An alternative 'Team of the Century' — Part 1

John McFarlane [Senior]   16/10/2018 78comments  |  Jump to last
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At the turn of the century (1999-2000), Radio Merseyside presenter Alan Jackson invited listeners to his 'Football Football Show', to submit the names of players with Merseyside connections to feature in a Team of the Century. I have always believed that it is impossible to compare players of different eras, and so I submitted an eleven who had left their mark on football both on and off the field of play; my Everton nominations were as follows, starting at the back:

Goalkeeper: Ted Sagar (Everton)

Ted Sagar only ever played for one club, Everton, from the moment he signed from the Junior Leagues in March 1929 until his last League appearance in November 1952, a mammoth 463 League appearances later. That total outlived him, surviving until eight years after his death, when it was surpassed by Neville Southall in 1994.

It was during the 1931-32 season that Sagar established himself in the side where he spent the next 11 seasons (although that period spanned 17 years, 6 of which saw football suspended while the Second World War was being fought.

He immediately settled into the team and, in his first season, missed only one game as Everton won the League title in 1931-32. The following season, he was an ever-present as Everton won the FA Cup. "There is no finer goalkeeper in the League today" was the opinion of one newspaper, on the occasion that he was chosen to represent the Football League, in 1934.

The season before war broke out, Everton won the League Championship again, and many observers agreed that the side of 1938-39 was the finest that they had ever seen.

In the 1950-51 season, the 40-year-old Sagar (still first choice) became the last Everton goalkeeper to play in a relegation team – not an honour to be proud of... but something else Neville Southall came close to taking from him in 1994.

Sagar's last League appearance was against Plymouth Argyle in November 1952. Ted Sagar died in October 1986 aged 76, on his death, Everton lost a dedicated servant the like of whom we may never see again.

I chose Ted Sagar because his service of 24 years and 5 weeks as a player with Everton was a record for a player with one club.

Left-Back Ray Wilson (Everton)

The softly spoken boy from Shirebrook who became a World Cup winner, Ray Wilson was highly regarded in the dressing room for his calm demeanour and his refusal to buckle under pressure. Wilson was a visionary whose dependable distribution, and overlapping runs down the left flank, helped make him a Huddersfield Town, and Everton giant.

He made his Huddersfield debut under manager Bill Shankly in 1955 and, within two seasons, he was an established performer. Wilson spent 12 years at Huddersfield, making 266 appearances before joining Everton in 1964; the £40,000 fee was a record for a full-back at the time.

He later admitted fearing that he had waited too long to make the move to the top flight; his fears were unfounded as he went on to be a part of the Everton team that won one of the most dramatic FA Cup Finals, turning a 2-0 deficit to Sheffield Wednesday into a 3-2 victory in 1966. It was to be the first of two successful Wembley Finals for him that summer.

Wilson had been an England regular since 1962, playing all of the team's games in the 1962 Chile World Cup – a feat he would repeat on home soil in 1966, as he was firmly established as Alf Ramsey's first choice left back.

The 1966 World Cup Final didn't start well for Wilson, who headed Siggi Held's cross straight to Helmut Haller who put the ball past England's keeper Gordon Banks, yet Wilson recovered and went on to play a key role as the team rallied to run out 4-2 winners. Ray Wilson was the oldest member of the side at 31, and appeared in one of the enduring post-match images with Bobby Moore being hoisted aloft with the trophy.

Ray Wilson missed out on clinching the First Division title: Everton had won it one year prior to him joining them, and again one year after he left.

After playing for England in the 1968 European Championships, injuries ended his career on Merseyside, and he left for Oldham Athletic in 1969 having played for The Toffees 116 times.

I chose Ray Wilson because his achievement of winning both the FA Cup and World Cup in an 11-week period at Wembley; it is highly unlikely to happen again.


Reader Comments (78)

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Christy Ring
1 Posted 17/10/2018 at 08:21:32
John, Ted Sagar played for over 28 years with Everton, but was he a better keeper than Big Nev?
John McFarlane Snr
2 Posted 17/10/2018 at 09:09:21
Hi Christy, Ted Sagar's Everton career was 24 years and 5 weeks, and as I have stated I find it impossible to compare sportsmen/women of different eras. My nomination for the right back position was Ephraim Longworth of Liverpool, I trust his omission was an editorial oversight because my 'Alternative Team Of The Century' consists of players from Everton, Liverpool, and Tranmere Rovers.
Dennis Stevens
3 Posted 17/10/2018 at 13:12:44
Don't forget this "century" was only 99 years long!
Dick Fearon
4 Posted 17/10/2018 at 15:02:51
John, wasn't Ray Wilson the only 1966 World Cup Finalist to have been transferred?

I agree with your choice of him being our best ever left back. I did not see enough of Ted Sagar for me to place him above Nev in the rankings.

Peter Mills
5 Posted 17/10/2018 at 15:43:54
I'm certainly with you on the choice of left back, John.

Dick, you're a bit off the mark there. Without thinking about it too much, Gordon Banks went to Stoke, Bobby Moore went to Fulham, I think both Bobby Charlton and Nobby Stiles ended up at Preston, and Martin Peters was the first £200,000 footballer when he moved to Spurs from West Ham.

Oh, and there was a little red-headed Number 7!

Martin Nicholls
6 Posted 17/10/2018 at 15:49:20
Peter – I think Dick means transferred before the World Cup Final, ie, other than Wilson, all were with their first club.
Peter Mills
7 Posted 17/10/2018 at 16:01:48
Martin (#6), thank you, I realised that too late and got timed out editing my post. Sorry Dick!

I know Gordon Banks joined Leicester from Chesterfield, but the lack of transfer activity amongst the other players is pretty surprising.

John McFarlane Snr
8 Posted 17/10/2018 at 16:31:18
Hi Dick [4],

Ray Wilson was the only member of the 1966 World Cup winning side to have been involved in a transfer prior to the final, but oddly enough only George Cohen (Fulham) and Jack Charlton (Leeds United) remained with their clubs after the event.

Hi Peter [5],

I think you may be making the same mistake as Dick. I chose Ray Wilson because of his unique achievement of winning both the FA Cup, and World Cup at Wembley, although I do consider that he may well be the best left back to have played for Everton. The theme of my article will be revealed as it progresses.

You are correct in saying that Bobby Charlton and Nobby Stiles played for Preston North End, Stiles arriving at Deepdale via Middlesbrough. Gordon Banks did go to Stoke City, Bobby Moore signed for Fulham. Geoff Hurst joined Stoke City and later West Brom. Martin Peters played for Spurs, Norwich City, and Sheffield United. Roger Hunt went to Bolton Wanderers. Alan Ball signing for Everton and Ray Wilson ending up at Oldham Athletic.

We'll have to get together again for a drink sometime soon,

Hi Martin [6] I believe that you were spot on with your reading of Dick's posting.

Christy Ring
9 Posted 17/10/2018 at 16:53:52
John @2, My apologies. I meant 24 years, which you stated in your column.
Ray Roche
10 Posted 17/10/2018 at 17:38:43
John (snr)

I agree that it isn't possible to directly compare footballers from different eras due to the way the game has changed, however, I do think that a great player from say, the sixties, would also be a great player in today's game IF he had the benefit of today's dietary knowledge, training methods and both fitness and technical coaching.
The players who would find it difficult in the present era are the "hard men", players with little to their game other than the ability to kick seven kinds out of the opposition. People mentioned Tony Kay being a hard man but Kay was also a magnificent footballer unlike the Vinnie Jones type of player who was a thug with little footballing brain. Other players, Best, Charlton, Young, Vernon, Law, Moore Peters etc. would have shone in any era in my opinion.
I look forward to your selections for the rest of the team.

Tom Bowers
11 Posted 17/10/2018 at 18:11:20
Wilson was a real class act and worthy of any ''best eleven'' selection.

If I recall, he was the first player to win cup final winners medals in the same ''season''.

John Keating
12 Posted 17/10/2018 at 19:16:57
Ray @10,

Good post and I agree fully.

The sad thing is, could we ever get near buying a player like Vernon or Young today...

Peter Mills
13 Posted 17/10/2018 at 19:57:38
John (#8), if you (and others) refer to the “6 more games added to live coverage” thread, my post (#43) on there is hoping to address that very issue of meeting up for a drink again, this time in the company of Mike Gaynes.
Steve Hogan
14 Posted 17/10/2018 at 20:01:11
John (Sen)

For the record, I found myself sitting next to the late great Ray Wilson for two hours at a Littlewoods sportsman lunch at the old Holiday Inn in Liverpool, (infamous venue of the LFC players Xmas parties) in 1995.

He was happy to talk football and all things Everton. One thing which may come as a shock to people is that we touched on the subject of Catterick, and Ray stated without any malice or resentment, that he thought Shankly might have got even more out of him had he been his manager?

I was lucky enough to have seem him play in the 60s and recall his famous acrobatic overhead kick when he was defending.

Anyone else recall the same trick?

John McFarlane Snr
15 Posted 17/10/2018 at 22:32:08
Hi Ray [10], I fully agree that top class players such as those you've mentioned would be top class in any era but it's something that we can never prove.

That's why I stick to favourites rather than best, it does tend to lead to 'looking through rose-tinted glasses', but I find it easier to decide on a favourite, rather than trying to decide if Alan Ball was better than Bobby Collins.

Tony Abrahams
16 Posted 18/10/2018 at 16:58:12
Ray@10, I’m not so sure. My favourite ever Everton player, was Peter Reid, but this faster football, and even faster pitches, makes me think he wouldn’t have the same impact in the modern game.

Ray Roche
17 Posted 18/10/2018 at 17:35:57
Tony, the first five yards is in your head. Reidy wasn't quick in 1985 so I don't think his lack of pace would be that much of an issue and with better fitness levels he would still be a top player. How fast was Gareth Barry? And how much did we miss his football brain when he left, even though he was years past his best?
Always a good topic for debate though.
Tony Abrahams
18 Posted 18/10/2018 at 17:50:37
Barry, was a good player Ray, some would say very good, but he wouldn’t be in my top twenty Everton outfield players, whereas Reid, was my number one.

It is a very good debate, but you can’t tackle now, the ball moves so much quicker on these super fast pitches, and I personally think that Reidy, would just be another player now, rather than one of the great Everton players?

Dave Abrahams
19 Posted 18/10/2018 at 17:56:00
Sorry for butting in Tony and Ray, but I think Peter Reid would have thrived in any era, speed definitely didn't hamper Peter, he read the game very well and was able to control the game because of this ability.

I made the mistake of thinking that Peters injuries had slowed him down, but talking to Dave Sexton, one time,
he made the point that "Rocky" ( Dave Sextons name for Peter, possibly because of his pugnacious attitude)
had never been quick, even when he was a lot younger,
and said the same as yourself Ray, the first few yards were in his head. Reidy had a very good football brain.

Ray Roche
20 Posted 18/10/2018 at 18:14:21
You make the same points, Dave, just so much better than I did.

Tony, Barry wouldn't be in my Top Twenty either and I'd have to really think about whether Reid would make it anyway. I assume you're talking about players you've seen. Young, Ring, Kay etc would walk in so Reid would have some stiff opposition, still, it's always a good way to pass the time and the source of many alehouse discussions.

Tony Abrahams
21 Posted 18/10/2018 at 18:55:13
Only players I've seen play since 1975-76, Ray. I loved Reid, only time I ever really saw him beaten for pace was when Maradona scored one of the greatest goals I have ever seen, and Reid didn't play for Everton until December after this game because he had a broken bone in his foot.

I'm not disagreeing with you or Dave about the first five yards; it's just so fast now that it's hard to be good when you're slow!

Michael Carrick maybe? But one of the biggest changes in the last 20 years has been the pitches and it's one of the main reasons the game is just so quick now.

Tony Abrahams
22 Posted 18/10/2018 at 18:59:45
By the way, Ray, if Reid, might not get in your Top Twenty, then it just shows you how the mighty Everton have fallen with regards great footballers since we last became Champions in 1987.
Ray Roche
23 Posted 18/10/2018 at 22:17:05
Tony, yes, the quality and improvement of the pitches is paramount to the speed with which the game is now played. This only, in my eyes, proves my point. Watch footage from the 60s and 70s and 80s on YouTube and the game doesn't appear that much slower yet they were playing on surfaces that were only good for the first couple of months yet still played some terrific football. Imagine Best, Young etc. on a modern surface with a modern ball and modern slippers... er... boots.

Of course, there was no play acting then from the infantile superstars who roll around crying at the slightest touch so the game flowed more.

Re your post at @22, Everton had players that any team in the League would have swam through snot to sign but recently, only the odd Lukaku etc would set the Sky Six pulses racing. Yes, we HAVE fallen from grace, but maybe things are changing now...

Ray Roche
24 Posted 18/10/2018 at 22:20:27
I also meant to add, it's threads like these started by John McFarlane Snr that provoke discussion and debate that can be kept at a decent level without the name calling and personal abuse that sometimes permeate the most innocent of threads. Keep them coming, John Snr.
John McFarlane Snr
25 Posted 18/10/2018 at 22:48:25
Hi Ray [24] I thank you for your kind words, I wasn't aware that these sort of threads were new to ToffeeWeb, and I must confess that I find more comfort in the memories of my younger days, than I do in today's attitude of success at any price.

I believe it was Danny Blanchflower who coined the phrase "The Beautiful Game" – I'm afraid I don't quite view it that way, and that's probably why I cling to the past, although I still attend Goodison with my Grandson as Park End season ticket holders.

I have submitted my latest 'Alternative Team of the Century' thread, featuring right full back, right half, centre half, and left half, I feel sure that it will trigger some debate because the achievements of the players involved are remarkable.

Don Alexander
26 Posted 18/10/2018 at 23:07:05
John, I also think it was Danny Blanchflower who came up with that term, and why not on the back of the superb football the early 60s Spurs played. That said, Spurs always picked the teak-hard Dave Mackay when fit, the Reidy of the 1960s according to those who saw him.
Laurie Hartley
27 Posted 19/10/2018 at 09:09:51
A bit off topic but talking of great non-Everton players of the 60s – Jimmy Greaves would have to get a mention. A great footballer.
Dave Abrahams
28 Posted 19/10/2018 at 09:41:02
Dave Mackay and Jimmy Greaves, great, great players of any era. Dave is remembered by a lot of Evertonians for that tackle on Jimmy Husband: forget that if you can — Mackay was the steel of Spurs but also a great midfield player, defending and tackling and making those around him put the extra effort in. Quite brilliant and always a pleasure to see players like him. By the way, his brother Willie played for Everton, only the reserves, never made it here.

When great goal scorers are mentioned, from any era, Jimmy Greaves will always be recalled, what a football brain as well, scored tons of goals followed by a little wave of his hand, no mad running around like he had struck gold, just got ready to score his next one.

Talking about older players there, I think in the future Bernard will be added to that list of great players. Like quite a lot of Evertonians, I felt I was watching a really outstanding footballer from the first few touches of his play, hope I'm not wrong.

Ray Roche
29 Posted 19/10/2018 at 10:04:08
Dave, I echo your remarks re Mackay and Greaves. I recall Greaves saying that he liked to ''pass'' the ball into the net. Have a look at the link below to see Greaves at his best. Peerless goal scorer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vg7QIPJD5ac

Dave Abrahams
30 Posted 19/10/2018 at 12:36:02
Ray (29) thanks, just spent a good few enjoyable minutes watching those goals by Jimmy Greaves, but couldn't find the four he scored against Liverpool in a 7-2 trouncing Spurs gave them. Amazingly, I think Liverpool won the league that season (1964?) even though they lost about 10 league matches.
Alan McGuffog
31 Posted 19/10/2018 at 12:41:54
Dave... I have a feeling the reds beat them 5-2 on Good Friday and Spurs battered them on Easter Monday.
John McFarlane Snr
32 Posted 19/10/2018 at 13:39:17
Hi Dave [28], I have a book somewhere that states that Dixie Dean and Jimmy Greaves were exactly the same age when they notched 200 goals. I can't put my hand on it at the moment. I also recall that Denis Law regarded Greaves as the greatest goalscorer of their era.

I remember one occasion when Jimmy Greaves was certain to score at the Park End, only for Jimmy Gabriel to grab him around the waist, wrestling him to the ground, both of them rolling around laughing, I don't think it resulted in a booking either.

Josh received some good news this week, he's been selected to represent West Lancashire Schoolboys, we're all proud of him. I hope to see you at the Central when Mike Gaynes visits.

Hi Ray [29], that Spurs team before Jimmy Greaves arrived was something to behold. Limited TV coverage denied us the opportunity of watching games as often as today's fans can. What a team: Brown, Baker, Henry, Blanchflower, Norman, MacKay, Jones, White, Smith, Allen, and Dyson. Those were the days.

Hi Alan [31], I was on the Kop that Good Friday, Spurs were winning 2-0 at half-time, and as you say, Spurs battered Liverpool 7-2 in the White Hart Lane fixture.

Alan McGuffog
33 Posted 19/10/2018 at 14:10:37
I used to love those Easter fixtures... I've a feeling as well that there would be a Saturday game? Bet you had a smile on you like a torn pocket at half time on Good Friday!
Tony Abrahams
34 Posted 19/10/2018 at 14:34:58
Fair points Ray@23, but I'm not arguing about the quality of the football being better now mate, because I genuinely don't think it is.

I think back to those eras and think most injuries would have been caused by heavy tackles, a few hamstrings, and a few groin strains, whereas now the players seem to miss games mostly with any number of pulled muscles.

Maybe because I've got older myself that things look so much quicker now, but I've just seen a piece online in the Liverpool Echo that says Colin Harvey introduced the Genga-press to Everton in the early eighties?

I loved watching Everton hunt in packs, I loved watching Reid just keep the ball on the wrong side of his opponent and lean back into them just before they went to tackle him but I honestly don't think he would have been as effective in this era. Opinions!

Dave Abrahams
35 Posted 19/10/2018 at 15:04:15
Alan (31) and John (32), I also was in the Kop that Good Friday, remember the best goal of the game, alas, for them. a screamer from Willie Stevenson from about 25 yards. I didn't mind the Kop, lots of atmosphere, but you always had to dry your shoes out when you got home, only the Evertonians used the toilets because we were used to them.

Remember that game when Jimmy Gabriel brought Greavsie down, a professional foul some said, we would have been screaming blue murder if it had been a Spurs player doing that to one of ours.

What a great player Spurs lost in John White, killed by lightning on a golf course, called "The Ghost" by Spurs fans.

That 7-2 game at White Hart Lane was noticeable after the game for Skankly's remark: "If Greaves hadn't scored four, we would've drawn the game, one of their goals was definitely offside." He might have been joking, but you never knew with the "Travesty of Justice"

Dave Abrahams
36 Posted 19/10/2018 at 15:18:46
John (32), sorry, I got carried away in the above post... tell Josh well done; you've coached him proper, John. I hope to see you at the reunion in November.
John McFarlane Snr
37 Posted 19/10/2018 at 15:50:44
Hi again, Dave, I well remember the Shankly quote after the Spurs game, he actually said, "If Greaves hadn't scored 4 goals we would have won." Maths was hardly his strongest subject.

On another occasion he remarked, "Middlesbrough didn't beat us, the pitch did", and then there was the classic situation with Ian St John, you will recall that clubs had to release players for England duty, but the other Home Countries were not afforded the same consideration.

St John reportedly, was torn between representing his country or playing for Liverpool, eventually choosing the Scotland option, I can't recall Liverpool's opponents but things didn't go too well for them, and the absence of St John was apparently the reason for their failure.

I will pass on your good wishes to Josh, he had a trial earlier in the season but missed out, he said that he had hardly received a pass, I tried to encourage him by saying that they would monitor his progress at school, and (as he is 'Sports captain') this is apparently what happened. Looking forward to meeting up again.

Steve Carse
38 Posted 19/10/2018 at 16:42:42
Tony (34), it was indeed Everton in the mid-80s who introduced the intense and continuous pressing all over the park now talked of as if it is something revolutionary in the modern game. For anyone who doesn't believe it goes back that far in the British game take another look at the full tape of the famous Bayern Munich game. Another thing when looking at that game, you will see that players were covering as much if not more ground than those of today. That game was frenetic, brutal, but brilliant.

I don't know if Harvey was the originator rather than Kendall but I can remember talking to Graeme Sharp about those days and in particular the intensity of it all and he was totally sure that it was the adoption of that method of playing that made us the side we became. He recalled how in the early years under Kendall the pressing might be getting done from the front but the midfield would not be filling in the gaps the forwards left behind them as a result, and that it was only when everyone got the idea that they had to press as a complete team that we took off.

Tony Abrahams
39 Posted 19/10/2018 at 18:06:02
That's the thing with this type of style, or any style I suppose, that it's got to be all or nothing collectively Steve?

Remember Turkey, coming 3rd/4th in the World Cup? Sure they had some good players, but there was a famous picture when they were playing Brazil, and five of them were chasing one Brazilian who had the ball.

Hard work is the key, especially if everyone knows their job, and then the quality should come into it. I'm not sure on Everton right now, they make the pitch too big when the opposition have the ball, but they are good to watch. I'm looking forward to going the game again and I hope Silva can get everyone playing on the front foot given time.

John McFarlane Snr
40 Posted 19/10/2018 at 18:12:34
Hi all, I submitted part two of my article a few days ago, and I'm not sure that it will be published, of course I may be a little paranoid but you may have noticed that for some little time now, my posts have been accompanied by an edit instruction.

I believe that follows a post I submitted, commenting on the treatment being directed towards Oumar Niasse and one or two other players, the post was neither directed at any individual, nor did it contain any foul or abusive language.

The post however, was removed and since that time the edit instruction has been in place, what leads me to think that part two may have been consigned to the waste bin, is the fact that my initial post featured two Everton players and one Liverpool player.

The Liverpool player's nomination was omitted, and part two consists of the achievements of three Liverpool players, and one Tranmere Rovers player. The article in total consists of five Everton,and five Liverpool players, plus one Tranmere Rovers player, all of whom left their mark on the history of football.

If the editor or moderator, could clarify the position, and either ease my mind or confirm my fears, I would be grateful.

.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
41 Posted 19/10/2018 at 19:08:08
Hi John,

Please go ahead and send in the missing write-ups on the three additional Everton players you nominated.

The other lot get far too much exposure as it is and, I'm sorry if this upsets you, but talking them up is not what this website is about.

Thanks!

ps: The Edit button should appear breiefly on everyone's posts and provides them with a short window to make corrections. No special treatment for you, John... And nothing to do with your Niasse post, which is showing on this thread; once again, I'm sorry if this offends you!!!
John McFarlane Snr
42 Posted 19/10/2018 at 20:12:35
Hi Michael [41] I accept your explanation, but I can't say I agree with it, my definition of an Evertonian is ' A football fan devoted to his club, but able to recognise and appreciate achievements of other clubs, including their arch rivals Liverpool'.

I will complete the article as you requested, but it rather makes a mockery of the title, I would like to name the non Everton players and my reasons for nominating them. I appreciate that you have the final say on the matter but here goes.

Ephraim Longworth [the first Liverpool player to captain England] Matt Busby [for his achievements as a manager] Bob Paisley [for his achievements as a manager] Jackie Balmer [ for scoring a hat-trick of hat-tricks, 10 goals in three consecutive games] Billy Liddell [for being the nearest thing to a one man team] and Harold Bell of Tranmere Rovers [for playing in 401 consecutive League games.

Rather than being upset, my feeling was one of disappointment, I always thought that Evertonian's were a cut above any others.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
43 Posted 19/10/2018 at 22:17:58
There you go, John, I think you just mentioned them.

Talking up the Redshite, indeed... Un-fucking-believable!!!

You seriously want us to publish adulation of their managers' achievements!!!

You do realise this is an Everton website? I think you're going soft in your old age.

Kieran Kinsella
44 Posted 19/10/2018 at 22:36:14
John McFarlane Snr 42,

Seriously get a grip. If you want to write something neutral about Mersey football history there are other venues to do that. This is an Everton site. I cannot imagine for one second a Liverpool fan site running a "Team of the 80s" article and listing Peter Reid and Kevin Sheedy alongside Dalglish and co. Your sentiments are fine and all but this is not the venue, mate.

Ian Jones
45 Posted 19/10/2018 at 22:46:36
Sorry Michael, at the risk of making things worse, whatever anyone thinks of John's posts, and I understand feelings can run high when Liverpool get mentioned, I personally don't think John deserves quite the response you offered..am referring about the last 3 words of your second paragraph.
John McFarlane Snr
46 Posted 19/10/2018 at 23:00:56
Hi again Michael [43] I certainly do realise that this is an Everton website, and I may be going soft in my old age as you suggest, but I can assure you that I have no fondness for Liverpool FC.

As the theme of the article was a tribute to a 'Team of Merseyside' players, I feel that it was a natural thing to recognise the achievements of each and every one of the eleven, I also think that you would be surprised at the number of Evertonian's who would take a less bitter line than yourself.

I don't know what age you are Michael, but I would like to think that you will mellow a little if and when, you reach eighty years of age, I can assure you that I was once as bitter as you appear to be.

I think it's better that we draw a line under this now, and I will endeavour to avoid any reason for us to cross swords again.

Paul McGinty
47 Posted 19/10/2018 at 23:50:32
Ted Sagar was our milkman in Aintree back in the 50s. How the game has changed He's got to be #1 for that alone...

Looking for an alternative from the red side. Frankie Layne, who I used to watch playing Sunday league football in Wallasey for the Stanley Arms. Two games for the reds, an own goal on his debut, My kind of Liverpool keeper.

Ray Roche
48 Posted 20/10/2018 at 11:22:16
Paul didn't he also sing 'Mule Train'?
Ray Roche
49 Posted 20/10/2018 at 11:31:07
Michael, Kieran, I think you should appreciate that older members of the ToffeeWeb club can recall the days when it was acceptable to watch the RS playing at home when the Blues were away.

I did it, my Dad did it and so did many others. It doesn't mean you like that shower, you invariably went with your Red mates, just as they'd come to Goodison with you. You went to watch a game of football. And if you knew anything about football you could appreciate a good player without the bitterness that we all suffer from now. Especially me. I'm as bitter as they come.

I understand where John Snr is coming from because, sadly, that lot have had many top class players over the years but not all of them were as obnoxious as the recent players and if John Snr is writing about players from Merseyside he feels justified in including players from the distant past even if they include the odd RS.

John McFarlane Snr
50 Posted 20/10/2018 at 11:44:44
Hi Dave [37] Josh played his first game for West Lancs Boys yesterday, and scored two goals in a 7-2 win. In the Skelmersdale Junior league, he was a striker for Skem United and quite a regular scorer, latterly he has been playing in mid-field for his club, I think they operate in the Prescott League, yesterday for West Lancs Boys, he played on the left wing.

You may remember me saying that an Everton scout took him to Finch Farm when he was about nine or ten years old, they let him go, saying they may keep an eye on him throughout his school career. He asked me to thank you for your good wishes.

Well, Dave, I appear to have opened a can of worms, it seems to me that you can berate Everton players in 'Good old Anglo Saxon' terms, but you are not allowed to recognise and appreciate the qualities of anyone from Liverpool FC.

I can think of two former Liverpool players who I found to be objectionable people, but exceptional footballers, Steven Gerard and Louis Suarez, by admitting this I am awaiting the arrival of the 'anti treachery' squad'. I would be interested to know, in which camp do you belong?

As Jimmy Greaves is famously quoted as saying "It's a funny old game".

Don Alexander
51 Posted 20/10/2018 at 12:18:49
John, I find it strange that great footballers in other teams cannot be appreciated on this site. To me it shows a football intelligence that is all too welcome when critiquing our own team. For what it's worth Liverpool to me are on a par with every other team. They are "them" and we are "US", unique and special. Best wishes.
Ray Roche
52 Posted 20/10/2018 at 13:43:47
Don, to be fair, the praise heaped on Greaves on this site shows that it is not ALL players from other teams that incur the wrath of certain posters.
John McFarlane Snr
53 Posted 20/10/2018 at 13:46:24
Hi Ray [49] and Don [51], for a while I thought that I was ploughing a lone furrow, I was pleasantly surprised when the 'cavalry' and not the ' Treachery Squad' arrived.

Ray the Blues went to Anfield post -1950-51 hoping to see Preston North End beat Liverpool, while the Reds went to Goodison to hoping to see Bury beat Everton. The tables were turned post-1953-54 when the Blues went to Anfield hoping to see Bury beat Liverpool and the Reds went to Goodison hoping to see Preston North End beat Everton.

Today's supporters may find it difficult to believe that we went to both grounds together as 'Friendly Enemies' – they were the days.

Don, I have never had any love for Liverpool FC but I respect their achievements. I do however resent the fact that they are the media's darlings. Some people may think that this a recent development, but I have a book that says, "Everton go shopping and buy the Championship" this relating to the 1962-63 season. The same book says "Shankly's silver tongue licks Liverpool into shape" referring to their title win in 1963-64 some things never change.

Like yourself, I struggle to understand the level of criticism and the vitriol when things are not going so well; I can only surmise it's caused by frustration.

James Welford
54 Posted 20/10/2018 at 14:25:39
"We encourage active participation in the site but ask that you treat other posters with dignity and respect."

Sorry Michael but I think the tone of your reply was bang out of order. I had been enjoying the respectful and mannered posts in this thread and your reply to John stood out as coarse and unwarranted.

I don't think John's suggestion is a good one but it didn't warrant that caustic tone by reply!

Brian Hennessy
55 Posted 20/10/2018 at 14:55:41
As someone who has enjoyed many John McFarlane Snr's previous articles and the very dignified way he addresses fellow members on this site, I agree wholeheartedly with James Welford @54 that the tone of the response from Michael Kenrick @43 is out of order.

Amit Vithlani
56 Posted 20/10/2018 at 14:59:02
"'A football fan devoted to his club, but able to recognise and appreciate achievements of other clubs, including their arch rivals Liverpool'."

John – generally agree with this ethos. I have regarded our fan base as football purists, capable of putting aside football rivarly and even go as far as applauding the opposition off the pitch (I recall Keegan's magpies getting appreciation in a game we lost).

The other lot have certainly narked us over the years and my own dislike for them runs deep. But I have admitted to admiring a few of their players – such as Beardsley (even before he joined us), Barnes and, dare I say it, Coutinho. Skilful players who shone in my eyes regardless of the colour of the shirt they wore.

To balance this, the other lot do seem to have recruited a disproportionate share of wind up merchants (Fowler) thugs (McMahon, Ruddock) and cheats (Carragher) over the last 3 decades or so.

Dave Abrahams
57 Posted 20/10/2018 at 15:02:42
John (50), well John, Ray at (49) says everything that I would have said. I can't stand Liverpool but if they have good players I will always put my hand up and say so. Some of them were not easy to like as people but as footballers they were very good, and that is the thing that counts. Some were very decent and easy to like, such as Chris Lawler, Roger Hunt, Ian Callaghan and Billy Liddell.

I better stop there before I get banned off the site!!!

Tony Abrahams
58 Posted 20/10/2018 at 15:10:18
I notice they were all players from a different age, Dave, but football, like 𝐋ife, has changed, and neither for the better in my opinion, except for those pitches of course!
Dave Abrahams
59 Posted 20/10/2018 at 15:27:13
Yes got to agree with that Tony, I'm very glad I was born in the forties, even if there was a war going on. The majority of people I have met have been good and decent but I don't envy young people today, it's a very different and more greedy world than I grew up in. I worry for my grandkids as they grow up and I bet I'm not the only one of my age who feels like this.

I hope Huddersfield make me feel a lot happier about life tonight!!!!

Tony Abrahams
60 Posted 20/10/2018 at 16:25:35
Not after hearing the very sad news about Tony Kelly, Dave.
Dave Abrahams
61 Posted 20/10/2018 at 18:22:42
Yes Tony, I got a couple of phone calls this morning to
tell me Tony had lost his battle with that dreaded illness.

Some ToffeeWebbers might recall Tony posting on here,
not so much the last couple of years. Tony was an avid Blue, like most of his family, who supported Everton through thick and thin, one of his sisters, also Everton
mad, was a solicitor who fought tooth and nail to keep Everton out of Kirkby.

Tony will be well missed by those who knew him not just Evertonians but loads of a amateur footballers and fans of those leagues, Tony would be on the line most
Sunday's giving his support to the amateur game.

Goodnight God Bless Tony, Rest in Peace.

Christine Foster
62 Posted 20/10/2018 at 20:56:59
Michael, like it or not, there are many, dyed in the wool, fierce Evertonians of a mature age that understand exactly where John is coming from. In my early years I would go to Anfield to watch a game of football, not support the RS, I would also respect good players irrespective of who they played for. That's the way it was.

It's not like that now, and indeed to many it may seem inconceivable that Evertonians would go to the other lot when the Blues are away but I know many Liverpool fans who did the same.

The partisan hatred has replaced respect for good players and that's a shame, players are a commodity now, fans treat them with praise when they perform, bile when they don't.

There is nothing wrong with remembering a time where respect for ability was paramount, a game of football to be enjoyed and yes, the realisation for the good of the city that one of the teams did well. It is no more.

You used to smile at and commiserate with the enemy when they lost, now you laugh in their face and what used to be banter is now vitriol.

I used to laugh at banter, join in, but the bitterness and nastiness has killed it, as it has the memories.

Peter Mills
63 Posted 20/10/2018 at 21:03:51
Michael#43. I read your post around 12.30am this morning, having spent a very sociable evening with friends and family who all attended the 1966 FA Cup Final. I was going to respond then, but thought better of it, having had a bellyfull of beer.

I have reflected on it today. I share much of your sentiment, that this site does not need to include any eulogising of the rs. But I also think that of any posters, the older generation who have suffered huge misfortune and misery over the past 50 years at the hands of that dark side, should be allowed to express appreciation of them if they think fit. They have earned the right to do so.

However, it is yours and Lyndon’s site, so you are entitled to call the shots on that.

What I do find objectionable is your rude and crude treatment of one of this site’s most knowledgable and polite contributors. There is just no need for it.

John McFarlane Snr
64 Posted 20/10/2018 at 21:59:43
Hi James [54] Brian [55] Amit [56] Dave [57] Christine [62] and Peter [63] Thank you for your support and kind words, unfortunately you didn't get the opportunity to read the tributes paid to the five Liverpool players, and the Tranmere Rovers player.

Michael Kenrick exercised his right to withhold the tributes, and I have to accept that, what I can't accept is the fact that some people are prepared to condemn the article on second hand information. If I had thought that there would be such an issue made of the article, I wouldn't have submitted it.

I submitted the article because I thought it would be of interest, not only to those of us old enough to have seen some of the players involved, but also to those younger ToffeeWeb members who may have learned from it, I made the big mistake of believing that it would only be read by fair minded people.

John Boswell
65 Posted 20/10/2018 at 23:11:44
John, your submissions ARE of interest and read by many fair-minded Evertonians.

I have followed in the footsteps of my father and his father before him, I care first and foremost of all things pertaining to Everton Football Club and then football in the round (pun intended).

Keep the faith, John; ToffeeWeb would be so much poorer without the wonderful contributors such as your good self.
COYB.

Stan Schofield
66 Posted 21/10/2018 at 01:49:29
John@64: Just keep on posting mate. Doesn't matter how balanced, diplomatic and fair-minded you are, somewhere along the line somebody will be rubbed up the wrong way. It's par for the course, even on a great site like ToffeeWeb. The main point is, your posts are enjoyable, and you obviously enjoy posting them, so no need to change. Don't try to fix something that ain't broken.
Ray Atherton
67 Posted 21/10/2018 at 10:07:40
Tony, Dave

So sad to hear about Tony Kelly. We were like brothers
growing up, going to SFX Infants and Juniors in the same
class. Both of us passing the eleven plus to the same
college.
We hitchiked to places like London, Cardiff and Ipswich
when we were fifteen /sixteen,the Blues in our blood.

We hitched to an Arsenal night game about 1962 which
was postponed, we were told by the Chairman Dick
Searle in Euston station.

God Bless my old mate Tony thanks for the memories.
RIP.

Tony Abrahams
68 Posted 21/10/2018 at 10:17:26
I think we are going to hear loads of similar stories in the next couple of weeks Ray, because Tony, was one of those characters that you could bump into anywhere, and is someone you just expected to be here forever.
Dave Abrahams
69 Posted 21/10/2018 at 12:56:46
Ray (67), nice tribute Ray, always a pleasure ( and a laugh) to meet Tony.

John G Davies has opened a tribute page to Tony on another thread.

John McFarlane Snr
70 Posted 21/10/2018 at 13:11:31
Hi Kieran [44], I have held off for as long as I could but I'm afraid that curiosity has won the day. I would be obliged if you could let me know what you found distasteful about the article 'An alternative team of the century' – Part 2. As far as I'm aware Michael Kenrick has not put the contents on line, and as he and I are the only people who know what was written.

Or could it be that you are acting on the principle that only Everton related items, should feature on an Everton website? judging by the number of positive comments that have been posted, your view does not appear to have received a great deal of support., or is it just Liverpool FC and their employees and fans who must be avoided like the plague?

This post does not require a response, nor do I seek one, I must end this post now because I'm off to the match.

Stan Schofield
71 Posted 21/10/2018 at 15:15:28
John@70: By the time you read this you'll have been to the match and hopefully we'll all be happy bunnies because we've trounced Palace with scintillating football. I just wanted to add the following:

I've said on other threads that the spirit of a club is defined by two things, its history and its supporters. Our history is rich in achievement, which of course sets our current expectations, which is why Evertonians are never happy being midtable, we want to be at the very top playing great football like in the great parts of our past.

In this sense, I think it's very important that we discuss our history, our great players etc. Your posts are a major contribution to such discussion. Now, our richest history is arguably from the 1960s and the John Moores era. Both us and Liverpool were catapulted to the top through injections of large financial resources, us from John Moores, and theirs from Tom Williams and other businessmen.

There is evidence that Moores and Williams et al did not operate entirely separately, and my reading of the history leads me to think that there was a concerted effort to put Merseyside football (i.e. both Everton and Liverpool) at the top of the pile, to compete with and outdo other clubs, particularly in Manchester and London. I believe that this was indeed achieved to a large degree, Everton and Liverpool both being at the top in the 60s, which in turn influenced successes of the 80s). Of course, Liverpool have been more consistent than us, but at the end of the day both clubs have enjoyed great successes that are the envy of most other clubs.

When Liverpool lose a game, I enjoy it immensely, the pleasure is almost comparable to us winning. But at the same time, I don't dislike Liverpool, and I certainly respect them, it would be foolish not to. Most of my mates from Liverpool are reds, and there is fierce but friendly rivalry. At the same time, I have encountered reds who are basically unpleasant, bad losers and ungracious winners, which of course adds to my pleasure when they lose. Although the ungracious ones are noticeable, I would never focus too much on them, because at the end of the day my focus is mainly on Everton.

In the above context, I believe that discussing Liverpool players in a historical article like yours is perfectly appropriate. I think the reason some might oppose it stems from our recent lack of success and the frustrations that go with it, combined with the usgraciousness of some reds. If we were at the top, perhaps folks would be less bothered about them, because we'd be too busy enjoying our glory, like in the 60s and 80s.

Personally, I like it best when both us and them are at the top, when Derby games are worth watching and there is genuine rivalry rather than ungracious behaviour stemming from the relative success of one over the other. At the same time, I think they have similar frustrations to us, because they are also no longer an elite club, despite their better league placings (Utd, City and Chelsea are the current elite, Spurs, Arsenal and Liverpool being 'second tier', the guys who nearly but don't win big things). They haven't won major trophies for a long time, it's just less longer than us.

Apologies for being long-winded, but I thought it was worth labouring all of the above given the awareness us older supporters have of the historical background.

John McFarlane Snr
72 Posted 21/10/2018 at 19:43:38
Hi Stan [71] I'm not long home from the match, and just finished my tea, I thought that it was excellent game of football, and if it had finished 0-0 I would have enjoyed it.

I haven't yet logged on to the matchday thread but I trust there is a degree of satisfaction tonight. There is a fine line between success and failure, so the fact that all three subs played a significant part in the goals will spare Silva any criticism. Sometimes substitutions work; sometimes they don't.

I feel that, even if we lose games we will lose them more attractively; it looks like going to the match will be a more pleasant occasion than in recent years.

Addressing your post, like you, I too get almost as much pleasure from a Liverpool defeat as I do from an Everton victory. There is a word for taking pleasure from another's misfortune but that word escapes me at the moment, perhaps a learned 'ToffeeWebbeber' may help out here.

I'm not aware of John Moores and T V Williams working in tandem but I believe that John Moores held shares in Liverpool Football Club. The bitterness between the supporters I believe, stems from the Heysel incident which resulted in English clubs being banned from European competitions, just when we appeared to have a team good enough to compete with the best.

I can now read the matchday comments, and eagerly await the 'Match of the Day' programme.

Peter Mills
73 Posted 21/10/2018 at 19:54:16
It’s “Schadenfreude” John. I was full of it at full-time today as I felt Palace came to intimidate.
John McFarlane Snr
74 Posted 21/10/2018 at 20:22:02
Hi Peter [73] A friend of mine [sadly no longer with us] introduced that word to me, I'll have to write it down lest I forget it, I can't award you 'Man of the match' Peter, but I can certainly make you 'Star of the week'.

I sit in the Park End immediately in line with the penalty incident, I thought that it was a slip, but a girl who sits next to my Grandson, received a message on her mobile saying that it was definitely a trip, I shall watch it with added interest tonight.

I've taken a bit of stick over the last 24 hours, so I would like to thank you for your support, I was almost tempted to respond with some good old fashioned Anglo Saxon words, but then I realised that it might damage my image.

Tony Abrahams
75 Posted 21/10/2018 at 20:38:45
Funny Peter, I was just happy for ourselves, because although we weren’t great, we tried, and we tried, and we tried, and because we never stopped trying, we got our reward in the end!

John, I felt exactly the same as you today mate, and even if the game had finished nil, nil, I would have still been alright because of the effort our players had put into the game.

Peter Mills
76 Posted 21/10/2018 at 20:42:16
John, Schadenfreude was, of course, also a superb, if little known, East German left back of the late 50s, but we had better not sing the praises of other teams’ players too much!

Tony, I saw the tribute on the scoreboard at half-time to your pal Tony. Sincere condolences to his family and friends.

Tony Abrahams
77 Posted 21/10/2018 at 21:52:26
I missed that Peter, too busy talking, but I was thinking about Tony Kelly, when I was walking down Neston Street before the game today.

Another great Evertonian has sadly departed, but I was lifted by Everton today, and I was also lifted whilst looking up at Howard Kendall when walking along Gwladys Street, at the end of the game today.

Some people were singing "Marco Silva's Blue and White army", and, like Steve Fearns has been saying, I feel like today is the day that a lot of people have really began to accept our new manager.

Gerard McKean
78 Posted 23/10/2018 at 16:34:48
Just back from a few days away to read this interesting thread. The reason for my short excursion was to catch a game in Holland. Despite an eye-catching 3-0 win for Feyenoord it was a fairly soporific match, after which we repaired quickly to a local bar to catch the Everton game live on tv.

The locals were intrigued to meet Evertonians who had travelled to come and watch their beloved Feyenoord and as well as going bananas with us in those last few minutes they all agreed that the English game is much more exciting and played at a higher tempo than the Dutch.

I enjoy watching the occasional Dutch and German games in their own grounds and my point is that while I'm a Blue through and through that doesn't stop me appreciating football more generally. I support John McF's position totally, as it seems do most posters on this thread. We are Evertonians, yes we “hate Bill Shankly and we hate St John” and all that, and yes, we love to see them lose but most of us are gracious enough to rise above the tribalism. Imagine for a moment if Shankly had started building a dynasty at Goodison rather than me regretting watching Catterick change a team every time they won something because he felt they'd no longer be ‘hungry’.

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