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Hitting the big 60

By Howard Don :  18/09/2010 :  Comments (18) :
Bit of a milestone for me at this afternoon?s game in that I hit the big 60 this weekend and can?t help but cast my mind back over my years watching Everton.

My first game was in February 1960, when I was still a pretty non-committed 9-year-old with an Uncle at Goodison to watch Preston NE, which was a comprehensive 4-0 drubbing of PNE and from that moment I was hooked. Subsequent trips to Goodison were often in the Boys Pen; on one occasion, a group of us from Junior school sneaked off without parental knowledge and the police were nearly called out by the time we got home.

First season ticket was in the Paddock (standing then) for the 62-63 Championship Season, crowds usually in the 50-60,000 range. The clincher game against Fulham at home, 4-1 with Roy Vernon?s hat-trick and subsequent pitch invasion, the team coming out into the director?s box to salute the fans was a fantastic occasion that just wouldn?t be tolerated now.

From there I graduated to Gwladys St where over the years my mates and I had our ?spec? just to the left of the goal. Saw the FA Cup run of ?66, the ?69 Championship and subsequent decline in the ?70s. I went to work abroad in the late ?70s but still knew where to find everybody when home on leave (terracing had its advantages). I came back towards the end of the great run in the ?80s and saw the last league title and subsequent decline to the horror and euphoria of the infamous Wimbledon at home 3-2 survival game.

Since then, we?ve sat in the main stand, and lived in hope! I?m a Moyes fan and firmly believe he?s doing a great job under difficult circumstances; how much longer he can sustain it against the financial odds is in the lap of the Gods, but he deserves support.

For a 60th present, my wonderful stepdaughter has tracked down an Everton programme from every decade of my life and if nothing else they show that some things never change. The Everton v Man City Programme from 6 September 1961, just after Catterick took over, contains an article lamenting the poor start to the season and that it was a mistake to have taken the players on a pre-season tour of the USA as they now appeared ?jaded? . Mr Catterick made no bones about the fact that had he been in charge it wouldn?t have happened. On the positive side we were Champions the following season.

Finally indulge me in naming my ?Mr Everton? of the past 60 years. For me it?s no contest, Colin Harvey stands supreme. A wonderful midfielder, the ?White Pele? was supremely talented and totally committed to the cause. He then went on to be Howard Kendall?s right hand man through the ?80s glory years, then took on the poisoned chalice of replacing Howard as Manager. In his later years, he was an outstanding youth team coach and only resigned from the job he loved because he felt he couldn?t do it justice anymore. Thanks for the memories Colin.

Off tonight to a "surprise" do somwhere or other, most of the guys I suspect will be there are Blues so three points today please Mr Moyes to start things off on a positive note.

Reader Comments

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Michael Kenrick
1   Posted 18/09/2010 at 14:26:08

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Happy Birthday, Howard!
Jimmy Hacking
2   Posted 18/09/2010 at 14:31:47

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Happy birthday mate! here's hoping Everton also hit the big sixty (points) round about mid-April.
Tony I'Anson
3   Posted 18/09/2010 at 14:30:21

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Feliz Cumpleaños Howard.
Tony I'Anson
4   Posted 18/09/2010 at 14:43:45

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ÓÇáÑÀ ãÈÇÑ? Àæ
Trevor Lynes
5   Posted 18/09/2010 at 14:47:28

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Happy Birthday....My memories are even longer than yours and date back to the late 40's and I well remember relegation and bouncing back...then Liverpool down until the Shankley era.
In those days we always beat UTD and Chelsea were a joke team....BUT...foreign imports and lots of money has altered the size of the playing fields.
Personally I prefer the old first division days when 'any' decent team had a chance of winning a trophy and money did not dominate so much...!!
Des Farren
6   Posted 18/09/2010 at 15:00:17

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Breithla shona dhuit a Howard
Dennis Stevens
7   Posted 18/09/2010 at 15:57:44

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Many Happy Returns, Howard.
A good call re Colin Harvey.
Tony I'Anson
8   Posted 18/09/2010 at 17:00:16

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Apologies Howard for the shocking memory your 60th Birthday will have been etched in your brain.

Go and enjoy your Do, and whatever you do do, don't talk about todays fiasco.
Richard Tarleton
9   Posted 18/09/2010 at 17:08:19

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I'm just older than you (64) and agree wholeheartedly about Colin Harvey, to me the two greatest Everton players of my time have been Harvey and Bobby Collins whose impact on a terrible team in the late 50s was immense.
Jay Harris
10   Posted 18/09/2010 at 17:18:50

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Howard happy birthday and many more of them.

My 60th is next February and I'm hoping the blues do better for me than they have for you.

Anyway at least you've got something to take your mind off football.
Greg Anderson
11   Posted 18/09/2010 at 17:44:46

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Many happy returns, Howard. And thanks for giving us all some perspective on this otherwise rather miserable day. Agree too about Colin Harvey. For all-round contributions to the health and the meaning of Everton, only that other Howard comes close.
Peter Barnes
12   Posted 18/09/2010 at 19:56:05

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Totally agree on Colin Harvey.I am 2 years younger than you Howard and I can remember us all trying to look like CH as well as play like him he was so good.
James Cadwaladr
13   Posted 18/09/2010 at 19:55:59

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Hapy 60th Birthday Howard and hope that today didnt ruin it too much for you. Thank you for a great read just when it was needed.
John Hunter
14   Posted 18/09/2010 at 20:10:14

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Howard, as one who stood with you for many of those years all the best mate, we have witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly
Happy Birthday ? let's meet up soon.
Graham Reed
15   Posted 18/09/2010 at 20:05:08

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Congratulations Howard, I am just 5 months behind you!

Great decision on Colin Harvey. Because he has been so involved in so many capacities I think it is often overlooked just how good a player he was.

Alex Young and Alan Ball were perhaps the biggest Everton heroes in the 60s ? Young for the first half of the decade and Ball for the second. I have always thought that Harvey was a cross between the two them. He had the class, style and ball skills of Young and the workrate, the consistency and the competitiveness of Ball - not that Young wasnt competitve or Ball skilful, but you will understand what I mean.

As for equivalent players to the all round talent of Harvey how about these:

Eddie Colman from before him. I never saw him obviously but imagine him to be a similiar player, ie a small skilful attacking wing-half who couldnt score.

Billy Bremner as a contemporary wing-half, fiery and skilful. Bremner did have a great scoring record for a wing-half however but he also had a much worse disciplinary record.

Xavi (Barcelona and Spain) from the future. His similar stature, tireless workrate and the ability to keep possession with both simple and difficult passes make me suggest the comparison.
Marc Williams
16   Posted 18/09/2010 at 21:32:54

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Congratulations Howard, hope today's abysmal display didn't spoil it
too much for you.
Ray Robinson
17   Posted 18/09/2010 at 21:32:58

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Happy Birthday Howard. I'm a little behind you but am grateful to have experienced 4 league championships. After today's performance, I'm not sure if there'll ever be a fifth!
Howard Don
18   Posted 19/09/2010 at 11:04:35

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Thanks everyone for your good wishes. Especially in the light of that turgid rubbish we all watched yesterday.

For the record we ended up practically taking over the Delifonsecca in Stanley St. A great night, great food as always there and even a bus laid on, great organisation by my better half and daughter. Lots of old friends and a few surprises, so impossible to dwell too long on the result. One Geordie there and he had the decency not to rub it in.

Hi John good to hear you're still keeping the faith mate, must have a pint sometime, Richard J and I still sitting in the main stand.

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