Favourites aren't always the best, Part 10

John McFarlane 08/02/2018 82comments  |  Jump to last

Continuing the theme of my favourite players, my selection for inside left is Roy Vernon.

Thomas Royston Vernon was born in Ffynnongroen North Wales on 14 April 1937.

From a schoolboy of ten years old, until going into the army at the age of 18, my favourite inside forward was Wally Fielding. However, Wally was transferred to Southport in 1958 while I was serving in Cyprus.


About these ads

On my demob from the army in August 1959, I had to find another player to pin my hopes on, fortunately Bobby Collins had been recruited to fill the void left by Wally's transfer.

For most of my first season, 1959-60, back on 'Civvy Street', Bobby operated at inside left, with Eddie Thomas taking the inside right berth, this was soon to change however, with the arrival of Roy Vernon, in February 1960.

Although Vernon signed in February, he had been to Goodison Park a little earlier to discuss a move to Everton, but nothing materialised and he returned to his club, [Blackburn Rovers.]

I knew a lad who was on Blackburn's books at the time, and he told me that Vernon had a training ground row with Dally Duncan the Blackburn manager, and said, "I wish I'd signed for Everton, when I had the chance" to which Duncan replied, "We'll soon sort that out" he then contacted Johnny Carey and arranged the transfer that brought Vernon to Goodison, with Eddie Thomas going in the other direction. I'm not claiming that this is what happened, I'm merely relating what I was told.

I was at Goodison to witness Roy Vernon's debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers, a 2-0 defeat, and I wondered what we had bought, he had a poor game, and to tell the truth I felt that he looked far removed from a footballer, but my opinion of him was to change quickly, as he scored his first league goal the following week, in a 2-1 loss to Arsenal at Highbury, and added another six by the end of the season.

The next season 1960-61, in an away game against Nottingham Forest, he was sent off, and that was a game I attended on my own; my mates preferred a Saturday night in the pub – they lacked the passion I had for the club.

Throughout the game Bobby Collins and fellow Scot John Quigley, had fought a running battle, and although I was some distance from the incident that led to Vernon's dismissal, I believe that the referee had mistakenly thought Vernon was Bobby Collins, and had sent the wrong man off.

Vernon finished the season scoring 22 goals in 44 appearances in all competitions, helping Everton to finish in Fifth position.

In the 1961-62 campaign Vernon scored 26 league goals in 37 games, (28 goals in 40 league and cup games) Harry Catterick had secured the services of goalkeeper Gordon West from Blackpool, and Dennis Stevens from Bolton Wanderers.

Everton finishing in 4th position in the Football League, and qualifying for European football, for the first time.

In the 1962-63 season Harry Catterick added Johnny Morrissey to the team, he made his debut in a 4-1 home win against Sheffield Wednesday. The European adventure was short-lived, as Dunfermline Athletic triumphed 2-1 on aggregate.

The league programme was interrupted by severe winter weather, and Everton didn't play a league game between December 22 and February 12. Harry Catterick took advantage of the break to sign Alex Scott and Tony Kay.

Despite a drop in form when the league programme resumed, the last twelve games brought eight wins and four draws, and Everton had amassed their biggest points haul of 61, and were unbeaten at home for the first and only time.

In the 1963-64 season Roy Vernon scored 21 goals in 39 appearances in all competitions, which saw the biggest disappointment to date, the elimination from the European Cup at the hands of Inter Milan.

This season also saw the arrival of Fred Pickering from Blackburn Rovers, for a fee of £85,000. Pickering scored a hat-trick on his debut against Nottingham Forest at Goodison Park.

Victory over Blackburn Rovers the following week, saw Everton go top of the league, but a stumble four games from the end of the season, resulted in a third place finish, to add salt to the wound, Liverpool won the title.

The 1964-65 season was to be the last one as an Everton player for Vernon, and a difficult one for the club, Ray Wilson newly signed from Huddersfield Town, was injured two games into his Everton career, and he joined Gordon West, Alex Parker, and Dennis Stevens in the treatment room.

The injuries forced Harry Catterick into blooding youngsters Tommy Wright and Colin Harvey, who had both established themselves in the team. Indeed Tommy Wright did so well that Alex Parker who had started the season as captain, was allowed to leave for Southport, Roy Vernon regaining the captaincy.

A bright spot that season was the 4-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield, I can recall a Liverpool supporter planting a stave topped by a 'purple heart' in the centre circle prior to the kick off, (in reference to the allegations that Albert Dunlop had made). Everton finished in 4th place, and had the satisfaction of doing the double over Liverpool, in the return game at Goodison Park, winning 2-1 with goals from Johnny Morrissey and Derek Temple.

Vernon scored 4 goals in 20 games in all competitions, and his last game was on March 13, a 3-1 home win over Aston Villa when he scored two of the goals, Johnny Morrissey netting the other, shortly after that game Roy Vernon was transferred to Stoke City.

Sadly, Roy Vernon passed away on 4 December 1993, aged 56.

Roy's career figures are

Blackburn Rovers: 131 games, 49 goals

Everton: 176 games, 101 goals

Stoke City: 84/3 games 22 goals

Halifax Town : 4 games

I came across this tribute to Roy Vernon:

To those who saw him in his pomp, Roy Vernon was a goal scoring inside forward, who was the equal of his contemporaries, Denis Law, and Jimmy Greaves.

The Goodison Park legend was Everton's leading marksman in four of the five seasons he spent on Merseyside, after joining the club from Blackburn Rovers, where he began his professional career.

Roy Vernon was something of a rebel, his individualism leading to clashes with both Ewood Park boss Dally Duncan, and Everton's Harry Catterick on a fairly regular basis.

A former school friend who played with him for Mostyn YMCA recalled that at an early age, Vernon would often practise his ball skills even though the rest of the team were waiting for the kick off.

But his talent shone through and although invited to Everton for trials, he signed for Blackburn Rovers boss Johnny Carey in 1955, and within two years had earned his first Wales cap, playing alongside such established stars as Ivor Allchurch, Cliff Jones, and Jack Kelsey.

At the time, he was doing his National Service with the Royal Welch Fusiliers, based in Wrexham. An impressive debut against Northern Ireland in Belfast, was followed by the only goal in a vital World Cup qualifier against Czechoslovakia, that helped take Wales to the following year's final stages in Sweden. It was the first of his eight international goals in 32 games for his country, the last of which was against England in 1968.

Although interrupted by National Service, his record at Blackburn was impressive and his 49 goals in 131 league outings was a major factor in the club's promotion to the top flight of English football.

Carey who by that time had taken charge of Everton, returned to his former club in 1960, to capture Vernon's signature for a second time in a deal worth the then , not inconsiderable sum, of £35,000.

After a less than conspicuous debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers, which Everton lost 2-0, the Welshman then scored seven goals in four games, and he was to go on to form a lethal partnership with Alex Young "The Golden Vision".

The pair and the new manager Harry Catterick, transformed Everton into title winners, Young scored 22 goals during that season, but was outshone by Vernon, who finished with 24, eight of which came in the last seven matches of the season, including a hat-trick against Fulham on the final day of the campaign.

It was an incredible achievement, but Vernon gave credit to the manager's ability to weld a team, into a team, in the true sense of the word.

In an era when physical contact was still allowed, even encouraged, Vernon looked small in comparison with some of the legendary defenders he came up against.

Former Everton captain Brian Labone, described him thus, "Taffy Vernon was about ten stone wet through, and looked as athletic as Pinocchio" and Vernon was hardly the model of fitness.

A heavy smoker, his team-mates reported seeing him stubbing out cigarettes as he was making his way down the tunnel to the pitch, and lighting up afterwards in the showers.

A Goodison Park Historian wrote of Vernon, "Built like a 'Biro' but as tough as 'Rawhide'. he was in his element in the penalty area, lurking like some dark assassin to deliver the deadly stiletto thrusts that were his trademark.

But his rebellious streak was never far from the surface, and in the first of many bust ups with the Everton boss, Vernon was sent home from an American tour, and taken off penalty taking duties, but in an FA Cup tie against Leeds United at Elland Road, after Alex Scott's effort had been saved by the keeper, the referee ordered a retake, it was Vernon who grabbed the ball and dispatched the second spot kick with minimum fuss.

What Catterick said afterwards was never recorded, but a parting of the ways seemed inevitable, and in December 1964 three weeks after being fined for turning up late for training, and carpeted for giving a press interview, he was dropped for a trip to Tottenham Hotspur.

A transfer request followed on New Year's Eve, and soon after, Vernon joined Stoke City, where Tony Waddington was assembling a side to challenge for promotion to the First Division.

Vernon's reaction to his departure from Goodison Park was typical, "I suppose everyone knew we were going to part company, at Everton success is not anticipated it's demanded, players are expected to toe the line rigidly, almost like schoolchildren, and I don't like too much discipline."

Share this article

Reader Comments (82)

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

Derek Thomas
1 Posted 09/02/2018 at 10:03:46
Top choice, John, you've nailed it again: favourite and the best!
Rick Tarleton
2 Posted 09/02/2018 at 11:08:15
A superb choice. The best striker I've seen at Goodison in my 60 years. The best penalty-taker and the most confident player I've seen in an Everton shirt.

Catterick did many great things as a manager, but he got rid of players who spoke their minds far too soon and Collins, Vernon, Ball and perhaps Jimmy Gabriel as well, proved this point.

I applaud your choice, John. My abiding memory of Vernon was a trick he used frequently of pointing with his left hand outstretched towards the left corner flag and then accelerating away to the right. That fraction of a second he gained was all he needed.

A truly brilliant player and a unique character whose combination with Alex Young formed the best and most skilful strike pair we've had in my time.

John McFarlane
3 Posted 09/02/2018 at 11:44:43
Hi Derek [1] thanks for your favourable comment, but as you'll no doubt appreciate, 'one mans meat is another mans poison.' Had I chosen another player for that position, it's quite likely that I would have received a similar response.

Hi Rick [2] I'm pleased that you agree with my choice of Roy Vernon for the inside left position, but I can only give you the same response that I gave to Derek, 'one mans meat etc.'

With regard to the players Catterick let go, it was disappointing, but in fairness I think we must give a little leeway, in as much as, we don't know what went on at Bellefield.

My abiding memory of Roy Vernon was of a penalty he scored at Old Trafford, I was at the Score Board end of the ground, and the penalty kick was being taken at the Stretford end. The keeper, I believe it was Dave Gaskell, approached Vernon prior to the kick being taken, and said something to him.

Vernon promptly dispatched the ball to the keepers left, the keeper, had dived to his right, and Vernon stood there pointing to the ball nestling in the net.

I would hazard a guess that it was a bit of gamesmanship that didn't pay off.

Barry Ward
4 Posted 09/02/2018 at 13:12:24
A good choice, John.

I first watched Everton in the 1962-63 season when I was 8. my first game was a 5-0 demolition of Blackpool. Roy Vernon was a huge favourite of mine along with Alex Young.

However, I lived in Maghull and in 1964 it seemed that most of the Everton and Liverpool players lived there as well, in club-owned semis. My auntie lived next door to Gordon West. A few friends and I had autograph books and on Sundays we would traipse round Maghull and Lydiate to get the players autographs. We would knock on the door and invariably the players would sign our books and have a chat with us. Imagine that these days?

One Sunday we'd had a bumper haul of autographs, Tony Kay, Alex Scott, Ian St John, Brian Harris. Our last call was at Roy Vernon's house in Lydiate. We knocked a few times before the door was answered. There stood our hero. 'Er, any chance we could have your autograph please' I asked. "Fuck Off" he shouted loudly and chased us down the path.

Now thinking about it, he might have been having a kip, his Sunday lunch or we might have been the umpteenth schoolboy callers at his door that day. But he was certainly in a foul temper. We scarpered home as fast as we could.

When I got home I was showing my dad our latest autographs and told him about Roy Vernon. He nodded slowly. "He's Welsh, son" was his considered response.

Sometimes it isn't great to meet your heroes.

Lenny Kingman
5 Posted 09/02/2018 at 13:16:21
No mention of the great man's hat trick in the 62-63 Championship winning game against Fulham?

I was on the Goodison Road terrace just underneath where Roy was handed the prestigious old Division 1 trophy, festooned in blue ribbons, and watched history unfolding in front of my eyes.

John McFarlane
6 Posted 09/02/2018 at 13:35:44
Hi Lenny [5] as it was mentioned in the tribute to Roy, and because I knew that a lot of information would be duplicated, I felt that I could cut back a little.

In case you missed it, this is how it was covered in the tribute:

Young scored 22 goals during that season, but was outshone by Vernon who finished on 24, eight of which came in the last seven matches of the season, including a hat-trick against Fulham on the final day of the season.

It was an incredible achievement, but Vernon gave the credit to the manager's ability to weld the team into a team, in the true sense of the word.

I watched the game from behind the goal at the Park End, and was one of the thousands who invaded the pitch at the end of the game.

Lenny Kingman
7 Posted 09/02/2018 at 14:06:14
Okay, John, I didn't read that bit and you are right of course.

I didn't make it onto the pitch that afternoon from the vast sprawling terrace under the Goodison Road stand but I did from the Gwladys Street end on the misty night we beat West Brom to take out the title once more in 69-70.

Excellent series and I get the feeling you are enjoying writing it, as much as we T/Webbers are reading it.

Peter Mills
8 Posted 09/02/2018 at 14:29:41
John, I only have fleeting memories of Roy Vernon, but he did introduce me to that thrill of seeing a striker running through on goal with only the goalie to beat – Lineker was superb in that situation, Derek Temple dealt with it superbly in the ‘66 Final, and Roy was an absolute ace.

I suspect your selection is not going to receive too much argument. My own “not necessarily the best, but favourite” would be Tim Cahill.

John Keating
9 Posted 09/02/2018 at 15:55:39
100% agree with your choice, John.

A great player in a great team.

Still can't believe I watched us getting beat by Dunfermline!!

Terry White
10 Posted 09/02/2018 at 16:10:59
No arguments from me, John. My recollections from the 1959-1960 period are that we were scoring goals for fun. I remember Roy scoring 2 in a 3-1 home win against Wolves and him blasting one into the top corner from distance.

Bobby Collins, Jimmy Harris, Mickey Lill, Tommy Ring (until his broken leg), and Roy, were all regularly on the score sheet as we frequently would be scoring 3 or 4.

Jay Harris
11 Posted 09/02/2018 at 16:19:43
Your best choice IMO.

Roy Vernon is my all-time favourite Everton player.

My memory of him is that he could dribble around the opposition and then the goalkeeper, even from a kickoff, and what a penalty taker.

I was in the Boys Pen when we won the title but was one of those who climbed over the railings and went onto the pitch with thousands of others.

He was a character too. I heard a story that he got stuck in his car on the beach at Formby after one too many one time and missed the team bus and had to drive to the game himself.

No doubt that was Catterick's problem with him.

John Keating
12 Posted 09/02/2018 at 16:36:10
Lenny (#5). I must have been close to you that day mate.

What a day that was. Just brilliant.

I remember before kick off and the place was chocker. 2 lads with a tennis ball got onto the pitch and played about. They never got thrown off as I remember just got fed up after scoring about 20 times in the Park End goal!

Terry White
13 Posted 09/02/2018 at 16:53:54
Peter (#8), not sure that John has room for a number 17 in his team of favourites. I presume you would classify Tim as a midfielder? Tough competition in this XI in that position.

I know you were a little too young to see Roy in his prime for us. I can assure you that Tim Cahill, for all his many attributes, was no Roy Vernon. Although I do know that Tim could head a ball better than Roy. Can anyone on here ever recall Roy scoring with his head? Not that he ever needed to, his feet were more than adequate. What a finisher!

John M. Boon
14 Posted 09/02/2018 at 18:22:47
Vernon's ability was clearly demonstrated by his ability to score goals from inside and outside the box. He easily makes the best ever team, although for sheer class Alex Young is still my number one. But each to his own preference. I wish we had any one of them today, preferably both.

Vernon was a somewhat testy individual. In many ways he was a rebel and he always left fans in suspense as to what he might do. However this was all part of what was so good about him. In a strange way, as much as I can recognise him as a great player, I don't consider him as a great Evertonian.

Sad that he died at such a relatively young age.

Peter Mills
15 Posted 09/02/2018 at 18:26:12
Ah Terry#13, I fear you are losing sight of the fact that this great series from John is about favourites, not best! He has set me thinking about my own team of favourites which I hope to present when John has finished, which will be based on personality as much as ability, although some players had bags of both.

John McFarlane
16 Posted 09/02/2018 at 18:51:00
Hi Peter [8] we tend took back through rose tinted glasses, I've searched high and low for bluebell tinted glasses without success. On a serious note, in time you will be able to wax lyrical about Tim Cahill, who was an excellent player and always gave 100% for the team. I feel privileged to have seen the players that I have featured in these articles, and many more that represented Everton over the years, having different players as your favourites is not a reason to provoke an argument, and I think I know what you meant.

Hi John [9 & 12] did you really watch the game at Dunfermline, I was offered the chance to up there, a friend who sadly died at a young age, asked me if I fancied going up there, and when I asked him how we would travel, he replied "On my scooter" I think you're old enough to know that a scooter is what is known as a moped today, I'm afraid I declined the offer.

Regarding the Fulham game I was in my usual spec behind the Park end goal, and someone had hung a shirt on the netting, not a football shirt, an everyday item of clothing. I took it to mean "Come on boys I've put my shirt on you" implying that he may have had a wager on the result.

Hi Terry [10 & 13] the players you refer to played in 1960, and gave our generation the first glimpse of what football was really like. I can reel the team out now, Dunlop, Parker, T E Jones, Gabriel, Labone, Harris B, Lill, Collins, Harris J, Vernon, Ring... there were one or two changes due to injury etc.

I saw your post on another thread, and it restored my faith in the human race, welcome to a profanity-free forum.

Ron Marr
17 Posted 09/02/2018 at 19:01:15
Definitely Roy Vernon for me. I remember my Mother (a Liverpool fan, Dad was Everton) coming home one day with my first Everton kit with #10 on the back. I was at the Fulham game in 63 at the very front on I think the Bullens Road. The Football Pictorial Annual had a shot of the crowd on the cover and I could just about recognize myself at the front, way cool for a 10-year-old.

Yeah, how did we lose to Dunfermline.

I have a photo somewhere of an Everton team in the early 50s with three future managers on the team. Harry Catterick, Harry Potts and Ken Furphy. I was wondering if inside forward Harry Potts was ever considered for the Everton manager position. He won the league with Burnley and I think made the quarter finals of the European Cup. Boy we could do with someone like Harry Potts today

John Keating
18 Posted 09/02/2018 at 19:15:45
Hi John
yes we went up to Dunfermline in a "charra".

Seem to remember by the time we passed Blackpool all the old uns were well oiled. Think we left Everton about 8am ? We were definitely in Dunfermline for them all to continue visiting the local hostelries early afternoon.

As for the actual match I just remember that we were absolutely dire ! In fact I reckon we were as bad that night as any game this season, that's how bad I remember it ! Alex Young and Roy Vernon might as well not have been on the pitch, in fact half of them might not have !

We should really have sewn that tie up at Goodison to be honest.

I seem to remember we never set off back home until the pubs closed at half ten. Long trip !!

If I'm not mistaken Jock Stein was the manager of Dunfermline at that time

John McFarlane
19 Posted 09/02/2018 at 19:33:23
Hi Jay [11] apology, I was almost through replying to the comments, when I was summoned to the dining table, in my haste to obey the order, I posted the replies.

Yes, it does seem that Roy could be a difficult person to deal with, but as you rightly say his penalty taking technique was superb, 19 successful attempts from 20 is not bad.

I think I've mentioned on one thread or another that some lad [at the time] told me that the referee changed the ball shortly after he missed the one at White Hart Lane, I'm not saying that the condition of the ball had anything to do with his miss.

Hi John M [14] I'm with you, when it comes to a favourite individual, Alex Young was a once-in-a-lifetime player, every football follower's dream. However, you will appreciate that the theme of these articles is positional favourites.

You say we could do with having either or both of Roy Vernon and Alex Young, how would you fancy having Bobby Collins, and one who just missed out in my selection, Jimmy Gabriel?

I will be in my seat with my 13-year-old grandson tomorrow, and I wonder how many of the team we watch, will be etched in his mind.

Dave Abrahams
20 Posted 09/02/2018 at 20:41:56
Roy Vernon was one of my favourites, a very classy player with plenty of fight, how a player so lightweight as he was could bang the ball as hard as he did was always a mystery to me.

If Roy was more disciplined and looked after his fitness better, he would have had a much longer career. But Roy was Roy, a maverick and always looked forward to and enjoyed the superb football ability he provided. Another good choice, John.

John McFarlane
21 Posted 09/02/2018 at 21:20:30
Hi Dave [20] how lucky were we to have seen the players we're talking about now? I know that football and football players are viewed differently, you and I could sit next to each other and see a completely different game.

I find it impossible to put my finger on the time that things started to go against us, although I do feel that it could have been when Peter Johnson was spending money that the club didn't have.

On a lighter note, I ruled Tommy Ring out of my possible candidates for the outside left berth, I think I may have been a little hasty, because it has caused me an immense problem. I've managed to narrow it down to four candidates, I've only got myself to blame – I may have been too demanding when I set the bar at a hundred appearances.

I keep checking the availability of the church, but as yet no joy I'm afraid.

Laurie Hartley
22 Posted 09/02/2018 at 21:50:37
He was a great player in a great team John and one of my all time favourites. Not only skilful and as fast as a whippet but also hard as nails.

Paul Birmingham
23 Posted 09/02/2018 at 22:04:22
Brilliant read and thanks to all the lads and your memories.

It's the lasting impression my dad gave of Roy, in that he could do anything. Great nostalgia and how now we'd be take 10%, of what those players had..That's the reality of how bad this 1st team is as it's deffo not a proper football team by any account.

It's brought a great sense of reality to what's been another garbage week and for me the worst season..Made me smile..

Keep up these writes lads, superb and your Legends in your own right. My first time on the pitch at Goodison Park was after Eamon O'Keefe's late late winner in the 1980 FA Cup quarterfinal.. vs Southampton.

Goodison seemed massive when on the pitch. Those were the Days!

Hopefully 3 points tomorrow by hook or crook.

Terry White
24 Posted 09/02/2018 at 22:23:45
John (#21), a cross you have to bear having restricted your favourites to a minimum of 100 appearances. Tommy Ring, as we have discussed earlier, would have been the perfect #11 for your team.

I can give you some names that I very much doubt would be your favourites, Graham Williams ("Tom Thumb"), Bobby Laverick (although he did score 6 goals in only 22 games), Eddie O'Hara ("son of Tom Thumb"), Peter Kavanagh ("The voice of them all"), all of whom wore the blue number 11 shirt during the later part of the 1950s.

I'm struggling to come up with as many as 4 that might be your favourites!

Laurie Hartley
25 Posted 10/02/2018 at 02:44:59
John, can you post your team so far please - then we can go into a frenzy trying to guess your number 11.

I am assuming your formation is 1-2-3-5 with 1 being the goal keeper. How things have changed since I started watching the blues at the beginning of the sixties. Now it is 5-3-2-1.

Rick Tarleton
26 Posted 10/02/2018 at 07:17:41
Terry White (#24), three left wingers stand out: Eglington, Morrissey and Temple – and you forgot Jimmy Fell from your list of those wingers of the late fifties, early sixties.
John McFarlane
27 Posted 10/02/2018 at 09:00:15
HI Laurie [25],

The team so far is:

Gordon West, Alex Parker, Jock LIndsay, Peter Farrell, Brian Labone, Brian Harris, Alex Scott, Bobby Collins, Alex Young, Roy Vernon, ???

Laurie Hartley
28 Posted 10/02/2018 at 09:52:07
Thanks John - looking at your team and Ricks suggestions choosing your favourite left winger is going to be difficult for you and maybe Dave Thomas will come into your calculations?

I know who mine would be but that would be letting the cat out of the bag.

Ian Burns
29 Posted 10/02/2018 at 12:14:13
Hi John, without any doubt whatsoever, this choice is right on the money. Roy Vernon was lethal in front of goal and boy could we do with him today (I keep saying that John with each of your choices!!).

A strange memory of Roy Vernon was on the Sunday morning after we had beaten Sheff Wed, I think 4-2, I seem to recall Roy scoring from the spot. The Sunday paper (I can't remember which one, my father used to buy it), rated players out of 10. Roy was rated 10 out of 10 after that game, the first time I had ever seen such a rating and it has stayed with me all of those years!

Brilliant article to go with a brilliant choice. Well done John.

Dave Abrahams
30 Posted 10/02/2018 at 14:04:25
John for your outside left, it's got to be Eggo (Tommy Eglington) remember John, "Favourites aren't always the best" and John you can't leave Peter Farrell on his own in your team, they played in Ireland together for both teams North and South, Everton and Tranmere in three divisions, first and second with Everton and third with Tranmere.

And finally John, if you don't pick him next time we have our cup of tea together I'll sulk, even though Tommy Ring was the best left winger I ever saw. So no pressure John.

Terry White
31 Posted 10/02/2018 at 17:38:08
Rick (#24), I was really trying to name players who wore #11 in that period that I know John would not be choosing, for good reason. I did think Jimmy Fell was not all that bad, certainly an improvement on those I did mention.

Beyond that, I did not want to spoil John's deserved thunder by making any suggestions before he had a chance to reveal his selection (Dave #30).

John McFarlane
33 Posted 10/02/2018 at 19:41:40
Hi Terry [24], I'm not long home from the match; you were right, the four players would not have featured in my selection, not least, because they didn't pass the 100 appearances rule. I've just checked up and the figures are as follows,

Peter Kavanagh 6 league
Bobby Laverick 22 league 1 FA cup
Eddie O'Hara 29 league 2 FA cup
Graham Williams 31 league 2 FA cup

Hi Ian [29], I've just consulted my research department, and I think the game you refer to was played on 3 December 1960, Everton 4 Sheffield Wednesday 2. Roy Vernon 2 (1 pen) Jimmy Harris, and P Johnson (own goal) attendance 50,702.

Hi Rick [26], I did not mention John Connolly, it's hard work keeping track of them. It may have been easier for me if I hadn't been a man of principal, and chosen Tommy Ring.

Hi Dave, I wouldn't have you sulk, but I had better bring a hankie with me just in case, I think you'll agree a bit more spirit shown today. Although Josh and I sit in the Park End, we had no idea why the penalty was awarded. Josh's Dad told us, when he picked us up from Ormskirk station, that Ashley Willams had handled the ball.

Don't you think that Theo Walcott is a breath of fresh air, in a season that reeks? .

Dave Abrahams
34 Posted 10/02/2018 at 20:51:01
John (33), well I was delighted with the victory but not really impressed with the performance although I'll take any win, any way, as long as it keeps us up.

Agree with you entirely John over the form of Theo Walcott, John Daley pays him a great tribute on another thread which is well deserved.

John, did Don Easthope have a few games in the number eleven shirt in the late forties or early fifties? Probably the latter if he did.

John McFarlane
35 Posted 10/02/2018 at 21:58:48
Hi Dave [34] yes Dave, he played twice, making his debut on March 5th 1953, away to Notts County in a 2-2 draw, Gwynfor Lewis scoring both goals. His second game was against Fulham at Goodison on March 25th a 3-3 draw, John Willie Parker 2, and Wally Fielding scoring.

Dave,I'm glad you called him Don, because that's how I knew him, however I was talking to Derek Temple a number of years ago, and he called him Joe Easthope, the reference books also call him Joseph Donald Eastohope.

I had the same problem with Ted Falder, the reference books refer to him as David Edward James, but I called him Ted, and will continue to do so. I have a book that contains a copy of players autographs, and he signed his name, Ted Falder and that's good enough for me.

I agree with you regarding today's game, but I believe performances at this time, are secondary to results.

Terry White
36 Posted 11/02/2018 at 02:48:15
Laurie (#28), Dave Thomas was a shining light on our left wing and he could be many fans' favourites but he does not meet John's criteria of making 100 appearances for us. So, another one crossed off the possibles list, leaving very few.
Derek Thomas
37 Posted 11/02/2018 at 05:17:48
I'm going with Morrissey for No.11
Gerry Ring
38 Posted 11/02/2018 at 09:55:38
I am really enjoying these articles. I can't wait for the next one.
Dave Abrahams
39 Posted 11/02/2018 at 16:14:40
John (35), if that Fulham game was on a Wednesday afternoon, then I saw it, but don't remember Easthope playing, although I saw him many times in the reserves with Alan Hampson playing inside left to him.

Back to the Fulham game if it was on the day I said then Bedford Jezzard scored two for Fulham and gave Matt Woods a he'll of an afternoon, it was also the lowest ever league gate at Goodison Park, just over 11,000 attended the game.

Regarding Ted Falder, although I never went to the game not many Everton fans remember he was centre half when we lost 2-0 to Liverpool in the 1950 semi-final at Maine Road.

Dave Abrahams
40 Posted 11/02/2018 at 16:20:26
Just remembered, In my saying not many Everton fans will remember Ted Falder playing in that 1950 semi final... erm... I'm afraid that not many who went will still be here to talk about it. Lack of thought, sorry about that.
John McFarlane
41 Posted 11/02/2018 at 16:52:36
Hi Dave, [40] the Fulham game was indeed on a Wednesday, and you had no right to be there, unless it was a 'Holy day of obligation'.

You were right on both counts regarding Ted Falder and the semi-final, [ "Not many Everton fans will remember Ted Falder playing in that semi-final"] as there are unlikely to be many of us left to think, or talk, about it.

I've just been reading another thread, and I'm afraid I found it depressing, Evertonian's engaged in 'Cyber warfare,' and many may wonder, why some of us immerse ourselves in nostalgia.

Dave Abrahams
42 Posted 11/02/2018 at 17:00:13
John (41) yes, you are correct I'm out of here. I swerved school that day (or 'sagged school' as we used to say). Everton proved to be more important than school, as they were to prove (to me at least) many times before and after.
John McFarlane
43 Posted 11/02/2018 at 18:27:39
Hi Terry [24] I have a bit more time to respond to your post, I'm afraid that I only saw handful of games in which Eddie O'Hara and Bobby Laverick featured, due in the main to my army service, and they didn't make much of an impression on me.

Regarding Graham Williams, my mate and I were on our way back from Huddersfield, following a 1-0 defeat, and the coach pulled into a roadside café, [pre motorway days], there were some Bradford City supporters on their way home from a game at Prenton Park.

The discussion we had with them centred on Graham Williams, they were saying that they were glad to see the back of him, but I think that was just sour grapes on their part.

However, I didn't see a great deal of him either, a few games in his first season, and the same in his last, due to my army service. The overriding memory I have of him, is the fact that he and Bobby Collins were probably the smallest left wing partners, in the First Division.

Ray Atherton
44 Posted 11/02/2018 at 19:38:35
Hiya John you have brought a nostalgia about our
50"s and 60"s.
I read a brilliant thread about the Footballers wifes
about Roy Vernon, Becky Vallentine.
I had the pleasure of Roy knowing on the journeys
from the London matches early 60"s.
Talking to him at the Hotel before the match, West Ham
1963 we won 2-0, league champions.
Roy had a column in the Daily Post, the RS were playing Leicester at HIllsborough at the Semi Final
in the FA cup. He said we want to see the RS win.
I said what"s that is all about. He said "That"s all
paper talk, Hope the Bastards get beat.

I am sorry about your encounter with Roy,but
you havIIe seen a Mr Hyde Moment.
Every time I spoke to Royston he was Dr. Jeckyl
even when we had a few pints in Maghull with
my Hero.
At Ninian Park Wales v Scotland, Jimmy Gabriel my two heroes) pllayed against each other 4 against 10.
Roy was the winner.

Roy was my number 10 also my hero to have to
having such wonderful memories.

Jack Convery
45 Posted 11/02/2018 at 00:17:27
If its a left winger you need to pick next it has to be trick, though my personal favourite and out and out right winger would be Kanchelkis. He didn't play a 100 games plus so I know you won't pick him. Great series you've produced. Congratulattons.
John McFarlane
46 Posted 12/02/2018 at 10:58:14
HI Jack [45] I'm afraid that Andrei Kancheslkis doesn't qualify for the outside left position, as he operated mainly on the right wing, and as you rightly say he hasn't played enough games. He managed 60 appearances and scored 22 goals during his time at Goodison.
Dave Abrahams
47 Posted 12/02/2018 at 12:43:18
John (43), you keep picking games that immediately bring back memories from long ago.

That Huddersfield game we lost, bet it was the game Davie Hickson scored the winner for Huddersfield in the first minute. I'd jumped on the pitch during the kick-about before the game and asked him when he was coming back to play for the Blues.

"Two minutes after they ask me," he replied. I think he re-signed for the Toffees during that close season.

One left winger who neither of us saw was a player who played war time football for the Blues but I think he was already on the books, his name always brings a smile to my lips: Cuthbert Tatters, sounds like a name from a comic, but he was real.

Brian Harrison
48 Posted 12/02/2018 at 13:10:22

Being of a certain age I have been lucky to see all the players you have named in your side. I don't think many would disagree with your number 10, when you think of how defenders could tackle from behind in those days. You would have thought with his frame Vernon wouldn't have been able to stand the physical side of the game, but I don't remember his missing many games through injury.

Obviously this team is your choice but how you haven't found room for Alan Ball I find amazing. I would have put Bobby Collins in the position you have Brian Harris and have Alan Ball in Bobby's position. And for the life of me how Alex Scott makes your final side is beyond me. He had pace and that was it, I can think of 4 or 5 I would have in front of him. I see you rule out Kanchelskis as he hadn't played enough to qualify I didn't realize you had set a minimum set of appearances. But if you wanted to keep Brian Harris in your side then you could have picked Ball as the right winger. Also I think both Mickey Lill and Billy Bingham were better wingers than Scott.

Sorry for disagreeing as this is your team not mine. Keep up the good work John!!!.

Peter Mills
49 Posted 12/02/2018 at 14:48:55
"There's only one Cuthbert Tatters!"

I can hear you singing it, Dave!

Terry White
50 Posted 12/02/2018 at 15:05:38
Brian (#48), John has made it very clear from the beginning of his excellent thread that he was only picking players with 100 appearances for the club. This has ruled out Mickey Lill, who I submitted at the #7 spot as my favourite, and Bingham. And will also rule out many people's pick at #11, Tommy Ring.

He also has picked his favourites at positions they played in a 1-2-3-5 formation – so Bobby Collins was always an inside forward, not a wing half. So,much as he may have admired Alan Ball, and he may have been "better" than Bobby Collins (tough call), he has chosen his favourite in the inside right position and would not consider putting Bally in as a #6. Colin Harvey – maybe. Ditto for playing Ball out of his Everton position on the right wing! John is not trying to shoe horn the "best" players into the team. Hence the appropriate title, "Favourites aren't always the Best".

It has been an enjoyable nostalgic ride thanks to John and other contributors.

Dave Abrahams
51 Posted 12/02/2018 at 15:06:46
Peter (#49), yes, that name is just ripe for a song: if he wasn't very good, you don't need a good imagination to know the fans would soon put a "w" right after the "T" in his surname!!!!
Brian Harrison
52 Posted 12/02/2018 at 15:37:32

I didnt realize John had set a minimum number of games before a player could be considered. And I did congratulate John on introducing this brilliant addition to ToffeeWeb, there was no criticism intended.

Steve Ferns
53 Posted 12/02/2018 at 16:47:46
Keep it up John. Can't wait for your final instalment. I'm still claiming an "assist" for persuading you to do this fantastic series!
Terry White
54 Posted 12/02/2018 at 17:22:53
Steve (#53), Peter Mills has promised us his favourites as a follow-up to John's great selections. I suspect we'll see one or two of a later era from Peter.

This thread has shown there are much better ways to express ourselves in nostalgia than Allardyce-bashing. Many thanks, John.

John McFarlane
55 Posted 12/02/2018 at 18:34:08
Hi Dave [47], it was the game you refer to, it was Davie's first home goal although he had scored away from home.

Regarding Cuthbert Tatters, I believe he was a promising youngster, but (and don't bet on this) I recall my uncle Tommy telling me, that he was injured in a war-time game against Liverpool, and that finished him.

Hi Peter [49], the best of luck with your proposed project, keep the sleeping pills handy.

Hi Steve [53] ,you may not realise it, but you have caused me many sleepless nights, and if you're claiming an "assist", I'm sure my solicitor will use that in evidence.

Laurie Hartley
56 Posted 12/02/2018 at 21:16:35
John - Peter Farrell and Jock Lindsay are the only two players in your team that I haven't seen play for Everton. The rest include many of my favourites but I have noticed there is not one player from the "modern era".

Perhaps you are going to spring a real surprise with your final favourite...

John McFarlane
57 Posted 12/02/2018 at 21:48:21
HI Laurie [56] I don't want to give any thing away, but I'll repeat the first two paragraphs of the Gordon West article.

"I have been asked many times, to reveal who I regard as the best Everton players in their respective positions, I have always declined as I feel it's difficult to evaluate the merits of players of different eras. I actually believe it's difficult to distinguish between players of the same era, as witness the debate among some, as to who was the better centre forward, William Ralph "Dixie" Dean (Everton) or Tommy "Pongo" Waring (Aston Villa), there would be no argument at all if the question was who scored the most goals?

So I decided instead, to select my favourite players, who span the 1940s, 50s and 60s with one foot in the 70s. There may be one or two raised eyebrows before the end of this posting, but as stated "Favourites aren't always the best".

I'm struggling to pick my outside left, I've narrowed it down to two contestants, but I think it will go down to the toss of a coin.

Dave Abrahams
58 Posted 13/02/2018 at 00:57:30
John (#57), you have written a great series which has created a lot of interest amongst Everton fans, especially us older fans but quite a few younger ones.

So John, please use your vast knowledge of not just Everton but football in general to decide your Number 11 – don't use a coin to pick him out, make your decision a football one, not the spin of a coin.

By the way, John, do you remember Eggo's five goals versus Doncaster Rovers, every one a peach of a goal on that lovely sunny day in a 7-1 (or was it 7-2?) victory.

Not trying to influence your decision in way John!!!

Laurie Hartley
59 Posted 13/02/2018 at 07:57:27
John - if it's good enough for Dave it's good enough for me. I reckon it will be one foot in the sixties and one foot in the seventies. Wish we had him now.
Peter Mills
60 Posted 13/02/2018 at 08:27:06
John (#55), I didn't quite follow your reference to needing sleeping tablets. At 4:00 am today, I realised precisely what you are talking about!
John McFarlane
61 Posted 13/02/2018 at 11:10:28
Hi Dave [58], I have made my mind up, and it was football based; the toss of a coin business was just a bit of supposed drama. The Doncaster result was 7-1, I have a little tale about that day, which I'll share with you at a later date.

Before I close Dave, you're on a yellow card, for your innuendo [51] to Peter [49] I was about to boast that this thread was "Squeaky Clean," hopefully your remark went under the radar. Best wishes John.

Hi Laurie [59], I'm in the final stages of preparing the next episode, you will have read my reply to you regarding the time span, so you can expect anything from 1948 to 1975. Watch this space.

Hi Peter [60], I think I'd better spell it out to avoid confusion, what I meant was that you are likely to find that it's not quite as easy as it seems, selecting 11 players from several hundred, can be taxing. I found myself taking the problem to bed with me, hence the reference to the "Sleeping Pills"!

Dave Abrahams
62 Posted 13/02/2018 at 14:24:17
John. (61), guilty as charged, but I was slightly invited to make that remark by Peter Mills.

When we next have our cup of tea together, I will tell you a true story about a Catholic bishop using that word in relation to a game of golf. John, you will have to send Josh on a message while I tell you the story.

John McFarlane
63 Posted 13/02/2018 at 16:48:32
Hi Dave [61] Do you think that he went to confession?

I've just put the finishing touches to Part 11, and
when it looks as though part 10 has run it's course, I'll submit it.

I've also decided that such talented players should have a manager, so I'll probably run something up.

Tony Abrahams
64 Posted 13/02/2018 at 19:12:43
I think Dave is after the manager's job, the way he keeps trying to pick your team, John!
Peter Mills
65 Posted 13/02/2018 at 22:24:51
Tony (#64), not only picking the team, but rather adept at passing the blame too!!
Dave Abrahams
66 Posted 14/02/2018 at 11:54:04
Peter (65), I've always been a bit of a snitch Peter!!!
John McFarlane
67 Posted 14/02/2018 at 12:06:41
Hi Dave [66], Be sure your sins will find you out!!!!

I'm ready to submit part 11, but I'll give it until the end of today, to determine that part 10 as run its course.

It's nice to enjoy a stress-free period, I can't believe that we only have five home games left, which is just as well, because I don't think I can take much more.

Gerry Ring
68 Posted 14/02/2018 at 13:44:29
John, at some point you might give consideration to picking your team of players who played less than 100 games. Just an idea.

Brilliant articles, all. Well done!

John McFarlane
69 Posted 14/02/2018 at 14:13:59
Hi Gerry [68] Peter Mills has said that he would like to submit his favourite players, when my series is completed. I'm pleased to know that he has been inspired to do so, because I believe we need a diversion from the sometimes feisty exchanges on other threads,

As I have said on occasion, I don't consider myself a prude, but foul language isn't necessary, and doesn't reinforce a viewpoint. It pleases me to say that the current series of favourites, hasn't prompted anyone to make offensive comments, or to be abusive to other contributors. Thank you for your kind remarks.

Terry White
70 Posted 14/02/2018 at 14:48:43
John (#69), it will be interesting to see what formation Peter uses to accommodate his favourites. Perhaps 1-4-3-1-2 will do the trick, Peter?
Peter Mills
71 Posted 14/02/2018 at 15:04:19
Terry (#70), just because we've known each other for over 50 years doesn't mean you are going to get any advance warning of my intentions!

Having said that, I'm thinking 1-4-4-1-1 at present although, having had my second night of players' names bouncing around my head, that is subject to change.

My contribution will not be as detailed, nor as eloquent, as John Mc's, so for now I look forward to his left winger and, I hope, substitutes.

James Hughes
72 Posted 14/02/2018 at 16:02:23
John Mc, many thanks for the articles and I can really relate to Roy Vernon and his attitude. Never saw him play as my part of the tribe began in the early 70s.

What has prompted me to reply was in the last paragraph of the tribute to Roy.

I suppose everyone knew we were going to part company, at Everton success is not anticipated it's demanded.

That expectation/demand... what happened?

As fans, we still have it, but the board, well, who can say?

Anyway, a great post sir.

John McFarlane
73 Posted 14/02/2018 at 16:18:02
Hi Peter [71] don't be hard on yourself, my task was made easier, due to the fact that I have one or two football books to assist me. I'll make no secret of the fact that I used 'obituary notices' to pad my articles out, my advice would be, to steer off players who are still with us.

As I suggested in my reply to Gerry [68], articles of this nature provide a respite from some of the repetitive and sometimes, unpleasant comments that I've observed on other threads.

I can reveal the names of the players I had to overlook for one reason or another,

Goalkeeper Jimmy O'Neill
Right back Tommy Wright
Left back Ray Wilson
Right half Jimmy Gabriel
Centre half Mick Lyons
Left half Colin Harvey
Outside Right Mickey Lill
Inside right Alan Ball
Centre Forward Dave Hickson
Inside left Wally Fielding
Outside left Tommy Ring

Not bad for a second string don't you think? I would have used any of those as substitutes, feel free to use any of them yourself. [For 10% of your royalties]. Good luck in your venture!

John McFarlane
74 Posted 14/02/2018 at 17:41:19
Hi James [72],

Thank you for your kind words, it's possible that I may have lost a little of my passion approaching my 80th birthday, but I still attend as a season ticket holder, with my 13-year-old Grandson.

I suppose I've been trapped in a time warp, where all we supporters were interested in, was what happened on the pitch. We debated issues of the day in the pub.

In the pre-www era, the running of the club was of little concern to us but, as I say, the modern supporter, through the internet, is more interested in these things than we ever were.

Ray Roche
75 Posted 14/02/2018 at 18:25:48
John, #74 – "where all we supporters were interested in, was what happened on the pitch." And wasn't that a better time to be an Evertonian or a fan of any team?

The inevitable and constant castigation of Kenwright and Moshiri would not have been as possible in a pre-www world... but, having said that, we would all have missed out on a brilliant series on past players, courtesy of yourself.

Although I only agree with about 4 of your 10 players (so far) it has been a very enjoyable, informative and thought-provoking series. (My number 11 is Morrisey and my 9 and 10 were Young and Vernon, priceless in today's market!)

Dave Abrahams
76 Posted 14/02/2018 at 18:58:34
I think before John Moores got Everton going again, as a club, there wasn't much heard of the boardroom and we only wanted to know about the players. Although there was a bit of a stink when Cliff Britton resigned, with all of the players wanting him to re- consider his position including one player who reputedly never got on with him, rumoured to be Wally Fielding.There was also unrest about Dick Searle (I think) around the same time; he was one of the directors.

Growing up then, I (like John Mac) just loved football itself and, although I loved Everton, never expected them to win anything – at the same time wanting them to. Football was everything to me, I loved it. Wish I felt the same way now, but it is all about money, money and more money. That is why we should all cherish players like Seamus Coleman who brings a sanity and decency to a greedy mentality of too many in today's game.

John McFarlane
77 Posted 14/02/2018 at 19:01:43
Hi Ray [75] I'm glad I've found a like-minded supporter, I've often been described as a dinosaur, and referred to as "Johnny McFossil, but you are right – the internet is a double edged blade.

The fact that you can only agree with about 4 of my selections, is proof of 'One mans meat' etc. I can tell you that if Tommy Ring hadn't been available, Johnny Morrissey would have been on the list of possibles.

Yes, they were more enjoyable days, but I suppose in 20 years time, today's fans will be saying exactly the same, although I can't imagine them waxing lyrical over the present players. Thank you for your kind words.

Terry White
79 Posted 14/02/2018 at 21:45:57
Peter (#71) I do think those 50 years give me some insight into your thinking and I have an inkling of one or two who may be your selections but would need my suggested formation to bring out the best of their abilities while leaving room for other notables to be included.

Like everyone else who has enjoyed what John has brought to this link, I shall be patient and wait for your goalkeeping "favourite", probably not Dai "The Drop" Davies. In the meantime, try and get some sleep. Perhaps an extended visit to The Bug would help?

Terry White
80 Posted 16/02/2018 at 01:25:38
I think it's time for Number 11, John.
Laurie Hartley
81 Posted 16/02/2018 at 02:52:01
Ray (#75) – maybe, after John reveals his final favourite, you might for the benefit of our younger fans, tell us why Johnny Morrisey is your favourite left winger. He is mine also (just pips Derek Temple).

John McFarlane
82 Posted 21/02/2018 at 12:03:19
Hello everyone, this is John's son, Alan. My dad is in hospital at the moment and hes doing okay. Part 11 is finished – he will submit it when he comes home.

Nil satis nisi optimum.

John M Boon
83 Posted 21/02/2018 at 20:50:57
Hi Alan. Thanks for letting us know about your Dad. Hope he continues to return to good health. His contribution to Everton and Everton fans is very significant. Hopefully we have the patience to wait for his Number 11 pick. To be an Evertonian patience is essential.

I am of the same era as your dad and, while things are tough at the present time, I still look for a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. True Blues never give up.

When ill health comes around, football can be a comforting diversion. It also makes us realise that there are more important things such as family and friends.

A victory this weekend against Watford will surely be a tonic that will have a positive affect on his health. However I am also sure that the unquestioned support of a son is an even bigger tonic.

Gerry Ring
84 Posted 18/04/2018 at 08:23:38
John, read the previous comments from last month & hope you are well. There are a lot of us waiting for your No 11 choice. Regards & thanks for the superb articles.

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

» Log in now

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 Talking Points submissions across the site.

About these ads

© ToffeeWeb