Treasured Memories of a Bygone Age – Part 1

I was recently asked how many matches I have attended in my 70 years of following Everton. This question, together with the recent death of Gordon Banks, prompted me to think of all the players I must have seen and the impression they made on me.

I was recently asked how many matches I have attended in my 70 years of following Everton Football Club, and allowing for a period as a teenager playing for Anfield Boys' Club and a spell of Army service in Cyprus, and factoring in away games, I would estimate a figure approaching 1,600 games.

This question together with the recent death of Gordon Banks, prompted me to think of all the players I must have seen and the impression they made on me.

While I appreciate that is a site for Everton issues, I also believe that there is room for Evertonians' to share their experiences with fellow Evertonians',

and on this basis I have selected 11 players from visiting clubs who I saw play from my teenage days through to my early twenties.

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Goalkeeper: Jack Kelsey

[Arsenal & Wales]

Jack Kelsey was the village blacksmith at Llansalet, when Arsenal signed him from the local side Winch Wen to understudy the ageing George Swindon in the 'Gunners' goal

This was later seen as a very shrewd move by Tom Whittaker, the then Arsenal manager, when the young goalkeeper, after making his debut versus Charlton Athletic early in 1951, went on to become a goalie at club and international levels, displaying marvelous agility on his goal line.

Jack had quickly gained a League Championship medal by 1953 and won the first of his many Welsh caps in 1954.

The climax of his career was in 1958 when 'Little Wales' fought their way to the World Cup quater finals, eventually losing 1-0 to the future Champions-Brazil.

Right Back: Jimmy Armfield

[Blackpool & England.]

A stylish defender, Armfield came to the fore with his local club, after assisting a nearby church team.

Following a brilliant display in the 1962 World Cup Finals in Chile, Jimmy was voted the finest right back in the world.

The overlap was his speciality and he could rightly claim to be the originator of the modern technique, although others would doubtless argue the point.

.He had become by now, an England regular, setting up at one stage a sequence of 37 consecutive games.

Highly composed, efficient to the last and above all constructive, he played 568 League games for Blackpool before retiring, and going on to football management with Bolton Wanderers, and Leeds United.

Left Back: Alf McMichael

[Newcastle United & Northern Ireland]

A red-haired dynamic left full back, Alf McMichael along with George Hannah, was transferred from Linfield to Newcastle United for a combined fee of £20,000 in September 1949.

This move followed sterling performances back home in the Irish League, but it wasn't until arriving at St James'Park that the youngster was capped for his country, going on to become captain and collecting 40 full caps.

He won an FA Cup winners medal from the game against Arsenal in 1952. Not terribly tall for a defender, he was tenacious in the tackle, very constructive when in possession, and a highly regarded member of the Newcastle United rearguard, making 403 League appearances during his stay with them.

Right Half: Ronnie Clayton

[Blackburn Rovers & England]

Classy, totally constructive in approach, Clayton made his debut at the age of 16 in the 1950-51 season.He showed real signs of developing into one of the great wing halves of the day, and could have had more than the 35 appearances, some as captain that he made in England colours.

He captained the Rovers back into the First Division as runners up in 1957-58, and gained an FA Cup runners-up medal against Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1960. He played 577 League games for Blackburn Rovers before leaving to become player/manager of Morecambe in 1969.

Those who saw him play will always remember Ronnie Clayton for grand sportsmanship, allied to great ability.

Centre-Half: John Charles

[Leeds United, Cardiff City & Wales]

The famous Major Buckley enticed the young John Charles away from his native Swansea in January 1949 to sign for Leeds United.

Capped by Wales just after his 18th birthday, John could play at both centre-half and centre-forward with equal efficiency. Because of his temperament, he became known as the 'Gentle Giant'.

In 1953-54, he scored 42 League goals and, a season later, a further 30 goals helped the Elland Road side back into the top flight. In 1956-57, after helping himself to 38 League goals, he was taken to Italy by Juventus for a record £65,000.

He became an idol in that country before briefly returning to Leeds United in 1962. After a few months, he moved back to Italy, joining Roma for £70,000 before finishing his playing career with Cardiff City.

Left-Half: Bobby Moore

[West Ham United, Fulham & England]

A brilliant youthful prodigy in the central defender's position, Moore was capped at youth level after joining West Ham.

He developed into one of the finest wing halves in England, captaining club and country through almost every level of soccer, culminating in 108 full caps.

He collected an FA Cup winners medal against Preston North End in 1964, but when playing for Fulham in the twilight of his career he was on the losing side at Wembley in 1975 against his old team-mates of West Ham.

He was Footballer of the year in 1964, and on retiring he had achieved 667 League appearances with West Ham and Fulham, and a worldwide reputation as a master of his craft but, without doubt, the pinnacle of his career was holding the Jules Rimet trophy aloft for England at Wembley in 1966.

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Peter Mills
1 Posted 05/04/2019 at 10:09:19
An interesting read, John, and certainly a topic that is valid for TW. In the days before saturation TV coverage it was always a thrill to see certain players live and, despite them being opponents, admire their style of play.

You have a few years on me. Of those you have mentioned, I watched Jimmy Armfield only at the end of his career. However, I saw Bobby Moore quite a few times in his prime, an absolutely wonderful player, who would have been a star in any era. A bit slow for the modern game? Not in his brain.

Stan Schofield
2 Posted 05/04/2019 at 10:28:42
John, yet another interesting article from you. Of the players you list, like Peter, I saw only Bobby Moore, and I thought he was a brilliant player, a sort of equivalent to West Germany's Bechenbaur. I believe our own John Hurst might have been an England regular but for Bobby Moore being the obvious 1st choice.

There was a piece on Radio 2's Jeremy Vine programme about Bobby Moore a couple of years ago, which talked about his premature death at the age of 51 through cancer. The piece focused on how great he was as a player and how good a man he was, and the sadness of his early death. The reason I mention it is, it was such a powerful piece, underlying Moore's recognition as a player and thoroughly decent human being, that Jeremy Vine's voice cracked, he got emotional and ended up in tears on air, which is obviously very unusual for a professional presenter. To me, it showed the effect that the best sides of football can have on people's emotions.

Chris Hockenhull
3 Posted 05/04/2019 at 10:31:34
Great stuff. Got me thinking yoo of all the greats I've seen grace Goodison since dad took me that autumn day in 1963. John did you too attend the 1966 World Cup games,?.some greats there too on show over those couple of weeks.
Brian Harrison
4 Posted 05/04/2019 at 10:39:27

Like you I was going to Goodison long before MOTD came along in 1962, the only games that used to be shown live was the FA Cup Final and England games. I also remember Wolves playing Dynamo Kiev in a floodlight game.

England games kicked off between 2.30 and 3.00pm, this was the only time that you had seen the stars you had only read about in the papers, unless they played for their clubs at Goodison. Now its wall to wall football on TV even people living thousands of miles away can watch games live, how things have changed. I say to my Sons and Grandsons when I started watching Everton we had gates of 75,000 and it was all pay at the gate and change given, no swipe cards in those days.

There was certainly some talented players around, some you have already given special mention. There a couple I would mention the great Danny Blanchflower probably the best captain I have seen in my time. He led Spurs to their famous double in the 60s. I believe he was the first person to use a wall against free kicks. H e was playing for Ireland against Italy and they had a player who could hit a ball. So Danny got a couple of players to join him in a wall to stop him having a direct shot at goal. Nowadays all the captain does is toss the coin at the start of the match.

Tom Finney the Preston Plumber what a player could play wide or down the middle. Shankly said he was the grteates player he had ever played with or against.

Jimmy Mclroy from Burnley a real artist with the ball, also John White from Spurs another lovely footballer.

I better stop or the post will go on forever.

Andy Meighan
5 Posted 05/04/2019 at 11:04:13
Great stuff, John.

I remember my dad waxing lyrical about Ronnie Clayton. He also said Armfield was a cracking player as well and also he idolised John Charles.

I was lucky enough to see Bobby Moore when I was young — what a player he was! Though rumour has it he also had another career as a jewel thief... Just saying, like!

Martin Nicholls
6 Posted 05/04/2019 at 11:15:34
Brian - my first recollection of televised football was also a Wolves game possibly around 1957(?) but I seem to remember it being against Moscow Dynamo. We didn't have a tv in those days and had to go next door to our landlord's house to watch it!
Brian Harrison
7 Posted 05/04/2019 at 11:18:41

Yes it was Dynamo Moscow memory isn't as good as it used to be.

Dave Abrahams
8 Posted 05/04/2019 at 13:14:33
Brian and Martin, Moscow Dynamo, and they also played Honved the top Hungarian side at the time, did they only show the second half of these games? I remember Woves would put plenty of water on the pitch before these games in the early fifties, these games were friendly matches before the onset of The European Cup.

Wolves, managed by Stan Cullis, did very well in these matches with great players like Billy Wright, the England
captain, Johnnie Hancock and Jimmy Mullen.

Players I loved to watch but had seen better days because of the war, were Horacio Carter of Hull City, Peter Doherty, Jimmy Hagen, Joe Mercer, one of ours, at Arsenal, T G Jones at Everton but kept out of the team by Theo Kelly, the Everton manager, Frank Swift the Man. City goalkeeper tragically killed in the Munich disaster.

Other players who stood out for various reasons were Ugolilni the Middlesborough goalie, Johnnie Mapson the bald headed goalie I’d Sunderland, the Roboledo brothers at Newcastle, Dennis and Leslie Compton of Arsenal and also Middlesex cricketers, along with the already mentioned John Charles. Tom Finney, Bobby Moore Jimmy McIllroy of Burnley amongst many other great footballers when the football world was absolutely magic to me, even a couple of Liverpool players, one of whom we nearly signed, offering the same fee as Liverpool, but Albert Stubbins signed for them, Albert is one of the umpteen personalities on the Beatle long playing record cover.

Derek Knox
9 Posted 05/04/2019 at 13:57:09
John, a very informative and well written piece, familiar with most of the names, but never saw any of them 'live' had to be satisfied with cigarette cards, and other cards, with the players of yesteryear.
John McFarlane Snr
10 Posted 05/04/2019 at 14:06:58
Hi Peter [1] regarding the age thing, I have found that whether you grow old in grace or disgrace, is not important, the secret is to grow old slowly. I think you will understand the problem I faced,so many players to choose from. Part [2] follows, and if the moderator allows, I have enough material for Parts 3&4.

Hi Stan [2] Bobby Moore certainly was a special player and to have a radio presenter almost in tears, shows the effect he had on people, I believe he was somewhat partial to a pint or two.

Hi Chris [3], I was fortunate enough to see all the World Cup games at Goodison Park but, in this article, I decided to discount those players, and to concentrate on the domestic scene.

Hi Bran [4], I hope that you are not giving your sons and grandsons the impression that gates of over 75,000 were commonplace, Everton have only exceeded gates of more than 75,000 on 5 occasions. I have constructed the defence, for Part 2, I will address the forwards.

Hi Martin, and Brian [4&5] Wolves also played Honved during that period, if my memory is correct.

Jay Wood

11 Posted 05/04/2019 at 14:26:22
I can only claim to have seen two of John's defence play in the flesh, and both were high-quality footballers, Jimmy Armfield and Bobby Moore.

Quite a few years back I needed some physio on a dislocated shoulder - a footy injury - that kept popping out. The guy I had recommended to me was a real character - a Fulham-loving Cockney who plied his trade in younger days with Fulham (when they and Moore knocked Everton out of the cup on their way to a cup final with WHU). Mick the physio also worked with Walter Smith at Rangers and Malcolm Alisson during his stint in Portugal with Sporting (when they became champions).

Anyway, Mick told me the story how when Fulham reached the FA cup final, after receiving their ticket allocation for Wembley, Bobby Moore walked into the office where the tickets were neatly stacked on the table and calmly took a fistful and said: "I'll need a few of these for friends and family". The 'few' was a couple of hundred. Having pocketed them, he walked out without anyone saying a word or stopping him.

I asked Mick how did Fulham let him get away with that.

Mick's reply: "It was Bobby Moore, innit?"

Gerard McKean
12 Posted 05/04/2019 at 17:47:20
Thanks John for yet another fascinating idea. I can't disagree with any of your choices, nor would I object to any of the names mentioned in other replies to your article; it just goes to show how lucky we have been to see so many greats besides our own who have graced Goodison Park.

I remember going with my Dad to an Everton v Sheffield Wednesday game and him saying to me, "I wish we had that Tony Kay playing for us." Do you know I can't even remember if Tony was actually playing that day but my Dad's comment stayed with me, especially when some time later Kay did come to Everton, and what a player!

Anyway I then began to use my Dad's thought as a criterion. I looked at the opposition and wondered who, if anyone, would I like to sign for Everton. I'm sure there were others but here are the names that spring immediately to mind:
Danny Blanchflower and Jimmy Greaves from Spurs
Jimmy McIlroy from Burnley
Colin Bell, Man City
George Best, Man Utd
Charlie Cooke, Chelsea
Johnny Giles, Leeds

Best wishes, John, hope you're keeping well!

Martin Nicholls
13 Posted 05/04/2019 at 18:12:02
Dave#8 and John#10 - as you say, Wolves did also play Honved around that time but I don't recall seeing it on tv. Either it wasn't televised or the landlord didn't invite us in for that one!
I well recall the early days of MOTD. My mate at school (Les Butler) came in one Monday morning and told us (to our amazement!) that he had watched a tv programme on Saturday night called MOTD. Problem for the rest of us was that it was screened on BBC2 which none of us could get (BBC1 and ITV for most in those days!) Les's parents ran The Grapes pub (latterly the Cains Brewery Tap pub) on Stanhope St and they'd recently bought a new fangled tv that could receive the new channel!
As many have said, you had to actually go to games to see great players from other teams in those days. Unlike now, when the best players are hoovered up by the rich and privileged few, all teams in those days had at least one star player many of whom seemed to stay with that club for the majority of their career. What I'd give for a return to that position!
Dave Abrahams
14 Posted 05/04/2019 at 18:38:35
Gerard (12), you’ve named some great players there Gerard, all of them would have been welcome at Everton, Danny Blanchflower was one of the few players to write his own news paper cololm, incidentally “Danny “ wasn’t his name, his name was Robert, he got the name Danny because somebody thought he looked like
Danny Kaye, The American comedy actor, could never see the resemblance myself.

Nice to hear from you Gerard I hope you are keeping well.

Martin MOTD, although not under that name, started in1956 with Everton being one of the four teams featured that night, we beat Charlton at the Valley 2-0, I can’t recall who the other game was between, I could never find any evidence of this anywhere but JohnMcFarlane, eithervwith his trusty books or from somewhere else came up with the evidence.

Martin I am sure the Honved game was on TV more than likely the BBC, I remember being invited into a house in The Four Squares, off Soho Street, and watching the second half of the game, with the sound switched off and the commentary came from the wireless, that was the way Mr. Bennett, the tenant, preferred to listen to the game with his four sons and plenty of us, their friends.

John McFarlane Snr
15 Posted 05/04/2019 at 18:54:30
Hi Dave [8] you confirmed my statement that Wolves played Honved in the 50s my one finger typing is going to be my downfall, and as you say, this was staged pre European Cup.

I think that you'll agree that I was faced with a massive task, considering the quality of players that faced me. Goalkeepers alone, caused me a headache. apart from the ones you mentioned, there were, Jim Strong [{Burnley] Colin McDonald [Burnley] Fred Else [Preston North End, Blackburn Rovers, and Barrow,] the list is immense.

Andy Crooks
16 Posted 05/04/2019 at 21:01:09
John, a fine piece. I am so pleased you selected the underrated Alf McMichael. My late father knew him and thought he was a top player, even though he played for Linfield (my dad had no time for them).

Did you ever see Wilbur Cush play? He was a good friend of my dad and was, apparently, as hard as nails. The sort of man who would be out of place in the modern game. My dad brought me to my first Everton game in 1968. It was against Nottingham forest and I recall it as a 2-1 win. I think Terry Hennessy played for forest and I was so impressed by him that I sent him a letter.

A couple of days later, I received a reply and the autographs of all the forest team. I maybe wrong with dates, it was 50 years ago, but I think Johnny Carey's signature was there. They have been my second team since. Overtime we went to many games. Orient, Preston, Bolton, Blackburn (my dad often spoke of Clayton) Barrow, Brentford, Partick Thistle, Motherwell, Wrexham. All the big clubs!

I look forward to Part 2, John, and to meeting you again.

John McFarlane Snr
17 Posted 05/04/2019 at 22:29:48
HI Gerard [12] it's good to see you on line again, I hope to see you at the get together on the 21st. The only player that you have put forward, that I overlooked, was Charlie Cooke. I don't think the younger 'Toffeeewebbers' can appreciate the abundance of talent that we were lucky to see. I left Jimmy Greaves out of my lineup because he would most likely, be the only one alive and didn't want to tempt fate'.

Hi Andy [16] I don't believe that I saw Wilbur Cush, because his career at Leeds United coincided with my army service in Cyprus. I've just looked his career statistics up, and he played 87 games and scored 9 goals. You may be right regarding the autographs, because Johnny Carey managed Nottingham Forest for five years.

Don Alexander
18 Posted 05/04/2019 at 22:52:04
Tributes to John Mc Snr are well deserved, he's an authority on great football and Everton, and the two are inextricably linked by the way. In the 60's it was a privilege to go to Goodison to see "us" and the plethora of great players in more than a few teams. As a boy I remember Gladwys Street applauding outstanding play by the opposition (a rare event admittedly given the strength of our team) and I remember other players saying how much admiration they had for the Goodison crowd who they said were connoisseurs of proper football.

And if anyone's wondering what the source of my opinion is, well, in those days we had magazines called "Goal", "Shoot" and Charles Buchan's "Football Monthly". A regular feature in all but all of them was interviews with various players and when asked where their favourite ground was, apart from their own, Goodison was very regularly mentioned.

Bill Watson
19 Posted 06/04/2019 at 01:19:02
Thanks John, for some great pen pictures.

I saw all of these players, at Goodison, except for McMichael who was a little before my time.

Personally, I always thought Bobby Moore was painfully slow even for those days. I remember Alan Whittle leaving him for dead on the half way line to run through and score in our 0-1 win in 1969-70.

With today's game being about pace, pace and yet more pace I think he'd have really struggled in the modern game.

Going back to my early days watching the Blues and I recall Burnley and Blackburn having some great players, many who have been mentioned on your thread.

If my memory is correct I think the Burnley goalkeeper, Adam Blacklaw. was a cousin of Alex Young.

Many of the top goalies of the 1950s/60s were under 6 feet tall. Kelsey, Hopkinson, Hodgekinson, Farm Gregg, Blacklaw and a few others I can't recall.

Terry White
20 Posted 06/04/2019 at 04:22:11
Bill (#19), I believe Alex Young's cousin who played in goal for Burnley was Harry Thomson. Alex put two past him in the cup replay in January 1967.
Dave Abrahams
21 Posted 06/04/2019 at 09:20:43
Bill (19), players like Bobby Moore and our own Peter Reid not to mention Alan Hanson wouldn’t have struggled, in my opinion, because of how brilliantly they read the game, Dave Sexton, the former Man.Unt. manager, couldn’t praise Peter Reid enough, saying the first two yards he played were in his head, and like Moore and Hanson they never took their eyes off the ball, great players in any era,in one Derby game, Jan Molby was squealing like a pig the way Reid was in on him as soon as he got the ball, and winning it, Molby was substituted later on, might even have been at half time.
Tony Abrahams
22 Posted 06/04/2019 at 09:53:03
Interesting that Dave, because although Peter Reid, is my all-time favourite Everton player, I’m not sure how he would get on in this ultra-fast modern game?

It’s all about speed now, with the game being dictated by the speed of the pitch, and also the speed of the refs whistle, in a game that now has, as much cheating as skill?

Martin Nicholls
23 Posted 06/04/2019 at 10:01:50
I have afforded all posters the courtesy of reading their thoughts but if Johnny Haines has been mentioned, I missed it - another great player. Perhaps not a "great" but I also liked Alex Elder.
Brian Murray
24 Posted 06/04/2019 at 10:32:50
Tony Abrahams,

Reid was and would still be able to dictate the play if he was playing now – a bit like Gomes – plus, his vision was the nearest we have seen to Alan Ball. Compare him to the likes of Schneiderlin... No contest!

Gerard McKean
25 Posted 06/04/2019 at 11:04:54
A truly interesting thread you’ve provoked here again, John, well done! 21st??

Good shout Martin Nicholls; Johnny Haynes was indeed a favourite of mine, a beautiful passer of the ball and an impeccably brillcreamed side part in his hair in every picture I saw of him in Don Alexander’s aforementioned Charles Buchan’s Soccer Gift Book! The only reason I didn’t include him in my list of those I wanted to sign for us was that in games I saw him play such as our Championship winning game against Fulham in 1963, as good as he was he would never have got into that Everton team. Alex Elder? One tough full back he was!

Dave Abrahams thanks for that snippet on “Danny” Blanchflower, I never knew that. I still regard him as the most intelligent footballer I ever listened to or read. Why did he never become a top manager? Maybe too cerebral? But a great thinker on the game, and as someone who played with his brain I’m sure, Tony A, that he would have rated Peter Reid very highly. Some players just see the patterns long before anyone else. The ice hockey great, Wayne Gretzky, was asked what he did “differently” on the ice. With no false modesty Gretzky replied matter of factly, “The others skate to where the puck is. I skate to where the puck is going to be.”

John McFarlane Snr
26 Posted 06/04/2019 at 11:05:41
Hi Don [18] your compliments although well intended cause me a degree of embarrassment, although I do remember incidents from yeas ago, I have made no secret of the fact that I have to rely on books [of which I have one or two] to refresh my memory. If you're looking for a knowledgeable Evertonian, then look no further tan Dave Abrahams, he and I have been attending Goodison for the same of length of time, but his memory is a lot sharper than mine.

Hi Bill [19] I think you do Bobby Moore and his contemporaries a disservice, I believe that we should not judge them on present-day standards. Please don't take this as a rebuke it's just my way of defending their standing in the game, you don't have to stand in the corner with your hands on your head.

John McFarlane Snr
27 Posted 06/04/2019 at 11:23:19
Hi Terry [20] I was at the Burnley game, but I had to refer to what I call the 'Johnny Mc bible' to ascertain whether it was a League or FA Cup fixture, 'Brownie points' for you Terry. It was a 4th round FA Cup replay on 31 January 1967, a 2-1 over Burnley. Our spec in those days was behind the Stanley Park goal, and through the mists of time, I remember one of the goals being a glancing header.
John McFarlane Snr
28 Posted 06/04/2019 at 11:42:13
Hi Dave [21] I think that reference deserves a 'Bottle of Guinness' don't you?

Hi Tony [22] be a good boy, and pay attention, listen to what Daddy says, he's set the bar high, but [hopefully not his pockets low].

Gerard McKean
29 Posted 06/04/2019 at 12:57:23
John, what was your reference to a get together on the 21st? I’ve missed it if it’s been advertised.
James Hughes
30 Posted 06/04/2019 at 13:17:28
HI John, did you ever get to see Duncan Edwards play, If you did was he as good as people say
Mike Doyle
31 Posted 06/04/2019 at 13:43:50
James [#30]

My late father maintained that the best 3 players he ever saw (live):

1] Duncan Edwards
2] George Best
3] Tony Kay

Sadly, I never saw any of them play live.

Dave Abrahams
32 Posted 06/04/2019 at 13:52:58
James (30), I’ll let John answer you about Duncan Edwards, odds on he’ll tell he was better than people said.
Brian Denton
33 Posted 06/04/2019 at 14:05:56
John (27) If I recall correctly that Burnley game was the 3rd Round, not the 4th. We played Wolves in the 4th, similar outcome - drew away, won the replay.

1966-67 was the first season I started going regularly, and those early games are printed in my memory. I remember being quite frightened at the crush outside in Gwladys Street after the Burnley game.

John McFarlane Snr
34 Posted 06/04/2019 at 14:35:50
Hi Gerard [19] the meeting is being organising by Derek Knox and he is making an excellent job of it, the date is April 21st, the day Everton play Manchester United. Derek chose this date because he felt that it be more convenient for 'ToffeeWebbers' to attend. The venue is the Excelsior on Dale Street, the Manager is a fellow Blue and is setting a section of the pub [with seating] aside for our use which will allow us a degree of comfort, I think that you only have to say that you are attending the meeting and there will no problems, there will be a variety of pies etc to purchase.

Hi Mike [31] as Everton were in the Second Division from 1951 to 1954 and I went into the army in 1956, there is distinct chance that I did, but I've always maintained that there is one person in the world, that you can't lie to, 'namely yourself' so the answer to your question is I'm not sure.

John McFarlane Snr
35 Posted 06/04/2019 at 14:51:55
Hi Brian [33], you are correct, I couldn't find my glasses and tried to read without them, on returning to my 'Bible' I can confirm that it was a Tuesday evening 31 January 1967 3rd round FA Cup replay, a 2-1 victory versus Burnley, Alex Young scoring both goals, the attendance was 57,879. I should have gone to 'Specsavers'.
Terry White
36 Posted 06/04/2019 at 15:13:26
John (#33 et al), one Young goal was a shot from distance, the other, as you say, a typical Young header.

James (#30), although I was only a youth at the time, I did see Duncan Edwards play and he has rightly been hailed as a "juggernaut" of a player albeit only in his late teens. He was so strong on the ball. "YouTube" has plenty of reminiscences of him along with a few clips which will give you a taste of what a good player he was. He also managed to score a last minute winner against us in a cup tie at Old Trafford after the much-maligned (and rightly so) Albert Dunlop had played a blinder for us.

Dave Abrahams
37 Posted 06/04/2019 at 15:29:39
Mike (31), seeing as John can’t recall Duncan Edwards, he was a man in build when I first saw him, playing for Man.Unt. youths in an FA youth cup match on a Wednesday afternoon, they drew 2-2 versus Everton, Derek Temple scored Everton’s two goals but the man who stood out by a mile was Edwards, not sure if he scored both goals for United, but everyone in the ground knew they were seeing someone very,very special.

Every club in the country had their eyes on this boy when he was still at school, same applied to Bobby Charlton, but United was the club to go to then as Matt Busby was gathering his Busby Boys together, Duncan was only eighteen or nineteen when first picked for England possibly at Hampden Park v Scotland.

He scored the winner in 1956 against the Blues in an FA
cup game at Old Trafford, the only goal of the game, Jimmy Payne possibly played in this game for Everton not long after he joined us from Liverpool.

Duncan Edwards, if fate hadn’t intervened, would have played in the 1966 World Cup Final, he just stood out as a giant colossus, great strength allied to great footballing skill, his whole football life was ahead of him, what a career he would have had except for that disaster at Munich.

I was going to work on the morning it was announced that this fantastic young player had passed away, still feel the sorrow I felt then that I felt that morning as I write this, shed a tear that morning for a great young footballer and young man, so sad.

Incidentally Duncan was a cousin of Dennis Stevens who later played for us.

Gerard McKean
38 Posted 06/04/2019 at 16:03:21
Thanks John #34, I’ll see you there then. Hopefully they’ll have the match on as I’m currently persona non grata at Goodison, but I’m in good company: in agreeing with Mike #31 I note that one of the finest players ever to wear the Royal Blue shirt, Tony Kay, was not on the Everton hierarchy’s Christmas card list for far too many years. Not that I compare myself to the great man!

Dave #37, a very evocative piece. I didn’t see Duncan play live but I was brought up on tales of the young Colussus whose flame shone all too briefly. The chances are that with him England might have won the 1962 World Cup, and as for 1966 can you imagine a midfield of Edwards, Kay and Ball. There would’ve been no need for extra time with those lads.

Dave Abrahams
39 Posted 06/04/2019 at 16:51:14
Gerard (38), look forward to seeing you in The Excelsior in a couple of weeks.
John McFarlane Snr
40 Posted 06/04/2019 at 17:08:37
Hi Dave [37] I've just done a bit of research and Duncan Edwards's Man Utd debut was given as 3 April 1955, but I've discovered that date was a Sunday as Everton played Blackpool away on Saturday 2nd.

The next time Everton played United was on Wednesday September 7th, a 2-1 away defeat [Eddie Wainwright] in front of 28,0062, followed by a 4-2 victory on Wednesday September 14th [John Willie Parker 2, Tommy Eglington, Eddie Wainwright] I believe I would have been one of the 35,238 who attended, so I'm going to say yes I did see Duncan Edwards play.

Hi Gerard [38] there's chap who has no match ticket and he intends to watch the match on TV, while awaiting the main event, his name is Mike Jones you may be able to join up with him.

Terry White
41 Posted 06/04/2019 at 18:25:07
John (#40), sorry to bring the bad news, but according to Steve Johnson's wonderful site, "Everton Results", Edwards did not play in either of the games you mention in the 1955-56 season but did play in both fixtures the following season, including our wonderful and surprising 5-2 win at Old Trafford, and, as has been referenced, scored the only goal in their cup win late in the season. He also played in both games of the fateful 1957-58 season, the games being played early on.
Andy Crooks
42 Posted 06/04/2019 at 18:45:32
Gerard, I will very much look forward to meeting you. You have written some compelling stuff on here.
Brian Denton
43 Posted 06/04/2019 at 19:33:54
I hope this thread stays alive until the 21st, or there are some reminders posted about The Excelsior meet up. I'd like to pop along on my way to the match, but it will be a last-minute decision and I'll have forgotten the venue by then!
Dave Abrahams
44 Posted 06/04/2019 at 19:47:21
Terry (41), yes those two games in 1957-58, the home game was a 3-3, Derek Temple got at least one of those goals, this was on a Wednesday night, so the other game must have been a mid week game at Old Trafford, can’t remember the score, Wally Fielding played in the home game.

Terry, you were right about Albert Dunlop having a great game in the cup game, if I’m not mistaken he made his debut in the 5-2 win in the league game along with Jimmy Gauld who had been signed from Charlton that week.

Brian Williams
45 Posted 06/04/2019 at 19:48:00
Brian #43.

And you'd miss everyone coz it's a post-match meetup lol.

Jimmy Daly
46 Posted 06/04/2019 at 20:00:59
I went to the Burnley replay with my Dad, the only place we could get in was Gladys Street end. Only time I ever stood there. Always watched from the Paddock. I believe the Burnley keeper was Stevenson, and he was Alex Young’s cousin.
John McFarlane Snr
47 Posted 06/04/2019 at 20:08:06
Hi Terry [41] it's not exactly bad news. because it proves on one hand that I'm not a victim of amnesia, and on the other, that the policy of not lying will save from me any embarrassment. I believe you reside in America, so sending a bottle of Guinness over, is out of the question for fear of breakage, so I'll dedicate one to you for saving my reputation, therefore my answer to James [30] is no I never saw him play, and I was in Cyprus at the time of the Munich disaster.

Hi Brian [43] I'm sure that Derek and I, will publicise the event right up to the last minute, but I think there may be a misunderstanding, the gathering is after the match, I hope you can still attend.

Terry White
48 Posted 06/04/2019 at 20:10:55
Jimmy (#46), the Burnley goalkeeper was Harry Thomson, Alex Young's cousin.
Mike Doyle
49 Posted 06/04/2019 at 22:05:46
Gerard [#38] although I am just old enough to have seen Alan Ball play (live) a few times, the majority of my older cousins, friends etc who were match-going blues 10-15 years before me (most are in their early- mid 70s now) were of the view that Tony Kay is the best Everton player they ever saw.

And that the toughest was either Kay, Dave Hickson or Johnny Morrisey.

Andy Crooks
50 Posted 06/04/2019 at 22:12:38
Martin, @ 23, how amazing you should mention Alex Elder. I still have a foot ball card with him on it. I recall that he played for Burnley and was a friend of Sammy Todd who I met while playing footie at the top of my street and who joined in.

It is amazing that Northern Ireland had Best, Dougan, Todd, Jennings, Elder, Terry Neill and yet struggled in the old home internationals.

I would like to see that tournament brought back (we hold the trophy). I just wish, although it was impossible because of horrific politics, that we could have put out another Ireland side.

Andy Crooks
51 Posted 06/04/2019 at 22:18:34
Mike, much as admire Alan Ball, he as I mentioned on this site a number of years ago, did a runner with my autograph book.
Mike Doyle
52 Posted 06/04/2019 at 22:32:48
Andy. Was Bally's theft of your autograph book genuine or a frame-up as happened to Bobby ‘Mooro' Moore before the Mexico 1970 World Cup (note the rather clever link back to Bobby Moore who is mentioned in John Snr's original post)?

Also,did Bally ever attempt to sell your autograph book on eBay?

Andy Crooks
53 Posted 06/04/2019 at 23:30:43
Nice post, Mike. Footballers were paid shit in those days and if Bally made a few quid, fair play to him. Alan Mullery signed the book, as did Neil Young (the footballer, sadly) so I reckon it added a few quid to Bally's pension.
Andy Crooks
54 Posted 06/04/2019 at 23:38:00
Mike, was "Mooro" framed? It was a proper gold bracelet and, as I learned from the Bally incident, footballers had to make ends meet no matter what.

No smoke without fire, I say.

John McFarlane Snr
55 Posted 06/04/2019 at 23:45:27
Hi Mike [49] best players are only personal opinions, one mans' meat is another mans' poison, each player you have named has contributed immensely to the Everton cause, but one man whose contribution to Everton has been overlooked by many, that man Bobby Collins inspired an Everton recovery from six defeats in the first six games of the 1958-59 season, reaching 16th position and safety, 8 points clear of relegation.

Hi Andy [51] I'll tell you the tale of my autograph book, in the Excelsior on the 21st.

James Hughes
56 Posted 07/04/2019 at 09:31:03
Hi all, many thanks for the answers
Gerard McKean
57 Posted 07/04/2019 at 11:01:43
Mike #49 I agree totally with your cousins and friends; I was simply suggesting that a midfield of Ball and Kay together would have been something to savour.

As for the toughest, I don’t really know. Mogsy was a hard man and he liked to get his revenge in first, as it were. Dave was as tough as nails and he never flinched from the attacks (mostly from behind) he suffered from some very hard centre halves. For me Tony was a bit like taking the best of both of the others; he would take anything and never complain to a referee but he took the view that if you lived by the sword you’d die by the sword and woe betide anyone he caught up with who’d earlier left their visiting card on him. Shockingly unjust what was done to that man.

Andy Crooks
58 Posted 09/04/2019 at 20:57:04
John Mc, I will look forward to that. Also, I have just recalled that my book contained the signature of Leo Sayer. Say what you like, but I had taste in those days.
Tony Abrahams
59 Posted 09/04/2019 at 21:08:06
Did you used to have a perm as well Andy!

I’m going away tomorrow Andy, but I’ve left your ticket in my house. If my flights delayed my son will get the ticket to Dave, otherwise I will meet you outside Goodison, before the game, a week on Sunday mate.

Andy Crooks
60 Posted 09/04/2019 at 22:08:14
Tony, you have no idea what this means. It is some time since I have been to a game and your generosity is special. I look forward to meeting you and all the others, thanks, Tony. Have a great holiday.
John McFarlane Snr
61 Posted 09/04/2019 at 23:37:26
Hi Tony [59] and Andy [60] the 'ToffeeWeb get togethers' are developing the way I had hoped they would, when I invited fellow Webbers to join me on my 80th birthday. I wanted to put faces to the names of those who had wished me well following my 7 weeks stay in hospital.

I don't know the details, Tony, of your favour, [and why should I?] but it's certain that without these gatherings, you would only be names on a web- site. I was surprised to learn that my 80th birthday celebration was the first such meeting of it's kind, but at the moment it looks as if the idea is gathering momentum. I was searching for a reason to request another meeting, but Derek came to my rescue by organising the Excelsior event

I don't want to appear vain, but I do take pride in knowing that I was in at the start of something big, I would urge anyone who has the time to attend any future meetings to grasp the opportunity, you'll make new friends and enjoy a convivial evening.

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