Who is the best signing we ever made?

by   |   18/08/2021  116 Comments  [Jump to last]

It's all about luck really. Finding the right man, who comes in and all falls into place. I would put Peter Reid and Andy Gray in that category. Their signings were an alignment of fortune that has never touched us again.

Seamus Coleman was the best value we ever bought. Duncan McKenzie, Andre Kanchelskis, Bobby Collins, Gary Lineker…

For me, it is Alan Ball. We were a big club and he was a big signing. He was a force, a whingeing demanding dynamo, who was a really good footballer. A perfect example of judging the player, not the man.

Was our greatest ever manager, Harry Catterick, right to get rid of him? Could it all have been different?

After Alan Ball, it would be Bob Latchford for me. The celebrations with Gordon Lee when Bob landed the Daily Express prize for scoring 30 goals in a season, the 30th coming during the rout of Chelsea on the last day of the season, is special.Gordon was a man lacking in emotion. Not that day.

I think that it is worth adding that the relationship between Gordon Lee, his family and our club, make me proud to be a Blue.

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Ian Burns
1 Posted 18/08/2021 at 16:01:13
Interesting title Andy and you can bet on a number of us oldies not disagreeing with your choice of Alan Ball.

I had just left for South Africa and a week later his transfer to Arsenal was a news story on the front page of the Rand Daily Mail. I was utterly devastated. I think the fee was £400k! Imagine his price now!

However, as much as I loved Alan Ball along with the Golden Vision, my personal choice has to be wee Bobby Collins. He transformed a struggling side and he was dynamite.

Bill Watson
2 Posted 18/08/2021 at 16:04:05
So many to choose from and they all brought different attributes to the team.

As you say Reid and Gray must be right up there but I'd add Morrisey, Sheedy, Power and Mountfield to the bargain basement list.

With the already big name players I'd agree on Ball and Latchford but add Roy Vernon and Alex Young. The one that got away was Tony Kay; Catterick intended to build his team around him and, if he hadn't been banned, would probably have not signed Ball.

Mark Murphy
3 Posted 18/08/2021 at 16:04:54
Peter Reid.

No further comment needed.

Eddie Dunn
4 Posted 18/08/2021 at 16:21:39
Big Nev.
Rob Sachro
6 Posted 18/08/2021 at 16:25:03
Brett Angell... (Tongue firmly in cheek! ** Puts tin hat on and waits for someone to take me seriously **) ha ha.
Ray Roche
7 Posted 18/08/2021 at 16:25:29
Big Nev👍🏻
Andrew Clare
8 Posted 18/08/2021 at 16:31:55
Alan Ball. A fabulous player in a great Everton team
Barry Rathbone
9 Posted 18/08/2021 at 16:33:54

In full agreement with every word.

Winston Williamson
10 Posted 18/08/2021 at 16:35:12
Big Nev is my all time favourite player, but I’m too young to remember his transfer.

Kanchelskis and Cahill probably the best in my lifetime, plus Coleman for the cost.

However, in terms of impact on my view of Everton….Duncan Ferguson

Jay Harris
11 Posted 18/08/2021 at 16:36:10
Good post Andy.

The best value signing has to be Seamus for his longevity and dedication to the club but in terms of the best signing it has got to be the best goalkeeper in the world: Big Nev.

Terry White
12 Posted 18/08/2021 at 16:44:40
Neville Southall.

Before that, Bobby Collins.

Before that, William Ralph Dean.

Barry Hesketh
13 Posted 18/08/2021 at 16:49:52
Howard Kendall has to be the finest signing for Everton, as a player he learned what it meant to be an Evertonian, and then he passed that knowledge onto his great side. Purely in playing terms it has to be Neville Southall for the amount he cost the club he was a steal.
Alan McGuffog
14 Posted 18/08/2021 at 17:00:21
Ramon Wilson.
Dave Abrahams
15 Posted 18/08/2021 at 17:05:58
I think there is an argument for quite a lot of those players named above. We all have our favourites. I couldn't pick one without changing my mind two minutes later.

Bobby Collins for the impact he had on fans and club alike. A big club in distress, he dragged them by the scruff of the neck and each season he was here, he helped the team progress.

Alan Ball: I danced all round the house when it was announced on the 6:00 pm news he had signed, bought for £110,000; sold for double that money to Arsenal.

Johnny Morrissey stolen from Liverpool, Neville Southall, Peter Reid, Andy Gray and Trevor Steven – all part of a great successful team, and many others missed out.

Sorry, Bob Latchford, cracking fella, but not on my list.

Brian Harrison
16 Posted 18/08/2021 at 17:31:58

I am sure the list will be very long and I don't think any Blue still living saw Dixie play, who must be up there given that his goals in a season will never be beaten by anyone. I liked Bobby Collins and Catterick was mad to sell him to Leeds. I also think Ball, Reid, Gray, Wilson, Young, Royle, Kay. and our best captains Labone and Ratcliffe will be on many peoples list, as they were players who were loved by all Blues.

But for me it has to be Davie Hickson who would die playing for this club.

Peter Mills
17 Posted 18/08/2021 at 17:40:39
Not necessarily the best Andy, but for the shrewdest I would say Alan Harper, Kevin Sheedy, Paul Bracewell, Peter Reid, Pat van den Hauwe, Andy Gray and Paul Power.

And who made them? The shrewdest signing of the lot, Howard Kendall.

Dave Abrahams
18 Posted 18/08/2021 at 17:43:29
Brian (16),

Davie Hickson and Brian Labone would have been on my list but I read the headine wrong, thought it referred to players bought, but of course it said "the best signing we ever made".

Robert Tressell
19 Posted 18/08/2021 at 17:46:30
As a supporter since circa 1990, it has to be Kanchelskis. A brilliant player bought in his prime.

Ferguson, Lukaku too - and maybe Coleman for the tremendous value. But definitely Kanchelskis for me.

Derek Moore
20 Posted 18/08/2021 at 17:49:13
Peter Beardsley. Would walk into most of the great Everton teams of any era, and was brilliant for us in a team that otherwise had very little quality.

After he departed we came as close to relegation as I hope we'll ever come. An underrated, wholly professional, ever present and hugely talented player Beardsley, just wish we'd gotten him when he was a few years younger.

David Nicholls
21 Posted 18/08/2021 at 17:57:09
Arteta for my generation.
David Pearl
22 Posted 18/08/2021 at 18:01:30
Impossible question to answer really. I was 14 when we won the cup in 84 and that team developed very quickly so l could choose any of them.

I doubt we would get a player like Kanchelskis now, weird how we got him.

In recent memory, for me it would be Arteta. He made us great to watch again.

Jeff Armstrong
23 Posted 18/08/2021 at 18:12:07
Peter Reid for £60,000; about 18 months earlier, we were quoted £600,000 by Bolton.
Graham Mockford
24 Posted 18/08/2021 at 18:12:08
I think it's got to be players who have made us the best side in the country and won a title.

For that reason in my lifetime it is between Bally and Big Nev.

I would plump for Nev because

a) Ball was a known quantity, a World Cup winner and we had to break the transfer record to get him. We got Nev for £150k from Bury.

b) Nev's sheer longevity. His appearance record will probably never be beaten.

Paul Hewitt
25 Posted 18/08/2021 at 18:12:29
Having seen the great teams of the '80s there is a few you could pick. But for me, it's got to be Big Nev. Best goalkeeper I've ever seen.
Colin Glassar
26 Posted 18/08/2021 at 18:17:52
Probably a generational thing but Alan Ball for me. He turned a very good team into a great team.
Danny O’Neill
27 Posted 18/08/2021 at 18:35:07
Definitely a generational thing, Colin, and such a sweeping question that will generate many different opinions and views.

From my generation, I would say Kevin Sheedy from Liverpool reserves for £100k or Grahame Sharpe from Dunfermline for £120k. I'll always go with Sheedy, but that's the heart speaking.

But then in terms of changing fortune, the injury laden, possibly past his best Andy Gray?

To add balance for the younger generation, I would add Tim Cahill. Again, dodgy injury record, rejected by Crystal Palace and against the backdrop of Rooney leaving, he went on to be an iconic player in the context of the era.

This subject is like throwing a proverbial hand grenade out there. We could be here all night debating it!!!

Darren Hind
28 Posted 18/08/2021 at 18:44:48
I'm still waiting for Bury to report us to the police.

£150,000 for big Nev was daylight robbery.

Always made me chuckle to hear about Bob Paisley exploding with rage when he came back from his Jollies to find we had snuck in to sign Sheedy... While the cat's away...

And what about Reidy?

Howard should have been wearing a mask when he was assembling that team.

Joe McMahon
29 Posted 18/08/2021 at 18:57:50
Off the top of my head Martyn, Cahill, Big Nev and Lukaku. Yes Rom as he became our Premier League top goalscorer by far in just 4 Seasons. That's why Thomas Tuchel wanted him.
Dale Self
30 Posted 18/08/2021 at 18:59:16
Nice, Joe.

I was about to say, while he may not be the one, Cahill should be mentioned given where we were in 2003 before we got him from Millwall.

Neil Copeland
31 Posted 18/08/2021 at 19:06:34
Another one for the long list is Leighton Baines.
Tony Abrahams
32 Posted 18/08/2021 at 19:14:52
Southall is the only Everton player I could justifiably argue was the “best ever” in his position, but Reid and Gray had to be our greatest signings imo.

We were not really pushing any trees up before he came, so I'd have to go with Andy Gray because I think he helped give a lot of the finishing touches required for a young squad that wanted to become the best team in the land.

Terry Downes
33 Posted 18/08/2021 at 19:16:11
Neville Souhall.
Andrew Keatley
34 Posted 18/08/2021 at 19:32:37
Hard to argue against Neville Southall.

Arrived only as a prospect, took time to establish himself, became one of the very best goalkeepers of his generation (if not the very best), and won various club and individual honours in an era when the club itself enjoyed perhaps its most successful period.

Club record in appearances, in 17 years at the club. Legend plain and simple.

Ian Burns
35 Posted 18/08/2021 at 19:36:37
Tony - I was chatting to Andy Gray some years ago and he said he was only at Everton for 18 months but it is club he is always associated with.
John McFarlane Snr
36 Posted 18/08/2021 at 19:50:37
Hi Dave [15,

Although this post is addressed to you, the message is for those who weren't around in 1958 when Everton signed Bobby Collins.

Everton had lost their first 6 games, scoring 4 goals and conceding 20. Bobby made his debut against Manchester City at Maine Road, scoring a goal in a 3-1 victory, and, despite the 10-4 drubbing by Spurs, Bobby was the inspiration behind the Everton revival; Everton finishing in 16th place.

My first sighting of Bobby Collins was in a 1-0 victory over Leicester City on Boxing Day of that year, it wasn't until the 1958-59 season on my demob from the army, that I saw the 'Tiny Giant' at his best.

I know that we all like to reminisce, but I firmly believe that Everton would still have won the League in 1963, and I'm not taking anything away from Dennis Stevens, who was an excellent player in his own right.

Graham Mockford
37 Posted 18/08/2021 at 20:09:52
Andy Gray was not the best player of our 80s team but he was definitely my favourite.

He only played for a short time but did it with such balls out attitude and such an obvious joy for the game. He produced some of the most memorable moments of live football I've ever witnessed. He also scored goals that really mattered.

The diving header off the ground at Notts County in the FA QF
The header out of Sherwood's hands in the FA Cup Final
Two bullet headers against Sunderland after we'd gone a goal down
Two away against Leicester
The first against Spurs in a vital league decider
A hat-trick at home to Fortuna Sittard
Terrorising Munich with Sharpie scoring one assisting two
Another in the final in Rotterdam

And some want to tell me James is the best Everton player they've seen. I'm genuinely sorry for them.

Bill Gall
38 Posted 18/08/2021 at 20:12:36
As we are being nostalgic with Dixie Dean, a mention should go to Tommy Lawton, claimed by Stanley Mathews as one of the best headers of a ball ever seen. Never seen him and never seen Dixie Dean but Lawton was signed by Everton as a 17-year-old.
Steve Stobie
39 Posted 18/08/2021 at 20:13:39
Having only started supporting Everton at the age of 6 in 1985, the Dean's, Kendall's, Harvey's and Ball's were before my time, so I'll give a list of the signings that I thought would be amazing over the years, regardless of how they turned out:

Peter Beardsley
Mo Johnstone
Paul Rideout
Graham Stuart
Daniel Amokachi
Andrei Kanchelskis
Duncan Ferguson
Nick Barmby
Gary Speed
Olivier Dacourt
Richard Gough
Kevin Campbell
Thomas Gravesen
Tomasz Radzinski
Brian McBride
Nigel Martyn
James McFadden
Tim Cahill
Mikel Arteta
Joleon Lescott
Manuel Fernandes
Aiyegbeni Yakubu
Steven Pienaar
Langdon Donovan
Jermaine Beckford
Kevin Mirallas
Romelu Lukaku
Gérard Deulofeu
Gylfi Sigurdsson
Richarlison de Andrade
Kurt Zouma
James Rodriguez
Abdoulaye Doucouré
Allan Marques

Long list I know, but they were all signings I was buzzing about when we made them. Some good, some bad, but all carried hope!! Let's hope there's a couple more from Benitez before the end of the transfer window. I really like the look of Aurelio Buta, fingers crossed!!

Dave Abrahams
40 Posted 18/08/2021 at 20:18:50
John (36), you’d have me arguing with myself over Bobby and Dennis, Bobby was one of my favourite players ever in a Blue shirt and possibly Catterick thought he was getting a good deal, selling Bobby who was getting on a bit and using the money to buy a younger player.

Bobby was a better player than Dennis but they had one thing in common, they were both team players, the team came first and their efforts brought more out of the other players without a doubt.

It’s a pity we couldn’t have utilised both of them.

Andy Crooks
41 Posted 18/08/2021 at 20:40:12
Steve, Maurice Johnstone?? The best signing Rangers ever made, I have no doubt of that. But for us? What's your thinking on that choice?
John McFarlane Snr
42 Posted 18/08/2021 at 20:49:18
Hi Dave [40] there have been so many good signings over the years unfortunately not in recent seasons, and if I was challenged to pick between Bobby Collins or Alan Ball. I would pick Bobby Collins, and the reason being that as I stated in my last post, Bobby Collins joined a club that was in danger of being relegated, and the playing standards of his teammates were not as high as those of Alan Ball's teammates. I know that younger fans will find it difficult to understand my reasoning, because outside of an ever dwindling fan base Alan Ball would be more famous, but in the fullness of time they will be reminiscing about players of their own generation, and being faced with the task of selecting one player out of the hundreds that they will probably see. Hoping that you and I will maintain our 100% attendance, at the Bramley Moore get-together.
Steve Stobie
43 Posted 18/08/2021 at 20:52:29
It was just the excitement of Mo Johnstone's signing. I knew what he'd done at Celtic and Rangers and was hoping he'd do the same for us, but what we ended up with was a shell of the player he once was, with gambling, alcohol and fitness problems. Been a few of those down the more recent years at Everton, guess it's because we have had to shop in the bargain basement in the hope they'd come good; until we got Moshiri on board and it feels like we've just wasted money since that time. Still, as I've mentioned we always live in hope and Townsend and Gray look to be a couple of once again shrewd signings from Saturday' s performance
Mike Gaynes
44 Posted 18/08/2021 at 21:34:01
In my time, the ones that have had me the most excited were Lukaku, Oviedo (just because I'd spotted him a year and a half earlier in Costa Rica) and James.

But as to the best ever, I'll leave that to those with more of a historical perspective. Personally, I can't imagine a better value or a bigger impact than Big Nev.

Andy Crooks
45 Posted 18/08/2021 at 21:41:29
Mike, may I make you an offer. I have a signed photo of Kevin Sheedy which I will give to you next time you are over. He is my favourite player, perhaps ever. So get your flights booked.
Actually, I read read this post to my wife( yes of course it bored her) and she insisted I replace " let you see" to "give to you".
Ron Marr
46 Posted 18/08/2021 at 21:48:13
Alan Ball was the best player to have kicked a football, viewed thru my blue tinted glasses, but Bally and Big Nev tied is my choice
Jay Harris
47 Posted 18/08/2021 at 21:58:58
Bill #68,
My Dad always said Tommy Lawton was better than Dixie but he said the best Player he had ever seen was Duncan Edwards of Man U and the best Everton player was TG Jones. Perhaps Sir John and Dave A can give us a view on that.
Barry Connor
48 Posted 18/08/2021 at 22:04:46
My choices would be:

Paul Power - about £60,000 but at the end of his 30's he was instrumental in bringing the League Title home in 1986/7.

Colin Harvey - cost nothing and despicably just earned ONE England cap despite being part of the "Holy Trinity'.

Brian Labone - the ultimate "Corinthian" (whose playing strip was adopted by Real Madrid) - cost nothing. Labone's professional career lasted from 1958 to 1971, during which he won the Football League championship twice and the FA Cup once. He also played 26 times for the England national football team.

Seamus Coleman - don't know how many Irish Punts but every one was well spent !

I could go on, but I suspect that my 70 year recollection of bargain buys will not resonate with your younger audience !

Mike Gaynes
49 Posted 18/08/2021 at 22:04:58
See Andy, that's why we're such good friends... we have the same idol! Sheeds. Legend.

But as much as I appreciate the extraordinary generosity of your (wife's) offer, I could never accept such a precious item from you. It'll be privilege enough to see it.

And it's not like I need any incentive to get back over there and visit my friends, not to mention seeing our boys play. I even looked into flights once or twice this year. The trip just seems to get pushed back every time there's a new virus update. But I will make it!

PS... Have you considered the possibility that your wife wanted you to give me the photo because she suspects it's the only item in the house that you value more than her?

Richard Pike
50 Posted 18/08/2021 at 22:24:06
Seamus Coleman is a great shout. Moyes had a bit of a blind spot spending substantial money but he did have something of an eye for bargains: Cahill, Arteta, Pienaar, Baines, Jagielka, Lescott, Stones, Martyn, there are probably others.

DCL is beginning to look something of a steal.

But, given the situation when he joined and the effect he had, I might pick Kevin Campbell. We owe him a lot.

Brian Williams
51 Posted 18/08/2021 at 22:31:30
I think, not read the full thread I have to admit, one signing has been overlooked in favour of the headline grabbers, the artists, the maverics.
Up there must be our present captain and absolute bargain of the century.
Not just for his playing ability but for his professionalism and integrity.
A genuine standup, honest man among a sea of fucking social media loving, cheating, over paid spoilt brats.
Seamus Coleman.

Was typing this before post 50 came up, honest.

Stephen Brown
52 Posted 18/08/2021 at 22:35:27
Got to agree with most of the shouts on here!

What about Calvert-Lewin? 1.5m in today’s market is a real bargain! Surely worth about 60 million plus now ?

Could break Lukaku record for goal scorer if he continues on his current pace and stays?!

Danny O’Neill
53 Posted 18/08/2021 at 22:37:20
Paul Power. Now there's a shout in terms of impact. Let's be honest, many of us raised an eyebrow or two at the time. A very unassuming signing. Just shows you, never turn your nose up.

There should be a Howard's Way part 2. It doesn't give credit to the 86-87 squad and brushes over it. That second league title was arguably more of a managerial achievement than his first one given he done it with a patched up team and makeshift squad.

Bill Gall
54 Posted 18/08/2021 at 22:45:47
John McFarlane Snr #42
Talking about B.Collins didn't Everton sign a few Scottish Players around that time, i seem to remember Alex Scott the powder hall sprinter, and Alex Parker playing around the same time but at 81, sometimes I cant remember what I had for breakfast. Also what year did Tommy Ring sign.
Dale Self
55 Posted 18/08/2021 at 22:48:24
Good thread. Nice work Andy!
Laurie Hartley
56 Posted 18/08/2021 at 23:21:20
Some great players mentioned on here but my pick for the best “signing” would be Johnny Morrissey.
Bought for £10k.
Played for 10 years in two championships and an FA cup winning sides.
A fearsome opponent and recognised as such by his peers.
He was also a great footballer.
Seamus and Tim Cahill strong contenders.
Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
57 Posted 18/08/2021 at 23:58:49
Can he be mentioned here? - but to let everyone know that Phil Jagielka just made his debut for Derby County having turned 39 yesterday and ensured Derby's first clean sheet in 10 games. Now that was £4m well spent.

Maybe not the best signing we ever made, but one of the better ones.

Dave Bowen
58 Posted 19/08/2021 at 00:40:31
So many honourable mentions such as Seamus, Jags, Reidy & Andy Gray. However, for me Bally & Sheeds tied for 2nd, with the bargain of a lifetime, the absolute GOAT, Big Nev at No. 1.
Bill Watson
59 Posted 19/08/2021 at 00:40:47
John: I agree about the impact of Collins and, as an11 year old, I was at Maine Road, for one of my first away matches. Not too sure now but I seem to recall it was a night match.

His impact on a really poor side was remarkable and it was the start of Everton starting to sign some really good players.

I'd forgotton about Big Nev. I think if we're just talking about post war players he has to be the standout signing.

Don Alexander
60 Posted 19/08/2021 at 00:54:13
Dixie Dean is world-wide, rightly, legendary. So, with genuine respect to the fabulous Tommy Lawton and other worthy notables, Dixie must be the tops IMHO.

When he was at his peak the USA baseball genius Babe Ruth once met up with him and just couldn't get his head 'round how poorly paid he, Dean, was in comparison to the millionaire Babe.

How bizarre the world of football has long since turned, with, as just one preposterous example, the likes of Claus Thomsen, the footballing equivalent of an admittedly tall traffic cone (amid much competition for that soubriquet within the club courtesy of the allegedly ceaseless endeavours of our allegedly eternal football-savvy chairman) having been paid a reported salary of £30K per week when we signed him, with zero advantage to us.

Dixie (and Tommy, and many more hero players) must by now, having watched our 30-year decline, turned so much in their graves that they're now well embedded in the Earth's Core.

But hope must spring eternal now that we have Usmanov's nephew in the boardroom - or so we're in effect told.

Mike Gaynes
61 Posted 19/08/2021 at 01:27:08
Phil #57, if Jags can turn Rooney into a successful manager, it'll be one of the great signings of all time!
Derek Thomas
62 Posted 19/08/2021 at 01:28:49
Collins; he made the team competitive. Ball; he made the team competitive and winners...ok so it was maybe a gradual process.

We played the rs champions in the Charity Shield, lost 1-0 to a team playing at 3/4 pace...and we were lucky to get Nil.

Three weeks later - With Ball, we ripped the Champions playing at full Derby pace a total new one.

There are others, Reid, Southall...in fact, that whole team were pretty much bargains galore.

Darren Hind
63 Posted 19/08/2021 at 04:03:51
Excellent shout Laurie @56.

Tim Cahill a great shout too. I remember being in the Springy when I heard about him signing. It was one of those moments when the whole alehouse suddenly went quiet, just in time for me to express my outrage - "Tim Cahill ???. The Aussie from Millwall ???. Is this really what we have come to ???.... Talk about scraping the barrel "

Still get reminded of that on an almost weekly basis

Kieran Kinsella
64 Posted 19/08/2021 at 05:07:55
Laurie 56

I’m going to limit myself to my lifetime so absolutely Cahill and Coleman are contenders. Mike Gaynes has been marveling (rightly IMHO) at James ability but no one else in my lifetime would be audacious enough to go for a scissor kick v Chelsea and pull it off. Him apart, Paul Power referenced by Danny and others is a good shout from the start of my time. I’d also highlight the 500k journeyman Paul Rideout. The “bullet” had a very mixed career pre Everton. But he was very consistent for us, scored our last meaningful winning goal and his lad is an Evertonian. Plus, full disclosure he had a stint here in Kansas City (as did lesser lights Gough and … ahem Preki. The latter has a suite named after him. Go figure!!

Mike Gaynes
65 Posted 19/08/2021 at 05:34:15
Kieran, yes, but Preki did score 50 goals for the old Wiz in KC!

Besides, we Yanks do have to maintain a certain affection for Preki. Our historical record against Brazil in full internationals is one win, 18 losses. And we know whose brilliant 25-yard curler brought us that one win. It was sweet revenge for the World Cup game four years earlier when Leonardo fractured Tab Ramos' skull.

So here's to Preki, bust though he may have been at Everton.

Alan J Thompson
66 Posted 19/08/2021 at 06:12:20
There are too many to be named in regards to the best signing for what they gave Everton on the pitch but for services on, off, before and after it has to be between Harry Catterick and Howard Kendall.
Stephen Brown
67 Posted 19/08/2021 at 07:29:49
I don't know if Nigel Martyn has been mentioned?! I'd say our 2nd best keeper in my lifetime and on a free.
Sam Hoare
68 Posted 19/08/2021 at 07:57:15
Definitely not the best but one of my favourite signings is a strange one; Joseph Yobo!

We’d had years of talented but rather immobile central defenders in Gough, Watson, Weir, Stubbs etc and finally Moyes’ first signing was this rapid Nigerian who could also dribble the ball out at times.

He’s not fondly remembered by most Evertonians (probably due to the lapses of concentration that became more regular in his final years) but as a centre back myself I loved him and thought he was an integral part of Moyes turning us from relegation candidates to top 4/5 hopefuls in his early years.

Steve Shave
69 Posted 19/08/2021 at 08:22:00
I loved Yobo too Sam, I thought he was (mostly) class. For different reasons I always felt Distin was an excellent signing for us too.
Steve Shave
70 Posted 19/08/2021 at 08:27:13
Mike 61 as much as I love Jags and believe him to be the ultimate professional, it will take more than that to save Rooney. How can players respect and look up to their manager getting pissed up and photographed in hotel rooms with girls the manager FFS! I know Derby is a dogs dinner and he has walked into a mess but he lacks the self discipline to consistently lead by example. For those reasons I don't think he will make it as a manager, he'll get the boot this year and probably have one more stab at it in the Championship before he realises he doesn't need the hassle and can sit on his vast horde of money and do nothing! Unless Coleen finally gives him the boot as well then he might have to put the old boots back on again to cover the divorce expense :)
Danny O’Neill
71 Posted 19/08/2021 at 09:28:47
With you on Nigel Martyn, Stephen. Maybe if Peter Johnson had offered him more than a hamper, he'd have been an Everton player for most of his career instead of going to Leeds!

I too liked Yobo, Sam. My brother and I used to disagree over him, but I was a fan.

I said we could talk about this all day. Another one from my '80s days. We often discuss width and balance. I always felt that bringing in Trevor Steven was one of the final pieces of Kendall's puzzle and gave us width and balance on both sides.

Laurie Hartley
72 Posted 19/08/2021 at 09:34:11
Stephen # 67 - yes Nigel Martyn is a great shout. If I could go back I would add him to my honourable mentions.

There was something very reassuring about the way he conducted himself on and off the field. A leader of men.

Eugene Ruane
73 Posted 19/08/2021 at 09:36:27
The greatest of them all?

Little curly..

Brent Stephens
74 Posted 19/08/2021 at 09:38:50
The player with the most?
Pete Clarke
75 Posted 19/08/2021 at 10:34:44
When we signed him, I thought we had the best defender in the world: Colin Todd. However, he got played out of position and he only lasted a year.

There are too many players to mention and I think most of you have said their names. There was one player who did keep me going to Goodison for a while because he was just great to watch and probably the only shining light in a crap team: Peter Beardsley.

Dave Williams
76 Posted 19/08/2021 at 10:43:07
Great thread, Andy!

Best player of all time for me has to be the great Alan Ball but best signing I'd go for Nev, Reidy, Sharp and Kendall for his overall impact on the club as player and manager.

A thread like this makes you realise what marvellous players we have had. I wonder how many of the current squad would warrant a mention in 20 years time? Seamus, Dom, Ben?

Allan Board
77 Posted 19/08/2021 at 10:49:00
Big Nev, because his best was never enough, and he thought he should save anything.

Not only the best Everton player, but the finest keeper I have seen, and I include any modern keeper in that. The 80s would have been another nearly decade without him.

David Peate
78 Posted 19/08/2021 at 11:41:55
Given the situation at Everton FC at the time of signing, I would suggest that the reliable Peter Farrell is a worthy addition to the list of best signings.
Tony Shelby
79 Posted 19/08/2021 at 11:57:21
Sam (68) - I remember Yobo-Cop in his prime and he was something to behold.

Pre-match Moyes would have him practising headers non-stop. Given the incoming rules on maximum number of headers per week I do fear for the lad's wellbeing long-term!

Lee Courtliff
80 Posted 19/08/2021 at 12:20:35
I was 13, nearly 14, when we signed Andrei Kanchelskis. I couldn't believe it!!

And I still haven't quite come to terms with losing him. The last time we signed a genuinely top class player in his prime.

Dave Abrahams
81 Posted 19/08/2021 at 15:34:27
Don (60),

Claus Thomsen, signed by Joe Royle, who said he'd had his eye on Claus for the last 2 years before he signed him. Joe must have been doing an impersonation of Ben Turpin every time he watched him!!

Bobby Mallon
82 Posted 19/08/2021 at 22:56:18
Kevin Campbell for me. Not because he was the best footballer, but because he single handedly saved us from the drop IMO.
Tom Bowers
83 Posted 19/08/2021 at 23:35:13
There have been so many great signings who really repaid their transfer fees and of course Alan Ball stands out from the Sixties along with Johnny Morrissey.

In later decades players who were tremendous bargains and also did great service have to include Reid, Sheedy and Sharp and more recently Tim Cahill.

There are, arguably many more previously mentioned here and Seamus is the best of the signings on the defensive side.

Chris Hockenhull
84 Posted 20/08/2021 at 02:11:36
Has to be Howard Kendall for me. Difficult start… but winner v RS in 1968 … superb consistent form thereafter.. in the dark days of about 1972 I’m convinced he and Gordon West kept us up a mere 3 years from being title winners. And then … via the fact he’d bought into the club mentality ( of the years he’d been here).. he returned.. rode the tide and….well……….
Pete Gunby
85 Posted 20/08/2021 at 03:13:21
Jay Harris - our dads must be cut from similar cloth. He would always tell me how good TG Jones was. He claimed he was the closest English player to Beckenbaur. He also said he would go anywhere to see Tom Finney play.
For me it’s a toss up between Alan Ball and Big Nev. Catterick should have been fired for selling Ball.
John McFarlane Snr
86 Posted 20/08/2021 at 05:17:18
Hi Pete [85] I don't think that T G Jones would be impressed, considering he was a Welsh International centre half.
Mick O'Malley
87 Posted 20/08/2021 at 07:47:37
Tim Cahill and Rom, Cahill for the goals and fighting spirit that he brought and Lukaku because I loved watching him banging the goals in and we sold him for nearly treble what we paid for him
Paul Birmingham
88 Posted 20/08/2021 at 08:03:14
Good debating subject, each era had its good players.

All time Dixie Dean, and Big Neville, TG Jones - ahead of his time in style and play as my Dad used to tell me, 1960s Bobby Collins, grace and skill, Alex Young, inspirational, panache and style Alan Ball, true grit, skill and guts -Peter Reid, Tricky - had the lot, Braces the compact and skillfull modest midfield dynamo, decisive impact signings -Wayne Clarke and Paul Power.

Left foot wizardry - Sheedy, and though he wasn’t in a successful trophy winning Team, for indomitable spirit and the spring of an Olympic high jumper - Tim Cahill, a fantastic header of the ball and leader of the attack line.

But there’s loads more but based on winnings teams and meritocracy that’s what comes to my mind.

Bill Griffiths
89 Posted 20/08/2021 at 08:48:04
You can make a case for the majority of names mentioned. With most questions like this, I pick a name then continually keep thinking, "Oh no, what about so and so?"

My first thoughts were Kevin Campbell, Andy Gray and Peter Reid purely for the impact they had. If I were to answer later, I'd probably come up with other names.

Danny O’Neill
90 Posted 20/08/2021 at 08:51:47
Some great shouts on here from many generations. It should remind us of who we are and the great players that have played for our club.

Bill, yes, impact. I used Gray as an example on one of the rumour threads. He changed the course that talented, but at the time lost, team was going because of his experience, presence & character as much as through his striking ability.

Still Sheedy through sheer adoration. But I'll give you Gray!!

Bjorn-Ivar Pedersen
91 Posted 20/08/2021 at 15:02:16
It is really not possible to name only one player. So I chose one from every decade I have been an Evertonian.

1970-1979: Latchford (because he turned me into an Evertonian)
1980-1989: Big Nev (Reasons should be obvious)
1990-1999: Big Dunc (Because he is still here, he loves the club)
2000-2009: Cahill (The Duracell Bunny, he fought and fought and fought. etc)
2010-2019: Lukaku (because 50% here hate him)
2020-2029: Hopefully a manager we all can stand behind.

Jack Convery
92 Posted 20/08/2021 at 15:38:42
Neville Southall - Won the League twice with him in the side. It would have been 3 only for a farmers field of a pitch in Ireland, whilst playing for Wales. Worlds best keeper at the time. If he was in his pomp right now, he would be the 1st £100m goalie.
Stan Schofield
93 Posted 20/08/2021 at 22:40:39
Alan Ball-all-all
Is the greatest of them all
Jim Lloyd
94 Posted 20/08/2021 at 22:50:49
Bobby Collins, when we were on the slippery slope,
Peter Reid, he's fat, he's round, he's worth a million pounds...
Then Andy Gray soon after, him and Reidy electrified our team in the mid eighties.
Alan Ball
Best of all
Alex the Great.
Jim Lloyd
95 Posted 20/08/2021 at 23:06:28
John McFarlane Snr (36)

I go along with your post and especially your last paragraph. I thought the General was a fantastic player and an inspirational man. I'd much rather we'd kept him than bring in Dennis Stevens.
That's no reflection on Dennis, but it shows how good Bobby was because he won Player of the year, plaing for Leeds.
I heard Catterick got rid of Bobby because he stood up to Catterick if he thought Catterick was worsening the team performance.

Joe Bibb
96 Posted 21/08/2021 at 11:07:45
The person who signed the deeds to leave Anfield and go to Goodison Park.
Paul Johnson
99 Posted 21/08/2021 at 11:52:22
My old dad raved about Alex Young and said Tony Kay was dynamite. My grandad loved TG. Me, Peter Reid every day of the week. Such a driving force and leader. what I would give to have a 28 year old Reidy. 60,000 now that was a bargain.
Paul Birmingham
100 Posted 21/08/2021 at 12:13:34
In view of today’s game as a reminder that Kevin Campbell made a decisive impact in 1999, when he arrived on loan in March 1999, at Everton and his goals were a massive impact on keeping Everton up that season.

He scored some pearlers at Elland Road in the 4-4 draw. Let’s hope today Everton can put Leeds away.

Terry White
102 Posted 21/08/2021 at 17:50:58
Paul (#100), the 4-4 draw was at Goodison.
Terry White
103 Posted 21/08/2021 at 18:14:45
Bill (#54), as I cannot see any sign of your question being answered, i'll so my best to give what I think was the sequence of Scottish signings from 1967 to 1963.

1958 Alex Parker and Eddi O'Hara from Falkirk
1958 Bobby Collins from Celtic
1960 Tommy Ring from Clyde
1960 Jimmy Gabriel from Dundee
1960 Alex Young and George Thomson from Hearts
1963 Alex Scott from Glasgow Rangers

I'm sure John McFarlane, Sr. will correct me if I am incorrect.

I do not like to take issue with John Mc, Sr., but in my opinion we would NOT have won the League in 1963 with Collins instead of Dennis Stevens. While Collins was the better footballer, the much-maligned and under-appreciated Stevens was the water-carrier", doing the hard" work for players such as Young, Vernon, Gabriel and, later, Tony Kay to shine. Bobby Collins was less of a team player in my view. Stevens also popped up with a few goals scoring 7 that season. What would we give now to have a midfield player scoring 7?

John Mc., Sr., Dave A. and others have credited Stevens but I stand by my view that Dennis gave us a better balance in the side in 1962-3. No getting away from it, however, Collins was a great signing and, as has been said, was largely instrumental in personally dragging us off he floor in 1958 and setting the stage for better glories to come. Like John Mc., Sr., I think, my favourite side to watch was Carey's from 1959 to 1962 followed by Cattericks' title -winning team.

Phil Wood
104 Posted 22/08/2021 at 07:54:48
Alan Ball
Howard Kendal
Tim Cahill
Gary Speed
Bobby Collins
Big Nev
The Golden Vision
Ray Wilson
Bob Latchford
Trevor Steven
For fun he gave Duncan Mckenzie

Howard Kendal is a special mention as the impact he made on Everton as a player, player manager and manager.

And so many more.
Apologies to those before the sixties as I wasn't there to witness their greatness.
What memories.

Phil Wood
105 Posted 22/08/2021 at 08:00:00
Apologies to Peter Reid for missing him off.

Great mentions from Terry White. What great players Scotland produced.
What has happened to that production line of quality?

John McFarlane Snr
106 Posted 22/08/2021 at 12:29:35
Hi Terry [103] you're correct in your list of Scottish players, signed from 1958-1963, but I don't take issue with you for holding a different opinion, it would be foolish to do so, over something that can never be proved, and that's what makes it more interesting.
Dave Abrahams
107 Posted 22/08/2021 at 13:18:50
Terry (103) I also wouldn't dispute your claim that we wouldn't have won the the league with Bobby Collins instead of Dennis Stevens, but reluctantly, loved the two of them but wouldn't argue too strongly.

However Terry, Carey had left Everton in 1961 not 1962, and it was galling for me that Everton never won an away game for a very long period under Mr. Carey, over a season I believe, one season we were near the bottom of the league until an Alan Tyrer goal won us two points versus Leeds Unt. at Goodison Park to take the pressure off us with a few games to go.

As much as I liked Johnny Carey as a man I can confidently say we would never have won the league with Johnny in charge, Mr Moores also thought this and changed the managers, getting us our first championship since before the First World War.

Michael Kenrick
108 Posted 22/08/2021 at 13:36:03
Dave, "getting us our first championship since before the First World War"

Far be it from me but, unlike others, I was not alive and kicking at the time. However, something tells me there may be an inkling of an inexactitude somewhere in that statement?

Dave Abrahams
109 Posted 22/08/2021 at 13:51:51
Michael (108), well done, you spotted my deliberate mistake, truthfully I cocked up!!
Terry White
110 Posted 22/08/2021 at 19:31:38
Hello, Dave A. (#107), you are correct, of course, that Catterick replaced Carey with a couple of games to go at the end of the 1960-61 season. I went to school with Carey's son, Gerry, and so was a little disappointed when that happened and one of my friends was taken away! But I did get invited by him to attend the 1963 cup final and stayed at the Carey house, no sign of Johnny!

It does not change my view that the Carey side is still my favourite, age is probably enhancing my memories, however. I am inclined to agree with you. Carey was a very nice man, very well-regarded in football circles, but probably not the man to take us to the title. Catterick had the steel for that. Hence, Stevens to replace Collins.

I do recall, as you say, we went one season, 1959-60, I think, when we did not win an away game. But it was usually great watching us at home! That was the season of our infamous loss in the cup at Bradford City! A game at Valley Parade that I was unfortunate enough to witness!

Dave Abrahams
111 Posted 22/08/2021 at 19:51:33
Terry (110), thanks for your reply.

When you say you were invited to attend the 1963 FA Cup Final, Man Utd vs Leicester City, was that at Wembley or in your friend's house?

We all have our memories from long ago and Johnny Carey introduced some fine players to the Everton squad which I too have happy memories of.

I didn't go to the Bradford City game, a 3-0 defeat; some of the players incurred the wrath of Bobby Collins after the game when he heard them discussing where they were going when they got back to Liverpool that night. He couldn't believe they were talking about going out after the disgusting show most of them had given. He thought they had no pride in how they had performed and let them know it. A thorough professional, Bobby!!

Don Alexander
112 Posted 22/08/2021 at 20:03:46
A point worth mentioning re Bobby Collins IMO is that not only had he galvanised Celtic before we signed him but he went on to galvanise Leeds when he left us.

To me that's some player!

John McFarlane Snr
113 Posted 22/08/2021 at 20:18:40
Hi Terry [110]

I have just done a quick check, the Bradford City cup game was on 9 January 1960. I too was at that game and Bobby Collins is quoted as saying "Too many players were intent on getting back to Liverpool and the Royal Tiger."

Johnny Carey was sacked on Friday 14 April 1961; the following day, Everton beat Cardiff City 5-1 at Goodison. I knew a lad whose wife worked at Goodison in one capacity or other, and he told me that Harry Catterick was to be the manager, before the official announcement.

I was fortunate enough to be at Bloomfield Road for a Monday evening fixture when Everton broke their away jinx, in a 4-1 win over Blackpool – a jinx that had been spread over two seasons.

Dave Abrahams
114 Posted 22/08/2021 at 20:34:13
Don (112),

I remember seeing Bobby in the lobby of The Forum cinema, waiting for his wife at the end of the show. I was staring at him because of who he was, but Bobby didn't realise how famous he was in Liverpool and he looked at me with an aggressive look as if to say “Who the fuck are you looking at?” – so I don't think he was ever aware of his fame. Mind you, there wasn't many big-time Charlies in those days.

Terry White
115 Posted 22/08/2021 at 20:35:48
Dave A (#111), I stayed at the Carey house and then attended the final, Man Utd beating Leicester City 3-1.

John Mc Sr, yes, I was in the stands at Bloomfield Road that night. I was so impressed by Roy Vernon sticking one into the top corner of Tony Waiter's goal and the ball lodged between the goal supports. Blackpool had a decent team then, Jimmy Armfield played as well as the incomparable Stan Matthews, the "Wizard of Dribble".

The 5-1 win against Cardiff you mentioned after Carey's sacking (perhaps he was still in charge for that game before Catterick's appointment?) reminded me that they must have hated playing us at Goodison as we beat them 8-3 in the penultimate game of the following season. Roy Vernon got hat-tricks in both games.

Coincidentally the final 2 games of the 1961 and 1962 seasons were both against Arsenal and we won both, 4-1 and 3-2 (courtesy of my "bible", Steve Johnson's wonderful website, "Everton Results", recommended reading for all Evertonians).

John McFarlane Snr
116 Posted 22/08/2021 at 21:10:31
HI Bill Gall [54],

This may be a late response, but I can't find any trace of Alex Scott competing in the Edinburgh, Powderhall Sprint. I believe that you may be confusing him with the Liverpool full-back Jim Harley, who won it at the age of 18.

Terry White
117 Posted 23/08/2021 at 16:44:02
Alex Scott was certainly known for his speed on the right wing. He had a most unusual style of running with his torso leaning significantly forward over the ball at his feet. He knew the way to goal with 23 scored in 149 league appearances.
Chris Williams
118 Posted 23/08/2021 at 17:10:07
His nickname was The Head Waiter, apparently Terry
John McFarlane Snr
119 Posted 24/08/2021 at 14:29:28
Hi Terry, [117] I quite liked Alex Scott's unusual style of running, but a friend of mine reckoned that if they opened the gates Alex would keep on running. He also gave him the nickname of 'Lino', saying, "He's always on the floor" both observations I believe, were said in jest.
Brian Wilkinson
120 Posted 25/08/2021 at 02:09:22
Neville Southall, not just for his Eighties heroics, but over 10 years afterwards, when everyone wrote him off, he lifted the FA Cup in 1995 with not just an outstanding display, in the final itself, but failed to let a goal in, from open play, throughout the way to Wembley.

Only a Klinsman penalty beat him.

Never see another goalkeeper like Neville Southall, one of the best players ever, to play for Everton.

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