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I want to believe

By David Price :  27/10/2010 :  Comments (16) :
Reading through various posts on TW and it gets you thinking of the different stories many of us could recount when following Everton.

Some of us have generations before us; some, judging by the overseas contribution, are first generation Evertonians, taking in the experience for future story telling.

Some stories could evolve through the mists of time. The Alan Ball 25-yarder v Newcastle into the top corner; the Mick Lyons diving header, whilst missing Norman Hunter's left boot by inches... loads more like this I?m sure format our memories of an instant in time. To expand on that, who has a background to add to the event?

One example that I had passed on to myself was from my Grandfather. As usual from his time, it was a Dixie Dean theme. This time though, it was different. I?d had the 60th goal described to me as my Grandfather was stood in the Park End: the ball is crossed for Dixie, 12 minutes to go, Dixie leapt high and met the cross full on and headed the ball from the penalty spot into the net like a rocket.

To precede this event, I was told of a day leading up to that game. There were two games to go, Burnley away then Arsenal. Dixie was on 53 goals needing seven to beat the record. In these times of spoilt footballers and the total lack of association with supporters (in some clubs), my Grandfather, being of similar age to Dixie, had met up with him in a pub, probably with other supporters, and were chatting, like you do, about football.

Dixie was in a genuine dilemma, hard to believe the next bit, but it?s what I was told. The English FA was due to pick the team to play a two-match tour of Belgium and France in May after the season finished. In those days they would have a game between probable and possible. Dixie had been selected for the probable. The dilemma for Dixie was the game was the same night as the Burnley game. Dixie said he didn?t want to risk his England place by not making himself available.

For Dixie to be worried about being not picked for England says everything about the modesty of the man. This man had scored two at Hampden Park the previous year for England to beat Scotland 2-1 and should have been nailed on a place in the national side. However the brown stuff had hit the fan, with a 5-1 defeat at Wembley the previous month in March by Scotland, Dixie played but didn?t score.

My grandfather and no doubt backed by a few others in the pub, urged him to play for Everton (totally bias of course) and that England would pick him anyway because he was too good to leave out. ?Bill, he told him, bugger England, if they don?t know how good you are, then they shouldn?t be in charge of picking a team?. Apparently, you daren?t call him Dixie, as he hated the nickname.

The rest, as we know, is history: Dixie played against Burnley and scored 4, then the infamous 3 versus Arsenal and the record set, no doubt for all time.

As for the England tour, England beat Belgium 3-1 and France 5-1; Dixie was picked and scored two in each game. Happy endings all round.

The facts are correct and I?ve no reason to think I was told a tall tale, he wasn?t like that. I?m sure ToffeeWeb's finest have examples of knowing your history...

Reader Comments

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Colin Potter
1   Posted 28/10/2010 at 09:40:14

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Really nice memories David. I actually saw Dixie Dean play. It was in the fourties, I can't remember the actual year. It was a match billed as Old Everton V Old Liverpool, I can't remember whether it was for charity or not.

It was played on the old South Liverpool's ground at Garston, now sadly gone. Dixie only played for the first half, and it was 4-0 to Everton after the first half, in fact that was the final score. The thing is though, I cannot remember whether Dixie scored or not. I wonder if there is an old codger out there who can remember the game.

Memories, what a wonderful thing they are.

Bob McEvoy
2   Posted 28/10/2010 at 10:05:19

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Dave ..fascinating stuff. Re the nickname . I'm sure I read somewhere that he had no objections to being called Dixie. Perhaps he mellowed as he got older but when your grandad was talking to him he'd have been 21ish and maybe then he still had a problem with it.
Trevor Lynes
3   Posted 28/10/2010 at 10:32:07

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I first watched EFC in 1948 when they were a pretty poor side..but I enjoyed the play of Ted Buckle and Nobby Fielding even seeing Lawton score against us for Notts County at the end of his fantastic career..I played for southport in the 3rd division north and my first game was against Rochdale marking Eddie Wainwright with Jackie grant playing midfield for them...both I used to watch as a youngster !!
The best ever EFC side I remember was the 60's team built by Carey...their football was sublime and the best forwaqrd line I remember included Collins, Vernon and Young with a guy called Tommy Ring who beat men at walking pace and his crosses were brilliant.
I vaguely remember Dean after his playing days having a pub in Chester called the Dublin Packet and I knew his daughter very well.
My boyhood football was playing against Derek Temple who was a tremendous goal scorer as a schoolboy and a future anfield international winger called Alan A'Court.
Billy Liddel was a justice of the peace in Huyton and he was a frighteningly quick winger for Liverpool with a bomb of a shot...he actually played for a combined British team against the rest of the world...he always scared me in derby matches !!!!
I well remember Vernon scoring a very quick hat trick against Man Utd in a 5-1 win with UTD playing Best, Charlton and Law....we used to be their bogey side and even in the Busby babes days I well remember us beating them 4-2 at Old trafford.
I was at St Johns debut against us when we beat them 4-3 but the saint got a hat trick...Vernon 2 and gabriel 2 scored our goals.
We have NEVER reproduced football like that ever since on a sustained basis...just occasional flashes but never consistently.
Vernon was the equal of Rush and his goals to games played was the best since Dean...and we had Young (our Tostao) and feisty little Collins who had great passing ability.
Those were the days !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thomas James
4   Posted 28/10/2010 at 13:20:09

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Wow... I feel humbled somewhat. I first saw Everton play against Luton Town.

Southall and Cottee were on the pitch.
Mark Burslem
5   Posted 28/10/2010 at 13:19:27

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Just one thing re the great "Dixie" .

We make a big deal about the sixty league goals in the 1927-28 season....and rightly so..

Nobody seems to mention that in that fantastic season, he actually scored 100 goals when you add cup and international goals.

Just thought I'd mention it.
Jay Harris
6   Posted 28/10/2010 at 14:24:36

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My first memory is of a floodlit friendly against and army side I think in about 1958 when My Dad and Grandad took me to my first match at about 7 years old.

We stood about halfway back in what is now the family enclosure and they used to sit me on the handrails that used to be in the standing areas every 10 feet or so which is something they used to do with all the kids.

However my 2 overriding memories are:

1. Being in the boys pen which was a fenced off area in the Bullens side of Gladwys Street in1963 and beating Fulham 4-1 (I think) to win the league.

At the end of the game we all climbed over the railings and ran onto the pitch with another few thousand ( there was no concern about it then apart from giving the groundsman a bit of extra work over the summer).

2. We played Sheff Wed in the mid 60's (who were a good side then) and Alex Young collected the ball just near the players entrance just over the halfway line shimmied his hips, sent about 3 Sheff Wed players the wrong way and hit an unstoppable shot from about 60 yards into the top corner of the net. He really was the "Golden Vision" that night. I have never seen a goal since to rival that one.
Colin Potter
7   Posted 28/10/2010 at 15:37:30

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Trevor Lynes, Remember how Nobby Fielding held the end of his shirt cuffs? I used to copy that, and I still find myself doing it even to this day!

Those were the days Trevor? You are so right!!!

Trevor Lynes
8   Posted 28/10/2010 at 17:59:47

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Hey Colin...I remember Nobby well..he was our schemer (playmaker today)....That 4-1 victory versus Fulham was indeed the game that decided the championship...Vernon had a blinder and so did Tony Kay..we called him Cassius was a shame he got banned as he was a fantastic talent.

By the way Alex Parker had a pub in Runcorn shopping city called the Swinging Sporran.... I actually played with and against many who went on to be top class players for EFC and Liverpool...unfortunately I had a double fracture (patella and Fibula) which ended my ambitions apart from a season at Buxton and of course my time at Southport... The Liverpool schoolboys team of that era was very successful and lots of the lads came through eg; Morrisey, Smith, Lawler, Temple, Labbie, A'Court and Melia...

One of the funniest incidents was Sandy Brown's diving header own goal and the best penalty taker we ever had was Vernon who was absolutely nerveless.... Ah well!!!!!!!!

Jon Cox
9   Posted 28/10/2010 at 18:39:13

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Hey Trev, I worked and trained at Southport when a Guy called Tommy Mycock was what we then, in thoise days called a trainer.

I was an apprentice cleaning boots for guys like Alex Russell, Alex Reid, Stuart Shaw (what a winger) Tery Arkin and of course the forerunner of big Dunc, Eric "the" Redrobe.

Great nights at Haig Ave and when the Friday night games finished so were Southport. At that time Billy Bingham was manager and he was God

Colin Potter
10   Posted 28/10/2010 at 18:45:37

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Correct me if I'm wrong Trevor, but didn't they used to play a lot of Liverpool schoolboy matches at Goodison? I seem to remember going to one or two of them.
I used to idolise Roy Vernon,my nickname for him was "Quicksilver", also I thought Jimmy Husband was another cracker.
Another great memory for me, although it ended in tears, was the 1953 semi final at Maine rd. I was sat on a wall,that was directly opposite the goal,and when I looked at the goal I could only see the one post, so when Tommy Clinton took that penalty you see for a split second the ball pass the goalie(it was a daisy cutter), you start to raise your arms with joy, then bugger me it hits the wall behind the goal!! Heartbreaking, and we were beaten 4-3. Funny how things turn out because I worked with Tommy years later at Everton, in fact Tommy and I started the ball rolling for the Everton "Gold Rush" tickets. In fact I picked the very first Gold Rush winner out. Tommy has passed over now, God rest his soul, he was a lovely, lovely man.
Alan Moorcroft
11   Posted 28/10/2010 at 20:22:47

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A great post David and it certainly got me thinking about my times watching the Blues over the years and made me make my first post on Toffee Web. As I have lived away from Liverpool for many years my trips have been limited but I have plenty of memories over the years and I will be up on Saturday to celebrate my dad's birthday and take in the Stoke game.

Like many others it was my dad that got me into Everton following a long family tradition only broken by my brother who supports those across the park - my dad reckons if he had any money he would write him out of his will! Anyway while I can't remember my first game I do have vivid recollections of being taken on a fairly regular basis from probably about 1967/68 onwards - I definitely remember us tonking West Brom which made the cup final result harder to accept. Typical of those days my dad would lift me over the turnstile and try and sit me on a crash barrier. What was brilliant about it all was (as far as I can remember) we never got beat at home when I went for about 2 seasons - its great to have a child's memories. This continued happily for a number of years including the Championship winning team of 1969/70 but towards the end of that season he had to stop taking me because the crowds were too big and I couldn't see anything - I didn't fancy the boys pen as I had heard too many scary stories about what happened in there! While I saw Bally, Kendall et al my favourite player from those days was Johnny Morrissey

As for stand out games there have been a few. The visit of Inter Milan in the mid 1970's for a UEFA cup game, the game referred to by David against Leeds - I was in the Gladwys Street end and had a great view as Mick Lyons almost lost his head down at the Park End. The 1978 derby when Andy King scored and the place went as mental as I have ever known. Aston Villa away in 1987 when we scored to virtually secure the title and I thought that we must have been at home because almost everybody in the ground was a Blue.

Times move on and like a proper father I have brought my two boys up to be Blue. They have both been through uni - not something that was an option at Alsop in the 1970's - and being in the North West they have taken up season tickets so last season the eldest witnessed us turning over Manure, Sitee and Chelski while the youngest has this season enjoyed the come back against Manure and beating the shite. It?s nice to know that as the years roll on some things stay the same - once a Blue always a Blue (and I mean it).
Trevor Lynes
12   Posted 29/10/2010 at 08:37:12

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They certainly did Colin, but I must admit not playing there myself because I was not always selected being a midfielder there was lots of competition... but I played with Derek Temple and Alan A'Court a few times.

I was at Southport with Lem Newcomb (manager) and when I moved to Buxton the manager there was Jack Crompton who played goalkeeper for Man Utd... A double fracture in those days meant you were finished but of course nowadays it's only a few months out.

David S Shaw
13   Posted 29/10/2010 at 10:16:51

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What a great article, I love hearing about the tales from the 50s and 60s.

Anyone remember a song for Alex Young that mentioned him, Catterick and St John?

It started along the lines of: "There was a forward, a Scottish Forward..."?
Trevor Lynes
14   Posted 29/10/2010 at 12:10:24

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The song I always remember went... "Oh we hate Bill Shankley and we hate St John, but most of all we hate big Ron, and we'll hang the Koppites one by one, on the banks of the Royal Blue Mersey!!"

I dont remember the one you mention though. St John was known as the only forward with a Lonsdale belt because he was sent off three times for fighting... I well remember him flattening Pancho Pearson who played for Man Utd with a cracking left hook!! Pearson actually said he never felt it!!!!
Eugene Ruane
15   Posted 01/11/2010 at 16:32:53

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Great reading Trevor Lynes.

I remember in 71 hearing Everton supporters singing 'Anfield had two monkeys now they've got one, let's all drink to the death of St John' (when St John left Liverpool).

Or something like that.

No idea who the other monkey was - Callaghan maybe?.

My first game was a night game at Goodison in (I think) 1966.

A 0-0 with United ("a fucking shower o' puddins' the lot of them" according to my Pater afterwards).

Don't remember anything specifically about the game, just emerging from the darkness of the streets, up the stairs to see that stunning, brightly-lit, beautiful green grass.

Oh and it was all fellers and the swearing was world class and it stunk of ale, farts and ciggies.

Chips on the way home - I was hooked for ever and..ever.

It's incredible when you think about it - I mean my mam and dad could have bought me a Chemmo set, never have mentioned Everton and I might now be a successful scientist with a mono-brow and a head like a lodging-house cat due to a massive throbbing intellect (as Harold Steptoe once said "I could have been a successful Harley St surgeon or had a string of abortion clinics").

Mind you, I'd have missed Bally and the love I had for Alan Ball during the late 60's was all-consuming.

Pictures, chewy cards, autographs (Bellefield), I lived and breathed Alan Ball.

Now I'm 51 and as cynical about football as it's possible to be.

Despise just about everything about the game and just about everyone involved.

However whenever I see the occasional picture of Bally with the short red hair, the bright Royal Blue, the white Hummels and the narky look....


I'm back in Monkey boots, a 'bennie' and a Crombie giving it..

"And do they smell, like FUUUUUUCKIN' 'ELL, over there..." to the away supporters (nb: a safe distance FROM the away supporters).

The past - there's nowhere like it.
John Crossley
16   Posted 01/11/2010 at 19:19:02

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Jay Harris. I too remember that goal Alex Young scored against Sheff Wed. I was standing behind the dug out, it was incredible. I like you have never seen a goal like it, even from the likes of Pele, Maradonna etc.
And four days later we played Burnley at home, Alex had a very quiet game, but who cared after 'that goal'.

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