williams
49 Posted 21/06/2017 at 19:54:31
Reg

I think it was when he was at Great Harwood, that the story came out.

Tony Heron
50 Posted 23/06/2017 at 06:49:10
Derek @ 45. Thanks for a great link.

Aah! "proper" football. Pitch like a ploughed field, real tackling without theatricals, no need for 400 passes before knocking it forward, goalies without nancy boy gloves and the players actually seem to enjoy playing. Those were the days when I could actually watch a game without falling asleep!!

Chris Williams
51 Posted 24/06/2017 at 10:21:54
If anybody is interested, there is a really good article about Roy on the Great Harwood Town website. Considering he was only there for a short time, there are many anecdotes which show the scallywag was still alive and well!

There with Bryan Douglas and Ronnie Clayton apparently. Not a bad team.

Peter Fisher
52 Posted 26/06/2017 at 15:20:00
Roy Vernon was the greatest player in Everton's post-war history. He was supreme, confident ,and possessed the rare skill of scoring goals with powerful shooting from any angle, along with the ability to pirouette round opposition goalkeepers with his close ball control.

I still recall his hat-trick against Fulham that clinched the First Division Championship in 1963, I watched the game from the Bullens Road terracing on the wall in front of a crush barrier that gave a 13-year-old a perfect view across a sun-drenched Goodison Park.

Roy was also the man for the big occasion, notably scoring in derby games, and against the top sides of that era.

I also recall the shocking refereeing decision that ruled out his goal midway through the second half against Inter Milan in the European Cup in September 1963. Alex Parker, a great full back, crossed a ball from the right and from 18 yards Roy hit the ball, first time, straight into the corner of the net at the Gwladys Street end.

Standing with my late Dad under the clock on the Goodison Road terrace, we had a direct view of the goal. It was ruled out for offside despite 2 Milan players being in front of Roy when he bulleted the shot into the net. It ended 0-0, and we lost the second leg 1-0 to a team that went on to win the European Cup for the next 2 years.

A decade later in the UEFA Cup, Billy Bingham's side were denied a clear penalty (Gary Jones) against AC Milan at Goodison who also went on to win the tie by a single goal in the second leg in Italy.

Southern press bias prevented Roy and other greats like Alex Young from receiving the rightful recognition for their immense talents and success. It is often forgotten that the great 1962-63 team came within a whisker of retaining their title in 1963-64. Two poor performances against West Brom over the Easter period cost them a second title.

My overriding memory of Roy Vernon was that, when he came on the pitch with Alex Young, we were in the ascendancy. Everton feared nobody.

After his premature death in 1991. Author, Ivan Ponting wrote a fitting tribute in the Independent that proved he was a better all round player than Jimmy Greaves and the over-rated Denis Law, who when facing John Hurst in 67-68 and 69-70, rarely troubled Everton.

As the crowd used to sing:

Bless 'em all, Bless 'em all!
The long and the short and the tall,
Bless wee Alex and Royston too,
Bless all the boys who are wearing Royal Blue.

Roy Vernon a true Everton legend.


Des Farren
53 Posted 26/06/2017 at 20:19:43
A story I heard 50 years ago concerning a US tour:

Following a game against, I think, Shamrock Rovers, Roy appeared the following morning, at the hotel pool, in sunglasses, shorts and cigarette in mouth.

He either fell or was pushed in the pool. He surfaced seconds later, shades in place, cigarette in mouth... Andy Capp-like.

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