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2008 Hall of Fame Dinner at the Adelphi

By Ian Macdonald :  26/03/2008 :  Comments (20) :

The Penultimate Night

It is with great pleasure I go every year to this remarkable event held at the world famous Adelphi Hotel in our City centre. This year's theme is our most famous number eight awards night, the one and only Little Curly Alan Ball. It seems very strange that Alan is not here tonight; he always was in attendance and gave great stories of being an Evertonian, sometimes with a song.

But these special nights don?t just organise themselves. No, it?s down to sheer hard work by Brian Snagg, Roger Kenyon and Tommy Birch. Many Merseyside charities are helped by these nights which include Imagine for Alderhey, Marie Curie and Mersey Charities. Billy Butler was once again our MC for the night, one funny Evertonian.

Former players included Tony Cottee, Alex ?the great? Young, Graham Sharp, Howard Kendall, Westy, John Bailey, Jimmy Husband, Ian Snodin, Jim Pearson, Tommy Jackson, Ernie Hunt (Gordon says he was mad!), Gary Jones, Ray Wilson and Derek Temple.

For the first time that I can remember, other than Tom Finney making a short great speech, a non-Evertonian was giving an after-dinner speech. Many of the former players here tonight will have crossed swords with this hard man of the seventies, the scourge of many strikers, Norman ?bite yer legs? Hunter of the infamous Leeds team in the Don Revie era. Norman was a member of the '66 World cup winning squad.

Alan?s only son, Jimmy, came to pay tribute not just to his Dad but to Evertonians who took his Dad forever to their hearts. he made a loving, emotive speech about his Dad.

Ball & Hunter

Jimmy Ball and Norman Hunter

Remember that goal in the seventies that caused uproar and a change in the rules? The goal scored at Highfield Road against Everton by ex-Evertonian Ernie Hunt when, from a free kick, Willie Carr jumped up with the ball between his legs for Ernie to volley into our goal past Andy Rankin. Another ex-Evertonian, Dave Clements, was in this side. Read more on this infamous goal against us at  http://ds.dial.pipex.com/bob.dunning/ernie1.htm. Well,  Ernie visited us tonight as well.

I rang Gordon West to see if he wanted a lift down to the Adelphi. He lives not far from me. He told me he was going to walk down and get the train. "You're joking, aren?t you, it's pissing down!" Gordon is forever humble. So I picked him up in my taxi and we chatted. You could see the taxi driver's ears prick up, another Blue. He was laughing at some of the tales Gordon was telling.

The journeys are always short with Gordon?s stories of him and Labby. It?s always ?us? and ?we? when Gordon speaks of Everton. He is so thankful of how we treat and respect him. He is one of us.

Westy

Westy signing autographs

Into the VIP room to see the other gathering former players. Two lovely looking girls came in. I thought I recognized them but usually they had Everton kits on ? it was Daniel Hill and Michelle Evans of our Ladies League Cup winning side. Beating the mighty Arsenal in their own back yard 1-0, well done, girls.

Ladies

Everton League Cup winning Ladies,Danielle and Michelle, with Moyesey

In through the double doors glided the one and only Alex Young. There seems to be an aura around this man, the room pays homage to an Everton legend who is still recovering from his stroke. I spoke with Alex, he told me how frightened he was at the time and how it?s a long process to get back to his old self. The loss of speech at the time was so frustrating for him but he?s a winner and is fighting back. What a lovely fella and gentleman, always has time for the fans and, like Gordon, ready to tell a tale or two.

Westy, Young, Ball

Gordon West, Alex Young and Jimmy Ball

Howard hobbled in with his boot on his right foot, you see Howard had broken his ankle in three places and will be out for the rest of the season. I asked him did Norman Hunter do that? Joking aside you can see this latest injury had knocked Howard for six.

An added bonus for me was meeting Larry Carbury, an ex-Ipswich player under Ramsey who played in that infamous match versus Sheffield Wednesday for which Tony Kay was ultimately jailed. Larry has some fascinating tales of Ramsey and is a good friend of Derek Temple, his family are Everton mad.

Carberry & Young

Larry Carberry and Alex Young

Just before the start of the event in the main hall Davey Moyes comes in, his first port of call was a natter with Howard. I wonder if they discussed the Florentina games and the forthcoming derby? Time for the photo shoot on the stairs then on to the waiting nearly six hundred Evertonians who you could hear in full voice in the great hall.

Photo call

Photo call

Our MC for the night opens up with ?Welcome to organised chaos.com.? He?s not far wrong. I think it's part of the beauty of these nights that it is not in the style of a military operation, it seems to just bounce along.

Billy welcomes the former players in, roars for our former blue shirted heroes and a thundering welcome to our present manager. You see Moyes has turned us around without doubt and you can see his jigsaw getting nearly completed. He has had time but not a lot of money. We're doing well ? ask yourself who else with the finances he has had could do better to compete?

Then Norman Hunter is announced. Booooo... ?We all hate Leeds and Leeds and Leeds?, Norman?s smile says it all.

Billy asks for calm and goes on to ask us to remember our lately departed players, Wally Fielding and Brian Harris, two sadly missed characters I?ve met through these fantastic nights. A minute's clapping ensued. Well done, fellow Blues.

During the early part of the night when the meals are being served a video was being shown on a big screen of Bally?s finest hour, the '66 World Cup Final, plus other footage.

Now for the present player?s awards. The player of the year winner was Super Lee Carsley. The young player of the year award went to Joleon Lescott (Roger to the fans), for the second year running. He is a great player, loved by the fans especially who gamble on him to score first. A special award went to Phil Neville for captaining Everton into Europe.

All three players came to accept their awards and were mobbed every inch of the way to the top table, and they loved it. Pip made a short speech saying how thankful the players are for the support given and the part we played. Eight games to go together, we?ll give it our best shot.

Lescott

Joleon dwarfs Ray Wilson

Neville

Happy days

A special award went to Howard for 25 years since the day he hung up his boots. He was presented with a plaque with a peg on it to hang his boots. Howard made a short speech. He says he is a big Carsley fan for the work he does for the team. Speaking of Bally, his friend and midfield teammate, he told us that he wrote a piece in tonight?s programme which says it all about the great man. A small section follows:

?Bally was a huge influence on the Everton team. He was so enthusiastic, so honest and he absolutely hated losing .On the rare occasions we were behind in a match he would show hat red haired character and turn to look at us as if to say ?I care about this more than you lot? .It was an infectious attitude and more often than not we would turn things around.?

Howard was envious of Bally?s goal in the Gwladys Street End beating the dark side in the cup .

?Alan is dearly missed by everyone in football .That speech Alan gave in this very room will live with us forever. Alan was a great player and a great man?.

Howard went on to thank David Moyes for a great season and to push on for that Champions league spot.

Next came our present manager's section. A Bally award was given to Dave by Alex Young. Dave said he feels humble in this company as I?ve won nothing yet.

Managers

Moyes and Kendall

?I?ve been coming here for five years now and were getting closer. At the next do let?s hope we can be closer to  winning something. Our present three players here tonight will go back and tell the others what it means to you all. I?ve done nothing yet not until we get to the standards Howard set. It was disappointing the other night but it made me realize more about the club, the atmosphere at Goodison. I?m sat here with players who have won things. I will always feel  honored for getting this job and determined to get success for you?.

Roof gets blown off: "Davey Moyes, Davey Moyes, he?s got red hair and we don?t care ,Davey, Davey Moyes."

Next came the comedian section. With Frankie Allen on board you don?t go to the toilet ? he is vicious in his one liners, better to have a bursting bladder than being on the end of Franky?s tirades. He starts with ?Its four years ago today that my Dad died in his sleep, not like his passengers screaming like f**k.

?Someone robbed the neighbour?s clothes line the other day, hanging on there was a Liverpool top. They left it and robbed the pegs!  

"The Everest man came round the other night demanding money. He says I?ve not paid anything for five years. Well you said it would pay for itself after twelve months! I bought an Advent calendar in Huyton ,all the windows where boarded up!"

He?s sharp and funny.

David Moyes presented Jimmy Ball with the Ball of Fire  award and gave some speech about his Dad. Jimmy went on with mike in hand: ?Thank you all, I can assure you he thought as much as you as you did of him. Dad was very simple in his life and loved people. We would speak about football a lot. Old pals. He was a friend to me. No man I would rather back with in a scrap in the world. He?s here tonight.

"About the 66 final, he could not remember much about it. He just wanted to go out and party after the win. He told me there were five world class players in that team. One is sitting there, Ray Wilson.

Wilson

Ray Wilson

"His Dad was instrumental in him coming to this great club. Two clubs offered the British transfer record to Blackpool, Everton and Leeds. His Dad told him he?s staying in Lancashire, he became an Evertonian. Best decision he ever made, he told me. He loved playing for you, your humor and passion. I was in a daze the day my Dad died. As I walked around the house there was Everton memorabilia everywhere, a signed shirt off Alex Young. He just loved everything about Everton.

"My dad said you have now a special manager, he was very impressed with Mr. Moyes. He never suffered fools and he was a lucky man, he had a good life, never let anyone down and never turned anyone over. His later years where tinged with sadness ( Alan lost the love of his life Lesley), but he was full of life. I regret he never saw the re-emerging Blues this season."

Not a dry eye in the hall.

I spoke with Billy Butler earlier. He told me that Jimmy found some of his old tapes, ?Hold your plums,? in the back seat of his Dad?s car. Billy was made up that Alan listened to his shows on the long drive up to his spiritual home. Jimmy told me that earlier in the day as a guest of Moyes he went to see the new training quarters, he was well impressed.

Next came that Leeds hard man Norman ?Bite yer legs? Hunter. Billy introduced him by saying as Norman went to the toilet he knocked over eight people! ?We all hate Leeds and Leeds!?

Norman replies, "F**k Off! Last time I was in a room like this they closed the curtains and I never saw my granddad again. I?ve met some characters in my life but that fat little bastard Franny lee took the biscuit. When Franny resigned at City he was in a supermarket, he saw an old lady and he said to her, 'can you manage?' 'Piss off!' was the reply, 'I don?t want the City job either!' I was with Paul Merson the other week, he sneezed and I felt brilliant! I?ve been 35years in the game as player ,coach and manager. I was a player with England for 9 years and got 35 caps. With Bally in two World cups. I?ve been a fabulous places and got paid. I?ve let balls go past me and the man but never the two together!" Ernie Hunt remembering Norman?s tackles fell off his chair to the laughter of many.

"I saw a headline in the London Evening Standard. It read, ?I was once compared to Bobby Moore?, in a cartoon caption below it added, ?Compared to Bobby Moore I was shite?!

"I played against Arsenal in a cup final and was tagged with the ?Bite your legs? name. At a Leeds supporters' do I was presented with a bronze leg with a bite taken out of it."

Norman spoke of his infamous fight with Franny Lee at Derby. Franny, we were told, had a knack of tripping over his own feet in the penalty box and got 17 penalties one season for doing it. Well one game at Derby it became too much for Norman when a penalty was given against him for fouling Lee. ?I never touched him.? Charlie George slotted the pen. Half time came, back in the dressing room. I got a rollicking off ?I can?t make me mind up? Jimmy Armfield. Little Billy Brenmer was winding me up saying  such things as, 'I wouldn?t let him get away with that pen, remember I?m your captain. He?s made you look a right idiot.'

"I bit, I was like a coiled spring when I went out for the second half. Billy was still winding me up. I went for Lee with a tackle, he grabbed my shirt. A little voice came into my ear: ?Go on, Norman, belt him?. I copped him a beauty, got sent off. Lee said, 'what did you do that for?' 'You dived, you cheating bastard.'

"Lee flipped and threw punches at Norman but they all missed, then all hell let loose, but all the Derby players, after years of pent up hatred against the little man, started on Billy Brenmer, not Norman."

Norman told us of the time Leeds visited Blackpool. His manager said, "you mark Bally." "With no respect to the little man, I had him the first five minutes, threw him up in the air. He bounced back down. After that Bally ran rings around me and they won 3-0. It was then our Chairman at the time wanted Bally but, fair play, he choose you lot."

Ladies

The raffle and auction were next on this crowded night. Two Dixie Dean pictures were raffled, followed by signed shirts from Lescott, Arteta, Neville Southall, Yakubu, a full World Cup '66 signed shirt, authenticated. The auction finished with an old match ball signed by all the ex-players gathered here tonight. All the monies raised went to local charities and it was a substantial sum.

As an added extra the impersonator, Mark Langely, took the baton over. Mark is an Evertonian and is Blue in some of his jokes. His match of the day skits  were very good, opening up with Gary Lineker, Keegan ,Michael Owen, Alan Shearer, Peter Beardsley and ending up with Beckham. Some of his voices were excellent and very funny, especially John Barnes

Thanks to Barry Hewitt and Angela Snagg, unsung organisers who have been from the very start of this remarkable event.

So, next year is the final Hall of Fame dinner, it will be some bash. Book early, I?m sure these tickets will end up on eBay. I have so many great  memories of these special gatherings and it?s thanks to David France who initiated these Nuremberg-type rally nights with Brian, Roger and Tommy.

How else could we have met so many ex and present hero?s in one room benefiting many charities on the way. But without the Evertonians there it would  also never happen, we generate fantastic atmospheres these nights.

Reader Comments

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Martyn Willsher
1   Posted 26/03/2008 at 04:15:35

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Hey Ian! It?s Martyn from Houston. Great article Ian....some of those jokes made me laugh out loud, and I can only imagine the emotion of the night was incredible. You mentioned at the end that next year is the last Hall of Fame Dinner? Why is that? It seems like the kind of event that is worth coming home for, so I was hoping that you could let me know when it was coming up next year. I lost your e-mail address when I switched jobs, but if you see this response, please e-mail me at martyn.willsher@constellation.com

Thanks for the great article and all your help over the years Ian....you?re a great ambassador for our club!
Martin Cutler
2   Posted 26/03/2008 at 05:56:13

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Brilliant article, fantastic to read!

Thank you!
Guy McEvoy
3   Posted 26/03/2008 at 11:14:09

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Awesome Ian. But can I just draw attention to that last photo at the bottom...
The bloke second from the left. Is that a red tie? Who goes to a do like that in a red tie!?
Tom Hughes
4   Posted 26/03/2008 at 12:04:06

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A great read Ian!!!
I have only been to one of these events, but the atmosphere is incredible, being so close to your heroes is both a humbling and exhilirating experience....... you describe it perfectly.
Joe McMahon
5   Posted 26/03/2008 at 12:56:02

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Fab article Ian, sums up how great it is to be part of Everton!
John Hughes
6   Posted 26/03/2008 at 13:41:24

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Ian - thanks for taking the trouble to describe such a fantastic night. Makes you proud to be a blue!
James Mullarkey
7   Posted 26/03/2008 at 13:47:34

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I love Everton, but am struggling with one thing. If Barca, AC, Man Utd, Inter etc... were playing in my back garden I?d draw the curtains.... I?m not interested in anyone but Everton.

So my question is..Why is Howard Kendall such a hero? OK he won the league twice, FA Cup & ECWC but in terms of really successful managers (Sir Alex, Paisley, the two most successful), that's not much is it. On the day he left for the mighty Spanish team he left for, he was quoted as saying he had achieved everything he could have achieved. Sorry, but he should have took a walk over to the RS trophy cabinet across the park and he may have realised that he could have made us the most successful club in England. It wasn?t Hysel that ruined us, although that played a big part, Kendall was as much to blame.

Sorry if I offend anyone for slagging off one of our own but really who gives a toss about anyone but Everton? Maybe the club didn?t try to keep him, Why did he want to leave in the first place?
Sorry once again but I think he turned his back on something he said he loved so in my eyes he?s no hero to me.

Kevin Quinn
8   Posted 26/03/2008 at 14:20:28

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What night was this event held in the Adelphi? I was staying there Saturday and Sunday and never noticed anything! Was I that drunk?? Sounded like a good night... nice article!!!!
Tony Williams
9   Posted 26/03/2008 at 14:30:43

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James he is a hero because he was a) a fanstastic player for us and b) the most successful manager that we have ever had,

"OK he won the league twice, FA Cup & ECWC".........I am speachless.

It is like the Monty Python sketch all over again.

What did he every do for us?

He won the league.

So apart from the league what did he do? etc etc
James Mullarkey
10   Posted 26/03/2008 at 15:00:33

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Tony,
I can see your point, never said he wasn?t a good manager, great player, only.. why is he a hero?
If you truly love something or somebody why would you ever leave. He could have achieved so much more... that's all. Andy Gray was a great player for us but still is disliked by a lot of Evertonians because he didn?t become manager and his Sky comments about Gerrard! Just my opinion mate!!
Mike Adamson
11   Posted 26/03/2008 at 15:14:45

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Please have patience if im being dense.

How come next year is the final Hall of Fame dinner?
Tommy Jones
12   Posted 26/03/2008 at 14:53:40

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Top notch read. Thanks very much.

I met Mr Moyes in Salt Lake City last July along with Ateta and a few others.

Moysie is a top man and we are so lucky to have him.

ex season ticket holder to the street end. Now in Canada.
Colin Grierson
13   Posted 26/03/2008 at 16:03:28

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Enjoyed reading that Ian, thanks. It sounds like a great occasion.

Guy, I think the tie is orange. Bally did play for Blackpool too.
Dave Brierley
14   Posted 26/03/2008 at 16:32:14

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Thanks for your words and the pics Ian, it was the next best thing to being there and some of the reminiscence’s brought a tear to my eye. So sad that next dinner must be the last one.
Ari Sigurgeirsson
15   Posted 26/03/2008 at 19:27:03

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Great reading Ian. Thank you very much.
Tony Stanley
16   Posted 29/03/2008 at 01:13:20

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Fantastic article. This is so far ahead of any website or newspaper I have ever read.
And, yes, why is next year's the last one? If someone could tell me I would appreciate it.
Alan Ellinson
17   Posted 29/03/2008 at 07:18:21

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Great article Ian, it had me in tears with memories and joy as I read it.

Is it possible to buy a video/dvd of the evening to enjoy the undoubted entertainment. Wonderful to see heros of my youth still involved with the club, it makes me very proud to an evertonian.
Ian Macdonald
18   Posted 29/03/2008 at 09:36:06

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Hi Tony,
I think that the Hall of Fame dinners are mainly for the older players as the players of the last twenty years or so are so diverse and earned a hell of a lot more than the 50s 60s and 70s players. The organisers feel that many of the older players are running out of steam. Just look at the last HOF dinner top table pics to the early ones. I understand that they want to go out on one big high rather than peter out . The first HOF?s where like the Nuremburg rallies, immense. We could have conquered Europe direct from London Rd!

Can you honestly see the players of the last ten years wanting to go to such dinners for the fans? There will still be the 95 Cup winners etc do?s but not an overall picture of Everton players over the generations still alive. I think maybe the club might take up the baton for this .
Rule of thumb, Tony; the older the player the more humble, nicer they are.
I remember my Dad saying to me, "Don?t meet your hero?s lad you could be disappointed!" Well in the main I never was but there was the odd one or two who I thought were arseholes!
Terry Maddock
19   Posted 29/03/2008 at 10:49:25

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I have to admit Ian that I dont always see eye to eye with a lot of your views on all things Everton...
But credit were its due..this is brilliantly written piece that manages to put across a bit of the feeling and atmosphere of the HOF dinners for those of us not lucky enough to have been there. Thanks a lot ..really enjoyed it.

James Mullarkey...

Kendall was a vital cog in our best ever midfield and our most successful manager ever. We dont compare him to Paisley or SAF. He is our Hero... they are somebody else's. He is officially Everton's most trophy-laden manager (no Scottish stuff please)... We love him.
Tony Stanley
20   Posted 30/03/2008 at 22:40:32

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Thanks for clearing that up, Ian. Keep the articles coming,

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