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Everton Books

Making the Grade

by Stan Osborne
2012, Legends Publishing

Stan Osborne contacted the Everton FC Heritage Society some time ago for help in researching a book he was writing. I am pleased to say that we helped him with his research, and it has borne fruit in the shape of his new book ‘Making the Grade’. I am happy to submit my review of the book below:

Making the Grade
For any boyhood Blue the idea of being on Everton’s books as a player must have been top of their wish list. We all know somebody who has played for Everton, or Liverpool boys, and envied them. However, probably very few of us know anyone who went on to ‘Make the Grade’ and become a professional footballer.

Former players have of course written about their experiences of playing for Everton, but just imagine you had been lucky enough to be selected to be an apprentice with the team you loved. Stan Osborne is one such lucky Blue who, unlike most of us, actually got to play for Everton, albeit in the lower reaches. And in his new book, he gives us a fascinating insight into the rigours of being an apprentice at Everton Football Club.

In ‘Making the Grade’, Stan documents what it was like for a young lad from Kirkby to be part of the Everton playing staff: from being a boot boy and players’ dogsbody, to actually pulling on an Everton shirt in competitive apprentice games.

He was there when some of Everton’s true Legends were playing in the first team. And was at Bellefield and Goodison during the heady days of Everton’s Championship win in the 1969-70 season, actually celebrating in the home dressing room on the day the Title was won!

Stan lifts the lid on what it was like to rub shoulders with first team and reserve players. He regales us with tales of former greats and their impact and influence on him, and he also gives us the answers to such questions as:

  • Who was at Everton when he was there, and what was a ‘court case’?
  • What was Gordon West really like in the dressing room?
  • What was the hierarchy like behind the gates of Bellefield, and what did the players do every day in training?
  • What happened to Alan Ball’s famous White football boots?
  • What were the theories discussed by the first-team players, for Everton’s fall from Champions to mid-table mediocrity the following season?
  • And, who was the supplier of the ‘girlie’ mags to the eager youngsters?

His story is not always a happy one, and a salutary lesson that being an apprentice is an experience that no amount of hard work and endeavour can influence the final outcome.

Trying desperately to make the step-up from apprentice to the first team, Stan recounts his struggles with injury, team selection, and his own naivety. He offers a unique perspective of life behind the scenes at Everton and his book is a thoroughly entertaining, informative, and emotional read. Filled with anecdotes and humour ‘Making the Grade’ by Stan Osborne should be on every Evertonian’s book list. Highly recommended!

David Starsky
Everton FC Heritage Society – November 2012

The book can be bought online or in the Everton club shop until Christmas.
To buy online,visit


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