4 POINTERS TO EVERTON FUTURE
March 1, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
For the first time since it broke on an unsuspecting public nearly a week ago, the Everton F.C, crisis simmered yesterday. But there was much behind-scenes activity and there is much, this morning to help the thousands of followers of the club to get a glimpse of the Everton future. First indication is that there will not be an appointment of a general manager. Second is that the job of team manager, with direction from the board; will carry a salary of about half that paid to Mr. Britton – which was £3,000 plus. Third pointer is that there is little likelihood of present Everton staff arrangements being changed. Club officials will continue to occupy their present posts. Pointer number four is that when the appointment of a team manager is made it will not be made from existing members of the staff or from those who have been associated with the club as players. Many names have lap to the minds of followers of the club as potential managers but not because there has been thought by the board to consider people mentioned.
The Everton team to play the sixth round cup-tie at Manchester on Saturday will almost certainly be that which played Bolton a week ago; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; Harris (B), Wainwright, Harris (J), Fielding and Eglington. There is a very slight doubt of Wainwright’s fitness following injury suffered in the Bolton game. The players will remain at their Buxton training head-quarters until the morning of the match. Two of the sub-committee of three appointed to deal with matters relating to the playing staff, Mr. Tom Nuttall, and Mr. Cyril Balmforth will travel today to Buxton to join the party. Team tactics will be the responsibility of Charles Leyfield, the trainer. A director said last night; “We shall not presume to advise the team, Leyfield knows the Britton style backwards and so do the team. Following their battle of words with their manager one detects more than one sign that Everton directors are prepared to forgive and forget hard things said. Though no confirmation can be gained officially, the possibility of Mr. Britton receiving reward for work, which all members of the board –friends and the alike agree –was not notable, is still there. No changes in the constitution of the board are envisaged at the club’s annual meeting next summer except for the elections of someone to fill the vacancy caused on the death of Mr. Alf Denaro.
“READERS “ VIEWS ON HE EVERTON CRISIS
March 1, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
“He Treated Criticism As a Personal Attack”
Mr. W. Macauley of 7 St. Brides Road, Wallasey, writes;-
“It was very appropriate for the Daily Post on Saturday morning to publish the photographs of Cliff Britton and Chaplin Chapin together. Both have played the part of Dictator and Mr. Britton, like the other dictators has foundered on the rock of his own egoism. It does seem strange that a person who has never been very communicative and has treated even ordinary affairs of the club as a closed book to all but he and Mr. Green, should now appeal that the shareholders should know all about his fight to retain command of the club. “During his seven odd years with the club any criticism, whether from Directors, Shareholders, or supporters, has been treated by Mr. Britton as a personal attack upon himself, and any suggestions offered in the most constructive of purpose, have been turned down by him as interference. “In my own case, twelve months or so after Mr. Britton taking over as Manager and in an effort to offer some constructive help, I recommended to Mr. Britton five young players had been playing in the Third Division and all could have been brought for quite moderate fees. But for some reason best known to himself, Mr. Britton decided he wasn’t interested and took no further action. The players were later transferred to other clubs, and three of them since than have played for and been capped by England. “Later after seeing Blunstone playing for Cheshire Youths and long before his name was on the lips of other clubs I did everything but hold a prayer meeting to try and get Everton to sign Blunstone but it appears again Mr. Britton wasn’t interested, so eventually the player went to Chelsea. As Blunstone has also since played for England this makes four who have become internationals out of the six recommended to Everton. I will leave you to judge now this compares with Mr. Britton’s record over the same period for the number of players picked to play for England. Mr. Britton is quite at liberty to challenge me if the above is not correct and if he so wishes I can produce the letters which passed between us regarding the players mentioned, and also give the names of the players.
“The club Chairman, Mr. Green talks of the great work done by Mr. Britton and of another seven or eight of our own juniors on the brink of stardom. I should ask Mr. Green to be a little more explicit and name these budding hopefuls so that future judges of the affairs will be able to assess the value of Mr. Britton. Mr. Britton may have many admirable qualities but by his uncompromising attitude towards the Board of Directors on Friday right it would appear that tolerance of other people’s views is not one of his virtues. “As a shareholder I praise and welcome the stand taken by the directors against the despotism by Mr. Green and Mr. Britton for it is well known behind the throne and that Mr. Britton was as important as Mr. Green allowed him to be. It is only by the advent of new directors on the Board who are not yes men of Mr. Green’s that it has been brought to a head. I am sure the departure of Mr. Britton will open a door to let fresh air through the club and so no years of stagnation and bring back some democratic control. Have a Manager by all heads but one who is at least in some measures, responsible to the directors.”
I think Mr. Macauley states the case against Britton and Mr. Green rather too strongly. To say that Mr. Britton looked upon criticism as a personal insult is not right. He was not a man who took criticism lightly but from newspapers at least, he accepted it in the spirit in which it was offered.
Too Many Statements
Mr. W. Railton, of Barrymore, Chester High Road, Leighton, Neston says;
“It was with much regret that I read in the Daily Post the trouble between Everton, and Manager Cliff Britton. In my opinion both sides made a mistake in making statements to the Press, I feel sure these statements were made when tempers were frayed on both sides. Surely for the sake of the players spectators and for the great name of Everton F.C differences between the Manager and the Board could and should have been settled mutually without loss of prestige to both sides? “Now that tempers on both sides have probably subdued there is still time for a settlement. “Cliff Britton’s statement about finishing for good with Everton was a rash statement- a man that gathered all the honours of the game and gave such brilliant displays at half back wearing a blue jersey and delighted so many spectators during his playing days. “Surely a meeting between both sides could clear up misunderstanding much of it caused in the heat of the moment.
Then and Now
From R.R. of Stoppage Lane, Liverpool , comes the following.” The present trouble with Everton F.C reminds me of previous occasions when the directors had trouble –not with the Manager but with a player Everton had won the Cup in 1906. They were in the final again next year and were due to play Sheffield Wednesday. At that time the £4 per week maximum wage rule was in operations. Everton had two brothers named Wilson –George and Davie. George was a grand inside forward, a Scottish international (he later played for Newcastle United). Everton were prepared to sign George for the following season but not David. George would not re-sign for Everton unless they signed his brother. Because George would not fall in line with the directors’ decision he was left out of the Everton Cup final team on the day of the match. Wednesday won 1-0. The goal was scored I believe by Vivan Simpson. “The general opinion was that the difference between the club and the player cost Everton the Cup. The story at the time was that at least half the Everton team offered George Wilson their runners-up medal. So you see a game can be lost before a team sets “foot on the field. I can well understand the Everton players anxiety at the moment.”
Coincidence endues and bounds writes Leslie Edwards. One of the Wilson brothers now living in Canada has written to friends that he is hoping to meet the Everton touring team which is due to tour the United States and Canada next summer.
AS YOU SEE IT
March 2, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Sir –I shed no tears, not even crocodile ones, at the passing of Mr. Britton from the Everton scene, particularly if it means that we have no more of the unwarranted dropping omission call it what you like, of Wally Fielding. It has always stuck out a mile and in particular when we have ice-bound pitches like against Bolton, Chelsea, and Newcastle, who the best footballer is. If only for Fielding and O’Neill’s sake –the playing of Leyland when O’Neill has been fit has been another bit of nonsense-I say “good riddance to stipendiary officials.” The need for a good right-winger and an inside forward to cash in on Fielding’s work has been obvious ever since we got back to Div 1, if not before and perhaps now we will get them. –A.R. Higgins, 3 Kaigh Avenue, Great Crosby.
Sir –I am not disposed to enter the lists in the squabble between directors and manager &c, of Everton Football Club but rather to enter a plea on behalf of those who provide the club with it’s income and shareholders with their books of tickets, namely the supporters. I note in your columns that the next manager to be appointed will receive about half Mr. Britton’s salary. May I suggest as a supporter of some past 40 years and not quite as athletic as in my young days that the saving on the manager’s salary be devoted to improvements.- 1. Replacing the planks and nails of the Goodison Road stand with proper seats. 2. Provision of a lift to the upper levels of the Goodison Road Stand to help elderly supporters. 3. Occasional issue of a complimentary stand tickets to regular supporters. “-G. Nicholson, 70 Thorburn Road, New Ferry, Cheshire.
EVERTON ON MAINE ROAD TO WEMBLEY
March 3, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
A week ago I was convinced of Everton’s Cup chances at Manchester, now I am not so sure. So much has happened meantime that could make a difference. But if Trauntmann on Clarke or both were not fit –City will decide that today –Everton hopes of reaching the semi-final stage for the third time since the war would be improved. That they are competent to win this tie and indeed the Cup itself I have no doubt. And if the ground is looking as it was when they played at White Hart Lane they may do both. Fate has linked City and Everton in other odd ways this week. Had the sides not been engaged in the Cup they would have met today in a League match at Maine Road. Simliary, whether there is a replay or not the teams meet again next Wednesday. Everton’s Maine road luck has been proverbially bad. They lost to Liverpool and to Bolton Wanderers in the semi-finals there. There have never won at the City ground when it has been chosen as a neutral venue. But this is the sixth round tie. There is no reason why Everton at their best should not come through triumphantly. Were he to play as it is likely Trauntmann would be aq great barrier to their chances. Johnstone we saw at Anfield in the role of match-winner, Paul is a great captain and half-back but so is Peter Farrell. And Fielding is probably the best inside forward in the game. Everything points to another attendance comparable with the 70,000 who saw Liverpool draw there. Everton’s travelling contingent should be as encouraging as they were at Aston Villa three seasons ago. Followers of Everton interested as they are in the club’s domestic matters are vastly more interested in the performance of the team. This match will be the first under the new regime. Manchester City (from) Trauntmann or Savage; Leivers, Little; Barnes, Ewing, Paul; Spurdle, Hayes, Johnstone, Revie, Dyson, Clarke, Fagan. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; Harris (B), Wainwright, Harris (J), Fielding, Eglington.
PLAYERS FULL OF CONFIDENCE
March 3, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
The Everton players who have been training at Buxton during the past week for their round Cup-tie against Manchester City are in excellent spirits and full of confidence. They seem to have completely recovered from the shock which the decision of their former manager Mr. Cliff Britton gave them a week ago. “Peter Farrell, the captain has been a tower of strength to his colleagues and has assured T.C. Nuttall and C. Balmforth the directors in charge of the party, that nobody need have any doubts about the players pulling out every ounce of endeavour at Maine Road today. “I think we have an excellent chance of victory,” Farrell told me. “We know that City are a good side after what we saw of them at Liverpool in the replay last week. They will present us with a very tough problem but our supporters can rely on us to do our utmost from the word go. “We have been a very happy party all week and whatever the result may be, if we do not get through it will not be for want o a valiant effort.” Farrell asked me to thank the many people who have written to him, and other members of the team wishing them the best of luck. He said it was impossible for the players to replay to all the letters they had received but they would like the writers to know that their good wishes have been very much appreciated.
The two directors at Buxton say they are very pleased with the excellent spirits of the players. “Neither of us likes to forecast football results especially in connection with an away Cup-tie against a side of Manchester City’s calibre said one of them.” “But if team spirit and enthusiasm meant for anything we cannot help but be optimistic of the result. “We have told the players that so long as they go out and do their best, as we are confident they will we shall be perfectly satisfied and it is clear they have been most encouraged by the messages we have brought from the remainder o the board.” After an evening at the cinema the players were all in bed by 10.30 last night. They will spend this morning relaxing at their hotel with a final talk under trainer Charlie Leyland and Farrell, before leaving Buxton two hours before the kick-off.” The hotel staff are as keenly interested in the team’s prospects as the most fervent Everton supporters and none more than the hall porter who is a son-in-law of Mr. Billy Meredith, the former Manchester City winger and Welsh international. He tells me that Mr. Meredith has been seriously ill for the past week but the latest message from his home in Manchester last night was that he was progressing as well as could be expected at the age of eighty-one.
TRAUNTMANN IN BRILLIANT FORM AS EVERTON LAID SIEGE TO CITY GOAL
March 3, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Goodison Men Fail To Last The Pace
Hayes and Johnstone Clear Deficit of Great Jimmy Harris Goal.
Man City 2, Everton 1
Trauntmann was the man who laid the foundations of Manchester City’s victory. He did so by his many wonderful first half saves against an Everton side which made City look almost like novices. Trauntmann stood between the visitors and a comfortable leads at half-time. Instead Everton had to be content with a single goal scored by Jimmy Harris. In the second half, Everton failed to stay the pace against the home side who scored twice inside six minutes through Hayes and Johnstone. Everton put up a great fight and those who saw this match will long remember their brilliant first half display and the goalkeeping of Trauntmann who broke the hearts of the visiting forwards. Manchester City; Trauntmann, goal; Leivers, and Little, backs; Barnes, Ewing and Paul (captain), half-backs; Spurdles, Hayes, Johnstone, Dyson, and Clarke, 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. A. Bond(Fulham). Half an hour before the game starred it looked as though the “celling” of 75,000 set by the police would be reached and some gates were closed well before the kick-off. Three mounted policemen on grey horses paraded on the cinder track around the pitch. When the Everton players arrived from Buxton and Farrell, Moore, and Jones went on to the field to test the turf they were greeted by a tremendous roar and a display of enthusiasm from the Everton supporters which compared in volume to the Goodison roar at home. Everton supporters seemed to be in a majority and when the Goodison boys came out in tracksuits 10 minutes before the start they had another tremendous welcome. The idea of coming out so long before the kick-off was to give the less experience players the “atmosphere” of such an important match. The pitch was quite dry but completely bare of grass except in the four corners. Following a test at noon today Clarke was pronounced fit and with Trauntmann in goal City were at full strength.
Not Fully Fit.
I spoke to Trauntmann on arriving with the Everton team and he said that although he did not feel 100 per cent fit he was glad to be playing. The two Everton directors who had been with the team since Thursday were joined this morning by Mr. Fred Micklesfield the third member of the sub-committee which is looking after playing affairs for the time being. The Everton player’s were all in excellent spirits and expressed to me their determination to do everything possible to ensure victory. Farrell won the toss and elected to defend the Moss Side goal. City were the first to attack but Clarke and Dyson fiddled too much and eventually got in such others way. When Everton got moving they did so by some good combination between J. Harris and Fielding and Eglington but Leviers stepped into the breach before Eglington could get his centre over. A wonderful run by Jimmy Harris on the right wing in which he outstripped all opposition looked dangerous but after he had got the ball across to his namesake Brian the referee took the play back to the wing to award a free-kick to Everton. After City had spent a couple of minutes in Everton’s half, Jimmy Harris came out of a ruck of players with the ball and sent Fielding away. Fielding’s pass was returned by Eglington and Fielding ran through to deliver a great shot which Trauntmann patted out with one hand for Ewing eventually to clear. Everton served up some excellent combined work and so far they were moving the ball with longer passes than usual. Another move by the visitors had City supporters anxious until Fielding was whistled up for offside. A foul against Little out on the right wing was taken by Brian Harris. His shot was right on the mark and of considerable power but Trauntmann plucked it out of the air with all the confidence in the world.
Miss By Dyson
Tommy Jones was there with head and foot to forestall Hayes when City look over an attacking role, but Everton were rather fortunate when Hayes and Dyson paired off nicely only for Dyson to shoot behind from 10 yards with only O’Neill to beat. The City goal had a very narrow escape at the 15th minute when an Eglington corner kick was headed down to Wainwright by J. Harris and Wainwright’s shot was just crossing the line when Leivers struck out his foot to block it away. Everton had certainly been the more aggressive and forceful side up to this stage and the home defence was having a testing time. City looked dangerous when they did get away but the Everton rearguard was cool and collected and so far O’Neill had had nothing to do. I had only just dictated the previous sentence when Barnes came right through on his own and tried a 20-yards shot which O’Neill could not hold the first time, though he gathered it safely after it had rebounded off his chest. Fielding was brilliant in the way he was feeding his forward colleagues and it was his pass which produced another angled shot by Brian Harris which Trauntmann again plucked out of the air with his usual assurance.
Ewing to Rescue
The City defence was all at sea for some minutes and got the jitters so much that Ewing headed behind from near the penalty spot rather than take any chances. Trauntmann, however, was there as a last line of defence and once more came into the picture with a brilliant save off a Wainwright header. But for Trauntmann Everton might have been two up. This German ex-P.O.W has broken the hearts of many forwards lines before today and already to this game had made four splendid saves. Against that City had missed one chances only –that which Dyson had bad. It had been almost all Everton for some minutes and when at last City did get away, there was nothing like the accuracy in their combination that we had seen from the visitors. Yet another save from Trauntmann this time off a shot by Jimmy Harris was the culmination of a splendid Everton advances in which both Lello and Farrell took part and which moved the ball three parts the length of the field without a City man touching it until Trauntmann did his usual rescue act. It seemed certain that sooner or later Everton’s vast superiority must bring them a goal. Even the miracle man Trauntmann could surely not keep on defying them at every hand and turn. And so it turned out at the 27th minute when the two Harris boys between them worked out a fine goal. Brian Harris ran into the middle to pick up a pass and beat his opponent before flicking the ball out to the right wing where the other Harris had darted. Jimmy’s shot, although from at least 30 yards, has such power behind it that it beat Trauntmann as the City goalkeeper dived full length, just a split second too late.
Both Harrises were playing amazingly well. Jimmy was “losing” Ewing time and again by his speed and positional play and he and his namesake were vital cogs in an Everton’ forward line which was not only producing all the former immaculate approach work, but today was finishing it off in a manner which their supporters have for so long been wanting to see Everton man in the line was willing to have a go and had there been an “ordinary” goalkeeper under the City bar instead of Trauntmann this game might have been won and lost at the half hour. Again Trauntmann came to the rescue with a save from Wainwright at the expense of a corner. This, however brought nothing. The white shirted Evertonians were finding each other with such ease and moving into the open position so well that it seemed as though they must have at least one extra man on the field. It looked just the same also on the rare occasions when City were attacking and in one breakaway by the home side I counted no fewer than six Everton men in the penalty area to only two City players. A free kick to City just inside Everton’s half produced a shot by Leivers which O’Neill dealt with without any trouble. A couple of minutes later Spurdle also had one saved and when he got another opportunity from long range his effort was well off the mark. Brian Harris looked as though he had lost his chance when he delayed on the right wing and tiggled backwards and forwards but eventually he delivered another strong shot only for Trauntmann to put in a “carbon copy” of his earlier saves. Half-time; Manchester City nil, Everton 1.
The second half started with City in an aggressive mood in more ways than one and after splendid work by Lello and Jones the game was held up for a minute while Eglington received attention after having had his legs whipped from under him by Leivers. The referee took Leivers aside and spoke to him. The question this half was whether Everton’s could keep up there pace and combination of the first portion. Lello who had been in great form throughout along with Farrell had kept a close watch on Johnstone and he now nipped in with a timely intervention to set off an Everton attack.
When Farrell and Jones tackled Dyson just outside the penalty area and were adjudged to have obstructed him Paul put in a curving free kick which O’Neill jumped to but could not touch the ball swerving just outside the far post. It was certainly an escape for Everton and so far this half City had been the more dominant side Barnes was spoken to by Referee Bond for a foul on Wainwright though it seemed to me merely a technical one. Though City have been on top since the resumption there was no comparison between the football they were serving up and that which Everton proved in the first half. City’s was hard and determined football, but it had the stamp of class that one has anticipated Johnstone was still “lurking in the buses” with Lello paying him close attention but so far the Scot had not been anything like the player he was at Anfield against Liverpool. Everton’s first real shot of the second half did not come until 24 minutes. It was an angle one from Brian Harris, which Trauntmann had no difficulty in taking care of. At the 69th minute City equalized through Hayes with a header off a free kick taken by Paul for hand against Wainwright. Paul his free kick in so well that O’Neill just failed to search it and Hayes did the rest. To my mind the free kick against Wainwright was a rather harsh decision for a seemed as much a case of “ball to hand” as anything else when he jumped across centre from Clarke, and in an case. Wainwright hardly deflected the ball an inch. Paul seems to be gifted with the ability to curl the ball and one of these tricky shots of his was punched away from O’Neill who also death similarity with one from Johnstone. For some time Clarke had been well held by Moore and had been unable to get the ball cross, but at the 75th minute the welsh international swungs one over and Johnstone coming in at top=speed headed the ball at a fast pace out of O’Neill reach to give City the lead. Final; Manchester City 2, Everton 1. Attendance 76,129. Receipts £10,026.
March 3, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
The Man As I Know Him
“All this trouble has given me a new start on life and I feel a much happier man today than I have for a long time” said Mr. Britton in my last conversation with him. “I am please to be out of football and for the rest of my life I shall feel indebted to those who have forced me out of the game.”
The history of Everton is studied with many long and bitter quarrels between warring factions on the Board but never before has there been a dispute to compare with that which flared up a week ago between Mr. Cliff Britton on the one hand and the divided directorate on the other. I am not going to discuss that here. Enough has already been said about it. Indeed the public has rather wearied of statement and counter statement, and got lost in the fog of conflicting opinions. Let me instead say something of the central figure in the dispute the man who threw up his £3,000 a year job with its many privilege on what he believed to be a matter of vital principle. The older generation of Everton followers will recall him as a most cultured footballer, a half-back of outstanding talents, a player who never did a dirty action on the field and one who commanded the respect of friend and foe alike. That was 20 years ago. What is the modern Cliff Britton like? Have advancing years and increasingly responsibility changed him? What has been at the back of his mind while he has been guiding, the destines of Everton? Has his tendency to aloofness and isolation for he has never been what is called a “good mixer” given him a limited view on some matters to which he should have brought a broader outlook?
Good and Bad
Having been in intimable contact with Mr. Britton for the past seven and a half years, I have had ample opportunity to asses both his good qualities and his shortcomings. We have talked about football by the hour in his luxuriously tarnished Goodison office, in hotel lounges in trains in his own home, and on the telephone. He has always impressed me by his soundness of his views on matters regarding surely to football as a game to name other directions, however, I have scented reluctance, he recognized that there might be another point of view besides his own; I will come to that later. He is one of the best judges of a player that I know; I don’t say he has always been right. On the contrary, we have had many an argument but right or wrong he has always produced good reasons for his views, and I have usually agreed to defer to his long practical experience. He has what is called a photographic memory. He can recall almost every worthwhile incident in any game describes what led up to it, and what might have happened if a certain player had done this instead of that. During his career at Everton he has been subject to much criticism but so long as the person making it was sincere in his opinion Mr. Britton never complained. He often said that he thought I had been very severe on him in his early years with the club, when I wrote that I felt he was not making progress as quickly as had been hoped in putting the club in a sounder playing position. Yet he never ever remotely suggested that I should after my views. While explaining his point of view he always said. Write what you like and so long as it is what you really believe, there will be no kick from me.”
Admired Him For It
I remember him telling me once about a Board meeting a few years back. Everton were doing very badly in the Second Division and the late Mr. Harold Williams, who later resigned because he refused to “be a director in name only” – came out with strong criticism and suggested Mr. Britton’s contract should at once be terminated. ““I admired him for that,” Cliff said “He had the courage of his convictions and said all he had to say to my face.” Mr. Britton also has the courage of his convictions. Nobody will deny that not even the directions who have opposed him, indeed the latter give him every credit for his many good qualities. They have made no attempt to minimize the good work he has done at Goodison Park. But sometimes I else is required to make life workable beside the courage of one’s convictions. No matter how firmly a person may believe in certain things –and in some matters today Mr. Britton has the real of an early Christian martyr reads to give up everything for the cause he believes just –it must also be conceded that often have an equal right to their opinion, because they differ from you does not mean they are any less sincerer. There in Mr. Britton’s make-up a streak of pugnacity as well as exosim. He never makes up his mind in a hurry but once having done so it is almost impossible to shift him. His friends regard this as one of his handicaps though it does not seem to strike him that way. The round-robin which the players sent to the Board last week is sample evidence of the regard they had for their manager. The fact that it was signed by them all, despite one at least having had his arguments with Mrs. Britton speaks for itself.
He was often criticized for being too strict discipliners. That is a matter of opinion. Now and again a disgruntled player has unburdened himself to me, I take all that is said under such circumstances with a grain of salt. No club yet has been able to go season after season without some player thinking he has a grievance and none ever will. The fact that so few players have asked to have Everton of recent years is sufficient evidence whether the regime was too strict or not. That the majority accepted it and realized it was in their own very interest in the long run. I remember one player telling me long before this trouble arose how much he owed to the Boss. He gave me an instance. “ I thought that in one game I had given an exceptionally good display and expected some praise when we had the usual weekly discussion” he said “I was soon disabused, Mr. Britton while complimentary in some respects also pointed out mistakes I never previously realized were there. He was a great help to us all in that way. Mr. Britton by nature was inclined to secretiveness. He was something of an enigma in that respect. One would have thought he would have welcomed any publicity which was for the good and glorification of Everton. Not always. On many occasions he clamped down on stories of that nature on the grounds that he considered they were no concern of the public. Nothing I could say would make him change his mind. Apart from the announcement of the team or transfer, information as to injuries and other comparatively minor matters he was never of great help to Pressman. This was not because he was deliberately obstructive; it was simply that he really felt they were matters which should be kept within the four walls of his office. I could never get him to realize all that the Press does for football. Other I got the impression that he would have been happier if there were no newspapers at all. He did however give occasional guidance on some points though frequently with rather obvious reluctance. He said more for public consumption in three days last week-end than in many months of normal working. Mr. Britton never sought to escape an awkward situation by evading the truth. On several occasions I have approached him for information on matters I had earned from newspaper friends of football managers in other towns and caught him on the wrong foot. One instance will show what I mean. A year or so ago I rang him up about an inquiry which I learn he had made regarding Everton’s willingness or otherwise to transfer a certain frame player; I did not disclose all I knew but simple said I intended using the story unless he said it was not true, I knew he did not wish the matter to come out, but his reply as always in such cases was I cannot discuss it. Many a manger desirous of this would immediately have said “That is not correct” But Mr. Britton, so far as I am aware never once tried to mislead through he realized that his refuse to deny such things could only lead to the confusion that they were true. Up to recently Mr. Britton was always quiet spoken and restrained one might almost say phlegmatic. In the talks I have had with him at his home in the last few days he has seemed changed. He has argued with vehemence out of keeping with his former character and has continued to emphasize this point with unquenchable fire and conviction even when attempts have been made to point out that possible there may be another point of view. Nothing so far has shaken his conviction of the rightness of his cause.
CUP-TIE ATMOSPHERE MAY RUIN EVEN THE BEST OF PLAY- AND PLAYERS
March 3, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
Last week at Goodison Park despite the cheers of the enthusiastic 47,000 present, there was a complete change of atmosphere from that of the previous weeks. Cup-tie against Chelsea. No matter how much players try to approach important Cup-ties in a somewhat relaxed frame of mind, it very seldom turns out that they do so. This is probably one to the fact that embedded in the back of one’s mind is the realization that defeat means immediate exit from the Cup. Even a really important League match with a vital bearing on either championship or relegation issues rarely captures the imagination of the fans on the same scale as the Cup-tie. Due to the tensions of the atmosphere in the Cup-tie even very talented and famous players sometimes fail to reveal their true form. Mr. Winterbottom seems to share this view as I recently heard him say on television having watched Cup-ties that he would never assesses a player’s real form, on Cup-tie evidence due to the tenseness of the situation.
Test the Skill
Despite the fact that a League championship triumph is a prouder achievement from the point of view of skill that a Wembley victory I think that most footballers would rather a Cup winners medal than a League one. I know I would although either would be very welcome. While on the subject of cup-ties I think that the two teams who appear at Wembley should not only have a bigger allocation for tickets for their fans but also that the supporters of each side should have access of a better advantage point of view at Wembley than to view the greatest soccer event in the world from the back of each goal. Last week’s game against Bolton Wanderers was a good pointer rather of surface. These conditions are not favoured by the majority of footballers as on pitches such as there the game becomes more on of chance than skill. Some maintain that footballers should be able to adapt their play to suit all types of conditions. But the ball plays teams some queer tricks on an ice-covered pitch. It will therefore be nice to get back to more normal conditions which at the time of writing look likely to be prevalent at Maine Road today.
Back to Normal
Our match with Bolton resulted with valuable two points for the Blues’ which I thought well-deserved. The first half was fairly even but the Blues got well on top in the second half and with a little more luck we might easily have added to our goal tally. The defence were on top mostly but I think under these conditions, defences are generally favorite to come out on two and seldom on icy grounds do we see big scores. After the Bolton game I went through to Manchester where with Bobby Johnstone of Manchester City I was to be interviewed on television by Eddie Waring about our Cup prospects for today’s game. The stage was set and a couple of minutes before the interview was due on “Sports Report” the cameras failed and I thus had my journey for nothing. Did I hear some of you say “No wonder the cameras collapsed?” there has always been a lot of controversy among soccer g=fans in regard to the merits of Stanley Matthews and Tom Finney, as to which is the better player at a result Sports Forum at which I was on the panel, a gentleman asked Nat Lofthouse whether he preferred to play with Tom or Stan in the England team, to which Lofthouse very diplomatically answered “I was always been, not only a pleasure but an honour o play with both of them.”
EVERTON RES V WOLVES RES
March 3, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton Res;- Leyland, goal; Donovan and Rankin, backs; Grant, Woods, and Rea, half-backs; McNamara, Farrell, Saunders, Lewis and Vizard, forwards. Both teams soon settled down of play fast open football and there were narrow escapes at each end. A fierce Mullen shot brought Leyland to his knees while at the other end Sims saved brilliantly after throwing the ball straight to Farrell’s feet. After 28 minutes play however Farrell took his next chance splendidly to but Everton ahead. Wolves retaliated strongly and Bonson fired over from six yards out. Half-time; Everton Res 1, Wolves nil.
BLUE TRAIN VANDALISM
March 5, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Fans Wreck Carriages After Match
Railway police in Liverpool were yesterday investigating serious damage done to late-night excursion trains bringing football fans home from Manchester after Saturday’s F.A. Cup match between Everton and Manchester City. Slashed seats, shattered windows and mirrors, trailing luggage racks, missing doors and door handles-that was the picture as the 10.55 p.m. and 11.20 a.m trains from Manchester Central pulled into Liverpool Central Station early on Sunday morning. Both trains arrived half an hour late. Each had been stopped several times by travelers who pulled the communication cord unnecessarily. A railway spokesman listed the damage to one of the trains as;-
1 Eight door windows broken
2 five side windows smashed
3 fourteen picture frame broken
4 two mirrors shattered
5 one door missing and damage
6 one door handle missing
Some compartments were badly blood-strained and luggage racks pulled from the walls as though people had been swinging on them. A large number of seats were slashed. Beer bottles, paper hats marked “Everton” and rosettes were strewn over carriage floor which had been fouled with urine and vomit. Damage was mainly confined to the last two trains but window were broken in earlier football specials from Manchester. Now railway chiefs are discussing what is to be done. “It’s unlikely that excursion trains will be taken off in future,” said a British Railways official. “The majority of passengers were well behaved. About 8,000 of the 10,000 football supporters carried by train to Manchester had returned earlier in the evening.
Extra police were on duty at both the Manchester and Liverpool stations. Six men were arrested in Manchester and are to appear at Manchester City Magistrates’ Court today on charges of drunkenness. An ambulance met one of the late trains at Liverpool Central Station to take away a boy with a gashed leg. Railway officials believe it was cut by glass from one of the broken windows. A few of the coaches were connected by corridors but others were not. Some passengers, befuddled with drink got out at Garston station to stretch their legs and were left behind when the train continued their journey to Liverpool. Others in deep sleep had to be roused and told to leave the trains after they arrived at Liverpool central.
Manchester police patrolling the Central Station area reported little difficulty from the crowds apart from a few drunks. There was nothing outstanding about the behavior of the majority but some were a bit boisterous said a police officer. Railway police at Liverpool questioned nine men yesterday morning. A British Railway official said yesterday “inquiries are still proceeding. Some of the coaches were in a filthy condition, and many of them will be out of commission for days. The behavior of some of the passengers was disgusting.”
THE MEANEST CITY ON EARTH –FOR EVERTON
March 5, 1956. The Liverpool daily Post
Manchester City 2, Everton 1
(Attendance 76,129 receipts £10,026)
If Glasgow’s no mean City, Manchester (for Everton) is the meanest city on earth. They lost a Cup Final there (as importunately named Fallowfield); they lost a Cup semi-final match against West Bromwich at Old Trafford. Since the War at Maine Road, they have lost semi-finals first to Liverpool them to Bolton Wanderers. Now, their hopes of another semi-final appearance were cut off at the Maine Road in the sixth round victory of Manchester City. Trauntmann beat them and broke their hearts in two first half saves which enabled his side to see the second half, the irony of this Germany goalkeeper’s work against out two teams this season is that both were thinking to sign him in his early days with St. Helens. But after the war Everton decided like many others that those who support them would not look kindly on a former German parachutist in their mists. When Trauntmann joined City there was talk, happily it did not materialize. Everton are out not because they are less competent generally than the side which beat them, but because in Trauntmann, Manchester City possesses the finest and lightest goalkeepers who ever stood under a bar. The abiding memories of this match for me, will be the two saves Trauntmann made in the first half –breath-taking acrobatic things which stiffed the whirling Everton and caused people in seats to stand involuntarily.
The first was from Fielding, Trauntmann clawed this left foot shot out of the air, one-handed as to jumped through the ruck. The second was from Wainwright. This time Trauntmann from a standing start in a central position on his line, throw himself left to take a Wainwright header. These were shattering moments for an Everton attack, moments for an Everton attack which had played lovely football which I rate as only three-parts as good as their’s at Tottenham. But despite the Trauntmann border, Everton snatched a lead which seemed likely to be the road for victory. The Harrises not for the first time in the opening half had arrested the ball down the right wing between them and Brian them edged the ball to Jimmy on the wing, when Trauntmann for the first and only time, was defeated. The goalkeeper approached a centre and left his line, Harris (J) drove the ball so hard and true down a fine angle, Trauntmann turned to moved. The ball struck his hands and was deflected over the line. Then with a goal and almost complete first half command against Leivers a back who was made to look almost agriculturally slow, unskillful. City had lost their early and only first-class scoring chance when Dyson with O’Neill prepared for the worst (and obviously realizing it) shot wide from the easiest of positions.
Yet there were a few minutes prior to the interval –and what a well-earned despite that was for both – when Everton’s finessing and close passing came adrift a little and their opponents seemed to regain a stride they had been out of for the previous half hour. The early moments of the second half confirmed that Everton were missing the boat by inches where, previously they had caught it withy minutes to spare Eglington’s verve and enthusiasm was sapped by a bad foul by Leivers; Brian Harris was faced by some uncompromising tackles too. Close-knit Everton moves which had delighted us, earlier were still launched but never reached fruition. One could not help noting the swing of the game towards City with Johnstone lashing the ball devastatingly to all corners of the field and Paul and Barnes more concerned now, with construction than desperate defence. Dyson lobbed the ball over the Everton bar-another tragic miss. Then Wainwright handled near the touch-line. Paul placed the ball meticulously for the free kick and swerved it inwards by a yard or more to the head of little Hayes. O’Neill had little chance. Seven minutes later (76 minutes) Clarke flung in a centre the left and Johnstone scored with a header from almost the same spot. By this time Everton’s defensive plan were showing signs of wear; where everything had been organized there was disorganization. It took some desperate work by the heroic Jones and by O’Neill (who has never played a sounder or more constructive game to starve off further trouble.
But Everton fought magnificently. They lost magnificently, indeed three Everton corners in the final minute all but brought the equalizer, Trauntmann needed two punches to overcome the second at the expense of the third. Then, with the ball at Eglington’s feet at the corner flag Referee Bond whistled the end of a tie as hard fought, exciting as one could have the luck to attend. Contributory causes for Everton’s failure after a beginning so rich in promise and fulfillment were that they were inclined to be less practical in the second half; that their attack was not allowed to be as penetrative, first because City set some clever but risky off side traps and second because the City defence tackled with such power and enthusiasm that the Everton wingers had many gallops rudely stopped. Everton were luckless too, I thought when Leviers, that of recurring City name, stopped on the line in the first half, the Eglington shot which must otherwise have made him a scorer. All told, Everton did enough to have won most matches most matches, that is in which their opponents did not possess a pair of hands; a pair of eyes, a goalkeeping Brian as highly-developed as Trauntmann’s when the ball is flying and some astoundingly quick movement must be made to it.
Class Forward Play
Everton will recall this match for their own heart-warning attacking and class approaches which suggested only one probability –victory without trouble. They will recall it as a game in which Trauntmann broke their hearts and City rallied splendidly to win where defeat had loomed. They will remember it for O’Neill’s brilliance and his extraordinarily effective kicking of the ball from hand for Tansey’s steadiness when the battle raged, for Jones’ propensity for tackling here, there and everywhere especially when things were going badly and but a few minutes remained. Farrell and Lello played gallantly; indeed with perhaps an exception here and there. Everton could not have done more for us or for themselves. Fielding and Wainwright both had striking moments it was not their fault Everton had not a winning first-half lead. Harris J) caught in off-side traps when a yard one way or the other was important had few chances late in the game, but his earlier play had been good; so had his namesake’s Eglington, with a hop, skip, and jump cleared most of the city defensive legs. Too bad his injury hit him hard, psychologically. City may not progress further, unless Trauntmann can win more matches for them, Paul was a great captain and counselor Johnstone’s far-flung passes were excellent Dyson was lively, Hayes held the ball too long. The others I fear, are not of sufficient class to complete with some of the sides still in the competition, we shall have to wait and see. Whatever happens we shall have vivid memories of this thrilling tie and of the amazing week of Everton crisis which preceded it. Postscript; On December 28 last I wrote in this column “If I were looking for Cup outsiders I should place Birmingham high on the list. They are workmanlike and should rarely fail to get goals. With a Merrick and Boyd returned –neither played yesterday –Birmingham well go far in the Cup.
EVERTON RES 1, WOLVES RES 0
March 6, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Superior defensive work was chiefly responsible for Everton winning a game of much good football, while Everton never moved as fluently in attack as Wolves at their test, they had the best marksman in Farrell who scored the only goal. Mullen was Wolves danger man, but Donovan almost eliminated his strong opponents.
A GAME TO REMEMBER
March 5, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton Gave City a Scare
The opinion of all Evertonians was summed up by the remarks of the directorial sub-committee to the players after the Goodison Park team had been dismissed from the Cup by Manchester City in a thrill-packed game. There showed a wonderful show” they said,” and we are proud of you.” Those sentiments were echoed by supporters who saw the match the vast majority of whom felt that Everton were unfortunate to lose and had earned the right to a replay. The man who did more than anybody else to wreck their hopes and who laid the foundations of City’s narrow victory was the one I had feared from the moment we knew the Blues would be facing him. That was Bert Trauntmann, City’s brilliant goalkeeper, who every time I see him confirms my opinion that he is among the finest I have ever seen. Trauntmann told me before the start that he was not feeling as fit as he, would have liked, to which Roy Paul chipped in. “So long as you are under the bar we are content.” And no wonder. Trauntmann alone stood between Everton and an interval lead which City could never have hoped to pull back. He made many brilliant saves, diving through the air like a swallows to catch shots which seemed certain to enter the net and generally defying them until they must have wondered whether anybody on earth could possibly beat him. “He was saved once when Leivers blocked a Wainwright effort of the line, and then at last, just before the half hour Jimmy Harris deceived him with a fierce curling shot which flashed in between the diving goalkeeping and near the post.
That goal was Everton’s only reward for a first half in which they had played superlative football. Not for years have I seen any club side pup up such a splendid display of top-class soccer. It was much better than many international games. They made City look like a Third Division team. The Goodison lads moved the ball with unerring accuracy from man-to-man often without City player touching or even getting within yards of it. They gave us football of the old prewar Corthithian brand. It was something many folk have not seen for years except from teams like Hungary or Austria” City defence was at sixes and sevens. They didn’t know which was to turn –all except Trauntmann. He saved time and again when all the visiting spectators were ready to yell “Goal.” He caught the ball in mid-air as though it was only a tennis ball, he used every clearance to good advantage and prevented City trailing three or even four goals in the rear. During the interval I was dered whether Everton would be able to keep it up. They had set such a tremendous pace and had met with so little success for all their superiority that one could not help feeling there might be an anti-climax in the second half.
A Big Transformation
And so it turned out. The sparkle went out of them for next season. One was that whereas in the first half they had moved the ball from man to man like lightning with nobody holding it for more than a split second in the second portion they started dallying. That enables City to get to grips with them and brings to the second reason for the transformation- the Mancunians roust and speedier tackling. City has obviously made up their minds that their only hope was to get to the ball quickly and cut out the opposition’s combination at its very inception. This they did to such good purpose that Everton were gradually driven back on the defensive. The initiative passed from them in City and try hard though they did. Everton could not regain it before the home side had taken the lead through goals by Hayes and Johnstone.
The Vital Thing
At no time did City approach work compare for class and artistry with that of Everton’s in the first half. But it brought them two goals, and that was the vital thing. In the last fifteen minutes Everton hit back with great spirit and with the smallest bit of luck would have got the equalizer. Again it was Trauntmann who stood between them and another goal when the Mancunians were defending desperately and anxiously. If City win the Cup this year they should strike a special medal for their goalkeeper. He saved them a Southend when it was a case of “shooting in” for three parts of the game and again on Saturday, had he been absent from the Maine Road scene I think we should have seen Everton safely through with quite a bit to spare. The first half display of the Goodison tam was something which will be remember for years by all who saw it. Every man played his part brilliantly. The speed of Jimmy Harris had Ewing in a flat spin. Brian Harris sparkled more than I ever seen before Fielding was a great schemer. Wainwright was excellent, Eglington a vital cog and behind them, Lello and Farrell kept up the good work indefatigably.”
All Did Well
The defence was just as good and if I mentioned Jones specially for his brilliant interceptions with head and feet and marvelous reading of the play that must not be construed as detracting from the praise so deservedly won by Moore and Tansey. All did well, though O’Neill had little to face in this position. During the first half it seemed as though Everton had 13 men on the field. Wherever the ball was City always seemed outnumbered. It was the same in defence as well as attack so smartly did Everton close their ranks. Another thing I liked about Everton was the improvement in their finishing I have helped upon the absence of punch in the latter department so often that it had become monotonous. This time there could be no complaints. Everybody had a try whenever there was the slightest chance and the shooting and heading were strong and accurate. It was that man again who made it all to no purpose. “The defence took the main honours in the second half and right well they stuck to a difficult task. “If ever a defeated team went down with flying colours it was this game, and their victors this was the occasion. If Everton continue to play football o this calibre and spirit and show the same ready eagerness to shoot there will be no complaints from their followers. Naturally the players were disappointed at the result, but they took it on the chin, and were pleased that they had given City such a close fight.
THAT MAN AGAIN!
March 6, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton return To Maine Road
While I don’t expect a repeat performance by Everton and Manchester City in the rearranged League game at Maine Road tomorrow it is more than likely that patrons will see another interesting encounter, although there will not be that electrical feeling about the match, for that is usually kept for Cup-ties. Maine Road is not a particularly happy hunting ground for the Blues, but after team wonder first half display in the sixth round they should not be afraid of any team no matter where they play. I must admit that I have not seen such superlative football for many a long year, although I heard that Everton gave a similar display against Tottenham Hotspur a few weeks ago. While Everton can turn on such football they will be an attraction no matter what the result City supporters were amazed at the way Everton treated their team. They frankly admitted that Everton had frightened them to death by their display in the first 45 minutes when they had City bewitched by entrancing football. I have often complained bitterly about Everton’s inability to round off their approach work with shots. I could not fault them on that score on Saturday for only a Trauntmann could have saved some of their efforts. There is no denying that the ex-prisoner of war is the greatest goalkeeper in present day football. He is undoubtedly worth a goal start to the City.
Everton were far from disgraced in the Cup game and although the tempo tomorrow may not be so hectic, there are the ingredients for another tasty dish. Everton still have their eye on talent money, but more than that they would like to show City that their play was no more flash in the pan. The City did not know which way to turn but they showed that they can fight back and a team built on those lines is never beaten until the last whistle although they may well have an eye on Wembley tomorrow. City may not have the polish of Everton when it comes to the finer arts of the game, but any side which can right back against a team which seemed to be playing world beating football must have something to commend it. This, I feel sure, is going to be another fine game, for whereas Everton will be all out to show that they have got over their disappointment City will set out to demonstrated that they can repeat last Saturday’s victory. If Everton set the scene as they did last week-end and keep it going until the final whistle and not hand over the imitative to their opponents they have a fair chance of bringing back a couple of points but that is not going to be easy as well they know after Saturday’s bitter experience.
Like Everton much of City’s greatness is in the strength of their half back line, Ewing is one of the hardest centre half backs playing. He may not be a scientist but he is a grand stopper, although Jim Harris gave him the run-around on Saturday. Barnes and Paul are a progress pair like their counter-parts Farrell and Lello and once they started to join forces with the attack the City become a different side. There is no question, however, that the mighty man of the City team as Trauntmann. He has saved his side time and time again and will continue to do so. The only way to beat this wonderful goalkeeper is to shoot and keep on shooting. If the Blues do that as in Saturday’s first half they may well again revenge. Manchester City though they have no serious injuries are delaying team selection, but are likely to field an unchanged side name’s. Trauntmannl Leiver, Little; Barnes, Ewing, Paul; Spurdle, Hayes, Johnstone; Dyson, Clarke.
CITY TAKE SECOND HALF GRIP
March 7, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Nothing Like The Cup-Tie
Following last Saturday’s defeat Everton returned to Maine Road this afternoon for their rearranged First Division game with Manchester City. Everton, hoping to avenge their exit from the Cup competition, fielded an unchanged side, as did the home team. Manchester City; Trauntmann, goal; Leivers, and Little, backs; Barnes, Ewing and Paul (captain), half-backs; Spurdles, Hayes, Johnstone, Dyson, and Clarke, 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. E.R. Hill (Chester). The crowd at the start was no more than 15,000. Trauntmann the man who wrecked Everton’s hopes last Saturday, told me he had still not shaken off the effects o his cold, but that he felt better than he did last week. Farrell again won the toss and Everton attacked the same goal as on Saturday. They started off in identical lively fashion but there was not the same excitement about this game and the opening stages took place in almost complete silence.
Good work by Fielding and Farrell carved out a chance for Harris (B) who shot weakly. There was little to choose between the teams. Everton served up some neat combination but noting comparable to their last exhibition on this ground. Three times Moore stepped in as Dyson endeavored to get in a shot and then the visiting goal had a narrow escape when a shot by Johnstone which might save beaten O’Neill stuck Clarke who was unable to get out to half-way. Dyson put Clarke through with a great chance only for O’Neill to dash out and kick away Everton best shot was a 50-yarder by Farrell after a neat bout of combination. Trauntmann however had it well covered. Barnes sent a shot inches over the bar and Jones who had twice forestalled Hayes now stepped into the breach with a sliding tackle which prevented Dyson tapping the ball with the empty net after the City man had dribbled trouble O’Neill. The first half hour play was on a very colourless imitation of that we had seen when the teams met five days ago and Everton in particular were but a shadow of the former selves.
Just Too High
Johnstone shot just over the bar and Spurdle ran through on his own beating four men in a sinuous dribble without being able to add the finishing touch before Lello had a strong shot on Everton. City who had obviously earned a lesson from the previous meeting were making every effort to get to the ball first and acting in a manner which cut down the visitors chances of producing anything really outstanding in the way of combination. City looked more likely to get a goal and Johnstone had been a great schemer in their attack.
Half-time; Manchester City Nil, Everton Nil.
Everton were well on top for the first 10 minutes of the second half, but the majority of their movements broke down near the 18 yards line. One which deserved a better fate as a neat run in which Fielding and Wainwright took part. When Wainwright squared the ball Jimmy Harris allowed it to run out to Eglington whose fierce first time drive flashed across the face of the goal. Trauntmann pulled a Fielding shot out of the air with the greatest of ease. Jimmy Harris fired behind and when City at last got away Barnes intended pass to Clarke was well off the mark. Johnstone missed a great chance when he only half hit the ball from only ten yards angle and then Barnes shot narrowly wide. Barnes, however helped to make a goal for City at 68th minute when he collected a pass from Leivers and lofted the ball over his head of the in running Clarke who steered it past O’Neill. Spurdle scored a second for City at 83 minutes. Johnstone scored a third for City at 88 minutes. Final; Manchester City 3, Everton nil.
TOM JONES TALKING
March 8, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton and Welsh international half-back has joined the Daily Post as a commentator on sport in North Wales. Though his featured contributions will be mainly on football topic he has been given scope to cover every form of sport played in North Wales. The first article in the series which will be under the banner “Tom Jones talking.
HE MESMERISED THEM AGAIN!
March 8, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Manchester City 3, Everton 0
By Leslie Edwards
Where there were 76,000 spectators on Saturday, there were now 16,000 where there was victory by two goals to one there was victory by 3-0 where so much was at stake there was now so little. And happily where there was much a riotous homecoming of certain followers of Everton there was now the return of the chastened few- many of them have left ill-fated Maine Road before the end. That is the effect of a shattering cup-tie defeat. All the goals came in the last 32 minutes –one each to wingers Clarke and Spurdle and the last, two minutes from the end to little Johnstone the man who did so much this season to end Liverpool and Everton cup hopes. Denied Manchester City of their attacking sparking plug Johnstone and their big end Trauntmann and the machine could never tick over sweetly. The psychological effect of Trauntmann I astonishing. Here again he loomed no large in the minds of Everton forwards they were to declined to try to get the ball to point blank range and too little inclined to shoot “from reasonable distance, Trauntmann mesmerized them. Yet for the first time since I first saw him play, he played indifferently, twice losing the ball dangerously when going to the edge of the penalty box before making his throw and falling to make some of those lovely catches for which he is famous off balls crossed in front of him.
Maybe he has no recovered from his severe cold; Everton have certainly not recovered from the damaging work he did against them on Saturday. For long spells it was a game as pure ant-climax following one so exciting between the teams. Half the fun of a cup game is the roar of the crowd. Here was no fervor and only indifferent football to tempt the spectators to become enthusiasts. The first thirteen minutes of the second half were as goal-less as the 45 which preceded them and the match was moving acomnolently (and we with it) when Barnes crossed a centre to the far post and Clarke ran in head low to score with an excellent taken header. From the Everton point of view this goal might not have arisen but O’Neill elected to stay on his line rather than move out and make the intervention which would almost assuredly have made the difference. Six minutes from the end Dyson did all the donkey work and Spurdle got all the credit for putting the ball in an empty not after O’Neill and Dyson had gone down in collision two minutes from the end Johnstone liveliest and most talented little bundled of football ball strolled through alone, and picked his spot carefully near the goal-angle. Thus, Everton suffered heavier than their play merited for two thirds of the game their excellent defence –Tansey and Jones have rarely played better – seemed capable of holding a point. Move over their attack which had gone far in the first half forwards repeating their clever movements of the first match had done sufficient in their approaches to justify a penetrating thrust and a winning shot. Before City’s first goal, Trauntmann and Wainwright went down when shaping for a right wing centre from Harris (J) and Eglington shooting into an empty net got pace and direction on the ball only for Leivers to drop back and save on the line with a thigh. There were other moments when Everton were close to a goal –none better than when Fielding dug up a pass for Wainwright to hit on the volley –but none were taken. Pretty, Pretty Effective
For a long time Everton’s forward play was pretty and pretty effective. Then they started to pass too laterally and move too laterally. City with many fewer chances in the early part of the match were much more dangerous. This Everton fetish for fine closed-linked football in mid-field impresses everyone. The trouble is that when they should continue to press home the same kind of football near goal the edge the ball eternally to the wings. Once again Everton were held up, in full cry by City’s cleverly-worked offside traps Harris (J) rarely escaped from the grip of Ewing who is as effective as he is in compromising and with Eglington and Harris (B) less successful than in the cup-tie the Everton attack, well as it played in midfield was never a striking force. Wainwright who slipped into the centre occasionally, sometimes picked up a defence-parting through ball, but he was characteristically unlucky and was plainly affected by collision with Trauntmann. In the end Everton gave the impression of accepting defeat as inevitable. But Jones and Tansey were always playing as though their lives depended on it and Moore and the wing half backs, too never ceased in their efforts to pull the game round.,
In many respects –except that it was not so good or exciting –the match took the same course as the earlier one, Everton opened well, enjoyed, and missed their chances and finally bowed themselves out to a City side which seemed to have no plan but that which talented players like Johnstone, Dyson, Paul, and Barnes could implement as inspiration moved them. They are still taking in Manchester of City as likely Cup winners but too much I think depends on Trauntmann and Johnstone will not always (as yesterday) have wide spaces in the centre of the field free to work in. One could not help feeling sorry for Peter Farrell whose prompting with Lello’s provided the basis for so many Everton attacks. Fielding did not come off as well as usual and in view of Everton forwards’ disinclination to try to beat Trauntmann it was often the wing half-backs who were thumping in shots which they seemed to know could have little chance of success. For Everton a very disappointing, lack-lustre match perhaps the only thing one could expect after being so keyed up for the match which might well have sent him into a semi-final. Everton without a League game on April 28 have arranged to play the Brazilian team Vasco Da Gama at Goodison Park.
NO REVENGE FOR BLUES
March 8, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
City Confirm Cup Superiority
Maine Road still remains one of Everton’s “hoodoo” grounds. The Goodison team showed none of its Cup-tie spirit and fight n the re-arranged League game against Manchester City, who won even more easily than they did last Saturday. Everton’s old faults were again in evidence. They tip-tapped to much; they passed laterally or back-wards when they should have been going forward, and they produced practically nothing worth mentioning in the way of shooting. Now and again there emerged bouts of good combination which seemed likely to get the City defence in a tangle, but almost every time the moves broke down in the vicinity of the penalty area without Trautmann being given anything difficult to handle. In the Cup-tie the City goalkeeper earned his keep by the sweat of his brow and the magnificence of his saves. All that he had to do yesterday was mere child’s play to a man of his capabilities. There were no more than four Everton shots of any sting not one of which had much hope of finding the net. The rest were either off the mark or so weak that Trautmann must have been laughing up his sleeve that anybody could hope he would be beaten by them. Everton’s play throughout was never comparable with their brilliant first-half display five days previously. Instead of moving the ball with their former speed and fluidity they tried to “work “it individually. This played right into the hands of the City halves and backs who had obviously learned the lesson of the Cup game.
Each goal had a narrow escape before City opened the scoring. Everton were saved by Jones in the first half when he made a sliding tackle on Dyson after the latter had dribbled round O’Neill and was about to tap the ball into the empty net. In the second portion Leivers repeated his rescue act of the previous Saturday when he kneed” the ball away on the goalline from an Eglington drive as Trautmann and Wainwright victims of a collision on the ground yards away. Whether it would have changed the course of the game had Everton gone ahead at this stage is doubtful for City always looked the more likely to score. The home side started to get the upper hand in really decisive fashion half-way through the second portion when Everton began to fade out and the City wing halves came into the game strongly. A clever pass by Barnes found the head of Clarke to give City the lead at the 68th minute. It is debatable point whether O’Neill might or should have cut out the centre. It certainly went fairly close to him, but it was curling away all the time. The second goal at the 83rd minute was rather “simply” for Spurdle was a bit fortunate to find the ball come back to his feet after a sustained tussle with Moore, so that he could boot it out of O’Neill’s reach. The third one was a “snorter” from Johnstone standing on the edge of the penalty area. It was in the net before the Everton custodian could make a move to stop it.
As in the cup-tie Tommy Jones was star-defender in the Everton side thoughts Tansey was not far behind and Moore did well against Clarke until the closing stages. The visiting half-backs looked a slightly more effective force than City’s in the first half but later on the position changed and Farrell and Lello seemed to feel the strain when City look over the initiative and started piling the pressure. Jimmy Harris got little scope against Ewing who played him far more confidently than in the previous encounter. Fielding made good use of the ball at times, but both he and Wainwright faded out at the crucial stages of the game, and the line as a whole sadly lacked the punch and finish to extract any value from their occasions promising approach work. Johnstone once more showed that the deep centre-forward plan is still a big weapon in City’s armour. He was the master tactician; the distributor of telling passes which often caught the defence on the wrong foot. If I had to single out one department above any others which contributed most of Everton’s downfall, however, would give the credit to the City half-back line which stood out brilliantly just when its efforts were most valuable.
EVERTON MAIN NEED
March 9, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Forwards Must Shoot Oftener
One motto above all others which needs pasting up in big type on all four walls of the dressing room at Goodison Park s an injunction to the forwards to shoot whenever they get the chance, and not keep on trying to “walk” the ball in. For far too long now we have been both seeing and reading of Everton’s immaculate approach work without having the accompanying pleasure of celebrating a victory. That sort of thing is very disappointing. Indeed it has become almost ludicrous to read so often of the tributes or opposing officials to the Blues wonderful play and then look at the final result. There was a big improvement in shooting in the Maine Road cup-tie. Nobody could cavil at the forwards efforts that day. But back they went to the old “passing the buck” game in the rearranged League match. As I see thing the biggest immediate task confronting the sub-committee charged with the direction of playing affairs is to get the forwards to permanently shed their fear of having a go. With the chances they have carved out in game after game. Everton should be the leading scorers in all divisions of the League. There are other matters which will require consideration later but for the time being that is the most urgent single factor.
This May be The Cue
I hope we shall see an improvement in the direction tomorrow when Sunderland are the visitors. In view of their semi-final game next week the Roker side may be inclined to take things a little easier than would otherwise be the case, If so this should be the cue for Everton to cash in and ram the ball into the net. Sunderland’s defensive record is by no means good. In direct contrast to Everton only three of whose regular senior side cost anything in transfer fees. Sunderland have been one of the biggest spenders in the transfer market or recent years. The latest addition to their pay roll is the former Burnley centre forward Bill Holden who joined them on December 26 last in return for a very substantial cheque.
After scoring only once in his first eleven League and Cup games for the Roker club Holden got both goals against Newcastle last week which must have given his confidence just the boost it needed. Apart from the inclusion of Holden in place of South African Ted Purdon and Elliott for Kerr Chisholm at inside left, Sunderland’s side has shown very few alterations of a voluntary nature. Most of those made have been necessitated through injuries sustained by regular first team players. Generally speaking the accent in Sunderland’s tactics has been on attack with the result that Sunderland have one of the biggest totals in the goals for column. At the same time the policy has meant that opponent sides have not found it usually difficult to score against them and on several occasions they have sustained heavy defeats. The biggest of these was at Luton, where they went down 8-2 in November. They also lost 7-3 at Blackpool earlier and suffered their one home defeat at the hands of Newcastle by 6-1 on Boxing Day. The Wearsiders can claim a useful away record, having recorded five wins and a draw in 15 matches on opponents grounds; however the victors were obtained in the first half of the season. Tomorrow’s match will bring Jack Hedley back to Goodison Park, where he spent five years before signing for Sunderland in 1950. Hedley has been one of the most consistent members of the Roker rearguard this winter and was recently elected for the close season F.A. tour of South Africa. Sunderland’s only change from the side that lost 2-1 to Luton on Wednesday is that Anderson returns to the right half position. On Wednesday he played for the Army against the Navy. Sunderland; Fraser; Hedley, McDonald; Anderson, Daniel, Aitken; Bingham, Fleming, Holden, Elliott, Shackleton.
EVERTON SIGN WILLIAMS
March 9, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Winger’s Debut Tomorrow
Not having spent a penny in transfer fees for five years, Everton have at last entered the market. Their latest capture, outside-left Graham Williams, will be in the team to meet Sunderland tomorrow. Williams, who is only 19, was obtained today from Bradford City, whom he has represented regularly for the past twelve months. He is only small, but is strongly built and said to be a clever ball player. He replaces Eglington, who along with Wainwright is rested. Williams was born at Wrexham and played for the Welsh schoolboy team also in Youth international games. Williams a joiner by trade, played for Wrexham schoolboys and later joined Wrexham as an amateur. From there he went as a professional to Oswestry Town and when Wrexham manager Peter Jackson left to join Bradford City in a similar capacity he sought out Williams again and signed him for his new club. The inside right position will be filled by Alex Farrell, who thus returns to senior duty after a long sentence. Farrell has often looked a first-class prospect but his career has been interrupted by two injuries necessitating cartilage operations. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Jones, Lello; Harris (B), Farrell, Harris (J), Fielding, Williams. Sunderland had hoped to field the side which defeated Newcastle in the F.A Cup, but they have been forced to make two forward changes because Fleming is not fit. Elliott switches to inside right with Chisholm returning at inside left. The Everton Reserves side to visit Manchester City includes A. Harris; Leeders who played occasional games last season when an amateur –he has since signed professional –and former youth international Billington. Woods the usual centre half appears at inside right. Everton reserves; Harris (A); Sutherland, Leeders; Donovan, Billington, Rea; Tomlinson, Woods, Kirby, Parker, Vizard.
£5,000 STEP BY THE NEW EVERTON
March 10, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
The sub-committee appointed to take over player management following Manager Cliff Britton’s resignation at Everton yesterday made three moves following Cup and League defeats at Manchester. They signed nineteen-years-old Graham Williams an outside left from Bradford City, rested forwards Tom Eglington and Eddie Wainwright, and traduced in their places for today’s game against Sunderland, at Goodison Park, newly signed Williams, and West Kirby-born and bred Alec Farrell. Williams an apprentice joiner, learned his football with Wrexham schoolboys, Bradford City manager Mr. peter Jackson, who took Williams to Bradford with him when he joined that club last season conferred with Williams and his parents in Wrexham yesterday before Everton’s negotiations were completed. The fee is understood to be about £5,000. Williams had just time yesterday to have a few sprints on the Everton pitch. This vast enclosure will be a different sight today when the newly constituted Everton attack and the presence in the Sunderland team, of Len Shackleton will ensure a gate of something over 50,000. Farrell the other youngster getting his big chance is serving in the Army. Although only 20 he has already suffered and survived two serious cartilage operations.
FARRELL AND NEW BOY FROM WREXHAM
March 10, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
Yesterday morning a correspondent was asking to these columns “When shall we see another Welshman in the Everton first team?” within twenty-four hours he has had his answer –“Today.” Latest in the long line of Everton Welsh (Tom Griffiths, Ben Williams and T.G. Jones were other notables) and now 19-years-old Graham Williams a young apprentice carpenter from Wrexham who developed into an outside left; left with Bradford City, a club now managed by the old Wrexham manager Mr. Jackson. Williams is Welsh and Welsh youth international, cost Everton in the vicinity of £5,000. Bradford City need the cash and Everton say they will up-and-coming deputy for their long service inside left Tom Eglington, who played three games a week ago, I though one of the best in his career. The Williams signing thus becomes Everton’s first by the new Sub-committee appointed to deal with the playing staff since Manager Cliff Britton decided irrevocably to finish with football. Negotiations started in Liverpool late on Thursday. They developed yesterday when Mr. Peter Jackson came over to Liverpool and travelled on to Wrexham to consult Williams and his parents. Williams is not lacking in confidence. This may not be a bad thing. He has had much experience for a young man. In his days as a Wrexham schoolboy he was angled by Tottenham Hotspur and by West Bromwich. He had a spell, too in the Rhyl Welsh and Cheshire League teams. When Mr. Jackson and his famous twins moved from Wrexham to Bradford Williams went, too. He has played eleven first team matches for Bradford City this season, scoring five times.
Three Quick Moves
The sub-committee which negotiated the deal have thus made three moves in preparation for the match to day against cup semi finalists, Sunderland. Eglington and Wainwright are both rested; Williams replaces Eglington, Alec Farrell one of the unluckiest and one of the finest young forwards the game has known post-War, fills Wainwright’s berth. At twenty and serving in the Army he has already suffered two serious cartilage operations. West Kirby born and bred, Farrell comes of a great family of soccer players and has been justifying these past weeks the great hopes Mr. Britton has of him. Like Williams, Farrell was wanted by half a dozen senior clubs from the time he watched from schoolboy football, Wolves were keen to sign him; so was the late George Kay of Liverpool. Indeed Farrell was said to be tooted for Anfield. As a Youth he saw most of their Cup games in the season in which they finished the final against Arsenal. Whether Everton’s gamble of improving their attack comes of or not they have injected fresh interest into followers of the club followering Cup defeats at Manchester. With a forward line reading Harris (B), Farrell, Harris (J), Fielding, and Williams (and with Shackleton in the Sunderland team) Everton have at least assured of a high attendance today. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Jones, Lello; Harris (B), Farrell, Harris (J), Fielding, Williams.
WILLIAMS SOON IN THE GOODISON LIMELIGHT
March 10, 1956, The Liverpool Echo
Two Holden Goals Beat The Blues
Everton 1, Sunderland 2
Everton;- O’Neill, goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Farrell (captain), Jones and Lello, half-backs; Harris (B), Farrell (A), Harris (J), Fielding and Williams, forwards. Sunderland; Fraser, goal; Hedley and McDonald, backs; Anderson, Daniel, and Aitken, half-backs; Bingham, Elliott, Holden, Chisholm, and Shackleton, forwards. Referee; Mr. R.H. Windle (Chesterfield). There was a good crowd for this attractive game which had the additional appeal in a debutant, Everton outside left Graham Williams, formerly of Bradford City, who was signed yesterday and thus made a quick jump from Third to First Division football. The inclusion of Alec Farrell in place of Wainwright was another point of interest. Williams is small but stockily built and showed during prematch kicking in that he can hit the ball powerfully. Everton won the toss and defended the Gwlady’s Street goal, which meant that they were facing the wind and the strong sun. Brian Harris forced Aitken into conceding a corner in the first minute. It brought no advantage to Everton but in the home side’s next move Fieldings tested Fraser with a low shot from 25 yards which the goalkeeper gathered confidently. A couple of minutes later Fielding again tested Fraser with a high lob following a throw in. Once more Fraser had the situation in command. At the fifth minute however Everton’s two newcomers paired off nicely in a move which produced a goal to Jimmy Harris. Williams on lested a forward pass by Lello, beat his man with a neat body swerve and a nice touch of speed, and slipped the ball to Farrell who immediately crossed it to Harris. Although it came awkwardly at waist height the centre forward quickly brought it down and resumed home a strong drive from 12 yards, giving Fraser no chance. This lively opening pleased the large crowd which also breached a sign of relief when Holden put through by Shackleton, shot yards wide from well inside the penalty area a bad miss. In the first quarter of an hour we saw nothing of Sunderland to suggest that they were cup semi-finalists. There forward line was very caged and the defence by no means impressive.
Just In Time
At the 15th minute, however, the visitors staged an attack which was finished off with a fierce drive from Anderson which O’Neill dived to but could not hold. The ball bounced away with Farrell nipping in before Holden could cash in on the rebound. Farrell again stepped into the breach to forestall the visitors with another timely clearances after the ball had been hovering dangerously around the Everton goal. A free kick for hands against Aitken just outside the penalty area might have produced a second goal when Fielding lobbed the ball goalwards. Fraser advanced just too far and could not reach it. The ball passed –over his out-switched hands to Harris (B) who shot outside from a very angled position.
Failed by Inches
This escape was balanced by one at the other end when Harris (B) going back to help his defence deflected the ball across the home goal where three Sunderland players failed by inches to make contact and take what would have been a simple goal. Fielding had been Everton’s marksman in chief and his latest effort a strong one was only a yard on the wrong side of the post. Harris (B) missed by a similar distance from a Fielding pass after the inside man had cleverly beaten two opponents. Williams put in a magnificent run along the touch line. He went pass two opponents at top speed and then delivered a splendid centre which Fraser plucked out of the air almost off the head of Jimmy Harris. Away went Sunderland and for Shackleton to try a fierce drive which O’Neill saved with one hand after he had started to go the wrong way it was a great shot and a wonderful save. The crowd enthused over a Farrell shot with tremendous power, but unfortunately it was just off the target. There were plenty of thrills and Everton’s shooting was a big improvement on that of last Wednesday. At the 29th minute Sunderland equalized with a very lucky goal. There seemed no danger at all when McDonald lobbed the ball into the Everton penalty area from just inside home half. Jones jumped into the air and headed the ball down at his feet on the vincity of the penalty spot but before he could clear it Holden stepped in to score with a strong shot. Only a brilliant save by O’Neill prevented Sunderland going ahead when Shackleton his a real “screamer” from 35 yards. It was a wonderful shot and an equally good save, for the ball was going just inside the post when O’Neill burled himself across. Williams was pleasing the crowd, and they were not slow to show appreciation of the way he was getting his centres over and also the fact that he was showing signs of being a two footed winger. The game went a trifle dead towards half-time with neither side looking dangerous and play being mainly confined to midfield exchanges. Shackleton tickled the crowd when he juggled –with the ball for a few seconds but there was nothing outstanding in the way of shots from either side. Half-time; Everton 1, Sunderland 1.
A momentary slackness in the home defence made things look awkward when the ball came over from Bingham but Jones although surrounded by three opponents got his head to the ball and saved the situation. Farrell forced McDonald to concede a corner kick from which Fielding headed just over the bar. A neat passing movement between the two Harrieses came to nothing when Brian badly mis-judged a pass intended for Williams and but it straight to the feet of Hedley. Moment later Harris allowed himself to be lobbed by Aitken instead of getting the ball into the middle quickly. A grand dribble by Shackleton almost brought a leading goal to Sunderland, it would have done if Chisholm had hit the ball first time instead to delaying a fraction of a second which allowed Jones and O’Neill to block his effort and finally get the ball away. Shackleton was showing all his trick and Sunderland had been well on top for the first 15 minutes of this half. The Everton defence was not looking too happy against a forward line which was now making tracks for goal without any of its former unnecessary fancy work. Moore and O’Neill got in a bit of a tangle following a goal kick, which the full back tapped back, to his goalkeeper with Holden so close that O’Neill dropped the ball as he was trying to elude the centre forward and had to scramble to pick it up again. Everton’s first real attack this half saw Harris (J) through with only Fraser to beat but he stubbed in toe in shooting and Sunderland escaped rather fortunately. This let-off was nothing to what happened a moment for following a corner by Williams which arose when Fraser completely missed a high lob by Moore and Hedley hooked the ball behind before anybody could take advantage. The flag perfectly placed produced a header and a shot from Farrell, the former saved by Fraser in the goal line and the second cannoning away off the foot of the post.
Shackleton was inclined to overdo his dribbling and three times in quick succession after beating two or three men he finally fell a victim to the next. The crowd, nevertheless obviously enjoyed his “impudence” though from Sunderland’s point of view he could have been move effect. Everton were not bringing Williams into the game very much this bar but when the former Bradford City player did get the ball he invariably made good use of it, and put his centres over quickly and strongly. When Holden came to earth in the penalty area following a tackle by Lello he looked inquiringly at the referee and showed his disappointment very plainly when no penalty was forthcoming. He was an even more disappointed man shortly afterwards when Shackleton sent him clear off all opposition mid-way in Everton’s half. Holden took the ball and then endeavouring to lob it over the head of the advancing O’Neill could do no more than put it into his hands. This was yet another let-off to add to many which had marked this game right from the start. Sunderland took the lead at the 78th minute. Fielding was robbed after beating two men and when the ball was passed upfield by Aitken to Chrisholm the latter lob was headed in by Holden, almost on the goal line. Final; Everton 1, Sunderland 2. Official attendance 49,183.
A TRAUNTMANN TRIUMPH SENT EVERTON OUT OF THE CUP
March 10, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
At Maine Road the Blues Cup hopes were shattered by City and one dreams of Wembley faded for yet another year. What a disappointment it was to players, spectators and all connected the club. In the first half the Blues gave one of the best displays of quick moving accurate football that I have seen in my 10 years with the club. Our forward line has been criticized for not producing sufficient shots to round off their brilliant outfield moves. In this game and particularly in the first half the lads produced enough shots on the target to have given the Blues a substance lead under ordinary circumstances.
But on this occasion we encountered Bert Trautmann at his brilliant best. His two saves from Wally Fielding and Eddie Wainwright were could class. However the goalkeeper it part and parcel of the team and while lamenting the fact that Bert should strike his best form on this occasion, let us congratulate this great goalkeeper on a really brilliant performance. During the ten minutes break at the interval I was very confident as I am sure were all Evertonians that the Blues would reach their third post-war semi-final. Such was to be, and after the interval the general play of the side never reached the high standard of the first half. The difference between our play in both halves in my opinion was that where in the first period the ball was traveling from man to man first time we attempted to carry it in the last 45 minutes with the result that the sturdy City defenders were able to make tackles and cut out the Blues constructive approach work a feat which they never had a chance of doing in the first halt. Some fans accuse us of going back in defence in the second period. If it appeared that way I can nature you that it was never intended although the trend of the game after the interval with City coming more into the game way have forced back on defence more man before half-time.
Game To Remember
That is all behind us now and it was a very disappointed Everton side that trooped back into the dressing room after the game. Still it was had to be beaten was received some consolation in defeat in the knowledge that we went out fighting right to the end following a great effort by the lads in a game which will not easily be forgotten. I should like to take this opportunity of thanking Everton supporters not only for their vocal efforts but also for the kind letters and to the members of the side have received during the week praising the team display at Maine Road. It is easy to sing aside’s praise in victory but a little more difficulty but all the more appreciated in defeat, it is acts like these plus the great vocal affects of our thousands of loyal supporters that make us all proud to be Evertonians. Here’s hoping that some day before my playing days are over the Blues will give their fans something really to shout about in the honours list.
Our return to Maine Road for our League game last Wednesday was a sort of anti-climax to the Cup-tie. What a difference there was in the atmosphere surrounding the ground. There seemed little enthusiasm among the crowd despite the fact that two points were at stake which proves that there is no better competition in the world to what the appetite of the crowd like the English Cup. In the first half we more than held out own, without however, having half as many shots as in the Cup games. The turning point was in the second half when following a beautiful combined move by the Blues. Tommy Eglington beat Trautmann all ends us only for his shot to strike Leiever on the leg and rebound to safely. Shortly after this City celebrated their escape by taking the lead and were deserving winners in the end.
EVERTON NOT LETTING GRASS GROW UNDER THEIR FEET
March 10, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
The directorial sub-committee charged with the task of running Everton’s affairs since the departure of Mr. Cliff Britton has certainly not been letting the grass grow under their feet. The signing of Graham Williams from Bradford City and the inclusion of young Alec Farrell has given the club’s supporters plenty to talk about during the last twenty-four hours. In the case of Eglington it should be made clear that he has not dropped in the usual meaning of the term. The directors have long felt the need for a good reserve outside left. Having signed Williams they considered it a good opportunity to combine a short well-earned rest for the Eire international along with the immediate “blooding” of the newcomer. The case of Wainwright was somewhat different. Though he has been trying hard, Wainwright has not quite filled the bill in all respects latterly; and with the need for extra punch in the attack which has been so patent for so long it was felt that Farrell should be given a chance to see whether he can provide what is headed in the finishing line. While the sub-committee has assured all the players, old and young, of their desire to maintain a happy and contained staff, and this will continue to be one of their primary aims, at the same time it is felt that there should not be too slavish an adherence to old ideas. They want everybody to be on their toes. Players will have to fight to keep their places. Nobody will be chosen on past reputation alone. This is all to the good and the present time is an ideal opportunity to put whatever ideas the directors may have into practice in readiness for next season.
Nothing To Fear
Apart from the outside possibility of getting into a talent-money place Everton have no chance of honours and nothing to fear at the other end of the table. They can afford to make reasonable experiments, and already it is obvious that they mean to do so. it is possible that other news may be forthcoming in the near future for the intention of the Board is to have what I have long advocated –a short –term policy of team strengthening running alongside the long-term one of producing their own talent from the junior sides. The changes in the Central League side for today’s game were also significant, and indicate that greater use is going to be made of the second team as a preliminary experimental ground. The performances of Leeders and Billington will be watched with interest as also will that of Matt Woods at inside right. He has the height weight and shot. Now he has to prove whether he has the speed and ball control to go with it.
Watching The Future
Two directors travelled with the reserve team to Manchester today compared with the usual one in the past. It is obvious that there is to be a speeding up of promotion, where it is warranted from the junior ranks. This is a very vital factor for undoubtedly the club will be faced sooner or later with the need for adequate replacements for some of the older players who have served then so well in the past. Even the best cannot go on forever. Now is the time to start thinking about future needs not waiting until they actually show themselves. The Board certainly seem to be taking time by the forelock.
The Right Ideas
Though I am not at liberty to disclose the Board’s plans, I know several of the thinks they have to mind all of them calculated to put Everton on the finest possible foundation for the future. In the past I have pleaded with supporters to have positions, I do the same now, adding the assurance that these in charge mean to spare no effort to give the public what it wants –a winning team and good football. All possible steps are being taken to ensure that anything which can be done to safeguard the future is carried out in short; the directors realize responsible resting on their shoulder and are tackling energetically and optimistically.
MANCHESTER CITY RES V EVERTON RES
March 10, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton Res; Harris (A), goal; Sutherland and Leeders, backs; Donovan, Millington and Rea, half-backs; Tomlinson, Woods, Kirby, Thomas, and Vizard, forwards. Both sides showed good football in midfield, but it was some time before either goalkeeper was troubled. Manchester always looked dangerous on the move and after 15 minutes Hart gave them the lead with a snap drive. The visitors were not disturbed and for some minutes the Manchester goal was lucky but after 31 minutes Woods grabbed a chance to equalize with a low shot. Half-time; Manchester City Res 1, Everton Res 1
• Everton “A” 0, Burnley “A” 3
• Everton “D” 4, English M’tyrs 2
THE GENIUS OF SHACKLETON
March 12, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
By Leslie Edwards
Everton 1, Sunderland 2
A saddle –Shanked football ancient with a Jimmy Maxton quaff and a propensity for making the other fellow go the wrong way, stole out hearts and often our applauding hands at Goodison Park. None other, of course then Len Shackleton, whose expeditions and explorations are as notable in football as his namesake’s at the Pole. It is a sign of the time that one man among twenty-two should be so conspicuous, giving pleasure to friend and foe alike and giving what would otherwise have been a rather dismal occasion moments of intense illumination. Here defeat mattered scarcely at all….except that it was Everton’s third consecutively. We delighted more in Shackleton’s cheeky personality than in the all too easily gained victory of his side. Shackleton has written some naughty things about football, not least about directors. It says much for the wisdom of the Sunderland Board that they ignored those outbursts and welcomed him back to their team. For a man of his age the wing position suits him well. He is fresh to make the occasional devasting incursions in field to punish a defence and leave it floundering in the wake of one who has drifted into position for a Shackleton special. These forwards flicks so easily made and so innocuous looking, might well have brought Sunderland three or four more goals. Some rank bad finishing and some desperate last second tackling by Tansey and others meant that they were wasted.
Shackleton with gnarled old legs is still able to trip a lively measure in sure possession of the ball. Occasionally he lost possession through being out-numbered. The crowd enjoyed these moments but in their hearts they must have known that if this had been the Cup-semi final a week. Moore (and how nearly it might have been) the ball would have sped on it’s way from his foot long before the tackle came Shackleton ankled a pass or drifted one with the instep with the same facilely he juggled the ball as though he were on the balls. He did what I have never seen done before –made a pass so cute from one yard inside his own half and was able to stand, hands on hips and watch Holden pick up the ball for what should have been a certain goal. When apparently a little lethargic and lacking in interest; Everton strove hard but not effectively except for the opening fifteen minutes. Football’s like that –success begets success sometimes when it is not really necessary. The main concern of the crowd was for the work of the two young forwards who came into the Everton attack. Little Graham Williams from Wrexham opened brightly and with great enthusiasm. He had a hand in Harris J’s and the game’s first goal –a lovely point in the making and taking –and might well have produced a goal for the leaping Farrell. The boy was up against a very good back in Hedley, but when opportunity offered he punched the ball across promptly and effectively. A good deputy for a man so well and lacking in First Division experience. Fielding was kept busy prompting his young co-forwards, throwing in a few strong, but long shot for good measure. He and Alec Farrell soon came to a good working understanding and it was no fault of Farrell’s that he did not score twice after anticipating where Fielding wanted him for a defence-splitting pass. The only reservation I have about Farrell’s play is that he did not always move quickly enough into good positions once he sensed they were there. Jimmy Harris told me weeks ago that Ray Daniel was the best centre half he had met. But even Daniel was not proof against a move such as that by which Everton took the lead through Harris. Williams wing run with a pass to Farrell was followed by a splendid pass by Farrell and a Harris shot smashed into the net for a remarkable goal. Sunderland wiped it out (as much of their play suggested they might) with a goal by Holden – a gift following Tansey’s fail with Bingham after full back McDonald’s lob. The massive Chisholm cheekily chipping the ball over to Holden to enable that player to literally carry the ball at his forehead over the line, earned Holden the second and decisive goal. When a lucky man he was to get two goals after his own rather chumsy fumbling approaches had seemed unlikely to command success. Jones of Everton and Anderson of Sunderland were outstanding half-backs. Given a Fleming in their attack and an occasion in bring out their best Sunderland must be formidable. Unhappily there is nothing formidably about the present Everton. For the moment they seem to have lost nerve and spirit.
WILLIAMS DID WELL
March 12, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
But Everton Were Not At Their Best
The narrow margin dividing so many clubs in the mid-section of the First Division table is emphasized by the big drap in Everton’s position following their defeat by Sunderland. Had they won this match they would now be in fifth place. Instead they find themselves as low as fourteenth. A drop of nine places through a solitary reverse is the biggest decline I can recall in any post-war season. The one consoling feature of the defeat was the promising display of Graham Williams, the small but stockily-built newcomer from Bradford City, who, remembering what a big jump he was taking in Soccer standing, shaped exceedingly well. Williams reminded me very forcibly of Jimmy Caskie. He has the latter’s speed and positional sense and had he been brought more into the game he might well made an even more promising debut. While it is impossible to judge any player on one display, for the acid test is how he performs over a lengthy period and under varying conditions. Williams certainly looks an excellent buy at the very moderate fee Everton have paid which is not as high as most people think. Those who were inclined to be critical when they saw his lack of inches altered their opinion. Any player is big enough if he is good enough. You don’t need me to recite the names of little uns who have made top grade in the past to hammer that home. It is an accepted fact.
Even those who prefer a good big one to a good little one are not always right. Small players are sometimes far more difficult to circumvent than bigger ones providing they have the requisite ability. Williams looks as though he may prove to have what it takes. Unfortunately while the onlookers were impressed with his promise they were not so happy about the reconstituted attack as a whole. It started off well enough and produced a fair ratio of shots – even though some were erratic –but in the second half it faded out badly against the tall and dominating Sunderland defenders. I did not expect too much from Farrell for he is still in the Forces and few young players can last 90 minutes when they are not getting regular training. He shaped all right in the early stages however. The two Harrises were not up to their normal form, Brian’s finishing was poor and he was a frequent victim to quick tackling through holding the ball too long. He is at his best when he moves quickly and gets the ball over without delay. Jimmy met with little success against Daniel but at least he was always keen trier and took his side’s solitary goal well after good work by Williams and a canny pass by Farrell.
The forward line was never properly together after the first half hour the swift and combined force it could be at its best. There was plenty of individual efforts or more than that was needed against the visiting defence (once Sunderland and settled down and got their teeth into the game. Fielding did his best to hold the line together as also did Farrell and Lello who gave good support whenever they had the opportunity. But Fielding did not pinpoint his passes with his usual accuracy and though he was a frequent shooter most of his efforts were from such range that they had not much hope of beating a goalkeeper who had property positional himself. Even when they got through and had reasonable chances Everton’s finishing was week. They were no alone in that however Sunderland likewise missed some good openings Holden in particular and it is a long time since we saw so many narrow escapes at either end. Instead of three goals this was a game which might have produced not far short of a double figure total had both set of forwards made the most of their opportunities.
A Great Artist
Everton’s defence took the major honours and nobody more than Jones who was performance in being caught in the wrong leg when Holden got Sunderland’s equalizer, just before half hours. Tansey was rarely faultless but Moore found the tricky and elusive Shackleton more than he could cope with Shackleton is an artist in a class by himself. He gets even his own colleagues bewildered at times so that they hardly know where to run in anticipation of his next move. Like other superlative ball players, however, Shackleton sometimes falls into a pit of his own making by trying to beat just one man too many. Farrell and Lello so long the backbone of the team seemed to feel the train towards the finish when Sunderland were left with plenty of space in which to operate in the middle of the field. Both goalkeeper were several times at fault in dealing with high cross balls and though O’Neill made some splendid saves –none better than one from Shackleton early on when he dived the wrong way but stuck out an arm behind him and slipped the ball over the bar –the Everton custodian did not inspire the confidence that he usually does. While this display as not as good as one had hoped it must be borne a mind that so far as the forward line was concerned it was an experimental one. It was also up against a defence which once it had settled down proved far better than its record indicated. In the closing stages when Everton had shot their bolt Sunderland seemed to be playing well within themselves on doubt due to thoughs of the forthcoming Cup semi-final. They will have to be quicker to except their chances against Birmingham if they are to get to Wembley. Holden is not the player he used to be a few seasons back and neither Chisholm nor Elliott, particularly distinguished themselves when it came in finishing. In the early stages the Sunderland defence did not look very impressive and had Everton’s finishing during this period been more punishing the game might well have taken a different course, somehow it seem to recollect having said that more than once previously.
EVERTON F.C. CRITIC IS ASTOUNDED
March 14, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
As You See It
Sir –I am writing before the Sunderland match and shall be happy to be proved wrong in predicting another punch-less Everton display, irrespective of the result. I am astounded at Everton’s forward line changes. The two most forceful players in the line have been dropped Wainwright certainly no longer has that extra yard, but he still looks a goal-scorer, ill-luck apart. But if he must go why not Parker? What evidence is there that Farrell had the missing punch? Eglington has been, for a very long time, the driving force behind the whole line, direct and effective. If the selectors were like me at Maine Road last Wednesday, did they fail to see him make the only worthy Everton shots of the afternoon? Did they see the inept punch-less display against Newcastle when he was missing? He will clearly soon be back and I am in no sense condemning in advance, a player I have never seen. Eglington’s place will need to be filled one day, but that day is fortunately not yet. Changes were clearly necessary, both of personnel and tactics. You have published so many panegyrizes of Fielding I would ask you to observe closely and test my contention that he does not fight for the ball and that many of his passes are inaccurate. His shooting is ineffective too. Parker should have regained the place he lost weeks ago, Jimmy Harris must position himself better (a fault Hickson shared). If he must wander let him back a little and use his craft where it will be most effective, in the middle. About two shots a match is not good enough for a centre forward. And shades of “Dixie” Dean, can he not be taught to head the ball? With the chances Brian Harris enjoyed a right winger of power could have won both Maine Road games. He dillies and dallies and is the poorest finisher of our many mediocre right wingers. Harris (B) is inexperienced and may come again! But if only the new buy had been an outside right! These changes angur ill for the future. Even cold statistical the goal scoring figures give the tie to the suggestion that they will provide the missing punch. If an ex-professional footballer cannot be expected to handle high finance I wonder whether excellent business men are necessarily good judges of football. –C.H. Lynch 75 Granville Road, Northwich.
Unhappy Sand Boys
Sir- Congratulations on your description of Wednesday’s game between Manchester City and Everton, I witnessed the match and what a dismal effort it must have been in relation to the cup-tie. From the state of the ground, which is a factor that could have been taken into account, it would have paid Everton to train at Blackpool or Southport having daily matches on the sands for the proportion of this that has been incorporated into the city ground’s surface produced such a deadening effect on the ball that the referee stopped play and examined it, thinking it had deflated, it had gone so leaden. What was the effect on Everton’s muscles? Was this what caused the slowdown in the second half of their previous match there? A racehorse is trained with “Horses for Courses” taken into account so why take salt-air breathers to Buxton where the air is not always to general benefit and a comparable turf not available. Have not Everton trained at Buxton before each failure at Manchester? Two features of the second game against City bespeak to me that a great deal of Everton’s pre-supposed tactical braininess is suspect viz (a) Two corners, one by Eglington first half, and one by Fielding second half landed behind the goal. comment; A little thought would surely suggest it was ridiculous to try to place a corner so fine to the cross-bar that they were sliced behind when had they reached their intended destination such a pair of hands as Trautmann’s would be there to receive them. A cleverer corner would be one quickly taken and banged with force at no more than shin-height close in to the goal-line. It would meet a forest of legs off which it could either ricochet in or be booted in by the attacking side. After all a high ball results in a forest of heads with the length of the goalkeeper’s arm in his favour. (b) The cross centre which caused Everton’s collapse and disrupted the harmony between Moore and O’Neill. Surely the expect (one could almost say unequalled) ability of O’Neill in taking so spectacularly, so many high centres should make it a sine gun son” that he, and he alone should be expected to come out to every centre or free kick taken from the wing which arrives inside the five yard area. One back at least, if not two should take up position on the goal-line to meet the header which might arise if O’Neill failed with his catch. A. Hughes – 251 Eaton Road, Liverpool 18.
EVERTON’S FOUR CHANGES
March 14, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton make four changes –two of them positional –in their team to visit Huddersfield Town, all in the forward line. Graham Williams who made such a promising debut last week, is switched to the right wing, to the exclusion of Brian Harris. Fielding crosses over to partner him, leaving the way open for the recall of Parker who has been out of the senior side since the end of December. Eglington resumes at outside left after a week’s rest and Farrell returns to the Central League side. The defence is unchanged. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; Williams, Fielding, Harris (J), Parker, Eglington.
Everton Reserves;- home to Sheffield Wednesday 3.15; Harris (A); Parkes, Leeders; Donovan, Billington, Woods; Harris (B), Farrell, Kirby, Meagan, Vizard.
Everton have added two of-their most promising amateurs to the club’s part-time professional staff in John Alan King and Brian Griffths. Both are 17, King is a right half and Griffiths a left full-back. Each has played for Lancashire Schoolboys and the Liverpool County F.A. Youth team. They have been on the club’s books as amateurs since leaving school.
March 15, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton have now completed arrangements for their American tour, which embraces nine games in just under a month trips totaling about 8,000 miles by air and train –not including the Atlantic crossing –and which will be a memorable experience for the players lucky enough to be included. The party leaves Southampton on May 10 by the Queen Elizabeth and returns on either June 17 or 18. The matches to plated are;- May 18 Newark Select at Newark, New Jersey; May 20 American Soccer Leafue at New York; May 23 Luistano F.C Ludlow, Mass; May 27 Aberdeen at new York; May 30 Schwanhen F.C of Kugsberk (Germnay) in New York; June 3 Chicago in Chicago; June 7 St Louis in St Louis; June 9 Aberdeen at Vancouver B.C; June 16 Aberdeen at Tornoto.
Everton are sending a Youth team to Amsterdam at Whitsuntide to take part in an international tournament, West Bromwich, Duisburg (GermanY0 and Ajax (Holland) have already entered and teams from Belgium and Denmark are also expected to complete. Everton’s party will consist of 14 or 15 players under 18 years of age.
IN DEFENCE OF WALLY FIELDING
March 16, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
As You See It
Sir-with reference to Mr. Lynch’s letter, let me hasten to the defence of Fielding. Mr. Lynch cannot have seen Everton very many times, when he says that many of Fielding’s passes are inaccurate. The whole trouble has been that the team has not had another couple of inside men to take advantage by positioning of these passes which thus appear to have gone astray. Many of Fielding’s passes where there is a man to take advantage have been “spot on” but have been allowed to go a begging. Fielding has given some excellent shows recently. He never was much of a shot but why blame him now for doing what Jimmy Harris and Wainwright should have been doing long ago. There have been no panegyrics for Fielding as far as I know merely agitation to get him back and keep him back under the Britton regime. With that ended the final, but first panegyric will be delayed a few years yet I hope Panegyrics should however he published for several players, preferred to Fielding under the Britton regime. I quite agree with Mr. Lynch regarding an outside right. We have needed one for years and although Eglington will eventually have to have a panegyric I hope his like Fielding’s is long delayed. I also agree with him when he says that Parker should be restored and Fielding should them be moved to inside right. When Fielding was dropped in favour of Wainwright, Parker who was out of form, should have gone if anyone had to go. Without Fielding to provide offerings, however Parker went from bad to worse and Fielding had to come back. The team had, however, done well in holding Pompey to 1-0 and should have been left alone. The reasons for that previous and later Britton use on the talent of Fielding, Hickson, O’Neill and the latent talent of Parker, have gone, thank goodness into oblivion. A.R. Higgins, 5 Kaigh Avenue, Great Crosby.
EVERTON’S HOPES AGAINST TOWN
March 16, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton’s visit to Huddersfield with a much-changed attack brings them up against a side desperate for points in an effort to escape relegation. Prior to their defeat a Bramell Lane last week the Town had shown considerable improvement over their earlier displays having won three and drawn one of their previous four games. One factor contributing to this has been that Manager Andy Beattie has been able to field an unchanged side, after earlier having to make numerous changes through injuries or loss of form by certain players.
Good Half Back Line
Despite their lowly position the Town are as well served as most clubs at half-back, where McGarry, Taylor and Quested are among the county’s best. Everton will of course be opposed by Dave Hickson, who according to reports is playing well without having much luck as a marksman. In addition to Glazzard, other notable absentees from the Yorkshire clubs line up of recent weeks have been inside right Watson and outside left Metcalfe. While here is the slightest hope Huddersfield will fight against relegation as hand as they can, and the Blues will have to produce better form than they have in the past few games of they are so to contribute further to the Town’s revival. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; Williams, Fielding, Harris (J), Parker, Eglington. Huddersfield; Fearnley; Gibson, Kelly; McGarry, Taylor, Quested, Marriott, Cavangah, Hickson, Davie, Simpson.
HICKSON’S FIRST MINUTE GOAL PUT HIS OLD CLUB ON THE SLIDE
March 17, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Huddersfield Town 1, Everton 0
By S.T. Dye
Everton’s re-organised attack failed to inspire. Too often the onus of troubling Huddersfield was put on to Eglington, while the defence after an excellent first half never afterwards subdued a virile home front line, was led by Hickson. The margin was decidedly flattering to Everton. Huddersfield;- Fearney, goal; Gibson and Kelly, backs; McGarry, Taylor and Quested, half-backs; Marriott, Cavanagh, Hickson, Davie, and Simpson, forwards. Everton; O’Neill, goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Donovan, Jones and Farrell (captain), half-backs; Williams, Fielding, Harris (J), Parker and Eglington, forwards. Referee; Mr. H. Victors (Crewe). Everton made Two late changes one positional, for their game against relegation threatened Huddersfield at Leeds Road today. Lello injured during training yesterday failed to pass a fitness test this morning and Donovan was brought in at right half, Farrell switching to the left. Lello was thus marked absent a long last after 155 consecutive League and Cup games. The game opened on a sensational note for Huddersfield were a goal up after only 15 seconds and the man who did the damage was Dave Hickson playing against his former colleagues. Huddersfield progressed down the left wing from the kick-off and Hickson receiving from Davies punched the ball forward. It was off Jones and Hickson snap up the rebound to shoot just inside the upright giving O’Neill no chances. Everton did not take this lying down but Harris was pulled up for offside in their first raid Parker showed some nice touches none better then when he found Eglington with a long through ball. The winger centred hard and low, and Fearney did well to hold a strong Fielding shot. Hickson was a constant source of worry and Simpson should have done better than centre behind following a good pass from the centre forward. Parker sliced the ball yards wide from a Fielding offering and when Fielding made a uptake in helping his defenders Marriott shot just as badly as Parker had done. Huddersfield attack was nevertheless most impressive and after Davie had brought O’Neill to a good save, Hickson but it through again and his fierce drive rebound off O’Neill’s body, the goalkeeper redeeming himself with a good pick up. A great run by Farrell took him fully 50 yards but his attempt to find Fielding was frustrated by an outstretched foot, while Eglington’s long dropping centre was fisted clear by Fearney. Williams was showing a splendid turn of speed on the Everton right, and Kelly was repeatedly passing back to extricate himself from difficulty. Harris did well to retain possession of a Fielding pass amid a crowd of Huddersfield defenders, but just as he was about o deliver a shot, Taylor made a winning tackle. It would have been 2-nil for Huddersfield had not O’Neill made a brilliant save from Hickson’s close-range drive. Everton seemed lucky to escape when Tansey appeared to “arm” the ball for a corner, but referee Vickers ignored Huddersfield’s vociferous appeals. Interpassing on the right ended with a long crossfield ball to Eglington. McGarry however, sensing the danger moved across quickly and put his body between Eglington’s drive and the goalkeeper. Hickson might have profited from a misplaced pass-back by Jones, but he failed to realize the possibility and the centre half was able to rectify his error. Celebrating his 100th appearance for Huddersfield, Davie was always dangerous in possession and he almost got the goal he deserved shortly better the interval. He streaked down the left wing out O’Neill came out to narrow the angle and Davie saw his final effort rebound off the goalkeeper’s chest. In trying to get the ball upfield Farrell but it straight to Hickson who, however, blazed his shot wildly over the bar. Donovan appealed to handle in the Town penalty area when gaining possession. With Huddersfield standing awaiting the whistle he slipped the ball to Parker, who centred across goal and Kelly was forced to head behind. Harris was involved in a long chase for pession with Taylor as the half time whistle arrived. Half-time; Huddersfield 1, Everton nil.
Everton restarted with Fielding at centre forward in an attempt to infuse more method into an attack that was not functions at all well but he soon vacated that position. Eglington beat Gibson for speed but made use of a good opportunity and they lack of inches told heavily against Williams the dimmutive winger being well beaten by Kelly to a long lob. He contrived to win a corner taken by Fielding and Williams shot into Fearney’s arms after the keeper had fisted away the flag kick. Farrell was often to be seen assisting his forwards and his heaped pass to Fielding should have borne truit. The inside man, however made one move too many and Hudersfield breathed again.
A rare handle for Jones, Hickson wandered all over the field and on one occasion he had O’Neill at full stretch to take an actutely angled lob. Huddersfield were very much on top and full back Gibson tested O’Neill. The Everton goalkeeper handled away his long punt into the goalmouth and when the ball ran out to Cavanagh, O’Neill made a good save from the Liverpool-born inside right. In one of Everton’s rare raids. Williams put over a splendid centre but Parker ideally positioned made an ill-judged header. Everton’s overworked rearguard was now allowing signs of the grueling it had under gone this half. Even the impeccable Moore could be faulted on one occasion for his clearance turned out to be a gift offering for Marriott which was wasted. Moore tried to make amends with a thrilling burst which took him deep into Huddersfield territory but he waited in vain for an Eglington centre after he had sent the winger away. O’Neill overbalanced in saving from Marriott but fortunately for Everton there was no Huddersfield man near to take advantage. Everton had a series of amazing escapes following a Simpson corner. Hickson beat O’Neill in the air and though the keeper got a second chance to punch away, Cavanagh gathered the ball, only to see his shot strike a solid mass of defenders on the goal line. Everton’s long overdue revival failed to materilise and Huddersfield almost increased their lead in the closing stages, Hickson going close with a back header. Final; Huddersfield 1, Everton nil. Attendance 18,807.
UP AGAINST “SHACK” ON ONE OF HIS BEST DAYS
March 17, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
Sunderland’s visit resulted in another setback for the Blues which sent us sailing down the League table a few places. The League competition is so keen that the loss of a point or two, or vice verse can make a difference of several places either way in a club’s League position. The truth of this statement can be seen by recalling what position in the League table the Blues would have occupied had they beaten Sunderland last Saturday. So much for what might have been I thought that when we got off to such a great start with Jimmy Harris’s well taken goal in the early stages the tonic would spur us on to victory. Sunderland had other ideas however and the interval arrived with the score just about reflecting the trend of play, although chances were missed by both sides. As the second half progressed it was evident that whoever secured the important next goal would very likely be the winners. This Sunderland side of many Internationals and famous names is often referred to as the “Bank of England” side due to the enormous fees paid to other clubs to assemble their present line-up. Despite such a galaxy of stars parading in the one outfit there seems to be a very good spirit in their ranks, judging from the co-operation and encouragement they gave each other. Of course they are enjoying a good season at present and all players are happy when that is happening. I have mentioned this because my views are that when a side carries too many stars there is usually discontent in the ranks due to petty jealousies. How Sunderland like Everton has such a good name for it’s treatment of players that even when they experiencing a rather lean period. I can visualize them all pulling together despite their constellation.
Number one on Sunderland’s list of personalities is Len Shackleton, more familiarly referred to in football circles as “The Clown Prince of Soccer” “Shack” on his day has few peers as a ball player or entertainer and on his visit to Goodison just happened that he pulled nearly every inch out of his repertoire. When he is in this form “Shack” is a tremendous asset to his side and his brilliance has been responsible for many Sunderland victories. But here’s the cup when “Shack” experiences one of though when things are not going right for him and his tricks are no coming off, he is of less value to the team as he just seems to accept on these occasions that it is “not his day.” Still that’s “shack” whose skill and personality, plus his controversial book, have made him one of the most discussed players of the present day.
One Never Knows
Shackleton has proved that no one ever knows what to expect next from him during a game. In the second half last week when the Blues whereon the attack and I was backing up in support I heard “Shack” from behind me calling “Peter” on looking around for a moment I was greeted with the following from Len; “You’ll certainly enjoy your proposed American trip we had a great time there last year. “ Probably a very true statement but at that time, with Everton striving hard for the equalizer my thoughts were very far from American. Yes it’s certainly true that you never know what to expect next from “Shack.” The glamour of the Cup is such that whenever the competition is discussed people generally ask whom you fancy for Wembley. I never like to forecast any name, much less a Cup tie which lady Luck plays an import role. Still for once I’ll stick my neck out by saying that I fancy Manchester City and Birmingham to contest the final in May. Before you read this, you will very likely know whether I have been right or not.
EVERTON RES V SHEFF WED RES
March 17, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton Reserves; Harris (A), goal; Parkes and Leeders, backs; Birch, Billington and Woods, half-backs; Harris (B), Farrell, Kirby, Meagan, and Vizard, forwards. Sheffield Wed Reserves;- Hnchcliffe, goal; Martin and Bingley, backs; Turner, Swan and Hill, half-backs; Wilkinson, Ireland, Shaw, McAneaney, and Powells, forwards. Referee; Mr. P.G. Brandwood (Kiddermister). Everton started in brilliant fashion in the first five minutes both Farrell and Kirby hit the bar, Wednesday however, gradually got on top and only sterling work by Birch and a magnificent point-blank save by Albert Harris prevented them scoring. After half an hour Wednesday deservedly went ahead through Shaw, following a passing bout on their left wing. Everton made a spirited reply and Woods created the opening for Farrell to equalize just before the interval. Half-time; Everton res 1, Sheffield Wednesday Res 1.
EVERTON SHOCKED BY HICKSON GOAL IN FIRST MINUTE
March 19, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Sydney Dye
Huddersfield Town 1, Everton 0
It is doubtful if Dave Hickson the Huddersfield leader, will ever score a quicker or more valuable goal than that which he obtained against his former club. Everton, at Leeds Road on Saturday. Hardly an Everton man touched the ball, before it flew past O’Neill’s diving form after only fifteen seconds, directed there by the lethal right foot of Hickson’s. Hickson had sent his left wing in motion from the kick-off and after a bout of inter-passing by Davie and Simpson the ball was passed down the middle where Hickson beat off a challenge by Jones and proceeded to crack it just inside the upright. On this showing Hickson, a quicker and more mature player is Town’s chief asset in their bid to escape relegation- a fate goal at one time seemed assured but which now may yet be avoided. Everton on the other hand are slipping down the table in alarming fashion and this lone goal defeat was their fourth in succession. Neither was there any evidence in their play of a revival. It was a game of contrasts, Huddersfield used the long ball, Everton preferring the short passing method and of the two it was obvious which was the more effective. Why Everton failed to realize the error of their ways is a mystery. Huddersfield started on the right foot and never looked back though it was a game which never rose to great heights, highlighted only by the stirring duel’s between Hickson and Jones and some fine goalkeeping by O’Neill. Luck was on O’Neill’s side on several occasions, however, for some of his best effort’s were tinged with good fortune particularly when fierce Hickson and Davie drives struck him on the chest and rebounded. Everton re-shuffled their forward line though apart from the playing of newcomer William’s at outside right it had a suspiciously familiar appearance. Its shortcomings too-were also familiar. Though the midfield approach work was not quite up to the now accepted Everton standard the old failings in front of goal could not be disguised. Fielding went close to gaining an early equalizer when he hit a first time shot off a pulled back Eglington centre but his curling drive was well held by Fearney. That was practically the sum total of Everton’s not finding attempts. Parker’s marksmanship let him down badly on two occasion and on a third he unaccountably mis-headed a splendid Williams centre when bang in front of goal. Jimmy Harris wandered to little purpose and such was his lack of success that he actually started the second half at inside-right. Fielding taking over the leadership –a role he quickly vacated.
Farrell To Fore
If success had come Everton’s way Peter Farrell would have taken most of the credit. It was not his fault the points went astray. With Lello an absentee for the first time in 156 games through a foot injury received in training, Donovan was a late choice at right-half, Farrell switching to take the opposite flank. If anything the Everton captain was more effective than usual in his new position, and it was nothing to see him stem a raid in his own goalmouth and a minute later be up assisting his forwards. Indeed it was from the centre-forward position that the set Fielding in motion on one occasion with a finely-angled headed pass, that was not taken advantage of by the inside man. Lack of inches was a big handicap on the Everton right where Williams showed a fine turn of speed and ability to centre with either foot but found the burly Kelly a stumbling block on many occasions. Eglington on the opposite flank was just about Everton’s best forward. His astutely placed centre troubled Frearnley considerably though the Huddersfield custodian was given his most exacting tasks by numerous injudicious pass backs by his defenders. Considering the amount of work thrust n them, Everton’s defenders did particularly well to confine Huddersfield to a single goal a margin that was decidedly flattering to the visitors.
EVERTON’S NEED IS A MARKSMAN
November 19, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
By S.T. Dye
Huddersfield’s Leeds Road pitch is like a barren waste grass being practically nonexistent and Everton matched the underfoot conditions there on Saturday with a forward display almost completely devoid of punch. The playing surface could not be blamed it was the same for Huddersfield, brilliantly led by Dave Hickson the former Everton centre forward. They turned in a display which brought a well-deserved victory and consequent relief to the relegation threat which looms over them. A goal in 15 seconds was Hickson’s portion –his first home League goal for the Yorkshire side –and it was an injustice to Huddersfield that this was the only one they could put past O’Neill, even though it counted for all.
Everton found themselves fighting a rearguard action from the outset. Their short passing game saw to that and instead of being an asset their attack was more of a handicap. The Everton forwards baffied not only Huddersfield but also themselves with their frequent interchanging and their lack of punch was most apparent. Practically all Everton’s net-finding attempts could be condensed into a few lines. There was a fine first-time drive by Fielding from an Eglington centre, and a shot by Williams from Fielding’s flag kick which plumped straight into Fearnley’s hands. Parker whose distribution was excellent made poor use of several reasonable chances and Fearney was given his most exacting work by Eglington’s many dangerous crosses and ill-judged pass backs by his own defenders. Newcomer Williams has speed as his chief asset but against a full back to Kelly’s stature this counted for little for it was more than counter-balanced by his lack of inches –Nevertheless he but over several splendid crosses with either foot, but invariably Harris found himself out headed by Taylor, Harris was excellent with the ball at his feet but like his co-forwards he usually attempted one move too many and not once in the game did he seriously test Fearnley. One department in which Everton did not tag behind was wing half. Donovan brought in for the injured Lello had a fine outing after early hesitancy while Farrell in the unusual role of left half deserved a winning bonus for this efforts. He was a giant both in defence and attack, showing amazing stamina. He never flagged though he must have covered more ground than any two other players but together. Moore and Tansey did well until late on in the game when the great pressure they had to withstand brought occasional excusable errors. Goalkeeper O’Neill too probably breathed a sigh of relief at the final whistle. He had an enormous quantify of work to get through and though not altogether convincing in his handling he could not be blamed for that all important goal of Hickson’s. Twice he was fortunate to see drives from Davie and Hickson rebound from his chest without paying the penalty. Highlighting this game which never rose to any great heights were the due’s between Hickson and Jones and though Hickson had only one goal to show for his efforts he went perilously close on two other occasional. Hickson’s policy was shoot on sight and it was a lesson his former colleagues would do well to digest for their lack of scoring power is causing no little concern.
THERE ARE PROBLEMS AHEAD AT GOODISON
March 20, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
At the request of some rather anxious Evertonians who are perturbed over their team’s slide towards the wrong end of the First Division table, you will find below a list of the outstanding fixtures still to be fulfilled by Everton and the clubs beneath them. It is rather remarkable how often teams in the bottom portion of the chart meet one another between now and the end of April. That should help Everton – unless they themselves collapse catastrophically –to keep clear of anything approaching real danger. Everton’s recent decline lends force to what was said here much earlier in the season. I then expected the opinion that the Blues were in a false position and that unless the attack could take of the constant burden off the defence we might see a tumble similar to that after Liverpool knocked them out of the Cup last year. Thanks to the continued solidity of the defence the team continued to occupy a flattering position by comparison with what the forward line had been accomplishing –or failing to accomplish –until the Sunderland defeat ten days ago followed by that at Huddersfield on Saturday. The last eight League matches have produced only four points with a goal average of five for and 12 against. This is the leanest period of the season. Hitherto, the team had sometimes pulled itself out of a sticky position by Sheer fighting spirit with the forwards urged on from behind by the Stalwart work and inspiring example of Farrell and Lello.
There is a Limit
There is a limit, however, beyond which nothing that the defence can do will ensure victory. The forwards must work out their own salvation. As stated here on many occasions good football may be entrancing to watch and satisfy one’s aesthetic tastes but a team’s success or failure is judged by most people on its position in the League table not on pretty but ineffective midfield work. An aggregate of only 47 goals in 35 matches speaks for itself. It is poor reward for the countless chances which have come the way of Everton’s forwards. Players temporarily below form have also been included long after it was obvious they were still not coming up to expectations. The changes made during the past few weeks have not yet solved the problem. It is one indeed, which will not be easily mastered even by further experiments with the comparatively limited number of reserve players who may be worth giving a trial. Most of these lack experience, whatever their future capabilities may be.
The Right Time
I dislike pointing out what has been previously stated here. It savours too much of posing as an oracle which is not my line. But times without number I have suggested that the time to “blood” inexperience players and judge their suitability for first team berths is when things are going well, not when trouble loon ahead. This is not something which has suddenly descended on Everton without warning. Only 62 goals were scored last season, which was less than those by both relegated clubs. In the second half of that campaign the attack barely averaged a goal a match. The sub-committee which is now charged with the task of governing playing affair’s could hardly have taken over a less auspicious time. They have a difficult job and may have to do some buying before things improve unless some of the younger players who have been nurtured during the past few years suddenly burst into the limelight or those shortly due back from the Forces show exceptional ability. Hey are, however tackling the problem energetically, and will continue to explore every possible avenue or remedying matters not only in relation to the remainder of this season, but more particularly the future.
In Reply To Yours
Everton’s defence is good from goal to left half but the forward line is a real problem. Parker’s return is welcome but Harris wants more support down the middle. Unless there is an improvement in the attack the club may soon be Queer Street;- H. Williams, Liverpool 5.
That has been a problem for a long time. It has not suddenly arisen. Every attention is being given to it.
When Everton trotted out on to the field against Sunderland my six-year-old son exclaimed; “Look Dad, Everton have got a mascot at last” He was very upset when I told him it was Graham Williams the Blues new winger –F.H.R. Stoney-croft
If Williams proves a lucky mascot nobody will complain about his lack of inches. Everton could certainly do with one just now, Williams will need time to come to fruition. Don’t expect too much at once.
EVERTON MAKE MORE FORWARD CHANGES
March 21, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
In an effort to introduce the extra penetrative and finishing power which has so long been needed in their attack, Everton make further changes for the home game with Cardiff City on Saturday. The most notable of these is the inclusion of Donovan at inside right. Though it will be his first appearance for Everton in that berth he played there before joining the Goodison club. Other changes are the recall of McNamara at outside right in place of Williams and Wainwright at inside left instead of Parker. Lello now fit again resumes at left back. While I remains to be seen whether these forward changes have the desired effect they certainly seem to show that there is to be no adherence to convention or former reputations. One advantage of this new line-out could be that it leaves the way open to a possible mid-match switch between Donovan and Farrell if that seems likely to be advantageous. Though Farrell has been a wing half for many years now, he is no stranger to the inside forward berth. He was at inside right in the Eire team which defeated England 2-0 at Goodison Park in 1949, and scored a fine goal. He also has the necessary stamina despite his years for the up-and-down work involved at inside forward at least for some part of the game and his strength of shot might be an acquisition in a line which hitherto has not been distinguished for that attribute. The directorial sub-committee are obviously determined to try every possible move to remedy the lack of success in the forward line. White their choice may not find unanimous approval at least it denotes an effort to better the recent state of affairs and as much deserves a chance to prove itself. The team reads;- Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; McNamara, Donovan, Harris (J), Wainwright, Eglington.
The Central league side away to Huddersfield also shows rather significant changes; Parker takes over the centre forward berth a position in which he did quite well a few seasons back in the first team, and Saunders normally a centre-forward is given a chance to show he can do it at inside-right. Woods returns in the centre half berth. Everton Reserves; Harris (A); Parkes, Rankin; Grant, Woods, Melville; Harris (B), Saunders, Parker, Lewis, Williams.
A Lucky Find; Don Donovan
The story of how Donovan came to join Everton is rather unusual. He was a lucky find during Everton’s tour of Eire of 1949. When the Goodison Park officials were staying in Cork overnight they went along to see Marymount Rovers in an amateur cup-tie in which the team 19-years-old Donovan played brilliantly at inside right. Previously they had never heard of him. The next day he was offered and accepted professional terms.
EVERTON NEED BOTH POINTS FROM CARDIFF
March 23, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
While Everton faced with the urgent need of a victory to arrest their recent decline are at home tomorrow to the much-improved Cardiff City side. in view of the counter attraction at Aintree Everton have put back the start of the Goodison Park game until 4-30 which gives those who wish to do so a chance to see the Grand National as well. In contrast to Everton, whose attack has been switch considerably in the past few week, Cardiff City recently have fielded a settled forward line and the team as a whole is now playing with confidence and understanding. The Welsh side has come on by leaps and bounds in the last four months, at the beginning of December they were 19th in the table, on a point ahead of two of the teams below them and looked booked for a struggle to avoid relegation. The biggest weakness at that stage was in the rearguard which has been conceding a lot of goals, including nine to Wolves at Ninian Park in the fifth match of the campaign. To remedy this, Mr. Trevor Morris the Cardiff manager travelled to Scotland to sign Danny Morris from Dundee at a cost of about £17,000. The money was wisely spent for since taking over at centre half Malloy has done much to plug the City’s defensive leaks. Since his arrival the side has never had more than two goals against which is at tribute not only to Malloy but to the rest of the defence among whom the 21-years-old wing halves, Harrington and Baker have been outstanding. This greater rearguard ability has also had its effect on the forwards who have been able to give their full attention to the job in hand instead of so often having to help out in defence.
One of the most successful forward experiments has been the dual spearhead attack to Trevor Ford and Geary Hitchens. The misunderstanding which prompted Ford’s request for a move earlier this season has been amicable smoothed out, and since he returned to lead the attack with Hitchens switching to inside left, these two have provided the main striking power. The rest of the attack, however, have also been in excellent form, particularly the two former Sunderland players. Kirtley and McSeveney, who joined Cardiff last summer. Since Malloy made his debut on December 10, Cardiff have been defeated only twice at Chelsea and Sheffield United. These two defeats have been by a single goal margin only. The only four away engagements in that time have brought three victories and a draw. Cardiff were the first side to beat Wolves at Molyneux this winter, winning 2-nil on December 31. They have also won at Huddersfield where Everton failed to score last week. A repetition of their recent form will make Everton’s task tomorrow all the harder. The performance of the Blues’ much-changed forward line will be watched with critical eyes by Goodison followers as well as some anxiety. The club hopes that the experiment with Donovan will pay dividends and that the recent scarcely of goals will be remedied. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; McNamara, Donovan, Harris (J), Wainwright, Eglington. Cardiff City; Vearncombe; Stitfall, Sullivan; Harrington, Malloy, Baker; Walsh, Kirtley, Ford, Hitchens, McSeveney.
EVERTON IMPROVE AFTER SLOW START BUT FORWARD THRUSTS TELL
March 24, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton; O’Neill, goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Farrell (captain), Jones and Lello, half-backs; McNamara, Donovan, Harris (J), Wainwright, and Eglington, forwards. Cardiff City; Vearncombe, goal; Stitfall and Sullivan, backs; Harrington, Malloy, and Baker, half-backs; Walsh, Kirkley, Ford (captain), Hitchens, and McSeventy, forwards. Referee; Mr. G. W Pullin (Bristol). Although people were streaming in continually the terraces at Goodison were only thinly populated five minutes before the start, of Everton’s game with Cardiff City. Ford won the toss from Farrell and his link up with Hitchens was soon in evidence. The young inside left broke through before passing to McSeveney who centred promptly and Jones had to head away as Ford and Kirtley dashed in. Everton who were wearing Continental style shirts conceded a free kick six yards outside the penalty area when Moore brought down McSeveney. The kick, taken by Sullivan saw the home defence move up and catch three of the Cardiff attack well offside. Vearncombe had to dash out to take the ball off the feet of Harris who was chasing Eglington’s through pass at top speed. A partial misunderstanding between Jones and Moore almost let in Ford, but O’Neill just beat the centre forward to the ball.
Everton’s best move so far began with Eglington and was carried on by Donovan to give McNamara a centring chance. He placed the ball badly and Malloy was able to head clear. Hitchens was all over the field probing at the home defence and one brief Cardiff raid gave him at outside right making a centre which went behind the in-running Ford. The Cardiff defence was covering well and Everton were finding it hard to force a way through. The visiting attack looked the more dangerous making progress with long passes whereas Everton were inclined to keep the ball too close. Eglington made a run down the wing his speed taking him past two men but his centre was turned over the bar by Verncombe. The corner brought a shot by McNamara which lacked any strength and the goalkeeper was saved from the formality of stopping the ball by Sullivan. A headed clearance y Malloy to McSevency almost brought a goal to Cardiff. The outside left put the ball through for Walsh who fired in a strong drive into the side netting.
Donovan who had not been particularly prominent now put in the best shot of the match which Vearncombe brilliantly turned over the top. The corner taken from the right by Eglington saw Donovan get his head to the ball and Sullivan head off the line. The referee however had already blown for an infringement on the goalkeeper. Donovan then got the better of Sullivan and with only the goalkeeper to beat from close range fired across the face of the goal. Harris went to outside right to get across a centre which Malloy headed away. The tall centre half was making frequientovent interceptions with his head as Everton persisted in punting the ball high into the middle. A bad back pass by Lello which failed to reach Jones gave Ford an unexpected opening, Lello, however, retrieved the situation by falling back to dispossess. Hitchens when the inside left promised to make good use of Ford’s pass.
A concerned home attack in which Farrell played a big part saw Donovan win a corner off Sullivan. This was again taken by Eglington. But the visiting defence cleared without difficulty. Eglington put the ball low into the goalmouth to Wainwright completely unmarked who had only Vearncombe to beat from around the penalty spot. The ball spurt badly however and Wainwright could do no more than shoot outside. From a move in which every member of the line except McNamara took part, Wainwright’s shot was touched on to the bar by Vearncombe and it rebounded for Malloy to kick away. Cardiff’s reply brought an appeal for a penalty when Jones tackled Hitchens from behind. Mr.Pullen, however was well placed and waved play on.
Using His Speed
Eglington again used his speed to good effect to get round Stitfall and was somewhat unfortunate to see Malloy put a foot in the way of his intended pass to Wainwright.
WHAT’S THREE DEFEATS?
MARCH 24, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Some Easter Points And All Will Be Well With Everton
By Peter Farrell
Our three recent league defeats by Manchester City, Sunderland and Huddersfield have not only caused Everton to slide into the wrong half of the table, but have also caused a little concern to our supporters some of whom have begun to think of the possibility of the Blues being involved in a fight to avoid relegation before the end of the season. When a side experiences a lean spell and begins to slip a few places in the league table the pessimists immediately view the future with a gloomy outlook. I am afraid I do not share these views. From this I don’t want you to get the idea that the players and all connected with the club are not a little perturbed over these three defeats. Far from it. We all realize that the sooner we begun to add to our present points tally the better. If the Blues can manage a respectable number of points over the coming Easter games, the pessimists who are talking in terms of a possible relegation battle will sit back and breathe more ready. At Huddersfield, the Town defeated us by one of the quickest goals we have ever had seemed against us. To rub salt in the wound the scorer was none other than our old friend and former team mate Dave Hickson.
Dave was overjoyed at recording his first hope league goal for Huddersfield against his former club, but none of us shared his joys. It was a tremendous shock to be one down so early. This goal seemed to inspire the home side and for a while they had us on the run. However, the Blues eventually got into their stride and I thought we would bring off at least a draw. Huddersfield had other ideas put up a great fight to collect two very valuable points. Dave Hickson came into our dressing room after the game to have a friendly that with his old pals. He seems very happy at Huddersfield, where now living in a club owned house with his wife of a few months Irene. Speaking to a police constable who came along to collect autographs after the game I gathered that Dave is very popular with his new club, and has been playing very well in fact, the policeman told me that Huddersfield Town supporters are hoping Hickson’s fiery leadership will play a big part in keeping them in Division One.
Lello’s Long Run
Cyril Lello missed his first game for Everton for over three years, Cyril had played in 155 consecutive games. Following such a great run of brilliance and consistency it was rather ironical that the Everton left half back should be injured in training during a practice game. Cyril hoped to be fit but after a trey-out on Saturday morning, his long succession of appearance came to an end. What a great club man, as well as a brilliant half back is Lello who has been one of the keystones of the Everton intermediate line for so long. Cyril who hails from Ludlow, has a very droll sense of humour and is one of the most popular members of the Goodison playing staff. On his return to the side today, we all wish him another long run of unbroken service for the club he has served so well. At a recent sports forum at which I was a panel member one of the questions centred around the Liverpool-Manchester City cup-tie in which Billy Liddell netted seconds after the referee had blown the final whistle. The chairman had a little difficulty with the pronunciation of Liddell’s surname, and turning to me asked. “What do you call him Peter?” My reply was “It all depend whether I am playing against him or just watching him.”
HUDDERSFIELD RES V EVERTON RES
March 24, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton Res;- Harris (A), goal; Parkes and Rankin, backs; Grant, Woods and Melville, half-backs; Harris (B), Saunders, Parker, Lewis, and Williams, forwards. Everton were three down in 14 minutes at Huddersfield where Frear and Glazzard (2) scored. When the visitors settled down Lewis but in a cross shot which Rhoder dealt with calmly and Saunders from a promising position drove high over an open goal. Half-time; Huddersfield Res 3, Everton Res nil.
THAT EVERTON GAMBLE PAID DIVIDENDS
March 26, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 2, Cardiff City 0
There is an old saying that one must speculate to accumulate. Never was that contention better borne out than in Everton’s game with Cardiff City at Goodison Park on Saturday. The directorial sub-committee invited criticism by choosing a forward line showing three changes from that which had failed to overcome the Huddersfield defence a week previously. The biggest experiment was that of playing Donovan at inside right after his long sojourn in the rearguard ad McNamara and Wainwright also recalled, were not everybody’s idea of the solution to a pressing problem. Just how well the gamble paid off is indicated by the fact that Donovan, until his efficiency was impaired by an injury early in the second half, did a great deal to bring much-needed thrust into the attack, and that the two others restored to favour got the goals. It was not so much that the points gained were the first in four games, but rather the comparative ease with which they were accumulated. Cardiff came to Goodison Park undefeated in their six previous engagements and having lost only once since Christmas. Most people are still a wondering how they managed to set up such a record, for they were one of the most undistinguished sides seen on Merseyside this winter. Any trepidation experienced by Evertonians about the Ford, Hitchens double spearhead proved unnecessary for, apart from an occasional thrust in the early stages this new “weapon” was never in evidence. Farrell, Jones, and Lello saw to it that the Cardiff attack rarely got within shooting distance of O’Neill who has had few afternoons for a long time. Jones had Ford so much under control that the Welsh international’s sole shooting contribution to the game was a twenty –yard effort which O’Neill turned over the bar for a corner.
By comparison with the home goalkeeper Veancombe was very much in action. Was due almost solely to his efforts that Cardiff reached the interval in level terms. Though Vearncombe was only brought into the team at the beginning of last month when Howell’s was injured, if his form in this game is any criterion his predecessor seems booked for a long stay in the second team. Moore and Tansey kept a tight hold on their immediate opponents and with Jones controlling the middle of the field so well, Farrell and Lello were usually free to support their forwards many attacks. Generally speaking, the attack gave one of its best displays for many weeks, and showed plenty of shooting power, if not all their efforts possessed the necessary accuracy. Even so had not the ball run badly for Wainwright on one occasion and Vearncombe made one of his many good saves from Donovan, Everton would have scored long before they did. With one exception Eglington took all the corners which fell to the home side. It was one from the right which produced the leading goal three minutes after the resumption when McNamara who had one of his better games shot home via the crossbar. Everton’s second goal also came from an Eglington corner, this time on the left. It was handed by Harris to Donovan and on to Wainwright who gained some compensation for his earlier ill-luck by scoring from close range. Apart from one short period towards the end, when they were not running on full power, Everton were well in command of the situation. Even when Donovan was injured they were more dangerous than the Cardiff attack, which rarely threatened to reduce the deficit, and had Harris been able to make more progress against the uncomprosing Malloy he might have beaten Vearncombe on at least two occasions. Provided that Donovan has recovered in time to play in the Easter games there should be further opportunities for the latest Everton attacking formation to give greater evidence of its potentialities.
EVERTON REGAIN THEIR MEDALS
March 26, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton’s victory over Cardiff City was relieved the growing anxiety felt by their followers as they have watched the team’s gradual decline in the League table over the past few weeks. Although the attendance of 29,959 was the lowest of the season, those who were present saw the reconstituted forward line recover well from an indifferent start and finish strongly despite a second half injury to Donovan. The Irishman who several times was the victim of heavy tackles by visiting defenders did enough to warrant a further trial at inside right. With a little more steadiness in his shooting he would have joined McNamara and Wainwright on the scoring list. His partnership with the former made for one of the most effective right flank pairings Everton have had this seasons and one which gave the Welsh international, Sullivan, plenty of trouble. Though it may seem invidious to single out any member of the side for special mention for this was essentially a team victory as so many others have been in the past, Jones and Farrell stood out well. Jones not only kept the dangerous Ford quiet, but completely shut down the middle in the visiting forwards. With the odd exception he also made excellent use of the ball.
Never Found Wanting
Though devoting much time to prompting his attack, Farrell was never once found wanting in defence and covered more ground than any other player on the field. Cardiff had little to commend them apart from a sound defence in which goalkeeper Veancombe was the star. He made a number of excellent saves, none better than one from Donovan in the first half. He had no chance with either of the shots which beat him. Malloy also did well against Harris who was forced to move to the wings to shake off the Scot’s attentions. Moore and Tansey were well on top of their job, with the result, that little threat to O’Neill emanated from the Cardiff wings. Apart from having to turn a long-range shot by Ford over the bar, the Everton goalkeeper’s work was mainly confined to taking back passes from his own side. That effort by Ford and another from Hitchens which lacked strength if not direction were just about all Cardiff produced in the way of scoring attempts. A notable feature of Eglington’s performance was his excellent use of corner kicks which he took up both sides of the field. He put only one on a large number behind and both goals came from his well placed flag kick.
Although they should have been well in front at the break Everton did not score their first goal until three minutes after the resumption. McNamara intelligently anticipated Eglington’s corner would reach the far post which I did and the outside right was there to score with a shot which went in off the bar. For some time after this the home team seemed content to hang on to their narrow lead and Cardiff enjoyed a spell of attacking though without causing much anxiety in the Everton rearguard in the last quarter of an hour the Blues is asserted themselves and Wainwright notched the second goal with 11 minutes remaining. Again Eglington took a corner this time on his correct wing the match produced the first goal having been on the right. The ball was headed by Harris and Donovan to Wainwright who shot home from almost beneath the bar. This effort not only set the seal on victory but was also notable in being the first time more than one goal has accrued from any game for a month. Although he enjoyed little success against Malloy, Harris did better when veering out to the wings and held the line together quite well. The absence of Fielding was not felt so keenly as anticipated, largely due to the fact that with Cardiff providing so little threat Farrell and Lello were able to maintain a constant flow of passes. If the present attack can be kept together during the next few matches I may settled down into one of the most effective combination put into the field of recent months.
EVERTON WILL NOT DECIDE IN A HURRAY
March 27, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Although the false alarm which connected the name of former Welsh international Tommy Jones with appointment to the vacant Everton managership was quickly scotched it has caused many of the club’s followers to speculate upon the Board’s intentions regarding the future. One thing of which I am certain is that nothing will be done in a hurry. For the time being the playing side of the club’s affairs will remain in the hands of the small directorial sub-committee which so far has tackled its task extremely thoroughly and will continue to do so until such time as other arrangements are made. In the meantime the three directors charged with the duty are not as a few people seem to have erroneously assured working entirely on their own. They are consulting the training staff and skipper Peter Farrell on many points and making their decisions only after they have gone into all aspects of the particular matter under review. In addition to Trainer Charlie Leyfield, himself a former player of considerable experience the club also has two ex-players on the training staff in Gordon Watson and Stan Bentham, both shrewed judges and capable of giving useful assistance. In conversation I have had with members of the committee the main point they have stressed and with every justification that they must have a reasonable length of time to but their ideas into practice. Already some vital changes have been made in the club’s interior administration particularly in regard to the scouts organiastion which is being overhauled and tightened up where necessary. “One change of instruction to scouts everywhere has been to switch concentration for the time being from teenagers in more experienced players the object being the inauguration of a short term policy to go alongside the longer process of producing home-bred talent. This is designed to guard against any future emergencies which may arise through injury to present first team key men in position where there is not a steady made reserve competent to step into the breach and give satisfaction.
Change For All
At the same time it does not indicate any less concentration on the younger player already on the books. These will get every chance to provide their worth. Where they show promise, promotion to the Central league side will not be slow. It is intended to make the latter team the main testing ground, and to experiment as much as possible in reserve games where the risk is less if the idea does not come off. It naturally follows that senior players will have to keep up their form to maintain their places. However kindly disposed any club may be to the older members of its staff, you don’t make progress by continuing to field who are not producing the goods. Nobody can cavil at this. Naturally the members of the committee have the eventual necessity of appointing somebody to succeed Mr. Britton at the back of their minds. It is obvious that men with their own businesses to look after cannot continue indefinitely to devote the time which they have been doing to the club’s affairs for the past month. But the matter has not yet come up for discussion at full Board level and may not do for a little while yet. There have been several applications for the job, all of which have been filed away for the time being.
Donovan is making good progress after the injury he received against Cardiff City on Saturday and there is now every hope that he will be fit to play in the Good Friday game at Goodison Park against Sheffield United.
EASTER GAMES ARE VITAL
March 29, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton have two games with Sheffield United, who under the management of a former Goodison favourities in Joe Mercer are engaged in a stern struggle to avoid returning to the Second Division. They “escaped” from it only three years ago. If the Blues can turn in a performance similar to that against Cardiff City they stand a good chance of victory tomorrow. It may be a different matter at Bramell Lane on Monday. Though United record there is not particularly outstanding, no side with relegation worries accents defeat on its own ground without a hard fight. Joe Mercer’s biggest worries since taking over the Sheffield job have nearly all centred around his attack, which just cannot get enough goals to cash in when the defence is holding its own. Few changes have been made in the first six names on the United’s team sheet during the last few months, but the forward line has been suffering the lack of a first class leader. No fewer than six centre forwards have been tried with Wilkinson one of Mercer’s former colleagues an Arsenal the latest occupant of the berth.
The Blades have been shaping a bit better recently, their last seven matches having produced eight points. They have still a lot to do before they can breathe freely again. Sides with relegation fears are not the easiest of opponents at this late stage of the season and Everton may find the Yorkshire team a tougher combination than they would assume from their lowly position. Sandwiched between the two games against the Sheffield club, Everton go to Villa Park on Saturday for another fixture with an anti-relegation issue. Villa have the same problem as Sheffield –inability to put the ball into the net. They have registered only 40 goals in 35 matches having failed to get one at all in twelve games and notched one only in another twelve. Though Everton have no fears about their own safely they would like t finish the season in a reasonably respectable position. To do this they must achieve some measure of success this Easter. It will not be east against sides so desperately in need of points. Hawksworth and Wragg are omitted from the Sheffield United team at Goodison Park tomorrow with Ringstead and Hagan taking their places. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; McNamara, Donovan, Harris (J), Wainwright, Eglington. Sheffield United; Burgin; Caldwell, Mason; Hoyland, Johnson, Iley, Ringstead, Hagan, Wilkinson, Howitt, Grainer.
AN EVERTON WITHOUT PLAN OR PATTERN
March 31, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 1, Sheffield United 4
By Leslie Edwards
Almost 50,000 people came to see this match. Before the end many thousands of them had gone home, mystified by Everton’s lack of co-ordination and by the power of Sheffield United’s second half one which included a hat-trick of goals for their former Arsenal centre-forward, Jack Wilkinson and one for inside-left Howitt. It mattered little that Donovan of Everton headed a goal for Everton when Sheffield United had completed their day’s bag, this point was not even consoling because if reasonable chances had been taken Sheffield United might well have piled up six or seven goals. True, McNamara, the Everton start outside right, was damaged for the greater portion of the second half but allowing for his inability to do more than hobble, there was nothing to suggest that Everton have regained the compactness and solidity they had prior to a sequence of five matches during which they have picked up only two pints –from Cardiff City. Though their League position looks reasonably safe this morning it must worsen quickly if the side do not recapture their old rhythm and balance. A changed team was taken, last night to Birmingham, in readiness for today’s match against Aston Villa. Further points are urgently needed. The match against Sheffield United in Sheffield on Monday, looks bleak, from Everton’s viewpoint and there are but home games against Wolves an Blackpool and a game at Chelsea remaining on the card.
Hard, Dry, Uneventful
For the first forty-five minutes yesterday one would have thought both teams were virtually interested in relegation. The ground was hard and dry, the sun shone and the standard of play was so poor and Everton so sketchy, there was scarcely a moment of enthusiasm. The only drama came when first Iley then Hoyland the ball away spectacularly from the vicinity of their own goal line and when Ringstead with a screw shot that carried no pace, found himself in a scoring position without being able to take full advantage of it O’Neill had recourse to the kick-away direct; Harris (J) put the ball in the net when palpably offside and Wilkinson after being put clean through twice, first stumbled and lost the ball and then shot powerfully, but wide. It was an interval which served to confirm the view that both sides were in trouble, though that uncompromising Sheffield defence which left no doubt in anyone’s minds (least of all Everton forwards) that they were out for possession and meant to get it was indication that Everton’s second half work would be severe. And so it was. The game had been restarted only two minutes when Hagan struggling for the ball against odds, toed it a yard or two to the spot from which Howitt hit it, hard and low beyond O’Neill. Not often a man scores from twenty-five yards and almost from a standing start. Six minutes later Hagan juggled the ball on the right wing to confound Lello and hit across a centre so vicious the wonder was hat any foot connected much less with perfect timing Wilkinson tall, angular loose-limbed smacked this one home splendidly for 2-0. Grainger at outside left made the third. His run and centre led to a Hagan shot which Tansey saving a certain goal could only half head clear. The very tall Wilkinson was built especially for taking such heading chances (62 minutes) Ten minutes later it was Wilkinson third again a header this time from a half-saved Ringstead centre, Donovan came along two minutes after wards with a headed goal from McNamara’s corner. More than once during the course of this scoring Sheffield United using through passes astutely they caught a wide playing Everton defence out of position –opened a way to goal, but their finishing was deplorable Everton’s two main chances second half came to Harris (J) and Donovan. Burgin unemployed for long spells, made first-class saves of both. Outstanding player was not the man who scored a hat trick and went close to two or three other goals but the Sheffield captain and left back. Cliff Mason a twenty-five –years-old compositor (that is a printer who sets type) having his first season in the First Division. Mason balding and stockily-built was formerly with Sunderland (where he had no first team game) and Darlington from whom he was signed. His tackling positional sense and use of the ball were excellent. Quite one of the best backs I have seen.
Wilkinson by his goals yesterday helped to replay his club a large proportion of his reasonable transfer fee. A Middlewich (Cheshire) boy, he is inclined to need much room to “kill” the ball but his passes to the wings and his penetration and power when the ball needs to be put into the net look like making him highly successful. For a while the brilliant Hagan – man behind the United revival –and Ringstead looked ordinary and out or sorts. The inspiration of a goal or two changed the side completely. Where they had been uncertain and lacking in confidence they now became confident and full of ideas. For a time Donovan looked as though he might solve one of the Everton’s principal probems, but he was seen only rarely once United got their teeth into the match. That United should allow the Everton wing half-backs, Lello and Farrell, so much space and time to make the centre of the field their domain in the first half was unaccountable. May be the Joe Mercer plan, like Arsenal’s is to give the other side plenty to rope while keeping one’s defence tight and almost impenetrable at the business end of attacks. In face of the lack of a fit McNamara, Everton played too individually. There was no evidence of the consolidated team effort which had happier results in many previous matches. It was almost as if the shackles had been removed and that everyone was indulging himself in his individual football fancy –or fantasy. Tansy was one of the few Everton players whose form was up to standard in a match which must have been terribly frustrating for all who have Everton well-being at heart. For half the game United were scarcely better. Their joyous second half, when they wakened up everywhere, and the way Wilkinson shot one of his goals, saved the match from being one of the least distinguished at Goodison Park this season.
ENTER HARRIS NO 3.
March 31, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Fielding Back For Villa Game
By Leslie Edwards
Everton F.C will field one of the rarest of First Division teams this afternoon at Villa Park. It includes three players named Harris – all of them unrelated, James (centred forward) and Brian (right wing) are well known, the third member of the clan. Albeit a goalkeeper who displaces Irish international Jimmy O’Neill will be making his debut. Aged 22 standing 5ft 10 1/2in and weighting nearly 12stones, Harris is a Bootle boy who formerly played for Maghull. He joined Everton as a part time player in January 1955. He was to have made his first team debut a season ago in a friendly match against Manchester United at Manchester but the weather was so bad the game was cancelled. Those who watch Everton Central league football suggest that Albert Harris is a man who will reach the top. Those who watch Everton first team football will take joy in the fact that Wally Fielding returns to the team at Villa Park today. Brian Harris comes in on the right wing in place of McNamara who was damaged in yesterday’s game against Sheffield United. The team will be Harris (A); Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; Harris (B), Donovan, Harris (J), Fielding and Eglington.
BLACK FRIDAY FOR EVERTON
March 31, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Good Friday of 1956 will go down in “Liverton” history as a black and depression day. Liverpool’s game at Doncastle was married with scenes which were a discredit to Soccer and two valuable points went west, while Everton gave one of their worst displays of the season against Sheffield United at Goodison Park. This was Everton’s fifth defeat in their last seven League engagements and it came from the hands of a team which in the first half hour looked every bit like one bound for the Second Division. In the second portion of the game United really lived up to their name, and began to shape almost like championship contenders. The story of this match is in many respects a repetition of what has been said of Everton on many previous occasions – only this time it was worse than usual. The home side started off well enough and for 20 minutes made Sheffield seem like a Third Division side. They moved the ball smartly from man to man and sometimes it was taken half the length of the field or more without a Sheffield player touching it. Unfortunately however, the old falling in front of goal was still in evidence. Despite their territorial superiority. Everton did not produce a single shot which gave Burgin the slightest trouble. The two or three that were on the mark were child’s play to him while all the others sailed away too safely among the crowd. Jimmy Harris fired into the side netting from only a few yards range and though he was undoubtedly offside, the referee did not blow. While it would have been an injustice to Sheffield United had Harris scored from this opportunity, Everton are not in a position where they can afford to quibble at fortune’s gifts. A goal at this stage might have changed the whole course of the game for the visitors were plainly nervous and apprehensive and some of their defenders seemed to have quite a few cross worlds with one another more than once.
Then Everton started to fade away, and for the last 20 minutes of the first half two poor teams provided only lusterless and indifferent football in which passes were constantly going astray and nobody looked remotely like scoring. The ball was too much in the air, due to the hard state of the ground and there was far too much aimless and haphazard kicking. It all seemed painless and purposeless. It was the first few minutes of the second half which turned the game inside out and sent Sheffield United romping to a victory which might have been even greater if they had taken all their chances. The man who gave Everton their first push down the slippery slope of an almost ignominious defeat was veteran Jimmy Hagan. Recalled to the United team almost in desperation after an absence of six weeks. Hagan’s brilliant dribbling opened the way for Howitt to score from 25 yards at the 48th minute after cleverly beating Lello almost on the dead ball line. Hagan laid on a great pass for Wilkinson to get a second goal seven minutes later. In the first half they visiting inside right had played deep. It was only when he came right up with his colleagues that Sheffield took over the initiative and began to hammer the Everton defence. Wilkinson completed his hat-trick with two headed goals the first due to O’Neill’s failure to pick up a loose ball and the second another piece of opportunism after O’Neill had only partially saved a pile-drive from Ringstead. Everton did a bit of shooting themselves this half but nothing very outstanding, Eglington and Donovan had strong efforts saved by Burgin in each case firing almost straight at the goalkeeper. Donovan put another into the side, netting and then 18 minutes from the end the same player smartly headed in a centre from McNamara.
O’Neill’s Worst Ever
I have never seen O’Neill have such a bad day as this. Not only might he have saved two of the goals but on two other occasions be almost gave goals away by his failure to dive and gather the ball. Instead he went in timidly to try and kick it away. On another occasion Ringstead robbed him when he adopted these tactics but put the ball into the side netting with an open goal to shoot at O’Neill was also so weak with some high cross balls. Once he appeared to be a good three yards out of distance when jumping for a corner kick. His confidence gradually “bozed” away, and not unnaturally had its effect on the men in front of him. Jones who had a good first half could not hold Wilkinson once Sheffield had got their teeth in to the game. Tansey was lucky to escape a penalty when he brought Hagan down though this was balance out with an incident at the other end of the field when Johnson fouled Wainwright. The wing halves who had done so well in the first half hour suffered the same decline and Everton never recovered from that. An injury to McNamara in the second portion did nothing to help matters and the forward line could make no impression on a Sheffield defence which had regained its posse and tackled keenly and strongly.
Too Poor To Be True
I am reluctant to think that this is the best Everton can co. they form was too poor to be a fair criterion ever after making allowances for their old hesitating sin of indifferent finishing. But if it is their best –and heaven forbid – then I am afraid there are very difficult days ahead. As for Sheffield United if they can keep this up Manager Joe Mercer will be a happy man. Hagan was no always prominent but during his spells of brilliance he towered head and shoulders above all the other forwards. Ringstead was good and Grainger has the making of a splendid player. Wilkinson is not a class footballer but he can take goals when they are these which is the great thing.
SHO-SHY EVERTON HAD NO KEY TO ILLA GOAL IN A DULL GAME
March 31, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Aston Villa 2, Everton 0
Aston Villa;- Sims, goal; Hogg and Aldis, backs; Baxter, Dugdale, and Crowe, half-backs; Smith, Southern, Page, Dixon, and McParland, forwards. Everton; Harris (A), goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Farrell (captain), Jones and Lello, half-backs; Harris (B), Donovan, Harris (J), Fielding and Eglington, forwards. Referee. Mr. R. Tarrah, (Horsham). Everton found it necessary to make three changes in the side to heavily beaten by Sheffield United yesterday, Albert Harris a 22-years-old goalkeeper from Maghull, made his debut in place of O’Neill. McNamara injured his leg yesterday and Brian Harris game in at outside right. Fielding was the other Everton change. The Villa made an alteration at right full back, Hogg coming in for Lynn. It was a beautiful afternoon, yet the crowd at Villa Park was far from capacity, in fact there were many big gaps around the arena. Everton were extremely fortunate not to be a goal down in the first minute. The Villa had won a corner and this was perfectly placed by McParland. Pace got his head to the ball and with a quick flick he had beaten Albeit Harris but Moore, who had dropped back on to his goal line headed away.
Second Rescue Effort
Everton made a quick raid, but their ideal did not carry their past the Villa penalty area. The Villa moved forward quickly again and Southern from just on the penalty line kicked a powerful shot which again seemed booked for the back of the Everton net, once again Moore had visualized what was about to happens and it was his head which pumped the ball out of goal, and back into play. They were exciting moment for both Villa and Everton who at last got into something like concerned order and Brian Harris put across a centre which Eglington ran in to meet with his head and there seemed a possibility of an Everton goal. It was not to be however for the Irishman’s effort passed outside the far post. The game was now ten minutes old and it had to be admitted that the Villa looked by far the most dangerous side. Smith was just about to make a shot to well inside the penalty area, but beaten by Tansey and then a long shot by Crowe passed outside. Dixon tried a long shot but Albert Harris made doubly sure that nothing happened for he got his body as well as his hands behind the ball. There was a though struggle over on the far side where McParland and Dixon were trying to prize open the Everton defence, but all they got was a goal kick. Matters had quietened down a little but so far it was obvious that Everton a great need was more punch near goal. Southern like his other forward colleagues was keen to shoot and Albert Harris had to act smartly to edge round the upright. A little later the Everton goalkeeper distinguished himself with a good save from Smith which gives some idea that it was the Villa who were putting on the pressure. It was tough game for the Everton defence and Smith had a short sharp drive cannoned away while a poor kick by Albert Harris saw the ball come back to him immediately in fact it set the Villa on a storming attack and the wonder was that the Everton goal remained unbeaten.
Lello Off The Mark
Smith while in the act of taking hit a ferocious shot which struck the underneath side of the cross bar and rebounded into play. So far this half had seen the Villa well in command and although Everton did work their way through to a shooting position, Lello’s marksmanship was inaccurate so that Sims simply had to stand still and watch the ball go outside. Albert Harris had done quite well and he edged a ball away from a crossfield effort by Pace. Eglington and Donovan tried to open a breach in the Villa defensive run curtain without success, Jimmy Harris however did with a corner. This was taken by Eglington on the right wing but the centre came right to a Villa man’s head.
Villa Take Lead
Near the half-way stage Everton put up their longest attacking session and a free kick taken by Moore saw Sims do the first spot of work when he calmly death with a header by Jim Harris. The Villa were soon back testing the Everton defence and Albert Harris had to pick up a half hit shot by southern. After Everton had a few promising moments the Villa took the lead a minute from the interval when Pace headed Smith’s centre in the Everton goal. Just to this Moore had push off the line and the ball went out to Smith who provided Pace the opportunity of giving his side a much belated lead. The football in the first 10 minutes of the second half lacked quality. There was plenty of earnest endeavour but it was more hurried than steady. Everton won two corners during this period but both were easily cleared Pace and Albert Harris became entangled when McParland dropped the ball into the goalmonth and Everton were finally awarded a free kick. So far we had been little shooting this half, in fact, Everton’s shooting efforts had been imperceptible.
Another corner to Everton saw Donovan go up to Eglington’s flag-kick and while it led to a duel between the Everton attack and the Villa defence it was the latter which came out triumphant. Jones was covering up extremely well but he once failed to make contact with his head and this led to Pace centring in front of the Everton goal, which managed to survive but it was not long before another corner followed on. This time the ball was headed over. While the football was never of a high standard there was plenty of endeavor particularly by the Villa. They won two quick corners both easily disposed of and when McParland ran through into the middle thing looked extremely dangerous for Everton. The winger, however, put the ball outside.
Still Shot Shy
The game was held up for a few moments through injury to Albert Harris who later made a brilliant catch from a McPharland header. He received the congratulations from colleague Jones for his fine work but the Everton followers wanted to see a little more play the other end but this was denied them. The Villa were mostly in charge, however McParland was hurt in a tackle as he was rushing through and the game was again held up while he received attention. He was taken off with an injury to his left arm which was hanging loosely by his side.
Sims Saves Villa
Everton now made progress and Sims had to retrieve a long ball from Moore. There was greater danger to the Villa however when Harris brushed his way through and Sims came out to cut down his shooting angle. The Villa goalkeeper just managed to get his hand to the ball and turn it away for a corner. Hereabout, McPharland returned but judging by his actions his arm was giving him extreme pain and he went off again holding his shoulder. One good movement by Everton looked as though it might produce something but a return pass to Farrrell came too quickly for him to collect. Nevertheless Everton were now doing much of the attacking than they had done but there was still that need of a shot. Everton were awarded a free kick for a foul by Baxter. This was taken by Jones but Dugdale was there with his trusty head to knock the ball away before J. Harris could make contact.
Great Chance Missed
The Villa were a more boisterous side. There was no great subtlety in their play but they nearly got a penalty when Moore tackled Pace just outside the penalty line. The free kick was slapped right across the Everton goal face but there was no one up to do the needful. Pace wasted a tremendous lot of time in trying to get the ball to his liking before he shot and this no doubt lost him a great chance. The Villa were right on top and Baxter put a short pass over to Pace but the Everton defence was able to take charge of the situation. Aldis came up field to help his side but his centre was pulled back too far and Everton mere able to clear.
Calling The Tune
Sims caught an oblique shot by J. Harris out on the wing – McParland was still off the field –but despite the numerical advantage of Everton it was the Villa calling the tune. Dixon broke through the ranks and finally strode forward to unleash a shot which passed out of the reach of Albert Harris to chalk up Villa’s second goal at the 84th minute. The Villa continued with their attacking ideas but no further goals came their way. Final; Aston Villa 2, Everton nil.
ONLY VEARNCOMBE IN GOAL KEPT EVERTON SCORE DOWN
March 31, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
Easter week-end brings its usual hectic glut of fixtures for soccer club, with most sides playing three times in four days. In all Divisions, the promotion or relegation prospects of many clubs will hinge on the number, of points they collect over the Easter games, so you can imagine with what anxiety players and officials concerned in these Villa games will await the news of how their nearest rivals have fared. With so many outings in such a short space of time, most players no matter how fit they are feel very tired but provided their are lucky enough to steer clear of even minor knocks of bruises they often feel better and sometimes fitter in the third than they did in the first of the holiday games.
The Big Boat
With Easter behind us…we will enter the concluding weeks, yet another season with our thoughts turned towards the close season, little over a month away. For the chosen 16 lucky players at Goodison Park, the close season should be a memorable one in view of Everton’s proposed tour of American and Canada. Needless to say, such a tour is being early looked forward to by those likely to be in the party and since receiving the news that the tour had been fixed. I can assure you the Blues visit to the States is a much discussed dressing-room topic among the lads. Apart from the thrill of playing football in and visiting the States I personally am looking forward to the boat voyage as it has always been one of my ambitions to travel on a big liner. Up to the present, I have never been on anything bigger than the Dublin to Liverpool boat. Getting back to the more important business of the moment, namely the battle for League points it was a great tonic to all the lads to get back on the winning path against Cardiff last week. In recent weeks, not only the failure to score goals by the Blues, but also the fact that so few shots were being delivered has been causing some worry to fans. Considering this it was a grand sight to see so many praiseworthy efforts by the forwards on the target last week.
Despite the fact we scored only two goals I think you will agree that with a little luck we might have doubled our total. The most pleasing aspect of the Blues victory Cardiff was the all-round teamwork of the lads, which on so many occasions resulted in first-class efforts being foiled by Graham Veancombe the Cardiff goalkeeper or the woodwork. An unusual feature was Tommy Eglington’s corner kicks from both the left and right wing, which caused considerable trouble to the Cardiff defence and from which Everton scored their two goals. It was the first time for a long while that the Blues looked likely to get goals from corner kicks. Let’s hope it is the forerunner of many more future occasions. Don Donovan came to Everton as an inside forward before moving to the half-back line eventually establishing himself as a left full back. Last week was Don’s first appearance in the inside forward position in the first team and he can feel well satisfied with his performance in his unusual role of inside forward.
Give and Take
Don, due t his enthusiasm and fearlessness was frequently in the wars last Saturday and received a few hasty knocks and nearing the end following a heading duel, landed heavily on his ankle and was scarcely able to walk on Sunday morning. Trevor Ford whom Tommy Jones so successfully blotted out was of the opinion after the game that Cardiff were lucky to get away with a 2-0 defeat. I always like players against Travel who is one of those players who can give and take hard knocks without a moan, and when the game is over will always come across for a handshake.
A PLAYER OF PROMISE
March 31, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
From late August last year to the present day is no great space of time but in that period young Jimmy Harris of Everton has become a firm favouritie with the Goodison Park’s large following. Many people though it unwise when Everton allowed Dave Hickson to leave them for Aston Villa soon after the start of the season, but Harris has proud to be an excellent replacement. A native of Birkenhead, a prolific breeding ground of footballers, Harris played inside right for the local schoolboys and also for Cheshire Boys before being signed by Everton on amateur forms at the age of 15. Three years later after regular but unspectacular appearance in the club’s minor sides he joined the Royal Tank Corps for his National Service, most of which was spent in Germany where competitive football had to take a back seat. On demobilization he became a part-time professional while finishing his apprenticeship as a machine minder in a Merseyside printing works in February, 1955 he began to devote all his time to soccer in an all out bid to make the grade and since being drafted into the senior side in the third game of the present season he has shown tremendous improvement. He is far and away the club’s leading goalscorer and has yet to miss a match. In February he replaced Vic Groves in the Under 23 team against the Scots and celebrated with a goal.
EVERTON PLAYERS BENEFIT
March 31, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Mr. R.E Searle chairman of Everton handling over benefit cheques to Jock Lindsay (centre) and Ron Saunders, two of the Goodison club’s players who have just completed five years service. Although Lindsay, who joined Everton from Glasgow Rangers in March 1951 has not played in the first team since breaking his leg against Stoke two years ago, he received the full maximum sum of £150. After a long struggle to regain fitness in the junior sides, Lindsay was chosen for his first Central League match today and hopes soon to be back to his old form.