Jack Humphreys – Blue Dragon

The story of the Welsh centre-half who at one time was keeping Goodison great T.G. Jones out of the Everton team.

Rob Sawyer 13/11/2017 47comments  |  Jump to last
Jack Humphreys

Jack Humphreys (courtesy Humphreys family)

Tommy “T.G.” Jones is rightly hailed as an Everton great yet, for the post-war phase of his 14-year association with the Blues, he frequently found himself relegated to reserve team football. Although club politics and injury problems played a role in this state of affairs, so too did the form of T.G.'s fellow Welsh centre-half, Jack Humphreys.

The son of the headmaster of Llandudno's Dyffryn Road Primary School, Jack (christened John Vaughan Humphreys) attended Friars School Grammar School in Bangor. As a teenager he played football for Llandudno Town in the Welsh League North. He became a student at Loughborough College, renowned as a centre of sporting excellence. Here he captained the university's Athletics Union and was selected for a Varsity representative football team. With the advent of the Second World War, Jack enlisted with the Army, seeing action as a bombardier in France. Whilst serving he made frequent appearances in Army football teams.

In 1942 Jack wrote to Everton requesting a trial. As a result, he was one of over 70 applicants put through their paces under the watchful eye of the Club Secretary, Theo Kelly.  Don Kendall, writing as Pilot in the Evening Express on 20 August noted:

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“Among these taking part were John Grant, an inside forward of High Spen, County Durham. He signed for Everton as an amateur before the war, but has never played for the Goodison Park club. He will, however, assist the club this season. Other amateurs who will assist the club are Humphreys a half back, who has represented Combined Universities in representative Red Cross games.”

Less than a fortnight later, after he had “played a brilliant game”, according to one newspaper report, for the reserves, 21 year-old Jack was called-up to the first team against Manchester United at Maine Road (Old Trafford being unavailable, having sustained bomb damage). With T.G. Jones and Joe Mercer unable to get leave from their military duties, Jack debuted at right-half in the Wartime League fixture. Pilot noted prior to the match that Theo Kelly “is convinced he will make the grade.” Although Everton lost the match 2-1, Ranger, writing in the Liverpool Echo, noted that: “The amateur J.V. Humphreys made a splendid debut, for he tackled heartily and made good use of the ball.”

In his home debut, a narrow win over Burnley, Jack received praise from observers. Pilot wrote in the Evening Express: “Humphreys certainly passed the test with honours. He took not the slightest risk, always accepting discretion as the better part of valour, and so we saw little of him as an attacker. But in defence he was grand, and his display must be a source of gratification to the Everton officials if that injury to Tom Jones is serious. Humphreys will prove a worthy deputy when needed.”

Whereas T.G. Jones was a football purist's centre-half, being ice-cool in possession and adept and setting up attacks, Jack conformed to the centre-half template of the era. Big and strong, his focus was on protecting the back line through strong tackling and aerial dominance. It would be wrong, however, to view him merely as a typical hatchet-man.

Jack's wartime appearances would be restricted by his army duties and he would sometimes appear as a guest for Chelsea and Crystal Palace when billeted in the south of England.

Post-war, with a discontented T.G. Jones struggling with a recurring ankle complaint and seeking a transfer away from Goodison, Jack was often the preferred choice as Everton's centre-half.   Over the course of four seasons, with Everton's fortunes nose-diving, both Welsh centre-halves would get prolonged runs, at the other's expense, in the first team. Jack was rewarded for his consistency when called up, in place of his injured club-mate, for his country's fixture against Ireland in April 1947. Lining up for the opposition at Windsor Park were fellow Evertonians Alex Stevenson, Peter Farrell and Tommy Eglington. In the summer months, Jack, an able cricketer, regularly appeared for Llandudno and Conwy. He is also understood to have had a trial with Lancashire C.C.

1946-47 Everton squad with Jack Humphreys back row, far right (courtesy Humphreys family)

With T.G. Jones back in the team, and awarded the club captaincy for the 1949/50 season, Jack's thoughts turned to leaving Everton in pursuit of regular first-team football (the club rebuffed a £12,000 offer from Plymouth Argyle). It was Jack's misfortune that when T.G. Jones fell out of favour irrevocably with Cliff Britton, during the festive season he was struggling with a leg injury. Ted Falder claimed the number 5 shirt, instead.

That summer Jack passed up on the opportunity to join the ranks of British footballers plying their trade in Columbia's non-FIFA sanctioned league. The Millonarios club of Bogota offered a £4,000 signing-on fee and £100 a month but Jack was not tempted. The following season, with T.G. Jones departed for Pwllheli, competition for the centre-back berth was between Ted Falder, Jack and another Tommy Jones — T.E. Jones. With Jones injured the previous week, Jack was called up for his first appearance of the season in the Merseyside derby — it would prove to be his 61st and final peacetime Everton appearance.  The 3-1 defeat to the neighbours was not a happy occasion for player or club. Pilot, in the Evening Express, pointed to rustiness on Jack's part:

“It was unfortunate for Jack Humphreys that he should be recalled to face such a live effective attacking force as that of the Stubbins-moulded Liverpool line, but that is the luck of the game. Grant and Farrell covered a lot of ground in chasing the Liverpool shadows, and did well, but the defence never revolved efficiently around a Humphreys who, I thought, gave Stubbins a little too much room (or did Stubbins take it?).”

Jack was dropped in favour of Ted Falder for the next fixture and after that acted either as 12th man for the first team (in an era before substitutes) or played for the Central League side. Everton board minutes in October 1950 recorded that Jack was suffering from influenza but, perhaps, this was an early indication of the onset of tuberculosis which would ultimately claim his life. He was released by Everton at the end of the 1950/51 season and re-signed with Llandudno Town (Everton retained Jack's Football League registration, so as to collect a transfer fee if Jack ever returned to the English game). At Llandudno Jack would come up against T.G. Jones in matches against Pwllheli FC. Later he would briefly manage Colywn Bay before ill-health forced him to step-down.

In spite of his condition, Jack insisted on being present at Maine Road to cheer on Everton when his former club took on Bolton Wanderers in the 1953 FA Cup semi-final.  That year he was sent to convalesce at a sanatorium near Caernarfon. Leading up to Christmas he was visited there by former Everton teammates, including captain Peter Farrell. Farrell would later recall that one of Jack's main concerns when they met was Everton's chances of gaining promotion back to the First Division.  Before the Blues played their promotion-clinching game against Oldham at the 1953/54 season's climax, Jack sent the following telegram message to his former brothers in arms: “Get back where you belong tonight.”

Jack Humphreys in Welsh cap and shirt

Jack Humphreys (courtesy Humphreys family)

Jack would ultimately lose his fight against tuberculosis, passing away on 21 September 1954, aged just 34.  Peter Farrell, in his Liverpool Echo column described the sadness felt at Jack's former club by his passing:

“At lunch time last Tuesday, as the Everton players were having their mid-day meal; Trainer Harry Cooke gave us the tragic news that Jack Humphreys had just died. The reaction on those of us who were former team mates of his and those who were not was that of silence and obvious sorrow for a moment or two, before audibly expressing our regret of the untimely passing of our old friend, Jack. He was very popular among the players and staff at Goodison Park and was a great Evertonian...To his widow, mother and relatives from all Evertonians, our very deepest sympathy on your loss of a really great guy.”

Jack was laid to rest at St Tudno's Church cemetery on the Great Orme. Everton's directorate sanctioned a £50 donation to help his widow, Blodwen, cope with the financial hardship her husband's passing had brought-on. The club also gave its endorsement to the consideration of a grant by the Football League Jubilee Benevolent Fund for former players (and their dependents). Three years later Blodwen approached the Jubilee Fund again for assistance.  Everton's board minutes record that the then-Head Coach, Ian Buchan, was instructed to check on her circumstances. With that done, the club, once more, petitioned the Fund on her behalf.

Jack's step-son, Gerry, would follow in his step-father's footsteps to Goodison — joining as an apprentice in 1961. In spite of scoring a memorable goal against Leicester City, the winger was restricted by the likes of Jimmy Husband to just 14 first-team starts, including two in the 1969/70 championship season. In 1970 he joined Crystal Palace before returning north a year later to Crewe Alexandra. He subsequently wound down his career at Rhyl FC. Gerry remains an Evertonian and follows the Toffees' fortunes closely.

Playing Career:

Everton: 61 peacetime and 50 wartime appearances
Crystal Palace: 25 wartime appearances
Chelsea — 1 wartime appearance

Gerry Humphreys
Billy Smith (www.bluecorrespondent.co.uk)
Who's Who of Welsh International Soccer Players by Gareth M. Davies and Ian Garland (Bridge Books)
Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Evening Express
Everton Board Minutes

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Reader Comments (47)

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Brian Porter
1 Posted 15/11/2017 at 07:10:21
Great article Rob. Sad there have been no other comments so far. These were 'real' men, playing for peanuts by today's standards but they did it week in, week out for the simple fact that they loved the game.

So tragic that Jack's life ended while he was barely in the prime of life. A great detailed piece. Some of today's overpaid Prima Donna's would be well advised to read it.

John McFarlane [Snr]
2 Posted 15/11/2017 at 11:42:19
As an active supporter of Everton in those far off days, (1948) although not claiming to have seen every home game, my memories are rather dim, and rapidly growing dimmer by the day.

I do feel, as hinted in the article, that Jack's chances of first team appearances were strictly limited by the emergence of Ted Falder, and Tommy (T E) Jones.

It warms my heart to read of life at Goodison in those long gone days, and that what are only names to the modern day supporter (in some publication or other), can take people of my age back to our pre-teenage years.

Steve Ferns
3 Posted 15/11/2017 at 11:57:25
Great read, as ever Rob.

John, any chance of you writing a profile or two of your favourite players from your teenage years? You only have to look at how much is lost now to see how we need to cherish the accounts of even the most famous of players.

Dave Abrahams
4 Posted 15/11/2017 at 12:47:18
I saw Jack a few times and as a very young fan was always impressed that we had two Welsh international centre-backs playing for Everton at the same time.

I remember his stepson Gerry and that spectacular goal he scored against Sheffield Wed. a really outstanding goal.

Until reading this article I never realised that Jack had died so young, what a tragedy at 34.

John McFarlane [Snr]
5 Posted 15/11/2017 at 15:28:55
Hi Steve [3] My favourite player in that era was Wally "Nobby" Fielding, but I'm afraid that I have no "stand out" individual memory of him, for example the scoring of a winning goal etc.

I could obviously detail his playing career but that's available via Wickipedia, or in books on Everton.

I also wonder if there is a call for that kind of information, because becoming increasingly bored of the speculation surrounding the appointment of a new Manager, I gate crashed the thread "Watford not interested in approach for Silva"

I submitted a post [106] concerning some Liverpool supporters, expressing displeasure over their team surrendering a two goal lead, and insisting that no side managed by Bill Shankly would be guilty of such "dereliction of duty"

In that post. I related how Huddersfield Town managed at the time by Bill Shankly, actually led 10 man Charlton Athletic 5-1 with 27 minutes to go before losing 7-6, Charlton had lost their centre half Derek Ufton after i5 minutes of play.

While appreciating that the thread was dedicated to the appointment of a new Manager, I had hoped for some reaction, but the last time I looked there had been 237 postings, but not one referred to Charlton Athletics incredible achievement.

If you didn't see the posting Steve, it's [106] on that particular thread. Regarding your query, if you think there's mileage in such a posting, I'll see if I can come up with something.
Best wishes John.

Steve Ferns
6 Posted 15/11/2017 at 16:55:42
There certainly is John. But ToffeeWeb would require you to submit it as an article. I'm sure Michael or Lyndon will read this soon, and would invite you to submit such an article.

All Evertonians love their history, we have to or we can't sing that song!

Stephen Brown
8 Posted 15/11/2017 at 22:13:08
I wonder if in 60 years time I'll be able to write about our great Welsh centre-half, Ashley Williams, who lifted the 2018, 2019 and 2020 FA Cups followed by the 2021 Premier League?

Great article – keep them coming!!

John McFarlane [Snr]
9 Posted 16/11/2017 at 13:18:35
Hi Tony {4] you have caused me a restless night, I can only recall one Gerry Humphreys goal, and that was a screamer in the Park End, in a 7-1 win over Leicester City, and if memory serves me right the keeper was a youthful Peter Shilton.

You may remember Dave, the metal attachments secured to the posts to keep the nets in place, well the power of the shot fired in from the old Paddock side of the ground, was such that it caused the ball to lodge in the attachment.

The only other time I can recall that happening, was when Ronnie Moran did the same thing, from a free kick, taken from the same side of the ground and ending up to the left of the keeper, it must have been in a Liverpool Senior Cup Final.

You are absolutely right when you say that Gerry Humphreys scored against Sheffield Wednesday, but I honestly can't remember it, if it was a superb effort [as you say it was] he joins Ronnie Goodlass in scoring only two league goals, each of which was spectacular.

I used to run an Everton Travel Club from Skelmersdale, to every home and away game, and while I witnessed Ronnie's goal direct from a corner, at Roker Park, illness prevented me from seeing his goal, fired in from a distance against West Ham United at Upton Park.

I racked my brains in last night, trying to recall Gerry Humphreys' other goal, and I was forced to go to the research department this morning, and unearthed the following.

In the Sheffield Wednesday game, the scorers were Gerry Humphreys, Jimmy Husband, and Joe Royle [penalty], and in the Leicester City game, the scorers were, Joe Royle [3], Alan Ball, Gerry Humphreys, John Hurst, and Jimmy Husband [penalty].

I'm afraid I can't even remember what they used to prescribe for what was deemed, "night starvation" but hopefully I won't need it for a while.

I read in the Echo that they have stopped selling tickets for the Atalanta game, did you manage to gert one?

Alan McGuffog
10 Posted 16/11/2017 at 13:28:03
John, the Gerry Humphreys goal against Wednesday was probably the best goal I have ever seen. The ball played across the edge of the area, Street End, on the Goodison Road side. First time into top corner on the Bullens Road side. The late great Ron Springett nowhere near it.

A close second would be the Hungarian, Vargas (?), into the Street End when the Magyars beat Brazil in 1966.

Tom Bowers
11 Posted 16/11/2017 at 13:31:31
You mean Everton still have to play a Europa game?

Probably put the 'B' team out that night. Oh, I forgot, they don't know where the 'A' team is anyway.

Joking aside, it will be just a night to play those guys who have a point to prove and the result doesn't matter except for pride which has been devoid in some players' performances to date.

Dave Abrahams
12 Posted 16/11/2017 at 14:07:59
John (#9), yes I've got a ticket for the game. We can meet in St Luke's church, hopefully it will be serving refreshments as there is no bus strike that day. I think that is the reason they didn't last time we met. If not, we will sort something out during the next week.
John McFarlane [Snr]
13 Posted 16/11/2017 at 14:14:02
Hi Alan [10] I remember the Farkas goal well. From my customary spec at the Park End, the move as I recall it, began on the right side and the ball was whipped into the centre of the goal and Farkas without breaking step thrashed it into the net at the Gwladys Street end.

My abiding memory of that game was the reception that Florian Albert got from the Goodison faithful, we didn't know that his name should have been pronounced as Aleber', the T remaining silent, I can't imagine what he made of the cries of "Al Bit" "Al Bit"

I was lucky enough to have seen every World Cup game at Goodison, the only time I was on the Gwladys Street terraces was for the semi-final. The West Germany versus Russia game, when Chislenko the Russian winger was sent off.

In my opinion, this was the least attractive game we saw, and as you'll know we weren't supposed to have it, we were supposed to have the England versus Portugal game.

Who can forget the North Korea versus Portugal game, we couldn't believe our eyes, and weren't we privileged to see such players as Pele, Garrincha, Asparoukhov, Bene, Albert, Coluna, Eusebio,, Beckenbauer, Emmerich, Yashin, and Voronin.

The Brazil versus Hungary game was actually played on my 28th birthday [15th July] happy birthday indeed.

Returning to the Gerry Humphreys goal, I feel cheated now, it seems as though I missed out on a really good goal, but I suppose considering I've got almost 70 years of goals and incidents, stored away somewhere, it's only natural that some slip through the net. Best Wishes, John.

Alan McGuffog
14 Posted 16/11/2017 at 14:25:05
Sure it was played on a Friday night or maybe the Auchentoshan is clouding my memory. But it belted down all night. I was in the Gwladys Street End and I seemed to be right in line with that shot. As you say, Albert played it in from the right and he didn't break stride.

Seemed like the whole crowd was behind the Hungarians for some unexplained reason... What a game!

John McFarlane [Snr]
15 Posted 16/11/2017 at 14:35:30
Hi Dave [12] Hopefully as you say, the church will be open. I think I may have stirred some memories of yours, reeling off the names of some of the World class players we were fortunate to see, it could provide a distraction, that takes our minds off the current uncertain situation.

I have avoided being drawn into the new Manager debate, because I have posted on a different thread, that the appointment could be either the best thing to happen to the Club, [or the worst], only time will tell, and I don't wish to argue one way or another, on something I have no control over.

I'll keep monitoring the threads to see if an opportunity arises to discuss topics of long ago. Cheers John.

John McFarlane [Snr]
16 Posted 16/11/2017 at 14:46:22
Hi again, Alan [14].

It was indeed a Friday evening, and what did you expect? It was after all St Swithin's Day.

Sandra Williams
17 Posted 16/11/2017 at 15:02:27
Hi John and Dave.

Just for info, the church hall is closed indefinitely at the moment. It is due to Health and Safety issues!

I have spoken to the current Vicar about it and at the last match I spoke to someone who said that the 'issues' are being looked at by the Church and Everton with a view to solving the problems involved. Let's hope they are solved pretty soon because a lot of fans are very upset about the decision. It is part of the match-going ritual of hundreds of home (and away!) fans!

I have been going to Goodison since 1975 and have been enjoying the refreshments/banter and meeting up with friends in there for many, many years. But for now all Evertonians will have to find another 'port in a storm' until such times when it can (hopefully!) re-open!!

John McFarlane [Snr]
18 Posted 16/11/2017 at 15:45:46
Hi Sandra (#17), your post is confirmation if you'll excuse the pun [an event in a Roman Catholic's life] of something a young lady told me before the Watford game, she also said that the Church was working with Everton, and Everton in the Community, to attempt to resolve the problem.

I very rarely took advantage of the facilities, maybe once or twice when the weather was particularly inclement, but I can appreciate that friendships can be established, and disruption to the match day experience (especially over a prolonged period), can have a disastrous effect on those friendships.

I trust that a solution to the problem can be achieved in the near future. Thank you for the information. Best Wishes, John.

Terry White
19 Posted 16/11/2017 at 16:06:03
John (#9), Roy Vernon's goal at Blackpool, a Monday night game early in the 1960 season – ball stuck in the top left corner of the net. Gave Tony Waiters no chance.

Ronnie Goodlass's goal at Upton Park can be found on YouTube.

Sandra Williams
20 Posted 16/11/2017 at 16:23:43
Thanks, John. Yes, I hope the church hall will be open for business asap!

My Sister and I have met some lovely people in the hall over the last few years, one in particular is a lady who left Liverpool many years ago and now lives in Leyland. She continued to go to the games after her husband died and now, at 86(!), she manages to travel all on her own, on public transport, to the Saturday matches.

The hall had provided a warm, friendly refuge from hideous weather before the game and now it's unavailable. Just one of many loyal, long-suffering(!) Evertonians who really do need the Church/EFC to sort out the issues!

John McFarlane [Snr]
21 Posted 16/11/2017 at 18:18:56
Hi Terry [19] I too was at that game, it brought to an end Evertons long run without an away win. I had to do a little bit of research once again, to establish that the goal scorers were Bobby Collins, Jimmy Harris, Derek Temple, and Roy Vernon.

I could pretend that I remember details of matches vividly, but I've always said, "It's possible to tell a lie, to however many billions of people that inhabit this planet, with the exception of one person, [yourself.]

I have lived with this principle for the whole of my 79 years, and it's served me well so far. As I told Alan [10] I have seen so many games and goals, over the years since the age of 10, that it's only natural that some slip through the net.

On the other hand, some stick in the memory for life, such as the Dave Hickson winner against Manchester United in the F.A. Cup game in 1953, the Alex Young headed goal against Tottenham Hotspur, and many more.
Best wishes John.

Terry White
22 Posted 17/11/2017 at 03:33:48
John (#21), I have been reading your recent posts with great interest. You have a year or two on me. My first game was in early 1953, a treat for my 6th birthday, I suspect. Standing on a box at the old Goodison Road wall watching a 4-1 cup victory over Forest, my fate in life was sealed.

I was "fortunate" to be born into a Blue family and my Dad and Mum ensured that I, and my 2 younger brothers, my Dad's "half back line", followed the true faith.

As time has passed I find it more difficult to distinguish between games I actually witnessed and those that I have merely watched on TV. Consequently, the only memories I can rely on for knowing I was actually at a game were those prior to the more regular coverage of live games or Match of the Day, which initially only showed the highlights of 1 or 2 games at most.

Not surprisingly then my best memories are of our teams straddling each end of the '60s. Not all the memories are good although they do favour, naturally, games we have won. The 5-2 win at Old Trafford in 1956, Bobby Collins's first game at Maine Road, Alex Young's first goals at Blackburn on Good Friday in 1961, his header against Spurs, the 3-2 loss at Forest in the 6th round in '67, the 2-0 win at Anfield in the '70 Championship season.

Players stuck around more then and it was much easier to get attached to them. For me, Gordon West, Alex Parker, Jimmy Gabriel, Collins, Young and Vernon and then Ray Wilson, Bally, Kendall and Harvey and Jimmy Husband from the later team. There were players who were not big names but who fitted in and did their bit. Mickey Lill for me, 11 league goals in 31 games (courtesy of Steve Johnson's wonderful informative site), the Alan Whittle of his time.

I have made the occasional small donation to the Former Players Foundation. They do great work helping less fortunate players from earlier days. To me it does not matter whether they were good, bad or awful. We have all seen plenty in each of their categories. The fact that they were wearing the royal blue jersey and doing their best on a given day for the club I have supported all my life is enough for me.

Cheers and COYB

John McFarlane [Snr]
23 Posted 17/11/2017 at 14:45:07
Hi Terry [22, it's nice to know that some people log on to threads like this one, I'm bored of reading the same things every day regarding the appointment of a new Manager. The Board of Directors will install a man of their choosing, and our preferences will have no bearing on their decision.

You were part of a 48,904 crowd for your first game, the FA Cup tie against Nottingham Forest, the scorers that day were John Willie Parker [2] Tommy Clinton, and Tommy Eglington. I was at the game having attended all the home Cup games, the third round tie was against Ipswich Town , Everton won {3-2] with Dave Hickson [2] and Wally Fielding scoring, but I thought they made hard work of it, as Ipswich were in Division 3 South at that time.

It was the season of Dave Hickson's heroics against Manchester United, scoring the winner after returning to the field of play covered in blood, the result of a head injury. Following victory over Aston Villa at Villa Park, Dave Hickson [the hero once again,] scoring the only goal of the game. It led to heartbreak in the semi-final versus Bolton Wanderers at Maine Road, losing [4-3] despite fighting back from [4-0] down and missing a penalty [Tommy Clinton] it just wasn't to be.

You mentioned some names in your post Terry, I know that we tend to look back through rose tinted glasses, but I wouldn't swap them for any of today's players. West, Parker, Wilson, Gabriel, Labone, Kay, Scott, Collins, Young, Vernon, and Ring. what price in today's market

I just wish that there was a thread restricted to the over 70s, and we could wallow in nostalgia.

Terry White
24 Posted 17/11/2017 at 21:42:07
Nostalgia, John, (#23), can't beat it! There are a few of us old timers on TW who like to wallow in it from time to time. I would certainly pay to watch the 11 you mention, for those of us that remember him Tommy Ring would be first choice in the old position of outside left. A beacon of light following a succession of easily forgettable names, Graham Williams, Peter Kavanagh (a signing from Romford!), Bobby Laverick (although he knew where the goal was), Eddie O'Hara (who came from Falkirk with the incomparable Alex Parker).

Moving on some 10 years or so, my other favourite forward line was in the late 70s, a 5-1 win at Leicester which be seen on YouTube, our front 5 was King, the elegant Martin Dobson, Latchford, McKenzie and Thomas. May not be too good at defending but going forward...

Oh well, we do live in the present and must never give up hope.


Dick Fearon
25 Posted 17/11/2017 at 22:06:23
John Mc F @5,
I have several memories of Wally with his trademark long sleeves.

A stand out memory was when we played Busby's babes away I seem to recall it was in a Cup game. Knobby was delegated the task of man-marking colossus of the game and many years younger Duncan Edwards.

For most of the game knobby's vastly more experienced craftiness kept a young Edwards tied up in frustrated knots. Late in the game, Duncan for the first time managed to break the shackles and score the only goal. At that stage, Knobby having worked himself into the ground, could only watch on in exhaustion.

Dave Abrahams
26 Posted 17/11/2017 at 23:22:28
John (#23), I remember the Ipswich game very well and when Wally Fielding scored his goal, no Everton player went near him to celebrate it with him. I have often wondered why.

I liked Nobby as a footballer, he was very good, he played outside right in one game versus Sunderland and was having a great game. I think he made a couple of the goals then we got a penalty, Nobby went up to take it and put it yards wide, I think we finished up winning 3-1.

He was picked for England in a game to raise funds for the Burnden Park disaster where quite a few fans lost there lives not long after the war.

Nobby was a very skilful player in an era where nearly every First Division side seemed to have a ball-playing schemer in their team.

John McFarlane [Snr]
27 Posted 17/11/2017 at 23:34:16
HI Dick [25] the match you refer to was indeed an F.A. Cup game, a 5th round encounter on February 16th 1957 a 1-0 defeat.

I was stationed in Andover Hampshire, so I have no knowledge of that game, shortly after that I was transferred to Arborfield Berkshire, awaiting a posting to Cyprus.

I had spent a week on embarkation leave, and thinking that I would be sailing from Southampton, I said my goodbyes to my family, imagine my surprise when it was announced that we would actually be sailing from Liverpool, The postal service was so good, that a letter I sent home the day before we sailed arrived in time for my Father and Sister to wave me off from the Princes landing stage.

The Saturday afternoon we sailed on the troopship MV Devonshire, Everton beat Newcastle United 2-1 with goals from Jimmy Gauld and Tony McNamara. The furthest I had been on any vessel was to New Brighton, which may have taken half-an-hour on a bad day, we were on the Devonshire for eleven days.

You may have read my post to Terry [22] where I said my last two games before joining the Army, were a 3-2 defeat to Blackpool and 2-2 draw with Bolton Wanderers. My next game was when I came home on leave, a 1-0 win against Leicester City [Dave Hickson] on Boxing Day 1958.

My sister used to send me the Football Echo every week, and that was the only way I could keep abreast of things relating to Everton, the date of 11 October 1958 will be etched in my mind forever [Tottenham Hotspur 10 Everton 4] you wouldn't believe the stick I took from the Cockneys [fans of all the London clubs] and some that weren't even interested in football.

Some of the players I didn't get to see owing to my Army involvement were, Alec Farrall, Jimmy Glazzard, Bryan Griffiths, Peter Harburn, Wilie Haughey, Jackie Keeley, George Kirby, Fred Leeder, and Jack Sutherland. I don't think I missed much, but I've no doubt they all tried their best.

John McFarlane [Snr]
28 Posted 17/11/2017 at 00:26:54
Hi Dave [26], following words of encouragement from Steve Ferns, I've done a bit on Wally's career, the only thing is that I don't know how to submit it. I think it's a bit too long for a normal posting.

Dave, you're not going to believe this, I've been to the research department and have come up with the following figures for Wally Fielding and the number 7 shirt.

1947-48 [1]
1950-51 [18]
1951-52 [2]
1952-53 [1]
1955-56 [1]
1957-58 [1]
Grand Total: [24]

I'll fill you in with the dates and opponents when I recover from the shock.

John McFarlane [Snr]
29 Posted 18/11/2017 at 14:25:24
Hi Dave, [127] as you may notice, the timing of my last point was well after midnight, and having burned the proverbial "midnight oil" I decided that listing the dates and opponents, was a bit time consuming, so I have picked out the players who also wore the number 7 shirt during the seasons Wally had donned it.

In the 1947/48 season, they were, Johnny McIlhatton, Eddie Wainwright, Jack Grant, Billy Higgins, and [a name I was unfamiliar with,] Albert Johnson.
I had to check the "Who's who of Everton" to establish his record at Goodison, it appears that he deputised for Johnny McIlhatton on Christmas Day 1946, and in total made nine appearances. for the Club.

!n the 1950/51 season Ted Buckle, Joe Harris, and Dave Gibson wore the number 7 shirt. I must confess that I never realised that Wally had played at outside right in such a disastrous season, I can only plead that it was such a long time ago and I was only a young boy at the time.

The right wingers in addition to Wally during the 1951/52 season were Tony McNamara, Ted Buckle, and Dave Gibson.

1952/53 saw the shirt being shared by Ted Buckle, Tony McNamara, Eddie Wainwright, Joe Harris, and Derek Mayers.

In the 1957/58 season, Tony McNamara, Jimmy Harris, and Brian Harris wore the shirt.

The first and last occasions that Wally played in the right wing position, were significant for him, the former because it was in a Merseyside derby, and the latter because it was in the 10-4 defeat at White Hart Lane, and it was his last game for Everton.

I'm looking forward to seeing you on Thursday Dave, and maybe we will be able to put the world, and more importantly, Everton Football Club to rights.

Alan McGuffog
30 Posted 19/11/2017 at 12:13:19
This is gold dust John. I am acquainted with Ted Buckles son and he is interested, as you may expect, in any references to his father. I suspect you may have a year or two on me I made my debut at the age of eight on a sunny September afternoon in 1961. Got battered 4 -0 by Wednesday. Plus ça change plus la meme chose as they used to say in the Blue House
John McFarlane [Snr]
31 Posted 19/11/2017 at 14:51:42
Hi Alan, [30] I do indeed have a year or two on you, I started going to the match on my own in 1948, at the age of ten. I cant pretend that I attended every game in those early days. I believe I was taken to Goodison once or twice, prior to that.

I honestly can't tell you what my first game was, most of the Liverpudlians I know follow their team in various pubs or via television in their homes, they keep talking about ""streaming" whatever that is, in fact I was talking to one the other day and he was boasting about how he has seen every Liverpool game home and away for a long time, I responded by offering to buy him an A to Z just in case ever had the urge to visit Anfield.

Another ploy I adopt, is to say to these Proxy supporters, "I can't remember my first game and you can't remember your last" this tends to put them in their place, and because I haven't taken copyright on these words, anyone is free to use them.

Regarding Ted Buckle, his slight build led to rumours that he had been a prisoner of war, and suffered from a lung problem, his son may be able to shed some light on that.

Just in case Ted didn't relate his career details to his son, forgive me if I take the liberty to do so now.

Ted [or Herbert Edward to give him his official title] according to the "Who's who of Everton" is as follows,

Ted Buckle, an inside forward , could also play as a wing half, but it was thought he was far too slight for the rigorous challenges in centre field so Manchester United boss Matt Busby switched him to the wing. He scored on his League debut for the reds against Charlton in January 1947, having earlier netted a hat-trick against Leeds when appearing in his first competitive wartime match in November 1945. His debut for Everton was against his former club [Manchester United] just after arriving on Merseyside, playing on the left wing, but for his third game was switched to the right, and later had outings in both inside forward positions.

The "Who's who" also states that Ted was Prestatyn F.C. [Player/Manager in the summer of 1957] and he played for Dolgellau [1961-62]

Teds Everton record was [league] played 97 [Goals] 31 [F.A. Cup] played 10 Goals 2 Ted also played for Exeter City but I only have his League details which are [appearances] 65 [goals] 12.

I have noticed in recent times that there was a Buckle, I can't remember his Christian name, managing Exeter City, and I wondered if this could possibly be a relative of Teds', perhaps Alan, you could shed some light on this. Best wishes John.

David Buckle
32 Posted 19/11/2017 at 19:35:27
I was amused to hear that my dad's slight build was due to him having been a prisoner war! This is not true. He'd actually had pneumonia and this contributed to his build. He was once sent to Ireland by the club to go on a diet of Guiness and steak to build him up!

There is a Paul Buckle who has managed a few lower division teams but he is not related.

John McFarlane [Snr]
33 Posted 19/11/2017 at 19:48:58
Hi Alan [30], I omitted Ted's Manchester United record which was, Played 20, scored 6 goals. He apparently played for Wigan Athletic in the Lancashire Combination, making 20 appearances and scoring 11 goals.
John McFarlane [Snr]
34 Posted 20/11/2017 at 12:15:33
Hi David, [32] I am glad to hear that the reference to Ted being a POW was in fact a Suburban myth, and that it didn't cause offence. I wasn't too sure if your Dad had passed on to you, details of his playing career.

Ted played in the Cup game against Aston Villa at Villa Park, in 1953, and provided the pass for Dave Hickson's winner. I recall Dave praising Ted for the part he played in that goal, which secured a place in that epic semi-final against Bolton Wanderers. Dave was reported in the papers as saying "Ted and I have a telepathic understanding".

Your Dad was so close to appearing in the FA Cup Final, in 1953, and who knows? they may have been talking about the "Ted Buckle final" and not the Stanley Matthews final.

I suspect that one memory I have of your Dad is not one he would be boasting about, it happened in a Central League fixture, I can't remember the opponents or the result. Everton were awarded a penalty kick, and Ted accepted the responsibility to take it. Despite failing to convert on two occasions the referee ordered the kicks to be retaken, [because the goalkeeper had moved each time]. But it wasn't a case of third time lucky, as Ted missed yet again, I think the Referee must nave become fed up by that time, and play was allowed to continue.

You're correct in saying that the chap I was thinking about is Paul Buckle, I think he is or was, involved with Exeter City but I'm not 100% sure.

Dave Abrahams
35 Posted 20/11/2017 at 13:33:52
David (32), slight build or not your dad a ferocious shot in either foot. I remember seeing him play at Goodison Park two weeks on the run, first week playing for Man Utd reserves in a 0-0 draw, the next week playing for Everton in a first division game against his old club Man Utd in another 0-0 draw if I'm not mistaken.

Your dad scored two goals in a 3-1 win versus Middlesboro and the the headlines that night in the Pink Echo was 'One, two, Buckle my shoe', this was also a First Division game.

Dave, Are you a Blue?

John McFarlane [Snr]
36 Posted 20/11/2017 at 14:38:52
Hi Dave, [35] I take it that you've seen the Wally Fielding details regarding the Number 7 shirt, one or two surprises don't you think?

Nobody in my family ever spoke about Albert Johnson, maybe because he had such a short Everton career. Mind you, they never told me that Liverpool had a lad named John McFarlane, who played two league games for them, including a Merseyside derby at Anfield on 9 February 1929, a 2-1 victory for Everton with goals from Tommy White and Tom Griffiths.

Are you still okay for Thursday evening, Dave? On the Premier League front, let's up hope for an improvement in performance, but I'll settle for a win under any circumstance, until we can steady the ship.

Joe Bibb
37 Posted 20/11/2017 at 14:56:00
This era in the 1940s is covered in George Orr's wonderful book, Everton in the 1940s – The Lost Decade, there are only two copies still available on eBay.
Dennis Stevens
38 Posted 20/11/2017 at 14:56:07
Commiserations regarding your name, John!
David Buckle
39 Posted 20/11/2017 at 15:04:07
Hi John,

I never heard about the thrice taken penalty. Ted kept that one quiet! He often talked about Dave Hickson who, of course, later became a legend at Everton. He told a story of the 1953 semi final against Bolton. As I remember he said that Dave Hickson got a bang on the head during the game and became groggy but played on.

Everton were coming back strongly towards the end of the game. Ted was very good in the air for a slightly built player. A cross came over and Ted was perfectly positioned to reach it. Dave Hickson also shaped to go up for the ball. Ted, knowing he was better placed, screamed at Hickson to leave it but Dave didn't hear the call in his groggy state and headed over the bar.

As my dad told it, this was Everton's last chance and they lost the semi-final.

David Buckle
40 Posted 20/11/2017 at 15:30:20
Sorry Dave Abrahams, I didn't spot your question, 'Are you a Blue?' I am a lifelong Man Utd fan. My dad started his career there and I've lived mostly in the Manchester/Cheshire area.

I still look out for Everton's result but have never been to Goodison since my dad's playing days. Ted did have a tremendous shot in both feet and long after he retired from the professional ranks he played local amateur football.

My brother and myself both played in the same team as Ted for a couple of years and although he wasn't as fast as he used to be he was a big influence on the team.

Dave Abrahams
41 Posted 20/11/2017 at 16:34:28
John (#36),

Yes I was very surprised Wally Fielding had played that many games on the right wing, always remember him better as a scheming inside forward who worked very well in harmony with Tommy Eglington on the left wing.

Yes John I will meet you on Thursday night around 7:00 pm, don't know here though, John, with the church closed. I will leave it up to you; maybe the cafe again?

Brian Harrison
42 Posted 20/11/2017 at 16:59:00

Like you I don't remember Wally fielding playing on the wing it was always him and Cyril Lello in midfield. You could never mistake Wally both sets of fingers gripping the end of his sleeves. Lovely player and a good passer of the ball.

John McFarlane [Snr]
43 Posted 20/11/2017 at 19:50:55
Hi Dennis [35] commiserations accepted, my family made sure I knew of Robert McFarlane a goalkeeper who joined Everton from Greenock, but for some reason they chose not to mention my namesake, I only discovered it some years ago as I was browsing through "The great derby matches" I have just googled him now and this what it says. McFarlane was a forward who was selected for Liverpools first team on just two occasions, the first coming in the Anfield derby with Everton on the 9th of February 1929, which the visitors won 2-1.

"Gordon Hodgson was missing so the Scottish boy who has been doing so well with the reserves will lead the attack" The Daily Courier claimed that he led the line with excellent judgement and was a masterpiece at nipping between the backs with the ball at toe, McFarlane had to wait until the following September for his second appearance which resulted in another defeat by two goals to nil at Huddersfield town.

I doubt that many "Rednecks" will be aware of him so I shouldn't get much stick from them.

John McFarlane [Snr]
44 Posted 20/11/2017 at 19:57:23
Hi Dave [41], Yes 7:00pm at the café will be just fine.

Dennis [38] if you're reading this, I didn't have my glasses on when I replied to your post, hence the wrong number, apologies.

Vin McFarlane
45 Posted 21/11/2017 at 23:45:15
Great article Rob, and a very sad story.

John McFarlane, My late father, John Edward (Ted) started watching the Blues in the 20s, and would have been 100 today if he were alive. He nurtured me not only on stories of Dean, Lawton and TG Jones, but also of the 50s stalwarts that you've been discussing at length.

Despite the LFC player, the McFarlane family is Blue!

Dave Abrahams
46 Posted 22/11/2017 at 12:34:56
David (40), yes I'd have bet on you being a United fan growing up in Manchester, a team I always liked even before the tragic Munich disaster.

That semi-final versus Bolton, your dad was right, Davie Hickson was concussed after tangling with Malcolm Barrass, a dog of a centre half. The referee, Alf Bond, asked Davie what the score was, Davie replied that we were winning 2-0 (I think it was 3-0 for Bolton at the time)... the referee told Davie to go off and get some treatment.

A great come back from the Blues but all in vain. Thanks for your reply.

John McFarlane [Snr]
47 Posted 22/11/2017 at 14:49:33
Hi Vin,[45] Glad to hear that the McFarlane clan although dispersed, has retained the faith of our blue family.
Dick Fearon
48 Posted 24/11/2017 at 23:18:42
Hello all, Resulting from a ferocious tackle Buckle was laid out when a bloke standing near to me said due to Teds prisoner of war experience he only had one lung.

Right up to learning the true facts from John David and others right here that had been my long held belief.

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