1966 (and all that) – Part 1

The summer of 1966 was a magical time for Merseyside followers of football: Liverpool were League Champions, Everton were FA Cup winners, and Goodison Park was chosen to host Group 3 matches, plus a quarter-final and a semi-final of the World Cup.

This article is in part made up of match descriptions from a World Cup publication, and in part my personal experience.

I worked at that time for the Gas Board in a small unit in Bond Street, Vauxhall, and was able to get a lift from a workmate to Goodison Park, to purchase not only my own tickets but also tickets for my mates.

Group 3 consisted of Brazil, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Portugal, with Brazil the reigning World Champions after having

Brazil 2 - 0 Bulgaria

Tuesday 12 July 1966
Referee: Kurt Tschenscher (West Germany)
Attendance: 47,308

Scorers: Pele, Garrincha

Brazil: Gylmar, Santos, Henrique, Denilson, Lima, Bellini (C), Altair, Garrincha, Alcindo, Pele, Jairzinho.

Bulgaria: Naidenov, Shalamanov, Petev, Vutzov, Gaganelov (C), Kitov, Zechev, Dermendjiev, Asparoukav,Yakimov, Kolev.

With the reservations about Brazil's preparation, Pele set out to win the match on his own, and just about succeeded, even though Bulgaria man-marked him ruthlessly. With Pele saying afterwards, "My legs ached as a result of Zechev's constant kicking and tripping," in the end, the referee had to separate them and wag a finger, which was as tough as they ever got in those days.

In the debate about footballers from different eras, it's worth remembering the relative protection ball-players get nowadays; Zechev was booked but would have been sent off before half-time in today's game. Not that Pele was particularly intimidated, he was too well-built, a brick powerhouse with genius, how do you stop that? – except by fouling.

When Bulgaria did it yet again with only 13 minutes gone, the great man exacted appropriate revenge, with none of the bending and curling commonly associated with Brazilian free-kicks, this one (hit with anger?) blazed through the wall and beat Naidenov (the first goal of the tournament). Ironically, the free-kick had been given away by Yakimov, Bulgaria's most accomplished player.

If the talented Asparoukov had shaken off an ankle injury, who knows what tremors might have been caused in that creaking Brazilian defence? As it was, the 35-year-old Kolev, first capped in 1952, was a peripheral figure, until he committed a rather sheepish foul just outside the area.

Garrincha picked himself up and smashed the ball into the top near-side corner, with the outside of his right foot. Those deformed legs, bending at the knees from the side, looked almost made for scoring goals like this.

Brazil had played in fits and starts but looked like a one-man army. Late in the game, Pele put his head down and went on an angled run, reminiscent of a famous goal scored by George Best, ending in a shot which Naidenov did well to turn over the bar magnificently. But Pele's legs had taken so much stick and he was rested for the next match.

My abiding memories of that night are the enthusiasm of the Brazilian fans in the Park End stand above me, and the beating of their drums. Granted I can remember the Goodison Bugler in the late 40s and early 50s but this was something else. Also, Pele's free-kick, but only because it was scored at the Park End, my usual spec in those days.


Hungary 3 - 1 Brazil

Friday 15 July 1966
Referee: Ken Dagnall (England)
Attendance: 51,387

Scorers: Bene, Farkas, Meszoly (pen); Tostao

Hungary: Gelei, Kapozta, Meszoly, Sipos (C), Gusztav, Szepesi, Bene, Mathesz, Albert, Rakosi, Farkas.

Brazil: Gylmar, Santos, Henrique, Lima, Bellini (C), Altair, Garrincha, Gerson, Alcindo, Tostao, Jairzinho.

One of the most vivid matches of all time, and the subject of regular repeats. It would have been a classic if one side hadn't been so dominant, even though the scores had been level for almost an hour. Hungary lit the touchpaper early, Sipos pushed the ball out to Bene on the right wing. The winger stepped inside to stop Altair in his tracks, left him on his backside by beating him on the outside, cut inside Bellini, and scored with a left-footer inside the near post, a little jewel and just the start Hungary needed.

Brazil's two goals so far in the tournament had come from free-kicks, as did their third, the ball deflecting through to the 19-year-old Tostao, whose left foot struck it high to Gelei's left. Hungary didn't lose their nerve, and a superb sequence of play nearly put them back in front: Rikosi's cross-field pass was volleyed back by Mathesz to Meszoly, Bene then played a headed one-two with Albert only for Gylmer to make the save.

By now, Albert was running the match, socks around his ankles, ball tied to his feet. In the second half, he played Bene in behind the full-back, Farkas volleying the low cross wide of the near post. Bene put his head in his hands, Raskosi remonstrated with all his heart, Farkas snapped back. It looks comical now, but the last thing Hungary needed was another missed chance; as things stood, they were out.

But the same three players produced an almost exact replay for one of the great World Cup goals: Albert clipped a first-time pass up the right wing; instead of beating his man, Bene looked up and hit a cross which dropped just above the penalty spot. Farkas, running full pelt, caught it with his instep just above the ground and a fraction behind him – the shot almost burst the net behind a motionless Gylmar.

Brazil were broken then, missing Pele like a lost limb. The killer third goal began with a firm but fair tackle by Szepsi that left Garrincha limping. An inside pass reached Albert who accelerated between two players in midfield and sent the ball to Bene yet again. He beat Altair and was brought down by Paulo Henrique for the penalty. It was Brazil's first World Cup defeat since 1954, and by the same country.

If Albert was the conductor, Bene was the wonderful second string. Like Albert, he began as a centre-forward, first capped as a 17-year-old, soon scoring all the goals in a 6-0 win over Morocco in the 1964 Olympics. His size and close control made him perfectly suited to life out on the wing. He scored in every match in these finals and played a part in all the other goals; he was still playing for Hungary in 1979.

A memorable 28th birthday for me, a tremendous goal from Farkas, and a magnificent performance from Albert, with the crowd were roaring his name, pronouncing it 'Al-bit'. It was much later that I learned the correct pronunciation was 'Al-ber'.

Full game, with Kenneth Wolstenholme commentating


Portugal 3 - 1 Brazil

Tuesday 19 July 1966
Referee: George McCabe (England)
Attendance: 58,479.

Scorers: Simoes, Eusebio 2; Rildo.

Portugal. Periera, Morais, Baptista, Vincente, Hilario, Graca, Coluna (C), Augusto, Torres, Eusebio, Simoes.

Brazil: Manga, Fidelis, DeBrito, Denilson, Orlando (Capt), Rildo, Jairzinho, Lima, DaSilva, Pele, Parana.

Pele had to be brought back, but the contest with Eusebio was horribly unequal. Pele hadn't fully recovered, and the Portuguese defenders made sure he didn't get a chance to, a wild tackle cutting his knees from under him without so much as a booking. Before long, Morais finished the demolition job with a murderous double foul on the edge of the penalty area. Either tackle was worth a sending off, but again there was no booking; spineless refereeing from McCabe.

Pele was carried off by team doctor and masseur, taking Brazil's chances with him. In truth, their chances hadn't been much from the moment their team sheet showed nine changes, including the return of Orlando to mark Eusebio. Pele himself thought, "It would have been ridiculous in a Junior League; in the World Cup against one of the strongest of the tournament, it was suicidal."

Manga and the tiny Fidelis, had a particularly unhappy time: the goalkeeper whose pockmarked face earned him the nickname of 'Frankenstein' from kindly peers, looked nervous from the start, and Eusebio gave him reason to be, beating his man on the left and putting over a near-post cross which Manga was a little unlucky to parry straight onto the head of Samoes. The second goal was utterly predictable: Coluna took a free-kick deep on the right, Torres soared to head it back from the far post, Eusebio headed almost through Manga, flattening Orlando in the process.

Rildo pulled a goal back with a stern ground shot, but Brazil needed to win and Eusebio extinguished their chances with one of the great power goals of the World Cup. After Manga had saved his shot, Eusebio touched the ball to Simoes, whose cross was aimed to Torres as usual. The ball bounced back towards the right where Eusebio met it with a terrifying shin-high volley that left Manga on his knees, with David Coleman exclaiming, "Oh my word! have you ever seen anything like that?" Orlando, who pulled out of the tackle, never played for Brazil again.

That goal was an abiding memory of the tournament, but no more than the sight of Pele walking off with a coat draped around his shoulders and his knee heavily bandaged, vowing never to play in the World Cup again. The whole Brazilian approach had been a monument to complacency, Pele saying "I suppose our Directors put their faith in the old dictum, 'God is a Brazilian' – forgetting that 'God also helps those who help themselves'."

I'm afraid that the Eusebio goal escapes my memory, but the treatment that Pele was subjected to, and the sight of him walking off the pitch draped in a top coat, must be one of the most poignant images of any World Cup tournament.

Full Game from BBCtv, with David Coleman commentating

The Group 3 attendances of 58,479, 51,387, and 47,738 at Goodison, were the highest outside of Wembley. The other Group 3 attendances at Old Trafford, were 29,886 25,438 and 34,129.

Acknowledgement:

The Complete Book of the World Cup 1930 to 1994 – Cris Freddi.

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Reader Comments (52)

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Tony Heron
1 Posted 30/06/2020 at 11:54:12
Wow! John, you certainly brought back some memories for me there. Funny you should mention working for the Gas Board at the time, as I began my working life with them a couple of months later starting at Spofforth Road in Wavertree.

As for the games at Goodison, I was fortunate enough, having saved my pocket money, to go to all of the games there. In relation to the first game, Brazil vs Bulgaria, I have three abiding memories. The first was the colour and noise of the Brazilian fans. It was magical. Second was the sheer skill that their players all seemed to have. Switching crossfield passes and the receiver instantly killing the ball on the chest, thigh or foot. Lastly, it was standing in the Gwladys Street End and the crowd swaying one way then the other as Garrincha swerved one of his famous free kicks at goal.

The Brazil vs Hungary game still ranks as one of the finest games of football I have ever seen. Albert gave one of the most complete centre-forward (not striker!!) performances you could wish for.

As for Portugal and the kicking they gave Pele, it was shamefull. On the whole, I think the game today has gone soft, but I wouldn't like any player to be subjected to what Pele received in that game. Would I be right in thinking the guy who chopped Pele was electrocuted in a bath at his club (Benfica?) in Portugal the following year?

As a 16-year-old, it was incredible to see all these stars of World football in the flesh, rather than just pictures in my Charles Buchan album! I still have all the ticket stubs for the Goodison games.

Michael Murphy
2 Posted 30/06/2020 at 12:01:06
Hello John,

I very rarely comment on ToffeeWeb but have enjoyed reading all of the diehard passionate commenting over the years on many topics by fellow Evertonians. I have particularly enjoyed your reminiscing from bygone years of your memories following Everton.

The 1966 World Cup which I keenly followed was special to me as it made me even more determined to Follow Everton particularly after cheering them on in the cup final that same year (I still remember my elder Brother laughing at me as we went 2-0 down (no need to go there on who he supported).

It was sad to see a talented player like Pele kicked off the park. I also remember the Farkas volley as well, a brilliant move.

After that World Cup a well-paid paper round allowed my to start following Everton regularly at home. They were special times and I was lucky to see a special Team being built by Harry Catterick Through to 1970 to another World Cup, where Pele had his revenge, and even better, seeing Everton crowned Champions in the evening on an unforgettable night!

The glory times will be back, I am sure, but thanks for stirring some nostalgia in me. Take care!

Alan McGuffog
3 Posted 30/06/2020 at 12:22:31
Still think that goal by Vargas is one of the best I have ever seen. I seem to recall being right in line with it, as a callow youth.

Love the little clip of the fella supping a Higsons Double Top (?) from one of those waxed cups.

Goodison crowd very much behind the Magyars..supporting the underdogs I'd guess.

Great times.

Dick Fearon
4 Posted 30/06/2020 at 13:02:06
Had it not been for the spineless bastardry of those English Referees, it might all have been different.

I was at those games and all these years I thought it was Coluna, the Portuguese captain, who chopped down Pele with a scything two-footed tackle.

Shows how memories can play tricks.

John McFarlane Snr
5 Posted 30/06/2020 at 14:43:02
Hi Michael/ Lyndon?, thank you for the addition of the match action to my contribution, a first class effort and much appreciated.

Hi Tony [1] as a 16 year old you must have wondered at the spectacle, I can honestly say that I don't think that Goodison has ever seen a week like that, from the 12th to 19th of June, three game with such passion and skill. and seeing those brief clips provided by Michael/Lyndon it's plain to see that there was no quarter asked nor given. I am pleased that you enjoyed the read, I've been sitting on it for some time, but considered that the time was right in these dark days, to submit it.

Hi Michael [2] I reminisce over my football involvement, because I feel that at two weeks short of my 82nd birthday, I have more to look back on, than to look forward to. I am indebted to Michael/Lyndon for adding match action to my post, it brings the realisation that it wasn't all just 'beautiful' football there was some 'brutality' from every team

Hi Alan [3] The goal from Farkas was an exceptional effort. a similar goal but not as well executed, was scored by Fred Pickering from an Alex Scott cross, I can't remember the opponents of the day. Returning to the game 'Albert' must have wondered who the crowd were cheering, cry's of 'Albit', 'Albit'. were ringing around the ground, as I wrote in my article, it was a considerable time later that I was made aware of the mispronunciation, Alber Alber sounds so much nicer.

Hi Dick [4] you are so right regarding the memory playing tricks, for years I have been waxing lyrical over the Pele free kick,when it was the Garrincha effort that was scored at the Park End, supporters today may think it was Gwladys Street but if you remember, the TV cameras were positioned on the Goodison Road Stand.

George Carroll
6 Posted 30/06/2020 at 15:34:15
Thanks John great memories of standing in the Gwladys Street end and enjoying great footballers,have a happy birthday not far behind me now!!
Ray Roche
7 Posted 30/06/2020 at 17:22:33
John@5

I think the goal Pickering scored was one of the three he scored on his debut versus Notts Forest. I was in the Gwladys St and remember a cross from the right and Fred hitting it on the volley and nearly breaking the net! Instant hero. His goals per game record was tremendous and only a cartilage injury, which lead to him eventually leaving for Birmingham, prevented him from being an all time great.
In those days a cartilage injury shortened many a career or, at the very least, reduced a players effectiveness. Great shame.

John McFarlane Snr
8 Posted 30/06/2020 at 17:30:08
Hi George [6] Thank you for your appreciation and good wishes, I watched 4 of the 5 games from the Park End, and the Semi-Final, [which will be featured in part 2] from the Gwladys Street terraces, you never know we may have been standing next to each other. I never thought that the games were so fiercely contested, but watching the clips that Michael/ Lyndon have provided, there was certainly a fair amount of aggression shown by all the teams. I thought that the Brazilian fans were tremendous, and a lot of those in the stand behind the Park End goal, appeared to be portly middle aged men, accompanied by stunningly pretty young women. I'm in no doubt that it was as I said in my article a 'Magical experience.'
John McFarlane Snr
9 Posted 30/06/2020 at 17:42:33
Hi Ray [7] I think you may be right, because I used to stand behind the Park End goal, and the goal I remember was certainly scored at the Gwladys Street end. I think Fred could have, [with a little bit of luck] scored more than he did on that day. Isn't nostalgia a wonderful thing?
Tony Heron
10 Posted 30/06/2020 at 18:12:11
Hi John. The hairs on my neck still stand up when I think of that Hungary game and that Farkas volley. I think he also scored at the Park end after twisting one way then the other to turn the Brazil fullback (Santos?) inside out.
John and Ray. I remember Fred Pickerings debut very well against Nott. Forest. If memory serves he missed a sitter early on and there was a collective groan from the crowd who must have wondered if this full back turned centre forward was a dud. Incidently Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary under the Labour Goverment, writes in one of his books about visiting an uncle in Liverpool when he was a teenager. He recalls him taking him to Goodison and it so happens it was this match! He's a QPR supporter though.
John McFarlane Snr
11 Posted 30/06/2020 at 18:52:29
Hi again, Tony [10] I had the good fortune to bump into Fred at Ewood Park about 11 or 12 years ago, the day Duncan Ferguson missed a penalty, and jokingly said to him, "You should have scored your hat-trick earlier than you did." I don't think he was pleased to hear me say that, but if my memory serves me right he had missed a number of opportunities in the first half. What would we give for a Fred Pickering now?
Ray Roche
12 Posted 30/06/2020 at 19:54:41
John, Tony, Fred was a vastly underrated centre forward, it’s such a shame that he never had the chance to realise his potential.
Alan McGuffog
13 Posted 30/06/2020 at 20:36:34
Tony, Hungary scored very early in the Park End.Think it was a bloke called Bene ?
What a game ! Pissed down all second half I seem to recall
Gerry Quinn
14 Posted 30/06/2020 at 21:20:38
1966 - I was lucky that year - my Dad and oldest brother both worked for Arrowsmith Tours (in Bold Street) and had visitors from abroad arranged for the World Cup.

Guess what ? They never made it, so we ended up with 4 books of tickets to take in the 3 matches at Goodison and the 3 at Old Trafford - ALL FOR FREE! It was a fantastic time for me, aged 15, as I saw the best Group matches with Eusebio, Pele, Garrincha, Torres - the greatest players in the world. Loads of goals at each match - topped off by Portugals' Eusebio with 4 against North Korea - the Quarters winning 5-3 after being down 3-0...

...and I still reckon Portugal would have won that World Cup if they hadn't have switched the semi from Goodison to chuffing Wembley - because they were the BEST team in the Cup at that time.

Dave Abrahams
15 Posted 30/06/2020 at 21:21:43
I only saw the Brazil v Bulgaria game live, got a headache listening to a Brazilian fan banging his drum throughout the game, I think he was banging it half time as well. The game never stood out, but the two I missed,live, were very good games, watched them on black/ white tv, the treatment of Pele was a disgrace and allowed by a weak referee, but I thought Portugal and Hungary were worthy winners of each game. Great to see Pele in action at Goodison Park but we never saw the best of him because he wasn’t allowed to show his brilliance the thugs in the Portugal team.
Paul Birmingham
16 Posted 30/06/2020 at 21:22:14
John, this is superb, and a great refresher of great bygone times at Goodison Park.

Hopefully the likes of such will help inspire this Everton squad on to success.

John McFarlane Snr
17 Posted 30/06/2020 at 21:38:06
Hi Alan [12] Bene scored in the 3rd minute, I lived in Anfield, just off Townsend Lane until April 1967, and was able to walk to Goodison in about 10 to 15 minutes, and it was raining hard on our way to the match, it was my 28th birthday [Saint Swithin's Day] so no surprise there.

As I mentioned on an earlier post I was amazed to see on the film clips, how ferocious the games were, but even then the skills were far and away higher than we were used to watching. We were privileged to watch players of the class of, Pele, Garrincha, Asparouka, Albert, Bene, Yashin, Beckenbauer, Seeler and many others. Fast and furious, but highly entertaining.

Steve Sweeney
18 Posted 30/06/2020 at 21:44:46
There was a house near Goodison that was decked out with Brazilian flags, featured on the local news. Are they still there?

The best World Cup ever.

John McFarlane Snr
19 Posted 30/06/2020 at 23:17:32
Hi Gerry [14], you were extremely lucky to watch all six Group 3 games. It wasn't until I read my book that I discovered that the attendances were so low at Old Trafford. I know that we probably got the best games both on paper and in reality, but you never know what you're going to get from any football match, and a World Cup competition could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Hi Dave [15], It seemed to me that the Brazilian fans had the whole of the Park End stand for the Bulgaria game, and I thought that they added to the atmosphere. The way that Pele was treated against Portugal was disgraceful but, having seen the clips that Michael/Lyndon have provided, the Brazilians appeared to give as good as they got. It's 54 years ago now, and I didn't realise that there was so much violence from both sides.

Hi Paul [16], I seem to have gained a reputation of living in the past, but when I watched the brief action clips. I feel that we could do with some of the passion that those players of yesterday showed. Obviously there is a line that shouldn't be overstepped, but they were certainly exciting times.

Derek Thomas
20 Posted 01/07/2020 at 03:40:31
Excellent stuff, John. I was in the Gwladys Street too... what is called the GS4 section these days. I saw it all and echo every comment – magical days, magical ground.

If you squint a bit, we're still the only 'team' / 'club ground' to host Two World Cup Semi-Finals... just like Pickering with his consecutive hat-tricks, true, but you have to squint a bit.

Tony Heron
21 Posted 01/07/2020 at 07:42:57
Hi Derek @20. Two World Cup semi-finals? I was at the West Germany vs USSR game, but don't recall another? Certainly we are the ONLY British club ground to host a Football World Cup semi-final.

John, as for living in the past, I think it's an indisputable fact that football today is not as exciting or played with the passion of the past. Yes, I'll concede that there are a lot of skilfull players around and the fitness levels are better, but I have to say I find the ridiculous passing out from goal kicks and the need for hundreds of passes to reach the half-way line infuriating. I've even fell asleep watching Man City!

Dave Abrahams
22 Posted 01/07/2020 at 08:55:02
John (19), The Brazilian fan I was talking about was in The Upper Gwladys Street stand, mind you if I’m not mistaken the match was played on the 12th of July so he could have come straight from the Orange Lodge march to Goodison, whoever he was he was a nuisance.

Out of respect for you John I’ve left out what sort of nuisance he was !!!

Gerry Quinn
23 Posted 01/07/2020 at 10:17:48
John, 19, the other thing of interest at that time was that there were Redshite players in the stand we were in (Upper Gwladys Street). I vividly recall seeing Ian St John and Ron Yeats there almost at the front towards the Bullens Road side. By heck did they get some stick - all good humoured at that time though.
Derek Thomas
24 Posted 01/07/2020 at 11:28:08
Tony @ 21, you're not squinting hard enough, squint over to Chile and the other Everton, our South American cousins in the 1962 Competition.
Tony Heron
25 Posted 01/07/2020 at 12:29:39
Arrey, Dereck, that's playing dirty!!
John McFarlane Snr
26 Posted 01/07/2020 at 12:31:06
Hi Derek [20] as Tony [21] has pointed out, the Wold Cup has only been staged once in England, with Goodison hosting the West Germany vs Russia game, this being the only World Cup Semi-final to be held at a League venue, and funnily enough it attracted the lowest attendance,(38,273) The other game England vs Portugal took place at Wembley in front of 94,493

Regarding Fred Pickering, I take it that you're referring to his debut games for Everton and England, hat-tricks against Nottingham Forest and the USA.

Hi Tony [21] I think that even allowing for the possibility of looking back through 'rose tinted glasses,' we did enjoy our football more. I also think that we fans were left to our own devices, football wasn't for the 'Hoity-Toity's.'' I believe that's reflected in the attendance figures. If the world Cup ever returns to England again, I'd be inclined to think that the grounds would be bursting at the seams with so called celebrities.

Hi Dave [22] as I've said, I found that the Brazilian drummers added something to the occasion, granted I was in the Park End terraces, and the noise of the drums was coming from the stand above us. I got the impression that the stand was fully occupied by Brazilian's, but you would have a better view of that, from your vantage point in Gwladys Street.

Thank you for your respect, there are some on this site who mock me for my stance on certain issues.

Hi Gerry [23] I've no doubt there would have been one or two more than Ian St John and Ron Yeats at those games, yes, they would have come in for some ribbing, but as you say, it would have been good humoured, there has always been an intense rivalry, but I'm afraid that has been replaced by hatred.

John McFarlane Snr
27 Posted 01/07/2020 at 13:14:08
Hi Tony [25], forgive me for being pedantic, I've checked up and the Everton Club in Chile did indeed host a World Cup Semi-Final.

You wrote, "We're still the only 'team/ 'club ground' to host two World cup Semi-Final's" – I'm afraid that you're wrong: they are two different clubs and two different grounds.

Tony Heron
28 Posted 01/07/2020 at 20:08:54
Hi John. It was Derek @20 who made that claim. I'm with you!
Martin Nicholls
29 Posted 02/07/2020 at 10:30:15
Another great article, John. If I may add a bit of detail and my own comments:

Tony #1 - Jaime Graca was one of a number of Benfica players who received electric shocks in a jacuzzi (or whatever they were called in those days!) in December 1966. It was he (a former electrician) who managed to climb out and turn off the electricity, thus saving all the others, with the exception of Luciano Fernandes, who tragically died.

Ferenc Bene performed brilliantly in that Hungary team but it was not his first appearance at Goodison. Many of us older guys will recall him playing against us for the brilliant Ujpesti Dozsa team some 6 months earlier in the Inter Cities Fairs Cup (later UEFA Cup, now Europa League).

There may well have been some groans in Goodison early in Fred Pickering's (hat-trick) debut game but few who had seen him destroy us at home for Blackburn (also with a hat-trick) earlier in that same season would have thought of him as a potential dud.

Fred was a magnificent goalscorer, great with both feet and in the air who led the line brilliantly. His record for us bears comparison with all but the incomparable Dixie and, as others have said, only a tragic injury (easily remedied these days) cut short the Everton career of a man who would otherwise have rightly been acknowledged as one of our greatest ever players.

Charles Brewer
30 Posted 02/07/2020 at 11:16:29
Splendid stuff, John. One thing the Shite will never be able to say is that the best player in history played at their ground.

I watched all the clips and can only say how impressed I was with the standard of football. If the referees had been anything but useless, the games would have been even better.

I'm of the view that we still see too much severe punishment of the harmless (handling the ball, holding players), which should get a foul but except in unusual circumstances no yellow, while the absolutely malicious (from Suarez raking Distin, to the targetting of Richarlison in the recent derby, a standard tactic of the Murderers) get a foul then nothing. I'm even inclined to consider leniency a good thing where there there is clear provocation – a player calculatingly fouled with intent to harm should not get the same punishment as the initiator if a bit of violence ensues.

In my view, tackles intended to injure should invariably receive an immediate red card, and when it is clear that a player is being "targetted by rotation" the ref should give a red to the second (or possibly third) player on a "team totting up" basis, as they do now for individual players who foul repeatedly (but often with less malice).

Tony Heron
31 Posted 02/07/2020 at 11:42:52
Hi Martin @29.

Thanks for the update re the tragic electrical accident at Benfica.

Regarding Fred, I didn't mean to cast doubt on his ability, he was, as you say, a great goalscorer. Was devastated for him to miss the Cup Final.

The week following his debut I went to Ewood Park to watch the blues play his previous team, Blackburn Rovers. It was obviously difficult for him to return so soon, and I remember the Rovers and Wales centre half, Mike England playing him out if the game. A rarity though for Fred who always gave 100%. RIP.

Martin Nicholls
32 Posted 02/07/2020 at 12:04:53
Hi Tony – I recalled the electrocution incident but must admit, I had to Google the details!

Wasn't trying to have a go about Fred! To be honest, whilst the likes of the Golden Vision were still around and still adored nby many, when Fred signed for us, he was my "superhero"! Still got the scarf that my mum knitted for me with the names of every player in that team.

Speaking of my mum, she always paid for me to attend matches. I'd completed an application form for World Cup tickets for myself and a mate but before it was sent off, my old grandmother (who lived with us) died on 6th February, not really unexpectedly. Whilst waiting at the registrar's office to register the death, my poor mum suffered a brain haemorrhage from which she herself died the following day (8th).

My dad was recovering from his first heart attack so needless to say, my application form was never submitted so I didn't get to attend the Goodison World Cup games – I still have the completed application form which is probably unique!

I did get him the FA Cup Final though!

Ray Roche
33 Posted 02/07/2020 at 12:30:50
Martin, I remember Blackburn trouncing us at home, as did, I think, Burnley at around the same time. Fred was a converted full back who was pushed upfront when Blackburn were short, good move for all concerned.
John McFarlane Snr
34 Posted 02/07/2020 at 14:10:20
Hi Tony [28], apologies for the mistaken identity, I'm afraid it's an age thing, but I'm pleased to learn that you agree with me. If that ever comes up at a quiz show, you and I will be able to put things right.

Hi Martin [29], I wasn't aware of that tragedy involving Jamie Graca, and it confirms my long-held view, that losing any game of football can't be compared to someone losing their life.

I too was present at the Blackburn Rovers game when Fred scored his hat-trick in a 4-2 Everton defeat. I think that, if Fred hadn't got off to such a good start, he may have come in for a bit of stick, having replaced a crowd favourite in Alex Young, in much the same way that Denis Stevens did when he replaced Bobby Collins.

Hi Charles [30], It's my opinion that the game has become a non-contact sport, and not 'slowly but surely' but exactly the opposite. Obviously there's no place for violent or dangerous challenges, but the players themselves play a large part in feigning injury, and rolling around on the ground, but I'm afraid that the 'die has been cast'.

Hi Ray [33], It was Arthur Bellamy who grabbed a hat-trick in the Burnley game.

Charles Brewer
35 Posted 02/07/2020 at 18:35:01
John[34], I think you are right about the 'non-contact' aspect, and I don't think it improves the game at all. Your point about feigning injury is also well made, and I think that should probably merit a yellow.

My point (which does not contradict you at all) is that there are both individual malicious actions (Kuyt, Suarez) and manager-ordered ones (the series of fouls on Richarlison on Sunday). I some ways I find the first type more forgivable - if, like Jonjo Shelvey, you are at least half orc by ancestry and have the shame of playing in a RS shirt, then you probably can't help it.

The multiple fouls on Richarlison were stamps on his foot which is a particularly cowardly and damaging move. Even the worst off-the-ground out-of-control attack may do little damage unless the opponent has his foot planted (which is not to condone such fouls), but using studs onto the top of a planted foot is very likely indeed to cause broken bones and career threatening injury.

John McFarlane Snr
36 Posted 02/07/2020 at 19:46:50
Hi Charles [35] Luis Suarez was not on his own that day, if memory serves me right Raheem Sterling left his mark on Leighton Baines in a similar manner at the Park End, I think it was Baines because it occurred in the left back position. Sterling had not long broken into Liverpool's first team at that time.

In the early stages a lot of the fouls, in my opinion, were not intentional, the speed of the game caused a lot of mistimed tackles, but as time went by players were launching themselves from yards away. In my youth tackles were invariably made with the instep, when the ball was within playing distance. It's OK blaming foreign players for the feigning of injuries and the diving that now takes place, but I think the blame lies with the clubs who seem to have embraced and encouraged such behaviour.

Peter Mills
37 Posted 03/07/2020 at 07:46:01
Great article John, and thanks to Michael and Lyndon for the match clips.

I was 10 years old at the time and was not allowed to go to the matches, something I have always regretted. But I was glued to every match on the telly, and those at Goodison were some of the best. And it was Goodison, being viewed worldwide. The Farkas goal was sublime, the “Albit” chant still resonates in my mind. Florian Albert had a style similar to Alex Young’s, so he was always going to be popular.

3 bits of trivia.
1. I loved that Hungary kit, Maroon shirts, white shorts, green socks. I wanted the Subbuteo team but my mate beat me to it, so I eventually chose Uruguay - one of a few poor choices I have made in my time playing and watching footy.

2. All the houses in the vicinity of Goodison were painted prior to the start of the tournament. I have it in my mind that residents were given free paint, but had to apply it themselves. Does anyone know if this is correct and, if so, could the residents select their own colour?

3. The Brazilian gentleman with a very large drum donated it to Nazareth House children’s home in Crosby before he went home. I’m sure the nuns were delighted with that gift, I suspect it made its way to the attic fairly pronto.
I live locally to the home. If and when we next have a get-together I shall see if I can borrow the instrument for the evening, I’ll sit next to Mr Abrahams, do my best Ringo impersonation and he can fondly reminisce.

Dave Abrahams
38 Posted 03/07/2020 at 09:54:47
Peter (37), don't do your Ringo impersonation, just bang the drum, you'll be better than “ big nose”.
Alasdair Jones
39 Posted 03/07/2020 at 10:01:52
John

Apologies for this tardy comment. Superb article and it reflects much of how I saw these games, particularly the targeted tackling, dubious tackling techniques and poor refereeing. Like Martin at 32, I got a bundle of tickets for all the games at Goodison save for I think the semi-final which I recall I had to claim by going to the ground on the Sunday before the match between Russia and West Germany.

Following the draw to establish where games would be staged and who would compete in the qualifying round of 3 matches before the quarter-finals, the subsequent structure of the draw dealing with the quarter-finals and semi-finals meant that, in the event that England got through, they should have played Portugal at Goodison. Oh no, no, no, said the powers that be, once Argentina had been beaten. Wembley for our lads; the only team never to have moved home, as it were. Hence the crowd for the replacement West Germany vs Russia game was much lower than previous games at Goodison. I make no comment on the game, not wishing to steal John's thunder in Part 2 of his article.

Looking forward to it, John.

Martin Nicholls
40 Posted 03/07/2020 at 10:34:18
Peter #37 – re painting of houses, my mates (brothers) lived close to the ground and remember a few people painting houses "but nothing more than usual". They think Gwladys Street itself might have been different but do not know for sure.

Their dad was the half-time scoreboard man at Goodison though so, if there were any freebies going, I'm sure he would have been onto them!

John McFarlane Snr
41 Posted 03/07/2020 at 13:03:37
Hi Peter [37], thank you for your kind words. I wasn't sure who provided the action clips hence the Michael/Lyndon address, I'm afraid that I'm none the wiser because neither responded to my article.

Regarding the houses being spruced up for the occasion, I'm afraid I'm unable to help, because we approached the ground from the Priory Road, Stanley Park direction, and entered the ground via the nearest turnstile behind the Park End. The last houses we saw were at the crossroads of Priory Road, Utting Avenue, and Arkles Lane. I recall reading in the 'Echo' that one Brazilian fan gave his drum to a young boy from the streets running off Priory Road somewhere in the region of Oakdene Road to Skipton Road.

Peter, you'll have to forgive me, you may remember giving me the word that defines 'taking pleasure from another's misfortune'. I've been searching high and low in the light of last night's game, but I just can't find it. I don't consider myself as a 'Bitter Blue' but I do treat every Liverpool defeat as an Everton victory.

Hi Dave [38], not that we can turn back the hands of time, but don't you have the slightest twinge of regret on missing a once-in-a-lifetime event?

Hi Alasdair [39], you're correct in stating that it was announced that the winners of England's group would play their Semi-Final at Goodison Park. I don't know when that arrangement was altered, but it was certainly made known to us some time after the start of the competition.

Part 2 features the Quarter-Final between Portugal and North Korea, and the Semi-Final of West Germany versus Russia.

I purchased my tickets in a 'job lot' covering every game, although I would still have made every effort to attend no matter what the selling arrangements were.

Dave Abrahams
42 Posted 03/07/2020 at 14:43:37
John (41), no, not the slightest bit of regret whatsoever> I wanted to see Pele live and achieved that. My only regret was Germany lost the in the final, I had a few pound on them.

I'll expand on that when you post in the future on the later rounds of the 1966 World Cup.

John McFarlane Snr
43 Posted 03/07/2020 at 15:43:31
Hi again, Dave [42], I'm only featuring the Quarter-Final and the Semi-Final played at Goodison Park. What surprised me was the low attendances at games, but I have a theory that may account for that, and that is, that the only ones who attended were (unlike today) actually keen football fans. 58,387 for the Hungary vs Brazil was the highest attendance outside of Wembley, which suggests to me that my theory may be correct.

Imagine the clamour for tickets if the World Cup games were to be staged in England today, the grounds would be bursting at the seams. I know that it turned out that we had the better of the deal, but I wouldn't have expected Old Trafford's highest gate to have been below Goodison's lowest.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
44 Posted 03/07/2020 at 21:36:42
Hi John,

I was a bit reticent to include television clips with your article, given your previous claim that television is responsible in large part for changing the game from what you loved in your heyday, to the pale sham it is today – plus the stance you have taken on spurning the free TV coverage of Everton's current games under Project Restart.

I think these clips illustrate, on the contrary, just how important television has been to football. Just consider the incalculable value of the images captured and preserved for each game from those iconic World Cups in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Pele, Eusebio... Priceless.

And at the time, they were beamed across the world with a technology that has grown from a fuzzy grey flicker to a fabulous Ultra High Definition technicolour bonanza of realism – right there in your parlour – and all in the space of your lifetime, John.

If you are not in the least little bit appreciative of that tremendous technology, then there's something wrong with you, John.

Bill Watson
45 Posted 03/07/2020 at 21:43:41
John;

Thanks for bringing back some fabulous memories. I was lucky enough to see all the games at Goodison Park and world class players I'd only ever read about before.

The treatment meted out to Pele was an absolute disgrace and, as others have said, wouldn't be allowed today.

I thought Hungary were by far the best side in the tournament but their Achilles heel was a dodgy goalkeeper. Albert was brilliant as a sort of deep-lying centre-forward and his display that night was breathtaking, ably supported by the superb Bene.

I was just turned 19, we'd just won the FA Cup, and now we had all these great players performing at Goodison Park... A wonderful time in my life!

One thing left a nasty taste, though, and that was the FA switching England's semi-final to Wembley when it should have been played at Goodison Park. They'd never get away with that today.

I think all England's matches, bar one, were at Wembley, with the other (inexplicably) being played at the White City greyhound stadium!

Bill Watson
46 Posted 03/07/2020 at 22:09:07
Michael; I agree modern technology has made world football accessible to everyone and also appreciate TV brings football to those who are no longer, for whatever reason, able to attend games.

In the early days of Sky, they were kept afloat by the profitable Murdoch press empire and the development of subscriptions, via football and sport, was seen as being crucial to their long term survival.

Fast forward thirty years and Sky now calls the tune which football dances to. TV decides match dates and KO times and clubs are dependent on TV money for their very survival, hence the charade of games being played in empty stadiums.

I'm sure John will recall the BBC MotD TV crew being, literally, thrown out of Goodison, in the '60s. How times have changed and, in my opinion, not for the better.

Peter Mills
47 Posted 03/07/2020 at 22:43:52
Michael #44,

Thank you again for posting these wonderful clips. I was one of those who feasted on black and white film, it's great to watch them again in colour, as I did circa August 1966 when my Dad took us to The Futurist on Lime Street to watch “Goal” the story of the 1966 World Cup, supplemented by footage of the 1966 FA Cup final.

Please, give it a rest on, John. I don't know why you keep chipping away at him. He's a gentleman who expresses things in his own way, and he's a true Blue. I happen to agree with you that it is great we can now see things in ultra HD or whatever, instant replays etc. But there was a true magic when you could only see the action once, no 2-minute breaks to decide if it was a penalty, and to watch on telly in black and white as a game played by very skilful footballers was broadcast around the world from Goodison Park.

John McFarlane Snr
48 Posted 03/07/2020 at 00:28:51
Hi Michael [44], I do appreciate the wonder of technology, and I sympathise with football fans, who for whatever reason are unable to attend games, my dislike is the effect that the Television Companies have on the game.

As a match going fan, I have to attend matches as early as 12:00 noon, or 5:30pm on a Saturday, or as late as 8:00 pm on any given evening. These kick-off times are not for the benefit of those of us who attend games, they are for someone in the Far East and other locations. I can't decide whether or not you're having a dig at me, when you refer to "The pale sham it is today". I feel that I must have upset you somewhere along the line, but I think my 'Young Lady' may agree with you when you say, "There must be something wrong with you."

Hi Bill [45 & 46], Hungary were indeed a good team and the goal that Farkas scored was possibly the goal of the tournament. Albert – or 'Albit', as we knew him then – was superb. On reflection, the game I enjoyed the most was the Portugal vs North Korea encounter that features in Part 2.

Hi Peter [47], thank you for your kind words, and your defence of me. I have carried throughout my life two principles: "Do as you would be done by" and 'Manners maketh the man" – they have served me well so far.

I too saw the World Cup film 'Goal'. I watched it in the Astoria on Walton Road, most enjoyable.

Tony Heron
49 Posted 04/07/2020 at 11:46:14
Hi again, John.

Totally agree with your views on TV and football. Yes it's great that we can watch from the comfort of our armchairs and we can choose to view games from virtually anywhere in the world. But, as you say, it's at the expense of the match-going fans.

Now I hold my hands up here, I stopped going as a regular in the 70s when the hooliganism blighted the game. It was one incident I witnessed after a home game, when I watched from my footy special bus, as a group of "fans" set about some poor lone opposition fan, that turned me sick.

After that and a combination of courting, marriage, kids and work left me with little opportunity to go to the game, and I have to admit a reduced desire. So TV has been my lifeline in a way, but I still think it shouldn't be at the inconvenience of those who go through the turnstiles.

I think the current ludicrous situation proves how much clubs are beholding to TV. With matches played behind closed doors for "safety" even though players are all over each other and managers having a hug (but players & officials in the stands have to keep their distance and wear masks?!).

It also, for me, proves that the game is NOTHING without the fans. As for your principles John, "do onto others etc" I.e The Golden Rule, is one I've followed and believed in my whole life.

Peter, thanks for the reminder about "Goal". The magic of that for me was not only the colour but the enhanced sound that film produces when watching in a cinema. The thud of the ball, the swish of the net. The screams of the German players when an opponent so much as brushed past them.

It was a brilliant production and just added to the spectacle I was fortunate enough to witness first hand at Glorious Goodison.

John McFarlane Snr
50 Posted 04/07/2020 at 13:37:14
Hi Tony [49],

Thanks for your well-balanced response to my post. As I stated, I do have sympathy for those who, for whatever reason, are unable to attend games. That includes those who are unfit medically, unable to attend because of work commitments, unable because of financial issues, ex-pats spread around the world, anyone from abroad who swore allegiance to Everton and have remained loyal through thick and thin.

I suppose my main gripe is directed at those who sit in the pubs on match days and would need an A to Z of Liverpool to find their way to Goodison Park or Anfield. My feeble mind (growing more feeble by the day) understands that the television companies require these inconvenient kick-off times to maximise their profits, but it appears that the people most inconvenienced are the 'life-blood' of the game, the match going supporters.

I respect your initial decision to turn your back on the game. I once had a similar incident to deal with following a game against Norwich City in the 80s (I think). I was late leaving the ground, my spec in those days was in the Upper Bullens Stand, and walking down Muriel Street, I saw four youths approaching another two. I heard one of the four ask the two, "Hey lads, have you got the right time?" I knew that they were waiting for confirmation that the two were from Norwich by way of their accents. I just said to them "You know what time it is, now leave them alone," I don't know if that was a brave or foolhardy move on my part but luckily it did the trick.

Tony Heron
51 Posted 04/07/2020 at 14:11:57
Thanks for your response, John.

With regard to your intervention when you sensed trouble when leaving a game, it's all about perspective. While some might call it foolhardy, I call it brave and responsible. It's a good example though of the Neanderthal behaviour of some "fans" which turned me away from professional football.

When I was a kid, I lived, breathed, ate and slept football. These days, other than the Blues, it's very rare I even bother turning the TV on to watch. If it's a choice, I always plump for cricket... [Tin hat on!]

Tom Bowers
52 Posted 04/07/2020 at 14:12:17
TV and the Internet have changed many things. As I have always maintained, things don't always change for the better but we have to accept that sometimes.

A lot of professional sports and sportspeople are benefitting greatly from the exposure and others are not. Progress usually comes at a price that some people don't want.

Soccer is no different. The game today is generally boring compared to decades years ago when not as many clubs were allowed into European competitions and the European style (particularly Italian) dictated the defensive style that was to come.

The euphoria felt on Saturday afternoons was tremendous back in the heydays of the great Spurs team in the sixties and others who played with gusto going forward.

Many younger fans will never get to experience that kind of excitement and were born into the mediocrity that is for the most part served up today.

Extrovert entertainers like Best, Marsh, Mackenzie, Bowles and Gazza are rarely seen these days and only Messi stands out.

The games, as they are now behind closed doors, almost seem like practice sessions and the quicker the season ends the better.

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