Former Everton manager Billy Bingham is celebrating his 90th birthday. So happy birthday Billy.
Billy took over the reins from a physically and mentally depleted Harry Catterick despite the fans’ wish for Don Revie, Bobby Robson or Brian Clough to be the next Everton manager.
He promptly turned the majority of us fans against him by selling Howard Kendall, Joe Royle and Colin Harvey and bringing in sub-standard replacements like Jim Pearson (although Bob Latchford was a brilliant signing) and Joe Harper.
The football was dire. His favourites like Bryan Hamilton and Dai Davies were even worse. We used to leave Goodison Park with sore elbows after throwing so many cushions onto the pitch, amongst other things. It got to the point where announcements had to be made about “refraining from throwing objects”.
Billy blew the league by failing to beat teams like Carlisle United and Luton Town. He will go down (in my view) as one of the worst Everton managers of all time. His only saving grace was buying Duncan Mckenzie (our very own Pele) but, apart from that, the majority of time at Goodison was completely forgettable.
Happy birthday all the same, Mr Bingham.
Reader Comments (94)
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1 Posted 05/08/2021 at 08:57:20
2 Posted 05/08/2021 at 09:12:49
3 Posted 05/08/2021 at 09:19:44
4 Posted 05/08/2021 at 09:20:30
Duncan McKenzie was probably my first hero, who I remember watching from the enclosure around 77-78. "We all agree, that Duncan McKenzie is magic"!!
Again, I can't recall a lot, as I didn't analyse the game too much in those days, but a shining light in relatively dark times (context of the time). Similar with Latchford? The modern generation probably done it with Duncan Ferguson.
I remember it more as a period of listening to my Dad scorning and complaining a lot. He wasn't happy until Howard Kendall was appointed. Even during those difficult first couple of years, it was his Everton again; his Blue Boys. He didn't like Bingham or Lee as Everton manager. I just liked Everton so didn't understand a lot of his obsessive rants but, in hindsight, I think they educated me!!
Anyway, happy birthday, Mr Bingham. In contrast to my Dad, my Grandad was always sympathetic to Billy, but I guess that was down to his own Belfast roots!
5 Posted 05/08/2021 at 09:23:25
I have this debate with my younger brother all of the time. A poor, now young man who grew up with Moyes and has had the expectation knocked out of him, like many.
My Dad expected Everton to win the league. Not nearly win it.
Never lower your expectation.
6 Posted 05/08/2021 at 09:39:04
7 Posted 05/08/2021 at 09:39:20
If you think this current crop of wasters struggle to pass the ball to each other then you shouldve seen that shower! It improved a bit after Dobson and Rioch joined but it was too late by then.
8 Posted 05/08/2021 at 09:47:26
Happy birthday, Mr Bingham – I recall fondly the cracker of an equaliser you scored against Blackburn in a 2-2 draw at Goodson!
9 Posted 05/08/2021 at 09:50:04
Remember him being apppointed and thinking "Billy who?" Doubly surprising given that he had played for Everton and also hailed from Northern Ireland, just like me.
I could be mistaken but I think he was managing in the Greek League at the time... Everton and strange managerial appointments, eh? Thank God things have changed!
10 Posted 05/08/2021 at 09:50:31
But I'll never lower my expectation for Everton despite what Kenwright & Moyes have done to a generation's expectation. They are a beaten bunch if I listen to my brother. Not me.
It's why I still raise my eyebrow when people say last season is the worst football they've seen at Goodison.
Bad? Yes. But have we forgotten some of the dross served up in the '90s? Or some of the performances under Moyes when we were sat there not being able to look, fingers crossed, hoping for the final whistle? But we won 1-0.
I have to believe and hope (know) that our time is coming again. We were a game off European football last season and have a new stadium being built as we speak.
I'm going to see us win our tenth title and travel Europe watching Everton. My ideal scenario is Schalke v Everton. If all that happens, the good lord can take me whenever he wants!!
But until it does, he can do one. I'm going nowhere.
11 Posted 05/08/2021 at 09:54:17
I've heard Bingham called names but 'a shining light' was not one of them.
12 Posted 05/08/2021 at 09:57:55
It probably got lost in the text.
13 Posted 05/08/2021 at 09:58:25
14 Posted 05/08/2021 at 09:59:23
One difference I suppose is that in those days, you COULD expect a team like Everton to win the league. Maybe we could transpose 'winning the league' with 'qualifying for the Euro cup'.
Also, I'm still not sure about beating teams like Carlisle or Luton at the moment, especially at home.
15 Posted 05/08/2021 at 10:03:56
16 Posted 05/08/2021 at 10:06:00
17 Posted 05/08/2021 at 10:14:18
For me, when they appointed Billy, it was the slippery slide to Everton being mediocre and something that took forever to put right. Moores did some great things for Everton but a lot of his appointments after Catterick and up to Kendall were as bad as Moshiri's appointments.
18 Posted 05/08/2021 at 10:17:03
Some interesting contextual stuff too, for example, it cites his appointment as manager instead of Revie, as being down to Heaths government passing a law banning recruiting anybody from getting paid more than their predecessor. This ruled out Moores's very large offer to Revie.
His quotes after the AC Milan fiasco wouldn't get printed today
Another manager permanently ‘disappointed, whom Joe Harper called Billy Liar.
Decent player and scorer of good goals from impossible angles.
19 Posted 05/08/2021 at 10:19:37
We didn't win a league game until November. And that was 1 - 0 followed by a goalless draw.
If ever there was an example of not jumping on the bandwagon of appointing managers on the back of a good season at a lower club, that was it.
Yet we still went for Martinez and Silva. The latter having demonstrated nothing other than getting relegated; at least Martinez had won a trophy.
Some would have had the Sheffield United manager because he had a good season. This summer, many were calling for the Brighton manager. Because he narrowly escaped getting Brighton relegated?
We are Everton. Think big and believe.
Apologies. I'm looking at travelling up next week and getting all emotional!!
20 Posted 05/08/2021 at 10:22:08
What I remember about him is his accent which is posh Northern Irish and really strange. Also, did he sign Duncan McKenzie and Bruce Rioch in the same week?
21 Posted 05/08/2021 at 10:25:18
I know some like it, but the old boys club at work even back in the 1970s?
Different times but hopefully we've broken that insular mindset.
22 Posted 05/08/2021 at 10:49:10
Andy King may have been Billy's best signing (after McKenzie) but Bingham was forming a decent team which Lurch Lee inherited, improved, and then – à la Catterick – decided to inexplicably break up.
Poor managerial appointments have really screwed us up over the last 50-odd years.
23 Posted 05/08/2021 at 11:53:42
Fortunately, as I understood, Phillip Carter was either stubborn or believed in his strategy and plan and stood by his man despite the pressure. The easy thing would have been to sack him.
Howard gave us 6 years. The first 2 or 3 were spent rebuilding the averageness that went before. Once we got through some turbulence, we then went on to enjoy some of the best football and players Evertonians have witnessed with several trophies thrown in as an inevitable bonus.
Had it not been for the obvious, he'd have stayed and built a dynasty. That may be the nostalgic 80s Evertonian in me, but I'm convinced. Best team in the land and best team in Europe that never got to prove it and earn their place in history.
24 Posted 05/08/2021 at 12:08:09
It must have been very hard for Bingham to follow in the successful footsteps of Catterick just as it was for managers who came after Kendall.
Because of the intense rivalry from RS and trying to keep pace with Shankley, Paisley and the likes, we Evertonians expected to keep pace with them and are highly critical and of course disappointed when it doesn't happen.
The same thing has happened over the last few years since Klopp took over RS. No Everton manager can get an even break not even some of the players but that's just human nature.
We all want success but want it now and RS doing well makes it all the harder to bear.
We can only hope that this next season gives us a lot more than we have been getting in recent seasons.
25 Posted 05/08/2021 at 12:41:24
26 Posted 05/08/2021 at 12:46:45
27 Posted 05/08/2021 at 12:53:34
Billy Bingham didn't purchase Joe Harper, he was signed in December 1972. Billy's first season was 1973-74, he started with a 3-1 reverse at Elland Road.
Dave Clements was his first signing, followed by Bob Latchford.
Jim Pearson, Martin Dobson, and David Smallman arrived in the following season. In 1975-76, he signed Andy King and Bryan Hamilton. Finally, he signed Duncan McKenzie and Bruce Rioch, plus a guy I'd never heard of, Tommy Wheeldon from St Helens Town who was purchased for a reported 4-figure fee.
28 Posted 05/08/2021 at 12:59:55
And Latchford, unlike Joe Royle, never scored against Liverpool for us and missed the biggest sitter I have ever seen at Anfield: when clean through, he lobbed the ball back to Clemence who couldn't believe his luck.
29 Posted 05/08/2021 at 13:00:29
I wasn't in Liverpool in the early and mid-seventies and played on a Saturday so was spared much of the misery.
I agree with you on those players, although didn't Smallman look promising... did he pick up a bad injury?
30 Posted 05/08/2021 at 13:01:46
I met Joe a few years ago for his book signing. He was a really nice guy, very shy.
We got Smallman from Wrexham. He only played a few times. He was not very good. Injury-prone to boot.
31 Posted 05/08/2021 at 13:07:50
He tried to get him pumping iron in the gym, and Joe reckoned it was harming his overall performance. Called him Billy Liar, as I said.
Joe did okay once he left, from memory.
32 Posted 05/08/2021 at 13:21:18
Bingham didn't 'nearly' win the League – he comprehensively lost it.
The away game to bottom-of-the-table Carlisle Utd was like a home game as I reckon we had more fans in the ground than they did. Bottom of the League against top (I think we were about 5 points clear) and we blew it 3-0. We never recovered and finished 4th. Carlisle had also beaten us 2-3 at Goodison.
Yes, he did win the League with us as a player but was replaced by Scott in December and only played one more League game after that. He played around half the games so, yes, he well earned his medal.
He was a strange signing because he was way past his best when we got him.
33 Posted 05/08/2021 at 13:36:41
It's not easy being an Evertonian.
34 Posted 05/08/2021 at 13:40:29
Yes it was straight from feast to famine, after the dessert, cheeseboard and vintage port in 1970.
Defeat from the jaws of victory in this case. If that hadnt happened, this post and its responses would have looked different
35 Posted 05/08/2021 at 15:03:30
As manager, he built half a decent team around the quality of Dobson and Latchford and the homegrown spirit of Lyons, Hurst, Kenyon, Seargeant, Darracott, Buckley, Gary Jones, David Jones, Goodlass and one or two others.
What we lacked was sufficient top class quality, most notably in goal but also at full-back, midfield and on the wing. Even Dobson and Latchford won only a handful of international caps. While it was not the worst squad ever assembled, it was nowhere near the level attained during the sixties.
In 1974-75, the league was there for the taking in a very mediocre season. Losing games after holding 2-0 leads against Carlisle and Sheffield United at Goodison pointed to mental fragility as well as defensive vulnerability.
It was a pity some of the players signed from 1977 onwards had not arrived a few years earlier. We might well have won the title with the likes of Pejic, Thomas, Kidd, Gidman and Todd in the team.
Ultimately under Bingham, the players were not good enough.
36 Posted 05/08/2021 at 15:04:15
Shakespeare couldn't have written a better tragedy. 😔
37 Posted 05/08/2021 at 15:09:10
38 Posted 05/08/2021 at 15:23:09
And 'Bingham Boys' silk scarves. And he always signed autographs with a smile. But then there were the awful signings. And there was Carlisle. And Altrincham. QPR away. Newcastle away. And some dire football. And not a single derby win.
Was he about to turn the corner when he was sacked? Who knows... But they weren't the best of times for most. For me, well, I was just excited to watch Everton. Even with Dai Davies and David Lawson.
39 Posted 05/08/2021 at 15:25:20
40 Posted 05/08/2021 at 15:35:45
We had some good players but never a good team. Sometimes people talk about a challenge for the title but it was never on; we just weren't good enough.
Not recovering from the sale of Alan Ball and the never-ending drive of the neighbours probably made it worse but it really was a shit era.
41 Posted 05/08/2021 at 15:49:53
Gordon Lee added Thomas and Pejic to the team and initially seemed on the right track but, as Danny's Dad noted no doubt, lost the plot good style in subsequent seasons.
One omen repeated some 37 years later: Everton employed a Walsh to add lustre to the team and he ended up wrecking it. Mickey was the case in 1978, I think – how on earth did Gordon Lee see him as a replacement for McKenzie???
A poor period but I cannot honestly say I was any more upset by it than what has gone subsequently. Apart from the 6 years of Howard Kendall Mk 1, the high-water mark for Everton is long past.
42 Posted 05/08/2021 at 16:09:57
Yes, neither of the Mike Walsh signings were particularly great but the striker was taking the mickey. I think he must have only been signed on the basis of that great MotD Goal of the Season for Blackpool.
Gordon Lee kept trying to replace McKenzie, first with Pearson, then with Walsh, sold Duncan and then brought in Eastoe and Kidd who at least were an improvement on Walsh and Pearson.
But we never really got a striker to truly compliment Latchford (Duncan did briefly), and always lacked a goalkeeper and right-back until Southall and Stevens.
43 Posted 05/08/2021 at 16:11:02
I think Mickey was signed on the strength of his 'goal of the season' for Blackpool but he really couldn't cut the mustard at the top level.
A bit like his brother, Steve, as Director of Football, or whatever his title was.
44 Posted 05/08/2021 at 16:25:53
How wrong could I have been?
45 Posted 05/08/2021 at 16:56:42
Everton in that 'should have been champions' season didn't' have quite enough about them and it was littered with a defensive approach, particularly away from home. The London media didn't like Everton's style, and opposition managers joined in the chorus of "Robots" etc to describe Everton's performances, which I found strange at the time because most of the other sides were playing safety-first football too.
I think this is the period of time when Everton (not in any way a favourite of the media) began to lose its star billing and it could be argued the club have failed to win it back ever since. Gordon Lee tried to bring a more expansive style but couldn't quite manage to bring the silverware home, until he too, succumbed to the more pragmatic style.
Kendall briefly reignited the true aims of the club but nobody since has been able to get close to creating a team that is both entertaining and effective. I don't suppose we'll see an Everton side do similar for quite some time… but we have to hope to see it one day.
46 Posted 05/08/2021 at 17:16:31
Before the late Alan McLoughlin quietened them of course.
47 Posted 05/08/2021 at 17:24:01
48 Posted 05/08/2021 at 17:52:11
John Raferty @35; players. It's about having better players regardless of the manager.
Ken @41. Similar to the above. Latchford, Lyons, Dobson, King and McKenzie may have been heroes for a generation – just as Cahill, Ferguson, Baines and Jagielka have been.
But were they Kendall, Ball, Harvey, Young and Royle? Where they Sheedy, Sharpe, Stevens, Reid or Southall?
Back on track, I can only go off my Dad at the time. He pined for the 60s, he was happy again in the 80s. The 70s was not a good period as far as he was concerned and I can remember.
Barry @45. Good summary. But you just know we're going to emerge and pull it out of the bag. 6th place, FA Cup Final and Europe next season. Come on, Everton.
49 Posted 05/08/2021 at 17:55:58
I think it was Bingham who signed Dave Clements, an Irishman who hailed from Larne. Never seen a slower player in all my life.
However, Bingham wasn't the worst Everton manager I have witnessed, I'll save that accolade for "Mr Sunbed", Mike Walker, truly awful and also totally delusional.
50 Posted 05/08/2021 at 18:26:13
Yes, we were dull to watch, like many teams in the league were at that time, but we did lose too many winnable games.
I think the key to that season most of all was the lack of a top class goalkeeper; this has been highlighted many times over the years. With a Shilton or similar in goal, I feel we would have won the league that year.
51 Posted 05/08/2021 at 18:26:14
Hamilton was slower than Clements!
52 Posted 05/08/2021 at 18:41:12
I was at the Burnden Park game when Carlisle Utd beat Everton 3-0. I can't recall the goalscorers but they had a Scottish lad named Joe Laidlaw and I suspect that he may have scored at least once.
I should have known it wasn't going to be our day because we were locked in a pub while an Everton contingent was marched to the ground, the worst part being that they didn't sell bottles of Guinness.
For the return fixture, I was a postman and had to work all day to cope with the Christmas overload. If memory serves me right, we were leading 2-0 and lost 3-2.
We were in with a shout, with four games to play and top of the League, but a 2-1 loss to Luton Town on Wednesday 9th April was the killer, and we finished in 4th place.
53 Posted 05/08/2021 at 18:48:03
Hard to fathom...
54 Posted 05/08/2021 at 18:50:48
The 60s for Everton kicked off with Moores taking over and, on the pitch, started with Tommy Ring, Vernon, Gabriel etc, and continued to its culmination in 1970.
I was 12 in 1960 and saw stuff on the pitch and off it that I've never forgotten, it seemed endless. This was reflected in the city as its profile and influence spread, through music, comedy, culture, football and Scouse folklore. The sun shone the whole time, of course. (Apart from that snow that started Boxing Day 1962 and shut us down for weeks!)
1970 was the end of an era in many ways. “They're selling hippie wigs in Woolworth's, man!”
It finished for all of us in 1970, and Billy Bingham personified all that: rotten timing, and it went on through the decade, until Kendall.
It never came back for the city.
55 Posted 05/08/2021 at 18:52:46
For 'Burnden Park', read 'Brunton Park', a slip of the memory, an 'age thing'.
56 Posted 05/08/2021 at 18:53:24
57 Posted 05/08/2021 at 18:57:03
58 Posted 05/08/2021 at 19:03:10
59 Posted 05/08/2021 at 19:10:47
60 Posted 05/08/2021 at 19:31:23
Refer to Shane's comments and do some research.
61 Posted 05/08/2021 at 19:52:07
62 Posted 05/08/2021 at 20:23:24
63 Posted 05/08/2021 at 20:43:40
A gobshite who did his best to stir things with “the Billy Boys” at that World Cup qualifier in 93 at what was a very politically sensitive time on the island of Ireland.
64 Posted 05/08/2021 at 21:47:33
My own circumstances made it tense beyond anything I could describe. The build up, the walk to the game, the utter belief that something bad was going to happen. The breakdown in relationships with friends I have been estranged from since.
Frankly, it was nothing to do with football and I wish I had been wise enough to stay way.
Let there be no doubt, Billy pandered to the crowd and made comments which, in hindsight, might seem pretty innocuous, but weren't. I honestly think he made them to pump up an atmosphere to help him win a game that was, at the time, more important than winning the World Cup.
I thought I would put up a couple of comments about a 90-year-old who managed our club. But to Des and Shane, yeah, I get your point.
65 Posted 05/08/2021 at 22:23:09
My Grandfather was a proud Ulsterman and proud of his Irish roots. Born in the Antrim Road area of Belfast, he later became an equally proud adopted Scouser and Evertonian, settling in Speke and eventually living on Arkles Lane with his second wife. He fought for the UK in Burma in World War 2 and hated the sectarianism of Ireland. It was the main reason he left and came to Liverpool.
Andy Crooks, I had a similar experience watching my one and only England game in Luxemburg around 1983. Awful atmosphere and dreadful scenes both in the stadium and the city afterwards.
66 Posted 05/08/2021 at 22:29:01
67 Posted 05/08/2021 at 22:35:13
To the really astute tactical analysts on this site, and we have some really good guys on here, find some footage of Terry (I think you might see it in some old regional archives); have a look at this guy. Short pass and move in tight space that is jaw dropping.
In my view, the 1970 England World Cup team is the greatest England side ever. Terry Cooper was as good as any defender there.
By the way, he had class hair.
68 Posted 05/08/2021 at 23:00:08
Agreed on both counts. The 1970 England side was much better than the 1966 one and since then only the Venables side has come close. The current England side are light years behind both, although the media would have us believe otherwise.
Terry Cooper was a class act in a ruthless, cynical Leeds side.
Is it my imagination or have quite a few of that Revie side died in the last year or so?
69 Posted 05/08/2021 at 23:04:52
70 Posted 05/08/2021 at 23:12:20
The timing of his sacking was very strange, following a magnificent 3-0 win at a shady night at Old Trafford in the League Cup, followed by the signings of Rioch and McKenzie.
71 Posted 05/08/2021 at 23:16:44
72 Posted 05/08/2021 at 23:22:17
73 Posted 06/08/2021 at 00:28:05
Allegedly geeing up the minority of Northern Ireland fans belting out “Billy Boys”. If not familiar with the song, the lyrics are easily found via a web browser search. The same song Craig Brown was filmed singing when Scotland manager and faced calls to resign as a result.
74 Posted 06/08/2021 at 00:36:45
The great days of the '80s, cast in time, and the reality as it is now.
There's been some massive cruise liners in port this week, great news, for local business, and Everton FC, and Bramley-Moore Dock.
This season, I'm hoping for progress on the park, and no more.
Progress and forward progress. Everton - Babel... well, hope eternal.
75 Posted 06/08/2021 at 00:42:30
Rafa please break the mould, find the right clay and mix, and may Everton see success this season.
76 Posted 06/08/2021 at 01:24:56
*All together now*... And we were singing...
77 Posted 06/08/2021 at 03:34:49
78 Posted 06/08/2021 at 07:20:49
It's not just Bingham's fault, the board over the years has allowed this to happen while our rivals left us in the dust. As Jamie S said, Moshiri is just keeping the tradition alive...p>
79 Posted 06/08/2021 at 08:57:35
He could identify good players, but wasn't a league type manager, more a backs-to-the-wall cup-type manager. One of his half-time talks consisted of, when Northern Ireland were one-nil up at half-time against the Dutch Masters in Amsterdam: "A gaint is going to come knocking at your door this half, you can fear him and lose or open the door and kick him in the balls!" Northern Ireland won the game.
Happy Birthday, Billy, and Best Wishes. Yes, he did have a posh Northern Ireland accent. . . and he nearly won the League.
80 Posted 06/08/2021 at 09:07:39
81 Posted 06/08/2021 at 15:26:17
I find it very much in line with most of your posts in the style of Don Alexander, critical of all things EFC but especially, now, of management.
82 Posted 06/08/2021 at 15:52:55
83 Posted 06/08/2021 at 16:15:44
I'll always remember what one of the guys said to me which in a way illustrates perfectly the complexities of life in Northern Ireland: "Well, Brendan" he said, "It could have been worse... imagine it had been England we allowed to qualify."
84 Posted 06/08/2021 at 18:50:08
That 74-75 season, we lost twice to Carlisle and away to soon-relegated Sheffield Utd. All the top teams were dropping points, it was a league title there for the taking. We didn't take it.
Like his successor, he may well have succeeded with a decent keeper.
85 Posted 06/08/2021 at 18:58:57
Sadly I didn't get to watch it as I am currently in Hospital... such is life, eh?!
86 Posted 06/08/2021 at 20:29:54
87 Posted 07/08/2021 at 08:07:51
And yes, Im critical of Everton. Anyone who knows anything about Everton knows how weve been left behind the pack after years of mismanagement and incompetence throughout the club.
88 Posted 07/08/2021 at 09:09:07
89 Posted 07/08/2021 at 09:26:14
I hope Billy's birthday cards were a little more uplifting.
He wasn't the best of managers but neither was Lee, Walker, Ancelotti et al. But he was a decent winger when he played for us despite it being the towards the very end of his career.
90 Posted 07/08/2021 at 09:34:47
91 Posted 07/08/2021 at 10:07:56
We were atrocious, the Hammers facing the drop, played what little football there was to behold.
Jones, Lyons and Darracott would have graced Walton Hall Park. Hamilton looked as mobile as a Subutteo player. Telfer! Sweet Jesus remember him ?
Highlight was a decent goal from Pearson who came on for Telfer.
Even Dobson was clueless compared to a young Brooking.
Brian Moore slated us for having eleven men back.
Ironically Lawson had a decent game.
Sometimes we forget just how bloody awful we were. Maybe things aren't so bad now 🤔
92 Posted 07/08/2021 at 10:14:34
I suppose we can liken it to my younger brother and the Moyes generation. It all comes down to expectation.
93 Posted 09/08/2021 at 20:03:03
A chance to make Everton great, under a great manager. Not taken,
94 Posted 12/08/2021 at 18:46:53
I was pretty confident we'd win the league in 1975, but we blew it in a rather stupid fashion.
Anyway, Billy Bingham had no managerial pedigree to take over at Goodison. He'd managed Southport and some Greek side, if memory serves me right.
All the best, Mr Bingham. It's great to know you're still around. Happy birthday!
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