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50 years a Blue

By Bob  McEvoy :  24/02/2009 :  Comments (61) :

This coming Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of my first visit to Goodison Park: 28th of February, 1959, Everton 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1... Bobby Collins got the winner. It was the reverse fixture to the 10-4 drubbing at White Hart Lane the previous October.

I was 7 years old. Being a blue was no foregone conclusion. My dad was a regular match-attending red,my granddad a blue. Most of my mates in the part of Wavertree I lived in (Plumer St, near Picton Rd railway bridge) seemed to be Liverpudlians (I shouldn?t think it?s like that now unless it?s just been invaded by vikings). But Liverpool had just been knocked out of the cup by Worcester City so how good were they?

As my dad explained it, Everton were a poor 1st Division team who couldn?t win away and always finished near the bottom whilst Liverpool were a good 2nd Division side who always just failed to make promotion; remember, dad was a red. I was sensible enough to realise that crap 1st Division was better than good 2nd Division, whatever my old man said... but would Everton win often enough to bring me joy?

I started pestering my dad to take me to a game. I?d seen Brazil and Pele win the World Cup the previous year on the tiny telly. I knew all the positions. I understood how the League worked. I was ready. My dad?s biggest concern was safety. He announced that he was going to take me Goodison because that was a modern safe facility suitable for a scrawny 7-year-old and Anfield... er, wasn?t.

Dad thought I?d be bored but of course I was captivated. Bullens Rd stand. 4s/6d to get in. No child concessions (of course the club provided the Boys Pen for a tanner, generous to a fault). Some bloke ran onto the pitch and presented Danny Blanchflower with a packet of Shredded Wheat (Blanchflower advertised this product on TV) and my dad said it was probably empty although at that time I didn?t get the joke.

At the end of the game, I was a dyed-in-the-wool Evertonian. One of the biggest mistakes in my dad?s life... although I did get out alive, which was to him the main point of the excercise. My little brother and my two sons ? all blue (as it turns out, my dad?s only Grandsons). Only last week, my 28-year-old son rang his granddad from London to take the piss re the Gosling game. I know he?s 82 but it has to be done.

The following season, on the 28th of November, we went to see the blues beat Man Utd 2-1. But this was an isolated performance. We weren?t very good, languishing near the bottom. Then, as 1959 became 1960, enter John Moores. My mum had met him once just after the war when she worked at Littlewoods Pools and she said he was a lovely man. That?s exactly what I thought...

We bought Micky Lill from Wolves and Tommy Ring from Clyde (Clyde, ffs... but he was bloody brilliant); Roy Vernon came from Blackburn and Jimmy Gabriel from Dundee Utd (great play was made about Gabriel only being 19 but, as a then 8-year-old, that seemed quite old to me). I couldn?t wait to read the Echo each night. I saw us beat Preston 4-0 (Finney at centre-forward for Preston) and put 6 past Chelsea. We still finished in the bottom half of the table but things were happening.

The following season, 60-61, I was now at Sefton Park Junior School (star player, Alan Whittle, 2 years my senior...) and going to more games. We beat Blackpool 4-1 away. Then my dad took me to my first away match at Bolton... Now this might not sound terribly exciting but when you regard New Brighton as exotic, trust me, I was beside myself. We won 4-3; abiding memory was Albert Dunlop in goal saving a penalty by trapping the ball between his legs.

More Echo reading: Billy Bingham signs in October and then the protacted transfer of Alex Young, which to my 9-year-old mind seemed to last forever. He arrived with George Thompson, a left back, but Young never seemed to be fit. He suffered from blistered feet... clearly he was finding the harsh dry tropical climate in Liverpool difficult to cope with! But when he was fit the next season ? what a player!!!

We finished 60-61 in 5th position. The London papers were beginning to call us the ?Mersey Millionaires?. The next season we didn?t start as well although I do remember us beating Forest 6-0 and Alex Young was sublime; the start of the love affair. Sometime around Christmas, John Moores took Johnny Carey for a taxi ride and sacked him, quickly installing Harry Catterick. In March 62, we signed Gordon West; at last, a goalie over 6ft tall and, fuck me, he could throw the ball further than Dunlop could kick it! We eventually finished 4th. Everything in place for 62-63....

We started like a train. A couple of hiccups away to Fulham and, would you believe, Leyton Orient ? managed by Carey ? and a dropped home point to Liverpool via a last minute Roger Hunt goal but otherwise plain sailing. Young and Vernon were running riot and Brian Labone was a rock but still Catterick wasn?t happy... He bought Alex Scott to replace Bingham and Tony Kay to play left half instead of Brian Harris (Tony Kay... now there was some player; crying bloody shame). Then the big freeze and hardly any footy for 2 months. We stuttered a bit on the restart but eventually got back into our stride. I went to most of the games but couldn?t get a ticket for the crucial Spurs game when Alex Young won it for us with a towering header.

And so to 11th of May, 1963: home to Fulham, final game of the season... a win would clinch the title. We now lived in Halewood and I went on my own. It took 3 buses to get to the ground but I didn?t mind. I was in the ground at 1 o?clock and got a spec in front of the Gladwys St terracing, a glorious hot sunny day. Vernon scored twice in the first 10 mins, or so it seemed, and we eventually coasted to a 4-1 win. What a day!

In just over 4 years since my first game, we?d gone from a crap 1st Division team to Champions of England! Of course, being an Evertonian, there is always downside; that came from our bastard offspring neighbours who were only one year behind us... but that?s another story.

Final anecdote; I left Liverpool in October 1970 to go to university and then lived all my adult life in the south of England. Whilst living in St Neots, Cambs, in the early 90s, I was part of a pub quiz team. One of my teammates was a guy named Dave who had no interest in football or any footballing affiliations (he came from Oxford). One night, we were discussing how old each of us was and Dave informed the team that he was born on 6th May of 1963. That was a Monday I told him.

The next week, having rang his mum, who indeed confirm he was born on a Monday; he said something like, ?How the fuck did you know that?? I explained about the Fulham game and that the hardest part was extrapolating back 5 days to the Monday. Dave was intrigued. Over the next year I regaled him over Dean, Lawton and Mercer. Young and Vernon. The Holy Trinity, Reid and Ratcliffe. I explained about the countless injustices. He came to a game with me and my sons and, although we lost and were awful, he was hooked. Now he?s a true blue.

I now live with my wife in western Crete but occasionally see the blues (last time, home v Middlesbrough 1-1, goal off Yakubu?s shoulder... should have won). I?ve access to the internet, thus Toffeeweb, Blue Kipper and even the OS when you can see the Gosling goal over and over again and of course live streams to the matches. However, my blue mate Dave still texts me up-to-date news, although sadly the last one related to Arteta?s injury prognosis.


Still, let?s be positive. Next season, the Sky 4 will implode: Martin O?Neill will fidget himself to death and we?ll win the league and then the European Cup, which we would have done in 86. But before then, anyone reading this who lives in Crete ? please contact me; I want to watch us win the Cup in a room full of Evertonians.

Who?s the Greatest of them all? Little curly Alan Ball...

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum


Reader Comments

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Alan Ashton
1   Posted 25/02/2009 at 15:49:49

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A great read ? it takes me back a bit. My first game was 1957 v Red Star Belgrade a friendly to introduce the Inter Cities Fairs Cup the following year. Think I am right it was Derek Temple's first game. It was definately played under floodlights (the first European game to do so) and DT became my favourite player, certainly later at Wembley.
Brett Shaw
2   Posted 25/02/2009 at 15:38:49

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What a great read Bob, articles like this are always fascinating for a non-scouser like me. Always intrigued as to why we choose blue instead of red. For me, Everton were the first team I can remember watching on MotD in 1970. First game at Goodison was a 5-0 loss to a "great " Leeds side (about 1974). There is something about Goodison that grabs you though (even though I couldn?t understand a scouse accent back then) and from that day on I was hooked. Hope there are 50 more years for you to "enjoy" the blues!
Nick Entwistle
3   Posted 25/02/2009 at 16:01:13

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Charlton 2 Everton 2... 2002/03 me thinks... Saw Rooney score when a blue.
Shaun Kinnair
4   Posted 25/02/2009 at 16:15:56

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Old Trafford on 13 April 1977...... League Cup Final 2nd replay against Aston Villa was my first game. My dad took me, we both cried when Brian Little scored the late winner to make it 3-2. I?d never seen my dad cry, it was very rare. Now looking back, and being part of the Everton Family for so long, I can see why he did.
Joey Dela
5   Posted 25/02/2009 at 16:12:05

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A great read, I started watching the blues at the age of 5 years old - Bolton away we won 2-0 1961 I think - My dad took me after I had begged him for years to go & watch the blues. I think we had just signed Johnny Morrissey & I can remember the day vividly the fantastic aways support , the blue balloons all over the pitch at the away end. sat on a bottle crate of ale bottles in the back of a large transit van. The slope on the sides of the burden park pitch by the touch line. I imagine we were in the paddock side there. I was sat on a barrier to watch the game. Once a blue always a blue!
Rupert Tarlington
6   Posted 25/02/2009 at 16:22:11

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What a delightful read Bob, I love the bit in particular how your mate Dave was converted to the blue cause. Reading pieces like this warms the ol’ heart as they say. We most definately are ’The Pride of Merseyside’ - and always will be.
Matt Kay
7   Posted 25/02/2009 at 16:26:05

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I?ve been going to Goodison since the start of the 85 season. My dad used to be a Burnley fan until he saw his arse over them nearly going out of the league. He asked me and my brother who we wanted to go and watch.

I picked Everton (I think my bro wanted to go to Manure but that's another story) so ever since then it's been in my blood. Yeah, ups and downs (mainly downs) but I take my lad now, he?s 10 and a fully fledged blue.

Great post.

Denis Shepherd
8   Posted 25/02/2009 at 16:29:53

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My first vsit to the School of Science was around '54, '55 or 56 and I was about five or six. My dad was also concerned about safety but felt it was important to get me educated as early as possible. We played (I think) Bury? Any body confirm this? Did we play Bury at home around this time?
Ray Roche
9   Posted 25/02/2009 at 16:26:28

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Bob, there are so many memories there. My first game came when I was getting on a bit. I was 11. It was February 13th, 1960 and I think it was Vernons debut. We lost 0-2 to a very good Wolves side. I’d always liked Wolves as well as Everton, probably because of the name...Wolves...and the fact that the shirts were Old Gold and not yellow. My old dad took me in the Park End Stand for my first game and we went in the Paddock after that. I think it was 3s or 15p in new money! I went on my own in the Street End after that, and still do. We didn’t have a tv and the first game I saw was the 1959 Cup Final with Forest and Luton with Forest winning. My Dad and plenty of others in those days, went to Everton one week and Liverpool the next, although like HIS Dad he was blue through and through. He always used to say that if we couldn’t win then it was good for the city if Liverpool did. I even celebrated when the RS beat Leeds in 1965. Unbelievable! How times have changed.
Jon Southern
10   Posted 25/02/2009 at 15:55:47

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A superb rendition Bob, it just gives credence to my belief that you are born a Blue. My late father was a blue and took me to my first game in 1965, a night match against Chelsea we drew 1-1. My two sons are also proud blue season ticket holders and we all sit together in the Park End. I certainly hope you are right & we make our way to Wembley this season, we?ll give them a cheer on your behalf.
Dave Atkinson
11   Posted 25/02/2009 at 16:50:31

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Great memories Bob. I remember very clearly being in Goodison Road for the Fulham game in ’63.
You’ve also brought to mind some players who don’t get much of a mention these days - Tommy Ring and Mickey Lill in particular.
My speck was in the Boys Pen with a bunch of mates from school - dad was a red and I remember being with him and his two brothers in the paddock for the first derby game after the reds got promotion.
Thanks Bob.
Stan Ashbourne
12   Posted 25/02/2009 at 16:52:48

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Bob, I am about the same age as you, but I haven't got your good memory. I can't remember my first game, but I remember getting in the ground for nothing with about 20 minutes to go, when they opened the gates.

I left Liverpool in 1970 just like you. I am still as mad about Everton now as I was as a young kid getting in for nothing at three-quarter time. Once a blue, always a blue!!!

Dave Shaw
13   Posted 25/02/2009 at 17:00:15

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Great read, and some great comments too!

I was interested to read fondness for Derek Temple, he rarely gets mentioned nowadays when people talk about our 60s teams.

Was he a popular player in the 60s?

I’m not aware of us ever having any chants for him unlike other players. Can anyone set me straight?
Trevor Lynes
14   Posted 25/02/2009 at 17:12:03

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My first game was in 1948 with a pretty poor EFC team that contained Eglington, Farrell, Lello and highlight games have mostly been in the Vernon, Collins and Young time when we were a fabulous footballing side..I played against Derek temple as a schoolboy and marked Eddie Wainwright on my debut for southport...he was playing for Rochdale towards the end of his career..My hero was Vernon who was very similar to rush but with laws sting in his game..he always played well in Derby games and the games I remember were St Johns hat trick on his debut against us but we still won 4:3 and Everton stuffing Utd by 5:0 at goodison with vernon having a hat trick during the first half..the Utd side included Best, Charlton, Law, Stiles, Cantwell etc..but we totally out classed them that day..EFC had a great record against Utd during that era...Tony Kay was a fantastic mid field player and was called Cassius Kay by the fans...My best ever EFC team would include Southall, Wright, Wilson, Ball, Kendall, Kay, Labone, Vernon, Young, Ring and Collins...everyone of that side were true legends and top bench would include Alex parker, Colin Harvey, Mountfield, Gordon West, Linekar, Andy Gray and Sheedy.
Thats my opinion with only very few of the players we have had since then that would be able to attain a short list spot !!
Marco Bonfiglio
15   Posted 25/02/2009 at 17:32:27

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Stirring stuff, Bob.

My own first game was the week before the ’68 FA Cup Final, against Stoke City. Roy Vernon was playing for the visitors,and got a rousing welcome. Mind you, the hospitality stopped with the first whistle, and Stoke were sent home on the wrong end of a 4-0 biffing. In the unlikely event that memory serves me correctly, Royle and Morrissey scored, and some little redhead got two (contradiction welcome).
Paul Thompson
16   Posted 25/02/2009 at 18:14:33

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The West Brom game also marks a fifty year landmark for me. Like Bob, I first started going in 1959, though I have to confess I don’t remember who we played in that first game. I’m not sure about this blues are born stuff’. My Dad was a red, though not a particularly strong one. I have no idea why I chose the blues, but I do remember pestering him endlessly to take me to the match. He did and the rest is history, for him as well as me. He caught the bug and the next few years was a mixture of sitthing in the stands or going in the dreaded boys’ pen. By the mid 60s we had regular season tickets and were luckily enough to see those great championship and cup winning sides.

Dad is still a keen blue, but at 85 and a little frail, can’t make it these days. I now live in Ediburgh and make it when I can. It’s his birthday in a few days, so that has given me a double excuse to visit him and Goodison. I’m even drgaiing my (younger) brother, who goes once in a blue moon. It may only be West Brom and half our star players crocked - but win, lose or draw, I will count myself priviliged to be there.
hal leonard
17   Posted 25/02/2009 at 19:00:41

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first game with my father, home on leave, 1943, everton v wrexham, can’t remember the score but we won. can still remember to this day the first sight of the magical goodison park and being mesmerised by it. by the way every time i go i relive that feeling despite it’s age (and mine)and it’s drawbacks.
Rich Pritchard
18   Posted 25/02/2009 at 19:23:39

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Great read. Memories of a first game, Chelsea home 1970. 14 years old, the only blue in the family. In the ground by 1 pm, 58,000 fans. I?d travelled from Anglesey amid the queues of North Wales coaches (what a sight they were!). What a debut for me!: 15 seconds into the game, Kendall scores!

I think Bally scored a header after 5 mins. Final score 5-2 to us and Osgood still scored the best goal of the game. Next week we were champs!

Now I have son and daughter proud season ticketholders, but I still remind them, there was only one Alan Ball!

Ray Robinson
19   Posted 25/02/2009 at 19:28:15

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Great article, Bob! I come up to 50 years a blue in 2011. My first game at Goodison was against Blackburn Rovers in 1961 when Roy Vernon scored in a 1-0 win.

Like your father, my dad was a red - in fact a season ticket holder when Liverpool were still in the then second division. So God knows how I became a Blue!

Anyway, I remember all the players and games that you mention from 1961 onwards but with one minor difference. I was at the match when Albert Dunlop saved the penalty by catching the ball between his legs - I was in the stands right behind the goal when he did it. Trouble is, I remember it being in a 3-0 win against West Ham and, not a 4-3 win against Bolton - perhaps my grey cells are in decline.

Like you. my support has not waned with age although living in Warrington (a bit nearer than Crete), I can still make all the matches - including most aways.

Anyway, best wishes and thanks for the memories! Why don’t you write to the programme editor by the way?
Dave Wilson
20   Posted 25/02/2009 at 19:56:09

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I could read articles like yours all day, so could a lot of other people judging by the responses.
Loved it
John de Frece
21   Posted 25/02/2009 at 20:12:13

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We could almost be brothers! My first visit was 2nd January 1960. We lost to Bolton 1-0. Hickson had left not long before (October 1959) and Vernon arrived a matter of weeks after (February 1960)... So, it being my luck, I just had to go at a time when we particularly crap! So next year I too will be 50 years a blue ? be nice to celebrate by winning something...
Christine Foster
22   Posted 25/02/2009 at 20:56:41

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Ray, I think you're right, I was at the game against West Ham where Dunlop went the wrong way and caught the ball between his legs, I was in the Park End right behind him! It was my first match and that all I can remember as a tiny tot being held up to watch on the barriers (remember them?). It was the single most enduring memory I have of the game and it was magical. Once a blue...
Derek Turnbull
23   Posted 25/02/2009 at 21:07:06

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Hal Leonard:

66 years of following Everton. Fantastic stuff. Out of interest do you remember any of the Everton chants and songs from the 40s or 50s?
Bob McEvoy
24   Posted 25/02/2009 at 21:47:50

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Ray and Chris; Maybe my mind is playing tricks but Iwas convinced the between the legs save was v Bolton and my memory is that he just sort of sat on the ball. The West Ham game was the week after the Bolton game and I went to this as well. We won 4-1 and their goalie gifted us 2 goals. Don?t know why but I remember his name, Jim Standen.

The game was featured on the History of Everton video circa 1988. Motson was the narrator and Alan Weeks the commentator on the game. However 2 against 1 suggests you're both right. Maybe Albert did it twice in a week!!

James Boden
25   Posted 25/02/2009 at 22:36:07

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Touching Article Bob. Sadly for me it all started so many years later. Got Blue Blood thanks to my dad whos Exiled from the great city. Once the Scouse senses get to you it never leaves. My mates struggle to understand why i love EFC and indeed football in general so much despite knowing my scouse connections but i guess you could say cause of that its far easier for me to understand it. Evertonians are fantastic fans coming from a great city that needs no explanation for its love of the game.

For those who saw us in the 60s and 80s all i can say is you lot are all spoilt. As were those who were there when King scored, or when we beat Bayern Munich or even United when Big Dunc scored you dont realise how lucky you are. But as Evertonians you deserve them moments. I was at the Villa game the other week and that was fantastic but id have rather been the week previously when Super Dan put the ball in The Red Shite's net. Does it get any get any better than beating them?

Oh and I think Bob might be right about the West Ham game being when their keeper made a few mistakes. The original Everton history video was actually better than our dvd the other year i thought. and if anyone would be able to tell me the music in the background when they show footage of The Golden Vision Alex Young then id be chuffed. And im speechless as to what i can say about those who unvailed the banner at the 84 cup final.


And to take a line from the writer of this article: Who?s the greatest of them all ? Little Curly Alan Ball.
And finally thank you to Brian Labone for the 1 is worth 20.

Dennis Stevens
26   Posted 25/02/2009 at 22:56:46

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Great to read the original piece & all the responses - makes me feel quite young!
James Boden
27   Posted 25/02/2009 at 23:13:01

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Dennis Stevens fantastic name btw. Was he any good for us or are you the real Dennis Stevens.
Christine Foster
28   Posted 26/02/2009 at 08:21:17

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Hi Bob
I think your right with the scores but it was definetely at the Park end and I am pretty sure it was West Ham. I remember him diving the wrong way and catching it between his ankles..

It stuck.. like the memory!
Tony Hyland
29   Posted 26/02/2009 at 09:15:57

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Terrific article Bob and just what was needed for me to put my two penny worth in. My first matches were in the second division 52/53I think my very first was the Blues vs Plymouth Argyll and the blues scored before we managed to get in , it finished 8 - 4 withJohn Willy Parker getting four and Hickson getting flattened with a haymaker from the bearded centre half but he still scored. The very best though was the first Saturday home game after Promotion with a 1-0 win over PNE and 76000 yes thousand there it was a lovely day with people fainting everywhere and being passed down overhead to the St. Johns on the touchline. the biggest game I remember that year was 4-2 against Man Utd with Duncan Edwards giving away 2 penalties T.G. Jones putting them away and the best being a magic goal by Tommy Eglington which was described on Sports Report as one of the finest goals ever in the annals of British Football. And it wasn’t hype.
Tim Lloyd
30   Posted 26/02/2009 at 09:27:57

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You lads do make me feel old.....and I suppose I am. Born Jan 21 1924, that makes me 85! Ouch!

My first game was Liverpool - Derby in 1932. The score 0 - 0. The previous week my Dad had taken my brother, now long gone, to Goodison where he saw Everton beat Sheffield Werdnesday 9 - 3 Dixie scored 5!

Until my Dad agreed to take me to Goodison to see this fabulous man, Dixie, I refused to give him any rest. Came the day, Everton v Aston Villa. Score 4 - 2 to the mighty Blues. Scorers were Jimmy Dunn, (inside right), and Johnstone (inside left) , one each and the incomparable Dixie 2. The date was the fifth of March 1932. My brother Gerard saw the game against Sheffield Wednesday the previous October. No. I’m not the memory man, its all in the History of our beloved club.

I cannot be certain of the team, but it may well have read
Williams Cresswell(about the best left back I ever saw)
Clark, Gee, Thompson
Critchley, Dunn, Dean, Johnstone and Stein.

I had just turned 8 and have to say that I don’t remember the game at all. However, after 0 - 0 at Anfield, it was Royal Blue for me to this day.

Its sad that I never hear mention on any of the forums, of players like Tommy Lawton, Joe Mercer, T.G. Jones the finest Centre Half (now we call them centre backs) we have ever had. Davy Hickson, still at the club I believe and the bravest Centre forward we ever had.

God! Nostalgia is a fantastic thing!
reg gates
31   Posted 26/02/2009 at 12:24:21

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Great read mate.My first ,58,taken to the game by some older boy’s,i was 8,Payed my tanner to get into the boy’s pen,walked up all those step’s and there was Goodison in all it ,s glory,light’s were on,just stunned me.Yer a blue had been chosen that day.Played Man U .I’d like to mention Tommy Ring and the one and only Tony Kay and my hero Alex.
Does anyone remember Roy Vernon taking a pen against Gaskille of United in the charity sheild played at Goodison.Vernon ran up and as if to shoot and put his foot on top of the ball {cracked on he was tying his lace}as gaskille went full dive across the goal
Kevin Gillen
32   Posted 26/02/2009 at 13:42:22

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I’m starting a fund to get this bloke back to England. He and some of the other old geezers on this blog should have a bus parade through the town for remaining Evertonians all those years. I myself remember some great days as an Evertonian but a thousand bore draws and false dawns have faded in the memory. Brilliant article and fantastic thread. Keep it coming!
Dave Brierley
33   Posted 26/02/2009 at 13:56:03

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Great to read this Bob and we have a lot in common. I’m about 5 years older than you and started going to Goodison at the age of 7. I remember so many of the events you mentoned strangely the Danny Blanchflower, Shredded Wheat incident before kickoff. The previous season’s 10-4 drubbing by Spurs had done a lot of damage, you may remember there was a TV series on at the time called Highway Patrol and and the star of that Broderick Crawford had the catchphrase "10-4" in that show. Liverpool supporters abused us with this catchphrase for the rest of the year.

But even more strangely I left Liverpool in ’74 to live in Southoe, just outside of St Neots where I stayed up till getting divorced 5 years ago. Pity I did’nt meet up with you and your mate - we could have shared the drive up to Goodison I’m sure.

Anyway thanks for the memories.
james boden
34   Posted 26/02/2009 at 14:12:33

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Tim Lloyd you truly are blessed having seen almost all of our truly great players and sides that have taken stage at Goodison Park. We support a truly special club who have achieved great success with grace and dignity and one that should have had even more. To have had the greatest British Forward of all time and 1 of the greatest the world has ever seen is something to be proud of. To have arguably the 2nd greatest British Forward ever in Tommy Lawton is more pleasing.
But its not just that- Having had World Cup winners in Wilson and Ball and World Cup Top Scorer in Gary Lineker we have deservedly had moments to be proud of not just domestically but worldwide. And the fact that Dixie Dean our icon presented himself marvellously is a credit to himself and what the club is about unlike whos Gobshites who’d sell their soul. And also i have to say having met Dave Hickson on out tour, youd find it hard to find a more humble human being. How about we name our greatest ever Everton side- only players you have seen in their prime though. That would be an interesting concept.
Lets hope that we do eventually reach our 86 destiny even if it is 20 odd years late. Now that would be fitting.
Jay Harris
35   Posted 26/02/2009 at 15:05:38

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Bob, a great post reminding me of the memories we all share and have a lot in common with each other.

I had a very similar experience and timescale except that my dad, uncle and grandad were all blues.

I particularly remember that Fulham game which I think we won 3-1 and hundreds of us climbed over the fence at the Boys' Pen (I think it had gone up to a shilling by then) and ran on to the pitch.

I know it would be frowned upon now but what a feeling as a 10-year-old.

Out of interest I also lived in Caxton, Cambs and my brother lived in St Neots in the 80s.
Jay Harris
36   Posted 26/02/2009 at 15:26:25

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Bob, I also wanted to mention one of the first games I was taken to as a young kid. I think it was a floodlit game against an army side in the late 50s. Anyone throw any light on it (pardon the pun) or am I getting delusional in my old age?
Ajay Timothy
37   Posted 26/02/2009 at 17:12:38

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First game at Goodison was the 0-0 result against the mighty Arsenal in 1972.

Alan Ball who was the reason I supported Everton in 1970 had his first game in an Arsenal shirt at Goodison. Remember Kendall and Ball going for a ball in midfield and Howard coming away with it.

Couldnt understand why the Gladwys Street End was giving their former idol so much stick - alsmost as bad as Rooney now gets.
Ray Robinson
38   Posted 26/02/2009 at 19:40:55

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Really enjoyed this thread. I think someone should set up a dedicated website for us old codgers to wallow in nostalgia - anyone? Tim Lloyd, I hope my memories are as strong as yours when I’m 85!
Joey Dela
39   Posted 26/02/2009 at 19:34:55

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Jay - the reaso Bally got stick was he had been very critical of the blue style of football since he had left. It was more direct in fact he passed comment after that game that his neck hurt as the ball was in the sky so much! Typical Bally - it was partly true & the great Bally never shyed away from speaking his mind.!
Some great posts on here I can always remember my father rating TG JONES as it is stated above T.G. Jones the finest Centre Half (now we call them centre backs.
He also loved Davy Hickson & also said Tony kay was the best wing half he had ever seen & would play a long time for England!
I also had an great Uncle who watched Dixie score his hattrick v Arsenal I was spellbound as a youngster listening to him relate the whole game to me.
What a history we have & this post has be a great read well done BOB for starting it!
Ajay Timothy
40   Posted 26/02/2009 at 20:17:21

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Joey - If memory serves me correctly it was played in the mud and it was a really good game. Arsenal I think finished 1st and we finished 15th that season but the critics were all saying that we should have won that game.
Art Jones
41   Posted 26/02/2009 at 20:44:09

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Great article Bob , I love reading items of Blue nostalgia , I’m a youngster compared to you my first game was v Arsenal in February 1970 , 2 - 2 draw , Alan Whittle scored both our goals ,... I saw the " Holy Trinity " play and Labby but my one regret is I never seen ’ The Golden Vision ’ strut his stuff . So Bally has to have been the best I’ve seen ! God Rest his soul

Derek Thomas
42   Posted 27/02/2009 at 04:20:43

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Nice one Bob. Short version; 1st game was Vs WBA I think it was on bommy night and the enduring memory of little Bobby Collins sqareing up to some giant defender, I know they were all giants to him but this fella was huge, as tom petty says, I won’t back down.
Reg Gates
43   Posted 27/02/2009 at 08:21:13

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Just a note on the 10-4 game at Spurs. The Everton team got the train on platform 10 leaving Liverpool and arrived back on platform 4. Something that always stayed with me. After that, as a kid I was alway?s hoping that Everton would leave from platform 1.
Robert Workman
44   Posted 27/02/2009 at 08:45:44

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I am another Evertonian, who has supported the Club for over 50 years, who is now living outside the UK. In my case in Vienna where, for the last 4 years, I have been following The Blues via Evertontv, smoky Irish bars and Toffeeweb.

Am I the only Evertonian to have become a Blue through playing Subbuteo Table Soccer? In the 50’s my father bought a set with just 2 teams ? blue and white and red and white. In those days they were the colours of both Merseyside teams. My father, whose first love was New Brighton (a useful non-league outfit) always claimed that he liked to see all the local teams (that included Tranmere Rovers and Southport) do well. When it came down to it, he was more red than blue. So I was given the blue and white Subbuteo set when we played. The fact that each time we played it was Everton v the redshite (formerly known as Liverpool), built up my dislike of them from an early age.
Incidentally, whilst I am sure that all Evertonians nowadays hate the redshite, can anyone else remember older relatives/friends genuinely supporting both teams and watching both teams at home each saturday?

My first match still sticks in my memory. I was almost 9 and was taken by a colleague of my fathers who had a spare ticket. Unbelievably it was on the front row of the Upper Bullens ? what an initiation! To say that I was overwhelmed would be an understatement! We beat Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 (still have the programme). The Everton team was full of Irish players. However I think that our goal was scored by Jimmy Gauld, who may have been a Scot. I am still grateful that my first Everton game ended in a victory. I wish it could be like that for every Blue. Fortunately the 4 people that I have taken to their first game at Goodison since all saw home wins ? one being the notable 6-1 thrashing of Arsenal (I predicted a low scoring draw!!).
I did not become a regular at Goodison until the early 60’s. Just in time to see the League Champions. My favourites were Jimmy Gabriel, Roy ?Knitting Needles? Vernon and Tony Kay. Dennis Stevens, mentioned earlier in this thread, was a big signing from Bolton. He played inside forward and divided opinion amongst supporters ? rather like 3 or 4 players from the current squad - regarding his ability.
We moved out of the area just before the epic 1966 FA Cup Final ? also against Sheffield Wednesday ? when my disbelief turned to joy as we turned a 0-2 deficit round to win 3-2, courtesy of one of my most memorable Everton goals scored by Derek ?Shirley? Temple (Shirley Temple was an American child film star at that time).

I returned to Wirral/Cheshire in the early 80’s, so was fortunate to watch the great team of the mid-80’s. I believe that the current team is the 4th best of my lifetime. Lets hope it rises up that particular league.

Nick Forshew
45   Posted 27/02/2009 at 09:58:06

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Hi Bob.

I eventually managed to open the website, shame your IT skills don?t match your memory or literary skills!!
Anyway a great read, I don?t think I knew the story about Dave?s birthday before?.but there again you know me, I?d probably have forgotten anyway?.unlike you!
The only disappointment is you couldn?t work something about us at Priestfield, don?t ask me the year, I guess about 1974. I?m sure you?ll know the score, day, date and attendance. All I remember is we (Gillingham) drew with you, a young Tony Cascarino missed a golden opportunity in a one on one (was it against a young Southall?) to win the game for the Gills. We were also presumably skippered by a similarly young Steve Bruce.
I?m sure you?ll put me right Bob.
Love to Dawn?..see you in the Summer in Crete.

Cheers Nick Forshew ? Gillingham supporter and ex house mate of Bobs through the early mid 70?s?.. and still close friends!

COYB (which ones?why not both!)
46   Posted 27/02/2009 at 12:12:33

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Just the job Bob!! Boy did your article bring back some emotional, happy, fantastic memories. Thanks mate, you took me right back to the 1950’s.
David Kelly
47   Posted 27/02/2009 at 14:43:09

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I became a Blue in 1961, I think it was. Working in Newcastle, I went to St James Park out of curiosity. We won 4-1 I think and sent the barcodes down to the Second Division. Little Bobby Collins ran rings around Big John McGrath who lost his temper.

The Geordies hauled their flag down to half mast in disgust and I was hooked from that day on. Never looked back... still managing a home match now and again. My son treated me to a hospitality day against Middlesborough on my birthday and the hairs still stand up on the back of my neck and my spine still tingles to see the green grass of home and hear the Z-Cars tune.

Bob McEvoy
48   Posted 27/02/2009 at 15:57:59

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Nick It was 1984 .Cascarino makes a big play about the Southall miss in his autobiography .Next week we went back for the 2nd replay and in a gale force wind we were 3-0 up against the wind in the Ist half and that was the final result. Think Andy Gray got a couple , Of course ,as I hope you remember .we went on to win the Cup.
Tom McEvoy
49   Posted 27/02/2009 at 17:03:57

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Great article Dad, and some great responses.
Terry White
50   Posted 27/02/2009 at 17:28:14

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Congratulations on 50 wonderful years, Bob. Happy Days!

When I was in my pram in 1947-8, my Mother and Grandmother would go shopping in County Road and leave me outside the ground to go in at three-quarter time! I don’t think that could happen now!

My Dad, who will be 92 in July, saw his first game in January 1924, a win over PNE in the Cup. He still has his Lower Bullens season ticket so has been going for 85 years! I wonder if anyone can beat that? He has brought up his three sons in the true faith and all his grandsons spread the word wherever they may be.

My first game was in 1953-4, the Second Division. My Dad put me on a box along the Goodison Road wall. I was in the paddock for the abysmal 4-0 drubbing by the Reds in the Cup the following year.

Davie was our hero then. The team itself was packed with ordinary players with no flair but who worked hard . Kenny Rae, Ken Birch, Cyril Lello, Don Donovan, etc. They did well not to get relegated again. It was T. E. Jones, not T. G. Jones who scored the two penalties against PNE mentioned before.

Then John Moores got involved. Every week it seemed like there was one signing, maybe more. Tommy Ring was a wonderful player. We struggled to replace him, also Davie when he went on his travels. We used to sign "never-weres" as well as "has beens" such as Alan Shackleton, Jimmy Glazzard, anyone remember Peter Harburn? On the wing after Ring’s injury, players such as Mickey Lill (who played both wings who I liked as he was flashy and scored goals!), Peter Kavanagh (!), Bobby Laverick, Ray Veall, Jimmy Fell, until the Temple/Morrisey duo settled there to wonderful effect.

Left back was always an issue until Wilson was signed. George Thomson was a neat player, John Bramwell played there and then Mick Meagan, a converted wing half typical of Everton at the time, small and lightweight, Derek Kevan ran over him one game.

I agree that Dunlop’s penalty save with the ball between his legs was against Bolton in the crucial league game in 1963 when Roy Vernon snatched a late winner. In midweek we tonked WBA (they keep coming up) 4-0 away in a match "tainted" by accusations of bribery (Mr. Dunlop, stand up), and then the wonderful 4-1 demolition of Fulham on the last day of the season.

Everybody agrees Tony Kay was a great player - when he played for Everton! He was hated when he played for Sheffield Wednesday. I used to love the young Jimmy Gabriel sweeping down the field with his fair hair blowing. Alex Parker was a class full back and was at least on a par with Tommy Wright and Gary Stevens as our best post-war right back. Amazing sliding tackles keeping the ball when the winger ended up off the field! Dennis Stevens was not liked because he replaced the immortal Bobby Collins, the catalyst for our improved performances under Carey’s direction at the end of the 50s and in the early 60s. But Stevens was Catterick’s style of player and worked hard for the team.

There were some great games in those days, we scored tons of goals and gave up our fair share too. We beat everybody at Goodison but could not win away! I recall scoring 8 against Cardiff at the end of a season, of course we shipped 3 but who cared!

1963-4, and 1964-5 were disappointing seasons. I remember going to a reserve game at Goodison (we did that in those days) and seeing us lose 5-3 to Burnley. West was in goal, Vernon missed a penalty and the Vision was also playing - I thought we would never see them again in the first team as they were jeered off!

The rest from 1966 will live in our memories. Here’s to many more years of watching our team. I do so from San Jose, south of San Francisco in California. Satellite coverage and the Internet are wonderful things!
Tom Evans
51   Posted 27/02/2009 at 20:42:15

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Like many from the Wirral, I was a Rovers supporter, who once thought big enough to withstand the crowds "over the river" was allowed to be taken with one of my uncles. Uncle Bill a Blue with Uncle Jimmy a Kopite.
Many times I have cursed uncle Bill as it was he who won the battle to introduce me to proper football.
Blackburn at home late 1963 was my first game. We were beaten 4-2 in a game which saw Tony Kay sent off.
It was the whole experience of getting a bus and boat return, the bus from Pier Head and then the sight of all those people around the ground, to an eleven year old it was hypnotising.
The following week when the shite were at home, uncle Jimmy came round to tell me when he would call for us, but he was a week too late.
Once a Blue, always a Blue.
Derek Turnbull
52   Posted 27/02/2009 at 20:54:45

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Terry White: ask you your dad if remember any of the chants from the 20s? Do you know any yourself from the 50s?
David Crozier
53   Posted 27/02/2009 at 21:25:31

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As the Dave mentioned in Bob’s article, I’d just like to add that the game Bob took me to as an advert for the Blue cause was... home to Wimbledon. The car broke down that day too, and it was an omen. We were indeed terrible and lost 4-2. The second game I saw was... also Wimbledon (thanks Bob) at Selhurst Park and we lost 4-0. I think that would have been mid 1990s. Now here I am a dozen or so years later virtually in tears when a teenager knocks the Sh*te out of the FA Cup, waking my wife up to tell her how great it is. True, there have been good times - Bob took me up to Goodison to watch us play Southampton a few months later. I was hoping we wouldn’t get stuffed again. We won 7-1 and I still have the footie Echo reporting the game (in fact coincidentally I was reading it just the other day). Bob reckons there are always goals when I go to games and apart from one dreadful 0-0 draw at Coventry (we had to sit in the home fans end and I was sure Bob’s Scouse accent would get us both killed) he’s right. I may not have been a Blue for as long as you, Bob. But many of my favourite memories involve you and the Mighty Toffees. Long may it continue. And when we do get to the European Cup final, I’ll do everything I can to watch it with you - wherever we’re both living.
Tony Hyland
54   Posted 28/02/2009 at 01:29:14

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Thanks to Terry White for correcting my typo concerning T.E.Jones but also could I just return the compliment by adding that those two goals were against Man. Utd and not in the 1-0 win against PNE, with Cyril Lello getting that one. One other vivid memory from Goodison in the mid fifties was when the Blues played Sunderland with their star being Len Shackleton (The Clown Prince).In the week leading up to the game Everton had signed a young left winger from Bradford I think, anyway he played and during the game he dribbled the ball all the way across the pitch to the other wing where Shackleton was and one of my uncles shouted to the young guy "get his autograph while your’e over here" although you had to be there to a thirteen year old it was priceless.
Mike Keating
55   Posted 28/02/2009 at 10:09:00

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8th of February 1964 - my mate from school (Pete Knight) had 2 tickets for the Derby Match and was concerned that someone born in Liverpool had allegiance to neither club (I was if anything a fan of Ron Flowers’ quiff). I vowed undying support to whichever team impressed on the day (opportunist little prick).
I had only ever seen footy on monochrome telly so my first glimpse of the Goodison Park pitch took my breath away - I can still recall the sensation as we emerged onto the terracing in Goodison Road. It was all in magnificent technicolour.
Got a great speck by the players tunnel in a crowd of over 66.000.
By the time it was over - we battered then 3-1 - I was converted and the rest as they say is history. Roy Vernon is stll my favourite player - if anyone’s to blame it’s him.
Tim Lloyd
56   Posted 28/02/2009 at 15:56:38

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What a fantastic series of posts. Some I recall, some I don?t as I have not lived on Merseyside for over 50 years. In the early days, for around 7 years, I rarely had the pleasure of a trip to Goodison. Just a very odd game when I came over with the family to see my folks on the Wirral.

About 48 years ago, I was transferred to Stockport, where I still live. I managed quite a few trips every year for the next 20/30 years, parking my car on one of those bombed patches and paying some little snotty nosed kid to ?guard? it for me!

Oddly, I saw the Golden Vision playing for Stockport County. He played virtually just a very few games. It was sad. He was light years ahead of the lads who played for County. He was always so far ahead in his thoughts. They never anticipated his clever touches and passes.

I have two sons. The younger, whilst fantastically keen on Cricket, is a died in the wool ?Blue. Must be around 30 years ago, he acquired two tickets for a ?Milk? Cup Final at Wembley between Everton and the so called Shite.

Relations between the two sets of supporters in those days were vastly different to those of today. The Londoners marvelled as supporters, some wearing blue and others red, walked down Wembley Way, arm in arm. I kid you not. During the game, the Blues shouted Ev-er-ton and the Reds shouted Liv-er-pool.

As many of you will remember, the game ended 0 - 0. The two bands of supporters left Wembley singing Mer-sey-side. I much preferred those days. Don?t know who or what is to blame but it's not very edifying today.
Hugo Myatt
57   Posted 28/02/2009 at 18:17:06

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Have to mention I was at Goodison when Sharp scored that goal against Spurs way back in 1982. Even now I like to watch it whenever I can and it’s even better knowing that you were there.

Too many games to mention but I started following the side during the mid 70’s when players like Rioch,McKenzie, Lyons, Latchford and King played in a fine side that just fell short of trophies.

Still wonder if we would have beaten Manchester Utd in the ’77 final if not for Clive Thomas, we certainly had the players capable to do it. Don;t remember the Catterick years with some regret, but that side of 1967-71 was without question one of the finest Everton sides you will ever see.
Peter Hall
58   Posted 01/03/2009 at 00:16:53

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Derek Templa a popular player? Oh yes ? particularly on this day in 1966
Billy McEvoy
59   Posted 01/03/2009 at 01:21:21

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Very good article but how come you never mentioned your brother Billy. I can still remember running over the man united scarf at 70 mph.
Michael Brien
60   Posted 02/03/2009 at 07:53:40

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My first game was in the 1964-65 season - though sadly I can?t remember who it was against. I think it was Nott?m Forest as I know we won 1-0. I remeber a lot about the following season 1965-66, I was 8 at the start of that season and I can recall the opening game of the season v Northampton Town a 5-2 win in their (so far) only season in the top flight.

I remember a game that season v Sheffield United we were 0-2 down and got a penalty. Jimmy Gabriel scored and hit it so hard it came back out and a little lad ran on from the Gwladys Street and hit the ball past Hodgkinson again!!! Sadly we lost that 1-3 - my Dad had warned me that we might "go a bit easy" as there was an important Cup match the next week.

Derek Temple was my favourite player even back then before the Cup Final. My Dad told me that he could play left or right wing/centre forward or inside forward. I struggled to kick a football with my left foot - so I was totally in awe of him!!! I am the proud owner of a "replica" 1966 Cup Final shirt with of course a Number 11 on the back.

Peter Lewis
61   Posted 04/03/2009 at 00:01:43

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Hi Bob, just been talking to your brother Billy, he told me to look up this site. I?ve had a season ticket for 42 years. My first memory was against Notts Forest and my dad told me Bobby Collins was the mascot!

My real first hero was Tommy Wright, but lots of memories of the sixties, I remember the best save I ever saw was against Wolves away in the cup one-nil down and West made an incredible save with Ball ?diving? for a penalty. We got locked out in the replay.

I also remember being at Anfield two-nil up with 20 mins to go and saying to my dad, "Who is this bloody Heighway? He hasn?t touched the ball..." As always, should have kept my big gob shut. So many great games; I can recall the older games better than the more recent. I was at the final game 1963 to see the Blues beat Fulham for the title. Anyway we seem to be on the up, with the best manager possible.

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