When Keith Newton walked into Everton’s Bellefield training ground, shortly before Christmas 1969, it appeared to be a sporting match made in heaven. For Newton, the classy Blackburn Rovers full-back, it offered a chance to demonstrate his skills with one of the finest footballing sides of the era – and cement his place in Alf Ramsey’s 1970 World Cup plans. For Harry Catterick, the Mancunian – equally adept in either full-back position – fitted the bill as Ray Wilson’s successor and was expected to the aid the club’s push for the Football League title.

Come the spring of 1972, Newton departed Everton without fanfare, after less than 60 appearances, on a free transfer. He’d dropped out of favour and found himself displaced by Henry Newton and, subsequently, John McLaughlin. He was snapped up by Burnley and revitalised a seemingly moribund career. How did it come to pass that this partnership, one that promised so much for both parties, delivered so little?

This is just one of the questions I consider in my newly published book – The Keith Newton Story. This short biography (60 pages, with many rarely seen images) covers the highs (including 27 caps and a League Championship medal) and lows of Keith’s playing career at domestic and international level. It also looks at this easy-going family man off the pitch. It draws on contemporary press reports and interviews with family members, supporters and teammates.

The self-published book, with design work by Thomas Regan of Toffee Art, is priced at £7 (£8 with p&p) and can be ordered by contacting me via Twitter (@robsawyer70) or rsneston@gmail.com. I’ll also be selling copies at the Everton Heritage Society exhibition at St Luke’s church hall on Sunday, prior to the West Ham match, between midday and 1:30pm.

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