Everton's rise to the top in the sixties was mainly due to the
new chairman, John Moores. Moores had made a fortune with Littlewoods (pools,
department stores and a mail order company), which he had created. He was
prepared to finance new players for the club.
Harry Catterick was chosen as the new manager in 1961. Catterick had played
as a centre-forward for Everton in the late forties. Success was quick to
Probably the worst winter in League history was 1962-63, which led to hundreds
of postponements, but it didn't bother the Goodison men. They had the
revolutionary advantage of a heated pitch. They won the title without loosing
on home soil - the first time in the club's history.
Who were the players to bring home the title, then, after a gap of 24 years?
The defence featured new signing and athletic keeper Gordon West, the classical
fullback Alex Parker, and Brian Labone, a home-grown player who lead the
defence with his fantastic attitude. Jimmy Gabriel, right-half (the current
reserve manager) was an important player with his huge work-rate. Brian Harris,
the utility player was an important team-member until displaced by the tough
but skillful Tony Kay, imported from Sheffield Wednesday in the middle of
the season. Other players included inside-forward Dennis Stevens, the skilled
outside-right Billy Bingham, who was later displaced by Alex Scott, a move
that grabbed the headlines when he was bought from Glasgow Rangers, and Johnny
Morrissey, a cheap buy from Liverpool early in the season.
There were two players, though, who stole the headlines: the goal-scorers
Roy Vernon (24 goals) and Goodison legend, Alex "The Golden Vision" Young
(23 goals). Welsh national team captain Vernon had the skill to score from
the most bizarre places. The Scot, Young wasn't a traditional centre-forward,
but a skilled player, who the fans loved and adored. Young was often invisible
for long periods of a game, but then he suddenly scored with a spectacular
Everton went to the Champions Cup with big hopes, but they were drawn against
the best team in Europe, Inter Milan, in the first round. The Toffees were
unable to score at Goodison (0-0) and lost at San Siro 0-1. A debutant at
that match was the 18-year old Colin Harvey, a home-grown player.
All went wrong for Kay later on: he was sentenced to prison and banned from
football for life after being convicted of taking bribes while playing for
Most of the players above helped Everton to Wembley for the first time in
33 years, in 1966. Everton had beaten a star-studed Manchester Utd team 1-0
in the semi-final. Harvey, a skilled player with great passing ability, was
a regular in the midfield, and Ramon "Ray" Wilson was bought in from
Huddersfield. Wilson was one of the classiest left-backs ever seen.
Vernon wasn't playing any more, and was replaced by a more traditional
centre-forward, Fred Pickering, who was bought from Blackburn with a new
record fee of £85,000 Pickering had already played in the England squad.
Pickering had suffered from injuries late in the season, and couldn't play
in the semi-final, but was fit for the final. However, Catterick surprised
everybody by not picking him to face Sheffield Wednesday. Instead he chose
the relatively unknown Mike Trebilcock, who had only played 7 League matches
The final seemed to go all wrong right from the start: The Owls played well
and went 0-2 up in the second period while Everton had a goal disallowed
for off-side. Then Trebilcock struck two similar goals in rapid succession
first-time strikes with the outside of his right foot and showed
that Catterick's gamble had paid off. Trebilcock was so unknown, that the
BBC commentator, the infamous Kenneth Wolstenholme who instigated the trend
of howlers from the men behind the mike, called him "Trebilco" for the entire
match. Everton dominated the rest of the match and, ten minutes before the
end, winger Derek Temple got the ball, broke through the middle, and ran
on to strike a fine shot into the left corner past a despairing Ron Springett.
Everton had won one of the most dramatic cup finals 3-2 and were only the
second team ever to come back from being two goals down in an FA Cup Final
(the first time was the "Matthews final" of 1953). [Cup
Ray Wilson won the World Cup with England that summer. Wilson had 63 caps,
33 while at Everton (see Everton internationals).
As proof that Goodison Park was one of the finest stadiums in the country
(like always!), it had been selected as one of the major venues for the World
Cup matches. One of the semi-finals was played there it should by
rights have been England v Argentina, but that was switched to Wembley by
the FA, to keep the England team in London. During the first round, Pele
and Eusebio among others had graced the Goodison Park, as well as the surprising
heroes of North Korea.
The perpetual motion machine of the England side, Alan Ball, was the hottest
player in the transfer market after the World Cup. Catterick finally beat
Leeds' Don Revie in the fight, and bought the red-headed terrier to Goodison
in August 1966 for a new record fee of £110,000. Ball was a world-class
player, who could run forever, and hated nothing more than loosing
in this sense he would have made a lethal combination with Leeds' Billy Bremner.
With his distinctive white boots and flaming red hair, Ball become an instant
favourite of the Goodison crowd.
When the stylish Howard Kendall was bought in March 1967 from Preston for
£80,000, Everton had one of the best midfields in the League history:
Kendall-Ball-Harvey, also known as "Los Tres Magnificos". Kendall had been
the youngest player to play in an FA Cup final, until 1980. He has widely
been regarded as one of the best players not to have won a single international
The team was near the top of the League for the next few years. In Spring
1968 they were in the FA Cup final at Wembley again after beating the tough
Leeds team in the semi-finals with a solitary goal from Johnny Morrissey.
The final was a huge disappointment when Everton, clear favourites, lost
to West Bromwich and a solitary goal from Jeff Astle, scored during the first
period of extra-time. Everton had beaten WBA in the league the same spring,
After the disappointing FA Cup final in 1968, Everton played well the following
season, finishing third. Leeds won the title with a new record points-total
of 67 (which would have been 94 under the current points system!). Everton
were four points behind Liverpool, but scored the most goals, 77.
The travesty of this success was that Everton couldn't compete in the Fair's
Cup (forerunner of the UEFA Cup) the following season because, according
to the rules, only one team could compete from each town, and Liverpool had
finished ahead of Everton. Arsenal, finishing fourth, got in to the Fair's
Cup, as well as Southampton (seventh) and Newcastle (ninth). Other teams
that lost out on this ruling were Chelsea, Tottenham and West Ham.
Joe Royle, who had made his break-through the previous season, was now Everton's
top scorer at the age of 19 with 22 goals. Jimmy Husband scored 19 and Alan
Ball 16. Husband scored his goals in only 36 games. During the season, Everton
defeated Leicester at home by 7-1 (a hat-trick to Royle), Southampton away
5-2, and West Ham away 4-1. Everton also beat Wolves, West Brom (a hat-trick
from Ball) and QPR at home 4-0! Everton got to the semi-finals in the cup,
but lost to Manchester City by 0-1.
The next season, 1969-70, showed what Catterick's new team was capable of.
The midfield engine of Alan Ball - Colin Harvey - Howard Kendall played better
than ever, beating even the "super-Leeds'" midfield led by Billy Bremner
and Johnny Giles, by passing movements and dribbling skills.
The season started earlier than normally (August 9th) and ended in April
8th, because England wanted to concentrate on the World Cup in Mexico the
following summer. Right from the start the team showed their class, as they
defeated Manchester Utd 2-0 away and 3-0 home within a week. Soon after this,
Everton beat Leeds home by 3-2, thus ending Leeds' record run of 34 matches
without a loss. Everton won 6 and drew one out of 7 matches played that August.
Everton lost 0-3 to Liverpool at Goodison, but quickly put the record straight
by winning 2-0 at Anfield. Other sweet victories included 6-2 against Stoke
at Goodison, 5-2 against Chelsea (home), and Ipswich both home and away 3-0.
Everton beat every opponent during the season at least once. The next time
any team could match this was in 1984-85, and again it was Everton!
The giants of Goodison Park won the title with a nine-point margin over Leeds
(with the current system, it would have been a 17 points margin!) and managed
only one point less than Leeds' record of 67 points (although with the current
system, they would have had 95 points, a point more than Leeds, who would
have had 94 from the previous season). The total attendance during the season
was over a million, making the average attendance at Goodison Park 49,531.
Gordon West, Brian Labone and winger Johnny Morrissey remained from the previous
championship team. Apart from them, the midfield trio of Kendall-Ball-Harvey
played a huge part, but there were more heroes in the team. Tommy Wright,
who played one match in the 1970 World Cup (against Brazil), played all 42
matches at right-back. The Scot, Sandy Brown, played 31 matches at left-back,
scoring five goals. Brown was replaced in the middle of the season by Keith
Newton (played 12 matches), brought in from Blackburn, who played all but
the Brazil match in England's brave World Cup campaign.
John Hurst (surprisingly wearing the number 10 jersey) who played as the
other centre-back, was ever-present and was constantly helping in the midfield
and attack, scoring five goals and running creatively. The very technical
Jimmy Husband, who was able to score from anywhere, scored six goals in his
Everton's centre-forward tradition was continued by Joe Royle, who once again
scored a hat-trick and a total of 23 goals. The sensation of the season was,
however, the 19-year old Alan Whittle, who Catterick put on the field, when
Everton weren't performing so well in January-February, and had only won
one in six matches. Whittle replaced Husband, and scored 11 goals in 15 matches.
The title was clinched at the end of March, when Whittle scored in six matches
in a row.
Labone and Ball were England's most influential players in the World Cup.
Other candidates for the team, apart from Newton and Wright, were Joe Royle,
who was finally left out, and Gordon West, who shocked the footballing England
when he said he preferred to be at home with his one-month old daughter rather
than sit at the bench in Mexico (Gordon Banks was England's number one, of
The big mystery is, how the team fell apart so quickly. The team had a wonderful
future ahead, but they never won anything else. This was a situation reminiscent
of the 1928 team, although then the recession wasn't so long.
The main target of the 1970-71 season was the Champions Cup. It started well,
when Everton beat Keflavik and Borussia M&ounchengladbach (in a penalty
shoot-out). Everton met Panathinaikos in the quarter-finals. They should
have been an easy opponent, but the home leg ended 1-1 (David Johnson equalised
with the last kick of the match) and the away leg finished 0-0, even though
Everton had a lot of chances. Panathanaikos lost the final at Wembley (what
a chance it would have been for us!) against Ajax 2-0. To top it, Everton
lost to Liverpool in the FA Cup semifinal by 1-2, even though Ball had put
Everton in front.
These catastrophes were a bad thing for team morale and it has been said
that they were the reason for Everton's slide. Whether this is true or not,
the slide was impossibly steep. Finally Catterick got fed up with Alan Ball,
and sold him in December '71 to Arsenal for a new record fee of £220,000.
Catterick's health gave away, and finally he was moved to administrative
duties in spring 1973. Billy Bingham, a League champion with the 1963 team,
was chosen as the new manager.
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