Light Entertainment – Favourite Players

by   |   12/12/2023  75 Comments  [Jump to last]

After the emotion of the last few weeks, I thought I'd put up a short article to generate debate. Favourite players?

Not just from my lifetime but from stories I was told. Here goes and I know I'll miss a few so feel free to add.

Obviously, for the older generation who can still remember, Dixie Dean. I'll keep this short and sweet, but here's my list.

Kevin Sheedy. Simply the best.

Article continues below video content

Alex Young

Ray Wilson

Howard Kendall

Colin Harvey

Alan Ball

Tony Kay (despite the controversy)

Joe Royle 

Neville Southall

Peter Reid

Andrei Kanchelskis

And I'll give Tim Cahill a shout

Kevin Sheedy (Again – he gets two shouts!)

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Reader Comments (75)

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Mike Doyle
1 Posted 12/12/2023 at 15:57:35
Okay, Danny, here's my contribution:

1) Howard Kendall. Only saw the last 2-3 years of his Everton career but was probably still our best player when he left for Brum as part of the Bob Latchford deal. A few years later he returned to play in a testimonial (possibly the Mick Lyons one – not sure). I think he was player-manager at Blackburn at the time – but still looked the best player on the pitch.

2) Mike Lyons. Primarily because I played for his Sunday League team for 3 years. Great bloke – and great Evertonian.

3) Tony Kay. I'm too young to have seen Tony play, but my late father assures me he was the best Everton player he saw between WW2 and 2005 (he'd have put Alan Ball 2nd).

John Raftery
2 Posted 12/12/2023 at 20:57:18
Thanks Danny. Decade by decade:

'60s - Alan Ball
'70s - Martin Dobson
'80s - Neville Southall
'90s - Dave Watson
'00s - Mikel Arteta
'10s - Leighton Baines
'20s - Seamus Coleman

Ask me tomorrow and I would probably come up with a different list but Alan Ball and Southall will always be there.

Peter Mills
3 Posted 12/12/2023 at 21:18:37
What John#2 said, but Howard Kendall for '70s (he kept us in the top flight virtually single-handedly) and Wayne Rooney for '00s as he was, for a while, the most exciting footballer I've seen in an Everton shirt.

And Tim Cahill. Because he's Tim Cahill.

Dave Abrahams
4 Posted 12/12/2023 at 22:17:58
My list, and some of them were not great players but good players who gave lots of valuable service to the Blues, starting with a player from the '40s who was probably one of the greatest players to wear a Blue shirt:

T G Jones
Peter Farrell
Tommy Eglington
Wally Fielding.
Dave Hickson
Alex Parker
Bobby Collins
Roy Vernon
Tommy Ring
Jimmy Gabriel
Brian Labone
Tony Kay
Derek Temple
Ray Wilson
Joe Royle
Jimmy Husband
Johnnie Morrissey
Dennis Stevens.
Alan Ball,
Howard Kendall
Colin Harvey
Tommy Wright
Neville Southall
Peter Reid
Kevin Sheedy
Trevor Steven
Andre Kanchelskis
Dave Watson…

And finishing with another outstanding player who would have suited any era:

Wayne Rooney

One of the very best. What an idol you could have been… but I understood you going.

I bet I've left out quite a few more, like Kevin Ratcliffe, because of memory lapses.

David Currie
5 Posted 13/12/2023 at 03:50:37
Favourite Players:

Andy King,
Mike Lyons,
Bob Latchford,
Neville Southall,
Kevin Sheedy,
Trevor Steven,
Graeme Sharp,
Paul Bracewell
Kevin Ratcliffe.
Leighton Baines,
Wayne Rooney,
Seamus Coleman, and
Jordan Pickford.

Laurie Hartley
6 Posted 13/12/2023 at 04:45:23
Despite the fact that I started watching the Blues in 1961, there a few players from this century that I took a shine to for different reasons:

Yakubu – alias The Yak
Samuel Eto'o
Nigel Martyn

However, my favourite is Tony Kay.

Mike Gaynes
7 Posted 13/12/2023 at 06:47:56
Sheedy made me an Evertonian. Baines kept me in love with it.

But I've always had a weakness for the non-star, the guy who wasn't blessed with spectacular natural talent but overcame obstacles and hung it all out there when it mattered most.

In no particular order:

Phil Jagielka
Paul Rideout
David Weir
Dave Watson
Steve Watson
Bryan Oviedo
Tim Cahill (of course)
Leon Osman
Segundo Castillo
Andy Hinchcliffe
Seamus Coleman
Yerri Mina
and now Vitalii Mykolenko

I'll think of more tomorrow.

Duncan McDine
8 Posted 13/12/2023 at 07:00:38
We will all have our favourites from the title winning teams, but I'll mention few of my favourite players during the bad times (ones that have not yet been mentioned):-

The Big Man
Oli Dacourt
Lee Carsley

My Dad's favourite player was the fella who jumped over cars... he named me after him!

Joe Hurst
9 Posted 13/12/2023 at 07:38:34
Tony Kay, wasn't he in “Phoenix Nights”? (oh sorry, that was Peter Kay…

You mentioned Dixie Dean in the opening post on this thread, but he wasn't on the list you posted. He stays the most lethal striker world football has ever had. Most goals ever in a season – Haaland is shamed in comparison – and he was never sent off!

Danny O’Neill
10 Posted 13/12/2023 at 07:49:58
Some interesting shouts.

Inevitably it will be partially generational, partially opinionated.

Dave Abrahams, you could write an encyclopaedia of Everton players with that list!

Duncan, I like the call out for Dacourt. A fine player. And my youngest brother could talk all day to you about Carsley.

On Carsley, it's interesting that I read he's not interested in club management and more focused on his role in developing the England U21s.

For those who have coached, it's a different skill. I wonder if he is going to follow Southgate's pathway?

Dave Cashen
11 Posted 13/12/2023 at 09:13:13
I was a left-back. I lean towards left-backs naturally. We've had some good 'uns/

Ray Wilson and Leighton Baines were both out of the very top drawer. Both gentlemen. Both humble. Ray was more aggressive than Leighton. Leighton the more technically gifted of the two.

Leighton Baines was a Rolls-Royce of a player, but may have been a bit too timid to be classed as an all-time great. Often deferring to lesser players when it came to crucial free kicks and calls.

Ray was humble, but never timid. He just knew he was world class.

Special mention for Paul Power. Howard Kendall astounded us by signing him about 3 years after he was "finished". What a season he had.

John Bailey was another favourite. Every kid in Liverpool knew he would make the grade. Psycho Pat made himself a cult figure. There have been quite a few.

I just confess that I had dismissed the current occupant of our left-back position as a likeable "trier". I'm delighted to say he seems hell-bent on proving me wrong every time he pulls the shirt on.

Come the day of reckoning, the all-time greatest Everton team will be named. Mykolenko will have a few former greats looking very nervously at his incredible improvement.

Danny O’Neill
12 Posted 13/12/2023 at 09:26:12
What a great summary, Dave.

I can't speak for Ray Wilson. My best left-back is Baines. I agree with your sentiment. If Leighton had had the confidence, he could been better than what he was. And I rate him way above Pat Van Den Hauwe.

John Bailey was a character. I love that scene on Howard's Way. They are obviously mates, but "can I chin him now"?!!!

Brian Harrison
13 Posted 13/12/2023 at 09:40:20
Dave @4

I agree with a lot of your list but how did you put Watson ahead of Labone?

The lists just show how many very talented players we have seen over the years. I am always surprised that rightly Peter Reid is always in any list but Bracewell is hardly mentioned.

Andy Rankin nor Gordon West are never mentioned. Obviously forwards tend to dominate these type of lists yet surprisingly no mention of Latchford or Lineker.

Mike Doyle
14 Posted 13/12/2023 at 09:47:53
Reading Dave's post #4] reminds me that if our ex-captain (and ex-season ticket holder) Mike Lyons was inputting his thoughts he would endorse Dave's mention of Jimmy Gabriel - he told us that Jimmy was his favourite player when he was growing up.
Chris Williams
15 Posted 13/12/2023 at 11:43:27
A few from the haunted wing, good players, some long-serving, some less so, who, for various reasons, I enjoyed watching. Some in our fallow periods, some not.

Jimmy O'Neill, George Wood, Jim Arnold

T E Jones, Kieth Newton, John Hurst, Mick Pejic, Roger Kenyon, John Gidman, Alan Harper, Derek Mountfield, Paul Power, Nigel Martyn

John King, Brian Harris, Mick Meagan, Tommy Jackson, Mick Bernard, Dave Clements, Kevin Richardson, Ian Snodin, Norman Whiteside,

Micky Lill, Billy Bingham, Alan Whittle, Adrian Heath, Wayne Clarke, Jimmy Harris, Frank Wignall, Fred Pickering, Peter Beardsley.

Some had fine careers after they left us. Some had fine careers before they joined us, but they all did their bit for us while they were here.

Danny O’Neill
16 Posted 13/12/2023 at 12:20:45

I feel I have to go to confession for not mentioning Paul Bracewell. 'Gracewell' as he should have been called.

Chris @15, from your list. My best friend (RIP Dave) loved Norman Whiteside. I loved Derek Mountfield and was gutted when he got replaced by Dave Watson at the time.

Alan Harper and Paul Power were unsung heroes that won us league titles. As was Kevin Richardson. Wayne Clarke prevented Lucifer's Children becoming the invincibles. I walked all the way to my Aunties in Croxteth after that match.

Peter Beardsley was a joy to watch. Unfortunately, he was too intelligent and one step ahead of the Everton team he was playing in at the time.

I will make a mention to James Rodriguez. What a shame we didn't get to watch him live.

Dave Abrahams
17 Posted 13/12/2023 at 12:34:45
Brian (13),

I thought I had slipped up leaving Brian Labone off my list but he is on it.

I would have chosen quite a few more that are on other people's lists, especially the one chosen by Chris Williams.

By the same token, there were some I would never have chosen that were listed by others.

Chris Williams
18 Posted 13/12/2023 at 13:01:02
On my list, Martin, should have Keown after it. He was also a nice guy.
Barry Hesketh
19 Posted 13/12/2023 at 13:02:40
Thanks to Brian's information, on another thread, this link seems more appropriate to be linked here:

Everton, The Big Match Highlights 1969 1983

Steve Brown
20 Posted 13/12/2023 at 13:41:59
Tricky Trevor Steven was total quality.

Technically, he was ahead of his time in the way he played the wide role, and he would thrive in the modern game. He won the league with Everton, Rangers and Marseille 10 league titles!

Pete Clarke
21 Posted 13/12/2023 at 13:57:12
I'm another who keeps a special lookout for the left side since that's where I generally played.

Loved Leighton Baines as a footballer and a pro. I heard a story about two lads hitch-hiking at the Rocket, trying to get to see Everton at Stoke. Up pulls a car and lets them in, then drops them off at the ground. Leighton Baines himself apparently. How good is that!

Loved Davey Thomas sending those crosses over for Big Bob. Loved the tough-tackling Mike Pejic and of course Sheedy.

Remember Oliver Dacourt sinking to his knees after defeat on his debut. He could and should have been our midfield general for many years.

Big mention to Paul Bracewell, Adrian Heath, Degsy and Tricky Trevor who helped make our lives a lot better for a few years.
Paul Hewitt
22 Posted 13/12/2023 at 14:49:26
Steve @20.

Totally agree about Trevor Steven, he's my favourite ever player. He simply glided past opposition players, and could deliver fantastic cross. He would be worth a fortune today.

Tony Abrahams
23 Posted 13/12/2023 at 15:10:09
My first memories are of Dave Thomas running down the wing to cross for Bobby Latchford, and Duncan McKenzie, glittering stardust all over Goodison Park. It went on and, when he scored the winner against Liverpool, Andy was definitely our King.

I liked Asa Hartford, Peter Eastoe, and Trevor Ross because he always looked like he got stuck in. So did Bruce Rioch, but I remember being disappointed in Colin Todd because, although the adults raved about him, I never saw anything special in a player who was possibly playing out of position whilst wearing an Everton shirt?

I loved Steve McMahon, and couldn't believe that Kendall had used up all the money he received from his transfer to replace him with Trevor Steven (until he was played in his correct position).

I didn't appreciate Adrian Heath enough when he first came to our club but what a clever footballer he was, especially when Kendall suddenly started getting better players in his squad – then Kendall's team suddenly became littered with special players.

Southall, Stevens, Ratcliffe, Mountfield, Physco Pat, Steven, Reid, Bracewell, Sheedy, Sharp, Heath, Gray, Harper and Richardson — what a bloody squad! 💙💙🙏🙏

We then got the best Everton player I've ever seen in front of goal (except for one horrific night in Oxford) but the quality in our play seemed to go backwards at times. I will take it to my grave that we were a better team than the Liverpool team that pipped us to the double but it's only when you lose the greatest goalkeeper in the world that you suddenly realise how important this position really is. (Bobby Mimms did very well but he simply wasn't Big Nev.)

We dipped badly, great players were replaced by Top 6 players, and the descent had slowly begun. Royle brought fight, and Ferguson, plus Kanchelskis, to go alongside the fight of Watson, and the craft of Anders Limpar, lar, but he couldn't build on his initial success.

I hated the Walter Smith era, very disappointing to say the least, but I loved a couple of the young players who were coming through at the time, and still think back fondly towards Franny Jeffers (another young scouser despicably allowed to leave way too early — just as long as he took the flak) and Michael Ball. One player I thought was absolutely exceptional under Smith was the ageing Richard Gough but, when Walter left, it was definitely a few years too late, imo.

Moyes brought us some very good players over the years. Distin, Jagielka, Arteta, a little South African who I used to really enjoy called Pienaar who definitely helped to make Baines such an effective attacking fullback. And of course little Timmy, the Blue Kangaroo, who definitely had a heart as big as any Everton player I've been lucky enough to love in my soon-to-be 49 years of attending glorious Goodison Park.

Martinez gave us some great football and I liked the simplicity of his initial first period but the team went backwards alongside some of our young rising stars. Then started the most ridiculous period in our club's very long history.

Rooney returned – I wish he never had – and although I don't blame him for leaving either, I preferred to remember him as the most skillful, hard-faced little bastard I had ever seen in royal blue.

I must mention John Stones because he his the best English footballing central defender I have ever watched. Now I really enjoy watching Branthwaite, because I think he is a kid who could genuinely go as far as John Stones.

I've also got hopes for Patterson, McNeil (if he can be played inside), Garner, and Onana, even though I think the latter will probably be the first to leave us if he his given the chance.

I have also got to mention Richarlison, another who wore his heart on his sleeve when playing for Everton – I will never forget that day against Chelsea, and the iconic picture of the Brazilian holding the Blue Flare. 💙

Dominic Calvert-Lewin is so important nowadays, even if he's still got a long way to go to become an Everton great, something that Jordan Pickford, might attain one day. But when I remember that great side of the eighties, hard work definitely came before flair.

The older I get, the more I think I learn, and the most apparent thing that comes into my mind whenever I think about the sport I love is that, more than anything else, football is simply a running game.

And before I finish, I have got to mention £60,000 because my favourite ever Everton player cost us this measly amount when he was signed from Sligo Rangers and Seamus Coleman has been nothing but an inspiration for years.

Barry Hesketh
24 Posted 13/12/2023 at 15:39:49
We'd pretty much all have the same choices, depending on when we started watching Everton. My 'alternative' list comprises of those that made an impact beyond what we may have initially expected. In no particular order:

Landon Donovan for his impact and his obvious love of playing for Everton.

Terry Curran, who it could be argued was a much-needed spark during a time of real gloom.

Andy Gray and Peter Reid, who were apparently consigned to the rubbish pile, but somehow, resurrected their own careers and Everton too.

Louis Saha, who scored some real quality and important goals, if only he could have been at his peak of his powers whilst wearing the Everton shirt.

Seamus, obviously.

Duncan McKenzie, who also gave the club a bit of glamour during a relatively bleak period.

Wayne Rooney, we never saw him in an Everton shirt for very long, but how his early days are etched on most Evertonians' memories and it's such a shame that, during most other periods in our long history, his exploits as a player would have thrust him into the all-time greats of Goodison.

There have been many stalwarts and players of great ability, but what we now realise, and perhaps always have, is that it's a team game, and whilst individuals shine and get our attention, it's the sides who work hard and produce the goods that really matter.

Philip Bunting
25 Posted 13/12/2023 at 15:53:05
Thomas Gravesen,
Andrei Kanchelskis.
Graham Stuart,
Dave Watson.
Jay Harris
26 Posted 13/12/2023 at 16:04:16
Great thought-provoking post, Danny.

I've been watching the Blues since about 1960 and there are so many favourite players to recall but I'll start with who my dad's favourites were.

He always told me that Tommy Lawton was better than Dixie and that T G Jones was the best player ever to wear a blue shirt.

From the time I started watching, my all-time favourite was Roy Vernon; runners up: the Golden Vision, Alan Ball, Brian Labone, Joe Royle, Alex Parker and Chico (Alex) Scott in the 60s.

I also thought that Tony Kay was one of the best players I had ever seen but, in typical Everton style, his career was cut short by the Football League for betting on one match and he was given a lifetime ban. Hang your head in shame, Ivan Toney.

In the '70s, there was only one player who stood out above the rest that was the great Howard Kendall, who could win a sliding tackle, come away with the ball, and play a 10-yard or 30-yard pass with 100% accuracy; he had a decent shot in him too. Colin Harvey gets a special mention too as does Andy King who loved Everton.

In the '80s, there are so many favourites and my overriding memory is players that would get on the end of any pass, good or bad, and make something of it. Favourites included Psycho Pat, John Bailey (who I grew up and played a lot of football with), Tricky Trevor, Andy Gray, Rats and the greatest goalkeeper in the world and a sound human being: Big Nev.

Since the '80s, there haven't been that many that have impressed me with the honourable exception of
Leighton Baines, Wayne Rooney, Seamus Coleman and Phil Jagielka.

Jon Harding
27 Posted 13/12/2023 at 16:26:28
My dad watched the great teams of the '60s and '80s but his favourite player by a mile was Dave Hickson.

Like Tony A, as a little kid, I too recall Dave Thomas, socks round ankles, crossing for Big Latch to nod in.

In the '80s, as well as death and taxes, you knew you could always rely on Big Nev, total legend and the best football autobiography ever.

Having re-watched Howard's Way recently, I agree that Trevor Steven without a shadow of a doubt could drop into the modern game and would be even more of a superstar on better pitches and with more protection from refs.

Finally, wasn't it John Bailey who agreed to a contract to play in South Africa and when asked by the more worldly Adrian Heath "But what about the apartheid, John?" he simply replied, "Yeah, lovely, second floor, with a balcony and near the beach"!

Les Callan
28 Posted 13/12/2023 at 16:40:59
Dave @ 4.

Bloody hell, that would be my list almost exactly. The only one of those I didn't see was T G Jones, but my Dad used to go on about how brilliant he was.

And I was really pleased to see that you named Tommy Ring. He rarely gets a mention, but what a player he was.

Will Mabon
29 Posted 13/12/2023 at 17:24:49
I think they're mostly covered, but would add:

Joe Parkinson, who was excellent in his time and a pivotal player to what we were then, a real warrior. Lost too soon to injury. Don Hutchison was under-appreciated too.

Danny O’Neill
30 Posted 13/12/2023 at 17:59:31
I too wished Rooney had never returned, Tony. His legs were gone.

McMahon was a shame. An Evertonian from Halewood, a stone's throw from the now Finch Farm who my best friend's dad used to take on the bus to Goodison every week.

Years later, I bumped into him at a bar in Woolton. He was being a dick and asked me if I knew who he was as he tried to barge past me at the bar.

I gave him a frank answer and moved him out of the way. "Forget kopsphite, you are a kop out" was my language.

Dale Self
31 Posted 13/12/2023 at 18:36:14
Sorry about that.
Dale Self
32 Posted 13/12/2023 at 18:36:14
He did not meet hopes due to a broken toe in the World Cup but John Collins definitely made Everton more enjoyable when he was healthy.
Brian Harrison
34 Posted 13/12/2023 at 19:57:53
Dave @17,

Apologies, of course you mentioned Brian Labone.

Not only is my hearing going – seems like my eyesight is suffering from the same plight.

Dave Abrahams
35 Posted 13/12/2023 at 20:37:15
Brian (33),

No need for apologies, it was a long list and easy to go past one name.

By the way, I used to have many a chat with Brian after he retired and he was a very loyal Blue but would never ever have a bad word for any Everton player even when I had a go at coaxing him to tell me so-and-so had a bad game the previous Saturday, he'd just smile and wouldn't agree.

Brian Labone – the last of the Corinthians, always played it fair and square, he wouldn't half look out of place these days but doubt very much he would change his ways.

James Marshall
36 Posted 13/12/2023 at 20:49:12
When I was a kid, my favourite player was Big Nev, and that still stands to this day – he's always been my footballing idol and I reckon I'll go to the grave the same way. I became a goalkeeper purely because of Neville.

I always have a soft spot for slightly off-kilter footballers too, the cult heroes if you will, and Tony Hibbert figured highly for me as a result.

So too Peter Reid, Inchy, Psycho Pat, Diamond, Kanchelskis, Super Kev, Amokachi, Duncan for so many reasons, Tommy Gravesen, Jagielka, Baines, Cahill, Lukaku.

Robert Tressell
37 Posted 13/12/2023 at 20:55:01
Sadly I only very, very dimly remember Sheedy and in a rapidly aging and deteriorating team too.

So my favourite is Kanchelskis. Brilliant player.

Rob Jones
38 Posted 13/12/2023 at 22:09:00
Gravesen. Carsley. Cahill.

Gary Speed… Hero.

Jamie Crowley
39 Posted 14/12/2023 at 14:53:14
Favorite players… there's two.

I was "born Blue", er Chosen, in 2007. So my 'istory is a short-lived one.

Just two.

Lee Carsley
Seamus Coleman

That's it. I've liked a lot of the players through the years, but those two, for whatever reasons, are my favorites by a country mile.

Brian Wilkinson
40 Posted 14/12/2023 at 16:36:21
I will only go off players I saw on a regular basis from around 1975 onwards.

For me there was none better than Neville Southall, my all-time hero.

Going back to the seventies, I have got to have Dave Thomas up there, what a winger he was, along with Latchford, King and McKenzie.

Too hard the eighties so I will pick a couple who only managed limited time at Everton and they would be Bracewell and Lineker.

Other players for me to make up my list would be Kanchelskis, Beardsley, Joe Parkinson, Tim Cahill, Jagielka, Coleman, Baines, Arteta, toss up between Nigel Martyn and Tim Howard, I would also have Steve Naismith in – he gave everything and got what Everton meant, Rooney, Richarlison.

Pretty sure tomorrow I will have a few additions but Southall will always be top of my list.

Tim Welsh
41 Posted 14/12/2023 at 18:01:14
For me it has always been and will always be Dave Thomas.

There was something elemental about him.

But, one can't help think 'what would have been?' had he not been alienated by Eric Harrison.

Tim Welsh
42 Posted 14/12/2023 at 18:03:51
I also have a very regard for Leighton Baines.

But let's face it, they're all my favourites when we win!

Ian Bennett
43 Posted 14/12/2023 at 20:15:09
Leighton Baines
Duncan Ferguson
Kevin Campbell
Andy Gray
The Yak
Gary Speed
Seamus Coleman
Tim Cahill
Tommy Gravesen
Joe Parkinson
Peter Reid
Andrei Kanchelskis
Kevin Sheedy
Tricky Trev
Ajay Timothy
44 Posted 15/12/2023 at 12:38:25
Whatever you may think about Graeme Sharp, he should be on this list. Met him in DC a few years ago and talked about that goal against the shite. Having scored more goals than anyone for us post WW 2 deserves a mention in my opinion.
Mark Murphy
45 Posted 15/12/2023 at 13:27:30
The big three for me are:

The greatest of them all – little curly Alan Ball
Big Nev
And fast becoming the favourite of all time, Captain Killybegs, Seamus Coleman!

But a big mention to an outsider who gave me much joy - Deggsy Mountfield, who scored more goals in one season from centre-half than our much admired current striker will this season.

Kevin Molloy
46 Posted 15/12/2023 at 13:41:35
My favourite player: Sheedy.

I remember when watching him as a kid, the adults all liked Reidy. I could never really see it, good but not the best.

Looking back though, you can see he was the difference between us shattering that glass ceiling and remaining also-rans. It mattered to Reid whether we won or drew. He wanted to win. And I think he affected the whole club.

I remember an interview with Trevor Steven about his time at the club. I was a bit surprised at how little he seemed to enjoy it, there was a lot of pressure to win, from the other players, and it seemed like it could be a bit brutal sometimes.

But that's what was needed. And I think it came from Reid. He was once asked what gave him the drive to succeed, and he said, he wanted to win for Howard. That was a bit of a revelation, starting to understand what makes good managers. Howard basically got under Reid's skin, charmed him a bit and fired him up.

Dave Williams
47 Posted 15/12/2023 at 14:38:26
I start in 1963:

Southall – the best I have seen anywhere
Wilson – see above; reeked of class
Labone – superb centre-back, calm and influential
Reid – better than Kendall for me
Harvey – most skilful player to wear blue
Ball – best of the lot
Young – superb footballer
Royle – how good would he have been but for that back injury
Latchford – goal scorer supreme
King – charismatic, skilful, goal scorer
Van den Hauwe – much underrated footballer
Ratcliffe – world class
Heath – smashing little player who would have played regularly for England but for Marwood
Rooney – if only…..!!
Calvert-Lewin – very underrated and potential to be great

I could drone on but, looking at favourite rather than all-time best, Ball would walk it for me under both categories with Heath second and Latchford third in the favourites category. All time best top 3 would have to be Ball followed by Southall and Wilson as they were peerless.

Alan McMillan
48 Posted 15/12/2023 at 14:59:22
Sheedy all day for me. The quality goals he scored down the years; some peaches. The two-fingered wave to the kop after he scored the year we last won the title.

But the one memory that sticks out for me was the time he scored the second free kick after the first one was disallowed. Imagine the fuss had any other player from a "big" team done that. Superb.

Colin Glassar
49 Posted 15/12/2023 at 15:22:23
Duncan McKenzie. The most talented, and erratic, player we've ever had.

The question was ‘light entertainment' so it has to be him.

The most consistently brilliant player I've ever seen was Alan Ball. Fantastic for Blackpool, Everton, Arsenal, Southampton and England.

Joe McMahon
50 Posted 15/12/2023 at 15:52:57
Nigel Martyn. Peter Beardsley, Gary Speed. All fantastic professionals of top draw quality, but unfortunately they were not at Everton for long enough.

Romelu Lukaku for being the most prolific goalscorer (taking in account games played) in my lifetime, and mention for Tony Cottee for same reasons.

Joe McMahon
51 Posted 15/12/2023 at 16:05:35
Yikes, I missed out Tim Cahill and Tim Howard. Winners but unfortunately not for a winning Everton team, but again absolute professionals.
Shaun Robinson
52 Posted 16/12/2023 at 10:11:29
Danny @ 16. Bracewell was quality. Low key signing but what a player.
Dave Abrahams
53 Posted 16/12/2023 at 10:14:47
Colin (49), Alan Ball was the first player to play 100 league games for four top division clubs, don’t know if any other player has done it since.
Francis van Lierop
54 Posted 17/12/2023 at 20:47:23
Colin Harvey
Kevin Sheedy
Steven Pienaar
Matt Woods
55 Posted 17/12/2023 at 20:51:11
Colin Harvey says goalkeepers are not footballers. However, in his position ,Big Nev was the best ever.

When he was in his prime, you just never believed he was going to be beat on a one-on-one. Absolutely magnificent, a true blue ,and the embodiment of everything that is great about Everton.

I loved every player in the '85 Championship side. They could win any type of game against any style of opponent. Pat van den Hauwe is the screen saver on my phone. Brilliant player with genuine cult status. A winner with a dark mysterious side.

I had the pleasure of meeting Gary Stevens in Sydney on the tour last year. The guy was incredible. He was the most humble unaffected guy you could wish to meet. What a player, but what a lad too. He just said he wasn't even the best player in school, sure he knew he was good but he stressed he had a bit of luck and then made the most of it.

He said he felt he was just same as all the other lads in his era. He just loved footy and the difference was just that he was out there at Goodison while we were roaring them on.

Scoring the fourth against Man Utd when we dismantled them in October 1984 was a highlight. He also said Maradona was from another planet and no one could get near him.

Other players I have loved:

Georgie Wood
Andy King
Big Bob
Virtually all the '80s legends
The Big Yin


John Gall
56 Posted 17/12/2023 at 21:36:56
I'm basing my choices purely on those I actually saw playing at the match, ie. not on the TV. I started going to Goodison in 1975, but, bizarrely, I stopped going to the match in the 80s as other teenage distractions got in the way. So, I missed all the glory years and have seen a lot of crud. But the ones I've seen who had poise and style and just something special about them were :

Colin Todd - he was a bit past his best when we got him, but he was elegant, and intelligent, and, to me, had something of the School of Science about him

Dave Thomas - I stood in the right hand corner of the Street End and I have vivid, persistent memories of seeing wee David come jinking down the left wing, socks around ankle, floating or chipping in those crosses for Big Bob. Brilliant memories.

Peter Beardsley - all those shit teams in the early 90s, and this feller was miles ahead. Quick, skillful, direct, but surrounded by utter mediocrity.

Wayne Rooney - the great Everton tragedy, him leaving so soon, so young, a genius and one of our own rejecting us. Has our collective self-esteem ever recovered from this? What a player. I saw that Arsenal goal from the Bullens Road - up there with my Davey Thomas memories.

And I've got to say that some of this current team are starting to creep into my affections. I just need to see them more in the flesh so I can trust my judgement. But Branthwaite looks like he has that star quality about it. Please let him stay with us and win a few trophies and make fresh wonderful memories for younger generations.

Dave Abrahams
57 Posted 17/12/2023 at 21:57:20
Tony (23), just re-read your post and the last paragraph needs explaining:

Your favourite Everton player was Peter Reid and he cost Everton £60,000, but you only mention Seamus Coleman who cost the same amount!

Tony Abrahams
58 Posted 17/12/2023 at 22:04:21
True Dave, thanks for pointing out that I've always had problems explaining myself, mate.

Peter Reid, what a player! I probably learned more from watching him than I ever learned from any manager.

If ever a player deserves to win a trophy before he hangs up his boots, then I'm hoping it's going to be Seamus Coleman.🤞

Colin Glassar
59 Posted 17/12/2023 at 22:09:31
Dave 53, Bally was a one off. He could do everything ie score, create, tackle, endless energy etc.. A football god for the ages.
Trevor Powell
60 Posted 17/12/2023 at 23:35:33
I watched Peter Reid away at Southampton in mid eighties and after the game a Saints fan said to us in the pub, that Reidy was far too slow. My mate came up with reply: "I agree he's not the fastest of players, but how come you never ever laid a finger on him?"

What he lacked in pace, he more than made up in vision, game reading positional sense!

Eric Myles
61 Posted 18/12/2023 at 00:38:14
Who's the greatest of them all? I think we all know how the rest of the song goes.

All of the '66 to '70 players were heroes to me as that was the time when I really got interested in football.

The '70s were not good years for us, especially with the rise of the shite but Latchford stands out and Mick Lyons.

I missed the '80s through working in the sandpits so from the '90s onwards it's the Baines / Pienaar duet and Arteta.

Players I would like to meet: Duncan Ferguson and Tony Hibbert.

Mike Dolan
62 Posted 18/12/2023 at 00:58:47
Alan Ball was absolutely brilliant when he played with us. When he was with Arsenal he got very tippy-tappy. He was all running and action at the beginning of his career, the sight of him socks around his ankles winning us the World Cup is etched in my mind. He was one of the most effective footballers ever.

But the question was personal favourite and I say without doubt it was Alex Young. He was not the most consistent of players but he could just do impossible things with the ball. He was not exactly Maupay-esque but quite small but he could make the most astonishing leaps over 6'-4” defenders to head the ball with power.

He was just elegance and total class. He had all of the magic intangibles.

Danny O’Neill
63 Posted 18/12/2023 at 05:39:43
Now that's an interesting angle, Eric.

Former players I'd like to meet?

That would be Kevin Sheedy obviously. Also to ask him if he really meant that free kick in the semi-final against Luton at Villa Park or did he scuff it!!

And Neville Southall. To ask him what happened in the changing room at half-time in that match against Leeds when he came out early to sit against the goal post.

Dave Abrahams
64 Posted 18/12/2023 at 10:03:20
Trevor (60),

Dave Sexton told me that Rocky, his name for Peter Reid because of his pugnacious attitude, had always had a slow pace but he was 2 yards ahead of everyone because of his football brain.

Danny (63),

At that time, Southall had a cob on with everyone including himself, he'd had the chance to go to Spurs but the manager, Colin Harvey, I think, wouldn't entertain the idea.

I would have liked to ask him why he was going up the field to take the penalty in the famous 3-2 win versus Wimbledon, he was waved back as he got to the half-way line,

“What the fuck were you thinking” was the question I would have asked him. I was shitting myself in case they let him take it!

Danny O’Neill
65 Posted 18/12/2023 at 10:55:19
I remember him putting in a transfer request at the time, Dave.

Maybe he could see what was coming given the high standards he and Everton had achieved in that all too brief period.

Agree on Reid. Anticipation and reading the game.

Mind, he didn't look too slow when he charged to get to Marwood in retribution for his tackle on Heath.

Dave Abrahams
66 Posted 18/12/2023 at 11:00:59
Danny (65),

There was also the fact he would be getting a long contract and vastly increased wages if he went.

Somehow I couldn't see Neville living or settling in London!

Jamie Sweet
67 Posted 19/12/2023 at 01:59:07
Some great lists put together here and a very enjoyable thread to read.

Some players, not necessarily my absolute favourite, or the greatest of all time, but at some point during their time at Everton hit me right in the feels:

- Campbell
- Kanchelskis
- Speed
- Beardsley
- Madar
- Cahill
- Graveson
- Heitinga
- Donovan
- Amokachi
- Deulofeu
- Lukaku
- Big Dunc
- Rooney
- The Straq

Charles Brewer
68 Posted 20/12/2023 at 17:27:40
Keeping it brief, I agree 100% with Colin Glassar:

Who's the greatest of them all?

Little Curly Alan Ball!

And I agree that Duncan McKenzie was the most skilful player I think I ever saw. His big problem was that he was so much smarter than anyone else on the team that they were usually reduced to immobility by his stunning skills.

On the sheer bloody magnificent, I'd have to go with Duncan Ferguson for those headers where he leaped, ploughed through half a dozen bodies, headed the ball like a missile and left the opposing goalkeeper flattened in his wake. The Man Utd one was the one I remember best.

On reflection, I'd put Danny Cadamateri in the pantheon for his goal against the Liverpool.

Dan Kemp
69 Posted 20/12/2023 at 22:49:38
I'll add two names that have not been said yet - Gareth Barry and Phil Neville.

Anyway, my favourite players - Kanchelskis, Rooney, Baines, James Rodriguez. We've not had enough players of their skill in my lifetime.

Nothing was more exciting than young Rooney when he burst on the scene though.

Stuart Obee
70 Posted 20/12/2023 at 23:42:09
Has his management failures tainted him that much? I cannot believe anyone has mentioned David Unsworth. I bloody loved Rhino.

Otherwise, I agree with all the names being banded about.

Also had a soft spot for Peter Beagrie think we sold him to fund Beardsley which is a shame as I think they might have linked up well.

Danny O’Neill
71 Posted 21/12/2023 at 21:03:43
My son used to go to a child carer who lived opposite David Unsworth in Gatacre in the 90s. Great bloke and very personable. No airs or graces.

I had high hopes for him as a young player. Didn't quite hit heights, but that could be apportioned to Everton at the time.

I'm documented on these pages as not being overly impressed with his oversight of the academy, but a genuinely good person.

Tony Everan
72 Posted 21/12/2023 at 23:56:16
A Christmas present to Mike G

Brendan McLaughlin
73 Posted 22/12/2023 at 00:18:16
For me it has to be Adrian Heath.

He reminded me of... well, me... being a diminutive, talented, good-looking, striker.

Well, one out of four ain't bad.

Seriously loved his and Sharp's partnership..

Jason Davenport
74 Posted 22/12/2023 at 02:46:50
Mike Dolan (62),

My favourite player by far, especially considering that he had to endure those blisters on his feet.

Geoff Gordon
75 Posted 19/01/2024 at 19:19:45
Favourite player, not the best, fastest or most effective. I give you The Stracq.

He gave his everything, which wasn't a great deal, but you knew he really left it all on the field.

Dave Lynch
76 Posted 19/01/2024 at 19:38:20
Johnny Morrisey

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