FINE PLAY ON A TREACLY PITCH
January 2, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Luton Town 2, Everton 2
To draw away is a joy, and doubly so when the opposition is Luton Town, one of the best sides in the First Division. Luton have won their last five home games. That such good football cold be played on a ground which was like a jar of treacle, as remarkable. To maneuver the ball was a feat in itself. Further the mud could very well have clogged the works, but first Everton and then Luton showed that they could master the conditions. Everton moved the ball better than their opponents in the first half, when they made the ball do the work. Luton’s penchant for holding the ball often enabled the Everton defenders to fall back into position and build up a barrier that the capable Luton forwards could not negotiate. They had their chances, but either fluffed the, or found Everton defenders too sturdy for them. Even when Jones and his colleagues were beaten there stood O’Neill in defiant mood. He made several top-their chances was going to pay dividends. The Everton defence, by their thoughtful covering often saved the day and there is no gainsaying that O’Neill had much more to do than Baynham. Fortunately a goal soon followed Brian Harris’ early miss. Close passing between Wainwright and Parker culminated in the latter shooting the ball home at the eight minute. Before Everton could find the net a second time O’Neill had made great saves from Turner and Morton. It was a thrilling game with many goalmouth incidents. A few minutes before the interval the two Harris boys linked up to shatter the Luton defence. Eglington scooped the ball across to Brian Harris, whose first centre was headed back to him, but his second venture –both were left-footed by the way –met with greater success, Jim Harris ran in and with Dunne hesitating rammed the ball home with his head. Things looked good for Everton but Luton soon showed us they are so high in the table. It needed great heart to fight against such a deficit but Luton shouldered the burden willingly and then started to probe the Everton defence as never before. So aggressive were they that the Everton wing half backs had to drop back to stem the tide. Thus the forwards lost their earlier service and Everton were forced to engage in a defensive battle. Right well they tackled the job, but they could not defy Luton. Nine minutes after the interval a long clearance by O’Neill went to Pemberton who pushed the ball upwards for Turner to see his shot pass into the far side of the net. This was a tonic to Luton. They saw possibilities of saving the game and save it they did. At 77 minutes Cullen whipped the ball across to Adam who quickly fired it beyond O’Neill. For the remainder of the time at their disposal Luton put on tremendous pressure. It was then we saw the might of the Everton defence. Luton took some handling with then fast wingmen and up-and-doing inside forwards but they could not produce a winning goal. Jim Harris found in Owen a fast and strong opponents who rarely left his side. Young Brian Harris had a grand second half and its obviously improving but I must give the laurels to the defence.
EVERTON RES 3 LEEDS UNITED RES 2
January 2, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
A late rally enabled Everton to scratch an odd goal win at Goodison Park after twice being in arrears. The greater directness of wingers, Vizard and Tomlinson proved decisive on the heavy ground in the home defence. Woods dominated the middle and right half Rea showed commendable constructive ideas Farrell, Tomlinson and Kirby scored for Everton and Forrest (2) for Leeds.
HECTIC BATTLES AHEAD
January 2, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Strong Challenge For League Leadership
There are no changes in the leadership of the four divisions and the battles for championships are going to be hectic later on in the season, unless of course, someone shoots out ahead to steal the thunder. This does not look probable at the moment, for Manchester United beat their City rivals to hold their lead in Division One in which Everton have improved their position by their hall share at Luton.
You are expected to win there no matter what you do on foreign parts, and Luton Town were very confident that they could account for Everton and bring their successive home wins to the half dozen. They “murdered” Sunderland there and Wolverhampton had to yield four goals and two points to one of the most improved teams in the country. Luton are worthy members of the First Division and are likely to stay in the senior circle for some time, for Dally Duncan has built up a very capable eleven. First and foremost is their determination to play football although it was hard enough to do so on Saturday with the ground inches thick with mud. It must have almost been stick enough to pull the boots off the feet yet Luton and Everton provided a game that was never dull. When Everton took a two goals lead –it has been the other fellow who has been taking the lead recently – it looked as though they were riding for another away victory to put alongside those at Preston, Newcastle, and Charlton, but the Town team is not an easy one to beat. They did not give up the ghost and that is one of their strong points. They battle on when others might have cried “enough” and they were duly rewarded for their galliant fight back. While Everton took two goals in the first “45” I must tell you that O’Neill saved brilliantly several times in fact, he was the much busier goalkeeper, although Baynham had twice been beaten. I honestly did not think that Luton should have been two goals down at the interval, but if they won’t take their changes then they must not blame Everton.
They were never moving quite so smoothly as a team and at times tried to do too much when it was obvious that the conditions demanded something more than normal. On a better-playing surface I can imagine this Town team going to town, but to hold the ball as some of their forwards tried to do enabled Everton to cover up and extricate themselves, from what had appeared difficult positions. Everton kept the ball moving quickly to run with it was only asking for trouble as Luton found to their cost. They should have been a goal down in a few minutes for Brian Harris had a glorious opening made for him by his namesake Jimmy, but whether it was the “glue” on his boots or not he slewed the ball wide, I will wager he heaved a sigh of relief a few minutes later when Parker slipped in Wainwright’s pass to completely beat Baynham. It was just after this that O’Neill made a great one-handed save to foll Moreton and Turner, who should have scored from where he was. It was nip and tuck with Everton playing with confidence but Town were not idle by any means. The whole forward line looked dangerous and would have been so against a defence which had any flaws. Cummings was inclined to hug the ball too long and this enabled Everton to get back into position.
Quick Pass it was undoubtedly a day for the quick pass and fortunately for Luton they saw the error of their ways before it was too late. They became more straightforward and with wingers Adam and Cullen sweeping down at speed. Everton had to concentrate on defence – with what result. That the attack did not get the service it is entitled to. It just had to be that way for Luton made it so. It ultimately became a backs-to-the-wall effort on the part of the Blues but even though they covered extremely well the Town pressure was such that it brought a result in the shape of a goal by Turner. They had gone close just before hand. That goal had a tonic effect. Luton saw they had a chance of saving the game and they hammered and hammered with Everton defending stoutly. Could they hold out? The answer, “No” came at the 77th minute when Cullen swept the ball across field to Adam, who cracked it into the net. It had certainly been a battle royal. Both sets of players must be given credit for providing an afternoon’s enjoyable entertainment, for when I saw the ground I frankly admit I did not imagine we would see any good football. We saw plenty.
BIG DAY FOR EVERTON
January 6, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Is it going to be the Cup that cheers or the Cup that jeers this week-end? On paper Everton look good for the fourth round, for while I expect tough opposition from their rival, Bristol City respectively, their should go forward with home advantage. The Cup, however, often produced freak results as those who can cast their minds back, now. The one which sticks in my mind most of all was Walsall’s defeat of Arsenal, then at their brightest and best. There was another closer home, when Crystal Palace came to Goodison Park and ran away with the game, during which the Palace goalkeeper. Alderson, was so idle that he could find time to eat the oranges the spectators behind the goal threw to him.
On the day the draw was made Bristol City were heading the table in the Second Division and playing with a confidence only natural to a side which had enjoyed more than average success but what many people failed to realize was that much of their success was due to their fine home record. They have won ten of their 13 games at Ashton Gate but as against that they have only three times won on an away ground. Since just before Christmas Bristol have slipped badly, but are still in a fighting position. They are quite likely to come again, however, and I know that the Everton boys have no intention of taking them lightly. Cup-ties are a faw unto themselves, quite distinct to a League match for should you be beaten there is no second chance –you are out for another 12 months. I readily agree that the West Country club is likely to give the Blues a stiff game, but why there should be pessimism among some of their followers is beyond me, I know strange things can happen in the Cup –remember Crystal Palace- but Everton are not easily beaten on their own ground. They have lost only two games before their own crowd, which is sufficient encouragement to think that they will get over their first Cup hurdle. The two teams which defeated Everton at Goodison Park were Preston North End, in the first match of the season and Luton Town which was also in the early days of the season. No I don’t think that there need be anything but optimism about Everton’s going through to the next round. I know it is treading on thin ice to be emphatic about a Cup result, but I hold the opinion that if Everton cannot get the better of Bristol City at the first time of asking they don’t deserve to go any further.
Many years ago Bristol City won their way to the Cup Final which was then played at Crystal Palace where they lost by the only goal scored by Manchester United. They have a very dangerous forward in Atyeo the England inside forward who was recently seen at Goodison Park when playing for the Football League against the League of Ireland. He is a goal-hungry type of forward and will have to be well marked. When in possession he is terrifically strong on the ball and is a slick mover but I think the problems of keeping him quiet can be off to the “potter” Atyeo” is the City’s top goal-scorer and I recall his two goals against Liverpool when the Anfielders visited the Ashton ground earlier in the season. Everton have struck their form at the right moment. They played with distinction to draw with Luton Town last Saturday and leaving out their defeat by Birmingham at St. Andrews on Boxing Day they have not been beaten in their last five games. They played progressive football against Birmingham in the return game at Goodison Park despite being a goal in arrears early on.
They have been slow starters in several of their most recent games and have invariably had to fight against an opposition goal. This was not the case last Saturday for they struck first and at one time held a two goal lead over Luton, acknowledged as one of the most outstanding sides in the Division. It was a disappointment not to get the full points but a “half” against the “Hatters” was a really good performance. Everton played good football although I must admit that it was their defence in the second half which came in for most of the praise for their point Jones and company stood up manfully to attack after attack for the Town were a completely different team, in the second half. A repetition of that form will make it hard for Bristol City. I did not expect many changes from the side which did duty that day for there was an all round shift about the side. Fielding is preferred to Parker and Tansey return after missing two matches. Brian Harris gets better and better with each match and is filling the outside right position with credit during McNamara’s absence through injury. Bristol’s team contains only one surprise. At outside right Derek Virgin is preferred. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; Harris (B), Wainwright, Harris (J), Fielding, Eglington.
EVERTON EMERGE EASY WINNERS
January 3, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Sheffield United Res 0, Everton Res 4
Everton recovered from an indifferent start in their Central League match at Bramall Lane to finish with a comfortable 4-0 win over Sheffield United Res. In the first half when the home team were on top Donovan, Woods, and Melville were splendid defenders. Later when Everton were completely on top the scheming of Thomas and Farrell and all-round shooting ability paid dividiends and Farrell, Thomas, and Vizard (2) had little difficulty in scoring.
January 6, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
News that Fielding and Tansey are fit and will return to their places in the Everton team for the cup-tie against Bristol City will delight Everton’s following. It had been proved beyond doubt that Fielding is almost an Everton indispensable. Tansey, whose development has been slow, but sure helps to complete a team which must represent a formidable Cup barrier to any side drawn against it. Tansey and the two Harrises Jimmy and Brian, will be playing in their first F.A. Cup-tie. Bristol City have two changes, Atyeo fit again plays at inside right in place of Elsentrager and Cyril Williams returns at left half back following a period of suspension. At outside right, Bristol City will play Derek Virgin, a Somerset amateur who has made two previous first-team appearances. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; Harris (B), Wainwright, Harris (J), Fielding, and Eglington. Bristol City; Anderson; Guy, Thresher; White, Peacock, Williams; D. Virgin, Atyeo, Rogers, Burden, and Roxley.
BLUES ON TREK TO WEMBLEY
January 7, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Eglington On Target
Shipshape And Bristol Fashion For Everton Despite Lello Injury
Everton 3, Bristol City 1
Everton are through but at the same time, Bristol gave us many anxious moments in the second half when the Blues lost their grip. They had been so much superior the first half that we did not even think of a possible City revival. When Lello was hurt it really did look as though Everton were up against it, but they gradually won back their superiority and won fairly comfortably. Everton; O’Neill, goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Farrell (captain), Jones and Lello, half-backs; Harris (B.), Wainwright, Harris (J.), Fielding and Eglington, forwards. Bristol City;- Anderson, goals; Guy and Thresher, backs; White (captain), Peacock, and Williams, half-backs; D. Virgin, Atyeo, Rogers, Burden, and Boxley, forwards. Referee; Mr. J.C. Williams (Nottingham). Considering there was another cup tie only a matter of a mile away, there was a good attendance at Goodison Park for the visit of Bristol City. The ground looked pretty soft and there was just a fear that the light would not be too good before the end. There were no changes so that Everton had three Cup debutants in the side in Tansey and the two Harrises. There was the usual excitement which is always attached to a Cup game and when Everton went straight into the attack the crowd did not forget to let themselves so. When Moore made a long sweeping pass to Eglington there was extreme danger for the City. Eglington beat Guy in the air and nodded the ball into the middle but before Harris could get to the ball Bristol had cleared their lines. Straight from the clearance the City attacked and Burden was given a chance of being the first scorer of the day, but he shot behind. The trouble had not ended however, for Jones and company for Bristol were still ensconced in the Everton goal area but eventually the danger was cleared and Eglington showed an amazing bursts of speed when he ran round City and forced a corner. Guy did not agree with this but as thing turned out he need not have worried for Wainwright’s attempt at goal from Eglington’s centre went outside. Up to now Everton had not been troubled with a shot. Then came Bristol and Atyeo, Looked to be tearing his way through until he was successfully checked. Boxley shot wide and then Everton were once on the offensive and introducing some nice movements until the final pass went astray. Everton had always appeared the more likely side to score and when the goal came at 11 minutes it was a goal perfect in its making. It started from full back, Tansey who slipped the ball along to Eglington who in turn passed it out to Wainwright on the left wing, Eglington then moved in and when Wainwright’s square pass came back to him and he slapped it into the net with his left foot. City hit back and Thresher lobbed the ball into the Everton goal where O’Neill seemed to get himself into two minds. He finally lashed at the ball and might easily have sliced it into his own net. Fortunately his face was saved at the expense of a corner. O’Neill then showed just how good he could be when he grabbed Boxley’s flag kick high in the air and cleared. But that kickaway clearance will not be forgotten. The Bristol forwards, had caused no great discomfort to the Everton defence, but no liberties could be taken with them. Rogers and Atyeo always being well up in case of a chance. Farrell by a quick interception held up Bristol and Jones did something similar a minute later.
Brian Harris, with a crossfield pass “found” Eglington, but the Irish winger was beaten and then we saw a linkup between Farrell and Lello which almost brought about the downfall of the City defence. It was only a brilliant one-handed save by Anderson which turned Lello’s fast rising shot over the bar that prevented Everton taking a two-goal lead. The corner taken by Harris touched the near upright and nearly cannoned back into goal from a Bristol man. There was an anxious second for many when a long lob into the Everton goalmouth looked as though it would pass over O’Neill’s head but the goalkeeper did not seem to be at all worried. Lello was doing grand constructional work and Everton as a whole were passing with great accuracy although Harris was twice at fault with his final effort. One of the best movements so far was credited to Everton. Five players took part and it only reached –its conclusion when Anderson made a rattling good save from Fielding’s header. This was followed quickly by a shot from Brian Harris passed over the bar, a very worthy effort. City found the Everton defence a great obstacle and after Tansey had beaten Burden he slipped the ball up to Eglington who tricked Guy, swept down the field and middle the ball which was finally put out to Brian Harris but the young winger shot outside. Everton so far had been much the more impressive side and Harris (J) with an overhead centre gave Fielding a chance to make another shot and it was just as good as Anderson’s save the City goalkeeper turning the ball over the bar. O’Neill had been well covered but when Atyeo slipped the ball through to Rogers only O’Neill’s anticipation enabled him to get to the ball first. Anderson was called upon again, this time by Wainwright and after Ayteo had a shot blocked, Wainwright and Eglington collaborated to produce another shot by Eglington but this also passed wide of the target. The City had relied chiefly on quick raids and when Burden was threading his way through, Everton were glad to concede a corner. Eglington’s speed was giving Guy a lot of trouble and when he sped past the City full back he delivered the ball to Wainwright who returned it, but the resultant shot was lofted. Lello was caught offside just as he made a shot which passed over, and then Brain Harris wasted still another chance, given to him this time by Wainwright for he put his centre so far across the field that he put every Everton forward out of the game. Half-time; Everton 1, Bristol City nil. Everton were soon on the war path and Anderson had to punch away a centre by Eglington. Shortly afterwards Everton claimed a corner but this was cleared and City won one. This was taken by Boxley and O’Neill punched it away but not quite to safely for another corner followed and this was headed outside by White. Bristol were now showing a little more thrust and Atyeo was only just beaten in the nick of time by O’Neill.
Everton In Luck
Everton’s luck was in when Lello allowed the ball to slip by him and pass on to Atyeo who then beat Lello, closed in and shot hard but wide wasting a good opportunity. This was Lello’s first slip in an otherwise faultiless display. Everton were losing their grip a bit and the City were becoming more dangerous than at any other time. Williams ran the ball almost down to the Everton goal-line then swept it into the middle and before the trouble was ended Burden had brought O’Neill to his knees to save. At the other end a Wainwright header almost sneaked under the angle of the Bristol goal Everton had lost some of their first half lustre so it was only natural that the City came more into the game and that one-goal lead was a very slender margin indeed. At this point City were looking extremely dangerous and Burden had a shot blocked out.
The crowd were now urging Everton to greater endeavour, Lello nearly had to go off after an injury but he went to outside left and was limping badly. One could readily see how Atyeo has become City’s top scorer. He is quick to take a chance and showed his speed and power of drive when he gave O’Neill a fast one to deal with. Fielding who had now become left half, was doing quiet well in his new position. Quite the best save of the day, and there had been quite a number, was made by Anderson when he slipped across his goal to turn aside a flick by Eglington which had every appearance of landing in the net. Boxley had a grand opportunity of leveling matters, but Moore ran towards him and took the shot on his legs. After 75 minutes Everton increased the lead to two goals and practically assured themselves of entry into the next round. Brian Harris, who had done very little right in this game, lost possession but Moore raced up and centred into the Bristol goalmouth, Anderson was beaten but Guy headed the ball out, it came to Wainwright who had it in the net in a flash. This goal seemed to take some of the heart out of City and gave great encouragement to Everton, and at the 80th minute Jimmy Harris scored a third. He took the ball on the turn and gave Anderson no chance. Everton had got right back on top, and Anderson had to pull down a fast rising shot from Eglington. With one minute remaining for play, Atyeo got a consolation goal for his side when he cleverly slipped the ball beyond O’Neill who had come out to narrow the Bristol man’s angle. Final; Everton 3, Bristol City 1. Official attendance, 46,493. Receipts £6,400.
• Manchester United Res v Everton Res at Old Trafford was abandon after 30 minutes.
THE TANSEY TRIO
January 7, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Soccer Stars at Home
The Tansey family is a sporting one, and that, I think is a good thing, for in a footballer’s home there is bound to be a great deal of talk about sport and there is nothing more boring than to sit and listen to a conversation which has no interest to you whatever. Jimmy Tansey, the Everton full back, who has come on by leaps and bounds since he made the first team towards the back end of last season is essentially a sportsman – an all round one, in fact for he plays tennis, swims and has a keen interest in boxing and as often seen at the stadium, along with several of his colleagues. At the moment there are not many “home facts” centred round the Tansey’s for as yet, they have no house of their own and hat is their one grouse in life. Every young couple’s great ambition is “your own house” no matter how comfortable you may be in “digs” or with the “In-Laws” They have been on the “list” –not the one which a footballer fears –but the housing list for some years but as Jimmy says; “We are as far off as eyes.” In fairness to Everton, they offered me a club house, but I would prefer one of my own, so refused their kind offer, said Jimmy. However, to get back to the more cheery side of the Tansey family. Freda’s –that is Mrs Tansey –sporting inclinations turn towards long walks, swimming and athletic meetings. Well, that is a fairly full programme for a housewife with our very lively baby son or two years of age, naturally named Jimmy. Even junior shows a marked tendency to sport, for Dad tells me that he has got a great book –he is a sound paw. To take a few steps further in this family sports interest, I must tell you that Jim’s elder brother, Jack was an amateur boxing champion, while Gerry his younger brother is a member of Tranmere Rovers F.C. It must be bedlam when they all get together for there is nothing like sport to produce arguments and I should know for I am often buried in ancient files looking for answers to queries sent in by readers. With no household decorations to attend to the Tansey family have often to go out in search of their entertainment. Jim of course, has his boxing but they can still find time to go to a dance or two but Mrs. Tansey, like most other young mothers finds her son a full time job. “I met Freda when I was at school for we went to the same school together, St Gerard’s and not St. Sylvester’s as so often has been linked up with me. It was there that Freda first became interested I athletics and swimming and walking. “Oh, yes, football is my first love, I think I could kick a ball almost as soon as I could walk and it was always my ambition to become a professional footballer if I made the grade I did not think I was destined to play for Everton so soon but it is my pride and joy to wear the famous blue jersey.” “Where did you start playing football?” Was my first question. “I started at school and soon joined the Gordon Institute, Stanley Road, and played for them quite a time. I also boxed a little for them, but once I really got the football “bug” I was simply mad about it. You could not keep me away from the ball. Even when I was dressed in my Sunday best I could not resist a ball if there was one anywhere about.” Well, I think that applies to most boys. “On joining the Services I was posted to the R.E.M.E and spent most of my two years National service in the South Borden Camp, and it was not long before I was in the team. We had a good side in those days and we went on to win the Army Cup and I am the proud possessor of a medal to prove it.” “What would you like most about a new house?” I put to them. This is where Freda sprang to life. “My own kitchen to start with and my own garden although none of us are keen gardeners I would dearly love a patch of green lawn for Jimmy junior to play on and a nine border of flowers. I don’t think you need to be an expert to get a lot of pleasure out of a garden.” Jimmy is a qualified engineer having served his time with a Liverpool firm and still keeps in touch on his free days. He knows that new methods and developments are being introduced almost daily so is determined not to be left behind. A couple of half days a week enable him to keep an foit with the new ideas which are coming and going in the engineering trade. Some children are easily entertained. Young Jim comes under that category for there is nothing he likes better than a ride on daddy’s bike but his greatest joy is to be taken down to the Pier Head on Sunday morning and watch the pigeons and sea pigeons won’t come near gulls circling round. He tries hard to catch hold of one, but the pigeons are more knowledgably than young Jim. The next best thing is to feed them and if he can get one to alight on his arm he is in the seventh heaven of delight. Dad, of course has to provide the “eats” for unless there is some inducement in the food line for they are notorious cadgers.
MANCHESTER UNITED RES V EVERTON RES
January 7, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Manchester United Res;- Crompton, goal; Gleaves and Bent, back; Goodwin, Cope and McGuiness, half-backs; Scott, Whelan, Webster, Christine, and Scanlon, forwards. Everton Res;- Dunlop, goal; Parkes and Donovan, backs; Grant, Woods, Melville, half-backs; Tomlinson, Thomas, Lewis, Farrell, and Vizard, forwards. Referee; Mr. F.G. Brandwood (Kidderminster). A thick fog persisted, Manchester set off an attacking move, but Dunlop had few difficult shots to deal with. It looked as through Everton were going to score first when Farrell sent in a grand shot testing Crompton. The Leeds raced down the middle and he tested Crompton with a similar drive. After 15 minutes the fog came down and referee called the players off the field. Ten minutes later he returned, but conditions were just as bad and he abandoned the match
Everton “C” v Bromboro
Quayle scored for Everton within seconds of the kick-off and 15 minutes later Bryn Jones added another with a long header. After 20 minutes Quayle put Everton further ahead. Ten minutes before the interval Pink scored in a lightning surprise raid by Bromborough. Half-time Everton “C” 3, Bromboro 1
LELLO LIMPET STUCK TO ATYEO
January 9, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 3, Bristol City 1
By Leslie Edwards
The crucial moment of this splendid cup-tie came twenty-five minutes from the end. The position then was that Everton led by a goal and that Bristol City were dominating for the first time. At this point the continuity of a match well-handled and sportingly fought was disturbed by injury to Everton half-back, Lello. Much depended on whether he was fit to continue or not and none sensed that more than Trainer Charles Leyfield and the dozen of all football trainers, Harry Cooke. Both left their dug-out on the touch-line Lello’s wrenched ankle. There was telling silence as Lello gingerly stamped his foot once or twice and then hobbled painfully, to the left wing. With a lead so slender Everton’s chances of victory seemed more remote than the possibility of replay. The game restarted to further effort, and further promise by Bristol. Then, in a way peculiar to cup-ties, the match swung back again towards depleted Everton. They put on two further goals and were so over confident. 60 seconds from time they allowed Bristol an opening they had never enjoyed before. Boxley tried one though pass to Atyeo the ball came back to him and he tried again. It was a perfect pass. Atyeo gliding onto the chance with the polish of a £35,000 player, took it forward a few strides then slyly side footed it beyond O’Neill and went back to the centre line with the air of a man who had enjoyed his moment of consolation late as it was.
Genuine Hand Shakes
And so to handshakes which really meant something and which were not the meaningless things they often are after one or other side has been all but kicked to pieces. There was no rough stuff here; only well organized football movement with Everton winners because they were so superior tactically. Man for man Bristol City compared. Collectively, they were lacking in policy. Atyeo first followed everywhere by Lello and later by Fielding scarcely ever moved out of position of attempted by one ruse another to shake off the Lello limpet. Anderson splendidly as he played in goal, distributed his clearance kicks (and too occasional throws) badly Everton well schooled by a Manager who likes them to make the most of such unconsidered trifles took possession of such gifts and once possessed too the imitative. As I suggested Bristol Rovers proved a better team than their rivals and neighbours. There was much to like about the side which went out with honour at Goodison Park, but fundamentally Everton showed themselves the better organized; otherwise how could they have survived by 3-1 after being only a goal ahead when losing a key men. The half subjection of Atyeo was another telling thing in Everton’s favour, it would seen that Ayteo deceptively carefree in his gliding movements, is a man of moods but there was no mistaking his strength on the ball or his propensity for nodding or side footing with accuracy, passes which might well have undone the Everton defence.
Opening moments told the story of Everton’s Atyeo plan, I do not remember seeing Lello so well occupied. He seemed to have twice as much of the ball as any other. Then after fourteen minutes Eglington one of the day’s outstanding figures got the cumbersome but often effective Guy on the wrong foot and came inside before slipping the ball to Wainwright who had gone wing-wards. Not the least important part in the goal which came from this movement was that of Harris (J). He might have decided to try to convert Wainwright’s pulled back centre instead he feinted to do this and allowed the ball to pass. Eglington’s cross shot carried no special pace, but it’s direction was perfect. Everton were in no danger for a long time but there was one awkward moment when a lob by half back Williams caught O’Neill in two minds and he rescued himself and his side with a late and rather fortunate kick-away direct. Harris (J) winning a race with Peacock, hit the ball over the bar and then Farrell and Lello in a duet of passing brought the ball through and Lello almost surprised Anderson with a shot the goalkeeper flicked over the bar with difficulty, Harris (B) centred on to the post immediately before we began to get some indication of the potential danger of Boxley, a winger who had the beating of Moore, but whose shooting, except for one instance when Jones took a cannon-ball drive on the body was wastefully weak. Fielding’s spectacular header produced further work for Anderson. He misfielded this one-excusably, I thought –but escaped when a ready Bristol boot lashed the ball to safely. Yet another save by Anderson was from a Fielding shot left foot. This one he touched over for a corner. O’Neill rarely in action, had his moment close on the interval when White, captain and generator of many of Bristol’s most effective moves, drove in a high shot which cost O’Neill a corner and might well have involved him in worse. Atyeo was narrowly wide from a difficult shooting angle early in the second half. O’Neill saved on the line from Burden (formley of Chester) and then Anderson needed two punches to get the ball over the goal-angle from a Fielding header. Anderson’s and the game’s best save was to come, Eglington, clean through poked a shot with deliberation for the far goal-angle and somehow the six feet two of Anderson was hurled to that distant point to bring off one of the finest of saves. The inspiration of this save seemed to spur the rest of the side. They were in command for minutes afterwards and when Lello limped to his passenger’s place one sensed a draw, if not worse.
Moore on Wing
Happily, it was Moore, in one of his rare upfield moves, who paved the way for a decisive goal. It was his centre from outside right that Peacock at centre half, headed away. Characteristically Wainwright as promptly nodded the ball back. This goal at seventy-five was followed shortly afterwards by one from Harris (J.) who got the better of Peacock and hit a fierce cross-shot that must even have delighted the hearts of Dave Hickson fans. Atyeo’s and Bristol deserved goal was to follow, but by that time Everton were all but home and dried. The great man in the Everton side was Eglington. His goal apart, he distinguished himself by his competence all through and never more than when he roamed in every forward position, once Lello had taken his place. Everton were as solid defensively as good management and good players can make a side. They made a difficult job seem easy and one could not help believing that if Bristol had been as good positionally and tactically, they would have made the battle more testing. Moore had moments of doubt about Boxley, who might well have been a match-winner if his shooting had been better; Tansey, too did not always come off best against the promising young amateur Virgin, whose first cup-tie this was.
Except for two instances – both cost goals –Peacock held Harris and company well, if purely defensively, Bristol could not have survived of course, but for Anderson’s splendid goalkeeping which kept the margin to a goal when it might well have risen to two or three. I liked Guy and Thresher, both City backs, and the way the side moved the ball with short, accurate passes but Atyeo was not allowed much scope and Jones held with little effort the small but lively Rogers. Everton’s half-back line, experienced and knowing all the moves –many of them in an anticipatory sense –was the side’s most effective force Lello for his quelling of Atyeo as a great individualist demands special praise.
ALL WELL AT THE END
January 9, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
But Everton Left It Rather Late
Though Everton got through comfortably at the finish there was a period of 20 minutes or so on their game with Bristol City when the hearts of their supporters were troubled and one had fears that the Blues might have to face a replay. To a large extent they were themselves responsible that this was so. They had enough chances in the first half to have made the issue secure. That it did not work out that way was due to two main factors. First was the brilliant work in the visiting goal of Anderson who has been second choice as Bristol’s custodian for most of this season and only came back into the side a fortnight ago. Anderson gave an inspired display. Though he had no chance with the shot by which Eglington put Everton in front at the eleventh minute he later made five splendid first half saves from Fielding, Wainwright and Lello. Had any one of these beaten him nobody on the visiting side could have grumbled.
The second and lesser factor which prevented Everton being well in command at the break was their own over-elaboration and the failure of Brian Harris to cash in on two reasonable chances. With the encouragement of their early goal, the Blues seemed to be more concerned about serving up exhibition football than getting the ball into the net. While it is true that much of their play was of good academic standard, only goals count and those they could not get for a long time. They often make two of three passes where one would have sufficed. They persisted in passing and re-passing when a shot was there for, the taking and generally appeared to hold the view that goals must eventually come. They lacked the sense of urgency and the “killer” instinct which is necessary for cup-ties. As things turned out, the result appeared to justify them but if Bristol City had a real marksman the issue might have been much closer O’Neill had only one shot worthy of mention to deal with throughout the first half, a snorter from right half White. Everton carried on in the same rather desultory and over-confident fashion when the game was restarted with the result that they lost their grip on the proceedings and the Bristolians for twenty minutes were well on top. This was the period when the home supporters began to wonder whether there was going to be a full time surprise result to add to those half-time scores which had caused such a buzz of excitement as they went up on the concrete surround.
The Turning Point
Fortunately for the Blues Bristol continued t be woefully lacking in shooting power, and by closing their defensive ranks and blocking out some attempted shots, Everton contrived to keep O’Neill from having to face anything really troublesome. Then came what appeared to be a severe blow to the home side, but which actually, or another of those queer twists of fate which crop up so, often proved to be the beginning of the victory path. Lello had to go on the left wing as a hobbling passenger, with Eglington moving inside left and Fielding going left half. Lello had played so well blotting Atyeo right out of the game, and Fielding had marshaled the forward line so cannily, that the majority of spectators felt this disorganization of the home team might be a setback. It proved just the opposite. Though Lello was not even of nuisance value Fielding stepped into the defensive breach splendidly. The need for a final all-out effort to widen their one-goal margin at last seemed to sink in. With wing halves and even backs helping on the good work Everton staged a rally which brought them two goals, via Wainwright and Jimmy Harris, and removed the last lingering fears from the minds of their now delighted supporters.
Lello’s Good Show
The fact that Atyeo broke from the Blues’ defensive stranglehold to get a consolation goal for Bristol in the last minute did not defract from the eventual merit of Everton’s win. It was no more than Bristol deserved for they had put up a good fight, and with better finishing might earlier have further narrowed the margin. Up to the time of his injury I thought Lello the outstanding Everton player. Only once did he make the semblance of an error, when he slipped and let in. Atyeo for a shot which almost shaved the upright. That apart he had the measure of the English international throughout and subdued the anticipated menace from him in a manner which brooked of no argument. Moore had a splendid first half, but later lost his grip on Boxley, who became Bristol’s most spectacular raider, but still a wretched finisher, Jones was sound throughout. O’Neill – one strange lapse, early on excepted –did all he had to do in competent fashion. There was some solid and encouraging shooting from Fielding and Wainwright and Eglington in lesser key, which might have brought success earlier but for Anderson’s splendid saves. Peacock was the main star of the Bristol defence. Though light and small as modern pivots go he kept a light hold on Jimmy Harris until the final moments and had obviously made it his mission to get to the ball first whenever possible. Tommy Burden, formerly of Chester was another of Bristol’s hard-working players though he was tarred with the same brush as his colleagues in wasteful finishing.
January 10, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Port Vale’s cup game with Everton will e an all-ticket affair and Everton will take their full quota of one-quarter of the 44,000 to be printed. Vale’s seating capacity is just over 4,000. Everton will decide at the next board meeting by what method to distribute their proportion. Supporters are again requested not to apply until an official announcement is made. Port Vale say it is useless Everton followers writing to them for tickets. S cores of letters arrived there this morning enclosing money. All will be returned. “We shall not have anything like enough tickets for our own supporters” said the Port Vale secretary.
EVERTON MAY GO TO U.S.
January 11, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
There is a strong possibility that Everton will under-take a trip to the United-States during the coming close season. The invitation, which has come to the club from Mr. Erno Schwarcz, business manager of the American League, is now under consideration by the Everton board, and a final decision will be arrived at shortly. A total of about eight matches is suggested, though some of the clubs who have been to the States of recent years have played 10, as Liverpool did on one of their three trips. Since the war American soccer officials have shown an increasing desire for visits from British sides. Two years ago Chelsea, Plymouth Argyle and Glasgow Rangers toured there, while other visitors were Borussia, Rot-Weiss and Fortune, three German clubs, Clara F.C from Brazil and the Austrian club with the Liverpool sounding title of Wacker. Other Football League clubs who have been to the States in previous years including Huddersfield, Sunderland, and Manchester United. I understand Bolton Wanderers have received an invitation to go there this summer but that it is unlikely they will accept. If Everton do decide to go it will not, as many folk may imagine be their first trip across the Atlantic. Away back in 1909 they made a summer visit to South American, when they played in Monte Video and elsewhere.
EVERTON F.C. U.S TOUR
January 13, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
Everton F.C have decided to undertake the proposed six weeks close season tour of the United States. Manager Cliff Britton will be in charge of the players. If as seems likely Mr. Ernest Green, the club’s chairman makes the trip, the acting chairman during his absence will be Dick Searle. For the game against Charlton at Goodison Park tomorrow Everton announce a team unchanged from that which beat Bristol City in the Cup-tie. Fears that Lello might not be fit after wrenching an ankle in that match have proved unfounded.
EVERTON HOPE TO LAY A BOGEY
January 13, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
The visit of Charlton Athletic to Goodison Park tomorrow provides an opportunity for Everton to break a “hoodoo” which has dogged them in all their post-war home games with the Londoners, whom they have not beaten here since 1937-38 season. Of the six post war matches at Goodison four have been drawn and Charlton have won the others. All have been low scoring games, the six of them together having produced only ten goals. This time Charlton come as favourities in the F.A Cup betting which makes the game still more attractive. At the moment the Londoners are fifth in the League table with 28 points from 26 engagements, which is only one more than Everton. Their away record however, is not particularly impressive. They have won only three of thirteen matches on opponents grounds, two of them in the first fortnight of the season. Their away victims have been Bolton, Tottenham, and Arsenal. Since the latter victory they have lost five away matches on the trot. It could be argused that this losing sequence has gone on so long that its end must be very near. Everton are hot likely to be perturbed by that. They have not lost at home since Luton Town defeated them on September 3 though a point has been surrendered in four subsequent Goodison games. The signs of shakiness in the Everton defence during December now seems to have been overcome and though Charlton’s forward line is a talented and dangerous one, if the home rearguard produces its recent steady form the Londoners will not have the sort of field day that they have enjoyed in some of this season’s games. Their 56 goals on the credit side is the second highest in the First Division and makes Everton’s 39 look very meagre by comparison. Everton have the advantage defensively, however, for Charlton have forfeited 51-34 in away games – against the Blues 41.
Leary Leads The Way
South African Stewart Leary is leading marksman with 18 League goals. Jimmy Gauld, formerly of Waterford, who has worthily followed in the foot-steps of Eddie Firmani since the latter’s departure to Italy is next with 13 while Ryan has ten to his name. Despite the rather large debit of goals against Charlton have made only rare changes in their rearguard. Evergreen Sean Bartram has not missed a game, and still guards his charge with remarkable consistency for one of his years. Campbell, Hewie and Hammond are other regulars while Townsend and Ufton have missed only half a dozen games between them. At Manager Jimmy Seed is fielding the side which defeated Burton 7-0 in the Cup, he obviously prefers the experience and scheming of Hurst and White to the speed and enthusiasm of Ayre and Ryan. Whatever its composition the Charlton forward line is usually direct, incisive and full of shooting power. Everton will find them more ready to have a go than Bristol City were last week. Similar close marking to that by which Lello subdued Atyeo in the Cup tie could cut out some of the menace, while if Everton shoot as well as last week, but with a little better luck, they might chalk up their first post-war win here against their visitors. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; Harris (B), Wainwright, Harris (J), Fielding, Eglington. Charlton; Bartram; Campbell, Townsend; Hewie, Ufton, Hammond; Hurst, Gauld, Leary, White, Kiernan.
January 14, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
The game in Liverpool is at Goodison Park. Here the team ably managed by Jimmy Seed –never a man to spend great sums of money on players – faces an Everton revived by the goal-taking of Jimmy Harris and by the support he receives from such as Fielding and Wainwright. Charlton’s visit is always something of a special occasion if only because they offer once more sight of Sam Bartram a one-club goalkeeper who has captured the public fancy far from the towering terraces of The Valley-Bartram is sometimes in unbeatable mood, but if Harris and company deal with him as they did with Birmingham and Bristol City he is destined for a busy match. Ufton, cricketer and footballer, will not have the bold Hick son to contend with this time, but now Harris is taking rather making goals he will be kept on tenterhooks. Leary, Charlton’s South African import a man continually among the goals –will make equal demands on Tom Jones. Kiernan one of the most forceful wingers in First Division football, and Hurst who like Ray Lambert looks older than he is will be threats to Moore and Tansey. With Everton still in the Cup and possessing an outside chance of League talent money this Charlton match could hardly be more attractive. I think the attendance has every chance of being the day’s largest. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; Harris (B), Wainwright, Harris (J), Fielding, Eglington. Charlton; Bartram; Campbell, Townsend; Hewie, Ufton, Hammond; Hurst, Gauld, Leary, White, Kiernan.
EVERTON’S LATE REVIVAL BRINGS A FINE VICTORY
January 14, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Three Goals in Closing Stages
Everton 3, Charlton 2
Everton;- O’Neill, goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Farrell (captain), Jones and Lello, half-backs; Harris (B.), Wainwright, Harris (J.), Fielding, and Eglington, forwards. Charlton Athletic;- Bartram, goal; Campbell, and Townsend, backs; Hewie, Ufton and Hammond, half-backs; Hurst, Gauld, Leary, White, and Kiernan, forwards. Referee. Mr. J.G. Williams. Although the ground at Goodison Park seemed in good condition, it was soon obvious that it belied its looks for as the players came out they left footprints in the turf. There was a good crowd five minutes before the start and from what I saw outside there were still many to come. Charlton’s record against Everton during the last few years has been distinctly good but today the Blues were out on their first double success. At the Valley earlier in the season they beat the Athletic, who are now favourities for the Cup, by two goals to nil. Everton got into their stride immediately, making tracks on the left wing and then on the right, but neither of them came to a definite conclusion. They were only the fore-runners of an extremely dangerous advance by Charlton in which the Athletic were decidedly unlucky not to take the Lead. Gauld ran into the Everton penalty area and it looked odds on the Londoners drawing first blood. O’Neill did the only thing any wise goalkeeper could have done, running out and smothering the shot.
No One Up
Kiernan broke away and his low centre across the goal face should have been turned to better account. Fortunately there was no Charlton man up to apply the finishing touch. The ball travelled on to Hurst who blazed it wildly into the crowd. Everton hit back and Bartram had to field a half-hit shot by Fielding. He had no difficulty in saving this one, but he should have been left stone-cold when Eglington pulled the ball back for Fielding who was standing unattended. He had the time to settle the ball to his liking only to shoot over the bar. Considering the sticky conditions play was fast. Ufton twice held up Jimmy Harris by late tackles and Campbell won a short sharp duel with Eglington.
Kiernan showed his speed control and centering ability, but O’Neill managed to get one hand in the ball and sweep it away for Tansey to come up and clear. A Wainwright-Fielding link was full of possibilities, though Wainwright shot was well off the target. This could not be said of Brian Harris when he received a pass from Lello, who had come up to help his attack and Bartram had to make the best save of the match so far, turning the ball over the bar for a corner. At the 15th minute there seemed a little hesitancy on the part of the Everton defence, when Kiernan centred into the goalmouth and Hewie was able to move up and shoot into the net to put the Athletic ahead. This was a blow for just prior to this Everton had looked more dangerous side, Farrell shot outside and O’Neill had to save from White and Gauld. Following a concerted movement Fielding put a shot over the bar and there was disappointment when an Eglington Lello duet came unstuck. At the other end Kiernan went over to inside right to get in hi shot which was blocked away. The Charlton wing halves gave their forwards strong support. Hewie had an opportunity to score again, but this time he shot wide as Wainwright did a few seconds later. Charlton seemed to be tacking the conditions better than Everton. They went to 2-nil at the 24th minute when Leary picked up a ball on the left, went forward, and calmly slipped it beyond the oncoming O’Neill into the far side of the net. Had it not been for another save by O’Neill, White would have made it three. The Everton goalkeeper conceded a corner when making his save. This produced a second flag kick, but this time O’Neill grabbed the ball and although he lost possession he was able to drop down on it and clear.
Jimmy Harris and Ufton collided, the Everton man coming off worst. The game was only held up for a matter of a minute or so and it was not long before Bartram was in action after Wainwright had slipped the ball back to his winger, who hit it first time Bartram had to go down on his knees to save. There were plenty of goal incidents and O’Neill had to thump away two centres from the left. Everton were quite competent enough to carry play into the Charlton goal area but so far they had not been definite enough. Eglington moved-over into the middle to make a pass which Fielding slipped out to Wainwright. He shot strongly and accurately, but the old stalwart Bartram was there to save. Bartram had not had such difficult efforts to deal with as O’Neill who saved yet another one when he fingered a shot by Kiernan over his crossbar. Everton were now attacking strongly and a centre by Farrell to his countryman Eglington looked as though it might bring result, but the Charlton defence was right on it mettle.
Eglington narrowly cut inside and with his left foot gave Bartram a hot one. Bartram wisely got his body behind this drive, so there was no chance of it getting through. A Gauld-White pairing ended with the latter shooting wide. A free kick to Everton was the start of an attack which was his by misfortune, for when Wainwright shot the ball was going along to Fielding when I cannoned against a Charlton man and went for a corner.
Half-time; Everton nil, Charlton Athletic 2.
O’Neill had saved from White at the start of the second half and the Charlton goal was rather fortunate when Wainwright was threading his way through, Everton persisted with their attack and Fielding shot outside. This was quite a bright reopening from an Everton standpoint for it was obvious that they were going to make a fight of it against this very competent Charlton side. An Eglington centre was caught and cleared by Bartram and then Leary –who like Hewie is a South African –could easily have gone further and perhaps had a shot. He decided to put the ball out to Kiernan and it was braked on route. Everton were now more straight-forward in their play and Fielding centre must have had the Charlton defence anxious for a moment or two.
Inside The Area
A minute later when Everton were awarded a free kick for obstruction inside the penalty area, and Bartram saved from Fielding. Everton were not getting the breaks, yet they had been more threatening than Charlton this half. Only a quick recovery by Jones prevented Leary making contact with the ball. This attack brought two corner, in fact the second of which O’Neill failed to grasp. But he was well covered by his colleagues. This half had not been nearly as good as the first 45 although Charlton were always dangerous when on the move.
A low centre by Kiernan sped across the Everton goal and it was just as well that O’Neill was able to pounce on it before the oncoming Leary could connect Kiernan was time wasteful with a centre which he put behind. The game was stopped while the referee took some mud out of Fielding’s eye. The game had become very quiet and quite a lot of it was confined to midfield. Lello urged on by followers tried a shot which passed a yard over the crossbar with Bartram ever ready in case the ball should dip. Gauld and Leary tried to slip through the Everton defence and looked like doing it until Moore came in the rescue near the penalty spot.
The crowd called on Everton for more endeavour and the response ended with Jimmy Harris having a shot charged down by Ufton. The enthusiasm returned when Farrell delivered a shot which Bartram turned aside for a corner. Bartram saved a lob from Tansey and a free kick for a foul on the same man did not bear fruit. Three minutes later Everton took the lead through a goal by Harris. Fielding’s centre seemed to strike the upright above Bartram head, and Harris was ready to take full advantage of the rebound. At the next minute the crowd went wild for two goals were scored by Everton. The first was scored by Fielding who took over from Wainwright to shoot beyond Bartram. The excitement had not died down when along came goal number two. This went to the credit of Lello, but I cannot give Bartram full marks for he seemed terribly slow in going for a ball which squeezed just inside the upright. Nothing could stop Everton hereabouts only the final whistle and that came after one of the most thrilling finishes I have seen for years. The crowd invaded the pitch as the players left the ground. Final; Everton 3, Charlton Athletic 2. Attendance 44,011.
BABY ANNE KEEPS THEM BUSY, BUT OTHER OCCUPATIONS MEAN
January 14, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
The O’Neill Clan
Does Not Lack Variety
Soccer Stars at Home
Keeping a scrapbook of a footballer husband can be a gigantic job if the said footballer is in the news almost every week as is Jimmy O’Neill, the Everton and Eire goalkeeper. But his wife finds a great deal of pleasure in the task and unlike quite a lot of footballers wives she has kept them in chronological order, so that she can pick out any particular item at a moment’s notice. This, I think, is a good thing, for there may come a day when Jim has got to write his life story and then everything would be ready. Jimmy does not think this can ever happen to him, for he is such a modest fellow, but it has happened to less famous players than he. I have told Mrs. O’Neill to keep it that way and she has promised me she will do so. I know what it is to have to wade through a scrap-book which has been ill-kept. It means hours of work instead of minutes for the searcher, and that can become very exasperating. It is like a lumled up filling system which means that you could very well throw that filling cabinet away. Mrs. O’Neill is not built that way. She is a systematic person and likes everything nice and tidy, for having had office experience she knows only too well that it is most vexations not to be able to put your hand on the things you want at a moment’s notice. Furthermore she is interested in her husband’s job and he cannot afford to be slipshod being a goalkeeper. The scrapbook is not the only hobby of Jimmy O’Neill’s wife. Her great passion however, is dancing. She fairly loves that and Jim no great tripper of the light fantastic goes along although he knows he cannot vie with his wife when it comes to ballroom dancing. He does his best, however and one cannot do more than that. I could have imagined Jimmy being a splendid dancer, for he is fleet of foot and has a nice sense of timing. But perhaps there is more to dancing than that I would not know for, I am no great shakes myself on the dance floor. I can get around but only in the old-time affairs. No bebop or sambas for me, and none for Jimmy apparently. Another of Anela’s hobbies (I know she won’t mind me calling her by the Christian name) is music. Her dancing days are limited at the moment for since the arrival of her first-born. Anne all hobbies have practically gone by the board Anne keeps her pretty well on the go although she says. She is a good little baby no trouble whatever sleeps her head off and we have not had one sleepless night since she arrived.” I think I have heard that before but it could be true. I have yet to hear of any mother accusing her offspring as being a “naughty baby.” The threatre, the legitimate theatre, I mean is another of Mrs. O’Neill’s passions. There is nothing she likes better than a visit to the Playhouse “I see most of the shows there “she said. “I don’t mind a good musical or even a variety show, but I think I prefer plays “she added. The O’Neills like entertaining “We just love company says Mrs. O’Neill. This was rather a surprise to me, for Jimmy seems to be quite a shy chappie, but it only proves that you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. It certainly looks as though Mrs. O’Neill has a full life for apart from all the things I have mentioned, there is the house to look after. Like most modern husbands Jimmy does his fair share of the cheers and does not mind; in fact, he rather likes bathing and dressing the baby. Apart from football, which is his life’s blood there is nothing he likes better than a day at the races. Is that surprising? I don’t think so for I have yet to meet an Irishman who does not love racing. I know that from experience for last year I spent part of my summer vacation in Eire and visited one or two racecourse and soon realized that the Irish have a great love of horses. Jimmy is no exception and does he not come from close to Ireland’s greatest race-course the Curragh just outside Dublin? How could one not be interested in racing living on the doorstep of Ireland’s premier racecourse. It would be like living in Liverpool and not being interested in the Grand National. Jim has only recently taken up golf. So far he is not great shakes at it, and cannot vie with his fellow townie Tommy Eglington, one of the best golfers among professional footballers. But he gets a kick out of it, although his handicap is such that he was ashamed to mention it. Being an outdoor type, Jim thinks a day’s golf has a tonic effect a grand form of relaxation from the stern business of football. Fishing is another of Jimmy’s side lines, but since leaving Ireland he has not had much chance to indulge in this quietest of all sports. It is hard to realize that Jimmy’s golf handicap is round about the 24 mark when one knows that his father was an Irish professional champion. It is not uncommon to find a son following in father’s footsteps but perhaps Jimmy was too young to know anything about it. Peter M. O’Neill was actually Irish champion three years in occasion -1923-24-25. His club was Dunlaoghaire a few miles outside Dublin. He is a keen motorist, although he does not possess a car as yet. The only means of locomotion in their home out Maghull way, at the time of writing is a pram, but one day, chipped in Jim. I hope to have a small car to take the family about a bit, for there are one or two places in England I would like to see – the Lake District for instance. Jim has not long been in his new house. “What about the garden, Jimmy?” I asked –“I am afraid I am no gardener” he answered. “I don’t know sufficient about it. I have had a shot at our plot, but so far it does not vie with some of my neighbours, who put my garden to shame.” “Well we all have to learn,” I replied,” and only practice makes perfect, just as it does in football of anything else.” Mrs. O’Neill who was a short hand typist before her marriage is a keen knitter and also likes embroidery. Well, Anne should keep her busy in that line for some time to come. Both are ardent radio and television fans, especially if there is a football match or an important race to be heard or seen. Although Jim’s days as a footballer can go on for many years –he could almost out-strip his predecessor, Ted Sagar, who played for over 20 years for Everton –I had to ask him the inevitable question; “What will you do when you hang up your boots?” The answer came pat, “I was a draper before football got hold of me and I would like to return to that when my playing days are over.” I hope it won’t be for a very long time for we have not seen the best of Jimmy O’Neill for he has improved tremendously since he came to Goodison Park as sterling in 1949.
FANS SHOW THEIR COLOURS, BRAVELY –THAT’S THE TEAM
January 14, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
As I made my way to Goodison Park last Saturday I realized once again what has been evident for many years, that the city of Liverpool stands high on the list when it comes to loyal supporters of its two senior clubs. All along the route gally bedecked fans of both Liverpool and Everton made their way to Goodison and Anfield to cheer their favourities over the first hurdle on the road to Wembley. When cup-ties come along fans really let themselves go and some are not content with just scarves, or favours in their team’s colours, but wear headdress and other garments clearly indicating their loyalty to their favourites. Everything turns out fine for these enthusiast when their sides win, as in the cases of Liverpool and Everton last week. But these staunch supporters really prove themselves on occasions when their side makes its exit from the Cup and they still wear their colours on the homeward journey despite the humiliation of having seen their favourites defeated. It is always very disappointing to all concerned when a side is eliminated from the Cup at any stage but even more so when you are beaten in the Third Round. It was a very pleasant feeling therefore at the end of last week’s game against Bristol City to know that we were still “in” and eagerly looking forward to seeing what “Dame Fortune” had in store for is in Monday’s draw.
They Did Remember
Listening to the draw on the wireless I was beginning to wonder if they had remembered to put Everton’s number in the bag, until I heard it announced that we were to meet Port Vale on their ground. Since the draw the main question by Evertonians to those of us more directly concerned with the Fourth Round ties has been “What do you think of the chances?” Well, it would be a brave man who would attempt to forecast any Cup result following Bedford’s shock for the Arsenal. Naturally we would all have favored a home draw, but one cannot expect to be drawn at home every round. However, the Port Vale game is a couple of weeks away yet and it is a little early to discuss it at the moment. Against Bristol City we proved once again that whatever else we lack, the Blues certainly maintain that priceless gift in the football world, team spirit. When the Blues took the lead early and kept the initiative for the major-part of the first half, it looked only a matter of time before we added to our goal lead. Such was not to be however, and Bristol supremacy in the early part of the second half had many Evertonians “hearts in their mouths.”
Seen at Its Best
When Cyril Lello was injured and forced to go on the left wing, many of the onlookers feared the worst for the Blues,. It was then that the team spirit of the lads was seen at its best, as each pulled out a little extra to overcome the handicap of playing with 10 fit men. So much so in fact that we ran out easy winners in the end. When it was announced that Wally Fielding and Jimmy Tansey were to return to the side, for last weeks game, it must have been a disappointment for John Willie Parker and George Rankin to miss the Cup tie. Yet both of them took it in the spirit that is natural to their nature that quality which makes both Jon Willie and George such 100 per cent, club men. Their own concern was that the lads should progress to Round four. The average fan doesn’t care “two hoots “ for team spirit, once his favouritie side is having a successful vim but you can take it from me that without the right spirit success is practically impossible. One of the main taking points in soccer circles has been Roger Byrne’s indirect free kick against Bristol Rovers, which Rogers seemingly though it was a direct kick. Admittedly Rogers should have known what the award was, but obviously made a mistake and cracked the ball into the net in the belief he had scored. I am not trying to excuse Byrne’s mistake but I was disgusted to read the scathing remarks and publicity given to the incident in the National Press. The writer seemed to glory in the fact that an English international footballer had made a mistake in not remembering one of the rules of the game. Maybe there was something in Gordon Price’s statement on television recently.
EVERTON DOING WELL
January 14, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Though Everton have been a tantalizing team on some occasions this winter, they are still in a comfortable position, in the absence of a catastrophic collapse of which so far we have seen no sign and which I certainly don’t anticipate they can be sure of a respectable place in the table when the final reckoning is made. As I have mentioned before it is no secret that both the board and Manager Cliff Britton felt that the present reason might be a rather more difficult one than has so far proved the case. By next season the Blues will have several of their younger players back from the Forces, and will be better provided for senior replacements than they have for the past year or so. Not that they have been badly served by those who have come into the team this campaign. Jimmy Harris is proving that the promising future which I forecast for him after his first few senior games is likely to be achieved. He is improving week by week and his fifteen goals by date quite apart from his other work, have been a valuable contribution, Jimmy Tansey is another who is fulfilling the high hopes I had of him. Brian Harris though not yet hitting the high spots to the same extent has the makings of a sound player when he acquires more confidence in his own ability and can cash in more readily on reasonable scoring opportunities. His finishing is still leading punch and he sometimes wastes his centres. Matt Woods showed in his three senior outings that he would be a competent deputy for Tommy Jones if ever the need arises. Though Woods is still on the open-to-offer list and Everton will not stand in his way I understand that so far no definite offer has been received for him. There have been occasional inquiries but that is as far as the matter has got.
One player on Everton’s side who rarely hits the headlines but has been a wonderful servant over recent seasons, is Cyril Lello. As I mentioned some little time ago, Lello has now gone for three years without missing a League or Cup game. His long run started on December 13, 1952, and to date has resulted in 145 successive outings. Were I a football manager I should be far happier with eleven men in my side of the stamp of Lello or Farrell, or a great loyalist like Billy Liddell than a collection of temperamental stars with some of whom you never know where you are. We have had example recently of players who have asked for a transfer because they have been requested to play out of their recognized position which seems the imagist of all excuses. We have had others making a similar request because they have been dropped. In the case of the Clayton brothers, parental influence had its effect. Everton may not have any really outstanding stars in the accepted sense, but they have something infinitely more valuable from the club point of view –happy and contented players who are ready to give of their best in the team’s interest. It is players of the type not the stars, who are the backbone of the game. Lello, like so many other of his colleagues has never given the club a moment’s trouble since he joined up at Goodison. I hope he steers clear at injury and advances his record of unbroken appearances a good deal further yet. He has played so consistently for so long that I find it impossible to recall an occasion when he had even a moderately off day.
BURY RES V EVERTON RES
January 14, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton Res;- Dunlop, goal; Parkes and Donovan, backs; Grant, Woods, and Melville, half-backs; McNamara, Lewis, Saunders, Parker, and Vizard, forwards. Referee; Mr. G. Ollerson (Preston). Despite being overplayed for long periods, Everton Res went ahead after 31 minutes through Lewis who headed a simple goal from a centre by Grant. Before this, Donovan had cleared off the line, from Williams during Bury pressure. Half-time-Bury Res nil, Everton Res 1. Parker increased Everton’s lead with a header after 46 minutes and with Everton setting the pace, Lewis miskicked with the home goal open Bury could so little right in attack and with better finishing the visitors should have increased their goal tally.
HEAD WAITERS OF SOCCER TOOK THE CHARLTON TIP –AND VICTORY
January 16, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 3, Charlton Athletic 2
By Leslie Edwards
This morning’s heroes? Why, Everton the incomparable Head Waiters of football. They were undismayed when Charlton Athletic –the best team, I have seen for seasons –went into a two-nil lead and kept it until ten minutes from the end. They waited and battled on a little pedestrainly and a little like the tortoise who knew, the hare was all but there then doggedness, determination and refusal to be beaten. Fielding scored. Wild delight. Less than a minute later Lello scored. Wilder delight. And then, three minutes after wards Jimmy Harris scored. Pandemonium! I saw Dean get his sixtieth goal against Arsenal and hear the roar of acclamation which followed him whenever he went round the ground for minutes afterwards but this latest display of delight –from 44,000 people – was almost terrifying. Looking down from the Press Box and to the accompaniment of a din which almost defeated, I saw hats and hands airborne and people leaping and dancing and hugging one another as though demented. In the space of four minutes Everton had performed a football miracle. Everton had plodded to a triumph where only disappointment had seemed possible. A few minutes remained for play. A cheering crowd could not have cared what happened. But in the gloom of this now joyful January day Charlton were nearly hit for two further goals. Happily they weren’t I don’t like to think of the trouble Farrell and his team would have had making their way throngs of people who would certainly have leaped the barriers to place a “Well done” pat on the backs of their heroes. As it was hundreds of small boys crowded the pitch like an army of invading ants to mob Everton players and give patrolling police more work than they could handle. But there was no hint of trouble. None who saw this epic revival to a match superlatively clean and good could be out of sorts. The people I pity are those who were unlucky enough not to be present –among them, manager Cliff Britton (who went to see Port Vale play) and the thousands who were so sure Everton were to be beaten they left the ground when Everton were 0-2 ad chance of recovery seemed out of this world and well nigh out of the next.
Divided by Two
This game rated with the Everton-Sunderland 6-4 cup-tie recalled to this day as the best ever seen at Goodison Park. The scores this time were divided by two but the excitement was multiplied because Everton were so obviously going to loss and because recovery in the final ten minutes almost took them from 0-2 to 3-2. Rarely has a game finished with reversal so starling Charlton toying with their opponents paid the price for being too causal too confident. They missed easy chances they argued about throws-in and sometimes took them when team-mates were standing a yard away on the touch-line. They indulged themselves in the cocky Cockney habit of saying in effect, We’ve got this lot two-nil down and can beat em’ any time. Why make a difficult job out of an easy one?” The Everton Head waiter accepted the tip and with it victory. Ten minutes from the end Everton supporters only joy was the ease with which Charlton made holes in the other defence. Not a cheer for Everton; merely the early signs of a few final-whistle jeers. It was then the great spectatorial exodus began. Those who left deserved no better fate than to miss one of the most exciting, most memorable endings to any game ever played on the ground. They will know better next time. Not for nothing do I christen Everton football’s finest Head Waiters.
This was a match to captivate and charm anyone – whether from Everton, Charlton or the Anfield zone of Liverpool. It had great moments; great individualists –most of them wearing Charlton colours –and best of all, Everton’s game, solid slog which looked so unlikely to succeed, but which, in the event succeeded beyond our wildest hopes. Their perseverance; their zest once they sensed they might pull the game round; their stamina on a pitch which looked good at the start but which churned up in muddled imprints long before the interval, was remarkable. Most dejected, most surprised, most baffled man of the twenty-two at the end must have been goalkeeper Sam Bartram. Five times in the last ten minutes he saw Everton sweep down the field, five times he was all but beaten. Admittedly Harris (J) seemed offside on one occasion, but Mr. Williams from Woodthrope in Nottinghamshire did not blow. Two additional goals would have caused a riot. Even Mr. Williams, who refereed well, could not avoid giving the impression that he was as excited as we were at the turn of the game. If this was the best game for seasons it was also a game which produced the best centre forward I have seen for seasons. Leary’s the name; South Africa’s the nationality, and lethal’s the nature. Leary took half a dozen corner kicks, some in swing and “working” yards with the spin supplied one or two he ledged back, cutely for a half-back to run on to his last he took on the right, right-footed to swung it away from O’Neill’s grasp.
Scot From Ireland
But great centre forwards have more useful work to do than take corners. Leary did this at outside right or left, at half-back and mainly in the centre where he and the Scot from Ireland, Bauld, gave the defence great punishment. Add the balding Hurst at outside right; the lively little Kiernan on the other flank and inject. White another good forward, in the vacant position and you have a Charlton line which justifies the team’s position as Cup favourites. Leary was almost a team in himself. He had no part in the goal the other South African Hewie, scored at the fifteen minutes –White but conveniently stepped inside to allow him to shoot Kiernan’s centre into the net – but he brushed aside two opponents and took his own good cleverly nine minutes later and from that moment was plainly their man Everton, feared most. Bartram, I thought, made-spectacular work of easy saves from the few Everton shots which reached target; Wainwright was a persistent shooter but an unlucky one. The game meandered on with an inevitability which Charlton seemed to sense. Even when the second half began and Everton revived momentarily prospects of a draw seemed remote as ever. It was then Charlton began to play as though two goals were enough and as if they did not want to rub it in a game which had been so sporting, so well played. Then moved with customary fluency in attack and Everton made heavy labour of taking the ball up field by some obvious passes which left the bulk of the well-marshaled Charlton defence in position and still to be beaten.
Watches were out, and showed ten minutes left when the gloom of the day matched the gloom of Everton followers knowing their side was about to be beaten at home for the first time since last September. Then Fielding, standing perhaps six yards out found the ball at his feet following a Wainwright shot which was crowded out. He hit it wide of a Bartram who as at action station, but whose reflexes for once, did not function. Less than a minute later Lello, who had joined Farrell in his forward role, slammed the ball just inside the post with Bartram possibly unsighted and, in event, handicapped by desperately bad light. Now the crowd chanted and cheered for the vital third goal. Fielding going to the right wing, centred a ball Bartram only half held. The buoyant Harris (J) ready for such a chance hit the ball in and them became submerged in the embracing arms of his congratulators. Everton were not the better team, but they were the most preserving o sides and if dogged does it Everton can do it nearly all the time. O’Neill had his part in victory, so did Jones who had hard work to keep Bauld and Leary at bay so did Farrell whose inspired captaincy gets medals again this morning, it as Farrell’s fierce cross-shot immediately before Fielding scored which started Everton recovery and it was Farrell who threw discretion to the winds to plunge upfield and make Charlton’s defensive task harder in the final minutes. Yet having said this one is left with the lack of congratulating all twenty two players and referee for a one in a thousand and a finish in a lifetime. Well played everyone!
Progress Of Never Say-Die Everton
Everton have come from behind to win or draw so often in home matches this season their revival meetings are worth charting. And in at least one away game they have won after being a goal behind;-
January 14; Everton 0 Charlton 2
Final Everton 3, Charlton 2
December 24; Everton 0, Burnley 1
Final Everton 1, Burnley 1
December 2; Everton 0, Chelsea 2
Final; Everton 3, Chelsea 3
November 19; Everton 0, Manchester City 1
Final; Everton 1, Manchester City 1
November 5; Everton 0, Huddersfield Town 1
Final; Everton 5, Huddersfield Town 2
September 17; Everton 0, Tottenham Hotspur 1
Final; Everton 2, Tottenham Hotspur 1
FIELDING’S GOAL BEGAN IT
January 16, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton’s Victory Was A Tremendous Thriller
I have been watching football more years than I care to remember, and it takes a lot to get me really thrilled, but I frankly admit that I was excited as the most rabid Evertonians at Goodison on Saturday. I had admitted defeat 10 minutes from the end with Charlton leading 2-0, but then came the real thrills of the game and a fight back the like of which I have not seen for an age. It was that first goal by Fielding which did the trick. It turned Everton from a rather slow and cumbersome team into a fiery, rampant side which simply shook the Londoners to the roots. They could not have imagined such an Everton after what they had been seeing for over an hour-an Everton with no great menace and few shots likely to beat the tried and trusted Bartram. It only goes to prove that you cannot take things for granted in football. I honestly believe that Charlton thought they had the game in the “bag,” and they had every reason to think so, for Everton had been so easily mastered that Bartram up to that final burst had not been unduly worried. It is only a truth to say that Charlton had played so well in the first half that it was no surprise to know that they were favourities for the Cup. This should be a lesson to them not to ease up on matter what is the state of the game or the time t their disposal. The second half had not been long in progress when I thought I saw a trace of over-confidence in the London team. They were certainly not the striking force or the competent side they had been, when they made Everton look so moderate.
It is easy enough to play from a winning hand, but the side that can take a fall and then come back is the one which has got to be admired, I think most Evertonians will agree that Charlton were worth the victory which seemed such a certainty, but they had nothing but admiration for the way Everton buckled up their belt and fought when the odds were heavily stacked against them. It is not the first time this season that Everton had done something similar, but they have never had to pull back a two-goals lead and with only minutes left to retrieve themselves. Not long before the flame enveloped Charlton I had said to a colleague. “If Everton can only get a goal it might transform them. Perhaps it was wishful thinking, for truth to tell, they were not playing as though they would get one goal let alone three. But three they got, and the crowd did not forget to show their appreciation of a great fight back. It was nerve-wracking but it must have been more so for Charlton who had looked a grand side in the first 45 minutes when they took two goals through Hewie and Leary. They moved smoothly, found the open spaces and were a threat to Everton every time they came down field. What caused this transformation? I put it down to the work of the wing half backs, Farrell and Lello. They decided to throw everything into attack and they prodded and prompted as never before during the game and Charlton staggered under the blows but still that all-important goal would not come. Everton had speeded up they took the initiative and Charlton fell from grace. Their rhythm had gone because they had their hands too full of defence and most of their attacks were the result of spasmodic raids. Even then they were dangerous and with Everton still not producing the shot defeat was staring us in the face. Only a miracle could win the game for Everton and it is now apparent that the day of miracles is not over. A Fielding goal scored at the 80th minute dumbfounded Charlton and before they had time to reason why, another goal had landed in their net via Lello to which Bartram seemed to move too slowly to prevent the ball passing just inside the post. Only those who were present can imagine the excitement Everton were in the game with a chance for the first time and having got Charlton on the run they kept them there.
Wanted A Win
A draw would have been highly satisfactory to most but not to Everton. They wanted a win and thought they could get it with the Charlton defence crumbling to dust under the impact. They just could not hold this rampaging Everton. Then at the 84th minute hats flew in the air as Jimmy Harris scored his winner after Bartram had pushed a Fielding centre against his cross-bar. It was unbelievable but nevertheless true and Everton may well have had two further goals well have had two further goals before the end, for Charlton’s defence was riddled by the speed of Everton, who simply crushed them out of the picture. The Everton roar had something to do with it, for when Fielding’s goal came along the crowd really gave vent to their feeling which had been rather sad up to them and for the rest of the fight they kept it going. It was the most magnificent fight-back I have ever seen and it was not surprising that the ground was invaded by spectators eager to show their appreciation to each and every one of the Everton players. Charlton could hardly believe such a thing had happened to them, but they departed for London sad and wiser men.
This was Everton’s first double of the season, for they had beaten the Athletic at the Valley earlier in the term. It was also the first victory over the Athletic at Goodison Park since the war. It was a victory to gloat over, for it was obtained by sheer determination and the will to never give up. Who could have blamed Everton if they had said to themselves “It is too late to do it now,” It is never too late if you have the fighting spirit, and Everton had it in full measure on Saturday. Everton had beaten a good side, which was all the more meritorious and it keeps them in the fight for the championship for they are only seven points behind the leaders Manchester United. They may not win the title but if they continue to give us such exciting moments there should be no empty spaces at Goodison Park for the remainder of the season. Charlton had started off like a lot of greyhound from the traps and even their two goals apart, they “played” the sticky ground more confidently. With five forwards “up” they were always a menace as O’Neill will admit for he had to make some superlative saves when the Athletic were riding the crest of the way, Everton could not vie with them in progressive football until that final frolic which, however paid for all.
Where Everton found the stamina to indulge themselves as they did in that last 10 minutes goodness only knows it speaks well for the training methods for it was not an easy ground to play on but the “Blues” sped over it like lightning in those final minutes it was a grand and glorious finish, Even now I can hardly believe it. Everton played some nice football during Charlton’s dominance in the first half, but when they got near to goal they seemed to be easy prey to the Londoners defence and Bartram had not the difficult shots which came O’Neill’s way. The Irish goalkeeper may have been unsighted when Hewie strolled up to mark up the first Charlton goal. How can you pick and choose after a match of this kind? It was an eleven men affair, but I think that Lello and Farrell are entitled to a little more praise. It was their rallying power which made this great victory possible but it could not have been accomplished unless every man had put his shoulder to the wheel.
Manager Cliff Britton did not see Everton’s amazing recovery against Charlton Athletic. He had gone to Burslem to watch Port Vale, Everton’s opponents in the fourth round of the Cup. Though the Vale won, what he saw confirmed his opinion that Everton stand a good chance of making further progress.
HICKSON NOT GUILTY OF FOUL
January 17, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
By John Peel
Dave Hickson the Huddersfield and former Everton F.C centre-forward, was cautioned during the Huddersfield-Sunderland match on December 24. As a result of previous reports the case was referred to the F.A. Disciplinary Committee. Hickson asked for a personal hearing and after hearing evidence the commission yesterday decided that Hickson was not guilty of a deliberate foul on Daniel the Sundelrand centre-half and the caution was no recorded.
RESERVES STRENGTH SECOND STRINGS ARE DOING WELL
January 19, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
If there is truth in the old football saying that the future well-being of all clubs depends upon the strength of their reserve talent, and there will be few who question this, then Everton and Liverpool appear to be happily placed, for both are doing exceptionally well this season in the Central League. This competition has been a much better guide in post war years to the strength of the potential talent of First and Second Division clubs than was the case a generation or so ago. There were says when Central League sides in many instances contained a far greater proportion of older players, approaching the end of their careers and of steadily declining worth to their clubs, than has been the case in recent years. Now that so many clubs are running up to five or six junior teams and have big lists of ambitious youngsters anxious to make progress in the game they cannot any longer regard the Central League team as a refuge for players who are getting past their best. The competition today is too keen. To keep the younger full-time and part-time professionals content there must be reasonable avenues of advancement. The Central league side is the nearest step to first-team preferment. The up-and-coming players who achieves reserve team status knows other things being equal that he is at last upon the fringe of bigger and better things. It is sometimes a fairly long job, for there are so many in line for promotion. Occasionally, as we saw recently in the case of Matt Woods and Ron Saunders of Everton, young players are not content to wait indefinitely for opportunity to knock. Neither of these players had any quarrel with Everton. Their view, with which the club sympathized, was simply that they felt they might make quicker progress elsewhere.
A Big Problem
That is one of the biggest problems facing club managers today. When a manager considers –whatever supporters may think to the contrary – that his first team is satisfactory and requires no strengthening changes, it is difficult to keep all his ambitious young players content with seemingly unending reserve status. It is natural that some should desire the first team limelight. Much depends upon individual temperament. There is a class of players of no less value to his club than the others who is happy enough to hide his light under a bushel even though it means a little less in his wage packet and smaller bonuses. He is not subjected to the same criticism as first-team players, he plays his weekly match under considerably less strain and when with a club which treats its staff well, he is quite content to jog along and let things take their own course without supplying any gingering up process himself in the shape of a request for a move.
Second and Third
At the moment Liverpool and Everton Reserves are second and third in the race for the Central league title in which Manchester United lead the way with 45 points, Liverpool have 40, and Everton 38, all from 26 engagements. Considering the extensive use both our senior clubs make of the Central league side for experiments, involving a great number of team changes they are doing extremely well. Everton have called upon thirty players to complete their 26 matches. Most of the team changes have been in the forward line. In the defence Leyland was a regular in goal until Dunlop took over in the middle of last month and Parkes, a former Liverpool and Lancashire schoolboy player has been first choice at right back since making his debut on the last Saturday of September. Rankin, Woods and Melville are other defences who have missed few games while Jackie Grant the skipper and inspiration of the team has been another invaluable contributor to the season’s run of success.
A Different Story
In the forward line it is a different story. Here Manager Britton had made numberous changes in certain places, thus giving opportunity to the maximum number of his younger players to show what they can do. Gwyn Lewis and Eddie Thomas have been fairly regular choice and lead the way as markmen with 18 and 15 goals respectively. Elsewhere however nobody has had prescriptive right to automatic selection, and altogether nineteen players have appeared this season in the front line. On top of that several have been switched about to see them opportunity to show whether they fit better into one berth than another. Six different players have figured at inside right, six at inside left, five at outside left and outside right, and four at centre-forward in some of these instances the players have not been “trailists” in the ordinary sense, but men of first team experience such as McNamara, Brian Harris and Fielding. Allowing for that, however, it is clear Everton are making good use of their Central league team as a training ground for the youngster professionals. There are some followers of the club who would like to see even greater advantage taken of this facility. There is, however a limit to what can be done, and the manager’s job is to reconcile his desire for “blooding” more newcomers with the need to give greater experience to those who have already shown their ability. That is not easy.
EVERTON’S VISIT TO TOTTENHAM
January 20, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton’s visit to Tottenham also brings the Blues against a side which like Leicester has been showing a vast improvement recently compared with its early season form. Only one point from the first six fixtures put the hearts of Spurs’ supporters in their shoes and another four from the next eight games did nothing to lighten the gloom. No wonder that even the most loyal and tolerant of White Hart Lane habitués had visitors of the Lillywhites descending once more to the Second Division. At the end of October all the Spurs had to show from fourteen games were five miserable points which was three fewer than Huddersfield Town, just above them, who had played a game less and six fewer than their Arsenal rivals in the 20th place.
Since the beginning of November Tottenham have staged a splendid revival. It has not yet taken them entirely clear of danger, but should it continues t will not be long before they can look the future in the face without a qualm. From their last twelve matches –only five of which have been at home –they were extracted sixteen points, which is championship form if spread over a full season. Though their scoring had not been anything out of the ordinary they have totted up 17 goals to their opponents eleven in those twelve games, which has helped to redress the adverse balance a little. The improvement started curiously enough when Ted Ditchburn former England goalkeeper was injured and Ron Reynolds took over and when Maurice; Norman signed from Norwich City was introduced at right full back the day after his transfer. Since these two came into the side simultaneously only one team has succeeded in scoring more than two goals against the Spurs’ defence. Two subsequent changes in attack have also had a good effect. These were the introduction of Smith, formerly of Chelsea, at inside left in place of Baily, who last Saturday went to Port Vale and the recall of Channel Islander Lep Duquemin at centre-forward. Duquemin has suffered fluctuations of form of recent years, but when at his best he is a strong and dangerous player. Since his return he has averaged a goal a game. It goes without saying that the Tottenham players must have their tails well up now, and have shed the uncertainty and fear which marked their play in the early part of the season. That means Everton have a tougher job on their hands than would appear from a casual glance at the respective position of the clubs in the League chart. After their remarkable recovery against Charlton last week, however even their least fervent admirers would hesitate to label any task beyond Everton’s capabilities. Some who saw last Saturday’s victory have told me that Everton were lucky to win, and did not deserve to do so on the run of the play. They may be true, but football placing are reckoned on the score at ninety minutes not eighty and as I have said about Everton when the boot has been on the other leg all the good midfield or other work counts for nothing in the league table if not crowned with winning goals. Whatever the respective merit of the sides on the basis of the Charlton match it would be churlish to grudge Everton full credit or to deny the fighting spirit which whatever their other faults has been so marked in recent seasons. As Everton defeated Tottenham at Goodison Park in September they thus have a chance to record their second “double” victory in successive weeks over a London team. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; Harris (B), Wainwright, Harris (J), Fielding, Eglington.
Everton have signed another young amateur the third in the past few days. He is Neil Smith, outside left of Ruthin, aged 16. Smith and inside-left Williams of Portmadoe whom Everton signed earlier this week are strong contenders for the left wing positions in the Welsh international Youth side.
January 21, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
By Leslie Edwards
One player who invariably plays well at Tottenham is Fielding of Everton. Born close by at Edmonton, he is well known in those parts and plainly feels he must make special effort to show the natives what he can do when he goes there in the blue of Everton. I am prepared for a special Fielding display today, I am prepared, also for yet another indication of the effectiveness of Everton’s defensive up tactics. When last the sides met at Tottenham it was all Tottenham for 20 minutes. Then Everton took hold of the other attack and the further the game progressed the more certain it was that Everton were the better team. The Spurs ground is like Everton’s in many respects, so Everton may feel more at home there than at many less well-appointed places. Oddily, it was at White Hart lane that Everton’s last relegation to Divison 2 was all but sealed. What I thought was a good goal-scored I fancy by Harry Catterick now the Rochdale Manager –was given offside and a match which seemed certain to yield a point yielded only defeat. Everton’s remarkable series of recoveries at home must make the side feel almost unbeatable on their own ground. They have recovered well in some away matches, too. Here is their chance to lift themselves in the League to ready themselves for the Cup tie at Port Vale and to confirm events which suggest they can finish among the talent money. Tottenham; Reynolds; Norman, Hopkins; Blanchflower, Clarke, Marchi; Walters, Brooks, Duquemin, Smith, Robb. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; Harris (B), Wainwright, Harris (J), Fielding, Eglington.
EVERTON AGAIN COME FROM BEHIND BUT WINNER ELUDES THEM THIS TIME
January 21, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Spurs 1, Everton 1
A first class performance by Everton who must have won had they finished more strongly. This was Everton on one of their brilliant days on a heavy pitch. Tottenham; Reynolds, goal; Norman and Hopkins, backs; Blanchflower, Clarke, and Marchi, half-backs; Walters, Brooks, Duquemin, Smith, and Robb, forwards. Everton; O’Neill, goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Farrell (captain), Jones and Lello, half-backs; Harris (B), Wainwright, Harris (J), Fielding, and Eglington, forwards. Referee; Mr. R. Ryalls (Yorkshire). The ground was heavy and inclined to churn up. Everton began ell with a solid shot by Farrell which Reynolds held only with difficulty, but the Spurs soon took command and O’Neill did well to flick away one-handed a dangerous centre from Walters. Then Brooks took the ball almost half the length of the field in a penetrating dribble which ended with a first class pass to Smith whose hard angled shot O’Neill put away for a corner. Oddily it was after a magnificent round of passing on the Everton left wing that Spurs went in front after six minutes. Walters produced an ideal centre and Smith with a gliding header turned the ball out of O’Neill’s reach. There followed a header by Harris (J) which Reynolds picked up rather nervously and then Fielding taking a through pass, was away on his own but so badly angled that he could only attempt to place his shot just inside the far post and the ball flew inches outside. Though a goal down Everton were full of life, and after last week’s performance must have been feeling pretty confident about rubbling out the arrears. The likelihood however, was that Duquemin would head a goal from a right wing centre by smith. He got up well but Duquemin it was who finished inside the net with the ball skimming of his crown to a safe place on the wing it was now raining.
Drive By Brooks
Brooks went close to increasing the lead with a drive which dipped markedly and which O’Neill tipped over the bar. The 37,000 spectators were in no doubt of Everton’s ability since they gradually got completely on top without having the luck to apply a finishing touch to good attacks on a difficult surface. Eglington was particularly lively against the young former Norwich back Norman. He created trouble with a corner kick that caused Spurs tremendous embarrassment. Harris hit the post near the angle and when the ball returned to him by the byline his second centre was cleared with difficulty. Everton’s accuracy and understanding was remarkable in the mud and rain but the big Spurs defence usually rescued themselves when things were critical. Robb, with a characteristic dangerous run, finished by driving the ball over the bar. Blanchflower’s free kick ruse – he dug the ball up from the muddy turf almost vertically in the hope that someone would nod it home –failed and O’Neill next did well to stop a reverse pass by Tansey. Everton’s work was masterly except that they could not find a marksman to round off their many brilliant approaches. Half-time; Tottenham 1, Everton nil.
Wainwright opened the second half unluckily by getting a clearance from Jones bang on the back of the head but he played on. Much of Everton’s success in midfield was due to the fact that his forwards were never slow to come back and lend a hand in defence.
The Best Move
Easily the best move of the game came when Fielding crowded to the right wing touchline, dug up a lovely through turned his centre back for pass for Brian Harris who Harris (J) to run on to Harris’s right foot connected perfectly with the ball but when the crowd was ready to acclaim a picture goal Reynolds produced a most telling save. He did similarly a moment later against Lello, but this time the ball spun from his grasp. Next Jimmy Harris from inside left turned the ball back for Harris (B) to run on to. A Tottenham defender beat him to possession by inches and slammed the ball for a corner. Thus in the space of a minute or two Everton’s finishing had improved out of all recognition. Considering the conditions it was excellent football the wonder being that Everton were still that goal behind. Spurs were now inclined to blunder in defence on occasion and Everton were going as strong as ever. Such pressure as Everton were putting on seemed sure to tell in the finish. Ironically it was Spurs who nearly got a goal. This time Duquemin with a left foot drive caused O’Neill to produce one of his best saves and Walters must have been close to banging the ball in as it sped from the goalkeeper’s hands. Robb tackled by Moore kicked the ball narrowly wide and then Duquemin with a ball which flew towards the underside of the bar, had O’Neill at full stretch in another great save at the expense of a corner. O’Neill was constantly in action with never a mistake when handling a difficult greasy ball. Everton’s goal when it came at 66 minutes was a perfect piece of work. It began with Eglington and Farrell on the left wing, continued via Fielding and finally from Fielding’s pass Wainwright jabbed the ball home as he fell and was tackled. Thus Everton had come from behind once more for about the eight time this season. I cannot praise too highly the work of the side as a whole with Jones and Farrell superb with excellent play by Tansey and Moore. The Tottenham crowd were now getting a little derisive about their side and it was clear that if Everton could make one supreme effort they would almost certainly get full points. Both sides were tiring but Lello was not too tired to fling his left boot to the ball and put it over the bar. The so-called white ball was now a mass of mud but Everton coaxed it about the field splendidly against a Spurs who seemed bogged down in the mud. The work of Brian Harris in the closing moments was particularly good. Eglington’s left foot had the crowd gasping with a cannonball effort which might well have deceived Reynolds in the gloaming. Instead the goalkeeper pulled the ball down in a splendid save. Moore taking a drive by Duquemins two yards from goal rather embarrassed O’Neill but all was well and Everton were again seeking that elusive winning goal. O’Neill was injured five minutes from the end when going down bravely to stop Robb. The winger hit the ball terrifically hard against O’Neill’s knee as he sprawled in the mud, and thus for the first time a magnificent game was stopped for injury. Both trainers attended him and happily O’Neill was able to limp back painfully to his place. Clarke almost converted a Walters corner kick and Jones will never do better than when he blocked the ball and cleared it with his head at this desperate late stage. Harris (J) beating Clarke for speed came face to face with Reynolds with only that player to beta, and in trying to double round him lost a glorious chance in that Reynolds promptly fell on the ball at the player’s feet. Final; Tottenham 1, Everton 1.
EVERTON RES V BARNSLEY RES
January 21, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton reserves –Leyland, goal; Parkes and Rankin, backs; Donovan, Woods and Melville, half-backs; McNamara, Lewis, Saunders, Farrell, and Vizard, forwards. Barnsley Res;- Lesson, goal; Thomas and Gibson, backs; Archer, Hopkiss, and Jackson, half-backs; Smillie, Rowe, Duggins, Holmes, and Kays, forwards. Referee: Mr. R. Freeman, Preston. Barnsley began well at Goodison Park and within five minutes were awarded a penalty kick which Leyland brought down Rowe. Smallie, however, was wide from the spot. Barnsley continued to press and Kaye headed just over. After Lewis and McNamara had gone, Everton went ahead when Farrell took advantage of a defensive error. Everton were now fell on top but their shooting was inaccurate and when Barnsley broke away, Leyland had to tip a drive over the bar from Jackson. Half-time; Everton Res 1, Barnsley Res nil. Farrell but Everton two up when he followed up a McNamara shot which Leeson had fisted away.
EVERTON REVIVIAL AGAINST CHARLTON WILL ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED
January 21, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
The main topic of conversation among soccer enthusiasts on Merseyside during the week and particularly those people who were present at Goodison Park last Saturday has been the dramatic and thrilling climax in the Blues and Charlton Athletic game. During my ten years at Goodison Park, I have taken part in many thrilling encounters in a blue jersey some with happy endings other rather disappointing but that closing ten minutes of last week’s game was certainly the most thrilling and memorable of my career an opinion shared by the rest of my Everton colleagues. Everton turned what appeared to be certain defeat into a sensational victory, and left Charlton the Cup favourities wondering what hit them and how they were returning to London pointless having appeared certain winners. In the first half the London side looked one of the best teams seen here this season, and yet I thought that on the general run of the play Charlton hardly deserved to lead us by two goals at the interval. Still they had taken their chances and we hadn’t. As the game wore on, it certainly didn’t seem likely we would save the game. The longer the match progressed the less likely Everton looked to score. And then came that thrilling climax I am sure you will forgive me if I recall it once again from the players angle. Before Everton started their rally, I felt that if we scored once we would gave the game, and the famous Goodison roar which really started when the Blues forced a corner on the left with the score 2-0 gave the lads the engagement and inspiration they needed. When the third goal went into the back of the net the roar of the crowd left an impression on us all which will not be readily forgotten. Again, when the final whistle sounded the crowd by their cheers and enthusiasm showed the lads how they appreciated the efforts of the team. In the bath, after the game as the lads scrubbed the mud from their limbs we were a very happy team indeed. Through this column, I should like to think, on behalf of the Everton players and myself, those thousands of Everton supporters for their part in last week’s never-to-be forgotten game. Jimmy Gauld, Charlton’s inside right, remarked to me after the game that he had never heard such enthusiasm from a football crowd in a league game. It was certainly a great vocal performance by the Goodison habitués, and I should imagine in years to come when we are discussing great games many a conversation will start with. “Do you remember the Everton-Charlton game in January 1956.” I should like also to thank those people who wrote to me during the week expressing their satisfaction at the efforts of the boys. In Dublin last Sunday morning along with team mates Jimmy O’Neiil, Tommy Eglington and other sportsmen, I took part in an annual charity comedy game in aid of crippled children . Others taking part in this soccer fantasia were the leading people of the stage and threate and the Press. Following the dramatic and stern struggle of the previous day this so-called soccer match was a welcoming change. During the course of the game there were numerous rehearsed gags by the stage, folk, and we footballers, jockeys, and golfers never knew what as going to happen next. It was all great fun, and those responsible for arranging the game had the pleasure of handing over more than £1,000 to a deserving charity. While visiting a kiddies party along with the rest of my Everton team mates last Saturday evening we were all introduced to the children from the platform I heard one young girl, inquire from her pal, “What are they, comedians?”
TOUGHER FOR BLUES
February 21, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Cup Tie Tonic
Everton’s visit to Port Vale looks a tougher assignment than Liverpool have to face. One remembers with some degree of foreboding the remarkable Cup fighting exploits of Port Vale two seasons ago, and while past happening are no more reliable as a guide then present League status. It is obvious that Port Vale, especially with home advantage, will not be disposes of easily. Like his opposite number at Anfield, Manager Cliff Britton has already taken a look at his team’s opponents. He saw them defeat Notts County last week, and the opinions gathered from that display will form the basis of Everton’s talks about their task during next week. During recent years we have heard far more about tactical and strategic talks then in the old days. There was a time when players went on the field with little or no such preparation, played their natural game and by some miraculous means served up football of a far higher standard then much we see today. I have often felt that the modern tendency puts too much emphasis on the pre-match planning. In certain cases, especially with players a little slower in thinking than their colleagues it can have anything, but effect anticipated. Within reason doing what comes naturally and automatically is often best not a labored effort to conform to set schemes which are often upset by the unexpected reactions of the opposition.
On the other hand, I do not underestimate the window of managers seeing as much of their opponents as possible before a cup-tie. They can spot the little things which can be turned to advantage such as one-footed forwards who can be crowded out, defenders slow on the turn either one way of both; players who must be watched for quick and rugged tackling, others who are not keep to go into a tackle and so on. I don’t doubt that both our senior club managers have spotted items of this nature and will pass them on to their players in the hope that they can turn them to advantage. Port Vale and Scunthorpe also have not neglected pre-match weighing-up and next week will discuss just as keenly the prospects of cashing in on what they considers the weak spots of the opposition. All that supporters can do is wait for the great day, live in hope and determine to give their teams every possible vocal encouragement. The roar of the Kop may put the wind up Scunthorpe who are less used to that sort of “intimidation” than senior sides. Everton will not lack for solid support at Burslem. If all the tickets have been sold at today’s Goodison distribution the Blues will have close on 11,000 followers at the Port Vale match. Should these put up as good encouragement as did the Everton contingent at Villa Park a few seasons back they will be heard all right and I thrust to good purpose.
Thanks For The Gesture
Everton deserve a word of thanks for their decision not to make attendance at today’s Central League match incumbent on those who desire to purchase tickets for next week’s cup-tie. It has been known in the past for clubs to do this. Some have sold Cup tickets inside their ground at reserve games, and boosted the attendance three or four fold thereby. Everton laid down on such stipulation thereby earning the thanks not only of the Anfield club, but of those keen folk who follow both teams on alternate Saturday and who, while wanting to go to Port Vale next week, also desired to see Liverpool’s vital promotion struggle with Leciester City this afternoon.
THE BEST EVERTON PLAY I’VE EVER SEEN
January 23, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
By Leslie Edwards
Tottenham Hotspur 1, Everton 1
Liverpool’s team for the cup-tie against selects itself so does Everton’s for the tie at Port Vale, except that there must be a shade of doubt for a few days about goalkeeper O’Neill whose final save at Tottenham involved him in collision with the Spurs forwards, Robb and seemed to deaden a nerve just under O’Neills knee-cap. Everton are confident they can take care of Port Vale- and well they might be after their stunning football at White Hart Lane. Not the least interested of strangers at Tottenham was Mr. Walter Winterbottom, he F.A. coach. He would not confirm that he was there sorely to watch young Jimmy Harris but it is likely that he had eyes for this fast-developing player and for the Tottenham forward, Brooks who has the happy knack of feinting his way through a defence. Harris impressed everyone. Had the scored a minute from time- the chance went he elected to try to dribble round Reynolds and the goalkeeper fell on the ball at his feet –I should have been acclaiming this morning an Everton victory almost as spectacular, certainly as worthy as the one against Charlton. Instead I put it on record that I have never seen better football than Everton produced on a difficult plodded pitch that became badly churned up.
Worthy of Hungarians
Their’s was soccer worthy of the Hungarians at their best. No praise could be higher. The special merit in this case was that Everton moved the ball in long links of passing, with never a moment’s hesitation, on a pitch on which the best of Continental sides, would probably have been bogged. Everton were not a team of divisions from goalkeeper to outside left, through all departments they fused into a force Spurs did well to deny Everton stamina was the better too. They were going almost as strongly at the end of a wonderful match as at the beginning and Farrell whose game was outstanding, can never have had a match in which he did almost everything tactically and from his own point of view, to such perfection. Spurs contributed their share to an out-of-the-ordinary match but when one considers Everton’s domination for three parts of the game and some of the saves Reynolds made one cannot help but say that Everton deserved victory it only for their supreme football in the approach. If they had a fault it was that they did not always take lovely attacks to a logical conclusion but it was not an easy day for chance-taking and in any event the ball ran badly for them at vital moments.
I would say that if Everton could continue like this they could win Cup or League –or both. Their work was enchanting, Spurs an improving side, voted them the best side seen at Tottenham, I can well believe it. Whether Everton have been schooled in direct, short-passing, with the ball switched from one to the other as though the team were running to clock-work schedule, one can only surmise. But if they will only cultivate and maintain such methods they will kill, forever the feeling of some followers of the club that Everton football is not as attractive as it was. Imagine a game in which there was not a stoppage until the eighty-fifth minute (when O’Neill was injured) imagine a match in which Spurs starting as though they were going to eat the opposition scored a lovely headed goal (Smith) within a few minutes. Then picture an Everton steadily working their way to supremacy and being denied time and again, the goal their play deserved. But if we had to wait for the equalizer it was worth it when it arrived after 21 minutes of the second half, Farrell and Eglington duetted their way down the left wing as though the Tottenham defence did not exist. The crucial last pass in this remarkable movement came from Fielding. He placed the ball forward with admirable timing and direction for Wainwright to jab it home beyond the out coming Reynolds and in face of another’s tackle.
From that moment Farrell and Lello made extra forwards in Everton moves which had the crowd murmuring in wonderment. Brian Harris –his best game, this –offered his name-sake a lovely centre. It was taken with ready right foot. Lucky for Spurs that Reynolds happened to be standing in the line of flight Eglington the evergreen, added his thrust to Everton’s artistry and again Reynolds made a fine save. Then O’Neill who had never faltered, saved splendidly from Duquemin and finally came out, bravely to crowd out Robb who seemed destined to give Spurs the extra point they hardly deserved. Clarke a mountain of a man scarcely ever allowed Harris (J) to roam far from his side, but Harris was always dangerous and given a break when choosing to make a certainly of his biggest scoring chance, would have been the day’s hero. As it was he showed remarkable speed to come from behind Clarke and leave him yards behind in a characteric surging sprint. I liked Brian Harris particularly for his second half work. He showed unexpected touches of class and for a part-timer –he is still an apprentice engineer –he showed remarkable skill. His fault is that he does not warm to his real game in the early moments. Every Everton unit clicked smoothly into place in this outstandingly good performance. To get a draw was adequate the manner in which it was obtained was so much more impressive. Again it was the Everton half-back line which was the important factor in defence and attack. Farrell stayed like a young ‘un he also used the ball as well as Blanchflower –and that is saving a great deal. Someone wondered how he had breath to last the game use less use his breath to marshal his forces. He must have been a happy, proud captain as he walked off. Jones had many moments of brilliance, too, and so did O’Neill. The backs each played their part manfully and Fielding, despite some arthritis of a shoulder, was forever the focus point of Everton’s forwards scheming. Spurs’ whose problem position is at outside-right had Walters there for the first time for two months. He failed almost completely. Robb did better, but missed more than one chance. Brooks played like a potential, England man Norman, a young and fine-looking back may have to wait longer for his representative chance. Eglington exposed his inexperience. A better game, or one referee so well, would be hard to find. And I am convinced that the football Everton produced on this glue-pot was the best, midfield I have ever seen from an Everton X1 in more than thirty years of watching.
BLUES WERE LIKE HUNGARIANS
January 24, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton go into their cup-tie at Port Vale next Saturday with enormous confidence. Their play of White Hart Lane against Tottenham was the best I have ever seen from an Everton X1. That they failed to win, after being a goal down, is immaterial. The great merit of their performance was that they played like a team of Hungarians on Wembley’s velvety pitch. And the Tottenham pitch was anything but velvety. Indeed it was an inch or two deep in greasy mud and calculated (if the clerk of the weather calculates) to upset the best of teams. I give full makes to Spurs for their contribution to this splendid game, and to a referee rarely seen rarely heard. There was but one stoppage –five minutes from the end when O’Neill was injured in going down to the feet of Robb. This was a galliant vital gave. The players collided and O’Neill suffered some deadening of a nerve below a knee. Among those present was the F.A coach, Walter Winterbottom. He must have cast an expert eye on Jimmy Harris and Harris namesake Brian on the wing must have caused the Winterbottom eyebrows to lift in astonishment that a partime player could show such artistry; in first-class company Brian’s second half was especially good. Again Everton survived after being a goal down. There was more than a shade of doubt about the award which involved Tansey in a free kick for handling. No matter. The centre Walter slung over was beautifully guided beyond O’Neill by the head of Smith. Spurs at this early stage looked winners, but Everton soon showed signs of taking command. Some of their round’s of passing were almost unbelievably good in the circumstances. Many failed but the best of them all –a duet between Farrell and Eglington followed by a cute through pass by Fielding to Wainwright –earned the equalizing goal the side richly deserved.
Farrell was supreme in an Everton half-back line well consolidated into the attack when occasion demanded, or in defence. The beauty, of Everton’s movement was the moving of the ball from one to the other without hesitation. It was clock-work football. On this game Everton can beat anyone anywhere. They might well have made their midfield play completely triumphant, but in the last two minutes Harris (J) after getting clean through in a dramatic burst elected to try to round Reynolds and put the ball into an empty net. The gambit failed. Harris (J) may get his England “B” place earlier than anticipated. I do not think he is quite ready for it, but none can deny that he is the most promising young centre in the game. It would be a pity if he were tried too early. Far better, I think to let him continue developing with Everton.
PLENTY OF SUPPORT
January 24, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton sold all their allocation last Saturday morning and I am advised that everybody in the queue when selling commenced got a ticket. Some late comers were not so fortunate. The Blues will thus have 11,000 supporters to cheer them on and if these do their stuff as well as in previous away cup-ties they will put up a good show. The visiting spectators will doubtless note something which I have not seen on any other ground, namely a large sign outside the office saying “Welcome to Port Vale,” which is a nice gesture. The Vale are an enterprising club with First Division membership their ultimate aim, and eventually their ground and its appointments will be among the best in the country. “I think we have a very good chance of victory” said Cyril Done when I quizzed him about his team’s hopes. “Baily” is just the type we needed to give the forward line an extra bit of finesse while the defence is really outstanding and almost impregnable at its best. “We don’t leave it all to them, however, when danger threatens. Almost everybody in the forward line goes back to help, and our team work is of a very high standard. We know Everton are good and will be hard to beat but we have hopes of pulling it off. I asked Done how Blackburn Rovers managed to get seven goals against the Port Vale defence at Ewood Park some months ago, when he was present as a spectator. “I could hardly believe my eyes when it happened,” he said. “Everything went hay,-wire together. It was just one of those days when every move came off for Blackburn and nothing went right for us. But it won’t be like that on Saturday. We learned something from that game, and don’t intend making the same mistakes again.
EVERTON AT PORT VALE
January 27, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Though Everton like their Anfield neighbours are again facing opposition from a lover sphere for Blues this time suffer the disadvantage of being away. There’s no place like home it you are involved in a keen and tough cup-tie and this one looks like being all that for Port Vale are a strong and rugged side with an uncompromising defence which is noted for outstanding tenacity and determination. They play the old Arsenal game of concentrating mainly on preventing the opposition from scoring hoping to snatch the winner themselves from a breakaway when the other side eases up for a breather. On the basis of class football and accurate combination Everton will almost certainly have the pull. The vital point is whether they can turn it to full advantage against the Vale’s solid rearguard, which will be reinforced by the home forwards in periods of special stress. As all football followers know, the best and most artistic side do not always emerge victorious from ninety minutes of hectic cup-tie warfare specially if the ascent is on the first syllable.
Only Goals Count
I don’t anticipate the Everton defence have a great deal to fear from the vale’s forward line, which has scored only 37 goals this season. True, Everton themselves have not registered many more. The Blues ratio of goals, however, is rather misleading. It does not adequately reflect the superiority they have displayed in so many matches. Therein of course, lies a problem. It is one which has been causing Manager Britton considerable thought for a long time. Goals are vital at all times, but never more than in Cup games, where there is no second chance if you fail the first time. Not that I anticipate Everton falling, Port Vale will find they have no monopoly of fighting spirit. The Goodison players have had this valuable attribute in full measure in many matches when they have come from behind to save points which could easily have slipped from their grasp if they had been prepared to accept the seemingly inevitable. At least I expect Everton to draw. If they will shoot hard and often and not indulge in unnecessary elaboration in approach work they could pull it off at the first time of asking. Port Vale are postponing as a decision regarding the leadership of they attack until tomorrow. It rests between Stephenson who has scored ten League and Cup goals in 22 appearances and Done whose nine League goals have been collected in 14 outings. Outside left Cunliffe is third to the marksman’s list. He has six goals to his credit all from the extreme wing berths in 26 matches. The defence is unchanged for the elevening successive occasion, Port Vale have great faith in this department of their side. Port Vale; King; Turner, Potts; Leake, Hayward, Sprsam; Askay, Griffiths, Stephenson, or Done, Baily, Cunliffe.
EVERTON HOPES AT PORT VALE
January 28, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Like Liverpool, Everton, for the second time running meet opposition from a lower sphere than they themselves occupy, but with this important difference, that the Blues today do not have the advantage of being at home. Playing before your own supporters is a great help in a stern and bitter Cup game. That advantage rests with Port Vale though the 11,000 folk who are travelling from Merseyside to give the Blues vocal encouragement will do their best to make Everton feel as much at home as is possible on another club’s ground. Yesterday’s news that Jimmy O’Neill, despite earlier hopes of his recovery, had failed to pass a fitness test and would not be in goal was a disappointment to Everton’s followers. In Harry Leyland however, they have a capable deputy. White has experience is not as great as that of O’Neill, I have seen Leyland put up some excellent displays and now that at long last h e has another chance of showing what he can do in the senior side he will be keen to make the most of it. Everton’s recent performances must encourage hopes that they will at the least be capable of making a draw at Burslem, though an outright win at the first attempt would be more pleasing. A fortnight ago the Goodison Park team hit the headlines with a remarkable recovery in the last ten minutes after being two goals down to Charlton Athletic the Cup favourities. Last week they had everybody in raptures over their brilliant football against Tottenham Hotspurs on a mud-bath at White Hart Lane. While they served up a really remarkable performance and I do not attempt to take one shred of credit away from them, the fact remains that they did not get the goals which they ought to have had on the basis of their superior football and territorial advantage. It may seem harsh to stress that point though it is not meant to be. I am doing so for one purposes only to emphasize what I have said on so many other occasions namely, that goals are the sole basis of reckoning, and much as everybody enjoys a display of the finer arts and graces if the ball is not put into the net, the value of superiority over the opposition is not reflected in the results column. That may not matter quite so much in a League game, where the tendency for long has been t regard a victory, Irrespective of how it is obtained, as of greater importance than the standard of football, served up for the paying customers. In a cup-tie it is a very vital matter
Everton will not find it easy to score goals against Port Vale even if they make the utmost of all their opportunities. They came afford to let any go begging. The Vale’s defence for some seasons, has been the strongest and most impressive part of their team. In thirteen home matches this campaign they have had only eleven goals against. One team only has scored more than once at Burslem and that was Barnsley who won 2-1 on December 27. One might assume that what lowly Barnsley can do should not be beyond Everton’s capabilities. As we all know, football does not always work out as we anticipate. We could say the same in relation to Hull City, who won 1-0 at Port Vale on November 19,. The only other club to win there was Sheffield Wednesday also by the only goal of the match. The secret of the Burslem club’s strong defence lies in the stagey laid down by Manager Freddie Steele the former England and Stoke City centre forward. He has planned it on the Continental system, where by three or four of the forwards fall back in time of stress to give a hand to the rearguard.
While that has advantages, it also produces certain snags, the result of which is seen in the paucity of goals on the credit side of the Vale’s account. They have scored only 37 goals in 27 League matches. Everton have not scored very many more, though in their case the opportion has been of a very different calbre to the which Vale face in many of their games. The nature of the problems which Manager Steele has been up against is evident from the changes made in the team this season. The only alteration in defence, apart from the out-going of Mountford –whose place has been taken by Leake, a former inside right –have been those forced upon him by injuries. Goalkeeper King has missed two games on that account and centre half Cheadle, the Vale’s captain has been out since he was injured in the game against Liverpool on December 3, Cheadle’s place has been filled by Basil Hayward, known to Vale’s fans as the “Iron man” by reason of his roughness and determination. Hayward, formerly a full back and an ever-present this winter will need to be at his best today to counter the speed and positional play of Jimmy Harris.
Right back Potts, who is acting as captain in Cheadles absence has not missed a match this season though he figured once in the unusual position of outside left. Left half Sproson strongly fancied some time ago by Liverpool is the third ever present among the first six names on the team sheet. Compared with the regularly of their defensive line out, Port Vale have done a lot of changing and switching in their forward line. They have called on 14 players in the front line, apart from positional switches. No Port Vale forward has appeared in every match. The nearest approach is outside left Cunliffe who has missed only two engagements. Cyril Done formerly of Liverpool and Tranmere Rovers has been unlucky with injuries. A knock on the knee kept him out for nearly two months and though he returned for three matches over Christmas he had to lay up again for further rest.
Latest addition to the Burslem playing staff is Eddie Baily, the former England and Tottenham inside forward who signed only a few hours before the dead line for participation in today’s game. Though Baily has not had much time to become used to his clubmate he could be one of the main dangers to Everton for he is a talented and brainy player who can get the best out of the man alongside him. The crux of today’s game may rest jointly in the form of the intermediate lines and the ability of the opposing forwards to make the best use of what chances may come their way. So far as the respective half back departments are concerned Everton should have the pull. Farrell and Lello have never played better than they have been doing this season, while Jones looks more likely to clamp down on the home centre forward than Hayward on Harris. Stephenson who has been leading the vale attack while Done has been absent is his side’s leading marksman with ten goals in 22 goal League and Cup games. Done has scored nine in 14 outings, Cunliffe is next on the list. He has six to his credit all from the extreme wing positions in 28 matches.
EVERTON FIND PORT AFTER VALE STORM
January 28, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Wainwright Decider As Visitors Get Fright
Port Vale 2, Everton 3
Everton had to work hard for their success even after they had attained a two-goal lead at the interval. Vale proved themselves great battlers and actually got on top in the second half. Their pressure was so great that Everton were continued to defence yet the Pottery lads not only scored two goals but had the ball in the net twice only to have there disallowed. Attendance 44,000. Port Vale; King, goal; Turner and Potts, backs; Leake, Hayward, and Sproston, half-backs; Askey, Griffiths, Stephenson, Baily, and Cunliffe, forwards. Everton; Leyland, goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Farrell, (captain), Jones, and Lello, half-backs; Harris (B), Wainwright, Harris (J), Fielding, and Eglington, forwards. Referee; Mr. G. McCabe, of Sheffield. Everton, who stayed at Buxton overnight, travelled on a Burslem this morning encouraging much for en rogue. On arrival at Vale-Park visibility was quite good but the ground conditions were very bad. The Everton players told me after had inspected the pitch that it was worse than Tottenham a week ago, and that is saying something. Leyland was making his first appearance in the Everton side since November 1953 and Port Vale, preferred Stephenson to the former Liverpool man, Cyril Done, Port Vale opened up in bright style and in the first minute Leyland had to save from Cunliffe and Askey in turn. There was no doubt that the Vale wanted to draw first blood which is often so vital in a Cup tie. For some minutes they were right on the attack, but were eventually driven off Play was transferred to the other end without the Vale defence suffering any hurt.
For a minute or two play was confined to midfield until Askery just outside the penalty area, tried a drive which was blocked and cleared. The Vale had their moments and it was Everton’s turn to provide the thrills. They took three quick corners or the right and these were negotiated successfully, Farrell had a shot blocked by Haywood but at this point Everton were decidedly the more menacing side. Jimmy Harris made an opening with rather a glorious back-heel to Eglington who centred the ball into the goalmouth. This was cleared by the sound Port Vale defence but before this was a shot by Askey which was confidently taken by Leyland. Then at the 12th minute Port Vale were struck a deadly blow when Eglington scored for the Blues. Everton had been close to the Port Vale goal some minutes. A pass back by Jimmy Harris to Farrell led to this Everton success. The move was carried through by Brian Harris the ball eventually coming to Eglington who had moved inside. His drive was right on the target.
Despite the all-important first goal, Vale showed that they were still capable of fronting attacks and causing trouble to Everton, Leyland had to save a cross from Cunliffe and so far everything Leyland had done was of the finest quality. There were times when a little hesitancy on the part of the Vale forwards lost them chances. Without being unduly biased I have got to say quite truthfully that Everton’s football had been superior. An Eglington drive which travelled low was collared by King. Just before this Eglington had centred right across the Vale goal and Harris (J) made a great effort to make contact. Port Vale while not possessing the skill of their opponents staged quick starting dashes and the Everton defence could not afford to make any slips. A link-up between Baily and Stephenson produced a drive by Stephenson that Leyland coped with. Askey who had a habit of coming inside; found himself crowded when he was about to try for goal. He saw the ability of this to sent the ball over to Stephenson. For some seconds the Everton goal was under pressure.
Baily was engineering many of the Port Vale moves but the Everton defence was backing up well. There was a strong appeal for a penalty when Askey was brought down, but the referee right on the spot ignored it. Leyland caught a header by Stephenson. There was a stoppage for an injury to King. Cunliffe was one of the danger men to Everton and it was well that Jones was there to take his pass inside. The Vale got a corner and Cunliffe who had won it, took it himself and saw Leyland catch his kick comfortably and well. A goal is not a very wide margin and Port Vale soon realized this, and for some time the Everton defence had to put in all they had to hold their lead. Baily and Sproston got the better of a clash with Everton’s defenders –but the ball way plumb in the middle in just about the worst place possible. It was not only sticky but most of the Everton defence had gathered to avert trouble. A slip by Tansey let in Stephenson and the Vale centre forward hit a hard and true shot which Leyland dealt with ably. Port Vale had certainly given the Everton defence plenty to do but at the 40th minute they found themselves two goals in arrears. Eglington swept the ball across field to Fielding whose centre landed in the Vale penalty area. Brian Harris and Wainwright went to the ball together. Harris’s foot was the one to pilot the ball beyond King. Right up to the interval Everton were still on the attack and were undoubtedly in a nice position. Half-time; Port Vale nil, Everton 2.
Incidentally, Harris’s goal was only his second for the seniors. After Baily has driven wide Everton set up an attack which looked most promising; a promise, however, which was not fulfilled although King saved from Lello and Vale had to overcome a free kick for obstruction. Turner –kicked away a Wainwright effort and King had to go down on his knees to keep out a drive by Jimmy Harris.
This was Everton at their most confident and best. But the scene was suddenly changed and Port Vale reduced the arrears at the 50th minute. Hayward was responsible in a measure for this goal for it was from one of his clearances that Stephenson whipped the ball out to Cunliffe who returned it immediately to the centre-forward. His left foot shot gave Leyland no chance. From this point, Vale were playing with much more confidence. They were keeping the play open and exploiting the winger. For the First time they really got on top, Everton were not being quite so quick on the ball as they had been and the Pottery team actually got the ball into the Everton net a second time through Cunliffe from far out. Naturally there was great enthusiasm from the crowd, but this turned to disappointment when the referee said “No goal.” it seemed to me that Leyland was prevented from getting across to the ball as it went into the net. The Vale jubilation ended, but they kept on trying –and trying very hard at that –and it needed all the strength and power of the Everton defence to withstand the pressure.
Not For Long
Eglington was obviously off-side when Farrell scooped the ball over to him. Everton now got back into an attacking move –but not for long. Haywood was one o the stalwarts for Port Vale; not only was he good defensively but he used the ball constructively. A move between the two Harriss was full of possibilities yet it ended in a throw-in. This was followed by another from which Brian Harris lifted the ball over the bar. Vale had got on top, and had forced Everton so much on to defence that the Blues attack was not often in King’s part of the ground. Leyland after making a save from Cunliffe threw the ball out to Eglington and this led to trouble for Hayward and company, Fielding and Eglington were just a little bit too close in their passing and Turner stuck out his foot and turned aside an effort by Wainwright. At 82 minutes Wainwright made it 3-1 for Everton. He took over a pass from Eglington and, rushing through the defence whipped the ball into the net.
Then followed one of the big thrills of the half, Eglington cut in and with great deliberation headed the ball goalwards. It looked any odds on that ball finding the net but King got one hand to it and turned it out for a corner –a really brilliant save. Vale did not give up and Leyland had to make more good saves before he was finally beaten by a long shot by Sproston, Leyland was not entirely without fault when this goal was scored for he came rusing out and the ball passed him into the net. Vale had proved themselves doughty opponents and Everton will not forget their visit to Vale Park in a hurry. Vale actually got the ball in the net again, this time through Baily but the referee immediately said “No” to the request for the goal because of an infringement. A few minutes from the end Everton attacked without causing King any serious trouble. Final; Port Vale 2, Everton 3.
CHAMPIONSHIPS COME OF BEST SURVIVING ALL CONDITIONS
January 28, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
In recent weeks, ground conditions nearly everywhere have been very had and not conducive to good football. Around this period of the season each year we generally find players wading ankle deep in mud, and the annual argument arises whether or not football, when the grounds are in such a bad state should not be abandoned for a few weeks until such time as better conditions prevail once again. My own view is that our league fixtures should be left as they are with the eventual champions having proved superior to all others, in fair weather and foul on heavy grounds and hard surfaces. Looking back to last Saturday, I don’t suppose we have experienced worse conditions this season and this goes for most teams engaged in last week’s battle for League points. Despite this there seems to have been more thrilling encounters last Saturday than for quite a while.
According to the critics, the Liverpool and Leicester game could not have been better even in perfect conditions. Likewise, the Wolves –Blackpool and the Preston and Manchester United games were epic encounters in wretched conditions not forgetting our own tussle with Spurs. These are but a few samples of last week’s league thrillers. Doubtless there were many other great games a fact which proves the immense enjoyment that would have been denied thousands of football supporters lucky enough to witness the games I have mentioned, had the season been interrupted because of the ad conditions. Great players really prove their greatness by their ability to master even the worst conditions and still continue to play football of a high standard. Whatever criticisms are leveled at the standard of British football and footballers one thing that cannot be denied is that, generally speaking players, in these islands, through their fitness and other qualities can provide in all weathers a standard of football which not even out much-praised Continental –sides can out do. Following the Blues’ remarkable finish against Charlton which made the game so memorable to all came our display against Spurs which was one of the best all-round efforts produced by the Blues for a long time. When I saw the playing surface at White Hart Lane before the play I never visualized that the forthcoming encounter would be such a thrilling exhibition from both sides. The game had not long started when the pitch resembled a glue-not and the conditions because worse as the game progressed. Yet the Blues went from strength to strength and our positional play and passing were the best I have seen from an Everton side for some years. Our equalizing goal was the climax of a pressing movement in which a number of players took part and kept the ball moving from man to man without the opposition touching the ball until Eddie Wainwright finally placed it in the back of the net for one of the best goals we have ever scored. You may wonder why we didn’t win this game in view of our good display but don’t forget that Sours also gave a great display. The only criticism of our play could be that we didn’t quite finish off our midfield football with goals. Still if the Blues could play in such a manner every week as at White Hart Lane last Saturday the results would be unimportant as compared with the standard of play. I have had a number of letters from Liverpool people reading in London, as well as from London people council meeting the side on their great display. One writer said it was the best Everton side he was seen in his twenty five years watching. High praise indeed, and rather amusing looking back to the start of the season when I got a letter following a bad display by the Blues in which the writer said that the Everton team was the worst he had ever seen. It goes to prove that a football side is only as good as its last performance.
EVERTON RES V STOKE RES
January 28, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton reserves; Dunlop, goal; Donovan, and Rankin, backs; Grant, Woods, and Melville, half-backs; Mayers, Thomas, Lewis, Farrell, and Vizard, forwards. Stoke City Res;- Hall, goal; Whiston and Meadows, backs; Astray, Beckett, and Raynet, half-backs; Ward, Lowell, Lawton, Ratcliffe and Wallace, forwards. Referee; Mr. J. Shaw (Bradford). A defensive slip allowed Vizard to break through but his centre was headed clear by Meadows. Thomas just failed to connect with a pass from the right before Everton went ahead in the sixth minute, Lewis scoring from close range. Stoke some time before they gave Dunlop any trouble and after efforts by Ward and Ratcliffe, Farrell put Everton two up after 40 minutes. Half-time; Everton Res 2, Stoke Res nil.
EVERTON HELD THE PORT VALE RALLY
January 30, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Port Vale 2, Everton 3
There were two reasons why Everton welcomed the final whistle at Vale Port on Saturday, the first being that Port Vale were putting on intense pressure in their effort to save the game and secondly for an entirely different reason –they were getting leg-weary after ploughing through treacle-like mud. Everton will not forget this visit to the wide open spaces of the Potteries ground which must have one of the biggest playing spaces in the country. They realize now that those in lower places cannot be treated lightly especially in a cup-tie. When they were two goals in the lead at the interval, few anticipated Port Vale could stage such a come-back. They had been so much inferior in football craftsmanship there seemed no danger. On the ankle-deep raid which covered the centre of the ground Everton had shown more balance and a better idea as to how to meet this contingency. Everton players told me before the start that it was worse than that a White Hart Lane the previous week. Such conditions could have brought a surprise result had not the Everton defence stood boldly against a side which attered its style in the second-half and had Everton defending stubbornly. Port Vale had not suggested that they could produce such a fighting front by what we saw in the first half, when Everton were always a move ahead and goals by Eglington and Brian Harris looked as though they would carry the day.
Everton did the right thing when they decided to exploit wingers who had the best ground to work on, for to pump the ball down the middle who have played right into the hands of the defence. That this was the correct procedure was emphasized when Eglington and Harris scored. Port Vale made the mistake of trying short passes, which enabled Jones and company to get to grips with things. Leyland had not played for the seniors since November, 1954 but he soon showed that he had not lost any of his skill. He made two quick saves which put him at his ease and right up to the interval he did everything correctly. Leyland had to make saves from Cunliffe, and Askey (twice) before Everton had struck a blow, but when they did it the form of a goal and that as early as 12 minutes. It was often been said that the first goal which counts most in a cup-tie. This one certainly put Everton on good terms with themselves and they looked and were a better side than Port Vale. But in the second half Port Vale were a completely different side. They cut out finery and went straight for their object and it was then that we saw the might of Tom Jones and his hence men. It is only right to say that Port Vale got on top and with Everton having to concentrate on defence their attacking ideas had to be forgotten for a time.
Everton started the second half with the promise of more goals and King had quite a deal to do but eventually Port Vale broke down their rival’s dominance and by straight forward methods caused Everton to augment their defence. Port Vale scored at the 60th minute through Stephenson who took Cunliffe’s pass to ram the ball into the net. The battle was no on to the death. The home crowd encouraged their team loyally and they must have been greatly disappointed when Wainwright took Everton’s score to 3-1, but even then Everton were not yet in the next round for eight minutes from the end Sproston slapped in a second goal. Time was running out, but Port Vale were still fighting – one goal was needed to force a replay. Baily actually got the ball into the net, but he used his hands in doing so and it was a good job the referee was on spot to see him. This was the second score to be disallowed for a Cunliffe shot was negative I thought it was for obstruction but the players told me, it was for offside. The jubilant Port Vale supporters were disappointed, but referee was in the right place to see everything. This will give you some idea as to how Everton had to fight to hold their narrow lead. In such conditions one had to forgive and forget errors and although I admire Port Vale for their great fight, I considered that Everton were value for the win. It was tough going for all particularly the players who had to operate in the centre of the ground. Outstanding were Jones and Eglington, and also liked Hayward and one save by King from an Eglington header was in the super class.
VALE RECOVERY WAS FOILED
January 30, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Jones The Star of Everton’s Victory
Everton will not forget their visit to Vale Park in a hurry, for they had to fight tooth and nail to hold off a second half challenge by Port Vale after taking a two goal lead and looked to be well on the way to an easy win. Vale fully demonstrated that they were great cup fighters. The undoubtedly put up a bonny fight against the “Blues” who were delighted to hear the sound of that final whistle, which must have been sweet music in their ears. Vale had the ball in the Everton net on two other occasions, but it was put there after infringements so both goals were disallowed. Port Vale are not an unknown quantity as far as the cup is concerned, for it is not so long ago that they got to the semi-final, mainly through their wonderful defence, which is still in existence but not quite so formidable as it was. Much was stated on the ability of this defence to hold the Everton attack. Never big scorers themselves. Vale can generally manage to keep opponents down to rock bottom. It was therefore a blow to their pride when Everton took the lead in 12 minutes through Eglington. It was an even bigger set-back when Brian Harris made it two just before the interval.
Many More Moves
Everton had many more moves up their sleeves than the Vale and were much more capable of bringing them into being. That their football was so good in the first “45” was a distinct credit, for the conditions were atrocious. The centre of the vast playing pitch-it must be as big as any in the country –was like an Irish bog and I pitied the men who had to do their stuff on such a surface. The home players know their ground, yet it was Everton who played it the better in the first half. They soon realized that the wings were the best spots so Eglington and Brian Harris had a full supply of the ball and it was this pair who placed the Blues in what seemed an unassailable position. I have often heard First Division players say they would much prefer to have as opponents another top side, for they are not an unknown quality. I had not anticipated any threat from the Vale for Everton had been able to handle them quite efficiently in the first half, but no matter what we thought about their football we were soon to know that they are endowed with a fighting quality which had to be admired. Those who had become rather complacent were shaken to the roots by the manner in which Port Vale set about retrieving their position. They had previously been rather inclined to keep the play too close, which was folly on such a surface and a more open style was shown after Everton had a few minutes fling in the second half for the Vale slowly but surely got on top and it became a battle between their forwards and the Everton defence.
Working Over Time
Instead of acknowledging defeat the home side went after goals and the Everton defence had to work over-time to hold on. Even the most rabid Everton partisan cannon deny that the Port made a great battle of it. When Hayward slipped a ball up the middle it was the starting point of a Vale goal. Stephenson sent the ball out to Cunliffe who returned it for Stephenson to drive well out of the reach of Leyland. What enthusiasm greeted that goal. With Port Vale crashing they through I became a little anxious on Everton’s behalf, for there was no denying that the Vale had got a grip of the game something they never had in the opening stanza. Leyland was often catching and thumping away shots and centres but in my opinion it was Tom Jones who was mainly responsible for the check so often put on the Vale attack. He had able companions, but his work on the day was brilliant. Cunliffe got the ball into the Everton goal, but was offside.
What a relief when Wainwright restored the two-goals lead with a grand goal at 82 minutes, but two minutes later Sproson got one to put his side in the game again. Vale then threw even more into the endeavour to save the day, but the Everton defence held out and on the whole I think Everton deserved their success. Baily who is still a clever tactician put the ball into the Everton net, but had used his hands and it was fortunate that the referee saw the infringement. Those two disallowed goals will be talked of round Burslem for many a long day. So will Everton’s first half display much too intricate for the Vale defence which does not often yield three goals to opponents on their own ground. Tommy Jones received a nasty kick behind the knee and it was stiffening up on the journey home, but with treatment he should be fit for Saturday. I had word with Cyril Done the former Liverpool centre forward, and although he told me he was fit after injury, he also said that he would have been surprised if he had been in after the fine display his team had given the previous week-a grand sportsman is Cyril Done.
MR. ALBERT DENARO DIES AGED 79
January 30, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Long Public Service
Mr. Albert N. Denaro, a director of Everton F.C and one of the city’s best known personalities, died in his sleep at his home 485 Woolton Road, Gatacre, Liverpool last night. He was aged 79, and leaves four sons and one daughter. On Saturday he was at Port Vale watching Everton’s Cup-tie game. A native of Liverpool, Mr. Denaro had a romantic career and from a lowly position rose to be made M.B.E a city magistrate, a member of the board of Everton F.C and to become prominent in several phases of public life. Born in 1876, in Plum Street which now forms a portion of Exchange Station. Mr. Denaro was educated at St. Nicholas Church School, Moorfields. He left school at the age of twelve in order to help his widowed mother, and became a carter’s boy. He joined the Mersey Quay and Railway Carters’ Union in 1896 and in 1911 was appointed to an executive position in the union offices. Although he had left school at such an early age, Mr. Denaro advanced his knowledge by extensive reading.
In 1914 he was made assistant secretary and four years later he was elected general secretary of the Union, which following upon the growth of motor traction, changed its title to that of the Liverpool and District Carters and Motormen’s Union. He was recognised as one of the most skilful negotiators. Intensely interested in hospital work and development Mr. Denaro for many years was of the committee of the David Lewis Northern Hospital and when the United Liverpool Hospital scheme came into operations in 1938 he was elected a member of the Joint Executive Committee besides retaining his seat on the Management Committee of the Northern Hospital. A firm believer in the voluntary hospital system he did much advance the work of the Merseyside Hospital Council (Penny in the Pound Fund), and in the early days of its history became president of the Merseyside Association of Hospital. Contributors, a position to which he was repeatedly re-elected. In 1929 Mr. Debaro was appointed a magistrate for the city and became a member of the Juvenile Court Panel. Among various offices which had been held by Mr. Denaro were Deputy Chairman of the Local Employment Committee (Labour Exchange) Deputy Chairman of the Liverpool Juvenile Employment Committees (Education Committees); member of the executive committee of the Personal Service Society; council of Social Service and committee of the Liverpool Sportsmen’s Association (Liverpool Boys’ Association).
He was also a member of the National Joint Conciliation Board for Road Transport of Goods, and a member of the General Purposes Committee of that body. Mr. Debaro who also did valuable work for the National Savings Movement was made M.B.I in the Birthday Honours in 1945, and two years later he retired as secretary of the union in which he had held office for thirty-seven years. All his life a keen sportsman, Mr. Denaro achieved a lifelong ambition in 1953 when he was elected to the board of Everton F.C. For many years before that he had been a shareholder of the club, and in 1938 was elected chairman of the Everton Shareholders Association then newly formed.
ALF DENARO DIES
January 30, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
As reported elsewhere in this issue Mr. Albert N. Denaro, an Everton director, died at his home this morning aged 80. His death removes from four midst one of the finest sportsmen and most kindly disposed persons it has been my privilege to know. For many years before the war Alf Denaro, as he was called by his older friends, and I had lunch together once a week, along with football enthusiasts such as Bill Barnes, Pat Taggart and others who have since died, and left the world poorer by their passing. Alf served on more committees than any other man of my acquaintance. He did a tremendous amount of good work in his own quiet and unostentatious way. Though his day was always full he was never so busy that he could not find time to do a good turn for somebody. Mr. Denaro had been in hospital on three occasions during the past twelve months for heart trouble. He and I were in the Northern together just before Christmas and had several chats in his private room. The last thing he said to me when I left on Christmas Eve was “I feel champion, but I must take things very easily. We did not meet again, but I shall always carry with me the memory of the sunny smile and paternal pat on the back as we shook hands for what was to be the last time. Alf was at the Port Vale match on Saturday, went to bed in good spirit last night after watching television and died peacefully in his sleep. He had been on the Everton board only since 1953- he was due for re-election this summer –but he had followed the club all his life and before the war was a prime mover along with Mr. Dick Searle, in the formation of the Everton Shareholders Federation, of which he was chairman for some years. Liverpool has lost one of its most public spirited citizens Everton have lost a director who enjoyed the esteem and affection of his colleagues and all the staff and his friends a man who will long be remembered for the honestly of purpose, his toleration and kindliness and his unfailing good humour. In all our long association I never heard Alf Denaro utter a harsh word about anybody.