As usual on the occasion of such games, discussion in the pub beforehand turns to past players who have played for both Clubs. Talk of Micky & Mike Walsh, Alan Ainscow, George Wood and Alan Ball brought memories flooding back ? not all good I might add. However, one player seemed to generate more interest than the others ? Gordon West.
The conversation drifted on to the other greats in that 60s team and their respective longevity at the Club. Brian Labone, of course, seemed to be a permanent fixture until his recent death and along with Tommy Wright had been rewarded for his service & loyalty in the early 1970s with a testimonial match. In Brian?s case it gave us a rare victory against Liverpool before 25,000 and in Tommy?s, one of the most surreal games I?ve ever attended at Goodison, a match against Rangers with Everton once again winning, in front of 12,000 fans on a rain-soaked night.
So, did Gordon get his testimonial game? Well, as far as I can remember, no. There have been testimonials awarded over the subsequent decades ? Kevin Ratcliffe, Howard Kendall, Dave Watson, Harry Catterick, Alec Young and Neville Southall ? to name the few I can remember off-hand. You could not argue that any were undeserved ? the normal criteria for awarding such matches was based around a minimum of ten years service, in an era when earnings were not as they are now.
Well, Gordon arrived at Goodison in 1962 at the age of 18 for a then record fee for a goalkeeper of £27,000. For the next 11 years, he played 402 games for Everton winning two League Championships, an FA Cup winner?s medal and a handful of England caps. If this record were not enough to earn a testimonial match, Gordon has worked tirelessly with the Everton Former Players Foundation since its inception, to raise funds for ex-pros like himself who might be in need of help.
I realise that over recent years the Foundation has received contributions from receipts from specific pre-season games and I would not wish to see funds diverted away from this wonderful cause but this should not mean that Gordon West should be denied the game which would allow Evertonians to pay a much overdue tribute and provide him with a richly deserved financial lift.
I don?t know whether the beneficiaries of this year?s pre-season games have been identified yet but I would like to propose that consideration is given to one of the greatest Everton players of all time.
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 06/02/2011 at 16:37:46
2 Posted 06/02/2011 at 18:55:27
3 Posted 06/02/2011 at 18:47:16
Gordon played 402 times over 12 years , 14 England caps.Time is now right that we honour one of Everton's most famous son's.
Two Championship medals and an FA Cup, we honoured his team mates but now it's Gordon's turn.
Gordon always puts himself out for the Former Players some times at his own expense at getting to some venues, he always says that he is honoured to have played for Everton FC and is grateful to all the Everton fans as his life is turned around by the operations he has had due to playing for our club.
Gordon West is the best, a really true gentleman.
4 Posted 06/02/2011 at 19:24:33
5 Posted 06/02/2011 at 19:42:08
6 Posted 06/02/2011 at 20:32:39
Gordon West, like Mr Labone and Mick Lyons, is one of my heroes but in recent years has reminded me of a much more likeable John Prescott. His love-hate banter with Mr Labone was more entertaining than Blackadder and Baldrick!
7 Posted 06/02/2011 at 21:07:09
8 Posted 06/02/2011 at 21:22:37
Neville Southall is the finest goalkeeper I've seen guard our net, and possibly the best 'keeper I've ever seen. We've never replaced him, Nigel Martyn was good but his Everton career wasn't long enough.
It would be nice to give Gordon a day in the spotlight.
9 Posted 06/02/2011 at 23:29:41
In the 66 Cup Final, Gordon had a hamstring problem and was throwing the ball further and more accurately than some keepers kick the ball today. I also remember that we were the first team to reach Wembley without conceding a goal that year.
I also remember the Derby match where he was presented with a handbag after St John had been given a bunch of bananas in the previous match.
10 Posted 06/02/2011 at 23:58:57
The tales of him being highly strung are true enough. How he did what he did week in week out is amazing - but -as I know working with many performers is that they are so cool on stage but off stage they suffer terrible stage fright and Gordon fits in with that not irregular personality trait.
I recallcall Gordon's performance at Wolves in 1967 in an FA Cup tie making some increadible saves and I have film of him in a 2-2 draw at Arsenal in 1968 (same game as they used clips from in the 'Golden Vision') which were just amazing. At the final whistle he just sprints off the pitch. Job done off I go!!
In 1970 the game at home against Keflavik was untidy for him. He made a few gaffs and - as usual -the crowd decided to have a go. Gordon gave the Street End the V Sign and basically told them to 'get off my back' We won 6-2 in the end. Catterick dropped him and Andy Rankin returned for a stretch and became a hero in the next European Cup round with his penalty save aginst Monchengladbach. If you see pictures - or film of it - look who's first to enbrace Andy when we got through...Gordon.
But my best memory is around 1972. We had fallen from grace badly and we really did look like going down. Around easter we played at Goodison(Again I think it was Wolves and drew 2-2). Gordon was amazing and like a man possessed. It continued that way for the remaining games- this only 2 years since we won the title- thats how far we had fallen! If it hadnt been for him and Howard Kendall we would have sunk I firmly believe.
I see him around Waterloo and he used to pop into my local - with his son and pipe but aint seen him in the pub for a while. An unasuming man. In this week when 'Money doesnt talk it swears' as Dylan said I have lost faith in football but I look at Gordon and his type (Lets remember the great Neil Young at City ..RIP too ) times have sadly 'A Changed' and we wont see too many like this living legend anymore.
Gordon West.....a REAL Everton LEGEND. Long May You Run
11 Posted 07/02/2011 at 00:59:25
When Westie was goalkeeper's coach at Tranmere Rovers, I remember his booming voice organizing the team for the after match drinks at the Rovers social club.
Though he replaced my then hero, Albert Dunlop, he was so solid back there throughout the 60s. A real Everton legend.
12 Posted 07/02/2011 at 03:46:47
Gordon didn?t seem to like driving and was always walking home at night, but never failed to stop for a chat and a joke. The greatest of these occasions was the Sunday after the greatest FA Cup Final in 66 after we had been to all the home matches and we had seen the team home on the bus. We met Gordon coming down the street and got our hands on a freshly minted medal.
Along with Brian Labone, whose garden I occasionally helped with, they were great guys with a lot of banter between them. I hope Gordon gets his testimonial and hope he reads this.
13 Posted 07/02/2011 at 05:13:46
We often used to make our way back past the clubhose just to see the team play after training, I think I ended up with most if not all of the autographs in my autograph book which I still have somewhere..
Good on you Gordon, it would be fantastic for him to get a testimonial.. for all the fun, the handbag comments and the sheer joy he brought
14 Posted 07/02/2011 at 12:54:01
His brilliance was not captured on TV anywhere near as much as one would like in order to show to younger generations. (Even when the media does a piece on Banks, it's that save in Mexico and little else.)
And that throw of Gordon's... I used to go in goal just so I could throw it out like him.
Testimonial for Gordon? I'll go.
15 Posted 07/02/2011 at 15:50:56
St John by the way was known as the only player with a Lonsdale Belt as he was sent off at least 3 times for punching opponents. He absolutely flattened Pancho Pearson in a game against Man Utd... Pearson afterwards said he didn't feel it as he was knocked clean out.
I also remember Bobby Collins jumped on the back of Ron Yeats and tried to pull him over (Yeats was a giant and Collins was 5'-4")... Collins was let go much too soon and absolutely carried Leeds Utd for some time after he left us.
Collins, Young and Vernon were the best and Westy was a fine goalkeeper but not so good as Southall who commanded his area better than anyone.
16 Posted 07/02/2011 at 16:18:14
17 Posted 07/02/2011 at 17:58:35
This is a great thread what excellent memories of those Everton Greats. Jimmy Gabriel, Chico Scott, Denis Stevens, what would they be worth today?
I also remember the Youth Team winning the FA Youth Cup in 1967 John Hurst was the captain. We won 3-2 I think there were about 30,000 at The Old Lady that night.
18 Posted 07/02/2011 at 18:42:54
Great keeper. Just a pity his missus put the block on him going to Mexico.
19 Posted 07/02/2011 at 21:11:19
20 Posted 07/02/2011 at 20:41:29
Yes, that streaker, and that rain and that vibe (not panic but not a nice vibe), that went round when we thought they had come in to take the Street End. Only match day rumour worse than that was the bastard in the front row of the Main Stand who said Chelsea were winning on the last day of the '86 season, twat. Even the Millwall stabbing didn't cause as much kerfuffle as that testimonial night.
Don't know about running to Fazackerley or Norris Green, but I do remember queing for the 68 bus on County Road after the match and having to run down as far as the Rice Lane stop to get out of the way of some fighting. Come on guys, I was only an innocent 12 or 13 at the time, give me a break.
21 Posted 07/02/2011 at 22:02:18
Happy Days. Queuing up waiting for the gates to open at 13:30 so that you could get a place on a crush barrier. The team was always West, Wright, Wilson, Kendall, Labone, Harvey, Husband, Ball, Royle, Hurst and Morrissey.
I hope the club do the right thing and give him the testimonial he deserves.
22 Posted 07/02/2011 at 23:07:33
Someone also mentioned the Monchengladbach game, I was in GS and when the penalties came Joe Royle missed and I thought it was all over (getting me used to losing penalty shoot-outs early)
but then realised it was best of 5, Andy Rankin will always be a hero after that save. It was pissing down that night and the Germans had probably one of the best players in the world Gunther Netzer.
He had scored in the first leg but Kendall equalised straight from the kick off noticing that the Monchengladbach goalie was still picking up toilet rolls from the goal mouth.
God I love Everton FC
23 Posted 07/02/2011 at 23:05:22
24 Posted 08/02/2011 at 10:47:06
25 Posted 08/02/2011 at 13:09:55
They don't make them like that any more. The way that players these days are mercenaries and that hardly any players stay at one club is one of the more modern depressing factors of the game today.
26 Posted 08/02/2011 at 13:47:39
Don't know why I remember that but I do. Was only a whippersnapper and my dad used to take me to all the home games. If I remember rightly, wasn't it pissing down that night?
27 Posted 08/02/2011 at 14:02:42
That was my very first European game. Is there any footage of it anywhere?
28 Posted 08/02/2011 at 22:43:32
John's OP mentions the 0-0 last meeting against Blackpool. I well remember that as one of the few games my Red Dad took me to in my youth. Think it was last game of the season and remember that Burridge was in goal and receiving treatment for what seemed like 10 mins after a full blooded full volley from Bally hit him full in the ballies right in front of the St End. I had a great view from the Goodison Rd Enclosure, 7/6d I think it was then.
Chris @ #10, Westy was propping the bar up on a regular basis at The Raven in South Rd circa late 70's- ish, was that your Waterloo pub?
Christine @ #13 - ah The Cinder Path from Gorsey Lane thro to just off Park Lane, aka Bomb Alley, I wasn't fortunate enought to get near misses from footballers, just scallies.
Steve @ #22, blow me Gunter Netzer ? did he really play at Goodison in that game. I remember him playing for Germany in a qualifier at Wembley and running the show about 1973 as they destroyed us 3-1. All green shirt and unkept long blond hair, he was magnificent that day. He would have had the usual clubs scrambling after him these days, wonder who it was then. Something tells me he played for Real Madrid at some stage, any other big names ie, Italy etc?
Dave @ #26, thanks, yes Wolfgang Kleff, wouldn't have got that in a quiz to save my life but for some bizarre reason, remembered him as soon as I read what you had said. Only thing I've got to work out now ? is why???
29 Posted 08/02/2011 at 23:16:03
All the best to him and all others of his era and ilk. God bless them all. Hope the club looks after them with tickets still.
30 Posted 08/02/2011 at 23:46:38
31 Posted 09/02/2011 at 09:38:09
Have had your medication today?
32 Posted 09/02/2011 at 14:58:15
33 Posted 09/02/2011 at 19:31:56
34 Posted 10/02/2011 at 12:43:20
If I remember correctly, John Hurst and Jimmy Husband were among those in the Everton team. Sommat tells me the score may have been 5-2.
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment to Fan Articles, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and MailBag submissions across the site.