Sadly, Dad (Joe Walsh) passed away earlier this week aged 72. He finally succumbed to his long battle with cancer and couldn’t shake off the pneumonia which had also gripped him. A life-time Everton fan, regular match goer and avid ToffeeWeb reader he was surrounded by his immediate family who are all fellow blues.
I thought you might like to hear about a little piece of Everton history which dad was part of. On 14th May 1966 almost 53 years ago to the day and 2 months before England won the World Cup, Dad travelled with his friends Eddie and Andy McCardle, John Grimes and a few others to watch their beloved Everton play Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup final.
Everton were the first team since Bury FC in 1903 to reach an FA Cup Final without conceding a goal in the preceding rounds so the expectations from fans was huge on the day.
Dad and his friends visited Hyde Park before kick off and bumped into none other than Cassius Marcellus Clay Junior - The Greatest training that morning. Two years previously Clay had changed his name to Muhammad Ali. He was in London to fight Henry Cooper on 21st May at Highbury for the second of their infamous fights. The fight was famous because Ali had previously been knocked down in the 5th round by Cooper - something that had only ever happened four times in Clay/Ali’s career.
Being typical Scousers they joked around with the legend and engaged in some good natured banter. A few of the friends shadow boxed with Ali and one who fancied his chances mock challenged him to a dual - Ali stood on his foot so he couldn’t escape and pretended to hit him, which invited more ribbing from his friends.
This iconic mage was captured by the Associated Press and Liverpool Echo who were all in Hyde Park at the time. It is on a number of T Shirts and is sold online and in various Everton e-commerce stores around the world. Dad is on the left of that photograph and is holding an “Everton for the Cup” banner he had designed the night before.
Ali signed Dad’s banner which would had been priceless today had Dad managed to retain it. It was unique because Ali had signed it Cassius Clay even though he converted to Islam in 1964 and changed his name to Ali shortly after the Sonny Liston fight in 1964.
From Hyde Park Dad and his friends travelled to Wembley for the Cup
Final. Prior to kick off Dad asked one of his pals to hold the banner whilst he went the toilet. When Dad came back he asked for his banner back only to be told someone had walked off with it !!! Dad always had a temper so I can only imagine the abuse his friend took that day!
The loss of this banner was quickly forgotten as Everton secured a famous victory over the Owls coming back from 2–0 down to win 3–2, with goals by Mike Trebilcock (2) and Derek Temple. Over 100,000 people squeezed into Wembley that day - most of them Everton fans including John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The game is also remembered for Everton fan Eddie Cavanagh invading the pitch being pursued by a comedy policeman.
Ali went on to beat Cooper in the 6th round after Cooper failed to recover from a cut above his eye. Dad’s love for Everton never diminished as he got older. He would later marry and move into 88 Goodison Road, where I was born and raised as a baby. My brother and I were lucky to go to some great games over the years with Dad and this is how we will remember him. His funeral is Thursday 16th May at St Peter and Paul’s Church, Crosby — almost 53 years to the day he met Ali and we won the cup! A fitting tribute to my hero — a great man. Dad.
Reader Comments (46)
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1 Posted 11/05/2019 at 00:06:50
2 Posted 12/05/2019 at 00:12:46
Your Dad, will be in the best of company in the Main Stand in Heaven.
Your a legend! Strength and courage and lets hope we can win at Spurs today.
Tremendous pictures and legendary in the song and history, that moment created for Everton.
3 Posted 12/05/2019 at 00:45:44
Deepest condolences to you and your family. May you draw strength from the courage of your dad's battle, and comfort from the wonderful memories you shared.
4 Posted 12/05/2019 at 02:24:00
I remember that Cup Final so well. Thanks for recalling it. I was with 4 Leeds United fans, who were having a good laugh at my expense at half time. Boy oh Boy, what a second half that was!
RIP, Joe! You witnessed at first hand one of the greatest Everton victories.
5 Posted 12/05/2019 at 05:41:34
Condolences to you and all your family.
6 Posted 12/05/2019 at 06:21:17
The Ali story reminded me of a Welsh friend who with his wife had flown from Perth, WA to Las Vegas on flights he said seemed to take forever. After checking in at the Hotel he couldn't sleep which he put down to jet lag and at 3 AM went down to the hotel coffee shop and got a coffee and a pastry. Half way through he noticed two enormous black blokes standing at the door looking at him. He finished and went to pay on his room key when one of these blokes stepped forward and said, "Don't worry Mr Ali will pay for that and thank you for not bothering him". He'd sat in a coffee shop for half an hour at 3 in the morning and hadn't noticed the only other bloke in there was Muhammed Ali.
7 Posted 12/05/2019 at 07:19:40
Thank you too for all your kind words on this thread. ToffeeWeb gave Dad a big release from his battle with cancer. There wasnt a day go by when he wasnt glued to his phone reading the various articles, reports and comments. It would often form the main talking point when I would go and visit him or chat on the phone. Although we didnt post too often you do get a sense that you know the regular commenters too - not only is this site unique but our fans are very special - the best, bound together by the ups and down of our beloved club. A victory over Spurs today would be a fitting tribute.
8 Posted 12/05/2019 at 07:30:07
9 Posted 12/05/2019 at 08:10:05
10 Posted 12/05/2019 at 08:34:54
St. Peter and Pauls, Crosby, has seen the funerals of many great Evertonians, my own Dad included. Thursday will be another big day. Im afraid I will not be able to attend, but will participate in spirit.
I will also be thinking of your Dad on Tuesday afternoon between 4.00 - 4.30pm, the time 53 years ago that Mike Trebilcock and Derek Temple were scoring those 3 goals to win us the FA Cup, and gave this 10 year old boy the day out of a lifetime at Wembley.
Rest in peace Joe.
11 Posted 12/05/2019 at 08:57:06
12 Posted 12/05/2019 at 09:05:41
What a marvellous story and a fitting tribute to a top blue. Let's hope he's up there smiling down on us tonight after a win at Spurs and you-know-what. Hope the funeral goes well pal once again condolences
13 Posted 12/05/2019 at 09:10:26
14 Posted 12/05/2019 at 09:16:24
15 Posted 12/05/2019 at 09:48:40
16 Posted 12/05/2019 at 10:00:01
17 Posted 12/05/2019 at 10:02:12
18 Posted 12/05/2019 at 10:16:15
19 Posted 12/05/2019 at 13:09:31
He must of had the time of his life that day meeting Ali and then seeing the blues lift the cup.
Condolences to you and your family at this sad time.
20 Posted 12/05/2019 at 13:54:52
A sad day when any Blue passes, but hopefully he'll be in company with many Blues legends passed (Young, Ball, Labone, Kendall at al)
Lots of love and thoughts to the Walsh family from the Blue family. Xx
21 Posted 12/05/2019 at 17:33:06
As Peter Mills noted (#10) S.S. Peter & Paul's church has seen funerals of many a great Blue fan, his own Dad and mine, Dick White, included, with their final resting place in the cemetery behind the church. I hope Mgr. Furnival, a lovely man apart from being a Red, is presiding for you. Otherwise you can not go wrong with Fr. Simon Cadwallader, whose father, Bill, was another Blue and a great friend of Peter Mills and my Dad.
22 Posted 12/05/2019 at 17:52:34
All my love to you and your family from my family of blues.
23 Posted 12/05/2019 at 17:57:22
24 Posted 12/05/2019 at 18:21:02
25 Posted 12/05/2019 at 19:41:35
I just love that photo! 'Everton for the cup!' Love it. All the lads in suits and your dad is the sharpest and best looking of them all. What an afternoon they all had in store! That photo is such a period piece to treasure. Are they all Crosby lads? When I went to Wembley in '84 with my Crosby lads we were not wearing suits!
Pete Mills is so right; many great Evertonians have said goodbye at St Peter's and Paul's in Crosby and St. Helens.
I'll raise a glass Thursday to your dad, you, and yours, on this side of the ocean.
26 Posted 13/05/2019 at 08:00:50
27 Posted 13/05/2019 at 08:23:34
28 Posted 13/05/2019 at 08:41:56
29 Posted 13/05/2019 at 09:29:04
30 Posted 13/05/2019 at 09:30:24
31 Posted 13/05/2019 at 10:40:44
32 Posted 13/05/2019 at 11:54:34
33 Posted 13/05/2019 at 12:47:42
34 Posted 13/05/2019 at 13:16:12
35 Posted 13/05/2019 at 13:52:37
36 Posted 13/05/2019 at 14:56:55
37 Posted 13/05/2019 at 18:40:24
38 Posted 13/05/2019 at 18:51:59
39 Posted 13/05/2019 at 18:58:40
40 Posted 13/05/2019 at 19:22:07
Kevin #36, everybody who ever met Ali has an anecdote about it -- he was that kind of presence. In my only conversation with him, he asked me if I was crazy. But he did it in such a charming way that all you could do was laugh.
41 Posted 13/05/2019 at 19:44:46
42 Posted 13/05/2019 at 21:38:35
Good to see real Evertonians supporting you. Well done folks.
43 Posted 13/05/2019 at 22:14:58
44 Posted 14/05/2019 at 02:42:12
45 Posted 16/05/2019 at 23:01:50
I hope you have many happy memories of him and be proud of the fact he was one of us.
46 Posted 21/05/2019 at 22:53:24
My own memories of that glorious 66 cup final began with 8 of us plus two cases of beer and a huge box of home made pies crammed into a Vauxhall estate car setting off from a Breck Road pub and heading south.
The rest of that weekend is a happy blur of many drinking spots and of course the sheer excitement of Temples winning goal.
I was 21 and by several years the youngest of that group of mad Evertonians.
Should Joe or George Kelly or any of the other lads still be with us I send greetings.
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