Favourites aren't always the best, Part 8

John McFarlane 22/01/2018 104comments  |  Jump to last

Continuing the theme of my favourite players, my selection for the inside right position is Bobby Collins.

Robert Young Collins was born in Govanhill Glasgow on 16 February 1931. Bobby started his career at Celtic where he played 220 times and scored 81 goals.

I was serving with the army in Cyprus when Everton signed Bobby Collins in September 1958. That season Everton had lost their first six League games, scoring 4 goals and conceding 20. Bobby made his debut, scoring in a 3-1 win over Manchester City at Maine Road, there followed another defeat, 2-1 at Turf Moor against Burnley, after which Everton staged a mini-revival, beating Leeds United, West Bromwich Albion, and Birmingham City.


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The joy was to be short lived because their next fixture was against Tottenham Hotspur which resulted in a 10-4 defeat on 11 October 1958, a date I will never forget. We were billeted in tents at our camp, I was passionate about Everton in those days, and although I still attend games as a season ticket holder, I've mellowed somewhat, but everyone in our unit of 160 troops must have visited my tent that day, giving me stick.

Bobby had been offered a contract by Everton in 1948 when he was a teenager, some sources say he returned to Scotland because he was homesick, while I have read another version which states that Celtic had some sort of claim on his services.

My first view of Bobby was when I came home on leave in December 1958, a Boxing Day 1-0 win against Bolton Wanderers. I had to wait until August 1959, when I was demobbed from the army, before I got to see him again.

My memories of Bobby are of a 5'-3" inch giant; he was the most inspirational player I have seen play for Everton. He was a real captain and a natural leader of men. I can recall a newspaper article where the merits of Bobby Collins and Denis Law, were being discussed prior to an Everton - Manchester City fixture at Goodison Park, which Everton actually won 4-2, and Bobby came out on top, having an excellent game, and scoring one of the goals. Bobby had won 28 caps for Scotland at that time; he added another 3 with Leeds United.

I went to an FA Cup match which Everton lost 3-0 to Bradford City at Valley Parade, and Bobby was scathing in his criticism of his team-mates, claiming that too many of them were more interested in getting back to Liverpool for a night at the Royal Tiger. When Everton signed Dennis Stevens from Bolton Wanderers, it spelt the end of Bobby's Everton career and he joined Leeds United in a £30,000 deal.

I've selected some extracts from obituary notices that can portray Bobby's career and personality much better than I can.

'Without doubt Bobby Collins was one of the finest inside forwards of the last 50 years, this diminutive man, he stood only 5'-3" and weighed 10st 3lb , was the heartbeat of every side he played for, fully justifying his nickname of the 'Little General'. He joined Everton straight from Scottish junior soccer during the reign of Theo Kelly, but returned north to sign for Celtic, after confessing that he was desperately homesick.

In 1951 he made his international debut against Wales, and seven years later he re-joined Everton for £23,500. He made his Everton debut only hours after signing, scoring a goal in the 3-1 win over Manchester City at Maine Road. He scored 7 league goals in his first season, and in the next season he was top marksman with 14 goals in 42 games, and continued to find the net throughout his Everton career. Many experts thought his career had taken a nosedive when he signed for Leeds United for £30,000, but in many ways it was just beginning.

He helped steer a side, which seemed to be destined to drop into Division Three, back on to the straight and narrow, and by 1965 the Yorkshire club had won promotion, and dramatically missed out on a League and Cup double. Collins won a recall to the Scotland side but broke a thigh bone in a bruising Fairs Cup match in Turin. It was typical of the man that he fought back to play first team football again.

He left Leeds to join Bury on a free transfer in 1967 and from there moved to Greenock Morton. He travelled the world as a coach taking up appointments in Australia and South Africa. In October 1972 at the age of 41 he joined Oldham Athletic as player-coach, he went on to manage Hull City, before moving to Blackpool as coach in 1978. Collins also managed Huddersfield Town and Barnsley; he left Oakwell in 1985.

An obituary notice from the Independent read,

"Exuding insatiable zest, Collins made teams play, he loved the ball and he demanded it, then used it with precision and perception to dictate events. His passing was crisp and incisive, his tackles carried a ferocious bite, he packed a savage shot and he was deeply wily, more than capable of surviving and prospering in football's darker alleyways.

Crucially too, he was metronomically consistent, and relentlessly dedicated to his craft, training with near demonic fervour, largely eschewing alcohol and tobacco, and rebuilding energy with post-training-session siestas.

After joining Celtic in 1948, Collins made his debut in an 'Old Firm' derby against Rangers in August 1949 and soon made an impact. Cast as an outside right, he yearned for the more central involvement, and switched to inside forward, though not before winning his first three caps in 1950.

He helped lift the Scottish Cup in 1951, but his impetus was interrupted by National Service as a 'Bevin Boy' in the Fife coalfield, training each day at Cowdenbeath after an exhausting shift. He was not fazed though, continuing to excel, netting a hat-trick of penalties against Aberdeen in the autumn of 1953, and playing a prominent part in winning the League and Cup double, although he was absent for the Cup Final.

He played regularly for Scotland, and scored ever more heavily for Celtic, though he failed to hit the target as Rangers were eclipsed 7-1 in the 1957 League Cup final. The fans adored him for his skill and spirit, but in 1958, with money needed to help pay for Parkhead's new floodlights, he was sold for £23,500 to Everton, who had offered him a contract after a trial at Goodison Park, as a baby-faced teenager.

Initially he was a front man, but he craved, forcefully demanded, and received a deep-lying role, Manager Johnny Carey making him captain, and seeing him as creator-in-chief and motivator.

For three years he was the outstanding member of a moderate side, scoring many of their goals and creating most of the rest, but in 1961-62 he clashed with new manager Harry Catterick, who saw the 30-year-old, as peripheral to his plans. Having lost his inside-right place to Dennis Stevens, and unimpressed by the offer to compete with Billy Bingham for the right-wing spot, he agreed to a move to Leeds United, vowing to prove that Everton were wrong to let him go.

Bobby's career statistics are:

Glasgow Celtic – 220 appearances, 81 goals;
Everton – 133 appearances, 42 goals;
Leeds United – 149 appearances, 24 goals;
Bury – 75 appearances, 6 goals;
Greenock Morton – 55 appearances, 3 goals;
Ringwood City – 6 appearances 0 goals;
Oldham Athletic – 7 appearances 0 goals;
Shamrock Rovers – 11 appearances 1 goal.

Scotland – 31 appearances, 10 goals;
Scottish League – 16 appearances, 12 goals.

I doubt that we'll see his like again, and I feel privileged to have seen him play.

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Reader Comments (104)

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Steve Barr
1 Posted 23/01/2018 at 14:47:45

Great pick on all counts. How we could do with his type of leadership on the pitch right now!

As you say, he singlehandedly turned Leeds United around.

Don Alexander
2 Posted 23/01/2018 at 15:25:43
He's the sole reason me dad, a Glaswegian who married a Liverpool lass, supported Everton, and me dad's the catalyst for me supporting the Blues. He told me Bobby was a harder version of Alan Ball, and he really rated Alan Ball! Lawd only knows why Catterick got rid of the two of them, and the Golden Vision.

Thanks again John, not least for the research.

Dave Abrahams
3 Posted 23/01/2018 at 15:29:31
Great choice John, loved him, there was nothing to dislike about Bobby Collins on a football pitch, a brilliant dedicated footballer. Hated losing and demanded that his fellow team players put as much into the game as himself, another unforgettable footballer.

I couldn't believe we had signed such a great player as Bobby, someone to watch each week and boast about. As Steve says (above) he'd knock some life into most of the present squad. Thanks for picking him John, and thanks for the wonderful memories Bobby.

Terry White
4 Posted 23/01/2018 at 15:36:15
Can't argue with this selection, John. A wonderful player who, almost single-handedly, turned our fortunes around when he arrived in 1958 before the incoming of other stars beginning in 1959. I too was at Maine Road to see his first game. Sadly, I was also at Valley Parade for the loss to Bradford City, a day I was hoping to forget.

My "Special Mention" pick at #8 is the elegant Martin Dobson. Never seemed to be rushed, he covered the ground without ever seeming to break into a sprint, he was excellent in the air, everything he did oozed class.

Brian Harrison
6 Posted 23/01/2018 at 15:43:07
What a player he was, as you say 5-foot nothing yet could mix it with the best. Bobby could do everything pass, dribble, tackle and shoot. I think Dons father describe him brilliantly – Alan Ball only tougher. I don't think I ever saw Bobby shirk a tackle and this was at a time were players routinely went over the top.

I think if memory serves me correctly the year he left to go to Leeds he won the player of the year award. I had to laugh when you mentioned the Royal Tiger club, I used to go in there on a Saturday and players from both Everton and Liverpool were there.

I remember Alex Young and Jimmy Gabriel being there one Saturday chatting away with Ian St John and Ron Yeats from Liverpool.

Tony Hill
7 Posted 23/01/2018 at 15:45:49
Yes, great player and a proper technician as well as having all the heart. Also agree with Terry about Dobson. It all seems an age ago – and was, I suppose. Especially poignant in the present context.

Thanks John.

Ian Burns
8 Posted 23/01/2018 at 15:52:47
John, a great choice and I have no doubt that those who saw Bobby Collins play will have any disagreement with regards to your choice as he will be many people's favourite, including mine.

I always struggle in thinking of who my favourite player of all time is and it's always a mental fight between Bobby Collins; Alex Young and Alan Ball.

The Manchester City game you mention when we won 4-2 was the first time I had also seen Denis Law but the only thing I can recall was the maroon/purple shirts worn by Manchester City as I had never seen a football kit in such a strange colour!

As Steve (#1) – says, boy could we do with this wee giant in today's team. He would do Allardyce's job for him!

Steve Barr
9 Posted 23/01/2018 at 16:00:00
Well off topic but for Dave Abrahams...I posted an article on the General Forum re the Everton Red Triangle Boxing Club and mentioned that I recall you commenting that you knew the previous owner, Joe Curran, on another thread a while back.

I'm pulling together a paper on the ERT history so let me have anything you may have on the club that could be useful or pertinent.


John Boon
10 Posted 23/01/2018 at 17:07:49
Collins was everybody's favourite. He was a great signing and a definite impact player – unlike any of those who we have picked up in the summer of 2017. Just watching Bobby control the ball, and bring other players into the game, made him a real team player. I couldn't think of anyone who would deny him a place in their best Everton team.

On a more amusing note. I spent 1958-59 in Canada as a 19-year-old. I was living with an older brother and his family, a dyed-in-the-wool Red, when we played Spurs. The football results were in the local papers in very small print. I saw the result 10-4. and immediately thought it was a misprint and told my brother that we had beaten Tottenham 4-0. I just didn't believe that the "1" in front of the "0" could possibly be true. It was!!!

In that game Jimmy Harris scored 3 despite the 10 at the other end. Compared to today we at least had 4 shots on goal I don't care that Spurs had at least 10.

Bobby Collins was still the best... at least until another superb Scott came along

Ray Roche
11 Posted 23/01/2018 at 17:44:12
John, Collins was a wonderful player and, like several others, was sold too soon. The epitome of the "Pocket Dynamo" tag, given to many players but none so deservedly as wee Booby.

I've enjoyed all your trips down memory lane, your recollections predate my own but it's always good to be reminded of our past heroes. But Collins and Ring are two of my favourite Everton players of all time. And both enjoyed Everton careers that were far too short for different reasons.

Great series of articles.

John McFarlane
12 Posted 23/01/2018 at 18:25:46
Hi everyone, thanks for the appreciation you have shown for the articles, my lap-top is playing up a bit so I may have to resort to responding in a job lot.

Hi Dave [3], this is the post I left for you on the part 7 thread, regarding Jimmy Payne, "I certainly do remember him, if memory serves me right he signed on Thursday and played on Saturday, I'm afraid you have got your facts mixed up, his first game was against Blackpool on 21 April 1956, Peter Farrell scoring the only goal of the game. I actually attended that game, the last game of the season. It was the only time I saw him in an Everton jersey, because I went into the army in August of that year.

His first game the following season was an away game against Sunderland a 1-1 draw, on 2 February 1957, you're right in saying that he played against Charlton Athletic a 5-0 victory when he scored one of the goals, the others coming from Jimmy Harris 2, Wally Fielding, and Jimmy Gauld.

Again you're correct in saying that he played against Manchester United in a 1-0 FA Cup defeat. He then played in a 2-0 loss to Arsenal at Highbury, followed by a 4-1 home defeat to Preston North end, he actually scored Everton's goal.

His record for Everton is 6 appearances and 2 goals, before retiring through injury, he then, as you say, ran a newsagents, I believe it was in Aintree Road Bootle.

You're allowed the occasional mistake Dave, after all it was nearly 62 years ago; fortunately for me, I have my research department to fall back on.

Ray Atherton
13 Posted 23/01/2018 at 18:59:08


A brilliant article for the terrific Bobby Collins. I saw his debut at Maine Road, went with my Uncle. He showed me where he was crying at half time, when he was at the semi-final versus 4-0 down to Bolton Wanderers in 1953.

John you have told us in detail about Bobby. But I believe he only took a number four boot, can you enlighten?

Dave Abrahams
14 Posted 23/01/2018 at 21:35:01
John (12), thanks, I've left a message on the Alex Scott thread.

Ray (13), if I had been with you I could have shown you the spot where I felt like crying at that semi final with a Red supporter laughing his bollocks off at the score,

Benny Maloney, a great lad, but I fuckin' hated you that day.

Christy Ring
15 Posted 23/01/2018 at 21:38:36
Another superb article,John, and a great choice with the wee Glaswegian general. What a buy by Johnny Carey.

I still can't understand why Harry Catterick moved him on, and how he sold Alan Ball to Arsenal, two bizarre decisions by the great man.

Peter Mills
16 Posted 23/01/2018 at 21:45:52
John, Bobby Collins was just before my time so I am unqualified to make any comment on someone who was clearly a very fine player.

Unfortunately, your posts which have taken us away from our current woes have now brought us to last summer – assuming there was a little bit of thought given to how Rooney, Sigurdsson and Klaassen might assimilate into the same team, I am now desperately wondering how you are going to fit Alan Ball into yours!

Martin Nicholls
17 Posted 23/01/2018 at 22:04:22
Like Peter (#18), I never saw Bobby play for us as I did not see my first game until March 1963. I have however read a lot about him (and indeed saw him later in his career) and don't doubt what you guys say about him. My choice for No 8 would be Bally and (again like Peter!) wonder how you'll fit him in John!

Digressing slightly, Ray (#13) mentions Bobby's boot size as 4 – I too have read this. Anyone remember Willie Carlin, a scouser who played one game for (dare I say it?) the RS, but later found fame with Derby County? He was my father-in-law's cousin and I seem to remember was known for wearing the smallest boots in the Football League!

John McFarlane
18 Posted 23/01/2018 at 22:24:20
HI Ray, [13] Dave [14] Christy [15] and Peter [16] I'm still experiencing problems with my lap-top, so I've had to lump you all together.

Ray, I did hear that Bobby took a size 3 boot, but I rather think that a size 4 is nearer the mark.

Dave, I hope you understand that if I didn't have my research department, I wouldn't be able to provide so much information, I don't want to come across as a smart Alec.

Christy, the sale of Bobby and Alan Ball were probably the biggest mistakes of Harry Catterick's managerial career. There were rumours doing the rounds regarding Alan Ball's departure, Catterick was reported as saying "It will all come out in time" It's probably just as well that it hasn't.

Peter, when managers say that they enjoy having too many players to choose from, trust me they're telling lies, but then again their choice doesn't run into hundreds, and span 60 years.

Dave Abrahams
19 Posted 23/01/2018 at 22:24:45
Martin (17), Willie Carlin, yes I remember Willie well, a cracking little inside forward, very surprised he only played one game for the Reds, he was there quite a few years, nevertheless he was like Bobby Collins a fine footballer who never shirked a tackle, played for a few clubs in his career.

I think? Willie played for England schoolboys and was at Liverpool with fellow southender Ian Callaghan, I saw him in the players lounge at Nottm Forest on the day of the Bradford fire tragedy, I think his son was on Forest's books at that time, a fine little player.

Dave Abrahams
20 Posted 23/01/2018 at 22:35:54
John (18), no problems. It's best to have the true facts instead of wrong memories, and John I have met you and know you are not a smart Alec – just an Evertonian who loves the club but more importantly loves the game of football itself. Best regards to you and Josh.
John McFarlane
21 Posted 23/01/2018 at 23:09:20
Hi Martin [17] and Dave [20], I only remember Willie Carlin from his Derby County days, so I've done a little digging and I'm surprised to learn that he had such a chequered career.

Having played once for Liverpool, he was transferred to Halifax Town where he played 95 league games and scored 32 goals

He then moved to Carlisle United 93 games including 1 substitute appearance, and 21 goals.

Sheffield United 36 games 3 goals.

Derby County 89 games 14 goals.

Leicester City 31 games 1 goal.

Notts County 60 games including 3 substitute appearances 2 goals.

BB Cardiff City 22 games and 1 goal.

Not bad for a career that lasted from 1959 to 1974. Those figures do not include FA Cup fixtures.

Rick Tarleton
22 Posted 24/01/2018 at 05:57:54
I don't think I could agree more with your choice, John. He was a great favourite and also the best.

He or Colin Harvey are the best Everton players of my time and no player whom we have signed on a transfer in the past 60 years has had such an impact. Alex Young is my favourite Everton player, but Collins was simply the best.

Catterick made three terrible mistakes, he got rid of Collins, Vernon and Ball far too soon and it's no coincidence that they were all very independent men who knew their own mind.

Darren Hind
23 Posted 24/01/2018 at 06:40:39
Take a bow Johnny Mac

These articles have drawn posts from some of the most knowledgeable people on this website. Sometimes you just have to sit back and learn.

Such a refreshing change from reading painfully long winded selective "research" put up here by newer if-it-cant-be-googled-it-didn't-happen type of poster.

Well done Sir

Derek Thomas
24 Posted 24/01/2018 at 07:14:26
Rick@ 22; The same with Jimmy Gabriel.

John; Collins was my first hero and this time your favourite was the best. Just like it (nearly) was Ball and 10 others, so it was with Collins.

My first memory of him was '59 or '60 squaring up to a 6ft-3in centre-half... who had the good sense to know when he was out weighted.

I liked your bit about how he hardly touched a drop and with the current thing about the Full English Breakfast at Finch Farm, He obviously like his meat. We has a Butchers shop on County Rd, He and many of the players, mainly the Scottish ones, Parker and Brown I remember most, used to come in for with a list of stuff for their wives. I had a steady supply of autographed paper bags to sell or swap.

Collins was as hard as nails... at his size I suppose you had to be... but he was never dirty. When he went to Leeds and Revie wanted them to get in first and unsettle teams, unlike the other faux hard men like Bremner (I still laugh at that picture of a real hardman, Dave Mackay, gripping him by the collar / throat and nearly lifting him of his feet for some sly snide kick) and Revie's snide in chief, Giles... he didn't have to resort to that sort of stuff...he just was.

Catterick got rid of players who had a mind of their own... but only if he thought they had either reached their 'use by' date/age (29/30?) or he had somebody better to replace them with.

Harry couldn't or wouldn't see that 29 or 30 was no longer the end of the road for players and some, the mentally disciplined ones, who looked after themselves could and in Collins's case did play on to a high standard.

Some say the foundation for the Title in 62-63 was laid by Carey; and that Catterick just 'tweaked it' a bit. I think there was a bit more to it than that. But replace Collins he did.

Poor old Dennis Stevens suffered for years, just by virtue of not being Bobby Collins... you wouldn't think it was that hard to fill size 3 boots.

Results proved Harry right in the short term – but history in the long-term, has the final say.

How different it might've been... how would you have fitted Collins, Kay, Gabriel, Young, Ball, Harvey and Kendall all in one team between Aug 66 and May 68?

Ray Roche
25 Posted 24/01/2018 at 08:07:19
Derek (#24)

Some good comments there, Derek, about the Leeds side that Collins joined. They were all good players and had no need to play so dirty, so was it Revie who was behind that tactic?

Collins, although hard as nails, wasn't sly and underhand, or a coward like Giles who would go over the top on someone and then hide behind Charlton. The oft mentioned "Battle Of Goodison" was a prime example of their filth.

Collins, Ball etc. should never have left when they did; it makes me question just how great Catterick was... Oh! for a John Carey type manager now.

Derek Thomas
26 Posted 24/01/2018 at 10:09:09
Ray @ 25; tbf, to Harry, he was a child of his times, the 30s, 40s and 50s; Stanley Matthews aside and the medical knowlewdge back then, injuries that might require 6 months off now were, back then, career finishers.

So if he saw a mouthy player who he thought had peaked (rightly or wrongly) he then had two good reasons to move them on and if he made a profit on the deal that made three reasons. If he had a good/better, younger, player he could bring in, like Harvey, well that made for four reasons.

Carey though? He seemed a football purist of the Martinez sort...10-4?
Moores saw this, I think and brought in the more pragmatic Catterick. He rebuilt/ added/replaced Dunlop, Harris, Collins and Bingham amongst others... Then did it again over the next 6 seasons, with West, Labone and Morrissey making the cut.

So it's a Catterick we need... well actually it's John Moores I think but that's another story.

John McFarlane
27 Posted 24/01/2018 at 11:01:17
Hi Peter [16], Rick [22], Darren [23], Derek [24], and Ray [25]. I'll have to respond to your comments in a multiple post, because I'm having a bit of trouble with my lap-top, and I'll have to strike while the iron's hot.

Hi Peter, the last paragraph in my post to you should have read, "Peter, when managers say that they enjoy having too many players to choose from, trust me they're telling lies, but then again their choice doesn't run into hundreds and span 70 years. I was knocking 10 years off my life, I started going to Goodison in 1948, when I was 10 years old.

Hi Rick [22], I hadn't thought of Roy Vernon when I was talking of Catterick's mistakes, and I did suggest that there was a bit of secrecy surrounding the Alan Ball transfer. I read on another thread that were related to Nel Tarleton, my uncle Phil was a boyhood friend of Nel's, he told me that he lived off Low Hill in the vicinity of Phythian Street, and my auntie Nora claimed that she taught Nel to dance, at Peppers Dance Hall on the corner of Aubrey Street and Everton Road.

Hi Darren [23], you're a man after my own heart. I have followed ToffeeWeb for a number of years submitting the occasional post, and I am dismayed at times, at the experts who know all there is to know about the running of a football club, man management, and tactical methods.

Regarding Google, I have to confess that although I possess one or two football books, (well in fact, one or two more, than one or two,) I have used Google to get as much information as I can, but I have stated that a lot of my stuff is from obituary notices, the authors of them have access to far more than I can lay my hands on.

Hi Derek [24], when you say you liked my bit about Bobby 'hardly touching a drop I imagine that's the part where it refers to him eschewing alcohol and tobacco, I have to confess that was part of an obituary notice. I did admit to that, saying that the author could express it far better than I could.

You are right to say that Dennis Stevens got a rough deal, he was found guilty of robbing Bobby's place (in the eyes of many supporters), but I think that he did enough in the end to win the fans respect.

Hi Ray [25], I had a ring side seat, so to speak, for what you describe as 'The battle of Goodison', we always stood behind the Park End goal, because the turnstiles were the first ones we came to. Johnny Giles started the trouble by going in, shall we say 'enthusiastically,' and Sandy Brown took exception to that, and unfortunately paid the price.

Rick Tarleton
28 Posted 24/01/2018 at 11:27:51
Hi, John, yes I'm the only blue Tarleton to my knowledge, my dad and my uncle Nel and all ten Tarletons were reds. In fact one of my uncles was Norman Low who played for Liverpool and was Shankly's chief scout. My dad's family lived in 98 Gloucester Place and so Phythian Street was the next street.

I became a blue because of Dave Hickson. When my dad was home (he was a merchant seaman), he went to the match whoever was at home and so watched both teams.

My first Everton match was the famous 8-4 against Plymouth and although Parker scored four, Hickson imprinted himself on my imagination. Hickson and the fact that we were promoted and Liverpool relegated at the end of 1953-54, made me a blue an exception on both sides of my family. Although another famous uncle, Ernie Roderick was a blue, he too was married to one of the Tarleton sisters.

My dad took me to meet Bill Dean, who he knew from the thirties – Dean hated the soubriquet "Dixie" – at the Dublin Packet when I was 18. Dean was lovely and talked with me and my dad all afternoon, drinking tea after the pub closed. At the time, I possibly took the incident for granted; now, it is one of my fondest and proudest memories.

John McFarlane
29 Posted 24/01/2018 at 13:18:41
Hi Rick [28] it would appear to me that Nel and Phil must have gone to both grounds (Phil was an Evertonian), because he told me how they used to crawl under the turnstiles, and he spoke of how on one occasion a man stamped on Nel.

It's a long shot, but I wonder if any one in your extended family, is familiar with names Phil Braithwaite and Nora Traynor (my auntie's maiden name)?

To maintain the boxing connection, their daughter's father-in-law was Tony Vairo, who I believe managed Dick Tiger and Hogan 'Kid' Bassey. .

Rick Tarleton
30 Posted 24/01/2018 at 13:53:44
Hi, John, I'll see if there's any knowledge, though the cousins with whom I'm still in contact, including Nel's daughter Sandra, are all well distanced from Liverpool.

I think Phil Tarleton's family, Phil was my oldest cousin and a policeman at Harper Street, may still be in Liverpool, but I've lost contact. I remember Tony Vairo and my dad once took me to the stadium to see Dick Tiger.

In the fifties and before, I think it was common for men to go to Anfield one week and Goodison the next. Most people in the pre-Shankly era, he did change the dynamics and made both teams' supporters more xenophobic, would support the blues or the reds but possibly had the other lot as their second team.

I also agree with you about Dennis Stevens, he was abused for not being Bobby Collins and he was a marvellous player and did a lot of donkey work. At Bolton he'd been the second striker to Nat Lofthouse and he changed his game completely to fit in with Young and Vernon.

Brian Labone told a few of us that Dennis Stevens was for him the most important player in the 1962-63 title-winning season, because of the defensive cover he provided.

Can I just say what a marvellous series of threads this has been and thank-you, John, for reviving so many memories of great players and great times at Goodison Park.

Peter Mills
31 Posted 24/01/2018 at 15:44:16
John (#27), if going to Goodison since 1948 has taken only 10 years off your life, you've done well.

Looking forward to the rest of your team and your subs.

Dave Abrahams
32 Posted 24/01/2018 at 16:24:37
Derek (24) and (26), I think you are a lot nearer the truth concerning John Moores and Johnny Carey than most, in one end of season report given by the chairman John Moores, he concluded that report by saying although the season was satisfactory he would have had the players training a bit harder than the manager had. Add to this one season under Carey when they never won one away game, then it wasn't hard to understand when Mr. Carey got his comics in the taxi, and even that story although true, never got John Moores version, in Moores story after a game, Moores told Mr.Carey he wanted to speak to him in the hotel, he hailed a taxi and Johnny Carey pressed Moores for the reason he wanted to talk, so instead of Carey waiting to sit down in the hotel with a nice drink and then get his comics, he got them in a taxi, by the way Johnny Carey still had the grace to manage Everton in the next match while the new manager was "sorted out". Harry Catterick had already unexpectedly resigned from Sheffield Wed. before all this happened.

My own opinion was that Everton would have waited a long time before Johnny Carey would have won the title for us, but Johnny will have plenty of Everton fans who will disagree with my opinion.

Terry White
33 Posted 24/01/2018 at 16:37:52
John (#29) and Rick (#28 & #30), I know my Dad used to go to both grounds before the war. But getting married towards the end of the war, having additional responsibilities including a new family (i.e me), money was tight and I think he was unable to afford to go to see both teams and so had to make a decision. Since we had moved to Crosgrove Road in Walton, he was able to walk to Goodison through the Cherry Lane entrance to Anfield cemetery, easier than going further to that awful place which we shall not name, hence became a full-time Blue. Which has got me where I am now!
Ray Atherton
34 Posted 24/01/2018 at 16:45:50
Rick (#30)

My mother were friends of Harry Tarleton and his wife Mary. They were related to your Uncle Nel.

They lived in Sadler Street off Low Hill, we lived in the next street, Meaburn Street. I still see Linda (their daughter) around Old Swan.

I worked in the old Lister Drive Power Station. I met Ernie Roderick whilst working there, a lovely man.

John G Davies
35 Posted 24/01/2018 at 17:07:00
A great article again, John. I can barely remember Bobby but my dad rated him very highly and that is enough for me.

John, without being rude, was a part of your post at 27 written tongue in cheek?
Ray Roche
36 Posted 24/01/2018 at 17:07:33
Dave (#32),

Dave, whether we would have had years to wait for a trophy under Carey, well, who knows, but the football would have been worth watching.

Having said that, my favourite Everton side was the 69-70 team with the Holy Trinity in their pomp, and that was a Catterick side. That team had everything: powerful running, exquisite football and flair. Wonderful team, broken up far too soon with Ball being sold because "It was a good financial deal"...

John McFarlane
37 Posted 24/01/2018 at 17:27:45
Hi again Rick [30], The best of luck with your search regarding my Uncle Phil and Auntie Nora.

Some supporters of Everton and Liverpool, did attend both grounds, we went to Anfield hoping that Arsenal would beat them, and they came to Goodison hoping that Tottenham Hotspur would beat us. We just needed a game to go to, and if we didn't go away with our own club, we would go and watch the other lot. I would like to thank you for your kind words, and I hope the articles lighten the mood, in these difficult times.

Hi again Peter [31], I took the 10 years off myself, God knows how many years Everton have put on me. I've chosen seven substitutes, but will only use three, and I will require a manager, I have to choose one from Cliff Britton in 1948 to Sam Allardyce in 2018, It's not going to be easy.

Dave Abrahams
38 Posted 24/01/2018 at 17:33:50
Ray (36), you are correct, nobody would know how long we would have had to wait. As for the wonderful football, well one season without an away win, might have been the season we were in danger of going down. We beat Leeds 1-0 at home to erase that danger near the very end of the season.

As for Alan Ball, great player no doubt, but nobody knows the full story of why he went either. Lots of rumours, Roy Vernon, one of my favourite players, what happened there maybe Roy had too much to say which has been suggested. He went to Stoke City, so no big demand for his services It has also been said that Catterick got rid of Alex Young too soon, I think Alex's best days had long gone when he went.

Now Bobby Collins, Harry definitely got it wrong, even the fact he got more money for Bobby than what was paid for him can't disguise that fact. Then again Bobby Collins surprised many, many people with the length and success of his time with Leeds Utd and elsewhere.

John McFarlane
39 Posted 24/01/2018 at 17:57:56
Hi John. G. [35] my post on [27] was a multiple effort, so you'll have to refresh my memory, and that will give me an opportunity to decide. I trust that whatever I wrote, wasn't offensive to anyone, that has never been my intention.
Ray Roche
40 Posted 24/01/2018 at 18:39:19
Dave (#38), Collins and, in my opinion, Ball, were both sold too soon. Young, well, he was probably just past his best, but he remains my all-time favourite Everton player, just beating Ball. I don't think the Cat could stand having opinionated players and Vernon and Ball were men who would stand up for themselves, I think.

Vernon to Stoke, as you remember, Stoke used to take a lot of players just past their best and squeeze a couple of seasons out of them. It seemed to work for them,the likes of Setters, Dobing McIlroy, Vernon, Violet to mention a few, and they were usually mid to lower half of the table but kept their 1st Div status for a while with not much outlay.

Dave Abrahams
41 Posted 24/01/2018 at 20:38:51
Ray (40) yes, no doubt Collins and Ball were sold too soon. Vernon, as you say, maybe just past his best and I wouldn't mind betting Harry got a very good price for him. Did Alex Young go to a Third Division team?

Doubled his money on Ball who according to his dad in the Daily Express the day after the transfer, was absolutely delighted with the move after doubling his wages at Arsenal... might have helped to pay his gambling debts, which were rumoured at the time for Alan moving away. They were only rumours, so who knows.

You know from my posts on here, I loved all the players who were transferred and I am definitely biased where Harry Catterick is concerned, the best manager we have ever had – just my opinion of course!!!!

Ray Roche
42 Posted 24/01/2018 at 21:09:37
Dave, interesting that you say Ball was delighted to go to Arsenal. I am sure I read that Ball was devastated to be sold and his move was, basically, against his wishes. I think his biography alludes to that as well.

He was though, a big gambler. Reading his book, I was surprised to discover that he was virtually skint when he took over Southampton and when you consider that he must have been on decent money for those days, it is a bit sad that he didn't look after his cash more.

Catterick, in my mind, WAS a top manager for us; I just wish he had been a little less introverted and that he would have embraced the media as other managers did. We would certainly have more TV footage of our old heroes if he hadn't banned the cameras from Goodison Park!

Dave Abrahams
43 Posted 24/01/2018 at 21:46:55
Ray, I was just quoting what I remember Alan's dad was saying in the Daily Express the day after the transfer. Maybe Alan himself was happy with the money but sad at leaving the Toffees, he was certainly never appreciated at any other club as much as he was at Goodison Park.

Regarding Harry Catterick and the way he was certainly a very introverted person, as you say, and even alluded to that in a little dig at the man who courted and revelled in publicity, saying "Well I'm not Rob Roy",

Ray, none of us can help being the way we are, it's mostly down to the way we are, but I agree Harry's personality didn't do Everton any favours while "Travesty if Justice" got the media on Liverpool's side. Catterick, love him or not, was acting naturally while "Fish and Chips" was very contrived to me. Told you – I loved Harry. !!!!!!!

Ray Roche
44 Posted 24/01/2018 at 22:52:10
Dave, I can't argue with any of your points there, we are what we are, but wouldn't it be lovely to have a lot more footage of Vernon and Young etc?

Rob Roy... surely you don't mean Mr Shankly?

Rick Tarleton
45 Posted 24/01/2018 at 22:58:09
While it is true that not all Liverpool managers have been wild extroverts, but Shankly and happy Kloppy certainly have been. I struggle to remember an Everton manager who wasn't self-effacing (Allardyce may be the exception).

Many have been positively dour, Catterick, Lee, Smith, Moyes, Koeman et alia.There are in some ways two very different Merseysiders, Liverpool FC with their anthem, their Kop and their relentless expectant optimism are one facet of it. The other is introspective, self-critical and often downright pessimistic and it seems to find its home in our club and our supporters.

Harry Catterick was a great manager, up there with Busby, Shankley, Nicholson and Revie, yet he never looked for publicity and his sharpness and introversion did Everton few favours. The press were an enemy to him, not a group to be courted and impressed.

So, despite their periods of success in the sixties and eighties, Everton are essentially a club still based and grounded in Liverpool. Round where I live, I rarely see an Everton shirt. I see United shirts, Liverpool shirts, Chelsea shirts and yet Liverpool have been only marginally more successful than Everton over the past thirty years. We are seen as a club that belongs to Liverpool, whereas Liverpool have a base in the whole country, in Scandinavia and Ireland. Ironic when you think of the fifties and the Dublin boat packed with Everton fans.

I don't quite know where this leads us, but it does seem to me that we are not merely two clubs wearing different colours, but two aspects of the schizophrenia of our city and in fact of people in general. Dave Abrahams is hinting at the same thing in his post. Ironically in Manchester, the same split in personality was there till Middle East money transformed Man City, so maybe there's hope for us yet.

Derek Thomas
46 Posted 24/01/2018 at 23:15:25
Ray @ 42; The only time Catterick did embrace he media was on Sports Night with David Coleman one Wednesday in Nov '69. (?) Where they did a 'in depth' piece on us because we we running away with the league and at that stage. We might have been 9 pts clear... 2 pts for a win then – a bit like City now.

I think the TV ban came at his outrage when he saw the finished piece they put out.

They showed numerous clips and had Harry talking them through it all. Harry, I think, got a bit carried away with himself, seduced by the glamour and attention, not being at all media savvy like Shankly, who was it had to be said, a natural. Anyway, Harry (Inadvertently) gave away a few of our plays in his in depth analysis.

For all I know, they may have used the old trick of, "Now we're off air what do you really think?" When they asked him was it true that Sandy Brown was the only non-International in the team... they counted U23s as a big deal then. Let's just say that 'Damning with faint praise' was the order of the day.

Teams of course then targeted Sandy, his confidence and form fell away (he most likely saw the Interview too) and the icing on the cake was the famous, or is it Infamous, derby own goal... which is why Keith Newton was bought quick smart.

This didn't help his dislike of TV. He later went on to say that TV would be no good for football in the long run... and who's to say he wasn't wrong.

Dave Abrahams
47 Posted 25/01/2018 at 09:27:17
Ray (#44), yes I would definitely like to sit, watch and savour those players you mention in today's quality TV pictures and what a treat it would be for thousands of our young fans who have only read about these great players. It must be, for them, like looking at a marvellous menu without being able to order any of it.
Martin Nicholls
48 Posted 25/01/2018 at 10:03:59
Dave (#41) – Alex Young ended up at Stockport County (3rd or 4th Division at the time) but we actually sold him to Glentoran. He didn't play many games for either prior to retiring so that maybe supports the views of those who thought him to be past his best when he left us.

I agree with those who say that Collins, Vernon, Bally etc were sold too early but how things changed at our Club! We now (and have done for many years) keep players until well beyond their peak years!

Ray Roche
49 Posted 25/01/2018 at 10:09:06
Derek, another good post, I don't recall the David Coleman interview but Catterick's suspicion and dislike of the media was obvious.

And how sad that a great servant of EFC, Sandy Brown, is remembered for an own goal. A great fighter for he team and a player with much more talent, in several positions, than people remember.


We have "YouTube" and I suppose we should be thankful for that. Thing is, once I start looking at old footage, I'm lost in nostalgia for the rest of the day, getting all misty-eyed over my boyhood heroes and lost youth.

Martin Nicholls
50 Posted 25/01/2018 at 10:09:25
To add to my post (#48), have just checked and found that Young's career was ended by a knee injury. I was reminded of his failing hearing and seem to recall reading somewhere that this affected not only his balance but also his ability to listen for the approach of a defender on his blindside thus enabling him to turn away from the challenge.
Ian Burns
51 Posted 25/01/2018 at 14:33:54
Of course to John but also to Dave; Ray; Rick, Terry; Martin; Darren; John G. Peter to you all thanks for the posts. I have lived through the years since wee Bobby Collins arrived at GP and reading these nostalgic comments caused by John's excellent series brings back so many memories I could read the comments all day long.

I'm going to sit with a gin and dream for the days of yore for a while.

John McFarlane
52 Posted 25/01/2018 at 16:20:39
Hi Ian [51], it's said that you can't turn the clock back, I beg to differ, I believe 'you can in your mind'. I also feel that you are right to praise the 'boys' who have responded to the articles, because without their input my effort would have been wasted.

I'm pleased that there has been a favourable response, I had hoped that apart from reviving memories, for those who saw the players featured, it may have given the younger readers an insight into why we hold this club of ours in such high regard, and I feel that it may have created a bit of light relief in these troubled times.

Ian Burns
53 Posted 25/01/2018 at 17:18:32
Hi John, I think you have certainly achieved what you set out to do with your excellent series and your insight has been fascinating. For example I can't wait for Part 9 and the comments which will surely follow.

For the work you have put into these articles, the response from TW readers has been just reward. The series has also brought out the best in people. Those who disagree do so with respect to your choice and opinion and express their view accordingly and without rancour. It has also brought out additional information, stories and personal experiences from those who have posted, which has added so much to the thread(s).

Ray Roche makes a very good point in that it is a great shame there isn't more video footage of some of these wonderful players, as I'm sure our younger readers would get great enjoyment and probably understand why we older guys are so dewy eyed when it comes to such as Bobby Collins et al.

Thanks John and well done.

Steve Barr
54 Posted 25/01/2018 at 20:27:54
John McFarlane/Rick Tarleton,

Just been through this thread and note the reference to Tony Vairo and the Tarleton family.

I have an old report from the Echo entitled "Star -Studded Tribute" by Syd Dye about a tribute night in honour of Alan Rudkin at the Grafton Rooms.

There is an accompanying photograph (not good quality so I'm trying to get a better archive copy) which shows Tony Vairo and Brian Tarleton in attendance, along with the likes of Dixie Dean, Brian Labone, Johnny Cook, Brian McCaffrey, Reg Gutteridge and others.

Let me know if you want a copy?

Tony Abrahams
55 Posted 25/01/2018 at 20:32:46
Ian @53 I don't know if John is old enough, but I've got a picture of the great Leonard Rossiter in my head, saying who's Tommy Lawton!
Terry White
56 Posted 25/01/2018 at 22:24:38
Ian (#51), on behalf of all the TWers you mention, thank you and we are delighted that you and so many others have enjoyed this series. Of course, all the praise and thanks should go to John for putting his thoughts into print for us all to appreciate. And to give us old-timers the chance to wallow in nostalgia once again. I wonder, in 50 years time, whether the TWers of the current generation will look back and say "My favourite player" was Cuco Martina?

John is right. One's favourites aren't always the best players but they are those that capture the imagination at a time when we are at our most impressionable.

Like Ray (#49) I look at as much footage of the team as I can on YouTube and wish that there were more of the games from the '60s. Like him once I start I am in deep trouble as I find something else to look at as well. For me it's 1960s music, I never grew out of it!

John McFarlane
57 Posted 25/01/2018 at 23:59:40
Hi Tony [55], like everyone, (I should imagine) the face I see in the mirror is not the face that others see, but I don't consider myself anything like Leonard Rossiter.

It might be a good idea to ask your Dad, he has met me, and if he says there's a resemblance, then I will accept that, perhaps next time your Dad and I meet for a pre match cup of tea, you might come along. By the way I'll be 80 in July.

Hi Steve [54], thank you for the kind offer but I'm afraid I'll have to decline, I don't have any contact with my cousin these days, and as Tony Vairo was her Father-in- law I think she will have plenty of photos of him. I trust I'm not coming across as ungrateful, it's just that it would be of no use to me.

Tony Abrahams
58 Posted 26/01/2018 at 10:55:10
Sorry John, I didn't mean you looked like Rigsby, I was just guessing who your Number 9 might be.
Dave Abrahams
59 Posted 26/01/2018 at 12:22:12
John (57), no, you look nothing like Leonard Rossiter, much more handsome, maybe an older version of Tony Curtis!!!
John McFarlane
60 Posted 26/01/2018 at 12:26:38
Hi Tony [58], no offence taken, so no need for an apology. I had a shave this morning and thought I was talking to Rock Hudson, and then my young lady asked, "What do you want for breakfast Quasi?"
Steve Barr
61 Posted 26/01/2018 at 13:17:39
John, no problem.

I'm a bit of a collector/scrapbooker so I grab anything I find from the old days! I have a subscription to the online British Newspaper Archive which keeps me occupied when I'm not on ToffeeWeb!

All the best.

Terry White
62 Posted 26/01/2018 at 13:37:39
For one special day in May, even though he did not play in 100 games for the club, he played in the one that mattered.

I give you everyone's favourite Number 8... Mike Trebilcock.

Dave Abrahams
63 Posted 26/01/2018 at 14:02:55
Terry (#62), I think every Evertonian in the world would have voted for Mike that day, strangely Mike celebrated every goal he scored the same as he did for the two he scored at Wembley.

I saw him at Goodison in a night game versus Aston Villa reserves, he scored and ran half the length of the pitch with his arms outstretched, great to watch such joy at scoring in an unimportant game.

I think Mike was chosen to become one of us just for that cup final game. I hope some one is watching over us for the rest of the season and keeps us up.

A lot of us are still very worried. [Looks towards Brazil and Jay Wood...]

John McFarlane
64 Posted 26/01/2018 at 14:10:20
Hi Terry [62], you're probably right, but I felt I had to draw the line somewhere.

I have just checked Mike Trebilcock's Everton record, and it is 11 league appearances and 3 goals; 1 European appearance, 0 goals; and I'm saving the best for the last: 2 FA Cup appearances, 2 goals.

What an FA Cup career, 2 games (Semi-Final, and Final) and 2 goals. Total:14 appearances, 5 goals.

John G Davies
66 Posted 26/01/2018 at 14:18:33
Steve (#54),

A real shame the way Alan ended up. Always maintained his dignity but was a shadow of himself towards the end. His local was Ye Cracke in Rice Street of Hope Street. Sadly he was making his way home after a drink and was found dead in the street.

One of the unluckiest boxers ever in the calibre of the three opponents he fought in World title fights. In these days of alphabet titles, boxers who could not put his bandages on win World titles. One of the all-time British greats in my opinion.

Peter Mills
68 Posted 26/01/2018 at 14:40:05
Terry (#62), you know we could have a whole separate thread on that topic. Actually, your perspective on that memorable day out would probably be quite different to mine as you were a grown up, I was just a lad!
Ron Marr
69 Posted 26/01/2018 at 23:59:04
Alan Ball for me. Viewed thru my blue-tinted glasses, he was the best player to ever have kicked a football.

John I think I read somewhere you lived in Skelmersdale. Wish we'd have signed Steve Heighway, he was tipped to come to us but joined that other lot instead.

Len Hawkins
70 Posted 27/01/2018 at 00:16:35
Alan Ball certainly was not happy going to Arsenal. He phoned his Dad in tears when he was told he had been sold to Arsenal. His Dad said something like "They obviously don't want you, son".

Not only was Bally in tears – I don't mind admitting I was too.

Ron Marr
71 Posted 27/01/2018 at 00:41:03
Agreed. That definitely was my worst day as an Everton fan.

Don Alexander
72 Posted 27/01/2018 at 01:28:08
I was 16 when he was sold. So amazing was it that it was one of the head-line items on the national TV/radio news that day! That's how I heard about it and I remember my dad being a stunned as I was.

England played Belgium just before Catterick got rid of him, and won. I remember the Belgian manager saying to the media that they'd had to play two teams that day, "England and Alan Ball" in his words.

Summed Bally up – Legend!!!

Terry White
73 Posted 27/01/2018 at 02:08:31
Peter (#68), as you know we travelled to Wembley on separate coaches from Southport.

After our coach arrived back, Bill James and I had to wait for hours standing in shop doorways and being questioned by the local constabulary as to our intents waiting for you drunken lot to make it home!

Different perspective indeed!

Terry White
74 Posted 27/01/2018 at 03:52:19
John (#64 & 65), without Mike's 2 goals that day, Derek Temple would not have had his moment of glory.
Peter Mills
75 Posted 27/01/2018 at 10:02:25
Terry (#73), talking of Southport, it's 50 years since our 3rd round tie at Haig Avenue. I was at the match, I can't remember if you were.

There is an article recalling it on the Echo website, including a quotation from the referee to the Southport centre forward after he clattered Gordon West – “Mr Redrobe, I'm going to book you, because if I don't I'll never get out of this ground alive, and you'll be lynched by those mad Evertonians”.

Rick Tarleton
76 Posted 27/01/2018 at 16:28:50
Hi, John again. I checked with Sandra, Nel's daughter and unfortunately she couldn't help me with the names.

Sorry about that. We're all getting to be a bit old. Love this series of posts.

Terry White
77 Posted 27/01/2018 at 19:58:07
Peter (#75), I did not make the game at Southport, didn't Joe Royle score the only goal? The only ties I saw in that Cup year were the quarter final at Leicester, the semi v Leeds at OT, and the rather sad day out to the final.
Peter Mills
78 Posted 27/01/2018 at 21:08:57
Terry (#77), I made it to every round apart from Carlisle away. It was a good Cup run, I still blame the brand new Puma boots we wore at Wembley for our slippery performance and Jimmy Husband's heading aberration.
Steve Barr
79 Posted 27/01/2018 at 21:11:29
John @#66 spot on regarding Rudkin.

I follow a daily boxing talk show here in the USA, broadcast out of New York, and they are often critical of current day boxers' tendency to duck other top class fighters so they build a winning record. Back in Alan's day, boxers wanted to test themselves against the best to prove themselves.

In addition to the three greats he fought for world titles (any one of them probably rank in the all time top 10 bantams ever) he also fought Walter McGowan and Johnny Clark a couple of times, each for British and Commonwealth titles!

An all time great.

Come on West Brom!

John G Davies
80 Posted 28/01/2018 at 00:16:14

A few of his mates from his amateur days at The Gloves under Dougie Pomford looked after Alan royally in his later days. A great club the Golden Gloves, produced some top amateurs. George Turpin one of my favourites

Ken Kneale
81 Posted 28/01/2018 at 00:17:27
I like the reference to the Southport game. Just look at the team we fielded that day and compare to the current mob.

Catterick had faults as we all do but in the main his record is exceptional and no doubt overlooked by the media because of his distance from most journalists. Reading Rob Sawyer's excellent book, I think he realised his approach could have been different much later in life but what a team builder in his prime.

My early recollections of being a blue started with the 1966 Cup win then the assembly of the fantastic footballing unit we enjoyed till the European Cup and FA cup losses of 1971. As Joe Royle said, a team died that week. Will we ever see football of that calibre again?

Derek Thomas
82 Posted 28/01/2018 at 01:07:42
Ken @81; I went to that game. Bingham who was the manager, obviously had a grudge/point to prove. He sent out their big forward Redrobe to rough up Westy, knowing he was prone to the odd 'handbag' moment. In fact the whole team were out to get their retaliation in first.

But The Team and West were on to this and showed extra restraint... West just met Redrobe shoulder to shoulder and laughed at him, led him a merry dance...

One time, the ball was rolling over the goal line and West went to pick it up to keep it in. Redrobe came steaming in to clatter him once... or maybe even just before West had the ball in his hands – keepers were a lot less protected then – West just stepped over the ball and left it. In came Redrobe to where West should've been only to hit fresh air, the only thing he clattered were the press photographers.

He also caught him... 'accidentally' of course, round the earhole, when throwing the ball out over arm... cue bitter, but futile complaints to the Ref.

They gave up this Plan A, no Plan B after a bit and we could then play enough football to see them off.

Then as now, you have to win the 'fight ball' to earn the right to play your 'football'.

Ken Kneale
83 Posted 28/01/2018 at 09:37:10
Great memories Derek @82. As you allude to, that particular Everton team had character and characters led by a manger who – whatever his outward personality displayed – was totally dedicated to the Everton cause.
Dave Abrahams
84 Posted 28/01/2018 at 15:34:19
Steve (54), just noticed this post re tribute to Alan Rudkin at the Grafton and two of the former boxers who attended that night, Johnny Cooke and Brian McCaffrey, what a fight they put on in Manchester for the British Welterweight title. 15 non-stop rounds of intense fighting added to skill, outstanding courage with the fight ebbing and flowing from one to the other, Johnny got the verdict but there were no losers that night and the crowd certainly got their money's worth, two great fighters.

Johnny would have made a great boxing coach as well. I had a mate, we grew up together, who boxed at The Maple Leaf boxing club with Johnny and also in Johnny Campbell's boxing stable in Birkenhead with Johnny Cooke and he said, every time he sparred with Johnny Cooke, he learned something.

You can catch the Cooke - McCaffrey fight on YouTube, well worth watching.

Tony Hill
85 Posted 28/01/2018 at 16:10:17
Dave, just had a look. Absolutely fantastic, relentless fight. I like the fact that they're shown as one coming from Liverpool and the other from Bootle. I confess I'd forgotten about this one – thanks for the reminder. Both a credit to the city.
Dave Abrahams
86 Posted 28/01/2018 at 19:37:24
Tony (#85), yes, two very good boxers who always gave of their best and I think they are both still going. Last time I saw Brian was in St Anthony's Church in Scotland Road giving a eulogy for one of the most underrated footballers ever to come from Liverpool, Larry Carberry.

Larry was a very humble and unassuming man you could ever hope to meet. I used to have a drink with him in Ned Kelly's (now The Sovereigns Cross) and not many people in the pub would recognise him, yet he had three Championship medals for the 1st Division, 2nd Division, and 3rd Division South with Ipswich town. When he retired from football, he worked on the docks.

Alf Ramsay, his old manager at Ipswich, said of him: "There are only three or four people from football that I would invite to my house and Larry Carberry is one of them". Larry and Brian McCaffrey grew up together around Scotland Road; both were a credit to that area, along with many others.

John McFarlane
87 Posted 28/01/2018 at 20:01:33
Hi Dave, although I have no interest in boxing, I worked with Harry Scott, and Jimmy Lloyd. Jimmy played football for me when I ran a team in the Skelmersdale Sunday League, and I worked with Harry in the Bitish Enka in Aintree.

I was always of the opinion that most boxers would be 'no-goods', if their aggression wasn't directed down the right channels, but I can honestly say that both Harry and Jimmy, were gentleman. Sadly neither of them are with us now.

Dave Abrahams
88 Posted 28/01/2018 at 20:25:44
John. (87), Harry Scott was, as you say a gentleman, very quiet out of the ring, a good Evertonian, he trained now and again at Bellefield and Goodison Park.

In the ring, Harry fought some of the best middleweight boxers around at that time including, Rubin Carter, Chris Finnegan, Nino Benvenuti, Emile Griffith,Alan Minter and Lassoing Papp, not sure if he fought Terry Downes, he never fought for the British title, lost three eliminators for this title, another fighter who always gave value for money in his fights and maybe he was too brave for his own good.

John, a lot of boxers were gents outside the ring and never took advantage of their boxing capabilities, but I knew one or two who were "not very nice to know".

Steve Barr
89 Posted 28/01/2018 at 20:47:39

In fact Harry Scott is in the picture I referenced above at the Alan Rudkin tribute.

As well as Brian McCaffrey, Johnny Cook, Brian Labone and Dixie, already mentioned, the picture includes Tommy and Jimmy Molloy with my granddad Dickie Burke, Terry Spinks and a few names I don't know. Maybe you guys know who they were? Frank Hope, Tommy McArdle and George Brown.

Not in the picture but in attendance were Roger Hunt, Wally Thom, Joey Singleton, Stan Rowan and Pat Dwyer. Ernie Roderick and Peter Kane were invited but couldn't attend on the night, which I'm guessing was in the late 1970s.

What a turn out for Alan Rudkin!

Dave Abrahams
90 Posted 28/01/2018 at 21:32:12
Steve (#89), Frank Hope was the middleweight amateur boxer who fought, along with Alan Rudkin and Billy Walker, in the Great Britain team, or was it an England team, that whitewashed The USA boxing team 10-0.

Tommy McCardle (I think) ran a club in Temple Court, off Dale Street. You had to wear a tie to get in – this was in the sixties. He was an uncle of Eddie Palmer, an amateur heavyweight boxer who fought for the Golden Gloves if I'm not mistaken; I don't know George Brown.

McCardle's club, if it is the same Tommy McCardle, was a very well known place to go and, on a Thursday night after the boxing show at the Stadium, many personalities would show up there.

One night, Terry Downes came in with Harry Carpenter, had a good chat to Harry, and on another occasion, Alan Ball came in with Howard Kendall, Ball having a bit of banter with everyone, Howard sitting there like a choir boy nursing a glass of lager.

A Liverpudlian said to Bally "Smithy will have you in his pocket on Saturday." Everton were playing Liverpool that weekend... Bally said to the Liverpool fan, "That's all Smithy will see of me on Saturday," pointing to his arse. Even the Liverpool fans laughed.

John McFarlane
91 Posted 28/01/2018 at 22:39:54
Dave [88] and Steve [89], I was in a bit of a rush earlier, I can add a little bit more on this post.

It was kin late 1959, that I bought three tickets from Harry for a fight night at the Stadium, I presume that Harry who I believe was a middle weight, was still an amateur, and in order to fix him up with a fight, he was matched against against Ray Shiel a heavyweight from St Helens, and Harry actually won the bout.

I worked with Jimmy in a factory in Skelmersdale, and he brought the bronze medal he won at the 1960 Rome Olympics, into work to show me, he lost in the semi-final to Nino Benvenuti,

Benvenuti went on to win the gold medal. Jimmy told me that Benvenuti was later to win a world title as a professional.

When I was involved with the football, I used to write the match reports for the Skelmersdale Reporter and the Ormskirk Advertiser, I was a postman at the time, and the weekend before Christmas I had to work Saturday and Sunday to handle the volume of mail. Jimmy scored his only goal for the club that weekend, but unfortunately I missed the printing deadline, and he never let me forget it.

As I said in my previous post, two gentlemen, but I got to know Jimmy better than Harry, I knew Harry as a workmate, but Jimmy and I became firm friends.

It would appear that the Bobby Collins thread has run its course, so I'll put the finishing touches to Part 9. [Watch this space.]

Steve Barr
92 Posted 28/01/2018 at 22:53:32
John, probably a fitting end to the Bobby Collins thread. Finishing talking about a real fighter on the pitch with fighters in the ring!

BTW Dave Abrahams, you should write a history about Liverpool and its great characters. You know more about the Liverpool scene than any source I found on the internet!

John, your thread has, for me at least, become more than football and is bringing back great memories of Liverpool in general which is great for an exile like me now living in the USA. Looking forward to Part 9.

Rick Tarleton
93 Posted 29/01/2018 at 09:29:44
My uncle George was involved with Frank Hope, but the poor lad's career ended before it began when he developed epilepsy.
John G Davies
94 Posted 29/01/2018 at 12:43:28
Dave, some great memories of boxers you have posted, you spoke about boxers generally having good principles, being gentlemen and not taking liberties. Most of them are like that. One or two Bullies though unfortunately.
Steve Barr
95 Posted 29/01/2018 at 13:46:27

Thanks for that bit of info on Frank Hope.

I did a bit more digging and came up with the following paragraph in an old Echo report, which answers Dave's query in #90 above:

"Hope went into local folklore in 1955 when he became the first Liverpool boxer to win an ABA senior title, beating Bootle's Dave Rent to the honour by a few minutes. He took the middleweight crown, with Rent next in the ring to capture the light-heavy crown.

A product of the St Teresa's ABC, Hope was national schools champ, ABA youth champion, boxed in the Olympic trials for the Helsinki Games and was watched by millions on TV as he helped England to a famous international victory over USA in 1955.

By the way, Rick, I take it Brian Tarleton was a relative of yours?

John McFarlane
96 Posted 29/01/2018 at 14:21:37
Hi Steve [95] if you have access to Liverpool Echo, could I be cheeky; and ask if it's possible for you to do a little digging on my behalf?

For years I have had a mental picture in my mind of both Gordon West, and Andy Rankin having to play out of goal because of injury, both operating at outside left, in what we used to term as 'nuisance value'.

Both would have taken place before substitutions were allowed, and the relevant dates are, for Gordon West, 9 November 1963 [Blackburn Rovers] and for Andy Rankin, 12 December 1964, [Stoke City] only one person I have mentioned this to, agrees with the Andy Rankin incident, but no-one can recall the Gordon West incident.

I appreciate that it is asking a lot of you, but if you could clear it up one way or another, I would be forever in your debt.

Lawrence Green
97 Posted 29/01/2018 at 14:39:40
John (#96), Evertonresults.com agree with you about Rankin against Stoke City in December 1964 but don't mention anything of note about Gordon West in November 1963 against Blackburn. Tony Kay was sent off in that game though.

Stoke 1964

Blackburn 1963

Steve Barr
98 Posted 29/01/2018 at 14:52:23

Can't find any reference to Gordon playing out but, as Lawrence confirms, it looks like Andy Rankin played out for a short period v Stoke as per the following report I found under this url: http://www.sportinggenes.com/andyrankin.html#64-65:

" Full-back Ray Wilson returned to Everton's side for the home game against Stoke on Saturday, 12th December, after an absence of nearly four months through injury. The team was:

Rankin; Brown, Wilson; Gabriel, Labone, Harris; Scott, Harvey, Pickering, Vernon, Temple.

Everton went ahead after 16 minutes, with several good saves by Andy helping to keep the lead at the interval. However, seven minutes into the second-half, Andy was injured diving to save at the feet of one of the Stoke forwards. He had to leave the field for treatment and Brown took his place in goal. Ten minutes after being taken off, Andy returned with a bandage on his left forearm and went to the left-wing. Brown made several good saves but was beaten with 13 minutes to go."

I will keep digging re Gordon but the National Newspaper archive only has the Liverpool Echo online up to 1945 at the moment!

Lawrence Green
99 Posted 29/01/2018 at 15:06:54
Hi John a little more information, According to Evertonia in one of the home games following Blackburn, '
The games we have played in the past fortnight can scarcely be said to have the happiest memories for Everton. The Blackburn fiasco was quite a shock. A hard game was anticipated in view of Rovers' improvement this season but few expected the visitors to take such an early lead and then go on to emphasise it to the extent of building up a headway of three goals before Everton could reply. However, the most serious event of this half from Everton's point of view was the injury to Jimmy Gabriel. We wish Jimmy a speedy return to his place in the team.

Alex Young opened our scoring account against the Rovers but Blackburn recovered their three goal lead when Pickering completed his hat-trick. Everton found the going even harder after losing the services of Tony Kay but had the last if ineffective, word when Derek Temple found the net a few minutes before the end. Definitely a game to forget.

From the following years Evertonia: -

It was after only three minutes that Fred Pickering opened the scoring for Blackburn in last season's game. Twenty minutes later the same man scored a great goal to increase his side's lead and bring on the Goodison gloom. Left-winger Harrison registered Rovers' third goal before Alex Young opened Everton's account with a goal after half-an-hour.

Everton came more into the game after this although their labours were not rewarded with any more goals for the time being. Indeed, it was again the visitors who scored the next goal - and Fred Pickering scored it.

Although Everton did what they could in the circumstances (Jimmy Gabriel) had been a limping passenger for most of the game., in addition to other troubles) it was not until only five minutes remained that our second goal went in. This was a header from Derek Temple and the effort completed the scoring for the afternoon.

John McFarlane
100 Posted 29/01/2018 at 17:20:06
Hi Lawrence [97 & 99] and Steve [98], thank you for your efforts on my behalf, the only reason that I thought the Blackburn Rovers game might yield some information, is because, following that game, Gordon West was absent until 25 January 1964 in a 1-1 FA Cup draw versus Leeds United, at Elland Road.

There's something I'm 100% certain of, but can't get anyone to verify, is that the ground until the late fifties at least, was painted green and cream – what we used to call Corporation colours, the livery of the buses.

Once again, Lawrence and Steve, many thanks for your assistance.

Peter Mills
101 Posted 29/01/2018 at 18:39:06
Hi John, I appreciate I am not adding much, but I do remember seeing Andy Rankin play on the left wing. I think his arm was in a sling.

I would have said it was a night match as it was under the floodlights, but mid-December would have seen the lights on, at least for the second half.

Steve Barr
102 Posted 29/01/2018 at 19:06:55
John, while looking up the Andy Rankin incident you mentioned, I discovered the fact that two of Andy's relatives also played for Everton.

Bruce Rankin played 398 times for us between 1901-1906 and a George Rankin notched up 39 appearances between 1950 and 1956.

Seems like he came from a great sporting family with a couple of other relatives playing non league at Marine and another a decent rugby player.

Amazing what you can dig up!

Lawrence Green
103 Posted 29/01/2018 at 19:18:25
John, in regards to Gordon West's omission in the games following Blackburn, it looks as if he was dropped in favour of Andy Rankin.

At Nottingham Forest last Saturday there were some changes in the team. Andy Rankin made his senior debut in goal in place of Gordon West and Brian Harris came in at right-half in place of the injured Jimmy Gabriel.

Nottingham Forest centre-forward Frank Wignall went all-out to do well against his old club and caused our rearguard some worrying moments during the game. Forest attacked well in the first half and when Everton took the lead five minutes before the interval it came as some surprise. Brian Harris was happy to put the ball in the Nottingham net.

Five minutes after half-time Everton went further ahead with a good goal from Roy Vernon. The Blues now had the upper hand in the game and were playing good football. However, all was not finished. Brian Labone was injured with 20 minutes to go and had to leave the field. He returned to play in the forwards but a big shake-up of positions had to be made.

As if this wansn't bad enough Alex Parker had to come off injured a few minutes later. Everton were thus down to nine fit men. It was at that point that Nottingham were able to take advantage of our misfortunes and they drew level with two goals in as many minutes from Jeff Whitefoot.

All credit to the Everton team, and Andy Rankin in particular, for preventing Forest going into the lead in the hectic final ten minutes.

Steve Barr
104 Posted 29/01/2018 at 19:43:38
Sorry, that's 38 appearances by Bruce Rankin!
Rick Tarleton
105 Posted 29/01/2018 at 19:52:34
Stephen Barr. Brian was Nel's eldest son, my cousin; he died a few years ago now, but his twin sister Sandra is still going strong.

That Blackburn game in 1963 was quite a game. When Kay was sent off, the mood was as ugly as I can remember in Goodison Park.

Brian Douglas on whom Kay committed his foul had been provoking Everton players all afternoon. It was raining and it may even have been thundering and as the game drew to its close, Blackburn were being booed for everything.

I was in the old Paddock and Mike Harrison, the Blackburn winger, was going down the touchline towards the Stanley Park end, when an object was thrown at him from the paddock, Harrison stopped dead. I think he suspected it was a brick.

An old khaki knapsack which working men all carried in them days floated to the ground and all of us in the paddock were laughing at Harrison, who'd lost the ball and it had gone for a goal kick.

Harrison picked up the knapsack , grinned and handed it back into the crowd.He got a round of applause and helped to make things a little lighter.

John McFarlane
106 Posted 29/01/2018 at 20:08:29
Hi again Steve [102] and Lawrence [103]. Steve you've obviously hit the wrong button, Bruce Rankin was a winger who played 38 times for Everton and scored 7 goals. I actually saw George Rankin play, he was a left-back, and he made 39 appearances for Everton, I believe he was a nephew of another Everton full back, George 'Stonewall' Jackson.

Lawrence, I must be truthful, although I would undoubtedly have seen the Blackburn Rovers game, but I have no recollection of it, I think it's asking a lot to expect to remember all the games you attend in a lifetime of watching Everton [well, that's my excuse]. Even reading the account that you have furnished, I'm afraid the game is hidden in the depths of my mind.

However, I would like to thank you for taking the time to help me, I will probably have to admit that Gordon West spending some time on the left wing, is a figment of my imagination.

Keith Dempsey
107 Posted 29/01/2018 at 21:14:34
Hearing about Andy Rankin and Gordon West brings to mind a certain goalkeeper called Fred Barber, I think we got him from Darlington in the mid 80's.

He ended up playing at my local team Peterborough and became a crowd favourite – not because of his performances... but because he always ran out wearing a scary theatrical mask.

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