When I seek solace

When I feel the need to escape the far too many setbacks of the modern game, I turn my thoughts to the times of my Granddad. I have picked up some of the events of Everton, and how the club was seen in the eyes of others, in a book published in 1906:

So much for bare history, now for a consideration of the causes which led up to the present splendour of the club. It plays in Royal Blue with white knickers, at the present time, but only a process of decided change has brought about the existing uniform, as other writers have told before now. Past seasons have seen these Evertonians whom we now dub the "The Royal Blues", wearing blue and white stripes (the original colours), black with a scarlet sash, salmon jerseys and blue knickers, and gorgeous ruby shirts with dark blue trimmings, a magnificent garb which many of us can still recall. Simplicity now waits on the club in the matter of colours, and never did an Everton team look fitter, or more business-like than at the present time.

Just for a moment, what of the great players who have been associated with the present Goodison Park organisation. It had as its first Scotsman, McGill from Glasgow Rangers, and he acted as its first captain. James Trainer played with Everton's second team, and soon afterwards migrated to Bolton, and on to Preston, to make for himself a name as a custodian whose superior has yet to be unearthed.

Trainer consequently cannot be put down as one of Everton's (in the sense of being a great player for that club), but it was one of those irritating accidents of fortune which prevented him from playing his own magnificent part in the Everton goal, and lending that club incomparable aid. But if Trainer has to be left out, what a catalogue of great names can be conjured up as 'old' Evertonians!

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Nick Ross, surely one of the finest of all full backs, stalwart and magnificent, Edgar Chadwick, still playing, but in the Evertonian days of his association with Alf Milward a veritable marvel, and again down south doing splendid service. The pocket marvel Johnny Holt, one of the most determined centre half-backs (of his inches) that the game ever knew, and in spite of them, played against Scotland, in 1891, 1892, 1893, 1894 and 1895, whilst he was also capped against Wales in 1890 and 1891, and the Irish forwards met him in 1892, 1894, and again, when he was  associated with Reading  in 1900

Still further may we go into this digging out of great names? We find Dan Doyle, doughty Scotsman that he was, and a veritable giant in times of stress, Fred Geary, a Nottingham man, slight and light, but wonderfully speedy and a fine forward, Bob Kelso, Andrew Hannah, Alex Latta, who played a fine wing game, and subsequently wisely gave the game up, and went into the making of yachts as his own master.

Then we get the master of all centre forwards, John Southworth, prince of dribblers and a fine shot, a man calculated to make almost any team, and who was reasonably dreaded by every one of his opponents, in whatever class.  Bob Howarth also comes into the list, whilst a finishing reference to Jack Bell must not be forgotten. That most cheery soul is still playing football in the League, a member of Preston North End, and still showing something of  that marvelous dash which almost brought the Cup home, after the finest final that the Palace has ever seen, and whose trickiness is still manifest.

All these names suggest pretty clearly that, once the management of the club had made up its mind to go in for the Association game, it was not inclined to go halfway, but to procure (at whatever cost and monetary sacrifice) the very best men that could be obtained.

From: Association Football and The Men Who Made It by Alfred Gibson & William Pickford, 1906.

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Michael Kenrick
1 Posted 26/06/2023 at 21:43:48
Interesting reference to 'the Palace' — not Buck House of course, but Crystal Palace Park which contained a football stadium that hosted the FA Cup Final from 1895 to 1914 — and of course where Everton lifted the trophy for the first time in 1906.

And before 1895, the cup finals of 1893 and 1894 were played at Fallowfield in Manchester and Goodison Park on Merseyside respectively.

No London club could boast a stadium like Goodison Park, the first purpose-built football stadium opened by the first football superstar, and Old Etonian, Lord Kinnaird. Yet despite the wonders of Goodison, or Villa Park in Birmingham later, the FA was resolute in its view that staging the cup final in London gave the event the national importance it deserved. It argued that supporters from the north and the midlands would much rather enjoy a day trip out in the capital than in another city.

With the start of the Great War, Crystal Palace stadium became a war depot and never hosted the cup final again.

Don Alexander
2 Posted 26/06/2023 at 22:31:58
A welcome piece from John reeking of insightful nostalgia, and a very interesting comment by Michael.

Thank you gents!

Tony Everan
3 Posted 26/06/2023 at 23:25:46
Thanks for posting, John and Michael.

Looking up those historic matches, the attendances were incredible. 110,800 for a final at The Crystal Palace Stadium in 1901, 126,000 for the first Wembley FA Cup in 1923.

Mark Andersson
4 Posted 27/06/2023 at 06:48:35
Impressive, those crowds, imagine the noise generated...

Will the new Everton Stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock have the same impact as Goodison Park???

Tony Abrahams
5 Posted 27/06/2023 at 07:53:46
When I think of Bill Kenwright's Everton, then that very last paragraph breaks my heart.
Eddie Dunn
6 Posted 27/06/2023 at 07:57:32
Lovely insight John and very interesting contribution from Michael. The men that starred in their day are all too easily forgotten by future generations.

As a kid in the Sixties and Seventies, I was interested in what had gone on before. When I was in my twenties, I frequented many a car boot sale/junk shop and bought plenty of books on football in the Fifties.

The great players of the Fifties and early Sixties are long forgotten and never mentioned in our "here today, gone tomorrow" media.

Barry Rathbone
7 Posted 27/06/2023 at 10:55:16
What I like about these early pieces is the apparent determination and seriousness that underpins Everton of old. No messing about they got good players in and pushed on.

It's as though we handed that trait to our younger variant across the park because it's a long time since such attributes were consistently part of GP.

Tony Abrahams
8 Posted 27/06/2023 at 11:03:15
Liverpool FC, are currently only one kilometer away from us geographically, but when it comes to ruthlessness and sheer hard nosed professionalism, we might as well be on the other side of the world.

I hear you when you go on about Arabs and Sheikh’s, Barry, but I’d genuinely prefer having the traits of our neighbours, when it came to the football, even though I could never be a Liverpool supporter, because the crying bastards get on my fucking nerves!!!

The Arabs can wait….Isn’t that what Chairman Bill said!?

Dave Abrahams
9 Posted 27/06/2023 at 12:36:42
Eddie (6),

I think you are right about the players of the fifties and sixties not being remembered and being generally forgotten unless of course you saw them and players I watched in the late forties, although some of them past their best, because of the war years.

I couldn't wait to see them because of their names, like: Mathews, Mortenson of Blackpool, Ted Sagar and TG Jones of Everton, Tommy Lawton and Joe Mercer, late of Everton but different clubs then, Raich Carter, Peter Doherty, Jimmy Hagan, Jackie Milburn, Charlie Wayman, Bobby Mitchell, Jimmy Scoular and Len Shackleton of Newcastle.

Frank Swift, Roy Paul and Bobby Johnstone of Man City, Jack Rowley and Johnnie Carey of Man Utd. Dougie Reid and Jack Stamps of the champions Portsmouth, Billy Wright and Bert Williams of champions Wolves, Tom Finney of PNE and many, many more.

They played for their teams and countries, enjoyed playing, getting maybe twice the wages of the man in the street in a relative short career but mostly humble and as down to Earth as the fans who supported them.

Lovely to look back and enjoy those footballing times and days because many fans young and old today are getting fed up with today’s game and a lot of the players and their attitudes.

Dave Abrahams
10 Posted 27/06/2023 at 12:55:50
(9), above, I wanted to add my thanks to John Mac for introducing this thread so we could take our minds off, as John said, the modern game but I was called away by the postman, more worries, sometimes I hate this bleedin’ postman!
Eddie Dunn
11 Posted 27/06/2023 at 13:41:03
Dave, I made some sculptures in clay(fired and glazed in full colour) of Jimmy Dickenson, Bert Williams, Stanley Mathews, Alf Ramsay and our very own Dixie Dean. Still got most of them on various window sills.
Once had commissions for a Danny Blanchflower and a Glenn Hoddle. The woman who commissioned Glenn Hoddle(for her boyfriend) told me that they had a storming row and he left her flat with Glenn under his arm. She found Glenn's body parts scattered all down the road.
This required a lot of research (pre internet) and my old footy books were invaluable reference.
Barry Hesketh
12 Posted 27/06/2023 at 13:48:19
It's probably true to say that players who played prior to the removal of the maximum wage, mostly played with more passion and that they cared very deeply for the clubs that they represented, however, I believe that many of today's stars also care about the club they play for, as exemplified by Richarlison's thoughts as reported in the Liverpool Echo:

Richarlison has shed light on the emotional and physical pain he endured in his battle to keep Everton in the Premier League.

A central figure for the Blues during his final season at the club in 2021-22, the Brazilian's goals proved pivotal as the team rallied in the final weeks to steer clear of the bottom three.

Scoring six times in the final nine outings of this campaign, the now Tottenham Hotspur forward was a key difference between survival and relegation. His most crucial strike arrived in a 1-0 triumph over Chelsea at the start of May, which he followed up with a goal of equal importance in the unforgettable 3-2 comeback win over Crystal Palace.

Richarlison would later sign for Spurs after helping to keep the Blues afloat, with the majority of fans wishing him well after four years of stellar service. Making clear just how committed to the cause he was, Richarlison has opened up on how he was prepared to put his body on the line despite feeling unable to partake in matches, and how he completely shutdown social media to avoid unnecessary distractions.

"We were at risk of relegation. I was exhausted. I lost weight, and I could barely play an entire game. I had been injured in the Olympics, and I was injured again at the club. My body was asking me to stop," the 26-year-old told The Players' Tribune of his last season at Goodison Park.

"But it was simple: I had to help save the club. Everton do not belong in the Championship. Can you imagine? We had no choice. We had to stay up. To concentrate on helping the team, I did a two-month fast on my cell phone. I completely turned off my apps and social media. I only used the alarm clock app to wake up in the morning. Before the match against Crystal Palace, I was destroyed. I knew this was going to be my last game of the season. I thought, we need to save ourselves now at Goodison Park, because the final round is against Arsenal away."

"I took some medicine and an injection and got down on my knees to pray. I refused to take a medical exam, because I knew that if I did it, they wouldn't let me play. I had to sweat blood that day," Richarlison said of the Palace victory. "When we scored the third goal, you can see that I had nothing left to give. I hit the ground with my head and said to the coach in tears: 'I'm done'. It was my last breath, my last sacrifice, my last game as an Evertonian. A moment I will carry with me for the rest of my life, because I loved playing for this club. In the end, we stayed up. Where the club belongs. And I'm very proud of the sacrifice I made that year."

Dave Abrahams
13 Posted 27/06/2023 at 13:49:16
Eddie (11),

Yes, Jimmy Dickinson captain of that Portsmouth team, Alf Ramsey and the brilliant Danny Blanchflower, there were so many great players, it's easy to forget some of them,

By the way, Eddie, the woman who had the sculpture of Glenn Hoddle stolen by her boyfriend had a lucky escape – she might've married the dickhead!

Brian Denton
14 Posted 27/06/2023 at 14:10:31
I remember giggling as a little boy when my much older brother gave me one of his football encyclopaedias, and the kit descriptions for each team always referred to shorts as 'knickers'.
Dale Self
15 Posted 27/06/2023 at 14:23:43
Well done John Sr. A good look back is sometimes just what you need to get forward. Good contributions too, especially Michael’s and Eddie’s.
John McFarlane Snr
18 Posted 27/06/2023 at 14:44:35
Hi Michael [1],

I have a book, The Illustrated History of Twentieth Century Sport. Written by Chris Nawrat, Steve Hutchings, and Greg Struthers, 1992, and it states that, Bolton Wanderers beat West Ham United 2-0 in the first final held at Wembley on 28 April 1923. The match will be remembered for the size of the crowd and a brave policeman on a white horse.

The owners of the new stadium boasted that it was the finest in the world and could hold 125,000. Their claim proved to be disastrous. More than 200,000 people turned up, possibly even 250,000, and they poured into the ground, spilling on to the pitch.

The kick off was delayed for 45 minutes as the crowd good naturedly sang the national anthem for the arrival of the king, while policemen on horses inched the crowd back to the touchline. The West Ham captain, Jack Tresarden, said 'the best pass he'd had all afternoon was from a spectator'

When the police constable on the 13-year-old white horse got home, he was asked by his girlfriend what sort off day he'd had, "Oh, just ordinary, lass, just ordinary " It became known as the white horse Cup Final, and finals have been all-ticket ever since.

The figure in the Rothmans Book of Football Records has the attendance of 126,047. I'm not sure how they arrived at that figure.

Duncan McDine
19 Posted 27/06/2023 at 15:30:39
This is a great read… makes you wonder where it all went wrong. My heart says that we’ll one day be a proper footy club again, but my head tells me otherwise. Thanks to J-Mac and the other posters for this little history lesson.
John McFarlane Snr
20 Posted 27/06/2023 at 15:59:25
Hi All, I plead not guilty to the multiple posts that are carrying my name.
Hi Tony [5] when I was typing my post the same thing crossed my mind, it seems obvious that 'Nil Satis Nisi Optimum' was alive and active in those far off days.
Hi Dave [9 & 10] I may be looking back through rose coloured glasses, but I suspect that people of our generation enjoyed our football because we were mindful of the skills the opposition possessed. Regarding being thankful, I appreciate any positive reactions, but when you get to our age nostalgia is a virtual necessity.
Hi Dale [15] you got your wish, and thank you for giving me the slightest nudge that gave me a reason to share opinions with others.
John McFarlane Snr
21 Posted 27/06/2023 at 16:14:11
Hi Duncan [19] I have 'one or two' books that have been sitting unread on my bookshelf for too long, I take pleasure in sharing views with others of the same interest, and if I can provide them with information that they were unaware of, I would consider that as a 'Job well done'
Kieran Kinsella
22 Posted 27/06/2023 at 16:40:40
John McFarlane/Michael Kenrick

You piqued my interest into the olden days and attendances. I notice that in 1901 the FA Cup Final between Spurs and Sheffield Utd had a crowd of over 100,000. They then had the replay at Burnden Park of all places and it attracted just 20,000.

Based on that and the geography and transport available at the time I should imagine most of the 100,000 were Londonders. I assume Burnden Park was chosen as it was closer to Sheffield to create some balance?

They did at least have the replay on a Saturday as opposed to midweek. can't imagine many would have been able to get their from London or Sheffield on a weeknight by steam train or horse-drawn cart.

Danny O’Neill
23 Posted 27/06/2023 at 20:28:23
That last paragraph says it all, John Senior.

You don't go into this half-hearted. All or nothing. That's how you win and succeed.

Michael, Goodison has many firsts. From ToffeeWeb:

First purpose-built football stadium
First four-side stadium with two-tier stands
First stadium with a three-tier stand
First stadium to install dugouts
First stadium to install floodlights
First stadium to install undersoil heating

There are probably others. The Grand Old Lady has a history of firsts. And she will break our hearts in the next 18 months or so.

Michael (again), maybe it's my upbringing, but I've always resented the London monopoly on hosting the cup finals aside from that brief period when Cardiff stood in. Likewise with the national team, which I don't really care for.

If we were going to have a national stadium, I'd rather have seen it built more central in a neutral location as much of a great occasion Wembley is.

I'd rather see those occasions rotated around the country as other nations do. Wasn't the last England match played in Old Trafford?

Rick Tarleton
24 Posted 27/06/2023 at 20:51:25
I loved that article, John. It shed light and added pictures to our first great period. Of course as you well know, John, 1906 was our first cup win and the first great centre-forward called Young scored our winning goal near the end of the game against Newcastle.

As a boy, I remember when my dad was home from the sea in the tiny back kitchen of our house in Renfrew Street (at that stage, he was a merchant seaman, but earlier had been involved in the training camp which produced his brother, the great Nel Tarleton, his brother-in-law Ernie Roderick, and Peter Kane) and I used to get my dad talking about football and boxing.

In football, his all-time favourite was the Arsenal inside forward, Alex James, and my whole family were Liverpool supporters. But he also talked of William Ralph Dean and told me just how good he was. Later he took me to meet the great man.

My dad talked also of Dean and Nel, his brother, doing tap-dancing routines for charity and at charity dinners.

Now when I'm in bed thinking about Everton, I go back to those chats with my dad and I go back to my favourite team, Everton in 1962-63. What a team! Two of the smallest strikers the world has seen playing together Labone – who I vaguely knew from school and from playing bowls at The Hermitage where Brian played. Kay, Morrissey, Gabriel, West who could "bowl" the ball 50 yards out to Morrissey. Alex Parker with his immaculate slide tackles, and Brian Harris, quietly efficient in any position.

We are a team with history and even more important with a great tradition. To see where Kenwright et alia have taken us is heart-breaking.

Thank you, John, for reminding us of our history and our tradition. I do feel sorry for any Everton supporter under 50, my own son and grandson included, who've never really experienced the pride one has in a great team and the feeling of elation that a great team gives its supporters.

Danny O’Neill
25 Posted 27/06/2023 at 21:05:53
Great stuff, Rick.

I grew up on the stories of the sixties. I've said this many a time. Tales of the Holy Trinity and Alex Young, but also Labone and Gabriel to a lesser degree as well as Tony Kay. Joe Royle to an extent.

And then my own experiences.

In 30 years time, it will be me preaching about the wonder that was Kevin Sheedy, who made football look beautifully simple, yet magical.

The warrior that was Peter Reid, who could play a bit too. The graceful Paul Bracewell. Neville Southall, the best goalkeeper in Europe at the time. Trevor Steven dancing down the right wing.

And we love our Psycho Pat. For different reasons. Take no prisoners.

Laurie Hartley
26 Posted 27/06/2023 at 22:16:00
Thank you John for giving us a thread we can indulge ourselves with fond memories.

Like Rick # 24, my favourite team was the 62/63 side. Tony Kay and Johnny Morrissey are my two favourite players of all my time. Both very skilful and both as hard as nails.

My dad (God rest his soul) and I, followed that team up and down the country. He was as mad a one eyed Evertonian as you would ever meet but he reckoned the best player he had ever seen was Duncan Edwards of Man Utd.

Dave Abrahams
28 Posted 27/06/2023 at 22:39:24
Rick (24) and Laurie (26),that Everton team of 1962-63 was my favourite team a well and Morrissey and Kay were both players I admired, thorough team players first and foremost adding to the skills they had, and Laurie many fans would have agreed with your dad regarding Duncan Edwards playing ability, cut short at such a young age.
Paul Birmingham
29 Posted 27/06/2023 at 22:41:33
Excellent read John, and great to look back on the great past and standards, Everton stood for and upheld.

I have an old framed photograph of the 1906 Team, and Alex “Sandy “ Young, faded but legible, and it does make you wonder, in a different world, but also the so called simple game, is no longer simple, in this modern era, with the use of var etc.

Sean Dyche, has done a remarkable job, last season, and I hope, he gets full support from the club, but hopefully by the start of July, there may be genuine prospect of some new players.

The squad must be strengthened, in time to try and gel, before the new season starts.

Hopefully soon, deliverance, will arrive.

John McFarlane Snr
30 Posted 27/06/2023 at 22:56:22
Hi Rick [24] I have mentioned the fact that my uncle Phil was a friend of Nel Tarleton, when they lived in the Low Hill area, Phybian Street [if I've spelled that correctly] and my Auntie Nora told me that she taught Nel to dance in Peppers Hall on the corner of Aubrey Street and Everton Road.
Although Everton won the League in 1963 my favourite was the 1961 team of, Dunlop, Parker, Jones, Gabriel, Labone, Meagan, Lill, Collins, Harris, Vernon, Ring. They showed us football that our generation hadn't seen before.
I had the pleasure of talking to Alex Parker at one of the 'Hall Of Fame' evenings and when I praised him on his sliding tackles he said, "I was faster on my arse than I was on my feet"

Phil Parker
31 Posted 27/06/2023 at 23:17:18
Great read John. Made me think
about our historical tradition
of great centre forwards, and our present forward line, or lack of it. Even before Dixie first topped the goalscoring charts with his 60 in 1928, we already had the leading scorer in the League in 6 previous seasons with various Everton greats, some you have mentioned in your piece. This last season we have been trying to win games without anyone up front fit to wear the blue jersey, so well done to Sean Dyche for somehow finding a way to get us to safety. Planning department please note. Goalscorers needed.
John McFarlane Snr
32 Posted 27/06/2023 at 00:02:53
Hi Danny [25] hopefully you will have a better 30 years ahead of you than you have had to endure for the past 30 years.

HI Laurie [26] one of my football regrets is that I never had the privilege of seeing Duncan Edwards, I was serving in Cyprus when he died in the Munich disaster.

Hi Paul [29] thank you for your opinion of the thread, I have a framed photo of three sections, in the centre it reads League Champions 1928, on one side Dixie Dean record goal scorer, and on the other it shows a trophy which it describes it as English League Cup. It's certainly not the Championship trophy, and there wasn't a League cup in those days, it's a fine looking trophy and I wonder if it may be the Liverpool Senior Cup.

HI Phil [31] thanks for your kind words, yes we have had goal scoring forwards in the past, I think one of the most prolific, was your namesake Bobby Parker, who scored 89 goals in 176 appearances. I'll look out for you at the food-bank when the season starts.

Steve Carter
33 Posted 28/06/2023 at 04:53:56
What is also interesting is the phrase "once the management of the club had made up its mind to go in for the Association game".

This, of course, indicates that in, the last quarter of the 19th Century, whether a football club would or should play under rugby or association rules was very much a vexed question. Many, if not the majority, of the larger clubs based in Lancashire and Yorkshire towns decided upon the former. A situation that remains to this day.

It's intriguing why the cities (Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, etc) all went one way and a good number of towns the other.

Eric Myles
34 Posted 28/06/2023 at 05:31:19
Steve #33, Liverpool Rugby Union Club was formed in 1857, some 21 years before the first proper football team in the city.

And Leeds to this day have a history of rugby, although it may be league?

Newcastle also have a history of rugby union.

John McFarlane Snr
35 Posted 28/06/2023 at 13:20:47
Hi Steve [33] and Eric [34] I have managed to dig out a book, Football on Merseyside by Percy M Young. 1963.

Which states, reference to the general history of Association Football, the Sheffield club had been going for more than two decades before St Domingo's commenced operations, and the Football Association had been formed in 1863, with its Challenge Cup a focal point for mature ambitions since 1871 indicates that Liverpool was somewhat tardy in recognition of its virtues.

One powerful reason was the strength of the Rugby game, which had been consecrated by a try-out match, in which a ball borrowed from Rugby School itself had been used at Edge Hill in 1857. In this match, in which some Mancunians took part, 50 members of the more socially distinguished families appeared and inspired one observer to comment "I never saw a finer or gentlemanly assemblage."

Rugby football flourished, as it still does, and by 1862, the Liverpool Rugby Union Club was in being, but without respect to the "Humbler classes". Some 30 years later, this body made an attempt to monopolize the title of Liverpool in relation to football, but was rebuffed.

Eric Myles
36 Posted 28/06/2023 at 16:11:42
Regarding Alex Young, from the 1906 team, I vaguely remember an article about him on this website (Rob Sawyer maybe?)

He emigrated to Australia and was imprisoned for killing his brother and ended up in an asylum back in Scotland where he died?

Eric Myles
37 Posted 28/06/2023 at 16:19:31
Dave #9,

Is that Johnny Carey of Man Utd? – the same who became our manager and started the "taxi for…" meme?

Paul Birmingham
38 Posted 28/06/2023 at 16:33:20
Stirring read and inspirational, John, in these testing times for EFC. Thanks to all.

But great spirit and a fine tonic for this week.

Ray Roche
39 Posted 28/06/2023 at 16:53:46
Danny @23,

Goodison Park wasn't the first ground to have floodlights, Bramall Lane had experimental floodlights in 1878 and, depending on which account you believe, South Liverpool or The Dell at Southampton each claim to have been the first club to use floodlights as we know them now. No doubt other clubs will also try to claim having the first floodlights as well.🤷🏼‍♂️

Some sources, Sheffield United in particular, try to claim Bramall Lane as the oldest football ground but it was a three-sided cricket ground that allowed some games to be played there. Anyone following Everton there in the sixties will remember that one side was open and the club employed ball boys to retrieve the ball when it went out of play. Looked quite bizarre.

Danny O’Neill
40 Posted 28/06/2023 at 17:05:22
Ray, you should speak to Brian Murray about Everton's first boy mascot.

It was his brother. There was a really nice article published on here about it:

John Murray – Everton’s First Boy Mascot

Christine Foster
41 Posted 28/06/2023 at 17:25:34
I wish to God that, when I was little, I understood the significance of the tales my granddad used to tell me so often of the 1933 team, the players he played with, the extraordinary medal collection he had, gold medals to, for his time when being a good footballer meant you got a job when men could not find work.

His eyes would light up as they could see again the breathtaking crowds of over 70,000 at Goodison, where you could lift your feet off the ground and the crush would still carry you along Goodison Road.

He finished life as a docker, worked hard, drank hard, retired one Friday night in 1967. The following day, he had a heart attack in his home in Virgil Street; by the Wednesday, he had both his legs amputated and he spent the rest of his days in a wheelchair, often crying at the injustice of life and his days as a footballer.

He told me tales of his own days speeding down the wings, his eyes once more filled with joy and tears. He would remember the players in the Bootle JOC he played with and against… then silently the tears would flow.

Football is etched into our existence, our life, our memory. Without doubt, I was proud of my granddad, Andy Ruth, he may never have reached the heights of those mentioned, but to me he was the greatest footballer I have ever seen.

On the back holes of Virgil Street at what must have been in his 50s, on a Sunday afternoon, before dinner and after the pubs shut, he would be hauled down from the balcony to play and the granddad was a kid again, football. Brutal, funny, hard men, wonderful players. Everyone's granddad could play.

Thank you, John, the article brought me back to the days of listening to the old radio commentaries on a little valve radio, to James Alexander Gordon reading the results, to my mum coming home from Littlewoods, the pools, the Echo, then the Pink, and my Granddad, who passed when he could take the sadness and injustice of life no more on a cold January day in 1972.

My legacy are his memories, football his life, his joy. It helps make everyone of us. Great article, John, thank you, it reminded me of why we love Everton FC.

Now if I could just get back to sleep again at 4:30 am this morning...

Dave Abrahams
42 Posted 28/06/2023 at 17:29:30
Eric (37),

Yes, Johnny Carey was an excellent full-back for Man Utd and Eire.

John McFarlane Snr
43 Posted 28/06/2023 at 17:49:42
Hi Eric [36 & 37],

It was the person you thought of and you are correct in saying that he emigrated to Australia in 1914.

A year later, Young was charged with the wilful murder of his brother, and in June 1916 was found guilty of manslaughter, evidence having been produced from football club officials in England that during his playing career he was subject to fits of temporary insanity.

He was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment but was not released immediately on the completion of his sentence, but kept in custody on the grounds of 'mental weakness'. It was quite some time before he returned to Scotland.

Johnny Carey, was appointed manager of Everton in 1958 when I was serving in Cyprus, my stand out memory of him as a player, was when he played against us for Manchester United in the 5th round FA Cup game in 1953, Everton winning 2-1 in front of 77,920.

Andy Crooks
44 Posted 28/06/2023 at 21:36:08
Thoroughly enjoyed that piece, John. Thank you.
Tony Everan
45 Posted 28/06/2023 at 22:37:42
Rick 24, I was reading up on your Uncle Nel, what a warrior that man was. Part of an elite group to win two Lonsdale belts and a long and successful career, all with one lung! Shame he passed away so young.

Great picture someone has posted up of him, he has a touch of Big Dunc about him. (Wayne Rooney to his left and Luca Digne to his right)


Thanks for posting, I enjoyed learning about him.

John McFarlane Snr
46 Posted 28/06/2023 at 23:16:40
Hi All,

I must thank you for your kind words, and I would be grateful if someone could explain to me, the definition of, "A Happy Clapper." It sounds a lot better than a "Wanabe Manager".

Dale Self
47 Posted 29/06/2023 at 00:48:20
Hi again, John Sr,

I will keep it short and dry in case someone else has a different take. Originally it was a Darren Hind phrase used to describe Carlo supporters and intended to insult them (in that kindly TW way mind you) for supporting a negative and defensive style of play desperate for points.

It later became a slanderous term for what is likely viewed as a blind and obedient support for Everton that does not aspire to rise above the mediocrity.

Kieran Kinsella
48 Posted 29/06/2023 at 02:05:40
Dale & John,

The aforementioned poster co-opted the term from its original usage which was used to disparagingly refer to evangelical Christians who were lively in their church services versus more traditional solemn Catholics, Lutherans, Church of England.

Even when I was a kid, there was a Congregational church in town commonly referred to as the happy clapper church.

Danny O’Neill
49 Posted 29/06/2023 at 05:22:19
We all grew up on stories of the past, Christine. I feel like I know the 60s teams, even though I was born in 1971.

My son and youngest brother now has to listen to me ramble about the mid-80s team. They certainly know about Kevin Sheedy.

I'm a self-confessed proud so-called happy clapper if that is the term thrown at Everton supporters by fellow Everton supporters. When it comes to matchday, all I care about is supporting the players on the pitch and wanting the result. Everything else goes away. It's all I've ever known and all I ever will do. Even under Benitez and Allardyce, I just wanted Everton to win.

After matchday, I can turn my attention to my frustration with the club, but for those 90 minutes plus, all that matters is Everton and I rarely look at the dugout.

Eric Myles
50 Posted 29/06/2023 at 06:05:55
Dale #47, "Happy Clapper" refers to a Kenwright supporter.

It came about when the Blue Union protests were about and during a match the cameras focussed on Kenwright and everyone started clapping.

Might even have been the game when the Kenwright Out banner was flown over Goodison.

Danny O’Neill
51 Posted 29/06/2023 at 06:45:40
Happy clappers.

Evertonians turning on Evertonians.

Played right into Bill's hands.

Divide and Conquer as they say.

We are all Evertonians. We all have our views on the club. But we all want the team to win.

Colin Glassar
52 Posted 29/06/2023 at 07:29:50
The first time I saw the term “happy clapper” being thrown at me, and others, was used by Darren Hind (no offence, Dazza) during the second season of the Roberto Martinez reign once things started to unravel.

I was desperate for Martinez to succeed as I was with Koeman but then, slowly but surely, the mismanagement of the club and the appointments of Messrs Allardyce, Benitez and Lampard (season two) turned me from a happy clapper into a miserable, cynical, negative old sod.

Brian Williams
53 Posted 29/06/2023 at 08:27:12
The term "happy clapper" has been around for years and isn't exclusively used in football and/or it's supporters.

Big world out there beyond the ToffeeWeb walls. ;-))

Ray Roche
54 Posted 29/06/2023 at 08:36:52
Kieran @48 has the only accurate reference to Happy Clappers. It's a decades-old reference to certain religious churchgoers.
John McFarlane Snr
55 Posted 29/06/2023 at 14:32:30
Hi all, I suspected that "Happy Clappers" was football related, but I now believe that the Church claim is most likely, and I consider that both claims are acceptable.

Regarding the "Wanabe Managers", I must confess there was a hint of sarcasm, but I agree that we all have views and opinions and are entitled to express them.

Turning the clock back to pre-televison coverage of football, the only people who could air their views were match-going fans, and much of that occurred in the pIayground or in the Pubs.

Now, thanks to the internet, posts of any description can be flashed around the world in seconds. I know that I will be classed by some, as an "Old Fart" but I prefer to discuss things that have happened, rather than attempting to foresee the future.

Raymond Fox
56 Posted 29/06/2023 at 14:51:16
John, you are not an old fart, sadly our culture, if we even have one now, is going down the pan.

My take on happy clappers is, when there are obvious problems, they would sooner bury their heads in the sand and pretend there is none.

Jay Harris
57 Posted 29/06/2023 at 15:46:14
Great post Sir John and a very enjoyable read from all the posters.

It does make me sad however to reflect on the change in society not just football when certain people can earn millions while there are still starving and homeless people about.

Still as you say we can treasure the good times which were well before Kenwright was even heard of.

Dale Self
58 Posted 29/06/2023 at 18:37:10
Bonus round: Define nappy crappers. ;)
Brent Stephens
59 Posted 29/06/2023 at 18:53:46
Dale, very good.
Brendan McLaughlin
60 Posted 29/06/2023 at 19:32:03
I seem to remember the term "Happy Clappers" on ToffeeWeb as the standard riposte to "MOB" (Moyes out Brigade) back in the day.

Not saying he was the first to use it but I think Michael K. certainly popularised the use of the term.

John McFarlane Snr
61 Posted 29/06/2023 at 19:34:53
Hi Christine, [41]

I'm pleased that you enjoyed my article, although I attended a get-together at the Harlech Castle, it was impossible to get to all who made their way there.

It finished with at least 8 or 9 drinking and talking on the pavement. Had it been possible, it was my intention to propose a toast to absent friends, and your Uncle Tommy would have been on my mind.

I don't know how long Virgil Street was, but you may know a lad I worked with in 1962, his name was Alan Neal, a really nice chap but unfortunately a 'Redneck'.

Hi Raymond [56],

I'm sure you have hit the nail on the head, when you refer to 'culture of the club', and the 'culture of society', and I think that you would be correct if you linked them together.

Hi Jay [57],

I can only repeat what I wrote to Raymond in post [56], 'it's a cruel world'

Paul Birmingham
62 Posted 29/06/2023 at 19:38:22
A fine day, so this morning I took the chance to look at the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock.

It's magnificent, it looks so much bigger than 5 weeks ago.

Hopefully this summer, Everton start building a squad to be worthy of this stadium.


Michael Kenrick
63 Posted 29/06/2023 at 22:14:22
Brendan @60,

Not much I say achieves popularity so I suppose I should be grateful but I would associate it more with the time that Blue Union polarised opinions, calling for change after exposing Blue Bill — those who disliked the Blue Union and/or their methods became the Happy Clappers.

Oh, I see Eric @50 mentioned them already. Must stop reading threads backwards!

Tony Abrahams
64 Posted 02/07/2023 at 14:36:45
Was this when they taped Bill Kenwright, without his permission Michael?

Thousands of criminals have been sentenced to very long prison sentences in this country because they “exposed themselves” on an encrypted network that they thought was impenetrable.

My own opinion is that I believe that this is immoral, and yet when Bill Kenwright exposed himself, I couldn't understand the people who were more outraged at Mr Kenwright being taped – without any prior knowledge, even though his “sheer incompetence was definitely exposed”, by anyone who wanted to read the extracts.

I suppose it's just that “contradiction” word, once again - because I bet you a lot of people who defended Bill Kenwright would have been right behind the CPS's decision because it has helped take a lot of organized criminals out of the equation.

Bill Kenwright is nothing more than a legalized conman, imo, and if he was to read this, then I'm sure he would afford himself a very wry smile on the side of his face that wasn't exposed.

Michael Kenrick
65 Posted 02/07/2023 at 15:10:42
Tony @64, yes.

Although I don't think the Blue Union ever admitted to taping, but the detailed transcript of their meeting was a bit of a giveaway.

It's that strange dichotomy, Tony – Evertonians reacting with their gut to what they feel is unjust or immoral, versus engaging their brains. I think we saw pretty much the same disunity on the recent Ancelotti lawsuit thread.

Well done for sucking me in to your Daily Dastardly Bill diatribe! If Kenwright is culpable of a fraction of the crimes you have racked up against him on these pages, then CPS have definitely missed an easy bang to rights.

Dave Abrahams
66 Posted 02/07/2023 at 15:59:42
Michael (65), in a post by Nick Page recently he gave a link to three Evertonians having an arranged interview with Kenwright which said that Kenwright knew the interview was going to be shared with other fans.
What was wrong with the debate Kenwright and the three fans being shown to the fan base, what was he or anyone else afraid of, he volunteered to give the interview, which exposed the way he he ran the club, spoken out of the horse’s mouth, with some of the usual lies thrown in.
Tony Everan
67 Posted 02/07/2023 at 17:05:20
The Blue Union Bill Kenwright transcript

[Scroll down in that page – don't use the link in the first post there.]

The alleged full transcript is here that I think you are referring to, some seriously delusional comments.

Tony Abrahams
68 Posted 02/07/2023 at 17:43:50
I only asked you a question, Michael, so if you think I've had you, mate, then can you please give me a list of the crimes against Kenwright that you allege that I have made, please, Michael!

Being serious I'm not the type of person to cast aspersions, because I believe we all contradict ourselves in some way, but I will be dammed if you can produce a list of things I've said against Bill Kenwright that is simply not true, I would be genuinely surprised, Michael.

Dave Abrahams
69 Posted 02/07/2023 at 18:20:42
Tony (67),

Thanks, that's the link I was referring to, I'd read it a few years ago but it is always worth a read now and again, even just to remind yourself what a blot Kenwright has been in Everton's history.

Michael Kenrick
70 Posted 02/07/2023 at 21:03:25
It was odd, Dave, the whole business over taping and transcript and Blue Union apparently doing the dirty became more of an issue than the glaring revelations from the world's greatest Evertonian.

I didn't mean to trigger Tony but he seems to have reacted badly to my little jibe. Not saying any of it is untrue, Tony, I was making a comparison with your convicted criminals and the possibility that CPS had missed a trick by not hauling in the conman years ago.

I know you think you're on a mission, Tony, and need to produce your daily instalment to keep the pot boiling, but I have a low repetition threshold, I'm afraid, and find it's getting just a little tiresome.

Tony Abrahams
71 Posted 02/07/2023 at 21:32:06
I’ve definitely lowered my repetitions Michael, and your bemusing jibe, went right over my head, or was it under my feet? I will also definitely continue to lower my boring repetition, but must admit that similar to your good self Michael, I hate it when people say things that are simply not true.

I curse Bill Kenwright on a regular basis, but I don’t believe that I come out with stuff that isn’t true. Maybe you can prove differently Michael, (you did correctly pull me up on something the other week) but I do believe that asking questions is a lot different to casting aspersions, although nothing will convince me that Bill Kenwright isn’t a closet red.

Maybe Trevor Birch, could answer that one, although to be fair to Bill, he might just hold a little grudge, after leaving the best job he’s ever had🤦‍♂️😂😂😂😂😂😂🤮🤮🤮🤮 a family fortunes ❌❌❌❌

Eric Myles
72 Posted 04/07/2023 at 15:16:45
Tony #67, I get an "account suspended" error message.
Jay Evans
73 Posted 08/07/2023 at 20:21:45
Thank you, John, for such a wonderful article that has totally distracted me from the current situation at our club.

It's good to look back sometimes.

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