BUCKLE ON LIST
February 2, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Ted Buckle, the Everton winger has been placed on the transfer list at his own request. This is not the first time that he has requested to be put on the transfer in fact he has made several applications. In 1953 Buckle’s name was linked with Manchester City, but Buckle a Londoner expressed his desire to go south, after City and Everton had agreed to terms. Buckle, signed for Everton from Manchester United in November 1949 and by a strange coincidence he played against his old club at Goodison Park the following day. He has figured in two F.A. Cup semi-finals for Everton. Buckle, who learned much of his football in the Navy during the war, can play on either wing, but prefer the left. He has a powerful shot in his left foot despite his light build and has scored many brilliant goals. He was Matt Busby’s first signing when the former Liverpool player became manager of Manchester United.
Signed in 1949
It was late in 1949 that Manager Cliff Britton secured Buckle’s signature at no great cost considering the modern trend in transfer fees. Buckle has played in 104 League and Cup games for Everton, scoring 33 goals and has played in every forward position with the exception of centre-forward. No mean singer Buckle is a great student of football and loves nothing better than a discussion about the game. He would be available acquisition to any club with a forward weakness. Everton left without a fixture on February 19 due to their opponents, Manchester City being engaged in an F.A Cup tie with Luton have arranged to play Manchester United at Old Trafford on that day.
CHELSEA AT GOODISON
February 4, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton will be keen to show their supporters that last Saturday’s unexpected Cup defeat has not affected their confidence. Chelsea are no longer a music hall joke, for they are on the same mark -30 points – as Everton and their away record a very good. They have won five, drawn five and lost only three away from Stamford Bridge and will have to be treated with the greatest respect.
Since Ted Drake too over the reins of management the “Pensioners” have gone from strength to strength and the former Arsenal centre forward has instilled a fighting quality in his side. Everton have dropped some unnecessary home points and if they are to stay up among the elite they will not have to drop many more. There are three changes in the Everton team from that which went down in the Cup tie. Donovan, who strained a groin against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Boxing Day returns at left back in place of Rankin. The Irishman has been troubled with this strain almost throughout the season. His return should tighten up the defence, but it must not be forgotten that he has had only light training and has not played any serious football. John Willie Parker has played in two central League games since he reported fit three weeks ago, scoring four goals including a “hat-trick” against Barnsley a fortnight ago. Wainwright is being given a rest so that McNamara comes in at outside right. Chelsea will offer stout resistance but if Everton can get back to their Wolves form they should return to winning ways. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Donovan; Farrell, Jones, Lello; McNamara, Fielding, Hickson, Parker, Eglington. Chelsea; Thompson; Sillett, Willemse; Armstrong, Wicks, Saunders; Parsons, McNichol, Bentley, Stubbs, Blunestone.
WHY GOLF IS NOW ‘OUT’ AT EVERTON
February 5, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
Everton followers at Goodison Park today will ruminate at the scene of the crime. It hardly seems seven days ago since all was expectation about the Cup-tie. Doubtless many will suggest that if Everton had made last week the changes they have made this week, the game might have gone differently. But these was singularly little outcry at the time and it is not far to Everton management or to the players to argue what might have been. Meantime, Everton can smile philosophically at the report spread in Liverpool yesterday that gold has been cut from their training curriculum because say the wags, manager Cliff Britton cannot stand the sound of people shouting “Fore.” Everton will want to make a clean start beginning today with the Chelsea fixture. Time was when Chelsea F.C were anyone’s meat. Now, in a football sense they are anyone’s poison. The advent of Manager Ted Drake has revolutionized things at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea are there with a chance in Cup and League and for the first time in my memory are really dependable. The incoming in the Everton X1 of McNamara for Wainwright, Parker for Potts and Donovan for Rankin, should make a deal of difference to its effectiveness. Parker was the most disconsolate looking man I saw at Goodison Park after the Cup defeat. Now he gets his chance to demonstrate that his youthfulness and goal taking strength can make a big difference. It should be a hard interesting game with Everton especially keen to rehabilitate themselves. The teams are;- Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Donovan; Farrell, Jones, Lello; McNamara, Fielding, Hickson, Parker, Eglington. Chelsea; Thompson; Sillett, Willemse; Armstrong, Wicks, Saunders; Parsons, McNichol, Bentley, Stubbs, Blunestone.
BENTLEY BLOW TO BLUES AFTER 73 MINUTES
February 5, 1955, The Liverpool Football Echo
Everton’s Missed Chances Prove Costly
Everton 1, Chelsea 1
Everton;- O’Neill, goal; Moore and Donovan, backs; Farrell (captain), Jones and Lello, half-backs; McNamara, Fielding, Hickson, Parker and Eglington, forwards. Chelsea;- Thompson, goal; Sillett, and Williesm, backs; Armstrong, Wicks and Saunders, half-backs; Parson, McNicol, Bentley, Stubbs and Bluestone, forwards. Referee; Mr. F. Reid. Today we returned to League warfare with Everton hoping to get back to winning ways. There was no change in the advertised teams and the attendance was exceptionally good. Rain this morning and overnight had some effect on the ground, which looked as though it would cut up. There were one or two comments when Chelsea turned out in red, for the Evertonians have unpleasant memories of that colour. Chelsea went straight into the attack and Donovan was soon in among the fray stemming a strong advance by the Chelsea right wing. Eventually the pressure was cleared and the ball found its way to Hickson, but the promise of a goal opening was short-lived, for Chelsea were soon back in the Everton goal area gaining a corner from which Armstrong eventually shot wide. Everton’s reply to this was a fast raid on the left wing and just when Eglington appeared likely to provide trouble for the Chelsea goal Sillett, who was the captain of the young England side against Italy made a successful challenge and took the ball from the Irishman’s toes. Wicks stepped in to outwit Hickson and made a beautiful forward pass to Blunestone and here again there looked to be extreme danger to the Everton goal, but Moore cut into the inner workings as he did a bit later when he went across field to stop McNichol from getting a shot at goal, following a neat Bentley pass.
At the seventh minute the Everton goal had a narrow escape and it was Blunstone who was responsible. His low centre across the goal face did not look a case for a header for the ball came in low vet McNchol stooped down and got immense power behind his header only to see the ball fly against the crossbar and rebound into play. So far most of Everton’s advances had been well held by the Chelsea defence but at the ninth minute their best movement produced a goal, starting with Hickson on the left wing with Eglington inside. The Everton centre forward got Willesms in trouble as much so that he made an error of judgment and Hickson pass dropped bang in front of the Chelsea goal, McNamara came up and with his left foot crashed the ball into the net giving Thompson no chance. This was indeed a surprise, for up to the goal Chelsea had looked the much more dangerous side. They hit back, but Bentley only half hit his shot. a Fielding-McNamara movement was full of promise, but Wicks the tall rangy pivot was not easily beaten and he made another perfect pass, this time to the right flank, but Parsons was held up by Donovan. The exchanges were essentially fast, for one moment play was in the Everton goal area the next it was Chelsea who were defending. Everton won a corner through the determination of Hickson and this was headed just a shade wide by McNamara. Sillett was the second Chelsea defender to make a mistake when he allowed himself to be beaten by Parker. The latter’s centre seemed to hang in the air and though Hickson and Wicks both went up for it the Chelsea’s man’s extras inches were a great advantage. Fielding had his second shot when he put wide, but the first one had been a cracker jack effort which goalkeeper Thompson hugged to his body. Bentley thus far had not had many opportunities of showing his shooting power, but one came along and O’Neill had to treat his shot with the utmost caution and also get his body behind it to make doubly sure. After beating his man Farrell made a long run up field and tried to find McNamara away on the right. Unfortunately he put the ball a little too far forward and it was over the dead ball line before McNamara could make contact.
Plenty of Incident
There was plenty of incident and some clever combination Parker made one grand effort to head a goal from McNamara’s cross the ball travelling just over the bar, and then Jones made a slip inside his own penalty area being lucky nothing came of it because his colleagues had covered up. Everton were now doing extremely well, and Fielding came along with another fiery shot which was stopped by Wicks many claiming that he had checked the ball’s progress with his hands. The referee who was in a position to judge, waved play on, however, and I noticed there was no frantic appear by the Everton players. The ball may have struck Wicks hand but in my view it was not intentional. Still it gave O’Neill a long shot to deal with and a Parson’s drive across the Everton goal was headed over for a corner by Moore. These incidents occurred during one short spell when every loose ball was picked up by a Chelsea man. This was one of the reasons why the Londoners were challenging so strongly. Everton also had their spell in the Chelsea goal area McNamara wondering over to the left wing to make a pass for Hickson which the centre forward took on the turn, Thomson was a lucky man to find the ball directed straight at him as he came rushing from goal. It was a top class effort by Hickson. A moment later McNamara shot a yard outside and then Parsons put one up against the Everton crossbar. The referee spoke to Hickson which was not to the liking of the crowd; I did not see Hickson do anything. Chelsea were a very capable lot at making openings, but not so hot at taking them. Armstrong for instance was given a possible scoring chance only to shoot outside. A long cross by Armstrong was punched away by O’Neill, and then Bentley started an attack which ended in Parsons centring in front of the Everton goalmouth. O’Neill touched the ball forward and for a second thing looked desperate for Everton, but they eventually got themselves out of the wood. Thompson had to make a punch away to prevent Parker getting his head to the ball and the Eglington-Hickson-McNamara plan tumbled down at the final stage when McNamara was successfully challenged. Half-time; Everton 1, Chelsea nil.
Parsons was inclined to hold on to the ball a shade too long and this was one of the reasons why Donovan was able to make a tackle in the first minute of the second half to concede a corner, rather than anything more important. The Everton left wing flashed into the picture when Eglington made an astute pass along the line to Parker, whose centre dropped close to Wicks and Hickson. The Everton man was the one to gain possession and his quick shot on the turn well taken by Thompson. Parsons yet again clung to the ball too long, finally running himself into trouble so that when he wanted to make his centre, he found an Everton man blocking his way and the ball was cannoned away. Armstrong conceded a corner to Parker, and this was taken by Eglington but once again Wick’s height proved a valuable asset when the winger lobbed the ball into the Chelsea goal. Donovan came in for a round of applause when he cleverly beat Bentley by lifting the ball over his head running round and collecting it to set his attack in motion.
Moore Kicks Clear
Had not Parson fallen over as he was heading towards goal Chelsea may have got something better than a corner kick, Bentley got the flag kick but it came to him awkwardly and his effort though quite a good one was kicked clear by Moore. O’Neill also had it covered. Chelsea got a lucky corner and O’Neill came out to this but failed to make contact but there had been an infringement so that Everton got a free kick. Everton should have chalked up goal number two when Eglington offered Parker a cute pass which the inside man pushed across to McNamara. The outside right pulled the ball back to Parker, who was close into goal but his shot was cannoned off Wicks for a corner. When Eglington was hurt the trumpeter raised some arousement by playing “When Irish Eyres are Smiling” Eglington’s were not. A Fielding-Eglington duet ended with the latter having a shot cannoned out and straight from the O’Neill had to act quickly to foil Stubbs. After Everton had been involved in a free kick, Moore set the machinery going to an attack which produced a free kick a few yards outside the penalty line. This was taken by Fielding who slipped the ball sideways for Farrell, running up to shoot outside. Sillett the Chelsea right-back crashed into Englington and knocked him flat. Eglington had to receive attention but was soon up and going. From the free kick Everton were distinctly unlucky not to have scored for after Thompson had punched away Parker headed the ball over the goalkeeper who was well out of his lair, but Willemes had dropped back to head the ball out of the net. A little roughness crept into the game and Willemse had his name taken for a foul on Hickson who lay thrashing on the ground and had to receive attention. He was taken behind the goalline to receive further treatment and the crowd had become incensed booing Chelsea incessantly. We had such a quiet spell that it came as a relief though not a joyous one from an Everton point of view when Bentley scored with a strong header from McNichol’s pass at the 73 minute. The ball actually struck the upright, came back into play then suddenly twisted back over the line. Hickson came back soon afterwards but did not stay at centre forward for any time going to outside right, Everton had been attacking with such persistence that this goal came rather as a surprise.
There were many missed chances today and another was put on the agenda when McNamara with what looked like a reasonable scoring opening elected to offer the chance to Eglington. The Irishman got his trusty left foot to the ball but he was a foot off the mark. Everton were going all out for the winner, and Thompson had to gave a header from Fielding. Chelsea were awarded a free kick but this did not cause the Everton defence any great trouble. Chelsea got the ball into the Everton net a second time after O’Neill had caught a centre from McNichol. Bentley charged the goalkeeper who lost possession and Bentley tapped the ball into the net. The referee who was right on the spot and the linesmen were both at the opinion that the Everton goalkeeper had been fouled so it was no goal. With two minutes to go Parson nearly speaked through the Everton defence. This led to a storming stink and had not O’Neill made a grand save from Bentley, Chelsea would have taken the lead. The Everton goalkeeper was fouled in this action, and then came the miss of the match when Hickson put the ball on the plate for Fielding who shot wide. He fell in despair at missing such an opening. He had been Everton’s best forward and undoubtedly their best marksman. The Chelsea team were booed as they left the field. Final; Everton 1, Chelsea 1. Official attendance 50,658.
BUMPS, BRUISES AND BLACK LOOKS
February 7, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 1, Chelsea 1
If honours are to come to Goodison Park, the team must show considerable improvement on the form display in this game. All too often Everton have conceded a point at home when two should have been theirs for the taking. This match provided another instance of the neglect which may prove costly when the final reckoning comes. It was a match which will soon be forgotten although several of the participants will be carrying reminders in the snape of bumps and bruise. After a first half in which both sides revealed some entertaining football on a tacky surface the match degenerated into little more than a scramble. The majority of free kicks went against Chelsea’s players who went deeper and deeper into the black books of the crowd, and one in particular – Willesmse –whose name appeared to go into the book of Referee Reid. The man in charge would have done well to borrow a phrase from the other Read and inquired. Have you finished of several players early in the second half. He did not and matters went their contentious way right to the end. Hickson figured in several incidents. At times he was penalized wrongly at others he escaped punishment and went on to jeopardize the visiting goal. Had he revealed finish to match some of his approach work victory would almost surely have come Everton’s way, but his one shot cannoned away from Thompson’s legs and from them on Hickson shied from the onus of shooting.
Fielding was Everton’s one marksman of note, and even he could lay claim to a mere four attempts. The last of these, from Hickson’s square pass, should have clinched the issue, for little time remained for Chelsea to recover, but the inside right fired outside from near the penalty spot. This was a miss as costly and glaring as one some fifteen minutes earlier when Parker, McNamara and Parker again all failed to get the ball into the net when resistance was at a standstill. Everton’s own escapes had come in the first half, McNicholl, from Blunstone cross, stooped slightly and sent a fierce header against the underside of the crossbar. Nine times out of ten the ball would have continued its speedily progress into the net, this time fortune smiled on an O’Neill, whose work all day was indecisive. One of his excursions ended with him stranded some yards away as his crossbar took a long lob from parsons. Others had a happier finale through the willing head of Jones or others, out-reaching opponents. Wicks, comparatively straight from the Third Division, started like an international and finished in a state of near panic. Jones began shakily only to settle down to his usual steady game. Donovan after his lay-off had a “mixed grill” to offer, but Moore scarcely put a foot wrong and gave Blunstone an unprofitable afternoon. Farrell and Lello worked hard but for all their efforts could claim little advantage over their counterparts.
Parker returned to a side playing nowhere near as well as when he left. That he turned in such a useful performance was all to the good. Eglington spent long periods without a pass but McNamara back once more on the other wing, celebrated his return with a gal and did enough to justify his retention. His chance at nine minutes arose through an offering by Hickson which should have been readily dispatched upfield by Willemse. The full back missed his kick and McNamara his a solid shot from close range into the top of the net. The contrast between Bentley and Hickson could not have been more marked. While the Everton leader covered much ground. Bentley strolled through the match, leaving the chasing to any who would, yet making one effective contribution –a strong header which leveled the scorers via the post at 73 minutes. McNicholl once sought by Liverpool, was an excellent inside-right. His colleagues up front came in fits and starts which was perhaps as well for the home side, for the early combination Chelsea had displayed showed why the team holds such an eminent position. Everton fought hard enough but Bentley’s goal did not rouse them to the heights in the closing stages. Much of their fire had been damped by the Chelsea tackling and Everton must have been every bit as glad to leave the field as their visitors. Everton did’ not show their normal form, except for brief spells. Was it the sight of red jerseys that upset them for the second week running?
February 7, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
“I am sorry to see Dave Hickson in trouble again. He has made a sincere and earnest effort all season to conquer the over-pugnacious temperament which brought him into the limelight so often last season, and on the score of his play – apart from whatever impolite remarks he may have made under provocation in the instance drawn to the F.A.’s attention –he has done much to wipe out his past misdeeds. He has been suspended for two weeks starting today, on the grounds of what he said to the referee in the game against Sheffield Wednesday two months ago. While there is no excuse for that sort of thing, and I do not defend it. Hickson and others certainly had much to put with only that occasion for the Wednesday, desperately in need of anti-relegation points, turned in some pretty fought football. Hickson never retaliated on this opponents but remonstrated with the referee regarding one point just before he got the Blues’ equalizing goal, and clearly had something which was not pleasant to say to the referee.
Don’t Worry About It
I hope this latest punishment which as has second period of enforced absence in two years will not result in Hickson carrying a chip on his shoulder and feeling that all the world is against him. That would be far from true. Those who know him best and are aware of the genuine effort he has made all this season to live down his past, which to my mind he has been extremely well apart from this and one other extremely momentary lapse, are on his side. So am I and so are tens of thousands of fervent Evertonians who have always admired his intense club loyalty. This latest edict means that Hickson will miss Saturday’s game at Cardiff and the friendly with Manchester United at Old Trafford the week after. When he returns he need only add one more resolution to that which has been so evident in recent months namely not to argue with referees or even express disagreement by gesture I know that is sometimes hard even for those with phlegmatic natures never mind so fiery a one as Hickson was born with, but you never get anywhere in this world by ramming your head against a brick wall. When Hickson learns this his troubles will be over-and we shall still see him challenging for the highest honours in the game on I’m much mistaken.
February 7, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton’s championship effort is being held up by the dropping of home points. It has always been acknowledged in football that to win the title a club must win its home games and a few on opponents ground. Everton are working the other way round they are winning away from home and slipping up at Goodison Park. They are still in the running but while they are faltering at home their chances are slipping away. It is a hard task to pull back even a few points at this stage of the season, so the point for felted to Chelsea may turn out to be a vital one when the day of reckoning comes round. Everton should have won for in the last few minutes Fielding was offered a goal by the hobbling Hickson and looked like taking it, but his shot pulled away and hurtled outside. I felt sorry for him, he felt sorry for himself for he dropped to the ground and beat the turf in exasperation. He will never forgive himself for he had been Everton’s best marksman and this chance was the best he had throughout the match. It only goes to prove that footballers are only human and are just as liable to miss just as we are.
Good Away Side
A goal then and Chelsea would not have had time to wipe it off the state as Bentley had done with McNamara’s goal, Chelsea are no longer the built of the comedian, who has got to find another stooge for his jokes. They are a very good side and one of the best away teams in the division. Personally, I don’t think they deserved to lose, for they had twice hit the woodwork and that, to my mind, is more unfortunately than to see a defender kick out of goal, when his goalkeeper is beaten Willemse did this to save Thompson, who was always out in the field. I thought the first half was a corker for it was full of good football, but unfortunately some feeling crept into the game in the second half when Everton were awarded 13 free kicks and Willemse had his name taken. Thirteen free kicks to one side is well above the average. Chelsea are a big side and were not afraid to use their weight, so at one period we hard too much of the whistle and saw too little good football. Naturally we expected a keen tussle in the second half, for both teams had promised us that, but deterioration set in shortly after the intervals and the game never reached the standard of the first half; in fact there were times when the game became ragged and uninteresting. Without a doubt Everton enjoyed a much larger percentage of the attack but they were never moving as smoothly as I know they can.
Drab and Dull
Chelsea were at powerful, driving sort of side, but they wanted to walk the ball into the net, so that O’Neill was not unduly worked and Thompson had more to do. He was not at all well covered to my way of thinking, for the Chelsea defence was apt to get in a tangle. The first goal was the result of hesitancy by Willemse who made no endeavour to get to Hickson’s centre so that McNamara had time to cut in and left-foot the ball into the net. It may have been a little fortunate for Everton for Everton, but there it is. Slips like this are meant to be taken up. The equalizer was not clear cut for Bentley’s header struck the post, came out and then struck O’Neill on the legs and turned over the line. So you see both goals had an element of luck about them Hickson was off the field when this happened. The return of Donovan had a tightening up effect on the Everton defence and McNamara was stronger on the wing than Wainwright has been while Parker was always lurking around, and if he had taken a chance himself instead of offering the goal to another he might have figured on the score card. I would note rate this as one of Everton’s best games by a long chalk, but I see a lot of difference in the Chelsea side, which has something of the “Drake” spirit about it these days.
February 9, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Starting on Monday next Everton will take a party of between 14 or 16 players to Harrogate for a week’s relaxation and general toning-up. manager Cliff Britton has discussed this idea with the players to whom the final decision is always left and the general opinion is that at this period of the season’s a week’s break and change of air and surroundings is likely to have beneficial results. In the light of previous experience Everton players and officials are of opinion that the full advantage of shot “holidays,” of this nature are not apparent until the team has been back a week or so. The absence of a competitive fixture on Saturday week makes the position easier for after the trip to Harrogate there is only the friendly game against Manchester United at Old Trafford to wind up the week.
Although at one time it was hoped that Alec Farrell, Everton ‘s 19-year-old reserve inside forward, would be able to escape another cartilage operation, this unfortunately has not proved the case. After breaking down once more in an Army match last Wednesday Farrell was again examined by a specialist and as a recall underwent a cartilage operation in Liverpool on Monday. This promising young player has been very unlucky. Just over a year ago he suffered an injury in a flood-lit friendly game at Exeter which necessitated the extraction of one cartilage. Now he has lost the other one in the same knee Ted Sagar had three cartilages out during his long career. Farrell’s is stationed with his Army unit a Shrewsbury, to which he will return when he is fit again.
For Your Benefit
“Blue Label,” writes to ask why it is that sometimes he gets a ticket handed to him when entering the paddock at Everton but on other occasions does not. The answer is simple. It is for the protection of the public and to avoid overcrowding. The system is adopted only for matches where it is anticipated that the paddock will be taxed to somewhere near capacity. On such occasions tickets equivalent to the number which can safely be admitted are distributed beforehand to all turnstile men. As each stile exhausts its quota that gate is shut, and when the whole lot have gone then late comes have “had it.” these tickets are neither Excise vouchers nor admission tickets in the normal sense but merely the clubs idea of protecting the public. It seems a good scheme to me.
WEDDING BELLS AND DEBUT
February 10, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Great Week-End For Saunders
This is going to be an eventful week end for Ronnie Saunders, Everton’s 22-years –old Birkenhead born reserve centre forward. On Saturday he makes his senior debut for the Goodison Park club against Cardiff City, and on Monday he is to be married. Saunders gets his chance in the first team through the absence of Hickson, whose fortnight’s suspension ruled him out. He has played with considerable success in the central League side, having scored 14 goals in 20 reserve team outings this season. Saunders is a former pupil of Park High School, Birkenhead where he not only gained his colours for rugby and cricket but was an outstanding all round athlete. He had a trail with Tranmere Rovers but finally decided to join Everton because his uncle George Saunders was also an Everton player.
He first signed as an amateur in February 1949 becoming a professional two years later. He was capped by England as a youth international and on one occasion scored four goals against Scotland. In one season before joining the Army to do his National Service he notched over 60 goals for Everton’s junior sides, and continued his prolific scoring exploits in Army games, averaging over two goals a game, one winter in South Devon League football. McNamara remains at outside right, so that the Everton team reads;- O’Neill; Moore, Donovan; Farrell, Jones, Lello; McNamara, Fielding, Saunders, Parker, Eglington.
To Wed At Birkenhead
The selection of Saunders is an appropriate wedding “present.” Next Monday afternoon he will lead to the altar at Holy Cross Church, Birkenhead, Miss Breeda Quigley, a 20-years-old Tipperary girl, whom he met while he was serving in the Army. As things turned out it is fortunate the young couple did not fix their wedding for Saturday.
Cardiff’s One Change
Cardiff City also make one change compared with the side which lost 1-4 to Manchester City at Maine Road last week. Harrington resuming at right half in place of Welsh international Baker. Cardiff City; Howells; Stiffish, Sherwood; Harrington, Suloiavt, Jones (I); Hutt, Williams (R), Ford, Stockin, Northcott.
Everton Reserves who share third place in the Central League side on equal points with Bolton Wanderers are home to Preston North End who are second on the table three points better off than Everton. For this game the Goodison Reserves side reads;- Harris; Sutherland, Tansey (J); Birch, Woods, Grant; Harris (B), Lewis, Harris (J), Potts, Buckle.
BLOW TO EVERTON
February 10, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Young Alec Farrell, of West Kirby, the Everton Reserves forward is recovering from his second cartilage operation in eighteen months. Some weeks ago when he was damaged the fear of further cartilage trouble was mentioned in this column. Unhappily, it has proved well founded and Farrell will be out of the game for a further long spell at a time when his club would probably have liked to give him the occasional chance to play Division 1 football. Though Everton have for years talked of hidden reserves of talent many of their followers are skeptical and beyond the news that Everton junior teams have won their League championships, one has seen little sign of the up-and-coming brigade who may be needed soon. Meanwhile the club are taking team players to Harrogate next Monday for a week’s stay. This is aimed to help the players come back fresh to their challenging position in Division 1. Decision about training away rests with the players. They did not want to go away prior to the Liverpool Cup-tie. They now feel that a rest and chance would help them “tone.”
TWO BIG DAYS FOR SAUNDERS
February 11, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
By John Peel
Twenty-two-years-old Birkenhead born Ronnie Saunders the Everton Reserve centre forward, will make his first Division debut for the Goodison Park club on Saturday for he has been picked to lead the Everton attack against Cardiff City at Ninian Park, Cardiff. It will be a big week-end for Saunders for following this big day he has another important date next Monday when he attends Holy Cross Church, Birkenhead for his wedding to Miss Breeda Quikley a twenty-year old girl from Tipperary. A former pupil at park High School, Birkenhead. Saunders had a trail with Tranmere Rovers. He finally decided to join Everton, and signed for the Goodison Park club as an amateur in February, 1949, turning professional two years later. Saunders who gets his big chance owing to the absence of Dave Hickson has been showing excellent form with Everton’s Central league side, scoring fourteen goals in twenty matches for them. As McNamara retains the outside right position Saunders inclusion is the only change in the team which drew with Chelsea. The side will thus be; O’Neill; Moore, Donovan; Farrell, Jones, Lello; McNamara, Fielding, Saunders, Parker, and Eglington.
Cardiff, who will be playing their first home League match since Christmas Day, have one change from the side beaten 4-1 by Manchester City at Manchester last Saturday. This is at right half back where Harrington comes n for Welsh internationals, Baker. Their team will be; Howells; Stiffall, Sherwood; Harrington, Sullivan, Jones (I), Nutt, Williams (R), Ford, Stockin, Northcott.
EVERTON AT CARDIFF
February 11, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton make the journey to Ninian Park to tackle Cardiff City, who drew at Goodison when visiting there in September so that tomorrow, becomes a dual Lancashire-Wales clash. Though they will lack the services of Hickson the Blues better away than at home should gain some reward for their efforts in the past few seasons. Cardiff have not been much of a scoring combination and they have done nothing to change things this winter. In their last six League matches they have netted only five times, with three goals coming in one game. At the same time their defence has been lacking in its former solidity, and 13 goals have been debited against them in those five engagements. In an effort to bring more punch into the attack, the Ninian Park club signed Nutt, the Coventry right winger, in the middle of December, but he has so far not met with outstanding success.
Most of the onus of scoring has fallen on the strong and capable shoulders of Trevor Ford, whose goals at Maine Road last week brought his total for the season to 13 compared with the next highest figure of seven by Stockin the former Wolves inside forward. The Blues’ away performance this winter have been so encouraging that they must have a chance of at least one point against a side which has only once kept a clean sheet on its own ground. Defensively Cardiff manager Trevor Morris has been ringing the changes in an effort to plus the leaks. Recently he moved Sullivan to centre half in place of Montgomery and brought in Harrington at wing-half. Ronnie Saunders makes his senior debut for Everton. He is a strong built lad with a good shot in either foot and a nice turn of speed. If he gets an even break he should do well. Cardiff; Howells; Stiffall, Sherwood; Harrington, Sullivan, Jones (I), Nutt, Williams (R), Ford, Stockin, Northcott. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Donovan; Farrell, Jones, Lello; McNamara, Fielding, Saunders, Parker, and Eglington.
EVERTON AT CARDIFF
February 12, 1955. The Liverpool daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
Ronnie Saunders, Birkenhead’s all-round sportsman, makes his League debut for Everton at Cardiff. He takes the place left, for the moment by the suspended Dave Hickson in such a match a debut will be a great test, but Saunders has proved his right to his chance and should be a success. Everton are plainly anxious to get on an even keel again following home games that have yielded a mixed bag, in performance and points. Their away from has almost invariably been better than that at home. It would not surprise me if they won. Cardiff; Howells; Stiffall, Sherwood; Harrington, Sullivan, Jones (I), Nutt, Williams (R), Ford, Stockin, Northcott. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Donovan; Farrell, Jones, Lello; McNamara, Fielding, Saunders, Parker, and Eglington.
EVERTON-THREE TIMES JUST FAILED TO MAKE THE DOUBLE-FOUR
February 12, 1955. The Liverpool Football Echo
Cardiff 4, Everton 3
Cardiff City;- Howells, goal; Stiffall and Sherwood, backs; Harrington, Sullivan and Jones (I), half-backs; Nutt, Williams (R), Ford, Stockin, and Northcott, forwards. Everton; O’Neill, goal; Moore and Donovan, backs; Farrell (captain), Jones and Lello, half-backs; McNamara, Fielding, Saunders, Parker, and Eglington, forwards. Referee; Mr. G.W. Pullen (Bristol). Ronnie Saunders, making his debut, at centre forward for Everton who is to be married in Birkenhead on Monday, was the only change in the Everton side, and Sullivan was the important change in the Cardiff team he being preferred to Montgomery. Cardiff have not been doing so well of late but were hopeful that they might get something today. The way Everton started off however, it looked as though they might pick up a further two away points although it was a bit too early to make prophecies. They undoubtedly soon hit –their stride and Saunders even at this early stage was quite a busy laddie.
Cardiff them struck back and Nutts should have done better with a chance which came his way, but he made a wild slash at the ball which slewed away rather than towards goal. Nevertheless this set Cardiff going, and when O’Neill failed to gather a cross things looked bad, but Donovan had stepped into the breach to save the day. Everton were in luck a moment later when Northcott with an excellent opening shot wide of the far post. The City kept up their attack for 10 minutes after this and O’Neill had to act quickly to keep out a ball which had struck Lello on the foot and curled up high underneath his bar.
Cardiff Tale Lead
Cardiff were particularly fond of the long ball up the middle the one the late Mr. George Kay used to be so fond of, and incidentally this kind of ball was responsible in a way for Cardiff’s first goal. Nutt had run close into goal in anticipation of such a pass, but just failed to make contact and O’Neill was able to save. The Everton goal was still under pressure and the ball was suddenly switched out to Nutt. The Cardiff winger made an angular shot which O’Neill seemed to touch but Stockin who was standing alongside him put the ball into the net to score the day’s first goal at 22 minutes. Everton’s answer to this was a header by McNamara and some good last approach work which only needed someone to finish it off. I had hardly said this when some good passing movements culminated with Fielding providing Parker with a top class opening. The Everton inside men held the ball smartly and before he would be challenged he slapped the ball into the net at the 28th minute. Hardly a minute had passed when the City had gone ahead again and it was through a Ford shot, taken from close in, which had caused the Everton defence to become rather uncertain and the Welsh international is not slow to take advantage of the slightest opening, and he left O’Neill with no chance.
The best goal of the four was undoubtedly Everton’s second. It had its making with a header by Saunders to Fielding who in turn slipped the ball up to McNamara whose centre was a beauty and Parker’s head was there to do the luck. He headed over the goalkeeper as Howells hesitated whether to go out and try and cut off McNamara’s centre or stay in goal. He only got half-way and the ball passed over his head for Everton to equalize at the 32nd minute.
There was certainly plenty of goal incidents and the Everton defence once again scrambled out of their difficulties just as Cardiff did in the next minute. In this case Sullivan kicked off the line with Howell’s well beaten. Straight from this Cardiff moved up and Ford headed six inches outside the post, but another goal to Cardiff was not long delayed for a strong Cardiff attack ended with Stockin beating O’Neill with a header from the left wing. Half-time’ Cardiff City 3, Everton 2.
Five goals in the space of 29 minutes was undoubtedly good going and Cardiff were most unlucky not to have go another when O’Neill pushed his foot out to one shot that was traveling over his line and Donovan had to kick out and clear. It was Northcott’s low centre which caused the trouble to the Everton defence. Immediately afterwards another centre from Northcott produced similar position, but with Williams rushing in to make contact Donovan again cleared off the line. Within four minutes of resuming Everton had equalized through a goal by Lello. It was Lello who started the movement when he slipped a ball over to Parker who seemed to take a shot, but the ball flew off his boot and went to McNamara. The Everton outside right promptly put the ball back into the Cardiff goalmouth and Lello was there to pop it into the net at the 49th minute.
Cardiff were naturally disappointed about this, but they made a great effort to regain the lead when Northcott, after “jinking” with the ball quite a while put it through for Stockin and then we saw the greatness of O’Neill when he made a miraculous save from the Cardiff inside left. The wonder was how he got to the ball at all for it was only a short-range shot and was of immense power. Saunders in my opinion, had a grand game up to now and he almost scored when he hit a fast raising shot which Howell’s caught under his bar. Everton’s football had been of better quality but there was no gainsaying that Cardiff were putting up a bonny fight. At this point however, Everton were definitely on top and Howells had to turn a fast drive by Parker away from his goal for a corner. The two Everton’s wingers were proving much too fast for Cardiff’s defence and an Eglington cross looked full of danger until a heavy concentration enabled them to clear their lines.
Back On Defence
Everton had now adopted defensive football and it was well that their covering was so tight for Cardiff hit hard and to show that it was a case of every man to the wheel. Eglington actually booted the ball from off his own goalline. Nevertheless I thought Stockin was a little unfortunate when he saw his shot cannon against Tom Jones. McNamara who had a hand in all three goals very nearly took one himself for Eglington centred right across the goalmouth he was only inches off making contact with his head which would have certainly been a goal. at the 75th minute Cardiff took the lead, Northcott who had moved right in front of the Everton goal just inside the penalty area, collected a ball from the right wing and was dribbling his way through to a shot, but the ball went out to Ford who was standing on the let of the penalty area and with his right foot he crashed the ball into the net much to his and his colleagues joy. With only 15 minutes to go Everton were now set a difficult task, but they had fought back so galliantly on three occasions that it was not impossible that they could do so again, although this fourth goal by Cardiff had undoubtedly brought them back to life again, for they had gone dead.
Putting Up A Fight
Everton were making a fight for the equalizer, for Fielding and McNamara got together to make things difficult for the City defence but Fielding’s effort passed harmlessly away. O’Neill had previously cut out a centre from Nutt and once again we saw Cardiff hammering the Everton defence. Final; Cardiff City 4, Everton 3.
DAVE HICKSON’S “VICTIMISATION”
February 12, 1955. The Liverpool Football Echo
Two contentious matters have crapped up in the past week upon which readers have waxed wrath. One relates to the fortnight’s suspension imposed by the Football Association on Dave Hickson.
In the case of Hickson there are Everton supporters who maintain that he has been “victimized” and that his punishment, imposed two months after an offer for which he was not even sent off the field, is out of all proportion to the crime. To talk of victimization is ridiculous. The F.A. Disciplinary Committee is perfectly impartial. It judges every case on its merits, but at the same time the members have before them the record of the player concerned, including all previous cautions reported to them by referees. One reader, compares the suspension of Hickson with the fine imposed on John Evans of Liverpool, and remarks on the difference between what each was alleged to have done. Admittedly Evans got off lightly. That was because of his previous good conduct Hickson paid the penalty not only for what he said to the referee in the game against Sheffield Wednesday, but obviously also for some of his misdeeds of the past. Early in the post-war period the F.A. used to publicity issue a list of cautions together with details of the offences. They soon stopped that as it was felt that some players of otherwise blameless reputation were being pilotered. But they still keep the list a headquarters and it is used as evidence whenever a player is “on the mat.” As I said during the week apart from two momentary isolated exceptions, Hickson all this season has conducted himself wonderfully well, particularly considering what he had to suffer from opponents in so many games.
Right To Protection
He has earned the admiration of all who have thought about the matter by the way in which he has tried to overcome his former fallings. It is a great pity that a momentary fit of pique for which there was undoubtedly considerable, justification should have resulted in a further blot on his copybook. I trust it will not affect his determination to keep to the path of Soccer rectitude in the future or give him the feeling that he is a “marked man.” So long as he plays as he has this season, and keeps his opinions of referees for, dressing-room consumption only –which may sometimes be difficult –I am sure Dave can more than make up for the past. He has the good wishes of all sports folk in his efforts. At the same time he has every right to expect protection from the men in the middle when opponents players are “having a go” at him as some have done entirely without provocation this season.
February 12, 1955. The Liverpool Football Echo
The wonderful virility and “youthfulness” of some of football’s veteran legislators is amazing. A few days ago I had a call from Alec Lomax, who did such good work for the Everton Shareholders Association in its early days. Now in his 87th year, Mr. Lomax is as lively and active as many a man 20 years his junior. His interest in football began when he started working for the old Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway in 1881 and had as a colleague Mr. Ted Watson, who was then assistant honorary secretary of Everton. Late he founded Selvyn F.C afterwards joining an Aintree church club as a half-back. He helped the latter to set up an unbeaten home record for five years, during which they won many local and Lancashire amateur honours. The club provided several players for Everton and other senior teams, though never in Alec’s words, “getting as much as the price of a box of matches for doing so.” apparently clubs in those days were not as keen to recognize the help of junior teams as they are today, possibly because they had not the wherewithal to do so. Along with the late Bob Nelson he formed the first junior football league in the city in 1889-90 of which he was honoury secretary and treasurer. Later he took up refereeing, eventually getting a gold medal to mark 33 years service. He was on the Central League list and also with the Football League for 13 years as a linesman.
Add to this a position on the Liverpool County F.A for whom he was honorary auditor for 38 years, and his work for the Everton shareholders. As association –of which he is now president –and you will agree that Alec Lomax has every reason to be proud of his record. He did Everton one particularly good turn when he persuaded Mr. Tom Nuttall to stand for the board some years ago. Mr. Nuttall so Alec told me, was not very keen about it at the time, but he managed to persuade him, with the result that the Everton directorate was strengthened, through Mr. Lomax’s enterprise by the addition of a man of outstanding business capabilities. When I was leaving Goodison Park a few weeks ago, a friend offered Alec a lift home in his car to Aintree. “Thanks for the thought” he replied,” but I’d sooner walk. It will do me good.” That’s a fine spirit at 87.
FORD SNATCHES DECISIVE GOAL
February 14, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Cardiff City 4, Everton 3
Everton were unfortunate not to take a point. They played the better football and three times pulled back the City lead. With only a quarter of an hour to go, it seemed that Everton would take a point but that danger man Ford, took his chance well to get the deciding goal. The game was full of incident. There were numerous lucky escapes by both sides. Twice Donovan kicked off the Everton line and a similar thing happened at the other end so the crowd went away well pleased, particularly as the City had taken two points. Cardiff are an enthusiastic team at the moment, I would not say their style of play is attractive, but it keeps the crowd on its toes. Nevertheless, the crowd were not slow to recognize the tactical movements of Everton, many of which appeared to be goal-leden but they failed at the crucial moment.
Not So Sound
Everton’s defensive plans in the first half were not so sound as usual. Later this was put right. The Welshmen favoured the long ball up-the-middle. No doubt they thought that this would have an upsetting effect on the defence. City took four goals. That is not a bad day’s work, but on three occasions Everton negative the lead. When they got their third equalizer, I thought I saw a trace of disheartenment in the Cardiff side. However, Ford’s goal with fifteen minutes remaining for play brought them back to life. Although Everton battled strongly to get on level terms, they could not manage it. They had several narrow misses, and so did Cardiff. Ronnie Saunders, whose uncle played full back for Everton not long ago, made a magnificent debut.
He did not score, but he went very close to doing so. Saunders, who is being married today, has the right ideas. He moved away from the centre half, made some choice passes and his control was top class, I am sure with more experience he will make the grade. McNamara was Everton’s best forward. He had a hand in the three goals, and almost chalked one up for himself. Here are the goals scorers and times; Stockin (twenty-two minutes), Parker (twenty-eight minutes), Ford, (Twenty-nine minutes), Parker (Thirty-two minutes), Stickin (Thirty-nine minutes), Lello (Forty-nine minutes), and Ford (Seventy-five minutes).
EVERTON RESERVES OVERCOME RIVALS
February 14, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton Res 5, Preston N.E. Res 1
Everton Reserves achieved a fine performance in overcoming their Central League rivals, Preston North End Reserves at Goodison Park on Saturday in snowier conditions. It was in the second half that Everton produced their best form, Harris (J) being a fine leader. The visitors were always dangerous but found Woods in the pivotal position, a stumbling block. Everton scorers were Harris (J) (2), Buckle, Lewis and Woods (Penalty). Preston’s goal was scored by Jones.
February 14, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Cardiff people told me before the game with Everton that the City attack was a thing of shreds and patches that Trevor Ford was playing a long hand so I was encouraged to think in terms of another away victory for Everton, but it did not turn out that way. It was Cardiff’s much maligned forward line, which made this victory possible for it was full of life, shot and determination. True, it was backed up by a strong half back line, and there you have the nucleus of a powerful team. The City had not won a match since Boxing Day, but that had been Everton’s fate, for they had not been successful since they trounced Wolverhampton. There was joy all around Ninian Park on Saturday evening for the diehards who refused to desert the side because of its poor displays and its lowly position had something to shout about after their win over Everton. First and foremost they saw promise of better things to come, for on this form some of the gloom which surrounded the “Park” must surely vanish, for there was all-round improvement in the team’s display, particularly in attack which has been the bone of contention so far this season. Ford has lacked support, Nutt had not quite filled the bill, but against Everton this forward line must have had an injection of the lexical of life, for they had boundless enthusiasm, which added to a great deal of football ability snatched a long awaited victory.
I won’t say Cardiff played better football than Everton, for some of the tactical moves of the latter were such that they brought applause from the surrounds from folks, who had been starved of good football. There was no disgrace in this defeat, for three times Everton fought back against the lead and actually got on terms and looked good enough for a draw until Ford snapped up that chance 15 minutes from the end to knock our hopes sideways. After the match the taking point was “did that shot of Parkers go into the net? Most of the Everton players close enough to see are emphatic that it did but for anyone to be dogmatic from a Press box view-point would be silly. The Press box is placed behind the corner flag and the incident took place in the other goal – quite a distance away. Parker though it had gone in “Though,” you see even he was not sure. At all event it came out and swished away. I have rarely seen a ball hit the net and come back into play. It was a very vital point for it would have meant a half. You had to be quite alive, to keep up with the trend of play, for the scene was changed so often. The game was chock full of goal incidents, good saves, lucky escapes and near misses and in one spell, four goals were scored in 10 minutes, which showed that the forward lines were right on top of their job and had the pressmen jabbering down their telephones at record speed. I must say I enjoyed the match if not the result for taken all round, I think Everton deserved a half share but they didn’t get that’s that. The pairing of Stockin and Northcott brought most trouble to the Everton defence, and while Ford may not be the fiery member he once was, he can still crack em in. His last goal was a true sample of his shooting ability. Howell’s did not convince me in the Cardiff goal and at times O’Neill was not at all sure in his catching of the ball, yet both made good saves, O’Neill in particular in the feeting minutes of the game.
You will want to know, how Everton’s new centre forward shaped up in his debut game. Well Ronnie Saunders played really well and was congratulated y his colleagues for a most promising performance. Mr. Britton need have no quains about bringing him in again when the occasion demands. Saunders has good control an eye for a colleague, and he nearly opened his First Division career with a goal only a top-class save by Howell’s preventing him from putting his name on the score sheet. He had a hand in one of Everton’s goals but the forward who was mainly responsible for the goals was McNamara. His two passes to Parker were pinpointed and John took them both coolly and efficiently. His headed goal was a beauty, being steered right away from the advancing Howells. McNamara also provided the centre from which Lello headed the ball home.
Everton players left this morning for a week’s change of air and toning up at Harrogate. There was one absentee from the side which played against Cardiff for it was Ronnie Saunders wedding day, Lindsay, Grant and Wainwright were also in the partly. Lindsay is now making good progress after his long struggle to regain fitness following the broken leg he received against Stoke City last April. Saunders will join up with his colleagues tomorrow. Although given permission to have his honeymoon as planned he and his bride decided that in view of the big chance which has come his way they would postpone the honeymoon.
February 18, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton visit Old Trafford for a friendly match with Manchester United. They are due there in a League game later on, so this should serve as a good opportunity for both sides to assess their opponents capabilities. Everton are taking advantage of this game, to introduce a course of their Central league players. Albert Harris takes over in goal to give O’Neill a well-earned respite, and Jimmy Tansey’s at left back. This is not the latter’s first-team debut. He played for the senior side three times a couple of years ago. It will be Harris’s baptism after a very brief membership of the Everton staff. From a account this former Maghull custodian is a lad with a most promising future. Manchester United’s side will also probably include some of their younger players on the fringe of senior preferment. Everton; Harris; Moore, Tansey (J); Farrell, Jones, Lello; McNamara, Fielding, Saunders, Parker, Buckle.
BURY RES V EVERTON RES
February 19, 1955. The Liverpool Football Echo
Bury Res; Powell, goal; Wilson and, backs; May, Jack, and Glendall (D), half-backs; Glendall (E), Clarkes, Kelly, Gordon, and Hunt, forwards. Everton Res; Leyland, goal; Sutherland and F. Leader, backs; Birch, Woods, and Grant, half-backs; Harris (C.), Lewis, Harris (J), Potts, and Buckle, forwards. Referee; Mr. F. Smith (Huddersfield). In a splendid contested first half Everton did not finish their clever moves effectively. Buckle was twice badly at fault. Everton went into the lead after seven minutes, Potts netting with a fast cross shot from a pass by Harris (C). Half-time; Bury Res mil, Everton reserves 1. Lewis got a splendid second goal after 47 minutes and Harris netted a third at 58 minutes. Bury fought back for Gordon to reduce the arrears.
EVERTON STILL IN THE HUNT
February 19, 1955. The Liverpool Football Echo
By Peter Farrell
As you have probably read, the Everton boys spent a very enjoyable week at Harrogate on what is generally referred to as “special” training. This is hardly the right word, as there was nothing special about the training, which followed much the same routine as our weekly work at Goodison and Bellefield. The real reason for our going away for a week was to give the players a complete change of air and environment from what they are used to in the hope that on their return the beneficial effects will be reflected in the generally play of the team. In my opinion an occasion al change like this has the desired effect. Apart from the fact that all the lads thoroughly enjoyed themselves their being housed together for a short period helps to foster a greater team spirit and companionship among the boys. On afternoons when we weren’t training during last week, those of us who are keen on golf lost no time in taking full advantage of the facilities offered us on the local links, while our nights were spent at the pictures with Friday night being reserved for snooker and table tennis competition. Our practice games during training consisted of defenders versus attackers, with Jock Lindsay in goal for the defence. Jock told me that it was a great feeling to be again taking part in a match of some sort, and while the Scot is not yet doing any kinging with a match ball he certainly gave a good account of himself in goal.
What a hectic few days Ron Saunders had last week-end. His football league debut last Saturday was followed by his wedding at Birkenhead on Monday afternoon and on Tuesday he rushed off to Harrogate to join his colleagues. Ron wishes me through this column to thank those well wishers and fans who so very kindly sent him telegrams and messages of congratulations and good wishes last Monday. Young Saunders made a splendid debut against Cardiff City which augurs very well for the future. Although he has still a lot to learn (and nobody knows this better than him) he showed against Cardiff that he has the natural attributes to put him on the right road to success. An amusing incident happened during our stay at Harrogate. As you can well imagine, training, golf, plus the change of air, gave our lads rather a good appetite (not that it is bad at any times). The game with Cardiff was a ding-dong affair, with our lads fighting back to draw level on three occasions. We were very disappointed at losing, as a win or a draw would have kept us close on the heels of the leaders. I felt very confident in the second half when we were level 3-3 that we were going to win as at this period we were right on top, and it seemed just a matter of time before we would take the lead. When John Parker’s shot hit the under face of the crossbar before bouncing down on the line to be scrambled clear, some of our lads were of the opinion that the ball had crossed the line. However, the referee said “No” and I suppose he was in as good a position as anyone else to see the incident. In view of happenings like this I often wonder would it be a good idea to have goal judges alongside each goal whose sole job would be to determined whether or not the ball had cross the line. Some maintain that two linesmen and a referee are more than sufficient to handle a game, but no matter how good they are at their job the men with the flags and whistle are not always in a position to give a correct ruling when awkward occasions like the one I have mentioned arise. Although last week’s defeat meant that we lost ground in the race for the league championship we are still in the hunt and I hope we will soon get back on the winning path.
EVERTON’S HOME MATCH
February 22, 1955, The Liverpool Echo
Manchester City, Still Going Strong, At Goodison Tomorrow
Everton’s re-arranged game at Goodison Park with Manchester City is made all the more attractive because of City’s good cup run, many people fancy them for the trophy –and also by reason of their unorthodox forward tactics which are full paying excellent dividends and confounding those critic who maintained that they would not work. It will be interesting to see whether Everton can find a more successful counter to the deceplying centre forward plan so ably worked by Revie and his inside colleagues than most of the Muncunians opponents have done so far. Everton suffered defeat by the only goal of the day when they were at Maine Road nearly five months ago, the decider being scored by Welsh international Clarke in the fourth minute. On that occasion the Blues lacked the services of Fielding and Parker, for whom Farrell and Lewis deputized while City had Williamson leading their attack in place of Revie who was playing for England against Ireland at inside right.
Bid For Title
The City’s forward formation first tried out in the Central League last winter has been deserved with all this season, and apart from a four-match winless spell in October, has worked exceptionally well. It has taken City to fifth place in the First Division table and put them within striking distance of the championship to say nothing of conjuring up possibilities of the elusive “double.” Like Everton the Maine Road side has been playing just as well in away matches as on their own ground. At Maine Road they have lost four and drawn four games. Their away record is one of the best in the country, showing no less than seven wins and two draws in 14 outings. Though some of these successes have been against poor opposition the last two at Chelsea and Manchester United, were noteworthy performances. The victory at Old Trafford ten days ago was City’s third this winter over Manchester United, whom they defeated at Maine Road in the League and the fourth round of the Cup. In their last five League and Cup engagements City have had only one goal against them and their total of 34 League points is three better than Everton’s though they have played one game more.
A victory for the Blues is overdue for they have not raised a winning flag since the turn of the year, apart from the Cup victory over Southend. Their last League win was the Boxing Day game with Wolverhampton. City are a strong and well balanced combination, with a solid rearguard and a free scoring attack. The latter has netted 57 League goals, a total beaten only by five other First Division sides. Though the defence has been on top of its form in recent weeks, 50 goals have been conceded in all compared with 42 by Everton. This factor seems to show that the rearguard can be overcome by a forward line which shoots hard and often –and accurately.
HE SCRIBBLED ‘LELLO’ ON THE REVIE PLAN
February 24, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 1, Manchester City 0
Not a good day for the first showing, in Liverpool of the Revie plan. I could not make up my mind whether Manchester City really cared a great deal about the points – they seemed to amble through a game they were nearly always losing 1-0 and only in the final ten minutes sputtered into a sense of reality. Then it was too late. It would have been too late an hour earlier if City had not had between the posts that blonde, panther-lithe goalkeeper Trauntmann. His work against an Everton who threatened to swamp the other defence was as brave as it was brilliant and even after a first half thigh injury which left him limping and in pain he contrived to keep the margin to one of a goal. No amount of Revie planning could have saved City if the masterly goal-keeping of Trauntmann had been any less masterly. The side in command was nearly always Everton. They did well enough in all respects except that they had sufficient chances to have won early and beyond all doubt and instead had to wait for the final whistle to be sure that the points –the first for the New Year –were their’s. Revie’s contribution? Well, if this was his true deep-lying, deep-thinking plan the answer, as demonstration by Everton, may be for one of the wing half-back to make the submission of Revie his special mission. Lello was the chosen Everton instrument. He did his job well; yet there were times when Revie, after playing for long spells in midfield, would make a pass and anticipate a quick forward return of the ball by chasing at unsuspected speed. At times when City were clearly on the attack Revie’s place was in the firing line. For the most part he lurked, midfield, and with a touch of the foot here or a nod there, contrived to be the starting point of many attacks which failed mostly because too many of the line, Hart particularly, were finicky and hesitant and caught in two minds. On this work, at least, one cannot visualize Manchester City as double champions, or even as Cup winners or League champions. The reservation I make is that it was impossible to tell, here, how much, if anything, they had up their sleeves. More important than the Revie plan was the polished half-back contribution of Roy Paul. He, too, was City’s purveyor of cute passes, Barnes a young man with gangling his right half work well, too, but with such deliberation that he tended to be caught moving too slowly. Our first vote of thanks goes to the Everton ground staff who prepared the pitch. It offered firm, but yielding surface of snow and permitted play of almost normal quality. Most of the best-incidents and the goal came in the first half. Everton led from the seventh minutes in which McNamara cutely turned back an Eglington centre for Hickson to bring the ball under control and shoot it past Trauntmann almost instantaneously. Hickson, a moment earlier, had what seemed to be a good goal disallowed when Trauntmann brought off a glorious one-handed save from McNamara only to be beaten by Hickson’s shot off the rebound. In this case Mr. J. McCann, one of the best referee I have seen this season, disallowed the score because McNamara was in an offside position as Hickson shot.
Fagan next delivered a close-range shot against a phalanx of Everton defenders who had dropped back to the line. There followed one of the most amusing doggy interludes in which an intelligent mongrel disported himself among snow for more than a minute while players, officials police and spectators all tried to draw his attention and grip his collar. The goalkeeping dive of O’Neill looked good, but Mr. Mongrel swerved on his way and only jumped to the anonymity of the terraces when he chose. And did Mr. McCann time this wastage and allow for it? According to most watches he did not. This was the only blemish in his work. Parker caused Trauntmann to drop the ball overhead when he caught a long McNamara punt, but this former German basket ball expert soon retrieved himself. Next Trauntmann and McNamara lay still after a fierce collision and it was a relief to see both up right though Trauntmann massenged a tender thigh and could only limp from that moment. O’Neill almost frozen stiff was inaction, survived his initial testing by edging a Clarke header on to the foot of a post and so for a corner, Trauntmann, still the game’s leading figure, saved gloriously from Eglington and then dealt equally well with Parker’s header. Hickson claimed a penalty when Ewing made a quick recovery and tackle, but he referee ruled that the quickness of Ewing deceived Everton eyes. Parker should have scored; instead from the perfect angle and range he offered the ball, and the responsibility to Eglington, who flashed the ball across the goal-face. Trauntmann saved a Lello volley after punching away and then drew the referee’s attention to some snow-balling as unfair as that of Press photographers during the interval. After all their job is difficult and arduous enough, without these extra hardships.
And So On…
Trauntmann began the second half as he ended the first –first he denied Parker, who headed is strongly a free kick; then it was Eglington. In both cases the goalkeeper’s eyes were on the man making the strike and his anticipation was as fine as his agility. City were no better in this half than in the other except that close home Hayes, showing speed and spirit caught the Everton defence a bit flat-footed and poked the ball past the oncoming O’Neil, Jones with a line clearance saved a point (and a pound) and justice was served. It might have been an expensive lapse. More than once Referee McCann had to keep tight hold on the game. It was a game which promised, occasionally, to develop on the wrong lines and I give the referee full marks for his part in ensuring that it did not. Lello was easily Everton’s best half-back. It was not Farrell’s day and Jones was rarely seen in close combat with Revie. The workmanlike Lello always a man with both feet solidly on the ground was rarely beaten by Revie and at other moments used the ball cleverly and accurately. As a champion of McNamara (essentially a player who does better when he is encouraged) it was good to see a livelier performance from this giant of a winger. He disappeared from view, on one occasion, over the surrounding concrete wall and we had visions of a cracked head, or leg, but happily, such fears were soon allayed.
Fielding, until his injury towards the end, was the Revie marshal of the Everton line and reveled to his work. One got the impression always that Everton were the masters of the wide-open midfield spaces and time and again their players emerged with the ball from this area. Only Everton ‘s finishing was poor. It was made to seen the poorer by the magnificence of Trauntmann. Meadows is surely one of the great full backs of the future. Little is good, too. City, on this display are better off defensively than they are in attack, though in most other games recently their bag of goals has suggested otherwise. For Everton the points came opportunely. Two more from the Villa match on Saturday – and again they will be facing a team wearing claret and blues but in different proportions –will give Evertonians reason to think that their club may, even now be champions or near champions. But unless Trauntmann can continue being a team in himself I doubt whether Manchester City will handle any Cup – or League trophy.
NOTHING TO EQUAL THIS, HE SAYS
February 24, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
A.A of Anfield, writes;- According to the News Chronicles (21/2/55) the Huddersfield Town Captain stated that twelve Everton supporters wrote warning him not to let Liverpool kick into Spion Kop in the second half if Huddesfield won the toss. This is the most unsportsmanlike act ever to come to my knowledge. In the case of Liverpool supporters warning Don Welsh and company, of Everton F.C tactics this was merely an example of followers helping their own cup-tie. I now read that Everton have to put up notices of warning at their ground for the rest of the season. This was following the incident in the F.A Cup-tie.
REVIE PLAN SCOTCHED
February 24, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Lello Spiked The Wheels In Narrow Victory
Big hearts and strong limbs were required to play football yesterday, although the groundsmen at Goodison Park and performed wonders with the playing pitch for the snow had been made into a two inch cushion, so that a fall was not dangerous; unpleasant no doubt; but not a threat to legs and ankles. Nevertheless two players-one on each side left the field limping Trauntmann and Fielding, two players who did such much work for their sides between Everton and Manchester City could have been an epic for despite the conditions some good football was produced especially by Everton who seemed to master the now better than the Mancunians. They only narrowly scraped home by Hickson’s goal but if all their chances had been taken up they must have won handsomely. They never let the “Revie Plan” materialize, because it was they who were on the attack most of the game. They had one purple patch near the end when that Hickson goal almost lost its value. It was touch and go, which only goes to emphasize that chances missed are of the utmost important. That short spell was the only occasion when City looked dangerous but how dangerous and how unsettling to the brave 20,000 who circled the enclosure. The City’s recent record was such that I expected a more virile display from them, but perhaps it was Everton’s determination to stay on the attack the best form of defence, which curbed Revie and his colleagues. At all events City did not look like a prospective Cup winning team on this showing. The defence was easily breached and the forwards rarely got the mastery of the Everton defence.
One had to forgive errors of judgment on such a day, but really there were chances despite the snow, which should and would have been taken up Parker had three misses and three thundering good shots saved to prevent his name going on the score sheet. Trauntmann started shakily only to finish up on a high note, although he was limping and could not move about quite as snappily as we know he can. Yet, Trauntmann was the one big reason why Everton did not win by three or four goals. His positional sense got him to places his gammy leg would not have taken him. Maybe he was a bit luck on occasions but a goalkeeper had got to have a bit of luck, now and again Parker’s mistaken unselfishness once prevented him scoring, when he offered McNamara the chance when he himself had a better. McNamara’s display’s recently have been most heartening. His good series started against Chelsea were carried on against Cardiff and again he was the best forward against the Mancunians. He is becoming a regular goalmaker and it was from his pass that Hickson rapped in his cracker-jack shot after he had a goal, disallowed or offside –not himself by the way. One never felt safe about that one goal lead. Even with City pretty well subdued they did at times threaten an equalizer and once or twice it was only sheet good fortune that prevented it.
I don’t say they would have deservedly but it almost came when Jones off the line with O’Neill out of goal. Those were tense minutes but there were many more at the other lead where the City goal endured a charmed life, even allowing for Trauntmann’s fine display. It was often only a matter of inches between success and failure. The City may not have had their chance had not Fielding been limping on the wing for his removal took the key man away and the attack did not move so smoothly. In fact thought Everton were too intent on holding on to the goal rather than scoring others, if it was so it nearly failed in its mission. If there is a more consistent full back than Moore at the moment I want to see him. Eric has not played a poor game this season. Cool and calculating his interventions are made with spilt second precision, Eglington-McNamara and Parker went near until they reached Trauntmann who was to my mind the man of the match. At all event’s he foiled Everton time and again. I am not going to individualize, but conclude by having that Everton were “top-dog” for 80 per cent of the game. Pity a little feeling crept into the game and three City players came under the ban of the referee. This was no day for roughness of any kind and players should have known that better than anyone else. These incidents apart it was quite an attractive match with Everton keeping themselves in the championship race with a couple of worthy points.
Fielding and Eglington will be under treatment this morning for injuries the former for a knock above the knee and the Irishman for a shoulder injury.
February 25, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
The prospects of Everton’s game with Aston Villa taking place are so slender that they can almost be ruled out entirely. These are seven or eight inches of snow on the playing pitch, and Mr. Cliff Britton says, that there is insufficient time to move it. In view of the impossibility of getting the pitch ready in time nothing is being done. At the moment of writing Everton can do no more than wait for the arrival of the appointed referee, who lives at Hull. Another angle of the present antiquated system is that not all referees who are coming from a distance are able to get away to reach grounds early on the day before the match. Under our system of spare-time referees, these officials have their living to make and was to fit during the week. Not all of them can get a day off to make an early journey just when they wish. Under the circumstances Everton have not announced what their team would have been had the match been more likely to take place. Eglington still remains doubtful but Fielding is practically fit McNamara has also been having treatment. He will probably be all right by the morning though by the look of things it won’t matter much. In addition to the state of the pitch there is the same heavy snow on all the terraces at Goodison. Nothing can be done about this other. It would take an army of men to move it. The snow has blown into the stands and on some sides has penetrated to a depth of two or three matches as far back as half way into the rows of seats.
EVERTON SNOW PLAN NOT WORKABLE
February 26, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
For the first time in years Manager Cliff Britton of Everton, will not know how to occupy his time this afternoon. He forecast yesterday afternoon, an hour or two before the decision, that the Everton . Villa match at Goodison Park would be “off” and volunteered the information that I might like to get a photograph of “the Everton martinet at home washing dishes” Football is life to the Everton chief. That is why I forecast that in spite of so many cancellations he will be found today watching football of some kind round 3 o’clock. I confess the news of the Everton postponement came as a surprise since the club had made such a good job of making their pitch playable for the game against Manchester City. The important difference between the snow them and now is one of about six inches. And the terraces are so covered that clearing them properly would have been in itself a tremendous job. The Everton manager explained to me the important Everton principle of not shifting snow from the pitch –a course which leads to the formation of ice and uncovers turf so that it freezes hard. The Everton plan is is to use the snow as a cushion. To reduce its softness and make it stud deep they drag across the pitch, swaithe by swathe a sheet of corrugated iron slightly weighted to depress the snow an inch or so without solidifying it into ice. This is a tip other clubs might follow.
Not For Him
Though Everton had agreed to transfer to Scunthorpe their listed winger, Ted Buckle, the player, how says that he does not wish to go to that club Buckle, one of Manager Britton’s earlier signings –a good will effort on the part of manager Matt Busby, of Manchester United –is a splendid shot, despite his light build, and would keep his place in almost any grade of football. Besides being a footballer and cricketer he has a voice. It was heard, off-stage at a Liverpool last close season when Buckle was employed for a season as a member of the chorus. Good judges maintain that if he cared he could make his living from singing.
EVERTON TO PLAY GERMAN TEAM
February 28, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton have filled in their blank day on March 12 when they should have been playing Huddersfield, by arranging a visit from Sodingen F.C a German club which occupies second place in Germany’s First Division. Sodingen drew with Sheffield United when the latter toured abroad last summer. So far Everton have not received full details of the visiting players, but they expect there will be one or two German internationals in the side.