Are you going to the big fight?

by   |   25/01/2017  15 Comments  [Jump to last]

There are memorable occasions at Goodison Park which do not necessarily relate directly to football itself.

One that I call to mind is is of people saying, ‘Are you going to the big fight today?’ This was the question whenever Bolton Wanderers were playing us at Goodison Park or Burnden Park and Dave Hickson and Malcolm Barrass were on opposing sides.

They always ended up fighting or scuffling. This was part of the expected entertainment as Everton’s footballing abilities left a lot to be desired in those days. Oddly enough, I cannot recall either player being sent off. I do remember Dave Hickson being sent off another time for arguing with the referee.

I was the first person to get Dave’s autograph well before his first team baptism and I was proud of this fact. Sadly my book which contained many Everton and other player’s signatures has gone the way of the world.

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Dick Fearon
1 Posted 25/01/2017 at 23:30:16
David P, in the fifties, I was at the old lady when Hickson was sent off. In the opening minutes, he tangled with the Millers' giant No 5, Noble. Resulting from a Nobles haymaker that went unnoticed by the referee, Davy was knocked unconscious and stretchered off.

In those days, subs were not permitted and after a short while, a huge roar of appreciation greeted Hickson's return to the field.

He made a bee line straight at Noble and dropped the big sod with a round house swing to the head. The Referee saw this clash and sent Davy off. Trudging his way of the pitch he was cheered by the crowd with an even bigger roar.

David Ellis
2 Posted 26/01/2017 at 02:26:33
Dick – I guess Hickson was being an entirely rational early adopter of the concussion protocol – he knew it wasn't safe for him to stay on the pitch after being concussed so got even and got himself safely sent off with one round house swing (or maybe not).
Chris Williams
3 Posted 26/01/2017 at 15:40:19
Matches with Bolton have often been a bit tasty throughout the decades. They used to have a full back called Syd Farrimond, and his partner, Roy Hartle who between them used to kick Scott and Temple all over the pitch at every opportunity. You needed shin pads round your neck.

And in more recent times Duncan got sent off against them I think. And under Fat Sam, in his less refined days, he used to run a rugby team masquerading as a football team with a couple of licensed thugs kicking people straight from the kick off, including that nasty prick who followed him to every club he managed. Nearly finished Anichebe.

Tom Bowers
4 Posted 26/01/2017 at 15:58:04
The Cannonball Kid was the target of many a bruiser much like Big Dunc and had his run in's with many a referee purely because of retaliation.

Davey was so brave he never shirked at going for the impossible ball's even in the air and many bruisers didn't like his style because they thought by hitting him once would be enough but his bustling style kept them on edge.

Probably this was why he never was recognized by England but he was as dangerous as any centre forward around at that time.

Ray Atherton
5 Posted 26/01/2017 at 17:52:29
Dave got sent off against Man City at Maine Road. I think it was a 6-2 defeat.

After one of the goals, Dave said to the referee, "You should have a fuckin white stick, ref."

David Graves
6 Posted 26/01/2017 at 18:09:26
I had an uncle who (allegedly) used to wait to get on a particular bus to Goodison because it was the one that Dave Hickson would be on.

Different world.

John G Davies
7 Posted 26/01/2017 at 20:40:04
Looking forward to Dave Abrahams's memories on this one.
Dave Abrahams
8 Posted 26/01/2017 at 21:12:35
John G Davies (7) I would have wrote sooner, but I have been racking my brains over the Dave Hickson incident in the opening letter.

I was at the game and remember clearly Jack Noble catching Davie with a terrific right hander and Davie going. My memory is he got back up on his own, I don't remember him getting carried off, and I'm at a loss to remember him getting sent off in this game... might be my memory and I loved Davie so I blocked it out.

I remember Davie coming through the Reserves and some brilliant games from him, one against Man Utd Reserves on a very muddy pitch. Davie was marked by Mark Jones, who died in the Munich air disaster, Everton won 4-3 and Davie got a hat-trick, him and Jones battered each other all afternoon. In another game, an evening game, Davie scored five versus Huddersfield Town; at the end of the game the opposition goalie was a nervous wreck.

I think Davie, never made his debut until he had done his National Service, he certainly did more fighting with Everton than he did with the army. A great player with the heart of a lion, a great header of a ball and good with his feet, think of how Duncan Ferguson was up for every derby game. Davie was like that for EVERY game.

One of my favourite memories of Davie was him playing for them, near the end of another Second Division season when it was obvious they had fucked that season up, regarding promotion, Liverpool were getting beat 2-0 by Lincoln City and the Kop had turned on their own players (again), they were giving Davie loads so Davie gave them the two fingers with his left hand, so the Manager and coaches couldn't see him from the dug out.

I could go on all night about Davie Hickson, sufficient to say, there were better players who turned out for the Blues but none of them loved the club more and none put more effort in than Davie.

Patrick Murphy
9 Posted 26/01/2017 at 22:08:57
Dave (#8),

The game mentioned in the OP was a goalless draw with Bolton at Goodison and it sounds as if Dave Hickson was lucky to stay on the park having floored Bolton's Borass in the area. However, Davie was only dismissed twice in his Everton career: once at Goodison in a second division fixture against Leicester City in a 2-1 reverse for the Blues, and once at Maine Road in a 6-2 defeat for the Toffees some four years later.

Incidentally it is well known that Big Dunc has been sent off the most times (8) in an Everton jersey, but who is in second place with four red cards and how many players can you name (#14) that have been sent off three times whilst wearing an Everton shirt?

One of those 14 is a trick question as he was sent off twice for Everton and once for another team who were playing Everton.

Alan J Thompson
10 Posted 27/01/2017 at 07:37:05
Patrick(#9); How many times did Alan Ball get the early bath?
I remember one vs Newcastle after giving Jim Isley what he had been dishing out all afternoon and Isley's baldy head getting more "Score" haircream than it would have seen in a lifetime.

Coventry, like most teams, had a yard-dog centre-half named Curtis and either Southampton or Newcastle one, McGrath and Yeats.

Didn't Mark Higgins's old man have something of a reputation at Bolton?

Dave Abrahams
11 Posted 27/01/2017 at 09:10:58
Patrick (#9), sorry Patrick my piece should have been directed at Dick Fearon (#1) – he was referring to an Everton versus Rotheram game.

In the Everton - Bolton game Davie was completely innocent, Malcolm Barrass, the Bolton centre-half was floored by one of his own players who tried to smack Davie, who was too quick for him, and the Bolton player caught Barrass where it hurts, between his legs, and he went down screaming.

Davie was ordered off in the semi final versus Bolton in1953 after Davie had been injured by Barrass, he had an head injury, the referee, Alf Bond, asked Davie the score, Davie told him we were winning, we're losing 4-1 at the time, the referee ordered him off until he had recovered for his own safety.

Davie was also sent off playing for Liverpool against Sheffield Utd at Anfield, If I remember correctly Davie and Liverpool appealed against this and he was not suspended.

Davie was rough and tough but was sinned against as much as he gave it out.

Patrick Murphy
12 Posted 27/01/2017 at 10:30:27
Alan (#10) – according to, I can only find that single sending-off for Alan Ball in an Everton shirt that you mention.

Red Cards

The list of Everton players sent off three times or more.

Bad lads

Chris Williams
13 Posted 27/01/2017 at 10:54:03
Blimey, Patrick, the number of sendings-off we've had in derby matches is ridiculous and from memory of some of them, hints at a deeper issue.
Dave Abrahams
14 Posted 27/01/2017 at 12:09:31
Further to my comments @11, the Bolton player who smacked his own player (unintentionally) was Harold Hassall, an English international who cost a big fee when Bolton bought him from Huddersfield Town. I couldn't think of his name earlier this morning.
Derek Thomas
15 Posted 03/02/2017 at 22:42:11
I for one don't properly count these modern two yellows and a red... you can get a yellow for a harsh glance today.

Back in the day, right dirty sods hardly got booked... it had to be for something really over and above the norm. Sandy Brown in the Battle of Goodison vs Leeds.

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