'The Time Goes By So Fast'

Becky Tallentire   12/07/2021 30comments  |  Jump to last

Born: Pat Gaskell
3 October 1942
Walton, Liverpool

Grandad was a coal merchant and my dad and his brothers started out their adult lives working for him and eventually took over the business. My mum’s side of the family was really arty and creative and ballet was the love of her life. She was from Sheffield and had been a ballet dancer in her youth, even going on to teach it while she was still quite young. They were both on holiday in the Isle of Man with friends when they met and fell in love, and she eventually moved over to Liverpool when they married.

They went into the photography business together and would travel to Port Sunlight on the Wirral, where they used to take photos of babies at the clinics. Other times they would photograph weddings or to go to dancehalls and take pictures of the American GI’s with their sweethearts. Dad was a good provider and mum was a wonderful sweet woman, the mainstay of the family.

My life started out in Willowdale Rd near Walton Hospital in Liverpool. I was one of four children and I had two older sisters, Kathleen and Janet. David was our little brother so the house was always noisy and full of kids. We moved to Brook Road in Bootle for a few years and when I was about 12, we went to Aintree where we finally settled. I loved living in Aintree. We moved into a new house in Altway, near the Blue Anchor, and I thought we were so posh.

Dad started up in business as a moneylender. He began doing it by chance really, when we lived in Brook Rd and one of our neighbours was short of cash and asked if she could borrow a tenner if she paid him back over the odds. We had a colourful and interesting childhood with plenty of happy times. On Sundays we would all go out for the day to a beautiful place in North Wales called Rhydymwyn, it was near a stream and we'd cross to the other side and have picnics. Dad would tie a rope to a tree and we would swing from it. They were memorable times, and dad did really well and worked hard give us a good life.

I went to Ormonde Drive Secondary Modern in Maghull. I worked hard and did the best I could but I didn’t find it easy. I remember when I first started there and we were doing fractions with Mr Thomas, a maths teacher from Wales. He used to get the students to stand up and explain what was on the board. I hadn’t done fractions at my old school so I couldn’t solve the problem and in front of the whole class. He said: ‘Pat Gaskell, I think you’ll be better off in a ‘B’ class.’ I almost died of embarrassment and went home that night and told my mum and dad that if I had to go back. I would run away from home because he’d humiliated me so much. I did go to a ‘B’ class and eventually came top but it took a lot of hard work on my part.

Tommy Steele was my idol and I had a real crush on him; when I was about 15 he was appearing at the Liverpool Empire in Goldilocks and the Three Bears. A photographer friend of my dad’s took me backstage and I had my picture taken with him and was thrilled to bits. He was blond and gorgeous; I must have had a soft spot for that kind of look.

I stayed on an extra year at school to learn shorthand and typing and when I left, I went to work in the office at Kirby’s garage and car dealership on Northway in Maghull. They had branches in different parts of Liverpool and I did general office work, mainly in the invoicing department alongside the man who priced the jobs, and occasionally I was on the switchboard to relieve the operator. I quite liked it and it was a good feeling to have an income and to be independent. I felt very grown up.

Bobby Collins played for Everton at that time and he’d bought a couple of cars from our salesman, Bill Basnett. Bobby told Bill that Jimmy Gabriel had moved down from Dundee and was really missing his family and was terribly homesick. He was only 19 and from a really close-knit family with four sisters who thought the world of him. He’d recently moved to Claremont Avenue in Maghull to lodge with another player Mickey Lill and his wife Paddy, and Bobby wondered whether I would like to meet up and go out with him so that he at least knew someone in Liverpool.

My dad wasn’t a real football watcher and never went to games, but if he had to choose between Everton and Liverpool it would be Everton, but that was all down to my brother. David was two and a half years my junior and a fanatical Blue. His bedroom was covered in Everton stuff; he had pictures of Dave Hickson on the walls and blue-and-white scarves and rosettes hanging everywhere. I came home from work this night and told him I had a date with a footballer and made him guess who it was, but he couldn’t. When I told him it was Jimmy Gabriel, his jaw dropped. He thought I was kidding but I told him that Bobby Collins had fixed us up and went into all the details of his transfer and his homesickness, so he finally believed me.

Bill and Bobby decided we should meet at the entrance to the Mersey Tunnel, just over the road from the Royal Tiger Club. I didn’t drive and neither did Jim so Bill taxied me down there, introduced us to each other then left us to get on with it. Jimmy had been in the newspaper as the most expensive teenage signing in the country so I knew he was blond and good looking, but he didn’t know what he was going to get with me. Anyway we went for a coffee in Bold Street then on to the Downbeat Club, but he spoke so quickly and with a strong Scottish accent that I could hardly understand a word he said and spent most of the date saying, ‘…pardon?’ He brought me home in a taxi and that was just the swankiest thing ever. We went into our house and all my family were sitting there, waiting for us to come home so they could meet him. David was absolutely gobsmacked and chuffed to bits.

I thought Jimmy was gorgeous. I’d had a couple of teenage crushes but that was all, I was terribly shy and hadn’t done any dating or anything like that. He was a lovely guy, he was wonderful company and we always had great fun when we were together.

I hadn’t been to a football match either so it really was the start of a completely new life for me. I still didn’t drive so my dad started coming with me and one time we went to an away game at Turf Moor and my dad tells this story of a Burnley supporter in front of me giving Jim a bad time and shouting ‘Gabriel you dirty bastard’ and I clonked him on the head with my umbrella. I loved going to the match, it was such an exciting atmosphere, especially at Goodison. At first it was strange to see him run out on to the pitch but you were so proud because there he was in front of such a massive crowd and to perform as they did was fabulous to witness. There would be 60 000 people there on an average week and the noise was just incredible.

We got engaged in the July of 1961. My mum told me I was too young to marry at 19, but I was having none of it and we booked the wedding for December 4, 1961, at the Holy Rosary in Altway by the Old Roan in Aintree. The reason it was so quick was because he was still in digs and wanted a nice home environment to help him settle in, so we thought we should just do it.

Jimmy and Pat Gabriel on their wedding day in 1961

Jimmy and Pat Gabriel with the Everton players at his wedding

We couldn’t get married on a Saturday because he was playing and football was always his priority, so we arranged it for the Monday. Everton had played Manchester United on the Saturday and beat them 5-1, so we got off to a good start. He got a day off from training and all the players were there: Alex Young, Bobby Collins, Mickey Lill, Roy Vernon, Billy Bingham, and Alex Parker was our best man. It was a white wedding, I had three bridesmaids and the reception was at the Melody Inn in New Brighton. Then we went on to a nightclub called Mother Red Caps, which was down in a cellar with a fantastic pianist; I suppose a bit like the Cavern used to be. It was a lovely day and everybody had a good time. Of course we couldn’t have a honeymoon but we spent the night at the Adelphi hotel and thought it was the poshest place in the world. The next day he left for Wrexham to meet up with the Scotland Under-23's and prepare for game against Wales on the Wednesday. I travelled to the match with an uncle of mine and they drew 1-1.

Everton owned a few houses and either rented them out or sold them to players and in a strange coincidence, we moved into the house that Bobby Collins had lived in with his wife and son. It was a small two-bedroomed place, which was nice and cosy, and that was where we lived the entire time he was at Everton. It was in Wrekin Drive, the next road from Altway where my family still lived, so I could go shopping and pop into my mum’s for a cup of tea and a piece of her chocolate cake. She made the best chocolate cake you’ve ever tasted. We were only married a month before I became pregnant and Karen was born in October 1962, the season we won the League, and in 1965 Janet came along and that was the season we won the FA Cup. It was a great way to commemorate them coming into the world.  

Karen was a good baby and so gorgeous. I had her in Park House nursing home in Waterloo, the usual place for the Everton babies to be born.  She came into the world on a Friday night, before a match, and I’ve got photos of me from the newspaper taken in the hospital. Jimmy played the next day, of course. There was nothing on this Earth that would make him miss a game.

Jimmy and Pat and with daughter Karen in 1963

When we won the League in 1963, Everton took us all to Torremolinos. I’d only been abroad once, when I went to Switzerland with my friend Irene, so it was all terribly exciting. Karen was only about eight months old so she stayed with my mum, who was great like that and loved to have the children. Torremolinos was fabulous, we had a wonderful time relaxing by the pool, eating lovely food and going out in the evenings. We thought it was so sophisticated.

I became close to Nancy Young because she just lived up the road from me in Bullbridge Lane, and if we went out, we would meet up with and Ray and Pat Wilson, Brian and Pat Labone and Johnny and Celia Morrissey. We would usually go to a restaurant for a meal then on to the Royal Tiger or we’d go to the Downbeat. It was The Beatles era, and wherever you went they were playing the Fab Four and the Merseybeat sound. We would sometimes have a little dance but we mainly spent the night standing around chatting, and of course you’d get all the fans coming over and wanting to dissect how the match had gone. It got on my nerves a little bit because you felt like you shouldn’t be there and invariably ended up in the background.

Janet was also born in Park House on August 27, 1965, just at the start of the season. I had to go in late at night and Jimmy sat outside the labour room. I remember him saying afterwards that we weren’t having any more children because he’d heard me in distress and felt so helpless. When the nurse showed me the baby the first thing I said was, ‘Oh, she’s so like Mr Gabriel’. I always called Jim’s dad, Mr Gabriel. I know its formal but that was just the way it was then. She was all screwed up and wrinkled but she was the image of him. Karen favoured my side of the family with her dark brown hair and eyes but Janet was very fair, with blonde hair and very much like her dad.

Jimmy didn’t have much spare time; they used to train an awful lot back then. Now and again he would go horse racing with the guys. He wasn’t really that interested in it initially, but he became friendly with Roy Vernon and he liked to have a bet. It comes to the point where you can get too involved with it and lose a lot of money and that was a phase he went through so he started giving it a miss. When we moved to Southampton him and Terry Paine bought a share in a racehorse called Scaramander. I’m not sure if it ever won a race but Jim said he owned the back leg when it was racing and the mouth when it was eating. He didn’t really have that much to do with it other than go and see it a few times in the stables, and I guess it was more of an interest than anything else.

He liked to play golf as well and on a Thursday night the boys would all go out for a beer and the wives would have their big night out on a Saturday with them. I can’t remember him having any particularly strange superstitions but he had to eat steak on a Saturday before the game, and he always fastened his left boot first.

The Everton wives at Lime St Station heading down to Wenbley in 1966

The Everton wives at Lime St Station heading down to Wenbley in 1966

The people at Everton were always nice to us; they sent flowers when the children were born, at Christmas we’d get a hamper of goodies and when we made it to the 1966 FA Cup final they took us down to London, which was amazing. We went on the Thursday by train and they took us to see Joe Brown and the Brothers then out for dinner on the Friday. We stayed in a posh hotel and went off to Wembley on a big bus. It was so exciting, but nerve racking, too. We were all on edge and wanted them to win so badly. It was like a physical pain.

By half-time we were 1-0 down and the wives were crying with disappointment but after Wednesday scored another goal, they came back and scored, and then they scored again…  that was when the infamous Eddie Cavanagh ran on the pitch and as the policeman grabbed him he somehow wriggled out of his jacket, the policeman fell on his face and Eddie was off again. I don’t know how he did it, but he must have planned it because he was out of the jacket like Harry Houdini and the policeman was on the floor clutching an empty coat. We were all roaring with laughter.

Once again Mum took care of the girls and I remember her telling me that she put Janet in her pram in the hallway with a tin full of chocolate biscuits to keep her quiet because her and my sister were watching the final on telly and getting really excited and screaming, which frightened the baby and made her cry. When Mum went to check on her, there she was with chocolate all over her face, clothes, pram and all, but she didn’t mind because it kept her happy.

Winning the FA Cup was a different feeling to watching them win the League; we were looking at the points all the time and working out who could catch us and where we were likely to pick up points along the way and when you think back it was quite stressful. It really affected Jim if they lost. He’d come home and be really down and it rubs off on everybody, so you’d have to try to stop it having a domino effect. When you’re on a high and winning and competing in all the competitions, there’s nothing that can beat it but if you’re not on form, you don’t know if you’re even going to be picked for the team, so it can breed all kinds of insecurity.

Jim was quite a physical player so he often sustained injuries. I remember he had a really bad gash on his shinbone once. It was ‘L’ shaped and he had to have it stitched but there was no flesh there so it must have been terribly painful. Another time he had a groin injury and it became infected and poisoned his system. He was really ill then and went to hospital but they never let the press know because they were at a crucial stage of the season. He was on strong antibiotics every four hours, but he had the constitution of an ox and he was soon up and running again.

Considering he wasn’t a striker, he scored quite a lot goals and he saved the day a few times. I can’t remember any specific occasions but he can recall them all as if it was yesterday. He’s had his nose broken a fair few times too. Gordon Banks elbowed him once when he went up for the ball, although I don’t think it was deliberate.

When he was asleep he was fine apart from the odd nudge where he’d be reliving the game; far worse were the nights when he couldn’t sleep because he was worried, or if he’d had a bad game. That played on his mind terribly and it was awful for us to see him feeling so tortured. When the club went through a bad patch it would really bother him because it was his whole life.

On the odd occasion we would get people knocking on the front door but it was mainly young kids looking for an autograph. They’d see you walking down the road and know where you lived but that was all right; we could live with that and I can’t think of anything I hated about being a footballers wife. I disliked the interruptions when we were out for an evening and people would come over and sit themselves down. You can understand that they wanted to talk to their heroes so it didn’t infuriate me, but it did make me roll my eyes now and again. Of course you got the floozies that were out to try and get your man, but it was something you had to be strong about and I just had to trust him.

We had such a good time at Everton and things went well until Harry Catterick started bringing younger players in. Jim was in his late 20s by then and he didn’t see eye to eye with the management on all things. Mr Catterick mentioned that Southampton had shown an interest. I wasn’t sure about moving because it meant I would be leaving Liverpool where I’d been all my life. Jim would be going to a group of people who would be his colleagues and his team-mates but I was going to a place with two small children where I literally didn’t know a soul. I wasn’t really the type of person who would go out and make conversation or chat with anyone either, so it was hard because you had to start over again. Meeting people and finding your way around was quite daunting and it could feel lonely at times.

His transfer to Southampton was in July 1967. I had to stay behind and organise the packing and sort stuff out, and the girls were only little so it was a full-time job looking after them. Karen was five and just starting school and Janet two and a half. It was a wrench to leave my mum, too, because I’d never been very far from her in my life. It was exciting because it was a new phase but it was hard and you had to adjust. There was no time to pine or feel sorry for yourself; you just had to get on with it. It was the life we’d chosen and you had to take it all in your stride. We stayed at Southampton for five years in all and it was a lovely place and we had a great time.

Bournemouth was another fantastic place. Jim played there for two years, was about 34 and coming to the latter part of his career. A guy named John Best, who was originally from Merseyside and had played a few games for Liverpool when they were in the Second Division, had been in America since the 60s, was scouting for players to go over because they were starting a new football club called the Seattle Sounders. Although soccer is quite popular on a participation level in the States, you don’t get the big crowds they do in England and Scotland, so he was recruiting players to make up the team and asked Jim if he’d like to go over. The States seemed so fantastic and we were really excited. Jim travelled over with the other players for the 1974 season that started in April, but because the girls were in school we followed him out a few months later. We moved into a wonderful apartment with a swimming pool and we just felt as if we were on holiday all the time. We still live in Seattle now.

Pat and Jimmy Gabriel in Edinburgh

Pat and Jimmy Gabriel in Edinburgh

We got through the season and John asked Jim if he would like to come back and be his assistant coach, so we went back to Bournemouth and arranged for our belongings to be shipped over to Seattle. Although we had people who came and actually packed the stuff for us, I had to sort everything out. We couldn’t use our electrical stuff and we sold a lot of the big furniture because it’s ridiculous to haul it 6,000 miles. We really just shipped over the small personal things like china and coffee tables and irreplaceable things like that.

We’d wanted a third child when Janet was a few years old but it never worked out that way and it must have been the change of scene that did it because suddenly I was pregnant again. Of course we were hoping to have a boy because all footballers want a son, but it never happened and Samantha was born in Seattle in 1975. We loved the song ‘I Love You Samantha’ from the musical High Society, and named her after that.

Jim and I have been together for 42 years now, quite literally a lifetime. I was thinking about it the other day and it sounds like ages ago, but it doesn’t feel like that long. The time goes by so fast it’s like it was last week. My mum and dad are no longer alive; Dad died in 1972 when we were in Southampton and he was 56. It was an awful shock. Mum passed away in 1994 so I was actually there to help and be her support towards the end after all she’d done for me. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and she was 78 when I lost her. She came and stayed with us after she had the mastectomy and I was able to help her out as much as I could, but it had gone too far.

One of my sisters lives in Sheffield, the other in North Wales. David hasn’t lived in England for a long time; he’s a heating engineer and has a place in Jakarta, Indonesia. He works in America sometimes and called me a few months ago to tell me he was in California. He travels around a lot and was home in Liverpool with his family for Christmas. He’s always off somewhere or other but he’s still a fanatical Evertonian.

Karen was 12 when we moved over to America and Janet was nine and they’ve been here ever since. Our children are American citizens and when we went back to England in 1986 they stayed here and they’ve never really returned to the UK, except on vacation once or twice.

We’ve got quite a dynasty now. We have nine grandchildren; and of course they’re American, too. Karen has four boys and two girls and Janet has two girls and they’re into baseball and basketball. They play a bit of soccer but the interest isn’t really there. We do have one who we think might have a little bit of his grandad in him, that’s Samantha’s boy Jamie, who’s six. Jim thinks he’s got a few good touches, so he takes him out in the garden and passes the ball to him and plays with him a bit. He thinks he might have some promising techniques. So out of the nine there might be one who can play but we don’t care; they’re all wonderful and we love them dearly.

Since came back to America I’ve had a couple of jobs. Initially, I worked in a department store because I wanted something to do. I’m not a person to sit down and read a book; I’m more of a mover and I like to be kept busy. I enjoy pottering about in the garden and I don’t look at it like a chore, but I’m the homemaker and the one in charge of the house. Jim might cut the grass now and again, but he’s not that bothered about it.

I started my own business not so long ago and it doesn’t sound very glamorous, but I do home cleaning. I was working at The Gap and I was so bored waiting around for customers, people would come in and look at clothes and then throw them down again and I would have to pick them up and refold them and put them back in the right place again. That was all I seemed to be doing and it was incredibly dull.

Janet had a lady who used to come and clean for her. She wasn’t too happy with the lady who was cleaning her house and she knew I wasn’t too happy with my job, so she asked if I would like to go and clean for her so that’s how I started. I’m only a one-man band, and I could have more customers but I don’t want to make a million dollars, it’s just something to do. So I have 13 customers and I go out for maybe two or three hours in the morning and again in the afternoon. I could do more but I don’t want to kill myself. I go into some lovely houses, they’re just gorgeous here and that’s my job, it’s not very prestigious but I really enjoy it.

There are a lot of big cleaning companies here, teams of people who go out in force but I’m just one person and with all the clients I’ve got, I never feel like a stranger walking into their homes. They all like my company and I was recommended by word of mouth so it’s all on a very personal level. I’m trustworthy and it’s all been by referral, I’ve never needed to advertise.

Lifestyles now are so different from then. I thought I had a wonderful life, it was so exciting and interesting and although you went through your bad patches and your worries, I wouldn’t have changed it. We’ve been to places we would never have gone if Jim hadn’t been a footballer so there’s been a lot of experiences I might never have had.

We were at an Everton dinner back at the Adelphi in Liverpool during 2001 and it was amazing when Jim walked into the room he got such a loud cheer. It’s wonderful to hear that and it surprises me in a way to think that he enthralls the fans even now. It’s been almost 40 years since he left but the Evertonians have so much love for him. He was always a popular player and I think it was because he always wanted to win so much that it showed and the fans loved him for that. They used to say he played the way they would have played, he would spill blood for the cause and that was the kind of commitment they liked to see

Looking back I think maybe I shouldn’t have given up work when we first got married. At the time it was great because I didn’t have to get up in the morning and go and stand in the rain at the bus stop, but with hindsight I think I maybe would have gone part-time or something. I didn’t have to stop work, but Jim was on £20 a week, which was a good wage, so there was no need for me to go and I wasn’t career-minded at all, but I think I gave up a bit of my own personality and my independence. I became quite secluded because Jim was training every day and if you’re getting up and going out to work you can retain your individuality a bit more. So maybe if I’d stayed at work a bit and kept myself involved in the day-to-day aspects of life and the workplace, it would have given me more self-confidence. I think I gave up my individuality and gave everything I had to the marriage. With me being so young, I thought it would be great not to have to go to work but as you get older you realise there’s a lot to be said for it.

I think football is very different now and it’s more business than sport, but I don’t know any other life. In my day, the men were out on the pitch playing football but the women held it all together and they were very much in the background. My role was as wife and mother. It was a really important job but the men were the stars and they got the accolades.

We’ve had our ups and downs and our insecurities over the years, as well as our share of lows when Jim’s been out of work. But we got through the other side and we’ve had a great life.  I loved being a footballer’s wife and I’m so glad it worked out the way it did.

Jimmy Gabriel passed away in America on 10 July 2021

Taken from Real Footballers' Wives – the First Ladies of Everton, still available for purchase in book or Kindle form. Copies are also for sale by contacting Becky directly via Twitter at @bluestocking63 or by email.

© Becky Tallentire 2004

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John McFarlane Snr
1 Posted 12/07/2021 at 21:18:58
Hi Becky, thank you for another excellent article, the life of a footballer's wife in those days is far removed from that of todays 'wags'.
Peter Mills
2 Posted 12/07/2021 at 21:47:42
Michael and Lyndon, thank you for publishing this following Jimmy’s death a couple of days ago.

Sincere condolences to his family and friends, Jimmy was a true Everton hero.
Eugene Ruane
3 Posted 12/07/2021 at 22:11:24
.
Another terrific piece, always really enjoy reading Becky's pieces.
John Boon
4 Posted 12/07/2021 at 22:16:40
Hi Pat,

What an interesting story. My sincere condolences on the passing of a great player, an Evertonian but most of all a husband. I have a small connection, but something that was amazing for me at that time.

I was always a great admirer of Jimmy. He was everything that the team needs today. Tough, skillful and a real team player. In 1962 I was playing for Holy Rosary in the CYMS league. We had a really good team and eventually won the league. While that was an achievement for our team it was surpassed when we were told my our manager that the winning medals were to be presented at the Holy Rosary church hall. To top it all Alex Young and Jimmy Gabriel would be giving out the medals. I was over the moon.

They presented the medals and stayed for the 'Rowdy''celebrations. What a night. Your young husband and Alex were able to give me and our team a night to remember for ever.

I don't know if today's footballers do such things but they should. It gives the ordinary day to day footballer the chance to mix with their heroes. Something I have always remembered.

As a 23 year old I emigrated to Canada, married a Scottish lass and I am still a fanatical Evertonian. I have three Blue Kids, and six Evertonian Grandchildren even if the don't know they are. I also left Liverpool but Liverpool never lefy me.
Barry Rathbone
5 Posted 12/07/2021 at 22:43:23
Barry Rathbone
6 Posted 12/07/2021 at 22:43:34
Great read that.

Willowdale road - what a blast from the past a road I walked a million times going to the "rec" to play footy. "Banana" kicks perfected there after the 1970 Brazilians, playing in games using only my left foot to become 2 footed, practising over head kicks and diving headers. The devotion to the game was total.

I remember the thunderous explosions of noise bouncing off the skies on a Saturday as we played "3 and in" the echoes of crowds at Goodison and Anfield roaring as the goals went in. We used to imagine it was for us.

Don Alexander
7 Posted 12/07/2021 at 22:45:26
Thanks Becky, you're a talented writer. My condolences too to the Gabriel family.
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

8 Posted 12/07/2021 at 23:34:04
A most timely classic from your collection, Becky.

The down-to-earth, matter-of-fact tone by all the First Ladies you interviewed makes for such a refreshing, uplifting read.

I'm sure Pat's extended family has been made well aware in recent days just how much his Blue family appreciated Jimmy as a footballer. Today, you would have to add a few zeroes to the fee Everton paid Dundee to buy him as a 19-year-old.

Thanks again, Becky.
Mike Gaynes
9 Posted 12/07/2021 at 00:17:31
Amazing to think this was written 17 years ago. What a lovely long life they had together. Terrific memoir.

I didn't know Jimmy played in the NASL. I must have seen him a couple of times.
Bill Watson
10 Posted 13/07/2021 at 01:29:06
What a great player Jimmy was to have in the side. He always gave 100% and was a decent player, too. Mike Lyons, a decade later, was similar. They just don't make them like that anymore.

I can't remember exactly when it was but Jimmy was the temporary manager for a while. I think his first game in charge was away v Man City and although I was at the game I don't recall anything other than I think we lost 1-0. It was one of those dire times we've had too many of.

Thanks for the story, Becky, and RIP Jim
John Boon
11 Posted 13/07/2021 at 02:22:13
Apologies for referring to you as "Pat" (John Boon (4) I had just looked at the title. I also did not realise that the story was written 17 years ago (Mike 9). However everything about my memories and what happened are exactly the same. I am sure he had a very positive affect on all those who supported Everton while Jimmy was playing for them.Such a great player!!
Paul Ward
12 Posted 13/07/2021 at 05:18:31
Becky,

Thank you for another masterpiece about the warrior legend Jimmy Gabriel. His sweat and blood for our club will never be forgotten.

Sincere condolences to the Gabriel family.

Danny O’Neill
13 Posted 13/07/2021 at 08:14:19
No words. Just thank you for a great article and insight to one Everton's greats.
Christine Foster
14 Posted 13/07/2021 at 10:17:52
Wonderful article, Becky.

Living in Netherton in the early 60s, by Bootle Municipal Golf Course I used to often see lots of players having a round of golf and a few drinks in the posh clubhouse, a large green and white terraced tudor pre-fab, I think!

I remember asking Jimmy for his autograph and he took my autograph book inside the clubhouse and came back with half-a-dozen players' autographs! I never understood a word he said... but goodness what a player!

A beautiful insight into life as the wife of footballer, they never seemed real but every one of them had a life we never knew, fabulously normal. Thank you, Becky, I hope the family get to read all the wonderful comments here too. We were proud of Jimmy, and now we know what a great Dad and Husband he was too... Thank you.

Dennis Stevens
15 Posted 13/07/2021 at 11:52:48
I've got the marvelous books by Becky, but still really enjoy re-reading these pieces as & when they pop up on TW. Obviously, there's an added poignancy on this occasion.
Becky Tallentire
16 Posted 13/07/2021 at 12:30:02
Dennis Stevens 😉 🙌🏻 Thanks and me too! (not #MeToo that’s something entirely different).

The book is 17 years old so outdated in itself really but whenever I send a chapter to Lyndon, I read it through and am astounded, proud, nostalgic and honoured in equal measure.

In a few weeks, I will send the link to Pat Gabriel and am sure she will be overwhelmed at the beautiful comments.

Thanks everybody, I absolutely love your feedback, and I love even more that the precious stories of these wonderful, trailblazing, fearless women get to be heard again.

Up Rafa’s Toffees 💙
Dave Abrahams
17 Posted 13/07/2021 at 12:59:19
Another lovely look into the lives of footballers and their wives of over fifty and sixty years ago, still glamorous to the lives of most of us and our lives then, but worlds away from the style of today’s stars and their wives lifestyle, Harry Kane and his wife live in a £17M mansion I’m reading today, slightly better than the two bedroomed house Pat and Jimmy moved into!!

I was intrigued by the wedding day photo of Pat and Jimmy, all the players present are named except one, was it George Thomson who came down from Hearts with Alex Young?
Bill Watson
18 Posted 13/07/2021 at 13:21:08
Dave #17

Yes it was George Thomson who played at left back.

They both signed on the night of a League Cup game against, maybe Accrington??, and were introduced to the crowd from the old main stand.
Dave Abrahams
19 Posted 13/07/2021 at 13:44:14
Bill (18),

Yes, I think the game was against Accrington Stanley and we won 3-1 but it might have been 3-0, another season were we failed miserably in the League Cup losing 2-1 to Shrewsbury Town.

Ian Burns
20 Posted 13/07/2021 at 15:49:49
I absolutely love every one of these articles, Becky, they bring back memories held dear, along with others your stories re-awaken.

I loved Jimmy Gabriel; I watched him from the day he arrived down from Dundee. Hadn't realised it was Bobby Collins (my all time hero) who recommended him.

Thanks, Becky – another read with a lump in my throat!!

Terry White
21 Posted 13/07/2021 at 16:07:00
I got Jimmy Gabriel's autograph on the day he reported to Goodison Park for the first time.

During the early 1960s, as I mentioned on another link, nothing inspired me more at the match than watching Jimmy, in his royal blue jersey, running with the ball up the middle of the pitch with his blond hair flowing like a galleon in full sail. He never gave up, scored many an important goal, and lost a few teeth along the way on behalf of the cause. He was an inspiration to us young lads.

I don't know if Becky's books are still in print, I'm sure Becky will let us know. But, if so, I encourage everybody to acquire one or more and read details that we did not know at the time about our favourite players from a bygone, and better (?), era.

Darren Hind
22 Posted 13/07/2021 at 19:51:26
Read the first paragraph and knew it was a cup of coffee and a few Chocolate digestives sort of article.

A very enjoyable read Becky

Ken Kneale
23 Posted 14/07/2021 at 11:06:11
Becky,

As ever, a fantastic read. I hope Jimmy's family enjoy the many fully deserved tributes about a very accomplished footballer who, with his peers, put Everton back on the footballing map again after a barren spell – how we could do with his type of player and character currently.

John Raftery
24 Posted 14/07/2021 at 18:49:01
A great read. I am fortunate to have a copy of both of Becky’s books about the First Ladies of Everton. They are essential reading for those of us who lived and breathed Everton in the sixties and seventies. They paint a vivid picture of the real lives which sat behind the very public but often superficial world of professional football. As such they are a piece of social history.

Back in the sixties the star players lived in comparatively well-to-do districts like Aintree, Maghull and Lydiate, usually in newish semi-detached houses. They remained close to and accessible to the fans, able to mix with them in ordinary pubs, shops and so on. Their kids went to the local schools.There did not seem to be any security or safety issues. People left them room to breathe and live their lives.

Five decades later most of their modern day counterparts are hidden away in gated mansions, rarely to be seen other than in their cars or on the pitch. The reasons for that can be well understood but it is hard to escape the feeling the relationship between fans and players at the top level has been seriously undermined.

Most certainly Jimmy Gabriel was one of our stars in a great team laden with stars. I was sorry to see him leave, albeit the player signed to replace him was none other than Howard Kendall. When Jimmy returned to Goodison with Southampton he always received the warmest welcome from our fans.
Ken Farrington
25 Posted 15/07/2021 at 09:50:46
A fascinating article that re-lived a golden era in Everton's history. So very sorry about Jimmy's passing. I saw him make his debut for Everton at Goodison Park in 1960 and was stood very close to his cousin who lived in the area. Also met Jimmy when I was fourth official at a Huddersfield Town v Everton reserve team match when he coached our reserve team. Sincere condolences to his family and thanks for sharing your memories.
Geoff Williams
26 Posted 24/07/2021 at 14:30:15
Possibly my favourite Everton player of all time. I loved the way he played.
Kevin Molloy
27 Posted 24/07/2021 at 16:25:08
'When we won the league in 1963...'

That made me smile.

Gerry Quinn
29 Posted 31/07/2021 at 15:42:10
I had a few drinks with Jimmy Gabriel's dad in the local in Southampton – a day or two after our 8-0 win against them. Great guy, and so proud of his son... Jimmy was one of my teenage year heroes... didn't he score against us at Goodison in a 5-2 Everton win – and got the biggest cheer of the day?
Tommy Davis
30 Posted 01/08/2021 at 21:27:04
Thanks very much to TW for posting this great read & thanks so very much to Becky, for another superb chapter, from a great book!

I have so many wonderful memories of Gabby, his goal in the 3-1 derby match at Goodison in 1964 (?) The 1966 FA cup final vs Sheff Wed, when he took the ball to the corner flag to run down the clock to protect our 3-2 lead!

Anyone recall Paddy Crerand fouling Jimmy Gabriel at Old Trafford in the early to mid 60's, Gabby got up just nutted him? I don't remember either player being carded, but it was over 55 years ago & it was a different game back then!

One our favourite chants back in the sixties, was of course "Jimmy Gabriel is an Angel" & very sadly, it is now true! R.I.P Jimmy <3
Len Hawkins
31 Posted 08/08/2021 at 20:59:57
What a great insight into the lives of the players, so interesting. What an era that was. I first watched Everton at Goodison Park in 1965 and was in awe of the whole package: ground, players and supporters.

Born in 1950, I had two older brothers who both married in 1962 and what a simple affair it was compared to today. It was also very common to see footballers out around town and often they would have a chat as long as you weren't annoying and badgering them.


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