An alternative 'Team of the Century' – Part 2

To finish off this article, I pay tribute to another three Everton players who formed part of my alternative "Team of the Century": Sam Chedgzoy, Bobby Collins, and Bill Dean.

To finish off this article, I pay tribute to another three Everton players who formed part of my alternative "Team of the Century".

Sam Chedgzoy

Sam Chedgzoy holds a claim to fame few footballers of his or any other generation could claim. He forced a change in the laws of football, the bizarre and far reaching incident, took place after the FA reworded the corner kick rule in their statute book, in June 1924.

The drafting of the clause left a loophole spotted by Liverpool Echo sport editor, Ernest Edwards. He spoke to the officials of Everton Football Club about the wording of the law, and Sam Chedgzoy, the regular corner-kick taker, agreed to expose the limitations of the law.

"There's nothing in the book, as it stands, to prevent you from dribbling the ball right into the middle, instead of kicking it from the corner," explained Edwards, "Why not try it out and see what happens?"

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Always willing to enter into the spirit of things, Sam Chedgzoy did just that. In a match early in the 1924-25 season he placed the ball for a corner kick, then calmly dribbled it through to the goalmouth, while the referee, linesmen, and players stood dumbfounded.

The referee began to lecture Sam, but primed by Ernest Edwards, the winger innocently declared "What's in the rules to stop me doing it?" There wasn't anything. The FA at an emergency meeting shortly afterwards, altered the law.

While Chedgzoy became famous for that incident, it did not overshadow the immense contribution he made to Everton Football Club, as a dashing winger of pace and style.

Like Joe Mercer, Chedgzoy learned his football in the hard school of Ellesmere Port football.

He was first spotted as a 20 year old, plying his trade down the right flank of the Burnell's Iron Works side in the West Cheshire League. The man who spotted him was Fred Geary, a record breaking centre forward in the Victorian period. Geary had amassed the incredible total of 86 goals in 98 appearances between 1889 and 1895, and clearly appreciated the service a quality winger could provide,

Chedgzoy became the successor to the great Jack Sharp, and the greatest compliment that could be paid to him, is that he did not suffer in comparison. Bobby Parker was the centre forward who benefitted most notably from Sam's blistering technique, and the ability to hang centres in opposition penalty areas.

In 1914-15, Everton clinched their second League title, with Parker contributing 36 goals in 35 appearances, many supplied by the right boot of Sam Chedgzoy.

Ironically, when the young Dixie Dean kicked off his colossal career in the 1925/26 sesason, Sam Chedgzoy was enjoying his last season in an Everton jersey. Evertonians can only imagine the havoc this pairing would have wreaked on First Division defences.

Despite having four years wiped from his playing career by the firsr World War, Sam Chedgzoy still went on to amass 300 appearances for the 'Blues', it wasn't until his 30th birthday that he was recognised by his country, in an international against Wales, but he went on to win another eight England caps, and he represented the Football League on five occasions.

At the end of his carerr Sam left Merseyside for Montreal, where he contunued to play until he was 51 years old, he made regular visits to England but settled permanently in Canada where he died aged 78.

I chose Sam Chedgzoy because he played his part in the alteration of the FA laws of the game.

Bobby Collins

At just 5'-3", Bobby Collins known as the 'Wee Barra' to Celtic fans during the 1950s, was sold to Everton for a club record fee of £28,500 in 1958, and Bill Kenwright is quoted as saying, "Bobby Collins was very much a part of Everton's life, and helped to transform the club from the minute he arrived at Goodison Park, as our record signing."

He was pivotal and inspirational, during his four years with the 'Blues' and will never be forgotten by our fans, and everyone at Everton Football Club.

Former teammate Eddie Gray, said that he rated Bobby Collins as the most influential player in the history of Leeds United Football Club. Having been signed by Don Revie for £25.000 in 1962, the scot was pivotal as captain to their promotion to the First Division.

Collins was named the English Football Writers 'Player of the year' in 1965 when Leeds finished as runners up in both the League and FA Cup. However, he suffered a serious injury the following season in a European tie, and he subsequently moved on to play for Bury, Greenock, Morton, Ringwood City, Melbourne Hakoah, Oldham Athletic, and Shamrock Rovers.

Collins who was capped 31 times for Scotland, also managed Huddersfield Town, Hull City, and Barnsley, as well as having two spells coaching with Leeds United.

Bobby Collins joined Everton in 1958 when they had lost their first six League games, scoring 4 goals and conceding 20. He scored on his fdebut in a 3-1 win over Manchester City at Maine Road, and despite being in the side that lost 10-4 to Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, he was inspirational, helping Everton to finish in 16th position.

He joined Leeds United when they were fighting against relegation to the Third Division, he helped them to avoid the drop, and a couple of years later they were competing for major honours.

I chose Bobby Collins because he took two clubs by the scruff of the neck, and gave them their pride back.

Dixie Dean

So much has been written about Dixie Dean that it's hard to find something new; however, I did stumble on to an article written by a Peter Jones.

Dixie Dean was a phenomenally famous footballer, perhaps the best example of this comes from an Italian prisoner of war, who was captured by British troops during the second World War.

The Italian shouted at his captors in broken English, "Fuck ya Winston Churchill and fuck ya Deexie Dean" — this humorous event demonstrated the significance of Dean; comparing him to Churchill may appear a bit too extreme, but it certainly highlights his reputation.

For someone so famous, it could be deemed rather surprising that the story of his testimonial is little known. Dean's testimonial was a roaring success, many turned out to see the Liverton Scotland team run out 3-1 winners over the Liverton England team.

The Liverpool Echo was full of praise for the event stating, "A night of memories af Goodison Park, of nostalgia, and sentiment, and a heart stirring moment when the fans greeted Goodison's greatest ever player, Bill Dean, as he led the players out for his testimonial.

"Where else in the country would a crowd of nearly 40,000 turn up towards the end of a season, to watch an exhibition match for a player who last appeared for the club more than 25 years ago"?

"Of course, the player they were honouring was exceptional, so was the attendance.

The most memorable ovation was still to come: after Dean kicked off, he walked off alone, waving to the crowd, and I suspect there were tears in his eyes, as every person in the ground sounded their appreciation with prolonged applause and cheers. This was Dean's night.

The event raised £7,000 which would have been an immense help to Dean and his family, and would have helped fund his retirement from Lttlewoods when he was 65.

A lot of the praise must be directed to John Moores, he saw a club legend in need of support and went above and beyond to support him, Dean was not asking for help, but John Moores provided him with two jobs, a member of security, and later a porter, plus a big day to thank him for his loyalty to Everton.

Football is totally different today, and no elite club would ever really need to support a player the way John Moores did for Dean.

Nevertheless it is hard not to look back fondly to this era, and realise how much has been lost in terms of relationships between players and fans. Players are so much removed from normal life that it looks like personal relationships, like Dean working in Littlewoods will never return.

In conclusion, Dixie Dean's testimonial was significent for many reasons: firstly it highlights the gulf in wages from modern day football.

Dixie Dean's achievements are comparable to LIonel Messi's, yet he spent the latter years of his life as a porter for Littlewoods, which one presumes, Messi will not.

Dean was an example of uniting Merseyside, getting both teams to come together to celebrate his career, and football across Liverpool, something that doesn't happen very frequently any more.

Finally, it demonstrated the generosity of John Moores, as Everton chairman he took it upon himself to honour an Everton great 25 years after his retirement, and he deserves a lot of plaudits for doing so.

Dixie Dean is arguably the greatest player to wear the 'Royal Blue' of Everton, it would be difficult to find one fan across Mesyside, or the whole country, that does not think he deserves every penny he was given for his testimonial, and much more.

I don't think I have to give my reason for choosing William Ralph Dean.

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Reader Comments (32)

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Bill Watson
1 Posted 23/10/2018 at 00:40:27
Thanks, John.

What a contrast Dean is to the stars, and not so stars, of today who are set for life after just a few years.

The Maine Road match was my first away match, at the age of 11,
If I recall correctly, it was a midweek evening game.

On the way home the Crown Coachways driver pulled into the Greyhound pub, at Leigh, on the East Lancs. He'd already had far too much to drink and actually lost the coach keys and we all did a search of the car park, to no avail. They were eventually found in the gents.

Despite being well cut he clambered into the driver's seat and we continued on our way home! Another sign of the times; I think, today, the adults would have taken the keys off him. Then it was regarded as being quite funny.

Steve Carter
2 Posted 23/10/2018 at 07:33:18
I do enjoy reading your articles, John. Thank you. It strikes me that William Dean must have been close to football as what Don Bradman was to cricket at the time.
Tony Sullivan
3 Posted 23/10/2018 at 11:01:08
Thanks, John, another for an interesting read which stirs memories.

Bill, I was at the Man City game when Bobby Collins made his debut (I was 12). My memory has it as a Saturday, I think Collins signed on the Friday and travelled directly to Maine Rd to join the team and play a 'blinder' on his debut.

And as John says, it was the start of taking the club by the scruff of the neck and giving it back its pride. The culmination of the process was the 1963 championship winning side. Perhaps a first example of having patience in team building; sadly, in my view, we didn't learn any lessons from that period.

Paul Ward
5 Posted 23/10/2018 at 12:17:07
John, I also remember the Bobby Collins debut. I was 16, it was on a Saturday and Everton had lost their first 6 games of the season and were bottom of the league.
John McFarlane Snr
6 Posted 23/10/2018 at 12:19:01
Hi Bill [1], I have just come back from shopping. Tony [3 ] has beaten me to it, the game was a Saturday fixture, 13 September 1958, the goals coming from Bobby Collins, Wally Fielding, and Jimmy Harris. I was serving with the army in Cyprus at the time.

It must have been an exciting day for you, and as you say, the driver wouldn't get away with it today.

Hi Steve [2], every decade or so, seems to have its outstanding performer. I believe that 'Babe' Ruth the baseball player, was a contemporary of Dixie Dean, I'm not sure of Don Bradman, he may have been a little later.

You will have noticed a little foul language in the Dixie Dean tribute, I posted the tribute exactly as it was at source, a capital F and three asterisk's, the editor/moderator posted the words in full.

I have no intention of making an issue of it unless my integrity is called into question, and then I would expect the editor/moderator to confirm my claim.

Hi Tony [3] I have always felt that Johnny Carey was treated badly. but John Moores would point to the fact that the change of manager justified his decision.

Christy Ring
7 Posted 23/10/2018 at 13:37:13
Thanks John, lovely article about Dixie, a special player, special man.
Dave Abrahams
8 Posted 23/10/2018 at 14:01:50
Bobby Collins was the ultimate professional, took pride in everything he did in his football life, never gave less than a 100% in each game he played. More importantly, he expected and demanded the same from each of his teammates, which he never always got. He famously blew his top after a 3-0 loss to Bradford City in an FA Cup game, claiming some of the players were more interested in where they were going after the game, instead of concentrating on the game in hand.

It was wonderful to watch Collins weld this Everton team together and become a match for any club in the land. Sadly, he never got his just desserts, being transferred just before we won the championship.

A really great player whose name will come up in any conversation about "Everton Greats".

Peter Mills
9 Posted 23/10/2018 at 14:59:53
Hi John,

I attended William Ralph's testimonial match as an 8-year-old boy. The teams for the night were listed as follows:

England: Rankin, Byrne, Moran: Harris, Labone, Kay: Callaghan, Stevens, Pickering, Temple, Morrisey.

Scotland: Lawrence, Brown, Thompson: Gabriel, Yeats, Stevenson: Scott, St. John, Young, Vernon, Wallace.

I'm not sure how Royston made the cut as a Scot! I also think some changes were made to the line-ups on the evening, but those are two pretty useful teams.

Together with my brother Charlie, and our pal Terry White of this parish and his brother's Dave and Mike, we have become friends with William Ralph's daughter Barbara over recent years. The White lad's dad, Dick, used to tell a wonderful story of how he just managed to get into that final game of the 1927-28 season to witness the famous hat-trick with which Dean reached his 60th goal, and Barbara and her daughter Melanie were delighted to be regaled with it a few years ago.

Barbara has been trying to put together a movie based on William Ralph's life, focussing not just on his career but his family life, and some of the mental challenges he faced. I read earlier this year that it was due to go into production around now, but I have not heard recently of progress.

John McFarlane Snr
10 Posted 23/10/2018 at 15:18:48
Hi Christy [7] you do know that I am not the author of these tributes, I only carry out a little bit of research, but that in itself can be time consuming. Each of the articles that I have posted, are to remind 'veterans' of bygone days, and to give younger supporters an insight of what we were fortunate to have witnessed.

Hi Dave [8], I place Bobby Collins above Alan Ball, because of his attitude and application. you may remember that in my article. 'Favourites aren't always the best' Bobby was included, being my favourite inside forward and in my opinion. the best.

I too, attended the Bradford City FA Cup game, and as you point out Bobby Collins was reported as saying "Too many players were only interested in getting home in time to spend the evening in the 'Royal Tiger'!

My mate in the army was a Glasgow lad, and a Celtic supporter, and when we signed Bobby from Celtic he was distraught. I know that when we look back we tend to do so through 'Blue-tinted glasses', but, no matter how lavish you are in praise of Bobby Collins, you can never do him justice.

John McFarlane Snr
11 Posted 23/10/2018 at 15:49:20
Hi Peter [9] I can't recall the exact lineup but I do know that Bobby Graham played for Scotland and actually scored the first goal, which won me a few bob on the sweep, we always had a sweep whether at Goodison or Anfield.

Vernon would have played because the Scotland team were a man down, likewise the England team may also have been short, because if my memory serves me right Jimmy Hill played for them, Dave Abrahams might be able to help us out on that one.

Paul Birmingham
12 Posted 23/10/2018 at 19:54:53
Fantastic stirring read John. Before my time but my dad always kept us appraised of our by gone times and genuine star players of the day.

These players were total class acts, and the spirit and humility of these times, is a reminder to us all of us, in the digital age, that old values and manners, count.

Cheers John.

Dave Abrahams
13 Posted 23/10/2018 at 20:14:44
John (11), sorry, I was at the game but don't remember if Jimmy Hill played. He never got many games for the Blues after signing, he was a bit too slow to fit in, so he might have been okay in a benefit game!!

To be honest, I don't even remember Tony Kay playing in that game.

Rick Tarleton
14 Posted 24/10/2018 at 06:10:42
Although, like most of my generation, I worshipped Young and Vernon as icons of all that I held dear as an Everton supporter: skill, panache and success... in my objective moments, Bobby Collins is the best player we've had in my 60 years. No signing has made such an impact and no player has so consistently performed at such a high level, week-in & week-out. Skill, effort, and sheer pluck epitomised his game. At 5'-3", he was simply a colossus.
Alan J Thompson
15 Posted 24/10/2018 at 06:41:40
Point of order on your #10 Mr McFarlane, Sir. Wasn't Bobby Collins an Everton junior sent back to Scotland because of homesickness.

A minor point, John, and I do so enjoy reading your articles, Cheers.

Bill Watson
16 Posted 24/10/2018 at 09:02:03
Some great posts that take me back to the beginnings of my Everton 'journey'.

I stand corrected on the 1-3 Man City game.

Alan; #15 I think you're spot on that Collins was a former Everton junior.

Dave Abrahams
17 Posted 24/10/2018 at 09:18:51
Alan (15), yes I remember reading that story about Bobby Collins joining Everton as a youngster then going back home.

Bill (16), in my mind that debut by Collins was on a Wednesday night. I know I'm wrong but I still think it was on that day, don't know why.

John McFarlane Snr
18 Posted 24/10/2018 at 10:06:14
Hi Rick, [14] I fully endorse your comments regarding Bobby Collins, and I can recall an incident that epitomises the man, it must have been in the Liverpool Senior Cup Final, because Liverpool were still in the Second Division at the time.

Bobby, in a challenge against ' Rowdy' Yeats, at the Park End, left the 6'2" centre-half sitting on the backside, I always refer to Bobby Collins as the 5'-3" giant.

Hi Alan [15] I believe you are absolutely correct in stating that Bobby Collins was at Everton, but returned to Scotland because of homesickness in 1948. However I don't think he was sent home, I think it was his decision. Best wishes John.

Hi Dave [17] I know exactly how you feel, because although I was at the Liverpool vs Manchester City FA Cup replay in 1956, having gone straight to the match at the end of my 6 to 2 shift.

For years I had it in my head that Billy Liddell's disallowed goal was at the Anfield Road end, it took photographic evidence to convince me that I was wrong. I could have lost a lot of money if I had chosen to put a bet on the incident.

Liddell was doubly unfortunate in that Cup round, because he had a goal disallowed in the original game, due to Alan A'Court standing in an offside position.

David Peate
19 Posted 24/10/2018 at 13:17:24
Very interesting article. I hope that someday somebody will write an appreciation of that most underrated player, Cyril Lello. Cyril graced the left-half position in the 1940s and 1950s and played in an elegant and unfussy style. In another era, he would have been an England star.

He lived modestly in a street right by Goodison Park. I have many happy memories of him in those dreary Everton days.

John McFarlane Snr
20 Posted 24/10/2018 at 15:33:06
Hi David [19] I'm glad that you raised the subject of Cyril Lello, who was one of the unsung hero's of the team in the 1940s/50s. Following promotion in 1954 he was part of the half back line of Farrell, TE Jones, and Lello that featured in almost. every Everton game,

My abiding memory of Cyril was the goal he scored against Preston North End at the Park End, when Everton returned to the First Division, this goal put Everton in top place in the League, with 6 points, following victory's against Sheffield United (away) Arsenal, and Preston (home); I was fortunate enough to have attended all three games.

You will appreciate that I gather my information from reference books and I can provide the tribute to Cyril from the, "Who's Who of Everton":

"Cyril Lello began his serious football career with Shrewsbury in the Birmingham and District League. After moving to Goodison Park, he bided his time in the Reserves, before making his League debut at inside left, three days before his 30th birthday, against Wolves in February 1948.

During the second half of the following season, he established himself at left half, holding his place for 18 months; however, he didn't get a first team call at all in the 1950-51 season, as Peter Farrell and Jackie Grant bedded themselves in the side.

However, he remained loyal to the club and regained his place in the side in 1952, going on to amass over 250 appearances before departing. Lello could kill a ball dead, he placed his passes with precision and was a terrier for work."

Better late than never, David!

Dave Abrahams
21 Posted 24/10/2018 at 16:34:00
John (20), I think Cyril Lello got a bad injury not long after the Preston game (possibly versus WBA) which kept him out for a long spell.

Those two games versus Arsenal (Wednesday night) and Preston NE on the Saturday were played in front of over 69,000 and 76,000 fans. We were top of the league after those three victories which started with the 5-2 win at Sheffield Utd – obviously too good to last.

John McFarlane Snr
22 Posted 24/10/2018 at 17:15:13
Hi Dave [21] I think that you'll have to stand in the corner facing the wall, Cyril was the only ever present that season, 42 League games and 2 goals, plus 2 FA Cup games against Southend United and Liverpool, that dreadful 4-0 defeat that still haunts me.

The following season he played 37 League games and scored 2 goals, with 4 FA Cup games. It would appear that he suffered the injury you refer to in a 1-0- home win against Burnley, a Tommy Jones penalty, on Monday 3 September 1956 – that was his last game for Everton.

I was just beginning my army service at that time, and the only two games I saw were home games against Blackpool 2-3 and Bolton Wanderers 2-2.
It just proves that you don't need a good memory if you've got one two books.

Dave Abrahams
23 Posted 24/10/2018 at 17:44:41
John (22), fair enough, I've put my dunce's cap on for the next half an hour. I looked a bit daft when the window man knocked for his money!!
Bill Watson
24 Posted 24/10/2018 at 20:29:42
If my memory is correct, Mrs Lello was the manageress of the old Goodison Road club shop for many years. She lived in one of the terraced houses at the rear of the Park End which, at one time, were club houses.

So, the Lello - Everton connection lasted around 30-odd years.

Paul Ward
25 Posted 25/10/2018 at 06:49:40
David Peate (19), I fully agree with your sentiment regarding the very underrated player, Cyril Lello.

Off the field, he was a thorough gentleman. As you say, he lived in the street behind the Park End and never refused a young kid like me an autograph, however many times you went there. I remember his autograph stood out from the rest because of his perfect handwriting.

John McFarlane Snr
26 Posted 25/10/2018 at 09:12:42
Hi Bill [24], you have mistaken Cyril Lello's wife with that of Tommy Clinton, I believe her name was Muriel. Tommy himself, if my memory is correct, ran a newsagents on Walton Lane.

Although Tommy lived in Goodison Avenue, he is reported as saying that he never watched football or entered Goodison Park on retiring, not even the World Cup games that were staged at Goodison in 1966.

Hi Paul [25] Cyril could often be seen on match days, and while I didn't expect younger supporters to recognise him, you'd be surprised at the number of older fans who expressed surprise when I asked them, "Do you know who that is?" and then revealed his identity.

David Peate
27 Posted 25/10/2018 at 14:03:45
I think that Cyril Lello played about 150 consecutive games for Everton and that this is a record for the club. Cyril's autograph was indeed well scripted but his writing was very large. I thought at the time that he must have been a little short-sighted but apparently I was mistaken.
John McFarlane Snr
28 Posted 26/10/2018 at 11:24:21
Hi David [27] I have done a bit of research, and you are right about Cyril Lello playing in the region of 150 consecutive games in the 1950s. The total was actually 153. In my reply to your original post, I did say that he was part of the Farrell, Jones, Lello combination; the vast majority games in that tremendous run, featured that trio.

The start of that record sequence was against Bury on 13 December 1952, a 5-0 home victory, and ended on 10 March 1956, a 2-1 home loss to Sunderland.

I'm afraid that this was completely under my radar, I could pretend that I was aware of it, but the only person in the world that you can't lie to is yourself. I am indebted to you for bringing to my attention.

Dick Fearon
29 Posted 27/10/2018 at 06:02:29
I love reading these old memories many of which I had a very small part. Only as a spectator mind you.

Dave @23s mention of the window cleaner took me back to a childhood visit to my uncle Hugheys when he used a stopwatch to prove he had the fastest window cleaner in all of England.

From placing his ladder against the wall to do the upstairs window plus one on the ground floor and knocking for his payment it was 30 seconds. I kid you not.

Dave Abrahams
30 Posted 27/10/2018 at 13:57:13
Dick (29), did he use him again!!!
David Peate
32 Posted 27/10/2018 at 16:38:53
Dick (29) Of course he was quick. in the 1940s Everton window cleaners never took the time to wash in the corners. My mother used to say that all windows were round to the cleaners!
Alan J Thompson
33 Posted 27/10/2018 at 16:48:57
David (#32); Often referred to as "Porthole Jack".
Dick Fearon
34 Posted 28/10/2018 at 08:09:31
Your own window cleaning round was a nice little earner but you had to be cheap and quick.

You also had to protect your clientele from competitors.

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