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And the man winked...

By Mike Berry :  17/02/2008 :  Comments (6) :
When I heard today that Brian Harris, one of our stars of the sixties, had died, I must admit that I shed a tear. He was one of our unsung heroes. Very adaptable, he even played at centre-forward. But it was as centre-back that he was successful. Winning a championship medal in 1962-63. And a winner of the FA Cup in 1966.

I date back to August 1963 in my passion for this club of ours. One of my earliest away matches was away to Burnley ? at the time one of the powers in English football. Their home Turf Moor was and is bleak... so desolate, Charles Dickens steered well clear.

They were a hard side as befited their home. In the second half, all hell kicked off. Players fighting, the referee blowing his whistle, hoping they would stop hitting each other.

We were stood behind the Everton goal. Brian Harris looking on at the mayhem, turned around and winked at me. Or so it seemed, it was probably a wink to everybody. He then started to juggle with the ball. With that huge trade mark grin.

Fast-forward to 2000. A friend told me of an ex-Everton player in his sixties. He was selling advertising space, and playing football with the kids in the street. He had a medalion round his neck. An FA Cup winners medal from 1966.

It was Brian wasn't it?

RIP Mate.

Reader Comments

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John de Frece
1   Posted 18/02/2008 at 11:09:24

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This was a man who personified what football used to be about
He lost his place to Tony Kay but didn't run off. He came up through the ranks and even when the stars like Roy and Alex arrived held he was still good enough to be in the team. Labby, Bally, Harris ? a little bit of me goes too with each of them...
Chris Williams
2   Posted 18/02/2008 at 13:40:57

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A marvellous player, Brian Harris, skillful and strong. I think he got England B honours early in his career as a left winger. It was as an old fashioned left half he was at his best. He could beat a man and tackle but also retained his winger?s speed. He was a joker among jokers with Roy Vernon and others and never seemed to have a bad game(although that?s probably my rose tinted senior moment glasses)
He was the man with the policeman?s helmet at the 1966 cup final when Mr. Kavanagh decided to express his happiness. He was known to enjoy a pint and was seen with the others at the Royal Tiger, often on a Friday night, and apparently went out for a drink the night before the 66 Cup Final with Jiimy Gabriel ?to help us sleep?.
When Tony Kay came, rather than sulk, he decided to stay and fight for his place and ended up at left back for a time. Needless to say he was excellent and as events turned out, he eventually won back his place but perhaps not in a way he might have chosen.
I suppose these days he would be a squad player, like Jagielka or Neville - I wish we had his like now - just getting on with it, never less than 7/10 and not often above it either, but understanding loyalty at a time when the clubs held all the aces.
A diamond!
His autobiography is worth reading too.
Trevor Powell
3   Posted 18/02/2008 at 18:46:41

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Sadly, another Everton hero disappears to Goodison in the Sky. Maybe, not a household name but a real stalwart and loyal player in the days when loyalty was one of the measures of a footballer. I saw him at Wembley on that day in 1966, calm and assured when everything seemed to be going wrong! I remeber reading an article about his time at Newport when they were drawn in a first round Fa Cup tie against a Southern League Weymouth containing Mike Trebilcock. They were reminiscing on the great day and how their lives had changed from the big time at Everton and how affectionately they looked back on their colleagues, no flash, no side. Magic
Mike Smith
4   Posted 18/02/2008 at 20:04:04

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We lived with my Nan until I was about 11 years of age and the council came up with a home that my mum and dad could call their own. My Nan having no need for the garage that was attached to her house rented it out to some flash git who had a car. Only uncle Arthur had a car....at least he was the only guy I knew who had one.

By 1966 I?d joined up and although I had the full complement of ?stubs? from the season's home games programmes there was no way I could queue for the ticket they ?entitled? me to for the FA Cup Final. My young kid sister did.... skiving off school and being filmed doing so by Granada.

Enough has been written about that final.... the greatest roller-coaster of a match I?ve ever witnessed and perhaps I ever will. Returning home in time for the return of the team and welcoming them at St Georges Hall remain with me to this day.......will I ever return to ?do it again??.....god help us I think maybe not.

After the Final, my Nan, who had ?borrowed? my programme from the Final, retuned it to me signed by the complete Everton team plus some kid called Ball who we had signed post-World Cup.
My Nan who had no interest or knowledge of football at any level said the ?nice man? who rented her garage had got it signed for her.... and he had signed it too....?cheeky divel?! The man..... Brian Harris.
An Evertonian.... never met him.... he stoped renting the garage that year....... NAN!!!!
John Andrews
5   Posted 19/02/2008 at 06:44:30

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Very sad. I remember seeing him play.
Mick Wrende
6   Posted 21/02/2008 at 09:03:44

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Gabriel Labone Harris ? the best half-back line in the history of the club.

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