“Even After All These Years” – Pat Labone

The latest chapter from Real Footballers' Wives serialised here at ToffeeWeb features Pat Labone, wife of Goodison legend Brian

Becky Tallentire 13/04/2017 100comments  |  Jump to last
Brian and Pat Labone at the races

I just loved dancing, sometimes when I hear those old songs it takes me right back and my feet start tapping. I love all kinds of music from light classical to the very old songs of my father's era and everything in between. My father was a musical man who liked Flanagan and Allen and I know all the words to all those old songs. I always say that when I'm in my coffin just put the music on and I'll come out and have one last dance.

I think it runs in the blood; my grandmother and her sister were in the theatre and by the time I was nine I was already going to the Brendan Smith's academy of acting in Dublin. I had two much older brothers from my father's first marriage, the eldest one, Denis, had the most beautiful singing voice in Ireland — he was known as the Irish Boy Wonder. When I was a little girl he'd be performing in shows and he taught me some of the songs. I remember the one time I was in the audience and he got me up on the stage. The strange thing was that off-stage I wouldn't say boo to a goose, I was so shy I would hide behind my mum's skirt, but when I got on the stage it was totally different and I just knew that was what I wanted to do.

I was born in the Rotunda hospital in Dublin to an English mother. My sister Linda is 11 years younger than me but the strange thing was my mum was in the same ward and the same bed for us both. My father was a bookmaker; the Lynam's were very well known among the racing fraternity in Ireland. He thought the bookmaking business was going downhill and mum wanted to go back to England where the work situation was better, so we upped sticks and sailed over to Liverpool.

My father had an aunt who didn't live far from Anfield so we lodged with her until we sorted ourselves out and then we moved to a house in Spencer Street off West Derby Road, I don't think it's there anymore. My father worked as a hydraulic inspector and my mum stayed at home with my baby brother, Charles.

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You do learn to conquer shyness over the years but I was stricken with it back then. I'd been schooled in a Catholic convent and had only ever been in the company of girls and nuns so when I went to my new school where it was mixed, it was quite literally a shock to my system and I had terrible difficulty coping with it. I'd never come into contact with boys before; they were alien creatures.

It was very traumatic for me and I found it awfully difficult to settle down. There were a few girls at the school who use to bully me because I was Irish, they would taunt me and follow me home and they made my life a misery. I hated it so much there was a stage when my parents thought they might have to go back to Ireland because I was so deeply unhappy and homesick.

I had to stick it out but it always left me feeling separate from the others because, from an early age, I was made to feel different. Eventually, I left school and had been doing some part-time modelling for Patricia Platt's agency in Liverpool. They entered their models into beauty pageants to get us used to an audience and increase our confidence. The Miss Liverpool contest was due to be held at the Locarno Ballroom in Liverpool and they suggested I entered along with a couple of the other girls. To this day I don't know how I won it, but I did.

Shortly after, I had the opportunity to go to London but my father disapproved. He was very old fashioned and you didn't argue with your parents in those days, you were told to do something and there was no discussion. He didn't think it was right and told me to find a proper job, something that would stand me in good stead. I began doing secretarial work in a travel agent's and ended up in a law firm, I've pretty much been in and out of law ever since.

It has stood me in good stead because I've never been without a job, so it was a reliable back-up but if I'd had my way, I'd have gone off and become a professional dancer. I'd done all types of dancing by then: Irish, ballet and tap, and I'd got all my medals and cups for ballroom dancing. I loved it and that's all I ever wanted to do but you didn't say 'no' to your parents, you did as you were told. It used to eat away at me for years and years but with maturity you look back and realise it wasn't to be, and at least I can say I've never been out of a job. I've always been able to support myself even when I've been on my own.

Clothes and fashion enchanted me and I used to love to dress up to go out. I think people have lost the art now, which is a shame, they just don't seem to bother. I've always wanted to take care of myself and look my best; if I feel good then I can take on the world.

Brian and I met in 1961 at the Downbeat Club in Liverpool and to this day I'm still wondering how we bumped into each other because I was always on the dancefloor and he was always at the back of the room with his friends.

I was wearing a sleeveless navy linen dress with a white scalloped pattern on one side. Back then they had ultra violet lights in clubs that would pick out the white and he tells me that's what caught his eye. I was collecting my coat to go home and he came over to chat but I was dashing for my bus so it was only a few words, and he asked why I was leaving so soon.

He was well dressed and looked a decent type. I suppose his height and his build struck me the most and he was awfully handsome and smart in his collar and tie but I thought, “Who's this cheeky devil talking to me?” and I dashed off to the bus stop. But he played on my mind a little bit and I was quite pleased when I saw him there again the following week. He made his way over and struck up a proper conversation and that was where it all began.

I was 19 and he was 22 and we both lived at home with our parents. He was already a footballer and had been at Everton for about four years but the truth is, I didn't realise football existed as a way of making a living. I thought it was just a game lads played in the streets. He did tell me he played but I thought he just meant in the park, and it was only after I'd met him a few times that I realised it was his job. I had absolutely no idea.

After a number of dates, he asked if I wanted to go and see a match and out of curiosity I said yes. Brian didn't drive a car until well into our engagement so anywhere we went was on foot or by bus. I remember walking all the way to Goodison Park and getting engulfed in the crowds and wondering what on earth was going on. There were masses of people, thousands and thousands of them swarming their way to the game and I got swept along the road with them. I'd never seen anything like it in my life.

I finally got inside the ground and it all seemed to be going well. I was entering into the spirit of it but nobody had told me they changed ends at half-time. A goal went in and I was jumping up and down in celebration until I realised I was the only one and the penny dropped. I always seemed to have the knack of turning up wearing the opposition colours, too. I can still see it now, my lovely red coat with a grey fur collar and as I walked down Goodison Road, I wondered why everyone was looking at me. It was lovely and warm but I never wore it again.

After a couple of years, we got engaged but while we were courting my parents moved over to the Wirral and I went with them. I loved it over there and I never wanted to move back to Liverpool again. It didn't hold many good memories for me.

Saturday was the big night out and occasionally we would go to the Royal Tiger in the City centre but Brian wasn't really a clubby type person and most of our friends were outside of football. We would go to the usual places in town for meals; the Porthole was one of our favourites and we would go to the Golden Goblet for their big T-bone steaks. More often than not we would end up in Russell's, the cabaret club in Parr Street. I remember Bruce Forsyth was on one night but my idol was Sean Connery. Goldfinger had just been released and I thought he was fantastic. This one night we had our usual table right up by the dancefloor when a big group came in and among them was Sean Connery; he'd been playing golf with Kenny Lynch and Jimmy Tarbuck. I couldn't believe that I'd met my hero that night.

Everton made it to the FA Cup final in 1966 against Sheffield Wednesday. It was my first visit to Wembley and I had a turquoise silk dress and jacket made especially for the occasion. Of course Everton won, so I got to see Princess Margaret present Brian with the Cup - it was one of the proudest moments of my life. I looked at him and thought ‘that's the man I love', and I felt like I would burst with pride. He says the Princess was beautiful and she had the most delicate skin. I got to do it all again in 1968 but there was no Cup for him that day and it was a long drive home again.

There was a big build-up to my wedding and I daresay Brian will never live down the fact that he gave up his place in the 1966 World Cup squad to marry me. To this day people believe it was me who put pressure on him; in fact I'm sure my own brother is still convinced that it was down to me, but it was Brian's decision.

Originally, he wasn't in the squad until Jackie Charlton got injured so he was called up as his replacement, but he said he'd made his decision to get married and he was sticking to it. I won't say that if he had of gone he wouldn't have got earache from me, but it was totally his choice. I have to admit that now, when I see the England team finally getting their honours and recognition, I still cringe, even after all these years.

The wedding was planned for the close season of 1966. It was at St Peter and Paul's in New Brighton, a beautiful big Catholic church and with the longest aisle you could ever imagine. Gordon West was Brian's best man.

We did meet up with a lot of opposition along the way, various people were not happy about it at all with me being Catholic, but he stuck to his guns. There was bigotry in those days, there really was. Most of the opposition was based on religion so it meant Brian had to take religious instruction and that any children in the marriage had to be brought up Catholic. It might be difficult to understand now, but it was very real and it did go on.

Labones with England caps

When Everton won the League in 1963, the club had taken the players and their wives to Torremolinos for a special treat. Because we weren't married I wasn't allowed to go and I was so disappointed. It was just as foreign holidays were about to become fashionable and there were only one or two hotels there. It all sounded so exotic. Brian was only there for a couple of days and he had to join up with the England squad for an Eastern European tour anyway, so he didn't have the best time either. We decided to go back there for our honeymoon and we had a great time, it was just fabulous and a member of the staff recognised him from the first time around.

I wanted to stay living ‘over the water' but it wasn't the policy at Everton with the clubhouses, and most of the players lived around the Maghull area. A team mate of Brian's, Dennis Stevens had a house in Arrowe Park on the Wirral and he must have got transferred to another club because his house was up for sale. We weren't given much of a choice but luckily I fell in love with it and that was where we started out our married life.

Brian couldn't dance to save his life, he has two left feet and though he could easily go out and play in front of 70 000 people, he was too self-conscious to get on a dance floor. He's very much a man's man and it wasn't his style. I can't say it didn't cause a bit of friction when we'd go to functions but he wouldn't budge but luckily we'd always go with friends, so I would have somebody to dance with.

He only scored two goals in his career and I saw both of them. Both times it was amazing and I was absolutely thrilled. I remember him running down the pitch in celebration. I think he was as surprised as the rest of us and I was jumping up and down with delight. I watched him play all the time. I went to all the home games and as they progressed in the FA Cup I might go to some away games too, depending on whether I could get a lift, although it was nerve-wracking to watch him play.

There were some great things about the football life but one thing I couldn't stand was the way the wives were treated as second-class citizens. There was no way I could accept that and I was like a suffragette constantly fighting for the cause. It was the way things were, but I resented it. There were no amenities for the wives or anywhere for us to go after matches and it used to infuriate me. They didn't even have a room where we could wait and I've often stood outside in the dark and rain waiting for him to finish, and it was only the kindness of the doormen who would let me stand inside that got me out of the cold.

The club was very strict about late nights and drinking. The players weren't supposed to be out after midnight and they weren't allowed to drink after midweek yet they would take the boys off for what they would term ‘special training' straight after some matches. They'd go to Blackpool or wherever and it was just an excuse for them to let their hair down. It certainly didn't go down well with me because I thought it was double standards — it was all right to do it while you were away but not at home? I used to hate it.

It was a lonely life at times. During the close season, they'd go on tour and be gone for weeks at a time and when they came back, it didn't leave you much time to have your own holiday before they were back in training.

When they went back after the summer break, he would really suffer. Even now when we drive past the sandhills at Crosby and Ainsdale he winces and tells me how the manager, Harry Catterick, had them up and down them for hours on end, gasping for breath.

Initially, Brian didn't really do a great deal with his spare time as he threw himself wholly into football but latterly his father started a business, J & B Labone, a central heating company, and he started spending time there. He was going to take it over when he finished football, but it got too big for his father to cope with so he sold it. They're still trading under that name and are all over the country and in Ireland now.

I'm very independent. I like to maintain my own identity and earn my own money. I've always worked full time and I used to fit my modelling in around the evenings, the weekends and the holidays, and I loved it. I liked the beautiful clothes and the whole concept; it was the perfect job for me. Before we married, I still entered the occasional beauty competition and I suppose I would have continued down that road but eventually it conflicted too much with home life so I packed it all up.

At weekends we would go out but there came a time when we had to stop it. In our innocence, we would think we'd be able to spend some time together but it didn't work out like that. Brian was the club captain and was well liked so it would end up that most evenings I would finish up on my own because all kinds of people would come over to talk to him about football. They were always nice people and very courteous but the next thing you knew another hour had passed, the night was over and you hadn't had a chance to have your meal properly. We ended up having to give the city centre a miss and find somewhere a little quieter so we could spend some time together.

Brian bought a beautiful chestnut racehorse and named him Goodison; at one time he held the course record at Ayr. He was stabled on the Wirral at Colin Crossley's and we would go along every weekend and feed him Polo mints and make a fuss of him. He had nine or 10 wins in his time but we never saw one of them. We did see him come second a few times, and it got to the point where people would ask us to stay away when he was running because we were such a jinx. He lasted for quite a few years and then came the fateful day at Market Rasen. It was his first or second time over the sticks, he fell and broke a fetlock and they shot him on the track. We were devastated because he was such a big part of our lives. We didn't know until it was too late, but they're allowed to take that decision without the owner's permission. It depends on the break but a horse can nearly always get better although it's a long process and they could never run again.

Brian and Pat Labone with Goodison

Unfortunately a lot of people would just claim the insurance, but Brian and I would never have done that given the choice. I remember he rang me in tears to tell me what had happened. I was in tears as well and to this day I swear that if we'd been asked we'd have brought him home. He wasn't the most expensive horse but he had a big heart and he always gave everything.

In comparison to players these days Brian didn't get an enormous amount of attention from other women, but he got enough. It didn't make me angry, it made me feel quite insecure. There were some footballers that liked that side of it but I can say with hand on heart that Brian was never a womaniser; he wouldn't even notice if someone was after him. He really was a one-woman man and I didn't have to worry at all. I was never that self-confident that I would feel totally secure, but I didn't have to worry.

Labones in Malta

Brian and Pat in Malta

We'd been married for a couple of years when we went on holiday to Malta. We stayed at the Golden Sands Hotel at Golden Sands Bay and were having lunch one afternoon when the Prime Minister of Malta, Dom Mintoff, recognised Brian and came over to introduce himself. He invited us to spend the following day with him and his family and we had a lovely time. The press had come along to the hotel and took a few photos of us lying by the pool. Years later friends of ours went there and said the picture was still there, framed and on the wall.

I like people to be genuine and I have no time for users. We were forever getting calls for tickets for games; we've often been woken up in the middle of the night by the phone ringing. People thought he could just put his hand out and pull tickets off trees. I was probably more wary of people than Brian; I soon realised a lot of them were not genuine and I could pick up on that quicker than he could.

I don't really like using the word but they seemed like hangers-on and I would know they only wanted to be with us because of who he was. They couldn't give a damn what kind of a person he was, they just wanted to be in his reflected glory. I got very angry with that. He would shrug it off and say it didn't matter but it used to rile me. I was proved right when he finished playing; it was amazing the number of people who we suddenly didn't see anymore.

Brian was away in Mexico playing in the World Cup in the summer of 1970 and I was at home six months' pregnant. It was the best thing that ever happened to me and I absolutely loved it; I just bloomed. Like most footballers, he wanted a son. I thought it might have been a boy because she was never still but deep down I really wanted a little girl. I'd seen the most beautiful aquamarine and diamond ring in Pikes the Jewellers and it was absolutely gorgeous. Brian said that if I had a boy I could have it, Rachelle weighed in at 7lb 12oz on Sunday September 6th but he got me the ring anyway because he was thrilled to bits.

My mother and Brian came with me to the hospital and she was born by emergency caesarean. Caesarians were known as shock births in those days and you weren't able to hold the baby for 48 hours. They were fed, washed, dressed and changed within their special soft-canvas crib, so it was almost two days before I could hold her; it was like a cruel form of torture. I couldn't believe the fear I felt, that it was all too good to be true and that I might lose her.

One night I woke up and put my hand out to touch Rachelle and she was absolutely stone cold. I panicked and screamed the place down; I was in floods of tears, saying there was something wrong with her. They took her away and when she came back they said she was fine and just fast asleep. It seemed almost too good to be true and I couldn't believe I had this beautiful little girl and she was going to be mine; it was just the most wonderful feeling in the world. I always say I only ever had one child because I couldn't improve on perfection. She was the greatest achievement in my life.

A lot about being a footballer's wife was fun and the spin-off was certainly colourful because I'd always been more interested in the arty side of life. We met quite a number of showbiz people and that was what I enjoyed. I went to a party once at Frank Ifield's home and I met Bob Monkhouse too — he left quite an impression on me because he was the most charming man you could meet and so clever and quick. Another nice man we met was Frankie Vaughan and when we moved over to our new house in Lydiate, Ken Farrington, who played Billy Walker in Coronation Street, would stay with us whenever he was doing a play in Liverpool.

Rachelle had a pony called Smokey and the house was adorned with rosettes they'd won. We had stables at the back of the house and a paddock that he shared with Peter the donkey. One Sunday afternoon, Brian and his friends had all been to the pub and rolled up at the house, Ken thought he would have a laugh and have a ride on Peter but it threw him off and he ended up with a broken arm. His play started the following night and ran for two weeks so he had to do the entire run with his arm in a sling.

I always wanted to retain my own identity. I was with the Green Room Playgroup, a well-known amateur dramatics society, and we staged a play called ‘Suddenly Last Summer' which we performed at the Neptune Theatre in Liverpool. I was thrilled to bits because I got a really good write-up from the Liverpool Echo and we had an after-show party on the Saturday night and Brian came with me. A woman was introducing us, and she said, “Oh and this is Pat Labone's husband”. It was then I knew I'd retained my individuality. After all those years of being made to feel like a second-class citizen lurking in the shadows, it was a great feeling because I'd been seen as a complete person and not as an extension of my husband.

Brian was doing well at Everton and had been lucky enough to escape any major injuries but it was a collision with Gordon West, believe it or not, that put him out of action for a long time. It happened during a game in London and I had to go down there on the train to see him in hospital. That was when they discovered he had ‘double kidneys' but I never found out if that meant he had four kidneys or just two that were twice as big.

That put him out for a while but for somebody who was rarely on the sidelines it is ironic that an injury ended his career. It was his Achilles tendon; I think they can repair those quite easily now. My recollection of it was that all he needed was rest but he was never really given the time to heal. He wasn't forced to play but they'd give him a couple of weeks off and then they would desperately need him back. He was the captain, so there was a big obligation there.

He finished football in 1971 and went into an electrical business with the cousin of a friend, but it didn't work out. Unfortunately, he'd gone into business with a disreputable person and he was taken advantage of. He was left with a load of debt, which he had to pay off, and the business folded. He had nothing behind him, football had been his life and apart from anything else, there just wasn't the money. What he'd earned he'd given to his father to put into the business, so that was it.

He went into insurance and he's been doing that ever since. He did reasonably well but I always felt that in some ways Brian was wasted because he really could have done so much more. He's the Master of Ceremonies at Goodison on match days but I always think he'd have made a great TV pundit or a radio commentator; he'd have been brilliant. He had the flow, the patter, the ability and the brains to do something really creative and interesting.

We were married for 14 years and together for 19 – there were some outside influences that were partly to blame and our marriage came to an end in 1981. My main concern was for Rachelle because I didn't want her to suffer and the nice thing about it is that we've proved that it can be done. She never resented anything, she's never suffered in any way and we're all dear friends. We celebrate Christmas and birthdays together and there's always a lot of laughter – it's all very amicable and behaviour befitting the captain of Everton Football Club.

We had a meal together last New Year's Eve and even after all these years there's still never been anybody important in his life. He says he's like a swan and he's mated for life. He's not the most romantic of people who comes out with flowery words but when he does say something, it means so much.

Brian is an honourable and a modest man and I think that's what people admire about him. The one thing I'm really proud of is that I can honestly say I've never heard anyone say a bad word about him. After all this time and the sheer number of people we've met through life, I truly haven't. He's getting a bit crotchety in his old age, but he's still a nice man. He could mix with the highest and the lowest and treat them all the same. It was those traits that made me fall in love with him.

I don't know many other footballers who have put as much time and effort into helping out others, and he's never asked for a single penny. Most would want a fee but not Brian – he's given his caps and his medals away for auctions and charities, but that all goes unsaid and unsung.

I think I would handle being a footballer's wife much better now than I did when I was actually married to one, but you can't put an old head on young shoulders. When I look back I can see there were certain areas that I had difficulty coping with and I don't think I was the best footballer's wife. I'm hoping I was a good wife but I have this Irish thing inside of me that would always protest and have to question things.

Both my parents died in their 60s, mum was 66 and my father was 69. He had numerous heart attacks then eventually one did get him. I didn't have the best of relationships with my father. I can say that now, it took me years to admit it, but it's true and I think that's where my shyness and uncertainty stemmed from.

Sadly, my mum died of the most horrible cancer; we were devastated because we all loved and adored her. She was my strength, the only real certainty in my life. She'd be so pleased to know we're all still very close. My brother lives in Bath so we don't see him as much but thankfully Linda lives nearby and she really is my dearest and closest friend. We have a really strong family bond that holds us close and we all rely on each other, it's a lovely feeling.

I still dance whenever I get the chance - even now my feet can't keep still when I hear the music. I know that will never change, just like I know Brian and I will always be there for each other. The bottom line is we can't live together but we're star-crossed lovers and he'll always be part of my life even though he still hasn't learned to dance. He says I was his first love and his last.

Taken from Real Footballers' Wives — the First Ladies of Everton, still available for purchase in book or Kindle form

© Becky Tallentire 2004

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Michael Penley
1 Posted 13/04/2017 at 07:04:04
I found this very interesting. It never ceases to amaze me the rigidity of the social and gender roles back then, some which Becky seemed to revel in and others which she fought. I can't say I would have liked to grow up in those times and it shows how far we've moved on, although some might understandably resent that.

I must say I find it hard to understand how a father could deny his daughter a chance to pursue her dreams, but perhaps it was a different time when starvation and homelessness were real possibilities. Even so, I'm not entirely convinced that in her mind she accepts being financially independent as an acceptable trade off for not pursuing dancing.

Gerry Ring
2 Posted 13/04/2017 at 07:37:56
Beautiful but poignant piece. History is very important to us Evertonians.
Keith Harrison
3 Posted 13/04/2017 at 07:38:57
I've got the Kindle version of the book. Excellent read, and cheap from Amazon. You can download the Kindle reading app for PCs, Tablets, Android and Apple gear free on Amazon too.

Becky has a few Everton titles on there.

Stan Schofield
4 Posted 13/04/2017 at 08:30:01
Nice read from an Evertonian perspective. I would be cautious about drawing general conclusions on the nature of the 'social order' in those days, since it's a very personal account.
Bob McEvoy
5 Posted 13/04/2017 at 09:08:14
Insightful read. I sat next to Pat Labone in a Moreton doctor's surgery a few months ago. Didn't realise it was her until she went in and her name came up on the screen. Missed opportunity.

Locally she was quite high profile in the sixties. I can remember my mum saying something like 'that Pat Labone is in the Echo more than her bloody husband'

Chris Williams
6 Posted 13/04/2017 at 09:21:55
It seems to me that starvation and homelessness are more likely now than back then!

As Stan said, Pat's experiences were personal to her and not a general thing. If anything, families were more close knit and supportive, and the rules were a bit stricter perhaps but not generally repressive.

Barb Ellis
7 Posted 13/04/2017 at 09:39:50
I lived just a stone's throw from the Arrowe estate were Pat and Brian once lived. At one of the socials, my dad had the honour of dancing with Mrs Labone, he was dead chuffed I can tell you.
Andy Meighan
8 Posted 13/04/2017 at 10:34:18
If I'm being honest... she sounds a bit bitter to me. Only reading that small piece, I can understand why Labby got shot. Think I'll be giving that book a miss.
Stan Schofield
9 Posted 13/04/2017 at 11:19:33

"The rules were a bit stricter perhaps but not generally repressive" is a good phrase that reflects that time, in my experience. The media tends to send out a lot of messages that amount to stereotyping and distorted perceptions of even the fairly recent past. Perhaps these messages influence some general conclusions that might be made, as inaccurate extrapolations from individual cases.

Chris Williams
10 Posted 13/04/2017 at 11:32:41
Totally agree Stan. The biggest con job of all was the media hijacking the sixties, blowing it up out of all proportion, and exaggerating the activities of a few and extrapolating that to the many.

Now the same media treat that time as the root of all current evil.

William Cartwright
12 Posted 13/04/2017 at 15:52:17
My sister Irene used to meet Brian Labone with her work and his role as an insurance agent. She was always a Blue; my other sister was a Red but let's not go there!

She said he was one of the most charismatic people she had ever met and, like all Evertonians, she was really upset when he passed away.

I remember the Gladwys Street chant:

Labone, Labone, . . . . .
Labone, Labone, Labone.
Labone Labone . . . Labone . . . .
Labone, Labone . . . . . . . ad infinitum . . . . .

The punctuation doesn't quite cut it – you had to be there!

Eugene Ruane
13 Posted 13/04/2017 at 15:56:53
Another fascinating and revealing piece – terrific!

Andy # 8, 'I can understand why Labby got shot.'

Jesus, the guesswork, gossip and rumour on TW has reached Hilda Ogden levels recently (maybe she was having a thing with Ross?)

Let's be clear, him definitely giving her the elbow only happened in your head.

If you read Pat Labone's words, nowhere will you see..

"As a wife I had clearly failed Brian and as he took my arm and pushed me out of the front door, followed by two suitcases of my clothes, it was clear our marriage was over... and he had deffo given me the elbow and not the other way round."

She sounds bitter?

Sounds more like someone else is hurting to me...


Malcolm Dixon
14 Posted 13/04/2017 at 21:03:05
I can remember going to Brian Labone's testimonial in 1973(?) and him coming on the pitch at the end and sounding genuinely grateful to the crowd for turning up and saying something like:

"I'd like to buy you all a drink – but don't all come at once."

Saw him in the bar in the Winslow after a game many years later. Thought for a second of asking for my free testimonial bevy, but thought again.

Brian Labone, legend. 1969-70 – That was enough.

Charles Barrow
15 Posted 13/04/2017 at 21:36:38
I sat next to Pat at a Everton Former Players Foundation event a few years ago. She was absolutely charming and very funny. She really seemed to be at home amongst Evertonians. Don't think we should diss her!!
Tony Heron
16 Posted 13/04/2017 at 22:52:43
In 1963, I was a 13-year-old football mad schoolboy and a blue of course. Everton had just won the league and one day shortly after the end of the season I found myself outside Goodison with a mate. As we stood there a car pulled up and who should get out but Brain Labone.

I had a small pocket diary which had an Everton team picture in it so I ran over to Brian and asked him to sign it. He was obviously in a hurry and said "In a minute son, I just need to go for a wee wee"! and he disappeared into the main entrance.

I waited there for about 10 minutes, then his head appeared out of the door and he looked up and down the street. When he spotted me he came straight over and signed my picture. He hadnt forgotten me. What an absolute gentleman and a great centre-half and skipper.

Dave Abrahams
17 Posted 13/04/2017 at 23:08:14
I used to see Brian a lot in town and he always had time for a chat, especially about the Blues. He wouldn't say a bad word about any of the players when discussing the latest game, maybe he was just being tactful, but I think he was the sort who, if he couldn't say something positive, said nothing.

He loved Everton and thought the reverse with Liverpool and wasn't shy in saying so, letting red fans know about it, always with a smile. The last of 'The Corinthians' – very true that.

Peter Mills
18 Posted 13/04/2017 at 23:15:20
William (#1), you lost a bit with the punctuation!

Instead, use the Seven Dwarfs song "Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work we go" but just use the word "Labone".

Mick Davies
20 Posted 14/04/2017 at 04:19:52
My arl fella (sadly a kopite) met him at a golf club and got his autograph for me... still got it. Arguably, the greatest Evertonian since Dixie and I'd love the new Stadium to be named after him.
William Cartwright
21 Posted 14/04/2017 at 04:20:03
Peter, I forgot the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs parallel. Now I can't get the bloody tune out of my mind! I also remember the jumping up and down to the rhythm, and after a few verses it was usually mayhem as groups of fans lost their collective balance. Great days....
Christine Foster
22 Posted 14/04/2017 at 07:17:13
It's hard for people today to understand the social constraints of growing up in Liverpool in the 60s – a great time of liberation for the young indeed, fashion, freedom (of sorts) but still very much steeped in the class struggles or rich and poor, Catholic or Protestant and indeed they were a significant part of daily life. Indeed the length and fire of the Sunday sermon in All Souls church in Collingwood street would depend on if Everton had won or lost the day before.

Scotland road was fiercely catholic and Netherfield Road protestant with the lodge walking every year. We weren't allowed to watch, in fact we weren't allowed to go up the brow at anytime, such was the division. Mixed marriages were not racial, they were religious, much more difficult!

Its hard to imagine now, but 50 odd thousand people walking back into town on Scotland road every other week was a sight to see, not many had cars and by the time you got to the top of Rachel Street you could pop in the paper shop for the Football Echo to read about the match you had just been too...

We are coming to the end of days at Goodison Park, which is quite sad because the history of a people, a club will continue to live with those who can remember those special nights when the stadium rocked and the roars could be heard in Portland Gardens...

People say times were hard, but actually it wasn't that they were hard – they were different. No spare money, no credit cards, no cars, plenty of pubs, plenty of life and plenty of passion. There was and will always be Everton...

Tony Heron
23 Posted 14/04/2017 at 08:44:53
Christine @22. Brought a tear to my eye, just fabulous, thankyou.
Dave Abrahams
24 Posted 14/04/2017 at 09:23:19
Christine (#22) you describe life in the sixties exactly as I remember it especially July and the Lodge, l also got the same sermons you got, only five minutes away from All Souls in The Friary.

Pity you were not allowed to go up Everton Brow, I'd have brought you in for a cup of tea, as you say life was different then but in my opinion better, I'd jump right back to those days if it were possible.

Rick Tarleton
25 Posted 14/04/2017 at 10:49:44
I remember Brian playing bowls at the Hermitage, this was way after his Everton debut and him taking part in a scratch game of cricket with some of his mates from his Flo Melly days. I was with the brother of one of his mates and we were a little amazed that an England player was playing cricket with us.

Footballers then were part of the fabric of the society. They and the supporters inhabited the same world as the players. Nowadays, they are in a different universe.

Brian also came to the Collegiate to "coach" us before a game. He actually talked about Everton. Our captain, Geoff Bruchez, played for Everton reserves, and had asked Brian to come to a training session. I remember Brian saying that from his point of view, Dennis Stevens was the most under-rated player at Goodison, because he did so much unseen defensive work.

He was a likeable and humble star. His nickname, "The Last Corinthian" was so apt. A gentleman on and off the pitch.

Rob Halligan
26 Posted 14/04/2017 at 11:08:26
Great read. Brian Labone was probably one of the best, if not the best centre halves to play for our great club.
Eugene Ruane
27 Posted 14/04/2017 at 12:48:17
Christine & Dave – the past offers a lot of comfort, it's usually a warm, fuzzy, less complicated place.

I have to constantly remind myself that my perception of the past is (often) very different to the reality.

So I'm glad I just watched 5 mins of the film version of On The Buses on ITV 3.

It was a good harsh dose of reality, reminding me that even though in the past I was younger and Everton won stuff, it was also a time of flavour-free food, nylon knickers (bedspreads, pyjamas, dressing gowns, curtains..) institutionalised misogyny and racism and some of the most depressing, shite, humour-free TV comedy ever written.


Type stuff.

Dave Abrahams
28 Posted 14/04/2017 at 13:58:19
Eugene (#27), yes, most certainly a less complicated place, and there was a lot of poor things going on. The TV shows and the racism in them and in real life. By the way, racism will always be here.

But was everyday life as violent as it is now? You could even argue that there is more poverty now than then, that is all a matter of opinion.

I still maintain, for myself, I would jump back right to those days and not just to be young again.

Christine Foster
29 Posted 14/04/2017 at 16:42:35
Eugene, yes all of those things but what is really different is the lack of community there now is. Whilst we will forever be from Liverpool and Evertonian, you used to be from Scottie or Greatie... You could tell exactly which part of Liverpool someone was from by their different accent... true.

The heart was ripped out of the community in the 60s too, and is really only just returning, but life was simpler, not easier especially when the only thing to look forward to was Saturday... when a ground season ticket was £5... or maybe thats in my dreams!

Going the match now seems sanitised, hardly many fans walk from the city or the Vauxhall area, relatively few people live there in comparison to then...

Walk past the Rotunda, jumping on a bus at the lights at Boundary Street... the sheer excitement of walking up the valley and turning left, not right... and racing home for William Hartnell as Doctor Who.

Watching my Grandad walk home from the docks in a coat that could hide a side of New Zealand lamb... a couple of Crunchies and a Milky Bar, salt fish and what was left of his pay packet... standing in that huge line waiting for his pay at the end of the week... looking for him in every pub between the dock road and Virgil Street... hard days indeed.

But the city was vibrant and in my eyes the only discrimination was if you were not of the faith; didn't matter if you where from any other part of the world or colour, just as long as you were Catholic (or Protestant!).

There was much humour borne out of adversity, absurdity and sadness, laugh because otherwise you would cry... so bad things were funny.

Good people, good humour, pride and passion with huge dollops of bitterness thrown in... and always Everton... once bitten there is no cure..

Martin Mason
30 Posted 14/04/2017 at 18:52:53
Lovely words Christine. I was born in Liverpool but immediately moved to Mid-Cheshire where my Dad had got a job at ICI. I spent a lot of my childhood visiting in and staying with maternal and paternal relatives in Aigburth and the bible belt along Park road up from the Dingle.

In those days the people in Liverpool were wonderful, both humorous and warm in the face of hard times. Liverpool itself was a wonderful place and in its own way tribal based on the many vibrant communities. Then there was relocation of the communities to places like Skelmersdale and Winsford, the city had the life drained out of it as a result.

My old man was a dyed in the wool Red and we regularly went in a van from Northwich to watch them but my Grandad and Uncle Harry were Blues and they guided me the right way. The only thing I held against them was the just popping in for a couple, wait outside and eat these crisps. they'd be locked up for child abuse now.

Liverpool was magic then, life was magic too but was it because I was young. I'd also go back to the old days and accept being poorer to be happier. Modern life sucks really.

Christine Foster
31 Posted 14/04/2017 at 21:25:40
Have you finished reading that Echo you're sitting on?
Andy Meighan
32 Posted 14/04/2017 at 21:49:32
Eugene (#13), I like that. And that link is so uncanny. In fact, I'd go as far to say it's the spitting image of me. I'd had a few the night before I posted that so maybe that clouded my judgement. Not that I'm making excuses like. Er... or am I?
John G Davies
33 Posted 14/04/2017 at 21:57:45
And memories of people like my family who were skint towards the end of the week but always kept money to put on the plate on a Sunday.
Terrified of the Catholic Church. Eternal damnation and all that...
Steve Ferns
34 Posted 14/04/2017 at 22:05:01
That was a lovely read. Thanks for posting it.
Chris Williams
35 Posted 14/04/2017 at 22:33:44
Christine.... Ouch!

The past is always attractive, and another country as they say. Rose tinted spectacles are powerful but they can't distort the memories of honest to God kindness that was more common, or the knowledge that civility was the norm and the f-word of choice was flaming or flipping.

People were 'soft' not retards, or suffered 'with their nerves' which was possibly the most common ailment in the 50s and 60s as far as I can recall.

My family were Catholic and my mates were Protestant. I went to the Orange parade and cheered King Billy without knowing or caring what it was all about... they are still my best mates 60-odd years later.

My parents were civilised enough to care nothing about such matters and the families were close throughout my growing years.

My family was blue and they were red. Still the same now. I went to Anfield one weekend with them, they came to Goodison the following week. Anfield was a dump and they were in Division 2. Then came Shankly.

There were clear social issues and we had the Scottie Road social engineering project in the late 60s and casual racism, and references to darkies and such matters. It wasn't malicious possibly but doubtless no less hurtful for all that. Maybe more serious racism too.

I had relatives living round Shaw Street where they had only gas mantles for lighting and an old fashioned range for everything else.

The kindness and civility were still the things I recall the best. But I hated my Catholic education.

Peter Howard
36 Posted 15/04/2017 at 07:30:47
Blimey Christine, you're turning into Ron Manager.
Christine Foster
37 Posted 15/04/2017 at 08:53:29
Peter, nah, he was that impressed he had to invent me... and a legend was born... lol.

The difference though is mine are real memories about real places and real people; they are good memories because they mean a lot to me.

I confess I have far too much time on my hands though... but then, in today's world, when do you get a real chance to reflect on where you came from, the people you have met, the things that have shaped who you are?

Pat Labone (indeed any of us) looks back with a fondness that airbrushes out the bad bits and the hard bits because they hurt – mistakes made, decisions chosen in error.

We may all have regrets we carry with us, it's called baggage... collected on a journey of many stops. I for one loved every minute of it and what a place to create memories?

Cherry pick your good bits and put them somewhere special. Goodison Park took my breath away as a kid, still does now...

Christine Foster
38 Posted 15/04/2017 at 09:02:55
So... my advice to those who have still memories to create, get to Goodison on a match night for an important game, when the football is brilliant, when the rafters are being blown to the heavens and just stop and look around you, hear the roar, feel the atmosphere.

Feel at one with all around you... You have found your family, you will have a little tear in your eye, you will cherish that moment for the rest of your life.

Congratulations... you are now an Evertonian, the custodian of exceptional memories. Welcome to the family.

Rick Tarleton
39 Posted 15/04/2017 at 10:26:11
I really love Chris Williams's opening paragraph and his point about the Hartley quote. Like him, I went to both grounds regularly in the fifties; my dad and ninety percent of my family were reds and I became a blue for two reasons, Everton got promoted in 53-4, Liverpool got relegated. I was seven, a vulnerable age.

The other reason was my first Everton game, the 8-4 , twelve goal feast, which several hundred games later I've never seen repeated.

My first actual match had been at Anfield to see Stanley Matthews when Liverpool beat Blackpool 5-2, My relatives thought Matthews would retire soon and that I ought to see him. Ironically I saw him frequently over the next few years, and remember Tony Kay putting him firmly on the cinder path that surrounded Goodison's pitch.

In those days, both clubs were basically awful. Liverpool couldn't get out of the Second Division and Everton regularly finished about 17th out of 22 clubs in the old First Division, dominated by Wolves and United.

Yes, there was a sense of community, but my Liverpool 7 childhood was cold. Frost inside the windows or a paraffin heater whose fumes wrecked my chest. Sharing a bedroom with my parents till I was 15. No bathroom or even hot water, an outside toilet. Trips to Alder Hey every three months to have my chest checked as I had a shadow on my lung. Yes, I played football (and cricket in the summer) all day on the 'oller where the bomb had wiped out four houses in our street. Like Chris Williams I knew people who still did not have electricity in their houses in the fifties and had cardboard boxes on the floor.

My paddock season ticket cost £4 5s 0d during the magical 1962-63 season.

But I think that my grandkids have something better and I want them to have a lot better. My grandson plays for a proper team, he's seven, with proper facilities, he doesn't get sent sprawling by a 14-year-old as I did at his age when playing on the 'oller.

Yes, I love Goodison and we try to visit four or five times a season, though my age and the expense make it more difficult to achieve, especially as it involves a 300-mile round trip.

Goodison's replacement is thank goodness on the way. We need it. I probably won't manage to see or get to the new ground, but it's the future and needs to be embraced. It's one of the things that frightens me about football is the demography of the modern crowd. In my younger days the crowds were young we weren't priced out of attending live games. Now the Sky generation sees football on television filtered through a plethora of ex-Liverpool and Man Utd eyes.

Rose-coloured spectacles are not needed, in that other country things were just different. Possibly not better or worse, but very, very different.

Damian Wilde
40 Posted 15/04/2017 at 11:47:41
Superb piece. My Dad and I met him when he did our tour of Goodison, lovely fella.
Martin Mason
41 Posted 15/04/2017 at 12:34:53
Christine, no disrespect but your memories are no better than anybody's who were around at the time.

All of my relatives from parents back were from the City of Liverpool and I spent a lot of time there. I'm not a scouser although I was born there but I have fond memories from the 60s and to around the late 70s when, apart from watching Everton and sailing, I stopped going to the City.

My best memories were of the warmth and humour of the people. The humour seems to have diminished badly judging by your post and, for sure, more and more latter-day Scousers seem to want to conform to the negative caricatures that non-Scousers paint of them.

Regarding the Echo, there is nothing in it that I'd have interest in reading although my parents had it delivered to them in Cheshire until they died. Not surprisingly, they don't sell it in Horsham.

John Keating
42 Posted 15/04/2017 at 12:56:32
Agree with everyone about living in Everton in the '50s and '60s, before they decimated the community. Christine is spot on with the Community side of things. Only thing different, Christine, is that we did indeed go up the top of the Brow to give the Lodge a bit of stick!! Mind you we didn't really know why we just did.

Can't remember our door in Upper Beau Street ever being locked, in fact I don't think it had one? However, now looking back it wasn't as good. Mam, dad and the four kids in the one bedroom under overcoats being eaten alive by the bedbugs.

Outside toilet. No kitchen though they took pride blackening the stove in the "parlour" every day.

Anyway not wanting to go on but now we look back it wasn't all good but rose-tinted specs are all we've got nowadays and as kids well we didn't give a shit really.

Oh yes, we'd walk along Great Homer Street to the match as my dad could get more ale inside him stopping at all the pubs along that way before getting to Goodison.

John G Davies
43 Posted 15/04/2017 at 13:10:57

My parents had the Echo delivered. In mid-Cheshire? That's some round the paper boy had.

When you say "mid-Cheshire" do you mean Runcorn or Winsford?

Dave Abrahams
44 Posted 15/04/2017 at 14:02:32
John (#42 ), funny thing about the Lodge was, if you watched it in the morning, when they were on there way to New Brighton or Southport it really was a marvellous procession to watch with their numerous bands and the ordinary people marching and enjoying being part of the parade.

It was when they came back around half seven that night when the trouble began, the men playing the drums in the band would start banging louder as they went up London Road, always seemed to stop a little longer by TJ Hughes facing the Bullring ready to face the barracking that they knew was coming to them, lots of boos with a few bricks, girls and women slowing them their green knickers.

The same would happen along Shaw Street when they got by SFX, there was a concrete cross in Shaw Street park, usually decorated in green leaves by the kids who lived around there, put up for the Lodge to look at on the day, again the drums would get louder and the barracking and bricks would come back at them.

There would be big gaps between the bands which showed that there had been trouble on the way home, I lived in Shaw Street at the time and one there was a huge gap and in between the gap was a Lodge supporter, a good mate of mine and massive Evertonian, Alan Hartley, he'd had a good day and what he'd made him happy, h was carrying a huge stick of mint rock and he was dancing along and throwing the rock up into the air like a caber, made even us Catholic laugh and he got a good round of applause. I think he broke the ice for the rest of the procession that night.

Glad to say that animosity has long gone and the Lodge's procession, although a lot smaller, passes without any trouble.

Chris Williams
45 Posted 15/04/2017 at 14:11:37
I was going in a bus into town, going along Netherfield Road in the sixties and there was this great big tall brick wall. Quite high up was 'God Bless Our Pope' painted in big green letters. How they got up there I've no idea.

The next time I looked it read 'God Bless Our Popeye' with the YE painted in Orange.

There was also the time on the twelfth that there was a kipper on a pole with a sign saying 'cured at Lourdes'.

It was funny at times for sure.

John Keating
46 Posted 15/04/2017 at 14:16:23
True, Dave – it was always a lot scarier when they came home after their day out. We had some mates from the Bullring and I'm glad I kept clear as both sides looked for a bit of fisticuffs around there.

Nowadays, the police would insist the march went by certain routes but then I think it was all part of the days festivities!

We can laugh now, even laughed then, as people our family drank with wanted to fight us that day but have a drink the next. Thank God it didn't happen when we had our May Possession!!

My tulips were droopy anyway they would have been right wilted after ducking rotten veg and other stuff! Yes, tulips. Funny enough I'm sure we used to get them from John Bailey's granny who stayed in the Four Squares.

Martin Mason
47 Posted 15/04/2017 at 15:55:49

:-), Sorry the local news agents used to have it at one time. Maybe little demand now as the young Liverpudlians who made a new life here in the early '50's are mostly dead now.

My home town is Northwich. Winsford was too much of a hotbed of scouse fundamentalism.

Christine Foster
48 Posted 15/04/2017 at 18:16:57
Martin Mason (41) Christine, no disrespect but your memories are no better than anybody's who were around at the time.

Who ever said they were better? Everyone has theirs and that's fine.. we share them and remember!

The humour seems to have diminished badly judging by your post and, for sure, more and more latter day Scousers seem to want to conform to the negative caricatures that non-Scousers paint of them.

Nice dig, you can have the first one free... but I am no latter-day scouser, my family home is still there off Burlington Street... the bulk of the family all live within a stone's throw.

My goodness, Martin, they are memories... no better, no worse... and no sourness – in fact, just the opposite. Your response lacks perspective and class, it's arrogant and demeaning – but then one has come to expect that from you.

Dave Abrahams
49 Posted 15/04/2017 at 18:18:06
John (#46) lived with his mother in the Four Squares so most probably his granny lived there as well, in those days, as you know, families lived all around each other.

John's older brother Tony was a cracking fella, he died young, he was a rabid Red, he wouldn't budge an inch in an argument over Everton / Liverpool but as I say a very genuine lad.

The Four Squares were my playing fields growing up, always something going on there... card schools, dice schools and endless games of football, kick and move... if you didn't move you got kicked.

The Bullring was the same, loads of genuine people, famous for their toss schools on a Sunday afternoon, in the Bully they used three half pennies, so there was a result with every toss, two heads or two tails, a lot of money changed hands with these toss schools.

Where you moved to in Rokabury Street (most probably spelt that wrong) and the corner of William Henry Street or Willie Henny as it was known, they used two half pennies in their toss schools on a Friday night but it was slow and go on for ever with the cry of 'two ones' going on all night.

As I say happy and robust days, sometimes very robust but we all survived, by hook or by crook, as we used to say.

Christine Foster
50 Posted 15/04/2017 at 18:29:18
Oh and by the way, Martin... this excellent article is about memories of the time and place and people... and I will not disrespect it by responding again to your comments or any subsequent one you place.

There is an old adage my mum used to say: "If you cannot say anything nice about a person, don't say anything at all." She wins my vote.

Chris Williams
51 Posted 15/04/2017 at 18:41:08

I was remembering my mum saying exactly the same thing only yesterday. Things like that stick although I've sometimes slipped from it over the years. I try harder the older I get.

"Tell the truth and shame the devil" was another that sticks.

I can't wait for the next article in the series. I hope it's Norma Vernon.

John G Davies
52 Posted 15/04/2017 at 18:42:15

I learned a great deal of my politics from Alan Hartley. Champion of the working class. A boiler maker and union man to the heart. heard him described by a delegate from London as "that man is a firebrand".

In my experience that is doing him a disservice.
He was like a stick of dynamite when it came to supporting his beloved working class. The star still shines as brightly as it ever did. Both in matters Everton and union business.

Martin Mason
53 Posted 15/04/2017 at 19:32:05
Christine, good advice and advice that you should take on board even now.

I was born in Liverpool from wonderful scouse parents, I spent a large part of my formative years in Liverpool in the Aigburth and Dingle areas with my Nans and I have great memories of the area and the people from over 60 years ago.

I watched my first Everton game in 1957 and have been a passionate supporter since. You hurt me deeply in your dismissal of my personal memories of the city and people as somehow second grade.

Anyway, best wishes and hope that you can shed your grudge sometime.

Christine Foster
54 Posted 15/04/2017 at 20:45:25
Martin, I said I would not respond but in fairness to your comments I apologise.. there was certainly no offence meant in any of my comments to your memories, I would never do that.

Secondly you somehow infer that I view the people as second grade, for which I am deeply offended. I would never ever believe that and your inference is much contested. You have read something into my comments that are not there. I have nothing but the fondest memories of my home and its people. Mine to cherish.

I did not dismiss your memories, I did not make any comment or reference on them as I have not commented on others, there is no need, they are a patchwork quilt of who we are.

I have no grudge to bear against anyone, except maybe Margaret Thatcher and her ilk.. but no-one in or from the city of Liverpool.

If I offended you in anyway I apologise and by default for my final comments as well.

Dave Abrahams
55 Posted 15/04/2017 at 22:39:55
John G (52), Yes, that was Alan, I never worked with him but had some cracking nights with him. He worked a lot on the ship repair business, good company same as his brother Brian.

I haven't seen Alan for awhile; I see young Alan now and again so I know his dad is doing okay. He doesn't have a lot to drink now, but will still be good fun to be with.

John Keating
56 Posted 16/04/2017 at 00:45:29

Yes, I well remember the Baileys.

John was quite a few years younger than me but I remember we had a team from the Friary church almost all alter boys . We were short a couple one week and young John came and played. Bloody decked out in his red and white scarf! Anyway because he was good we let him play.

Another lad we had in that team was Tony Evans, what a great player he was and if I remember right he went on to play professional for Birmingham City and Plymouth. Good lad too.

But then, Dave, everyone from the Friary parish was good!

Martin Mason
57 Posted 16/04/2017 at 08:49:20
Christine, and mine to you.

As you say, Liverpool suffered very badly with the tragic loss of its traditional industries and many of its communities. The cause I guess depends on which side of the political spectrum you are on from Thatcher to Militant to Unions but it has regenerated well now.

The garden festival and the regeneration of the docks and waterfront amazing. The area that I knew as the cast iron shore and the Gollies (I think there were old golf links?) is unrecognisable now from the wasteland it was and the River Mersey proud again after being close to dead.

My memories are of a happy childhood split very much between the place that became home and the City where my roots were.

John G Davies
58 Posted 16/04/2017 at 09:29:22

Two great union men and two great Evertonians Alan and Brian. The stories they have over the Blues and on the sites and ship repair kept me enthralled for many an hour when I was a young man.

As you say, great company and great teachers in influencing how you carried yourself through life.

Eugene Ruane
59 Posted 16/04/2017 at 09:58:15
Christine posts a few personal memories of growing up and Martin Mason replies - 'Christine, no disrespect but your memories are no better than anybody's who were around at the time.'

I have to ask Michael/Lyndon, was a post removed?

A post from Christine along the lines "Oh fuck off Martin your memories are shite compared to mine!"

If not, Martin's opening to his post # 41 is just fucking...weird.

Tony Abrahams
60 Posted 16/04/2017 at 10:45:21
I think people should leave off on Martin, simply because he tells us that for him, modern life sucks.

All good players from the friary, John? If I heard the phrase once, then I must have heard it at least a million times, when I was growing up in Norris Green. "Captain of the Friary" was Dave's favourite shout, whenever he saw me kicking a ball, and considering I used to play it in my sleep in those days, then maybe I was just dreaming it!

Dave Abrahams
61 Posted 16/04/2017 at 12:06:15
Tony (#60), whatever skill you had you inherited it from the Captain of the Friary, so you've heard it a million and one times now.
Dave Abrahams
62 Posted 16/04/2017 at 12:32:20
John (#56), there was a Tarmac pitch in Langsdale Street, facing The Great Eastern pub and I used to see John Bailey as a young lad practicing on his own on this pitch before he went to Blackburn Rovers. He did well there and got his move to Everton. He used to come in The Goblin, off Islington now and again.

One Sunday afternoon he came in, the day after he scored his own goal at Anfield. Auld Billy Livo, a great character and a Red, said to John, "I saw you on The East Lancs last night." John said, "You never saw me, I was in town all night." Livo said "Come on, John, don't be at it. I saw you heading for Liverpool." The own-goal was a header; John took it in good spirits as always.

John G (#58), yes, I still see Brian now and again – he's still a season ticket holder in The Lower Bullens. I also see Mark Alan's son, another great Blue.

John Keating
63 Posted 16/04/2017 at 14:27:40
Yes, Dave, we used to play on the tarmac pitch usually Sunday afternoon when we were half cut after the ale house. Got some good crowds with all the locals spilling out the pubs to watch, well until their glasses were empty and they needed refilling!

As we live 20 yards from the Clock, that's where we drank, Betty Wright the landlady used to get good groups on Sunday afternoon.

If we decided to "travel" it was the Garden Lane, Coffees or now and again the Goblin, though that was a bit close to SFX.

Overseas trips took us to London Road! Not a bloody pub around there now, in fact the nearest is London Road. Unbelievable!

John G Davies
64 Posted 16/04/2017 at 14:48:22
John (#63),

I recall a very funny lad used to drink around them ways. Mickey. Any relation?

Dave Abrahams
65 Posted 16/04/2017 at 14:49:59
John (#63),

We used to play there Sunday morning then go into The Goblin until 2:00pm, then round to John McPoland's, bottom of Page Street and William Henry Street. John would let us out around seven o'clock, while he had a blow. We'd go back to The Goblin or maybe The Clock; we very seldom got a stay-behind off Betty Wright.

Loads of good pubs around there then, The Dart, Gildhart Street; The Falkland, London Road; The Fort, Prescott Street;.The Lord Warden, London Road... along with The Swan and Legs of Man in London Road... Ma Edgies.

As you say, not many good pubs left around there now except The Warden and strangely enough not many go in there now. But Liverpool being Liverpool we will always find somewhere to drink without being too fussy.

John Keating
66 Posted 16/04/2017 at 15:12:26
Hi John,

No relation I'm afraid. There were so many characters around there, crazy days! Changed days now I'm afraid.

A few years ago, my mam had gone down to Morris's for something or other and was away ages. I told the missus I was going to walk down there to see if she was okay.Just as I opened the front door, a cavalcade of top-of-the-range BMWs and Range Rovers stopped, all black, all tinted windows.

Out gets my mam helped by about 10 lads all sheepskin coats dripping in gold, telling my mam if she ever needed a lift to Morris's just to give them a call and they'd pick her up. Off they went.

I asked my mam what was going on and she told me that I knew all their families, dads and uncles and cousins and that I'd gone to school with them. I didn't have a clue about half of them though they were all locals.

But my mam said it was a shame and she felt sorry for all the lads in the BMWs and Range Rovers cos they were all in their thirties and none had been able to get any work since leaving school !

I was flabbergasted and told her what they were up to, she just called me an arsehole and said they couldn't be cos they'd all been altar boys.

Yes, changed days 'cos, when I was a kid, they'd have pulled up in Ford Consuls!

Michael Kenrick
67 Posted 16/04/2017 at 15:39:25
I was trying to figure that one out, Eugene. No missing posts...

This disingenuous "no disrespect but..." has got to be the most idiotic caveat in common usage as it's so obviously a precursor to something that is by definition disrespectful – if not, then why say it at all???

And Christine responds accordingly, ignoring the facile attempt to preclude the inevitable disrespect she rightly felt.

Incredibly, Martin (with no apology) then flips it right around with "You hurt me deeply in your dismissal of my personal memories of the city and people as somehow second grade." – and then gets Christine apologising to him!

But at a deeper level, why on earth would Martin feel the need to challenge Christine with childish "mine's bigger than yours" nonsense regarding whose memories are better? Does the clue perhaps lie in his declaration of how miserable his modern life is?

Tony Abrahams
68 Posted 16/04/2017 at 16:43:00
Kelvin McKenzie will be made up with that story, John (#66)! My own view is that, although there are still funny people, lunatics, and out-and-out fucking fruitcakes knocking about, modern life doesn't seem to create as many or as much character?

More money, but nowhere near as much togetherness. The kids don't even have to go out the house no more, to be able to all hang around together; they're either online playing FIFA, or on the phone, and most of them wouldn't be able to collect bommywood, cos they wouldn't be seen dead in old clothes!

Tony Abrahams
69 Posted 16/04/2017 at 17:21:55
Michael, that's probably why Christine asked Martin, had he finished with the Echo he'd been sitting on, because they usually only report on the negative aspects of life in our city.

Martin, who says himself, that he very rarely visits Liverpool, has probably mis-understood Christine, and "no disrespect mate" but it's gone now!

Martin Mason
70 Posted 16/04/2017 at 17:28:40
For the two of you who struggle to comprehend the basis for my responses to Christine I would point out that there is a key sentence that you have missed and that Christine has very nicely expressed her regret for. That is what civilised people do. It is also for you to understand not for me to point it out for you.

Michael, I didn't say that my modern life is miserable. My life is incredible by modern materialistic standards: I'm financially independent with no debt, I have a lovely house in the beautiful south, wonderful wife, kids and grandkids and I am very content. What I believe I said was that I'd swap it for days gone by. This is based on a quality of living then compared with the standard of living that I have now.

Mike Dolan
71 Posted 16/04/2017 at 17:35:00
Life has changed no doubt about it. I like to read about Liverpool in the early sixties and a piece like Pat Labone's and Christine's reply are wonderful little insights into a time that was really the end of one era and the beginning a new one. Look at the Golden Vision, Off Time and The City both capture a Liverpool world world now gone by, thankfully.

Thanks ToffeeWeb for publishing this stuff it has not much to do with Everton but it really illustrates an era when players had a visceral attachment not only to our beloved club but also to the Tribal the Republic of Liverpool.

Martin Mason
72 Posted 16/04/2017 at 17:44:01

I said "no disrespect" because I wanted to answer Christine's point without any disrespect to her or her views. I used it in the way it should be rather than the way it is usually used.

Tony Abrahams
73 Posted 16/04/2017 at 17:53:58
I was hoping Michael would bite at my post, Martin, but I think he's too clever, and realises that the past has gone, even if there are not many things better in life, than a trip down memory lane!
Martin Mason
74 Posted 16/04/2017 at 18:01:31
Tony, the past has never gone, it is what has enabled us to get where we are. It is the sum of all of our experiences and it must be treasured not derided.
Michael Kenrick
75 Posted 16/04/2017 at 18:28:16
Like you clearly derided Christine's eh? But glad you explained that it was indeed her error, and showed there was no disrespect intended.

All clear now, Eugene?

Martin Mason
76 Posted 16/04/2017 at 18:36:40
Michael, I never at any time derided Christine and no, I explained that the error was entirely yours not Christine's.

Apologies Christine that this has ridiculously become a topic.

Andy Meighan
77 Posted 16/04/2017 at 19:07:25
Dave (#62),

I remember Bailey's own-goal that day. I was in the Anfield Road end. It came from a corner. It absolutely pissed down all day. One of the worst derbies I've ever seen in all the years I've been going.

Funnily enough, at the time, the two of them were struggling Well I know we were. I'm from the Italian blocks (Cavour House) and the lads used to pile out of Bents and the Tetley's and play on the square every Sunday afternoon. Some laughs there, I can tell you.

I'm 58 now and it seems like yesterday... great great days. And I'm still in touch with mates from that era even though we moved away when I was 12

You've started me, Dave... I'll get on YouTube now. And the usual, "Oh God, you're not still hankering back to the old times, are you? You sad man."

"Yes dear, I'm afraid I am."

Andy Meighan
78 Posted 16/04/2017 at 19:17:42
Christine, I love your posts. And the way you reference anything Old Liverpool. Absolutely superb. Didn't have much as kids but we had plenty of love and to me that's priceless. And that is a trait that's as priceless amongst my friends as well. Keep posting, Babe! x
Michael Kenrick
79 Posted 16/04/2017 at 19:58:37
Martin Mason (#41) Christine, no disrespect but your memories are no better than anybody's who were around at the time.

Whoever said they were better? . My goodness, Martin, they are memories... no better, no worse... and no sourness – in fact, just the opposite. Your response lacks perspective and class, it's arrogant and demeaning – but then one has come to expect that from you.

Okay, Martin, got it. No derision there... No disrespect given; none taken. Obviously all my error.

Eugene back at ya!

Tony Abrahams
80 Posted 16/04/2017 at 20:21:18
Thanks for the education Martin, I was honestly thinking you was havin a bit of a breakdown earlier on today, silly me.

Let me know if you are coming up to Goodison for the Under-23 game because I can't wait to introduce you to all my mates!

Eugene Ruane
81 Posted 16/04/2017 at 20:35:23
Michael, I think this best sums up my response to the 'clarifications' - Link
Andy Meighan
82 Posted 16/04/2017 at 21:27:31
Eugene does like a link
Dave Abrahams
83 Posted 16/04/2017 at 21:39:43
John Keating with us going back in time recently by coincidence there is a photo in yesterday's Echo of three girls swinging on a lamppost in Upper Beau Street, taken around 1960. The names of the girls are Kathryn Hurley and sisters Veronica and Carol Brown.

I remember a John Hurley who lived in Lower Beau Street. I can't recall anyone named Brown, maybe you can recall them.

Christine Foster
84 Posted 16/04/2017 at 23:39:35
Sigh.. ok.. the reason I didn't bite was simple, because it was an excellent article and I didn't want to deflect from it with pointless arguments, so rather than do a WTF reply, which I honestly wanted to do, I felt it was easier to apologise for any slight I had, in some way, inadvertently given; despite the references to my lacking sense of humour, my degrading of the people of Liverpool and being accused of being a latter day scouser who conforms to the negative caricatures that others paint of them!

No disrespect from my side on return.. I still don't know what or why Martin felt I had dissed him, my references about the Echo were as a result of the previous post of buying an Echo after a match.. the following comment was a reply to the Ron Manager comment.. so for the world of me, I just didn't get it and thought the best way was simple to (and honestly) apologise (even if I didn't know what it was and still don't)

Sometimes its the easiest thing to do when you don't know.

Colin Glassar
85 Posted 16/04/2017 at 23:52:12
Is Martin becoming the Brady/Brody on here? Martin, you might be posh and loaded but you don't half talk a load of tripe lad. You started attacking Christine and ruined a bloody good thread with your egotistical raving.

No one cares if you live in frigging Cheshire or Timbuktu.

Jim Naughton
86 Posted 17/04/2017 at 00:04:58

It's pretty clear what happened! Christine said:

"The difference though is mine are real memories about real places and real people; they are good memories because they mean a lot to me."

Martin misinterpreted that as directed at himself and felt miffed.

Chill out everyone, and happy bloody easter.

Christine Foster
87 Posted 17/04/2017 at 06:05:07
Jim, That was a clear and specific reference to the comments made by Peter with respect to his post about the fictitious Ron Manager – not Martin's post.
John Keating
88 Posted 17/04/2017 at 06:46:39
Dave I used to knock about with Philip Hurley, Tony Collins and a few others and when they kicked us out of Upper Beau Street and moved us over to Salisbury Street the Hurleys moved close to us to Field Street.

The Browns ring a bell somewhere. I'm just at the airport now going to Doha to do a job but when I get home I'll have a chat with my mam, she's 90 odd and sharp as a tack. She gets people from all over the world asking if she knew such and such from wherever that emigrated to New Zealand, USA, Canada etc after the war and she can reel off their family history! Guaranteed she'll know you lot!

I've met loads of guys around the world – usually in bars – that have families originating in Everton, usually there and then I give my mam a call and she just goes through every family member! Amazing really. I must ask her and let you know.

Take care

John Keating
89 Posted 17/04/2017 at 06:58:42
Dave, just quickly, we used to live at the bottom of Upper Beau Street 2 doors up from the little shop – Lily Tuesdales, right opposite Hanlons ,the leather works. Sod Lukaku – I scored a thousand goals against their shutters in a season !

My mam worked there so after a good night out in the Brown Cow with my dad she could literally fall in to work the next day.

We used to play on the "oller" over the road which was caused by the bombing. My granny – nin – had a handcart selling fruit and fish that she bought from Paddy's market wholesalers and as kids we'd push it up to Netherfield Road and on she'd go herself out to her patch at Picton Road. Bloody hard life for her

As you said, still characters there but definitely not the same!

Eugene Ruane
90 Posted 17/04/2017 at 08:40:29
Andy # 82 - 'Eugene does like a link'


Stan Schofield
91 Posted 17/04/2017 at 11:28:32
Christine@22: Great post. Made me laugh as I recalled reading the pink Echo after a game. I lived in Robson Street, close to both grounds, and loved the match day atmosphere.

I went to Labone's testimonial (I think it was 1971 or thereabouts), and he was held in such high regard that my red mates (3 of them) also went.

I recall a night game at Goodison, against Newcastle, about 1968, where the ref gave a free kick against Everton, and Labone, in frustration, threw the ball down quite innocently. The ref booked him, I think it was Labone's only ever booking. The players protested at the ref for booking him, but thing was, there were more Newcastle players protesting than Everton players! Another sign of the esteem to which he was held.

Martin Mason
92 Posted 17/04/2017 at 19:01:56

Thank you for that clarification and my apologies for misunderstanding.

Ed Fitzgerald
93 Posted 17/04/2017 at 19:06:59

I feel a bit of an impostor on this thread at a sprightly 55. I was really moved by your posts on this thread, they are touching, insightful and beautifully detailed so thank you for sharing them with us.

I was part of the great diaspora of the mid 60s being moved out from the City Centre to new towns but I can remember Islington, Erskine Street, Brunswick Road etc vividly to this day.

I can't believe the arrogance of a few on here who have the temerity to be critical of you.

Just like you, I have to stifle back a tear each time I'm at Goodison, if anything that gets more difficult as I get older, embarrassing really!

John Codling
95 Posted 18/04/2017 at 05:06:33
I was an Evertonian when I started work at 15 for Huges & Ellison construction in Blundell Street off Park Lane. as the store/message boy it was my job to get the men's sarnie's for 10 O Clock tea break, This I used to hate as I had a large list comprising all sorts not least of Bacon & Tom, Sausage & Tom and a mix of others (Fucking great Sarnie's) which I used to get from Harry Leyton's dock cafe at the corner of Blundell Street and the Dock Road.

Harry Leyton had at one time played for Aston Villa and was Labby's uncle, Brian used to sometime visit the cafe where Harry introduced a star struck fan,

In those days 1963 Home & Away games were the norm as there was no crowd restrictions and it was pay at the gate, you could also wear your colours without fear of reprisal.

Long haul games London, Ipswich etc were Hitch Hike Jobs, and a lot of the players knew this and would come outside the players entrance and give their player allocation to the Evertonians outside, I received many from Brian, Colin Harvey, Alan Whittle and others; this made us in our minds part of the Everton family.

I introduced my son Andy to Brian outside the ground one day after a match; my son could not get over how enthusiastic and genuine this guy was, how he would give up his time to talk to the fans.

Harry Catterick hit the nail on the head when he said Brian Labone is The last of the Corrinthians. A great pleasure and honour to have watched and shared some small experiences with this wonderful man, the memories will last forever.

Regarding Pat's recollection he only scored twice for the club, I remember being at Main Road against Man City, Everton played in White shirts Black shorts, Jimmy Gabriel and to go off of stitches after a clash with Mike Summerbe not long after his return to the pitch Summerbe had to go off for medical treatment after some Gabriel retribution. If memory serves me right, Brian scored from a headed corner which was disallowed because the ref said he hadn't blown for the corner to be taken.

Dave Abrahams
96 Posted 18/04/2017 at 14:11:48
John (#95),

I remember Harry Leyton, he had a few cafes along the Dock Road. What a brain and memory he had; you'd give your order in and sit down; Harry would be taking the orders in by the second, sit-in and take-out... dozens of them – never got one wrong. It used to amaze me and I had a decent memory.

Christine Foster
97 Posted 18/04/2017 at 18:12:06
Dave (#96),

I seem to remember he had a cafe on the Dock Road by Alexandria Dock, which at the time (early 60s) was being used by Ready Mixed Concrete as a batching plant. Dad used to visit there often and I would be taken down to the cafe for the biggest bacon buttie I had ever had in my life.. Dockers doorsteps for bread and loads of butter (not Stork)

Ed (#93) Yes we got shipped off to Netherton, to Peterborough Drive in Marion Square (28 or 56 bus) and the Holy Ghost Annex and later Our Lady or Walsingham but in truth I still ended up splitting most of my time back in Virgil Street or Portland Gardens where the rest of the family where. (Remember the slide and the Wicthes Hat in the Simmy? Behind the bowling green) Regularly I would be pushing a pram full of washing to the Wash house at the top or Burlington Street for my Auntie or running errands down at Costigan's in Great Homer Street for my nan.

On a Saturday morning I would be a regular visitor at Paddys market as it was, behind the Fruit and veg Market in Cazneau Street (entrance at the city end of Great Homer street / Anne Street) where all sorts of thinks could be bought as people lay sheets on the floor and put clothes, radios, in fact anything you could think of that could be sold, was sold. My granddad would search through boxes of valves for radios, a flat iron for my nan (dangerous as it could be used as a weapon if he came home late or spent too much of his wages). The women in their black shawls carrying their bundles on their heads... different times indeed.

And then their was Clarkson's at the top of the road where I would get my yearly pair of sandals that had to last... or else!

Dave Abrahams
98 Posted 18/04/2017 at 20:42:50
Christine (97), What a hive of activity Greattie Market was on a Saturday, in the morning the fruit market would see all the barra girls buying their stock, pushing their handcarts from stall to stall and loading up with fruit and veg. I would go with me mam, she was a barra girl and she would push her loaded barra up Fox St. and then Soho St. Right the way up to Paddington and sell her goods to the many regular customers around there, giving trust out to make sure they bought off her.

It was a hard life but toughened her up and she lived a mostly happy and healthy life to the age of 88.

Back to Greattie Market on a Saturday afternoon, when has you say all sorts of stuff could be bought there and young lads could earn a few bob carrying Lino or carpets home for people.

Great Homer Street was a teaming mass of people from one end of the street to the other, from early morning to late at night right through the year.

Whenever I see the film ’Once upon a time in America’ and the camera rolls through the streets of New York showing all the venders selling their wares and the throngs of people buying off them in the 1920s, it reminds me of Liverpool and Great Homer Street in the forties and fifties, and it was probably more like that in days before that.

Dave Wilson
100 Posted 19/04/2017 at 16:43:37
Christine @29

Wonderful stuff.

We lived on Scottie Road just behind the gap between Cookson's jewelers (pawn shop) and Coynie's funeral parlour. Strangely enough, we walked the other way for the bus, Although it meant going away from the ground, it meant that while we waited for the 44D we could stand and look at the crickets bats, the boxing gloves and the top class footballs which were always on display in Appleton’s window (facing saint Anthony’s, next door to Rooney’s fruit n veg).

We could never afford any of the gear they sold, but it smelled like a proper sports shop – all sorts of different leathers. I forgot what it was like to see the hordes walking back down the valley and on into town. I used to think 55,000 went the match and about half a million came home.

You took me back there for a moment. Your memories of that time and that place will always be welcomed by me.

Christine Foster
101 Posted 20/04/2017 at 08:54:22
Dave Wilson (#100),

Goodness me... in the mid 60's my Dad bought the once Rooney's Fruit and Veg shop next to Appletons from a man called Parker (I think). I worked in that shop for 3 years with my Nan, Kate Ruth (Hughes) the bus stop was right in front of it.. Sadly when all the demolition of Scotland Road and the area happened, trade disappeared.

I learnt how to bone a side of pig, slice bacon, serve tripe (rather than speak it) brawn, spam, learnt the different types of potato, make pot herbs... and set up the fruit and veg outside the front of the shop by the bus stop and (remember the Honkey Tonk pub?)

The savings bank opposite was Martin's, the car showroom that became Coyne's was Whitney's Used cars, next to Jacob's Biscuit factory, which later became the Prudential and then Vernon's Pools...

Different days.

Dave Abrahams
102 Posted 20/04/2017 at 09:21:38
Christine (#101),

The Honkey Tonk pub... don't get me started! I could write a very large book with stories from the days of the Honkey Tonk, that is if I had your skill as a writer. The laughs and good times I had in that pub, especially on a Monday night.

Dave Wilson
103 Posted 20/04/2017 at 15:43:17
Rooney's fruit and veg, eh, Christine? What a small world! You must have served half of Scottie at one time or another, including me.

The Honky Tonk was some place alright, as they all were. Some fantastic names as well. "The Foot Hospital" at the top of Silvester street. I think it was really called the Grapes, but due to its close proximity to the Taff brothers surgery...

"The Widows" in front of Woodstock gardens.

The inappropriately named "Holy House" right facing your shop. Next to the church. (Small pub, massive card school.)

My favorite was when they dubbed The Europa "Heartbreak hotel" due to the marriage problems of the regulars – you didn't get divorced back then, you just drank in different places.

I remember School (St Anthony's) being so predominantly blue, as was Scottie as a whole. Events of the mid seventies definitely evened things up a bit though.

Dave Abrahams... What went on in The Tonk, stays in The Tonk :). The birth of mad Mondays?

Dave Abrahams
104 Posted 20/04/2017 at 15:57:28
Christine (#101),

You missed The Derby Picture House in that row of business premises you listed.

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