When 'Legends' were thin on the ground — Part 6

John McFarlane [Senior]   22/07/2018 0comments  |  Jump to last

Continuing the theme of listing every player who represented Everton from 1946-47 when League Football resumed after the Second World War, until 1950-51 when Everton were relegated to Division Two.

Joseph Mercer, OBE

Born 9 August 1914; Died August 1990

Genial Joe Mercer retired twice as a player, in May 1953 and June 1954, the second time after suffering a double fracture of his leg in a League game against Liverpool atBandy-leggedp>

Bandy-legged, he was an outstanding wing-half with a biting tackle, and a never-say-die attitude. From April 1933 to April 1954, he appeared in 450 games for Everton and Arsenal, and won 6 full caps and 27 wartime caps for England, also representing the Football League. He was part of a tremendous half-back line comprising of Cliff Britton and the redoubtable Stan Cullis.

Mercer gained three League Championship medals, the first with Everton in 1938-39, and two with the Gunners in 1947-48 and 1952-53. He also skippered the Londoners in the 1950 FA Cup Final victory over Liverpool in 1950, and collected a runners-up medal two years later. He was also voted Footballer of Year in 1950.

Eventually retiring in 1954, shortly before his 40th birthday, Mercer spent a year or so out of the game, running a grocery shop in Wirral. He moved back into football as Manager of Sheffield United before taking over as the Aston Villa Manager. He introduced several youngsters at Villa Park, calling them 'Mercer's Minnows'. He took Villa to the Second Division title in 1960 and League Cup victory in 1961, and saw them finish as runners-up in the latter competition in 1963. Mercer then stayed out of the game for a short while (his wife and friends thought the pressure would kill him) before reappearing as Manager of Manchester City.

With Malcolm Allison as his assistant, he revitalised the Maine Road club, guiding them to First Division Glory and a Charity Shield victory in 1968, an FA Cup triumph in 1969, League Cup Final success in 1970, followed by victory in the 1971 European Cup Winners Cup Final.

He managed England for a handful of games in 1974, between the respective reigns of Sir Alf Ramsey and Don Revie. He brought a smile back to the players and fans alike with some positive results.

He lived in Birkenhead and watched Tranmere Rovers regularly, until his death at the age of 76, a Wonderful Man.

Joe Mercer's Everton career record was 184 appearances 2 goals.

Eric Moore

Born 16 July 1926; Died August 2003

A product of Haydock, Eric Moore had his fair share of ups and downs during his eight years at Goodison Park. After a solid start in the Central League side, in which he figured at both centre-forward and right-half, he was switched to right-back. From that point he was a regular for the best part of eighteen months, but a troublesome knee injury sidelined him for long spells during the following two seasons.

When he was fully fit again, he missed only one game in two seasons, but in December 1956, unhappy at his lack of game time, he asked for a transfer. He moved to Chesterfield in a deal worth £10,000 in January 1957, after nearly 200 outings for Everton. In July 1957 he was signed by Tranmere Rovers, later becoming a publican in Atherton.

Eric Moore's Everton career record was 184 appearances.

James Anthony O'Neill

Born 13 October 1931; Died 15 December 2007

Goalkeeper Jimmy O'Neill was spotted by an Everton scout while playing Junior football in Dublin, and invited to Goodison Park for a trial period; he was taken on at the end of 1948-49, and offered full professional terms.

He made his Central League debut in August 1949 and, 364 days later, his first-team debut – a defeat to Middlesbrough.

He enjoyed a successful career, becoming one of Britain's outstanding goalkeepers, forcing his way into the Ireland side where he won 17 caps. He was exceptionally safe when handling crosses, and he utilised his speed well. Indeed, he was often seen halting opposition forwards in their tracks on the edge of the penalty area.

He eventually lost his place to Albert Dunlop, and was transferred to Stoke City for £5,000 in July 1960 before joining Darlington in March 1965, later playing for Port Vale.

Jimmy O'Neill's Everton career record was 213 appearances.

John William Parker

Born 5 July 1925; Died 1988

John Willie Parker spent more than four years in the shadows, before establishing himself in the Everton side in the early '50s. He was a tall stylish inside forward with two good feet and the ability to create goal-scoring chances as well a being a regular scorer himself.

He arrived as an amateur in 1947 from St Lawrence CYMC and quickly graduated through the junior sides, signing professional forms in December 1948. Within 18 months he was a regular in the Central League side, but he did not make his first-team debut until 24 March 1951, when he occupied the outside-left berth against Blackpool at Goodison Park. He was a deceptive player who was often criticised for being too casual in his approach to the game; he had his faults but was widely regarded as one of the more cultured performers of the day.

John Willie Parker's Everton career record was 176 appearances 89 goals.

Clifford Brian Pinchbeck

Born 29 January 1925; Died 2 November 1996

The tall figure of Cliff Pinchbeck covered for Harry Catterick and Jock Dodds at Everton, making his debut in the First Division against Derby County in January 1948. He was transferred to Brighton and Hove Albion in 1949.

Cliff Pinchbeck's Everton career was 3 appearances.

Harold J Potts

Born 22 October 1922; Died 16 January 1996

Harry Potts was Everton's first £20,000 signing, an effective inside-forward he scored 50 goals in 181 appearances for Burnley, gaining an FA Cup Winner's medal in 1947.

The Turf Moor Board turned down a £25,000 bid from Blackpool before selling him to the Blues. He made his Everton debut at Charlton Athletic in October 1950, partnering left-winger Tommy Eglington.

His best season, was his first season at Goodison Park when he scored 5 goals in 29 games; he played only once when promotion was gained from the Second Division in 1954.

Harry Potts's Everton career record was 63 appearances 16 goals.

Aubrey Powell

Born 19 April 1918; Died 27 January 2009

Aubrey Powell was Everton's first-five figure signing after the Second World War. He joined the Blues from Leeds United, in readiness for the 1948-49 season, and made his debut in a 3-3 home draw with Newcastle United, and helped Everton escape relegation from the top flight.

A dapper yet somewhat fragile looking footballer, he was a wonderful dribbler and possessed a strong right-foot shot. he twice fought back after doctors had written him off with serious injuries.

During the Second World War he had served in Belgium before returning to win eight full caps, two with Everton, and star in four victorious international games for Wales. He made 112 League appearances for Leeds United scoring 25 goals.

Aubrey Powell's Everton Career record was 35 appearances 5 goals.

George Rankin

Born 29 January 1930; Died 1989

Owing to the form of Jack Hedley and Gordon Dugdale, and then George Saunders and Eric Moore, well-built George Rankin had to wait until December 1950 before making his League debut for Everton against Derby County at Goodison Park.

He retained his place in the side for the remainder of that season, before losing out to the former Rangers defender, Jock Lindsay. He later did well with Southport, making 144 appearances in four seasons.

George Rankin's Everton career record was 39 appearances.

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