An alternative 'Team of the Century' – Part 2

John McFarlane [Senior]   22/10/2018 0comments  |  Jump to last

To finish off this article, I pay tribute to another three Everton players who formed part of my alternative "Team of the Century".

Sam Chedgzoy

Sam Chedgzoy holds a claim to fame few footballers of his or any other generation could claim. He forced a change in the laws of football, the bizarre and far reaching incident, took place after the FA reworded the corner kick rule in their statute book, in June 1924.

The drafting of the clause left a loophole spotted by Liverpool Echo sport editor, Ernest Edwards. He spoke to the officials of Everton Football Club about the wording of the law, and Sam Chedgzoy, the regular corner-kick taker, agreed to expose the limitations of the law.

"There's nothing in the book, as it stands, to prevent you from dribbling the ball right into the middle, instead of kicking it from the corner," explained Edwards, "Why not try it out and see what happens?"

Always willing to enter into the spirit of things, Sam Chedgzoy did just that. In a match early in the 1924-25 season he placed the ball for a corner kick, then calmly dribbled it through to the goalmouth, while the referee, linesmen, and players stood dumbfounded.

The referee began to lecture Sam, but primed by Ernest Edwards, the winger innocently declared "What's in the rules to stop me doing it?" There wasn't anything. The FA at an emergency meeting shortly afterwards, altered the law.

While Chedgzoy became famous for that incident, it did not overshadow the immense contribution he made to Everton Football Club, as a dashing winger of pace and style.

Like Joe Mercer, Chedgzoy learned his football in the hard school of Ellesmere Port football.

He was first spotted as a 20 year old, plying his trade down the right flank of the Burnell's Iron Works side in the West Cheshire League. The man who spotted him was Fred Geary, a record breaking centre forward in the Victorian period. Geary had amassed the incredible total of 86 goals in 98 appearances between 1889 and 1895, and clearly appreciated the service a quality winger could provide,

Chedgzoy became the successor to the great Jack Sharp, and the greatest compliment that could be paid to him, is that he did not suffer in comparison. Bobby Parker was the centre forward who benefitted most notably from Sam's blistering technique, and the ability to hang centres in opposition penalty areas.

In 1914-15, Everton clinched their second League title, with Parker contributing 36 goals in 35 appearances, many supplied by the right boot of Sam Chedgzoy.

Ironically, when the young Dixie Dean kicked off his colossal career in the 1925/26 sesason, Sam Chedgzoy was enjoying his last season in an Everton jersey. Evertonians can only imagine the havoc this pairing would have wreaked on First Division defences.

Despite having four years wiped from his playing career by the firsr World War, Sam Chedgzoy still went on to amass 300 appearances for the 'Blues', it wasn't until his 30th birthday that he was recognised by his country, in an international against Wales, but he went on to win another eight England caps, and he represented the Football League on five occasions.

At the end of his carerr Sam left Merseyside for Montreal, where he contunued to play until he was 51 years old, he made regular visits to England but settled permanently in Canada where he died aged 78.

I chose Sam Chedgzoy because he played his part in the alteration of the FA laws of the game.

Bobby Collins

At just 5'-3", Bobby Collins known as the 'Wee Barra' to Celtic fans during the 1950s, was sold to Everton for a club record fee of £28,500 in 1958, and Bill Kenwright is quoted as saying, "Bobby Collins was very much a part of Everton's life, and helped to transform the club from the minute he arrived at Goodison Park, as our record signing."

He was pivotal and inspirational, during his four years with the 'Blues' and will never be forgotten by our fans, and everyone at Everton Football Club.

Former teammate Eddie Gray, said that he rated Bobby Collins as the most influential player in the history of Leeds United Football Club. Having been signed by Don Revie for £25.000 in 1962, the scot was pivotal as captain to their promotion to the First Division.

Collins was named the English Football Writers 'Player of the year' in 1965 when Leeds finished as runners up in both the League and FA Cup. However, he suffered a serious injury the following season in a European tie, and he subsequently moved on to play for Bury, Greenock, Morton, Ringwood City, Melbourne Hakoah, Oldham Athletic, and Shamrock Rovers.

Collins who was capped 31 times for Scotland, also managed Huddersfield Town, Hull City, and Barnsley, as well as having two spells coaching with Leeds United.

Bobby Collins joined Everton in 1958 when they had lost their first six League games, scoring 4 goals and conceding 20. He scored on his fdebut in a 3-1 win over Manchester City at Maine Road, and despite being in the side that lost 10-4 to Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, he was inspirational, helping Everton to finish in 16th position.

He joined Leeds United when they were fighting against relegation to the Third Division, he helped them to avoid the drop, and a couple of years later they were competing for major honours.

I chose Bobby Collins because he took two clubs by the scruff of the neck, and gave them their pride back.

Dixie Dean

So much has been written about Dixie Dean that it's hard to find something new; however, I did stumble on to an article written by a Peter Jones.

Dixie Dean was a phenomenally famous footballer, perhaps the best example of this comes from an Italian prisoner of war, who was captured by British troops during the second World War.

The Italian shouted at his captors in broken English, "Fuck ya Winston Churchill and fuck ya Deexie Dean" — this humorous event demonstrated the significance of Dean; comparing him to Churchill may appear a bit too extreme, but it certainly highlights his reputation.

For someone so famous, it could be deemed rather surprising that the story of his testimonial is little known. Dean's testimonial was a roaring success, many turned out to see the Liverton Scotland team run out 3-1 winners over the Liverton England team.

The Liverpool Echo was full of praise for the event stating, "A night of memories af Goodison Park, of nostalgia, and sentiment, and a heart stirring moment when the fans greeted Goodison's greatest ever player, Bill Dean, as he led the players out for his testimonial.

"Where else in the country would a crowd of nearly 40,000 turn up towards the end of a season, to watch an exhibition match for a player who last appeared for the club more than 25 years ago"?

"Of course, the player they were honouring was exceptional, so was the attendance.

The most memorable ovation was still to come: after Dean kicked off, he walked off alone, waving to the crowd, and I suspect there were tears in his eyes, as every person in the ground sounded their appreciation with prolonged applause and cheers. This was Dean's night.

The event raised £7,000 which would have been an immense help to Dean and his family, and would have helped fund his retirement from Lttlewoods when he was 65.

A lot of the praise must be directed to John Moores, he saw a club legend in need of support and went above and beyond to support him, Dean was not asking for help, but John Moores provided him with two jobs, a member of security, and later a porter, plus a big day to thank him for his loyalty to Everton.

Football is totally different today, and no elite club would ever really need to support a player the way John Moores did for Dean.

Nevertheless it is hard not to look back fondly to this era, and realise how much has been lost in terms of relationships between players and fans. Players are so much removed from normal life that it looks like personal relationships, like Dean working in Littlewoods will never return.

In conclusion, Dixie Dean's testimonial was significent for many reasons: firstly it highlights the gulf in wages from modern day football.

Dixie Dean's achievements are comparable to LIonel Messi's, yet he spent the latter years of his life as a porter for Littlewoods, which one presumes, Messi will not.

Dean was an example of uniting Merseyside, getting both teams to come together to celebrate his career, and football across Liverpool, something that doesn't happen very frequently any more.

Finally, it demonstrated the generosity of John Moores, as Everton chairman he took it upon himself to honour an Everton great 25 years after his retirement, and he deserves a lot of plaudits for doing so.

Dixie Dean is arguably the greatest player to wear the 'Royal Blue' of Everton, it would be difficult to find one fan across Mesyside, or the whole country, that does not think he deserves every penny he was given for his testimonial, and much more.

I don't think I have to give my reason for choosing William Ralph Dean.

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