“BOMBER” HARRIS HAS COME TO STAY
September 1, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 2, West Bromwich Albion 0
By Leslie Edwards
Fewer than 40,000 thought it worthwhile to go to see the new Everton –a mixture of young and old talent –face West Bromwich Albion, at Goodison Park last night. Many must have feared the worst and to be candid, the first ten minutes play suggested they had been wise. Rarely can a game have begin with such a stream of one-way traffic – all of it converging on an Everton goal that was almost continually in danger. Then in this refreshingly cool evening, Everton began to believe that they were really not as bad as they had been painted and to believe that they, too could frame attacks painted and to believe that they too could frame attacks and complete them rather better than their opponents. It was at this point after ten minutes play (all of it showing Albion to be the better side) that Harris (J) and an unrecognizable Fielding – Everton’s summer strip does not allow him to wear his sleeves impishly over his wrists –indulged in short, sharp inter-passing with the young boy making what seemed to b the final and fateful move. Fielding appeared to have no chance with a pass going away from him. But he poked out a right foot as he slid to the ground and toe-ended the ball like a rocket high into the net.
The game continued to go Albion’s way but it was Everton again who scored, this time at thirty-one minute, Fielding’s left wing corner kick in-swung and deceived the gallant Sanders; Kennedy, that iron-headed centre half whose nodding last night was greater than Homer’s missed his clearance kick for once and young “Bomber” Harris swiveling in the space of a few inches turned and exploded the ball into the net for a goal as well taken as any could be. This little young man did more than score a goal and help in the scoring of the other. He showed good positional play a burst of speed which kept Kennedy guessing and the kind of unselfish passing one expects only from a Hickson. No wonder the crowd recognised his first half contribution and stayed at the end to give him a warm ovation as he left the field. Harris must not think he knows it all he must not imagine that all centre halves will play as fairly as Kennedy, yet one saw in the young man’s play an answer o one of Everton’s problems and the possibility that he will develop well and quickly given the chance.
Until Everton sudden got to grips with their own game and Albion’s clone-linked movement –it was almost criminal that a team which had done so much in midfield did not score once –Everton were lethargic and unconvincing. Yet once Harris put them further ahead after the game had long gone against them they were a different team and wing half-backs who had scarcely been seen except as tollers in the wake of Albion forwards, assumed authority and began for the first time, to read Albion intent and do something about it. A final summing must be that perfidious Albion minus Allen, did enough to have won if they had finished well and that Everton in the circumstances did extremely well to win by such a decisive margin. Except for the frustrating effect of Albion’s failure to developed good attacks it was a splendid match –clean, except for one incident fast, entertaining and the sort one used to expect at Goodsion Park. With wing half backs like Dudley and Barlow, great commanders of the ball on the ground and in the air, and good forwards about whose manceurability there was no doubt Everton’s task should have been harder. But Albion bunched and did not use the full width of the field and most of their best shots flew wide. The few on target posed no real problems for O’Neill.
Though Everton escaped fortunately more than once – Jones once kicked away from the line from Nicholls and in one other exciting, sustained attack, Albion shots hit everything and everyone except the back of the net –there were later moments when Everton were equally near scoring. One recalls an Eglington shot hitting the foot of the post and a staggering save, by Sanders, when Potts had burst through from a “Bomber” Harris pass. The game’s most spectacular save was by O’Neill whose arms went up limply so that his hands could deaden the force of, and grip, a shot which Barlow had “teed up” for him by a fine lateral pass, indeed, Barlow was the hardest and most persistent of shooters. If his forwards had hit the ball as truly and well they must have succeeded. Albion’s forward weakness was plainly due to the fact that the big and earnest Kevan could not fit into their attacking plans.
Better and Better
Defensively Everton played better and better as the game progressed. Jones was good from first to last (and well he was in those early moments); Lello, after an undistinguished start, got to linking up with the attack and doing it brilliantly. Moore had a hard match, but a good one. Everton’s verdant green suggested that the pitch had been well and truly watered. It had not, Foothold was difficult because the grass was so long ad studs were of rubber. More than one blunder arose from the inability of players to make sharp turns. Brain Harris full of enthusiasm and speed, did not come into the game so much as his namesake, but I commend him for a quick throw-in which virtually gave Harris (J) an open invitation to goal. This was a “heady” move and one unexpected from players so inexperienced.
Everton’s victory was timely in more senses than one, I imagine. Whether or not the club are prepared to confirm that Dave Hickson has asked for his transfer or not it has been clear to many for months that he might go if Everton were to find themselves in a position to allow it; the fact that Harris (J) seems likely to be able to fill the Everton centre forward position means that Everton could take Wednesday’s or any other club’s £20,000 cheque and use it to good advantage. Manager Cliff Britton’s view on the Hickson position last night was “I can say nothing at all at the moment until I’ve said what I’ve got to say to the player. That is a principle to which the club always adheres,” he added. “It would be unwise to base our actions on hearsay.” Hickson who played in the Everton Central League team last night was not available at Everton’s Newcastle hotel.
NEWCASTLE RES 1, EVERTON RES 1
September 1, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton reserves were rather unfortunate not to take the two points from this Central League game last night. Their much better football justified it but Newcastle’s goalkeeper, Thompson foiled them. Newcastle had only fighting spirit as a supreme quality but could never match the skill of their opponents in attack or defence. Newcastle had centre forward Monkhouse injured and a heavly strapped passenger at outside right for the whole of the second half. Cummings scored for Newcastle and Saunders for Everton.
September 1, 1954. The Liverpool Echo
The Harris Boys Shaped Well In Blues’ “New Look” Forward Line
Everton are gradually getting back into the good books of their followers who were well pleased with what they saw against West Bromwich Albion last night, not only of the new-look forward line but of the team as a whole. The 2-0 victory following that at Burnley on Saturday, brings the Blues average up to a point a game in four outings, which is consoling enough after the gloom engendered by that depressing display against Preston North End ten days ago. It was not until the game was half an hour old, however, that the home crowd commenced to breathe really freely. For the first ten minutes hey saw too many Everton players making too many passes to men in striped shirts to be at ease. Then came the first joy of the night, when a fine piece of combination between Eglington, Fielding and Jimmy Harris saw the latter push the ball back for Fielding to ram it into the net. It is a pleasure to see Fielding score at any time for the making of goals rather than the taking of them has always been his main force. Though this goal calmed down the previously rather jittery Everton team somewhat it also seemed to spur on the opposition. Albion swarmed round the home goal and after Nicholls, lee, and Carter had strong shots only just off the mark, and Jones had kicked away another effort by Nicholls which would have provided a “sitter” for Griffin there came a couple of miraculous escapes in as few seconds when the ball twice struck an Everton defender as it was on its way to the back of the net. The only Everton shot of note in this 20 minutes period was one by Potts which Sanders saved smartly.
Defence In A Tangle
A mix up in the Albion goalmouth at the 31 minute saw Everton go two up through Jimmy Harris. It was good work by the other Harris which won a corner when Sanders misfielded his shot and following the flag kick, Kennedy, Sanders and Barlow got in such a tangle that centre-forward Jimmy Harris was able to hook the ball in as all three fell to the ground. He took his chance very smartly. From that point onwards Everton had their tails right up and the longer the game went, apart from the last ten minutes or so the better did they play. Passes which lither to had been going astray were now pin-point accurately. Players who had been slow to move into the open spaces were now speeding there as by instinct and the side which had been struggling more than a bit was at last full of confidence in itself.
Albion On The Collar
A quick throw-in by Brian Harris to his namesake saw the latter hit a great left-foot shot which was brilliantly saved by Sanders. Eglington took some of the whitewash from the foot of the post; Brian Harris headed narrowly over with a great effort from Fielding’s canny pass, and it was the visitors who were on the collar for a time against a speedy and progressive Everton. Albion, however, had no intension of giving up without a struggle and O’Neill had to make two great saves from Carter and Nicholls. The visitors carved out almost as many openings as Everton, but their shooting though strong, lacked direction, and O’Neill was able to watch most of their efforts fly wide of the woodwork. Carter came in for a demonstration of disapproval for a foul on Potts and was booed at intervals for some time afterwards. Yet when he made one of Albion’s best scoring efforts he was roundly applauded. Or maybe the crowd was being ironical because he shot outside. I wouldn’t know for certain. Though Everton faded away in attack in the closing stages which was not surprising after their tremendous efforts, the Albion never looked like breaking down the solid home defence.
A Good Start
This was the first view by the home supporters of Brian and Jimmy Harris and what they saw pleased the vast majority. It is a big test for any youngster of comparatively tender years to make his debut. It is more nerve-wracking still to come in at a time when the “knockers” have been on the war-path and dire disaster is foretold. Both these lads shaped extremely well. Jimmy Harris had a splendid turn of speed; he can control the ball well, he can shoot strongly and he showed intelligence both in his passing and the manner in which he anticipated the trend of play by moving into the right spot at the right time. I dislike making dogmatic judgments on the basis of one display but should be prepared to take the risk of saying that on this exhibition Jimmy Harris looks as though he has come to stay. Brian Harris also shaped well on the right wing. He too, is speedy and intelligent Potts may seem a little slow by comparison at times but he worked tremendously hard and after he had got over his early mispassing spells played a vital part in the victory.
Veterans Did Well
The rest of the side composed of old stagers apart from Tansey did their parts nobly, Farrell and Lello were excellent in all respects; Jones has rarely had a better game; Fielding was a first-class tactician and schemer and though I have seen Eglington more dangerous he passed muster all right. Tansy and Moore were sound, and the former, more or less” on trial” like the Harris boys, had every reason to be satisfied with his performance. Albion on this showing are not the force they were a couple of seasons ago. The forward line was woefully erractic in its finishing though Nicholls frequently had hard lines, Barlow was always ready to try a shot and is a great attacking half-back, while Kennedy also is not afraid to leave his best when the opportunity presents itself. There’s a long way to got yet, and Everton may be more severely tested than they were last night, but the position is already looking better than it did ten days ago.
HICKSON TRANSFER MOVES
September 2, 1955, The Liverpool Echo
Several Clubs Inquire
No Request For Froggatt
Sheffield Wednesday are not the club likely to be in the running for the transfer of Hickson, Everton’s centre forward. At least a few other managers have contact with Cliff Britton. During the summer the Hillsbrough club signed Roy Shiner an experience centre forward from Huddersfield Town, so that they are not in the game desperate straits they were when they first inquired about Hickson last December.
Mr. Britton today emphatically denied the story that Everton had asked Sheffield Wednesday for Redfern Froggatt in part exchange, along with a cheque, for Hickson. “It is a pure figment at imagination with not an atom of truth in it,” he said. “I have had no discussion with anybody at Sheffield regarding any player in part exchange. If a deal goes through with them it will be a straight cash transaction. In addition to Sheffield Wednesday other clubs are also decidedly interested in Hickson’s future. It could e that one of these, whose name has not yet been coupled with the player, will be the one to make the signing.
Preston North End were among those who put in an inquiry, but according to Mr. Frank Hill, their manager, the price rules them out. Preston would still be interested if the figure comes down but not at what they were first asked. Preston could do with a centre forward who can score goals. They have never satisfactorily filled the position since Charlie Wayman went to Middlesbrough last September. They have tried six players there in the past 12 months. Hatsell the latest occupant of the berth is omitted from the team to meet Birmingham tomorrow and Foster, who has never previously led the attack is being given a trail.
For the game against Luton Town at Goodison tomorrow Everton will field the same side as defeated West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; Harris (B), Potts, Harris (J), Fielding, Eglington.
LUTON AT GOODISON
September 2, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
After their encouraging victory over West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday evening Everton will not be lacking in confidence about the outcome of tomorrow’s match which brings newly promoted Luton Town to Goodison Park. Town finished runners up in the second Division last season with 54 points and only Birmingham’s superior goal average deprived them of the championship. Town began their First Division career with a 2-2 draw at Charlton a fortnight ago and lost by the odd goal in three at Preston before recording their first victory in their initial home fixture, Tottenham were defeated 2-1 and revenge was taken over Preston on Wednesday by the same score. Five points out of eight is good going for a side new to the top flight, especially as injuries have already been in evidence. Davies and Taylor the original wingers have both been laid aside and Manager Dally Duncan has had further troubles with knocks sustained by reserve forward.; fortunately the defence has steered clear of trouble and the same six men have appeared in all four games to date. Goalkeeper Bayham supplanted international Streton last term and has held the place ever since behind Luton’s two international full backs, the Irishmen, Dunne and Aherne.
Owen who has three times represented England is the defensive hub at centre half, flanked by two hard workers in local boy Morton and Malteseborn Shanks. Inside right Gordon Turner, scorer of 37 League and Cup goals last season, has been on the mark twice so far, while South African centre-forward MacEwan has three and winger Cullen one. The other Town scorer to date is former Everton inside left George Cummins, who needs little introduction to Goodison patrons. Luton were one of the first teams to introduce the continental style attire of short-sleeved vests and brief shorts. They play a speedy brand of football too as those who saw their 4-4 draw at Anfield last April will testify. The majority of their side have appeared at Goodison before in Everton’s second Division days so the majestic Goodison ground will not over-awe them. Whether the two Harrieses whose speed will rival that of Town’s –can put the cat among the pigeons remains to be seen. Certainly if they play as well as against the Albion they need have no fears about letting the side down. Town are not likely to get much change out of Everton’s rearguard on Wednesday form and though there may not be a great deal in it at the finish I fancy Everton to tuck another home win under their belts. Luton will field the same side at that which defeated Preston North End 2-1 at Kenilworth Road on Wednesday. On the basis of this Luton victory and Preston’s swamping of Everton a fortnight ago it might seem mathematically speaking, that Everton have little chance. But fortunately football does not work on Euclician lines and I am hopeful of the outcome. Luton Town; Baynham; Dunne, Aherne; Morton, Owen, Shanks; Cullens, Turner, McEwan, Cummins, Groves.
AWARNING –LUTON ARE A FINE SIDE
September 3, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
The new Everton make their second bow at Goodison Park this afternoon when “Dally” Duncan’s newly promoted Luton Town make their First Division debut here. Everton are as against Albion with the two Harrises in the attack and there are hopes that Luton will not be given opportunity, as Albion were last Wednesday to make the opening ten minutes so testing. On their own confined ground Luton are liable to beat anyone. Here an Everton who began as they finished against Albion should win, but I warn them that Luton have been well schooled in football arts and that goalkeeper Baynham, who had displaced Stretan, is a goalkeeper far above average. The chance to get a further look at the Harrises is one that will be taken by many, In think the attendance will show that most Evertonians have been attracted to the club again. In spite of their earlier disappointment. Everton; O’Neill’ Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; Harris (B.), Potts, Harris (J.), Fielding and Eglington. Luton Town; Baynham; Dunne, Ahearne; Morton, Owen, Shanks; Cullen, Turner, McaEwan, Cummins and Groves.
HICKSON FOR VILLA AT FEE OF £25,000
September 3, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
By Leslie Edwards
After final negotiations in a Liverpool hotel late last night, Manager Cliff Britton announced the transfer, to Aston Villa, at a fee of about £25,000, of Dave Hickson, the Everton centre forward. Mr. Britton said; “If David serpas his new club well as has served us they will be well satisfied,” Hickson’s reaction was “I am relieved it is all over.” Now I can concentrate on football again.”
The final drama in the Everton career of Dave Hickson, the Stormiest Petrel who ever set foot on a soccer pitch, was played out last night at the offices of the club, at Goodison Park, and later at a Liverpool hotel. Hickson was present at Goodison Park instructed by Manager Britton to attend at 6.30 because an import visitor was expected. While he waited outside the ground Hickson had no idea which club had come for him. Maybe he suspected it was Sheffield Wednesday. If he did he was wrong. The Villian of this signing piece was not Mr. Eric Taylor, of Wednesday (who had offered £20,000 for Hickson last season), but the Aston Villa manager and former winger, Mr. Eric Houghton. And Mr. Houghton landed his prize, though it cost him about £25,000 to do it. The scene as Hickson waited to be called to say yes or no to the club keenest to buy his services was almost poignant. There, in the hugh stadium which Hickson had known as the idal of crammed terraces, there in the silence of a dressing room far below where negotiations were taking place, Hickson the fiery young man of twenty-five with most of his career still to come, sat and chatted with the oldest Everton inhabitant, ageless Harry Cooke, first a player, then a trainer and now a guide-and counselor who has seen them all come and go at Goodison Park and when recounts the deeds of a Dean as though they happened yesterday.
News that two Midland clubs were interested in Hickson – and that one of them was almost certainty Aston Villa – was given exclusively in the Daily Post yesterday. Mr. Houghton left Birningham by car at mid-day yesterday after a telephone call to Everton advising them that he meant business. Only when the Villa manager’s car drew up outside Goodison Park as Hickson waited to enter the Everton offices did Hickson learn that he would be likely to be asked to wear the claret and blue of Villa today at Huddersfield and not the stripes of Sheffield Wednesday. Undoubtedly Villa’s interest in Hickson dated from the moment his fine solo goal for Everton at Villa sent Everton into the F.A Cup semi-final and proved him to be above all, a man who could win a man off his own broad shoulders. Villa played badly that day, but Hickson’s name, as a centre forward no defence could lightly dismiss went into the archives.
Hickson might well have gone to the club which has sought him so long, Sheffield Wednesday, yesterday, but the Wednesday offer –not so large as that they offered when they were originally interested –was turned down. Though Wednesday may have had thoughts of a player-exchange Everton were firm in their decision to make the deal cash-or-nothing. When I first heard of Hickson it was from the man for whom he used to run office errands at an Ellesmere Port Oil refinery. He spoke of the boy as being full of high spirits and a great centre forward in the making. Within a few seasons he Army cadet boy Dixie Dean had coached in heading was hear his debut in the Everton first team and from the first moment he appeared in League football his uninhibited play caused him to be a marked man by crowds, players an referees. No club even possessed a player with such virility and toughness, no club ever found their following so divided into pro and anti-Hickson camps. It was not that Hickson was keen to be so vigorous but that his enthusiasm for the cause and his quick temper created differences which were not always quickly resolved. Off the field he was quiet as a lamb; on it he was a tornado in football boots when the half-chance offered and he thought he might carry the day with weight and drive. He gave knocks and took them, not always without demur and the rank and file of the Everton crowd idolized him though some more discerning suggested that his style, however effective was not characteristically Everton’s.
Yet Hickson was not always an Everton Managarial dish. There were times when he was rested and those put in to do his job were so ineffective the bold David virtually re-instated himself. Once he become a regular only injury kept him out, and oddly he had few spells of this. My belief that Hickson can be of International class if he over-enthusiasm remains unshaken. He is splendid “in the air” and is an unselfish a player as ever kicked a ball but he still backs the guile which will send an opponent the wrong way. That “shock of long, lank light hair, that rip-snorting burst for goal; that unselfishness of Hickson’s will be missed at Everton. Only the fact that young “Bomber” Harris the twenty-one year-old who has admirably filled Hickson’s place, shows such promise prevents Everton followers from doing more then gently deplore Hickson’s going. I once spent the best part of four hours listening to manager Britton explaining Hickson, the footballer, at a time when the player’s name was on all lips, notably those of players who had clashed with him on the field. To sum up a short but eventual Everton career, and a man who may have been misunderstood by spectators and by those against whom he played I recall the story of Everton and Hickson sitting in their compartment at Lime Street Station waiting for their train to move out. The guard’s whistle blew. Hickson popped his head out of the window and calling to the man with the flag asked “What have I done now.” The import difference between that and the same question asked on the field is the referees were usually able to tell him.
LUTON PUT “TOP HAT” ON EVERTON REVIVAL
September 3, 1955. The Liverpool Football Echo
Harris Boys Do Well But No Luck
Everton; O’Neill, goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Farrell (captain), Jones and Lello, half-backs; Harris (B), Potts, Harris (J), Fielding and Eglington, forwards. Luton Town;- Baynham, goal; Dunne, and Aherne, backs; Moreton, Owen and Shanks, half-backs; Cullen, Turner, MacEwan, Cunnings (captain), and Groves, forwards. Referee; Mr. F.L. Overton (Derby). George Cummins the former Everton inside forward was captain for the day of the visiting side against his old colleagues and on winning the toss set Everton to face the sun. Jimmy Harris with the departure of Hickson was clearly intent on showing what he could do right from the start and one run of 20 yards saw him clearly out pacing Owen and saving a ball which was going out. It was too far from goal however, for him to threaten any danger.
It was Harris again who outpaced the opposition and swung the ball across from the right to provide a shooting chance for Potts. The latter hit the ball first time it struck Aherne on the arm. There was an appeal for a penalty from Potts as well as a large section of the crowd but the referee waved it aside. Luton bore down twice in quick succession on the Everton goal, but without producing a shot. The third time they were more fortunate and when MacEwan, out on the right wing pulled the ball to Cullen, the latter hit a first time drive which O’Neill fielded as he was falling. Dunne cut across to cover Owen and take charge of a centre from Harris (J), who once more had darted through and crossed a centre of nice length.
Off-The Mark Shots
The first quarter of an hour had seen Everton the more dominating side and Luton, who have made an excellent start to there first ever season in the top flight were not looking as good as anticipated. Turner tried a 25-yard shot which flashed over the bar, Cummins and his former skipper Farrell had a tussle which ended with harious event. A free kick o Everton in the centre circle produced another home raid who saw the ball bobbing about in the Luton penalty area until Baynham came out to take charge of both the ball and the situation. It was from Baynham clearance that Luton got away again only for Turner once more to be off the mark with his shooting. Potts declined to make a first time shot after good work. Farrell and Eglington had run him in a favorable position. He preferred to offer the ball to Harris (B) whose toe-ender was safely caught y Baynham who a moment later dealt in similar fashion with a shot cum-centre by Jimmy Harris. Harris (J) got a cheer for a clever back heel which allowed Tansey to take a strong shot from 35 yards. Baynham once more caught the ball confidently, despite falling full length over the other Harris as he was doing it.
Jimmy Harris was still showing speed to his advantage and was working tremendously hard, figuring alternately on either extreme wing as well as in the middle. It was when he was at outside left that he cheekily put the ball between Dunne leg’s to provide a half chance to Potts. It was nothing more than that for the latter had his back to the goal but when the Everton inside men back-heeled the ball almost took Baynham by surprise. George Cummins showed a bit of his clever footwork on a couple of occasions but for some minutes now Luton had been almost exclusively in the defence. The most difficult thing O’Neill had to do all through was to collect a pass back by Lello. It was just a little of the right line which meant O’Neill had to dive for it. Harris (J) got another rally for a smart bit of work when he killed a pass from his namesake and then in almost the same motion hit a powerful right foot shot which flashed like a bullet a yard outside the upright.
A Timely interception by Tommy Jones prevented Morton’s square pass reaching MacEwan. It was a good job he did for the centre forward would have been an almost certain scorer from eight yards. Jones struck out his foot to concede a corner which brought Luton nothing whereas if luck had been with them they might have had a goal. Turner teed up the ball for Cummins to take a left foot shot from just outside the penalty area to which O’Neill had to dive, and then Turner himself had a go without getting anything like the same power behind his attempt. Luton were now having a bigger proportion of the play than earlier, but were still producing nothing as good as one had anticipated. The visiting forward line was carried with the same brush as Everton in that they frequently tried to work the ball just one move too many. I must exclude Jimmy Harris from this, however, so far as Everton were concerned, and Hickson’s successor earned more applause when he hit a strong shot with his left foot which was not more than a yard on the wrong side of the post. This evidence that Harris can shoot with either foot very clearly pleased the crowd.
Easy For Baynham
Harris (B) made it easy for Baynham on three occasions when he crossed the half-high by the air too close to goal and the Luton custodian had nothing to do but pluck the ball out of the air. The crowd applauded Harris but actually none of the attempts was a really good one. In fact the ball for some time now had been far too much in the air and we had not seen a great deal of really intelligent stylish play. Cullen from the inside left position delivered a 30 yard shot which churning away from O’Neill all the time. The Everton goalkeeper did well to clutch it safely at the last second. Some of Potts passes had been ideal and even though he was not always quick enough to be in the right spot for the return he had done his part well in helping to bring the best out of the Harris boys.
Half-time; Everton Nil, Luton Town Nil.
Luton started the second half progressively with Cullen and Cummins both seeing strong shots strike defenders and with the visiting side as a whole showing brighter ideas, than at any previous periods. A crossfield pass by Groves saw Cullen give Turner a possible chance but the latter lost the ball in the air against the sun so that Lello stepped in to clear.
For some minutes play produced little of note apart from some hearty endeavour and more than a few misplaced passes Cullen had a likely looking shot blocked away by Moore and than Potts shot straight at Baynham following a corner taken by Harris (B.). Everton’s wingers continued to put the ball to Jimmy Harris high in the air instead of giving him a chance to beat Owen by his speed and tricks. A free kick against Potts taken by Cummins almost produced a goal to Cullen. Tansey kicking the ball away off his toe for a corner in the nick of time. Immediately after this MacEwan missed a great chance when Turner squared the ball and all the Luton leader had to do was tap it into the net from three yards. This was a bad miss, but a lucky escape for Everton. Luton were still showing much better form than in the first half but the ball still far too often in the air the game had developed slip as a spectacle.
Luton continued to look the more dominating team for almost all the punch had gone out of the Everton attack and the defence was having all its work cut out to keep the visitors in check. Cullen had become quite a force in the visiting attack and Luton were always ready to take a first time shot even in their directors was sometimes at fault. At the 63rd minute, Luton gained heir reward when Cullen after swarmed round Tansey and crossed a ball into the middle when only a couple of yards from the corner flag O’Neill and Jones both failed to cut it out and MacEwan had the simplest of tasks in nodding the ball into the empty net.
Although this was a blow to the home crowd there was no denying that Everton had gone off very night this half and the visiting side deserved to be in front. After Lello had two shots each of which took an opponent and Potts had once more refused to have a go himself, Luton were swarming around the Everton goal again and only some desperate defensive measures kept the Hatters at bay. Jimmy Harris who had little chance this half to distinguish himself largely because the ball was so often in the air, where Owen was his master at last got a half opportunity but an awkwardly bouncing ball caused him to screw his shot badly. Everton were now struggling. What little rhythm and polish their had had earlier seemed to have entirely deserted them, and with the forward line fading out the defence was very much on the collar.
The Slow Handclap
A section of the crowd started the slow handclap with 20 minutes remaining though it is difficult to imagine what it was hoped his would do, beyond letting those in authority know of the onlookers displeasure. Luton were how almost cheeky in their confidence and George Cummins started to play exhibition football and one run in which he beat three men might have brought another goal. His final shot flashed just over the bar. Everton now looked disjointed and dispirited through Eglington might have put new heart into them if he had been able to slot the ball home from eight yards instead of hooking it yards wide.
With five minutes to go Everton at last made a belated revival but the ball would not run for them, and each time danger threatened Luton managed to scramble though safely. Final; Everton nil, Luton 1. Official attendance 44.337.
EVERTON PICK UP POINTS
September 3, 1955. The Liverpool Football Echo
By Peter Farrell
The onlook from an Everton viewpoint in certainty a lot brighter than it was after the opening two games of the season, impressive of what has happened in today’s game with Luton. Our recent games show the hand fate plays in deciding certain games. I reckon our game with West Bromwich at the Hawthorns as our best showing from a team point of view this season as well as our best display of football, the only trouble being that we didn’t round off our excellent approach work with goals. Yet, in the last two games against both Burnley and West Brom without reaching the heights of our display at the Hawthorns, we secured full points in each match. I don’t think I can let the Burnley game pass without paying my tribute to the display of Jimmy O’Neill. You have already read the glowing tributes paid to Jimmy by the critics. Suffice it for me to say that it was one of the finest displays of goalkeeping I have ever seen. Nor must we forget the displays of the two newcomers Brian and Jimmy Harris in the games, against Burnley and West Brom. It was rather a big responsibity for these two youngster to come into the side at a time when the Blues were both goalless and pointless. Yet I think you will agree that both of them although still having a long way to ho before proving they have made the grade, have got off to a good start, and with the experience of more games should go on improving. There is a lot of talk recently about the poor standard of football in England but rarely do we hear any criticizes of these people who critcise the game. Mind you, I am not trying to defend the declining standard of football in this country as I think we all agree that we have fallen behind our Continental friends in the arts and crafts of the game. Furthermore everyone is entitled to one’s own opinion but surely the only criticism that eventually does any good it constructive criticism. Reading reports in the national Press as well as listening to commentators on radio and television it appears to me that there is a modern trend among some of these people to belittle instead of giving us the rights and wrongs of the game. In support of this I should like to mention one report I read concerning our game with West Bromwich Albion which stated that there was hardly two minutes of constructive football in the whole game. I suppose it was an honest opinion, but how it was arrived at puzzles me, when everyone to whom I spoke who witnessed the game considered it an excellent display by both sides. Then again I see a sports columnists belittling our new directors entrance and lounges at Goodison and stating it would have been far better had Everton added a little extra and brought a player or players instead of proceeding with these improvements. This again I presume was an honest opinion, but surely in very bad taste. Again perhaps some of these people haven’t the necessary knowledge of the game to offer constructive criticism or maybe they consider they know more about the problems of clubs than managers and directors who have spent a lifetime in football. Last Saturday, Jock Lindsay took his first really important step on the road back to complete fitness when he turned out for Everton “C” at Bellefield. This was Jock’s first game for nearly 18 months, and he celebrated his return by captaining the team to a 7-0 victory. Jock told me he was pleased with the way things turned out, and despite going into a few very heavy tackles during the game he had no ill effects. Lindsay fully realizes that there is a big difference between playing for the “C” team and the first team, also that he has a little way to go yet before starting to fight for his place in the Blues side. Still Jock has got the courage and tenacity to make a complete come-back. There is also good news from the Everton casualty camp concerning Tony McNamara. I have never seen anyone recover so quickly from a cartilage operation and it shouldn’t be long before Tony is fighting fit again.
ASTON VILLA SIGN HICKSON OF EVERTON FOR £20,000
September 3, 1955. The Liverpool Football Echo
To Make His Debut In Game on Monday
Dave Hickson the Everton centre forward who was put on the transfer list at his own request after last Tuesday’s board meeting, was transferred last night to Aston Villa at a fee of about £20,000. Up to 6.30 p.m. yesterday Hickson had no idea Aston Villa were keen to secure his services. He was in attendance at Goodison at that time as requested by manager Cliff Britton and Mr. Eric Houghton, the Villa manager only arrived by car after having telephoned the club at mid-day intimating the interval. The negotiations were long and protracted for it was not until later in the evening after consultation both at Goodison and at a Liverpool hotel, that it was finally announced by Mr. Britton from the latter venue that Hickson had signed for the Midland club. One of the most discussed ad controversial players of modern times thus starts a new career to fresh colours. He should do his new club a power of good, and if he can finally conquer his rather pugnacious temperament –which he genuinely tried to do all last season – he has it in him to become one of the best centre forwards in the country. Whatever his faults, however, and he never attempts to deny them, Hickson always gave to his last ounce of endeavour in Everton’s cause. Many a time his great fighting spirit and sheer determination helped to achieve victory in a game which had seemed to be almost irretrievably lost.
His goals were invaluable when Everton got to the semi-final of the F.A Cup in 1953, and if it is possible for any one man to be staged out as the biggest contributors to their promotion success I should name Hickson for the honour. When Everton returned to the First Division he endeavoured to play a more studied and less robust type of game and to a large extent succeeded. Hickson was born in Salford but brought up at Ellesmere Port. Aged 25, he signed for Everton just before his 14th birthday later playing for Liverpool County F.A. sides. After his National Service, part of which was spent abroad he signed professional forms in May, 1948. For three years he appeared regularly in the Central League side, until a five goal feat against Sheffield Wednesday Reserves clinched his promotion to the senior early in `1951-52.
Dropped Last Week
Apart from occasional brief spells he has since been recognised as the first team centre forward until a week ago, when he was dropped for the games against Burnley and West Browmich Albion. During his senior career at Goodison Hickson played in 151 League and Cup matches and scored 69 goals. During the promotion season of 1953-54 he scored 24 times in 40 Second Division matches.
Hickson’s debut for Villa will not be until Monday evening’s game against newly promoted Birmingham City though he travelled by road today with the Villa manager to meet his new team mates at Huddersfield where they had a League engagement.
WHY I LEFT EVERTON
September 3, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
By Dave Hickson
(In an Interval with Ranger)
At last the parting of the ways has come. I am glad that the Everton directors, who have never sought to keep a player who was not happy granted my transfer request and that I can now start to remould my career with Aston Villa. If anybody had told me a few years ago that the time would come when I should went to leave Goodison Park I should have denied it emphatically. It was the proudest day of my life when I first signed as an amateur for Everton nearly 12 years ago, and I was just as thrilled when I made the grade sufficiently to become a full time professional. It is always a rather sad business breaking old association and in some respects I am sorry to be leaving Merseyside but if my new club provides as good a set of club mates as I have had the pleasure of being associated with at Goodison, I shall be happy. Everybody has been stopping me in the street these last couple of days and asking me why I wanted to leave a club like Everton, which is supposed to be one of the best in the country from the player’s point of view. I have every respect for Mr. Britton as a manager and as a man, and fully realize he has a very difficult task to perform. It is no easy job looking after a large number of professionals of varying temperaments. Obviously there must be occasions when his verdict does not meet with the approval of the person concerned. Realizing this I have always tried to put myself in the position when, as happened last week I was dropped from the first team. I know there are only eleven places to fill, and if the manager feels that I am not good enough for one of them then that is all right by me. What upset me last week, however was that in addition to being left out of the first team at Burnley I was not even included in the Central league side. Mr. Britton took me aside to tell me this, and said he intended to give me a rest from football. He may have had perfectly good reasons for this from his own point of view, it is not for me to quarrel with his decision. But I also have my own viewpoint and it was a big blow to know that after having over three months holiday Mr. Britton felt it was necessary for me to be rested again so soon. As even my sternest critics will, I think willingly admit, I have always given of my best in the interests of Everton. I had been looking forward eagerly to the new season and to doing better than ever before, if possible. I was certainly determined that I would make a superhuman effort. I wanted to see the Goodison club repeating the performances which so pleased its supports in the first half of last winter. I know we fell away very badly after we were knocked out of the Cup by Liverpool but I felt that we could get back most, if not all of our previous form. All through the summer holidays I had been building up my hopes for the coming campaign. It was a shock to be left out of things so early in the season. I went away to think the matter over quietly for a short while, and then went back to Mr. Britton and told him that as I did not seem to have his full confidence I felt it would be better if I was put on the transfer list. Lest anybody should think I did this because of a “big head” complex I hope they will accept my assurance that this was not so. Whatever my fault and I know I have plenty, that is not one of them. Neither as it a question of money, because my contract with Everton is not on a sliding scale. It provides for maximum wages whether in the first or second team, and even not playing at all. Football is not just a means of livelihood to me, it is my hobby as well as my work and have always been miserable when not playing on a Saturday. I would have been quite happy to figure in the “A” team last week rather than have the day off. I pointed this out to Mr. Britton but he still said he felt that a rest would be advantageous. As most people will know, I was in the Central league side the following Wednesday against Newcastle Reserves at St. James’s Park and had one of my most enjoyable away trips for a long time. All I was concerned about was that I was in one of the tams. Meanwhile, however my request for a transfer had gone in, I now had to consider whether I should withdraw this or not. I did not make a hurried decision. I gave the matter plenty of thought, and eventually came to the conclusion, not without considerable reluctance that under all the circumstances it would be advisable, If I made a clean start somewhere else. When I go back from Newcastle on Thursday afternoon Mr. Britton was at Lime Street Station and ran me up to the club in his car for a talk. The first thing he asked me was whether I was still of the same mind, I said I was. He then told me that matter had come before the directors on the previous Tuesday evening and that If I did not ask for my request to be cancelled they were agreeable to considering offers from other clubs for me. That was all hat took place between us. Mr. Green, the club’s chairman was present at the interview which occupied less than ten minutes and when it was over he and Mr. Britton very sportingly wished me all success in the future. There were no recrimination on either side. Not that I expected any. I know well enough that Everton’s attitude has always been that they do not wish to keep a player who feels he has cause to be dissatisfied. I have always been contented enough at Goodison in the past, but after looking at the position from every possible angle, I still felt that it was in my best interests to get away. My aim with my new club as it has always been at Everton will be to do my utmost to please both my employers and the public. At this critical juncture in my life I would like to thank all those Everton followers who have been so kind to me over the past four years. Nobody realizes more than I do that on occasions I have been a bit of a “bad lad” I have sometimes done things on the field or said things to referees which I have regretted when I have had time to reflect. I do not attempt to justify them. I plead guilty but would like to say in partial extenuation that everything I have done has arisen solely out of my desire for the success and well being of the club which has employed me. I don’t want to say anything about my record with Everton. I will leave those who support the club to make their own judgment. If I have failed in any particularly way it has not been for want of trying. I shall always have a soft spot for Everton in my heart, and hope that the future will see them regain all their old glory. One last word I wish Jimmy Harris who looks as though he will be my successor the best of luck. I was pleased to know he had such a good game on Wednesday against West Bromwich Albion and hope that he will continue in the same vein.
LEEDS RES V EVERTON RES
September 3, 1955. The Liverpool Football Echo
Everton Res;- Leyland, goal; Sutherland and Rankin, backs; Birch, Melvlle, and Saunders, half-backs; Saunders, Thomas, Lewis, Parker, Canavan, forwards. Leeds United Res;- Scott, goal; Dawson and Ashall, backs; Gunby, Charlton and Parker, half-backs; Victors, Nightingale, Woodhouse, Henderson and Overfield, forwards. Referee; Mr. M. Stone (Sheffield). Though Leeds had most of the play at the start Everton opened the score at 10 minutes. The first time shot by Lewis giving Scott no chance of saving. Maintaining their superiority Lewis put Everton further ahead with a smart header after 20 minutes. Half-time; Leeds United Reds nil, Everton Res 2.
A HANDICAP WHICH IS NOTHING BUT A HANDICAP
September 5, 155. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 0, Luton Town 1
A word in the ear of the slow-clapping spectator…in the bitter cold of mid-winter it would serve a useful band if not heart-warming purpose; in the sunny serenity of Goodison Park and with you team carrying three young men trying hard to justify themselves (and some older ones equally trying to justify themselves) slow clapping has nothing –but absolutely nothing –co commend it. Do the stupid who create this bane of all events sporting think their derision helps to snap a team into renewed endeavour. If they do they have a poor knowledge of psychology. No slow-clapping can only do harm. How can one expect a player to give his utmost when people treat them so shamefully. Fans have their means of redress –they can stay away. No one wants them to but better that than to cheer first-half effort and stay to deride merely because the other team, not their’s has taken the only goal of the match. None will convince me that Everton’s eleven were not doing their utmost before the epidemic of slow-clapping broke out, none can convince m that men trying to play football to the accompaniment of this disgraceful back ground of sound will be jerked into higher standards of play.
Not His Fault
Given a goal the Everton crowd might have gone away happy. Denied one many went away with the word Hickson on the lips. Yet in one half –the first –young “Bomber” Harris had done as much as any centre forward could short of scoring. Not his fault chances were so few later on or that Sid Owen a talented and experienced centre half should establish such supremacy “in the air” I look forward to more of Harris to more of those timely, back-heeled touches which flummoxed the defence so completely to the cheeky use of placing a pass through the outstretched legs of a defence and what a great goal Potts would have gained, had his flick from the offering, deceived the excellent Baynham. Admitting that too many passes by both teams went astray, this was not the awful match many thought it had some almost Continental movement from Luton (whose best winger, Pearce on the right used to wear the red of Anfield as an amateur); it offered some typical tortuous dribbling by George Cummins and enough Everton movement, first half to have earned the line and Harris one goal, if not two. But first half memories soon fade when your team has lost 1-0 and I am afraid many who follow Everton went home forgetting the side’s goo half and the pleasure it save.
Everton’s trouble, I thought, was that Farrell and Lello, usually dominating forces were completely dominated. Other factors which contributed towards Everton’s ordinariness concerned Fielding and Potts. Fielding has scarcely ever had a game in which he consistently did the wrong thing (normally, he is so right in all his moves and passes!) and Potts naturally tired when Luton a fit, young team, maintained the earlier pace and held the ball cleverly and tactically while Everton winded themselves in the chase. Elsewhere on this page is an excerpt from the Everton programme. It will interest fans to know that Manager Britton believes that Tansey might well have taken spectatorial advice when faced by Pearce in the game’s critical moment. Instead of holding off and forcing Pearce to pass he dived into a tackle and Pearce formerly of Winsford flicked the ball in a Matthews way to round his man and deliver the centre from which MacEwan scored. This goal at 63 minutes was decisive. The move which produced it was less deserving than many Everton had made; but that is football I am thinking particularly of one standing start half-volley by young Harris and one or two other early runs Harris made.
The Best Shot
Cummins, enjoying a succession of lucky breaks in a sequence of three tackles went on to deliver the game’s best shot; this one Lello’s sturdy frame aborted in other circumstances O’Neill would have faced its tremendous speed, O’Neill from a swerving Cummins shot made one of the game’s many good catches, Baynham, whom I knew to be first-class delighted friend and foe with the cleanness of his catching. Times change in football years ago if players had used the waiting moments before kick-off to indulge themselves in juggerley of the ball, people would have thought them affected. Now Luton players were early on the scene and demonstrated as did the Hungarians at Wembley in the foot-and-head control of the ball, which is the basis of a footballer’s ability. Luton had many ideas, but their finishing was poor and Everton’s defence which played well enough defensively, were able to keep the margin as narrow as possible. I fear Farrell and Lello these busy early-season days tire easily, and with Potts nursing a stomach injury the area in the centre of the field was too often dominated for Everton’s comfort by the others.
Any More Please?
Everton fans ask “Has Mr. Britton any more at home like the Harrises” Much depends on the answer, Everton are not gone to spent their £25,000 cheque for Hickson wastefully if they spend it at all. They believe that the day when a club could go into the market and but the player they wanted has gone. They believe that even if they brought John Charles they would not have brought a player who has what they believe to be “everything” a player must have. Luton show the stamp of the diddling, dallying Duncan, their manager. They should stay in the First Division. Their defence is one of the best and they have good young forwards who should get heaps of goals when they find shots and concentrate as hard on the completion of attacks as they do at their start. Meanwhile we must wait and see, how Everton fare in the change from one era to another. Time marches and with it inevitably footballers whose years of service cannot continue forever.
THIS WILL INTEREST EVERYONE WHO WATCHES SOCCER
September 5, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
The Everton F.C programme contained the following paragraphs on Saturday. We are glad to bring Manager Cliff Britton’s sensible views to the notice of tens of thousands of readers, where at Goodison Park, they may have been read by only a percentage of the 40,000 present;-
“Our Central League team had made a fairly satisfactory start to the season. They are undefeated so far but three points have been dropped as three games, out of four played have been drawn. “In the opening match at home against Newcastle United Reserves, our team who average age was twenty-one years, gave a first class exhibition of football. The result -3-2-as a secondary matter. “Today results have assumed an important out of all keeping with the world SPORT. The majority of fans do not go to see an entertaining game of football but to see their team WIN. As this is what the customers want, clubs are forever striving to build winning teams. “While results are important to the Central League and Junior teams, they are not so vital as they are to the senior team. In all the teams below the first team, the players are preparing themselves for the time when they become senior players. The vital factor then is HOW they are playing individually and as a team. If they are doing this correctly, the right results will follow. “That is why it was pleasing during the match against Newcastle Reserves to hear a spectator who shouted some unsound advice to a young player, shouted down instanteously by a large section of the crowd. It is as well to try to see what the player is attempting to do as what he actually does. “Recently, much has been written about our standard of football in this country and what should be done to improve it. One of the biggest factors in helping to raise out standard would be for spectators to encourage and show their appreciation to all those players –especially the young ones who are more affected by crowd opinions –who are endeavoring to play intelligent football.”
LEEDS UNITED RES 1, EVERTON RES 2
September 5, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton won on merit. They showed their best form in the first half when Lewis nearly completed a hat-trick after scoring twice in the first twenty minutes. Another dangerous Everton forward was Parker. The young Leeds side were not impressive and did not scored (Woodhouse) until near the end.
LIKE THE CURATE’S EGG
September 5, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton Good And Bad In Parts
While to some extent it may be particularly true to say that Everton ate back where they started a fortnight ago, if we take results only as a criterion those who have been “ticking them off” after the Luton defeat are not giving any credit for their first half display, but concentrating only on the second portion. The improvement they showed in mid-week against West Bromwich was never in evidence. On the contrary, they descenfided much more, after a fair first half into a state of tension, apprehension and forward utility that stirred a section of the usually loyal crowd into giving them the slow handicap. I’ve never been able to fathom the mentally of people who indulge in this ironic form of barracking. Presumably they call themselves supporters and are anxious for the team to play well. Admittedly it is disappointing to see a display so lacking in the finer points of the game as the second part against Luton, but apart from acquainting those in authority of their displeasure I can see no point at all in giving players “the bird.” It certainly doesn’t encourage them as apparently the perpetrators hope. There wasn’t much to choose between the teams in the first half when Jimmy Harris was a lively and enterprising leader and showed that he can shoot equally well with either foot. After the change round Everton’s attack was as limp as an armless sleeve. Against West Bromwich we saw the Blues for an hour produce nice on the ground football with a good link-up between the forwards and wing halves and a cast-iron defence. This latest display sent the supporters home heavy hearted and apprehensive. The only spot of consolation is that no two games are ever alike and possibly Everton may regain favour when we least expect it.
Anxious Days Ahead
Unless there is a big and sustained improvement I’m afraid there are anxious days ahead. In the second half they were almost run to a standstill by the visitors who themselves were not a particularly brilliant lot, though they were workmanlike enough. All the fire went out of the attack, which left the defence struggling desperately against heavy odds. They scrambled through all their difficulties except one, when Cullen rounded Tansey as the latter slipped and crossed a deflected centre which O’Neill failed to reach so that McEwan, who earlier had missed two simple chances, had only to tap the ball into the empty net. Jimmy Harris had a good first half. One instance in which he “killed” the ball and almost simultaneously hit a terrific right-foot shot was pleasing. So was another left-foot effort while the passing and excursions to the wings showed that he is a player of ideas and intelligence. But in the second half he never had a chance. For some unaccountable reason Everton persisted in letting every ball into the middle, where Owen out headed Harris. Yet the young centre forward had shown beyond argument in the first ten minutes that he had the beating of his rival in speed and tricks when the ball was on the ground. Brian Harris too often made a present of the ball to either Baynham or Owen by this over-emphasis on loft and by put putting it too close to goal. Fielding and Eglington were both below par, and though Potts for a time in the opening half fed his two young partners well, he was too slow to get into position for the return pass. In the second half a nasty knock by Baynham did not help him but even allowing for that Potts does not fill the bill on dry grounds and under heat-wave conditions. He is a great trier however.
An Old Fault
The most irritating thing to many onlookers was the manner in which everybody except Jimmy Harris tried to push the onus of shooting on to someone else. This is an old Everton fault, which manager Britton has tried enough to rectify. Despite all the coaching and practice and countless homilies it still persist. With Farrell and Lello having their hands full trying to stem Luton’s second half onslaughts the essential link-up between them and the forward line was missing. This was one of the main reasons for the visitors second half supremacy. “All things considered the defence could not be seriously faulted. Tansy had a tough job against Cullen, who came into the game brilliantly after the change round and Moore was not as commanding as usual but neither trade any grievous error, any more that did Jones. What mistakes they did make were usually retrieved before Luton could fasten on to them, and O’Neill had comparatively little to do. We have been hearing a lot recently about the declining standard of English soccer and the need for calling in the soccer doctors. Certainly on this showing Everton need “medical” advice and a pick-me up. There are weaknesses in the side in more than one position but the tonic effect of a few good victories might soon change the situation. Lack of confidence certainly seems one of their biggest problems. But whether the victories which would restore are likely to come is rather doubtful on the basis of what we saw in this game.
Parker came through his trial run in Everton’s reserves side all right, following his recent injury, and will be fit for Wednesday’s game against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Donovan is still only in light training.
EVERTON THREE CHANGES
SEPTEMBER 6, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton’s visit to Manchester United, from whom they took four points last season. Everton make three changes, one positional, for this game, Wainwright and Parker returning in place of Harris (B.) and Potts and Fielding switching to inside right.
For their visit to Manchester United, Everton bring back Wainwright at outside right in place of Brian Harris, Fielding crosses to inside right in place of Potts –who is any event is not fit –and Parker now recovered from the injury which has kept him out of the last four games takes over at inside left. Everton will have to produce something better than they did against Luton to have any real prospect of saving a point, although I am not down in the dumps too desperately because the Blues fell from grace so much against the “Hatters.” That game might have been turned inside out if Everton had been able to translate their approach work into a first half goal. When this did not come off and Luton instead had the benefit of the lead. Everton seemed to lose heart and became dispirited and disjointed. It was not the first time this has happened and it won’t be the last but one hopes that we shall see something tomorrow night more akin to what the team can do when at its best. To make any impression on Manchester United there must obviously be a big improvement on Saturday and above everything else Everton must go back to their “on the ground” type of play. It is worse than useless to keep booting the ball haphazardly in the air. That only makes a present to the opposing goalkeeper or centre half.
Manchester United have not started quite so well as some of their supporters anticipated, United however, despite their sustained consistency throughout all the previous nine post-war seasons, have frequently been poor starters. Two years ago they did not win one of their first eight games, which produced only five points and a fairly substantial adverse goal average that year. The “knockers” were quick to say that United were on the slide that the days of their glory were over and that manager Matt Busby was going to have a sticky task to pull them together. Everyone knows how false that turned out, and I am strongly of the opinion that when some of the Old Trafford youngsters have had a little more experience, United will still be amongst the leading clubs in the country, probably for many years yet.
Crop of Injuries
Unfortunately for the Old Trafford club they have been already rather badly hit by injuries this campaign. In addition to this they have two first-teamers in the Forces in Duncan Edwards and Bill Foulkes and although both have been released for all matches so far, they obviously cannot put in full-time training. Berry, Taylor, and Violett have all been out of the side recently, Tommy Taylor has played in only one match, in which he injured his thigh. His place has been taken at centre forward by Eddie Lewis, one of Matt Busby’s junior products Colin Webster has taken over from Berry at outside right. So far this season United have suffered one defeat, when they lost by the only goal of the match to Manchester City at Maine Road on Saturday. They drew 2-2 with newly promoted Birmingham at St. Andrews on the opening day, following this with a similar draw against Tottenham at Old Trafford and then defeated West Bromwich Albion 3-1. The away match at Tottenham produced a 2-1 victory. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; Wainwright, Fielding, Harris (J.), Parker, Eglington.
FATAL SLIP COSTS EVERTON POINTS
September 8, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Manchester United 2, Everton 1
Everton looked like taking a point from Old Trafford up to five minutes from the end of the game, but a slip by Jones, the centre half, let Blanchflower through and with no one in the vicinity to challenge the United inside forward ran on and beat O’Neill with a low shot. It was certainly bad luck for Jones, who previously had not put a foot wrong, even when the United were attacking with all they had in their efforts to equalize. Once could not say that this was a thriller, but there was plenty of good football. In fact at times the pretty pretty business was slightly overdone, especially on the part of the United. Everton had learned the lesson of the Luton game, and instead of the ball being punted up in the air it was passed along the ground so that we saw many excellent movements. There was one thing missing, however and that was punch near goal. The approach work on both sides was tip-top, but the crowd wanted shots at goal. They were rather shaken when Wainwright scored for Everton in the thirty-ninth minute, for taken on goal chances, the United should have been well in front but if a team cannot take those chances then they must not complain. O’Neill is in magnificent form at the moment and when the United went all out for an equalizer in the second half he made some really brilliant saves. Even when United did score there was some doubt about it, and O’Neill and several other players appealed to the referee. What happened was that Edwards had rushed close into goal, and from his header, the ball struck the underneath side of the crossbar and bounded down. O’Neill caught it and cleared, but the referee without hesitation pointed to the centre spot. That goal seemed to obsess Everton for a time and they fell back on defence. In fact they had been on the defensive throughout the second half, trying no doubt to hang on to their lead. Earlier Everton had vied with the United in the artistic side of the game, and Harris gave Wood a fierce shot to deal with. So did Wainwright but in general the shooting was not up to the standard of their approach-work. As entertainment the game was quite satisfactory, but when there is nothing to show for it, it is disappointing. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think Everton deserved to lose for after the United’s equalizing goal they hit back and Wood had to make a number of saves. Harris, with very little chance against a strong and forceful centre half, did quite well, and the wing halves did more prompting than they have done in other games I have seen this season.
EQUALISING GOAL SHOOK EVERTON
September 8, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Altered The Trend of Old Trafford Game
The talking point after the game at Old Trafford last night was Manchester United’s equalizing goal, for it’s effect upon the game was tremendous. It shook one-goal Everton’s confidence which was than transferred to the United. I regret I was not in a position to debate the matter, for the “box” was situated at the wrong end of the ground. I have it on the authority of O’Neill the man mostly concerned and a host of spectators including United fans who were firm in saying that the ball did not cross the line after striking the crossbar. One Manchester man left the ground interring loud enough for me to hear. “We have pinched a point. Wainwright had given Everton the lead, and they were holding on to it like grim death when Edwards rushed through to make his header I saw the ball thunder against the crossbar and shoot downwards but what happened to it afterwards I have only the word of those closer to the incident to rely on. The ball dropped a few inches outside the line, was grabbed by O’Neill and cleared without hesitation the referee signaled “goal” despite the protest of O’Neill and others.
Lost Their Lustre
I am convinced that goal altered the whole trend of the game, Everton lost some of their lutre and Manchester saw a possible win and in they did with another streaky goal, the result of a slip y Tom Jones who failed to contact a Good-win through pass which Blanchflowers snapped on and went on to beat O’Neill with only five more minutes to play. Everton did not deserve to lose, especially by two such goals. The first half was chock-full of football wares. There was a Continental look about some of it the speed and accuracy of the pass and the dovetailing one with another but like Continental soccer, it was without the punch which the British football public demand. The young United side –it’s average ago is 21 ½ -produced decorative football and Everton closely resembled then in this respect. To the purist this was perhaps sufficient but goals are the need.
Maybe, Everton were a trifle lucky in the first half when Moore-headed out of goal from Lewis and when Webster from a few yards could not pop the ball into the net. I’m sure I could have cracked that one in O’Neill was at his brightest and best making wonder saves but I have not forgotten Woods save from Harris when Everton were moving nicely from stem to stern. Everton had not had the same chances but they took a goal at the 39th minute to shake the United to the roots. It was a grand goal from start to finish, Fielding found Eglington on the opposing flank with Wainwright moving inside to receive Eglington’s pass and sweep the ball into the net. Everton had done in half the moves what the United had failed to do, and so we went for the interval “cuppa” satisfied. Matt Busby must have had a word or two with his “boys” for they entered the area for the second stanza with only one desire to produce an equalizer. It was then that we saw the greatnesses of O’Neill and his henchmen. The Irish goalkeeper was magnificent in repelling shots from Whitefoot, Webster and Edwards. His flick over the bar of Edwards drive had to be seen to be believed.
Having stood this opening shock it seemed that Everton could face anything when along came Edward’s goal, so hotly disputed. Yes it was hard going for Tom Jones and his colleagues just them, but they faced up to it gallantly in fact Wood had to pull out a grand save to prevent Wainwright scoring again. It was from this defensive clearance that the United took the lead. A ball from Goodwin seemed to be in the safe keeping of Jones but he failed to collect it and it went on to Blanchflower who stepped forward and shot into the net. This was a game which could have been an epic with the addition of a little more punch for throughout the football had been of good quality. It was not airbourne like you saw at Goodison last Saturday but football how it should be played –on the ground. The United new stand and offices are wonderful and in a couple of years time their team should be hitting the high spots.
EVERTON AT THE VALLEY
September 9, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton’s visit to Charlton takes the Blues to a ground which has not been particularly lucky for them in post-war football. On their previous six visits to the Valley Everton have only once been victorious and that away back in 47-48 when they won 3-2. All the other matches in the Valley have been won by Charlton who were victorious last season by five goals to nil, which was the second successive away reverse suffered by the Blues by the same margin. The earlier one however, was due to the fact that the Goodison club had released four if its Eire players for an international match. The following week there was no such excuses. Two of the five goals scored by Charlton in last season’s game was notched by Eddie Firmani who is now no long with the club, having pocketed a mice little windfall by going into Italian football. Apart from Firmani, however the Charlton team this years shows very little change from that which did duty last year and finished in 15th position. Like Everton at the same period the Londoners at one time looked to be likely championship contenders. They were third from top midway through the campaign with a game in hand over Wolves, but their last 14 matches did not produce a solitary victory and only six points from drawn games. Again, as with Everton their decline began with a Cup tie defeat.
Firmani Not Missed
The departure of Firmani has been filled by the incoming of Jimmy Gauld a lad from Waterford who from all accounts is shaping extremely well. Although not acacting a newcomer, Ron White, a 22-years-old inside forward; has also made three appearances in the first team this season, at inside left. The centre forward line is still led by Stuart Leary, one of the several South Africans on the Charlton books. Charlton have attracted these players from the Commonwealth for two seasons. The first is that one of the directors does much business with South African industrialists and has made visits to that country as also has Jimmy Seed, the Charlton manager. The second reason is that earlier Springboks who have come to the London club have let their friends back home know how conferred they have been. Charlton took eight points from their first five matches of the current campaign, drawing at home to Luton and away to Sheffield United before defeating Bolton (away) Sheffield United and Tottenham (home). there seems to be a better balance about the side this campaign than there was last and although it is far too early yet to form any very firm conclusion it looks extremely likely that they will improve considerably on last year’s final position in the table. Charlton hope to play the side which drew at Preston in midweek, but outside left Kiernan is suffering from a strained knee ligament. He is to have a fitness test later today. Charlton Ath; Bartram; Campbell, Townsend; Howie, Ufton, Hammond; Hurst, Gauld, Leary, White, Kiernan.
I’ll Stand and Stare
And now I am leaving for a brief holiday, I shall not forget you, and I shall read what is happening at Goodison and Anfield.
For their visit to Charlton Athletic Everton will field the same team as that which was defeated by Manchester United on Wednesday. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; Wainwright, Fielding, Harris (J), Parker, Eglington.
EVERTON GIVE CHARLTON THE BLUES WITH HARRIS AND WAINWRIGHT GOALS
September 10, 1954. The Liverpool Football Echo
Charlton Athletic 0, Everton 2
Everton were always the better side but it was their second half display which put them so far ahead of Charlton who were lacking in ideals and thrust. The first half was without almost pieta. The second half 45, however, saw Everton right on top, and with the slightest bit of luck their score could have been doubled. Charlton Athletic; Bartram, goal; Campbell and Townsend, backs; Hewie, Ufton and Hammond, half-backs; Hurst, Gauld, Leary, White and Ayre, forwards. Everton; O’Neill, goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Farrell (captain), Jones and Lello, half-backs; Wainwright, Fielding, Harris (J), Parker and Eglington, forwards. Referee; Mr. J.G. Williams (Nottingham). The Valley is not one of Everton’s good grounds, but they were hoping to break the spell today, and played the same team which did duty at Old Trafford. Charlton made one change they brought in Aryre for the injured Kiernan. There was quite a good crowd without the expansive arena being full. The start, was quite and it took a free kick against Everton to liven up matters for Hewie put the ball back into the Everton goalmouth and it was some minutes before relief came to a rather harassed defence. Untimely, the threat was beaten down, but only momentarily for the Athletic right wing came again, right back. Campbell came well up field and put a fast centre into the Everton goalmouth, but Jones headed clear.
A Fine Save
Hurst put a low ball right up the middle and Gauld went after it like a hare. He just raced past Jones and then shot hard and true for the Everton goal. O’Neill made a fine save although it cost him a corner, speedily cleared. Everton went on the attack for practically the first time and Bartram had to pat down a shot by Wainwright before clearing. Gauld was proving himself a very live wire. He once rushed in kept the ball in play and then scooped it back; but neither Leary nor White were prepared to take an obvious chance. A moment later Gauld was on the job again and it was his work which was mainly responsible for a Charlton corner. This was placed into the Everton penalty area, but it was ultimately dealt with. Then the Everton attack got moving mainly through its right wing and Wainwright slipped the ball across the Charlton goalmouth but there was no colleagues up to apply the finishing touch. Wainwright had another go but Harris failed to trap the ball which ran from his foot to an opponent. Sam Bartram made his experience tell when saving a great shot by Eglington. Many another goalkeeper would have been taken by surprise for Eglington did not look as though he would shoot but that trusty left foot of his hit a really great drive and Bartram was quite content to forget a corner, when pushing the ball behind. Everton were now attacking promisingly and Fielding and Lello tried shots which however, were not on the target.
It was an uncommonly quiet match for there was no cheering or shouting from the crowd. The Everton half-backs tried to show the forwards the way to shoot and Lello taking a square pass from Farrell cracked the ball over the bar. Hurst made one good centre which Ayre tried hard to head into the net but he did not get the ball just right and it passed outside. From a corner by Wainwright, Parker and Townsend went up together. They were joined by Bartram, whose punch away effort appeared to catch Townsend on the back of the head and knock him out. He was taken to the sideline, and while he was away, Bartram patted out a corner by Wainwright, the ball coming to Lello, who hit a ferocious shot. Its power was so great that it knocked Ufton out as though at had been shot with a gun. Both the Athletic players recovered and play went to the other end. There was not a lot to enthuse about Leary had a shot blocked and so did Farrell but a corner to Everton made the crowd gasp when Eglington’s centre was helped on to Wainwright whose header looked like finding a gap until those safe hands of Bartram’s clutched the ball safely and surely. Hurst wildly shot outside and when he took a corner O’Neill plucked the ball out of the air with the utmost confidence, Fielding and Lello worked a scheme to get Eglington away but Charlton full back Campbell was wise to the move. Harris was getting little rope from Ufton but he once lobbed the ball close into goal and Wainright made a gallaint endeavour to turn it to good account. He lost his foothold as he moving in and Bartram was able to save. Then we did have a big thrill when the Everton goal looked like falling. Hurst started the move when he tossed the ball into the Everton goal. Ayre simply tapped the ball towards the goalkeeper and although Gauld followed up O’Neill was able to kick the ball off the line, gain possession with his hands and clear.
Nearly Made Amends
Ayre tried to make amends from inside right position and O’Neill had to make a smart save with the Athletic man’s fast rising shot. Lello was quite prepared to give away a corner, rather than let Gault do anything more damaging as he might have done, and that was the last incident of the half.
Half-time; Charlton Athletic nil, Everton nil.
The tempo increased somewhat in the second half and Lello was only just in time to prevent Hurst bursting through and then Harris beat Townsend for a corner. This was cleared but it was not long before Everton was back on the attack, and a through ball by Parker to Harris brought about the downfall of Bartram. It was touch and go as to whether the Everton leader would score for not only did Bartram come out a yard of so but Harris was also challenged by Campbell. The centre forward delayed his shot to the last second and with the side of his foot edged the ball right away from Bartram and into the far side of the net. This was at 49 minutes. Everton were not only showing much more progressive football but their finishing was better and when Harris beat Ufton there were possibities of a second goal until the Everton man hooked the ball outside. The Londoners had been quite shocked by the goal but White made a great effort to equalize when he fling himself headlong to head a Hurst centre just wide of the post. It was now nearly all Everton and Farrell and Harris engineered another corner which however, did not cause Bartram any undue worry. He certainly had some a moment later when a fine shot by Fielding was cleverly tipped over the bar by this veteran goalkeeper. The Athletic did make several attacks but their finishing was deplorable. They were never given any latitude for Everton tackled swiftly and usually successfully. O’Neill once again employed the kick clearance but in the main the Everton defence had the Charlton forwards pretty well in their side.
Everton had by far the better ideas in fact, the Athletic did not seem to have any at all and the second half had seen them out-played and old maneuvered by an Everton who were now producing good-class football. Parker landed a ball down to Eglington who was in the centre forward disposition but the Irishman swung at the ball, only half hit it and it went outside. Bartram dropped down on a Parker centre and he was there again when Parker took the ball close in and shot Bartram shoved his toes out and saved the day. I could not get away from the idea that this extremely in Everton’s football must bring greater results and it did for Parker carried the ball well into the Athletic quarters before he finally dispatched it over to Wainwright whose shot left Bartram helpless at the 72nd minute. Charlton made an occasional raid out they were never really dangerous perhaps only on one occasion when O’Neill leaped out and snapped the ball from Hurst’s foot. O’Neill had not had a lot to do, but what he did he did excellently. Harris was now getting the better of Ufton and company and he pulled a ball back for Wainwright but the outside right trod on the ball fell on his back and injured himself and had to receive attention. Final; Everton 2 Charlton nil.
EVERTON RES V BURY RES
September 10, 1955. The Liverpool Football Echo
Everton Res; Leyland, goal; Sutherland and Rankin, backs; Birch, Woods and Melville, half-backs; Harris (B), Thomas, Saunders, Lewis and Mayers, forwards. Bury Res;- Goram, goal; Wilson, and Massey, backs; Bardsley, Heilson, and Atherton, half-backs; Gleadall, Tiley, Raynor, Gordon and Law, forwards. Referee; Mr. S.D. Holloway (Stoke). As Bury had the better of early play it was the better of early play, it was not surprising that they took the lad in 10 minutes through Gordon. Within two minutes, however, Thomas equalized for Everton with a spectacular shot. Everton now began to dominate the exchanges and although their forwards showed willingness to shoot their shots lacked direction. Half-time; Everton Res 1, Bury Res 1. Bury opened the second half with sustained pressure and Melville almost put through his own goal in passing back to his goalkeeper. Everton retaliated strongly, Goran saving a fierce shot from Lewis at the second attempt. After 70 minutes Thomas gave Everton the lead from Harris’s centre.
• Upton 0, Everton “C” 3
September 10, 1955. The Liverpool Football Echo
By Peter Farrell
Following our two promising displays against Burnley and West Bromwich, the Blues certainly played to rock-bottom form in the second half against Luton last Saturday and yet, had we secured a goal or two in the first 45 minutes, which I thought we deserved on the run of play, the result might have been a far different story. However, what might have been counts for nothing in football and we all realize out second half showing was I hope too poor to be true. Following Luton’s goal, which eventually proved to be the decider, a small section of the fans showed their disapproval of the efforts of the side by means of the slow handicap. Whether they thought this might bring an improvement in out play, or whether it was just an outward sign of disapproval of the teams showing, I don’t know. It happens on quite a lot of grounds when things are going really badly for the home team but is never very encouraging to the players and those who partake in this form of disapproval can hardly hope to achieve any purpose through it. the slow handicappers last week were a very small proportion of the 44,000 who saw the game and I believe the thousands of real true Everton supporters who have been behind us through good and bad days in the past, although naturally disappointed at the indifferent start we have made to the season will still encourage the lads as they have always done with their cheers rather than jeers and we for our part at Goodison when called on, will do our best, like all true Evertonians who have the club really at heart. While on the attitude of sections of the crowd I should like to mention a few incidents that happened during the course of last week’s game against Luton. On several occasions when young Brian Harris received the ball in the right wing, I shouted to him either hold it, centre it or pass it. Whereupon some angry voices from the enclosure chorused “Shut your mouth Farrell and let the kid play his own game.” To those home it may concern, I consider it my duty as captain in encourage and help all my team mates in such a manner, and particularly the younger ones who have just come into the team, just as I like others to help me in a similar way. I remembered when I first played for Everton I was very grateful to players like Greenhalagh, Stevenson, and others for their helpful words of advice on the field. So, in future if my voice from the field of play is heard among the crowd please remember I am only doing what I consider to be my duty in the best interests of the team as captain.
I wonder did you notice the Continental style boot worn by Luton at Goodison Park. Speaking to my old friend and fellow international of many times. Bud Aherana, after the game he told me that the entire Luton team have been wearing this type of footwear in all weathers for quite a considerable time now. The boot is almost as light as a sandal, but is fitted with ordinary leather studs and does not extend above the ankle bone. Before long I can visualize all clubs wearing a similar type boot, in which movement comes so much easier than the heavier football boot worn by the majority of clubs. I should like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the players and spectators of wishing Dave Hickson all the best with his new club Aston Villa. If Dave gives the Villa as good service as he has given the Blues these past few years his new club will be very pleased with their capture. In conclusion a word about the referee’s decision in awarding Manchester United’s first goal last Wednesday. The ball struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced out a couple of yards into play. To everyone’s amazement the officials in charge awarded a goal without one of the United players claiming for such. Despite my appeals to the referee to consult a linesman he refused, saying that he was in a better position himself, a position incidentally about 12 yards from the goal line. However, I suppose its all in the game and all these little things go against a team when it is on the bottom half of the table.
SLICK, BRIGHT, INTELLIGENT STUFF BY EVERTON
September 12, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Charlton Athletic 0, Everton 2
It was hard to realize that Charlton had gone unbeaten before they ran up against Everton, but no team could have played better than Everton. The first half-hour’s play was dull with so little to enthuse over there was no atmosphere. Goals had to come to an Everton team playing slick, bright, intelligent football. Charlton would persist in waiting for the ball to come to them, Everton went in search of it, and, with quicker tackling had greater service of the ball. It was in the second half that Everton’s supremacy was seen at its best. They strolled through the rest of the game having all the time in the world to do almost as they like, with Charlton chasing without hope of gaining possession. What really turned the scales was Harris goal at the forty-ninth minute. The game was won there and then. Everton then indulged themselves in some of the nicest football, and it came easily to them. Charlton have always been a hard nut to crack, but Everton needed no nut-crackers on Saturday. The ball flowed from one to another with ease and accuracy and eventually Wainwright marked up goal No2. Both goals came straight from the Everton penalty area. The first came from a clearance by Eglington to Parker and then on to Harris, who looked like losing his chance. But he held off Campbell and then toe-ended the ball beyond Bartram. Everton were afterwards a confident efficient side and when Lello also swept one upfield from the penalty box Parker allowed the ball to go through for Harris to centre and Wainwright hit the ball plumb in the middle and Bartram was beaten again. That was the end of the scoring, but there were many near misses. I had seen similar good football fall at Manchester United’s ground a few days previously, but this was even better. The wing half-backs, Lello and Farrell have found their touch again and the recall of Parker has brought a link in the attack. Harris was sometimes upfield on his own with no one to give the ball to but not one Everton man could be faulted. Charlton were completely blotted out and made to look very ordinary.
EVERTON RES 5 BURY RES 1
September 12, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton were flattered by the margin. It was not until the last quarter of an hour, when four goals were scored, that they got on top. Birch and Sutherland were outstanding in the Everton defence. Thomas and Harris formed the best wing on the field. Thomas (2), Saunders, Lewis, and Mayers scored for Everton and Gordon for Bury.
September 12, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Simplicity and Speed Won Day
Although football has been running for three weeks unexpectedly results continue to creep into the score columns. Whoever would have expected Luton to beat Newcastle, Tottenham to win their first game of the expense of the Arsenal, Sheffield United to beat Manchester United and Everton to win at Charlton? Not one of you, I am prepared to wager. Is it any wonder that you cannot get your coupon “up.” Such sensational “turn-ups” are hard to believe but there they are in cold print. I have no hesitation in saying that the Everton success was the best of the bunch for it was accomplished on an away ground; a ground that has not been kind to the Blues in recent years.
Last Wednesday I came away from Old Trafford in the firm belief that if Everton could produce that form again and link it up with more shooting they would win more games than they would lose.
Just as Well
Good football served them well at the Valley although at one point I thought it was not going to bring them any kudos, for it lacked the striking power which brings goals. It was well that Everton did win with Tottenham and Sheffield United winning and I admit they kept me in suspense all too long, for the game was nearly an hour old before they struck their first blow. En passant I must tell you that all Everton’s five teams turned in with a win on Saturday. Had it escaped your notice that Charlton Athletic were unbeaten prior to Everton’s visit? That was not very encouraging to Everton’s cause but I feel sure that this was Everton’s easiest win of all the series played between the teams. It as so easy in the end that had it not been that the 20,000 spectators were enjoying Everton’s football so much I am sure there would have been a big exodus long before the finish. They stayed on to cheer the Blues’ fine football. This may seem like flattery, it was nothing of the sort, for even when the game was slow and somewhat dull in the first half hour Everton were always producing something better than their rivals. It lacked only one thing and that was punch I think I have said that before about Everton at various times. It has got to be admitted that the first half hour lacked atmosphere. One could almost have heard a pin on the luscious turf. You could almost imagine yourself Thurston’s Hall watching Reece and Inman.
It did not seem right for a football match. My phoniest in Liverpool could hear the jet planes racing over the ground, so quiet was it. It required more goal thrills to shake the people into life. They had one or two in the early moments of the game when Charlton could have scored two goals had not O’Neill been alive to the danger, but after that the silence crept back and did not appear again until Everton second four minutes after the interval. I must admit that Charlton had little to get exiled about for they were gradually but surely being played out of the game. Why they did not change their tactics seeing the folly of their way, waiting for the ball instead of going to t, I just cannot understand. They must have seen that the quick Everton tackling was playing dividends but the only change they made was to start booting the ball up the middle and hoping for the best. What a hope they had with the Everton defence in one of its most relentless moods. It was no trouble whatever, to drive out of the enemy and after half-an-hour the Blues scintillates outmanceurved and out-played Charlton to such an extent a much more convincing victory should have been the result.
Some rabid Charlton people sat right behind me and they often praised Everton’s skill. “Lovely football” was one of their favourities phrases. In the boardroom later, the Charlton folk gave high praise to the Blues soccer. It was football full of good movement. If it fell down at times one could nevertheless see the intention. It took a goal to bring Everton to full power and young Jimmy Harris almost lost his chance when the ball moved a little too far ahead. He kept on doggedly bating off the challenge of Townsend by shouldering him out of the way at the crucial moment and then toe –ending the ball beyond Batram who had come out to narrow the shooting angle. It was after this that Everton pulled out all the stops and cut and carved their way to the Athletic goalmouth with the greatest of ease. Charlton could not stop them the tide flowed too strongly for them. It was a common thing to see an Everton man out on his own with the ball due to a canny pass which sent the opposition careering the other way.
It was the simplicity of it all which was so entrancing and they seemed to have all the time in the world to do things. That is the greatest commendation you can pay any team. It was one way traffic from the Harris goal until the end. Charlton getting weaker and weaker in trying to scotch the Everton wheel, and at the 72nd minute Wainwright cracked home a shot from a movement which started in the Everton penalty area, almost the same place where Harris’s goal had its origin. It was the speed in which these goals were made that had the Athletic helpless. Three moves and the ball was in the back of the net. Bartram saved others and some went outside but two goals were ample to account for this lethargic Charlton who were lackadaisical throughout Charlton had their chances but either could not take them or O’Neill foiled them, but this was no one man’s game as we saw at Burnley but a combined effort with every man pulling his full weight.
IT CAN BE A CLASSIC
September 13, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
“Busby Babes” Visit Goodison
In their last two games Everton have produced football of a Continental pattern and I only hope that they can reproduce their Charlton display for your benefit against Manchester United at Goodison Park tomorrow night. If they do you will enjoy yourself, for it was football as good as played by any Everton team. At Old Trafford last Wednesday the Blues and United gave us a top-class exhibition of football although Everton were beaten 2-1. Unfortunately there are some who don’t give a hoot as to the type of football served up as long as he result goes the way they want. “Get the ball in the net and it does not seem to matter how it gets there.” The making of the goal is secondary. We have been bemoaning the poor quality of our football at compared with that of the Continental teams, but when our teams attempt to follow their lead there is an outcry for more thrills.
Frank Bad Luck
It was only rank bad luck that Everton did not beat the “Busby Babies” for neither of the United goals should have been scored; in fact the Everton players are still denying the validity of that Edwards goal which they claim did not pass over the goal-line. Manchester’s second goal was due to a slight misjudgment on the part of Tom Jones who issued the pass which enabled Blanchflower to race through to beat O’Neill. But everyone was agreed that the football was of good quality. It was even better at the Valley =, particularly in the second half, when Everton simply “cruised” to their victory over a team which up to them held an unbeaten record. They played superlative football but were a long time in linking it up with shots. When a goal finally came just after the interval Charlton were a beaten team, for they had no answer to the good football of Everton. It took me back to the season 1938-39 yes, it was as good as that, and that season’s team was rated one of the best fooballing sides in the country.
The win at Charlton was just what was deeded for it has produced the confidence which was getting a little ragged due to their lowly position. They have now more belief in themselves and although Manchester United are formidable foemen on the ground, Everton have only to give us a repeat of their Old Trafford and Charlton performance to make the game a classic. The United must be one of the youngest sides in the League for the average age is only 21, so Mr. Matt Busby is sitting pretty in the knowledge that he has no worries ahead for long time unless of course there is an spate of injuries or that the team en bloc loses its form, which is most unlikely. Matt is very well pleased with the progress made by his youngsters and so he should be for there is a lot of talent in the side. One thing you can be assured about tomorrow night and that is that both teams will set out to play football in the best tradition. So far Dave Hickson has not been missed by Everton for young Jimmy Harris is filling the part particularly well. I like the way he moves and if his colleagues will only give him the ball on the floor he should reward them with goals, for he is fast and tenacious. One thing he must do and that is improve his heading. I think that is all I can say against him for in every other respect he looks a really good prospect.
At Charlton Tommy Eglington recovered his shooting boots as Sam Bartram will readily admit for he had to pull out one of his special saves to prevent Tommy Scoring. There were no causalities following the London visit so I don’t anticipate any change in the team. Now then Everton, don’t let me down. I have been lavish in my praise and you have earned it, but a poor show tomorrow night will put me right on the spot. Manchester United are not so fortunate for they suffered an injury of two at Bramell Lane and the team will not be announced until later.
EVERTON PLAY MANCHESTER UNITED TONIGHT
September 14, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
Everton have good news of their unlucky young forward, Alec Farrell. He is out of hospital following his third cartilage operation and Manager Britton thinks that he may well be in light training in a further month. Farrell the most promising of Everton’s younger players has never since signing professional enjoyed sufficient time to have a prolonged test in senior football but authority at Everton is convinced that when he does he will prove himself.
A very special occasion at Goodison Park this evening. It will be good to see Manchester United for what is left of them after a remarkable series of injuries; even better to see the man whose play we used to admire and whose Management has been so wise –Matt Busby. Years ago any tilt at Manchester clubs used to have that little extra bite that comes of neighboring meetings today. United, the Arsenal of the North find their path hard because everyone likes to take them down a peg, I suppose this is natural. In other circumstances Everton might be expected to lose, but the plague of injuries United have suffered these past few weeks makes it impossible for their manager to think of naming a side twenty-four hours before the match. “If I could name a team tonight I would do so and you could have it with pleasure. Leslie,” Mr. Busby said last night” but the odds are that it would be hopelessly changed in the later events. Taylor, Violett, Edwards Pegg, Lewis –these are merely the first team men who are doubtful. Edwards has had influenza. He did a little training yesterday and of the five named, is the most likely to be fit.
Good All Round
Doherty a young Manchester boy, who had his first team debut eighteen months ago, at Chelsea is likely to fill one of the inside forward positions. Everton following a Charlton win which must have done good all round the camp are without change. I welcome a third chance to see what “Bomber” Harris can do this time against one of the best elevens in the country. Of Matt Busby’s latest visit there is a timely reminder from reader Vincent Enright who says “I reckon Busby attained eminence mainly by his own self-made escalator and not by any inside or outside affiuence or influence. This evening’s fixture many unleash a flood of happy memories for vice Chairman Harold Hardman one of Everton’s cup winning immortals of 106. Everton’ O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; Wainwright, Fielding, Harris (J), Parker, and Eglington.
NEVER GREAT, BUT ALWAYS EVENTFUL
September 15, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 4, Manchester United 2
By Leslie Edwards
Never a great game, but always an exciting one. And never Everton’s points with certainty, until that fourth and final goal of their’s by Eglington seven minutes from the end. For the apparently inexplicable number of passes which went astray and the blunders made by each defence, blame a swirling wind and a wet pitch on which control of the ball was never easy. For the fact that Manchester United looked and played as little like the United was expect, blame the absence of such men as Pegg, Lewis, Edwards and Taylor. The Busby team was almost unrecognizable too, by reference to the programme, Matt had on show a little old and much that was new and while the new boys showed they had been moulded to Busby’s football methods some of them, notably Whelan were plainly unripe for First Division football. It was an old match in many ways, it began lethargically developed some rousing traits near the interval and then in an exciting second half, gave the Everton faithful a wetting and the three goals their side needed to clutch a match which might well have gone against them. The final moments were played in gloom and rain out of which Everton emerged tired, triumphant and with the victory so necessary to keep the home fires burning.
The pity was that victory was so hard won against a team that did not represent by a long way, the best United can field. Yet it is clear that Everton have benefited a great deal from the return of the ubiquitous Parker hat Wainwright’s experience and fire on the right wing adds point to their attack Everton could do no more than win. To go to 4-2 after being led 2-1 at the interval was more than adequate irrespective of the nature of the opposition. Another thing in Everton’s favour was the further enlivening performance of Harris. He scored no goals but he had a head or a foot in most of them and showed rare football nous in footwork and in positional play. To see him chase over the dead ball line rather than risk being offside proves that his brain always ticks and no one who saw him race on to passes head down and feet twinkling could be in doubt about this enthusiasm. Harris will get a packet of goals for himself one of these days. He began with a glancing header from a Parker centre –having beaten goalkeeper Wood by inches to the ball. Then United who had done nothing to suggest they were capable of reaching the other penalty area, much less scoring, joited Everton (and us) in a move in which Doherty hooked a shot menacing near the Everton bar. Fielding angled hit the goal support iron with a cracking shot and Eglington knelt down, almost prayerfully, to nod the ball a foot or two wide from a corner.
The three parts of Everton’s first goal (34 minutes) were chapters in themselves. Whitehurst handled on the penalty box confines much argument developed when Parker insisted on joining the United wall against the free kick, Lello’s shot from this was deflected for a corner. From Eglington’s full-length kick, Parker ramrodded the ball home with his head. The lead lasted precisely one minute, Whitehurst picked up Lello’s badly made pass then effected wisely to forgo the chance of a shot and make a certainty for Webster, coming in on the outside. Two minutes before the interval O’Neill was deceived by Whelan lob. He edged the ball upwards but it was dropping on the line as Farrell dropped back to hook it high and clear. While Farrell lay in the back of the net holding his troubled head Blanchflower rose to the ball as it dropped and nodded it (and everyone else on the line) into the net. Referee Windle of Chesterfield then had words to say and a finger to point when Byrne foolishly insisted on standing close to where Everton hoped to take a free kick. After the fuss all of it due to Bryne had subsided the free kick, not surprisingly was wasted. Everton went into the second half with the lead to be wiped out. Fielding’s hard-hit shot deserved a goal but Wood saved splendidly. Then Wainwright with a header which just beat the far post gave indication that his side meant business. Another Farrell hook –this time on the offensive – lobbed the ball to the head of Harris. Another nod by Harris and one by Parker and Everton were level (forty-seven minutes) and Wood must have been wondering about his share of the blame. Webster, with a toe ended shot was within inches of giving his side the lead. O’Neill’s finger-up save wads the game’s best but it was a desperately late one.
An Eglington mistake far from goal was the direct link in United’s next attack in which Webster beat O’Neill and found the ready foot of Jones denying him on the goal line. Sixty four minutes had gone when Harris opened the way for Wainwright to make the score 3-2. At eighty-three minutes Harris, apparently crowded on the right wing, dug up a centre to the far post where Eglington’s head met the ball to guide it for the decisive goal. It only remained for rabid fans to show their disapproval of Byrne, who must have had one of the least distinguished games of his career. In the circumstances, I suppose the football was good, but the game did not become entertaining until after the first twenty minutes. Foulkes played as well as Bryne played badly Mark Jones, the United centre half almost invariably mastered Harris when passes flew high, but was not so convincing when Harris had the ball on the turf, which is where he likes it. I maintain that Harris is the most promising centre I have seen for years. His work last night was more goal-making than goal-taking, but goals well come. Fielding praise be was the Fielding of old. He has more ways of sending a ball accurately to where it will do his side good hand any player I know. He is also one of the best (and most prompt) centres of a ball. Parker, looking a trifle slow, was highly successful in that deceptively long-striding way he has. Both Lello and Farrell seemed to appreciate the softer going and the absence of a heat wave. United made pretty patterns but their attack was a little raw and the patterns stopped at the business end of attacks when the right pass was so urgently needed. Berry, at outside left, as the man I expected to give Everton trouble but apart from a few successful wanderings he was kept admirably quiet by Everton’s better back Moore. Each goalkeeper brought off good saves; each had moments of blundering indecision. But the swirl of the wind between the massive Everton stands was an embarrassment to all and alliance must be made for it.
REVENGE FOR EVERTON UNITED COULD NOT STEM GOAL RUSH
September 15, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton showed more punch in their return game with Manchester United than they had produced in all their previous games this season and totted up their highest score. This is indeed a good sign, for it has been a complaint for same time that their finishing was anything but satisfactory. Prior to last night they had never mustered more than two goals in a game and that falling has cost them points. Everton’s form in their last two matches has been excellent and it was plain to be seen that it has brought a new confidence into the side so much so that they were labe to come from behind and beat the “Busby Babies” pretty convincingly in the end. They had deemed themselves unlucky in the first meeting when a doubtful goal was registered against them, but they wiped out that memory at Goodison Park last night before nearly 35,000.
The heavy rain during the afternoon and just prior to the game made the turf rather slippery but the ball was mastered most, times and some lovely movements were seen by both the United and Everton but on the balance of chances Everton should never have been in arrears at the interval. There was an Everton appeal against United’s second goal, but on what grounds I cannot say, unless it was that Blanchflower had handled before brushing the ball into the net. However, let us forget about that in view of what happened later, when Everton got so much on top that the United defence could not always cope with the intricacies of the Everton forwards. They were forced into errors, and were finally crushed by the sheer ability of the Blues. The best moments of the game from an Everton point of view were in the second half.
Their confidence had not been shaken by United’s lad for they had a belief in themselves that they could beat this United side. That display at the Valley had done them a power of good. There was no retreating for they know that there could be no success that way. Goals were the need and that was ever in the forefront in their minds. Manchester vied with them in some nice football in the first half improvements which were right out of the book but Everton were a much greater danger near goal. They shaved the woodwork, hit the side netting and had some near misses otherwise they would have had more goals than the one Parker scored at the 33rd minute. It was a beautiful header which John Willie seemed beyond the helpless Wood but within two minutes Webster had rubbed it off the slate. It was Berry long dribble which was responsible.
This youthful and to some extent inexperience United team was not easy to beat but Everton in their present mood ultimately found his depth and in the end were sound winners. Manchester second goal is worth dwelling upon. O’Neill had punched up a shot by Blanchflower and the ball was travelling towards the line when Frarell in some miraculous way whipped it straight up in the air. How he did it goodness only knows. it was an astonishing bit of work unfortunately it did not save the situation for as the ball came down to earth, Blanchflower put it in the net –legitimately or otherwise –Everton say otherwise. Well there it was 1-2 at the interval. Could the game be retrieved. It was up to Everton to supply the answer. Three minutes sufficed to make it level pegging and it was Parker’s head again but few missed Harris’s back header which opened the way for Parker.
Harris Gets Better
The boy Harris gets better and better and although he did not figure on the score card his pace off the mark was tremendous and he gave Mark Jones a heap of trouble keeping track of him. The third goal was entirely due to Eglington’s fleetness of foot. I did not think he had a ghost of a chance when he chased a ball to the bye line but he not only caught up with it but centred and Harris slipped it along to Wainwright to do the rest. The United were gradually being played out of the game although here was only a goal between them but a goal on the right side. To make things look even better Everton scored a fourth and it was Harris’s tenacity –he beat off two men before centring to the far post and Eglington jumped to head the ball as Wood tried to sweep it clear. That was Eglington’s first goal of the season. Now let me give you the United picture. Tom Jones saved a goal by kicking off the line after the ball has slipped past O’Neill; the goalkeeper’s last second save from Webster’s toe ender but Wood had greater escapes than that, for all the Everton forwards had shots and were aided and aberited by Lello and Farrell and Moore.
It was half back power which made this victory possible. It was the rock on which the United attack perished. Time and again promising approach work was smashed on the door step as it were. Everton have speeded up their tackling and that is the answer. I thought Parker was brilliant in the first half. He too, seem to have found more place and his lucking tactics bitten found him in the right place at the right time. It was an entertaining game to watch and anyone who did not enjoy it must be hard to please. There was only one distasteful incident and that was the warning to Bryne for refusing to stand the necessary ten yards from a free kick. Twice he did this and it was touch and go as to whether he would be sent off. The referee made it quite plain that he would have no more if it by pointing towards the dressing room as a final warning.
OPPRTUNITY TO PAY TRIBUTE
September 15, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Eddie Spicer’s Benefit Game at Anfield
Monday is a date I want you to put down as a “must” for a visit to the Liverpool Football Ground, for it is Eddie Spicer’s benefit match. As you know Spicer broke his leg in the game with Manchester United at Old Trafford in December 1954. It was a ripple break which has left Spicer with a permanent limp. Spicer was one of the unluckiest players in the country, for he broke his left leg while on tour n Sweden with Liverpool and had to be flown home. He made a good recovery but then came this unhappy Old Trafford accident which ended a fine career. Spiecer is a local lad who made good. No one was more liked than the auburn-haired full back who was as popular round the enemy territories as he was round the Anfield terraces. I don’t think I ever saw him commit a nasty foul on any man so I hope that you will give him your whole hearted support in his benefit match on Monday night (6.p.m). Eddie has chosen an attractive side, which will meet a combined X1 made up of Liverpool and Everton players. Many offered their services but there were only 11 places to fill. Naturally the balance is slightly in favour of Liverpool players, for there are seven in the team against Everton’s four. But they have been so well moulded that it should be capable of extending such a fine team as Spicer will bring to Anfield. John Evans is among the Liverpool names, so it looks as though he is going to be fit much sooner than was generally anticipated. His link up with Tommy Eglington should be interesting while the pairing of Fielding and Liddell should produce goals. Fielding is one of the finest ball players in the country and I feel sure his special mission will be to see that Liddell gets a full service of passes and “Nobby” is the boy of supply them. All Billy will have to do is crack em in. I rate Trautman the finest goalkeeper in the country today. How often has he stood between Manchester City and defeat, goodness only knows. It is the thrill of a lifetime to see him flying through the air and then making a brilliant catch. Those sort of saves are his speciality. But there are others big names in Spicer’s X1 including none other than the great Stanley Matthews always willing to give his services in a good cause. Matthews has rightly been dubbed “The Wizard of Dribble” and the name fits like a glove for there is no fine dribbler of a ball than the Blackpool winger. Ask any of those who have oppose Matthews. Their answer will come pat “He is a marvel; it is just uncanny how he beats you. If you go for him he not there and if you wait you suffer the same fate –left behind. To watch Matthews is to see the greatest footballer of this decade. I don’t ever expect to see his like again, for he is genius. If Stanley Matthews cannot draw you to Anfield Monday night, then I don’t know what will. Who will ever forget those last 20 minutes of Matthews, which won him his first Cup Final medal, I’ll never will. He was masterly. All the combined forces of Bolton could not stop him, if ever one man won a cup final that man was Matthews. Well here is your chance to do yourself a bit of good and see football of the top class and also do one of the nicest fellow’s who ever donned a red jersey a good turn. Here are the teams;
Spicers X1; Trauntmann (Man City); Aird (Burnley), Eckersley (Blackburn R); Campbell (Blackburn R), Johnston (Blackpool), Wheeler (Bolton); Matthews (Blackpool), Moir (Bolton), Shannon (Burnley), Langton (Blackburn R); Combined Liverpool-Everton X1; O’Neill (Everton); Molyneux (Liverpool), Norris (Liverpool); Saunders (Liverpool), Jones (Everton), Twentyman (Liverpool); Harris (B) (Everton), Fielding (Everton), Liddell (Liverpool), Evans (Liverpool), Eglington (Everton).
It was a nice gesture on the part of the Everton club to send along £25 to the Spicer Fund. They did the same for Derek Dooley.
SPURS AT GOODISON BLUES NOW KNOW THE GOAL ROUTE
September 16, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton’s position in the League table is now looking quite respectable. It would have been even better had their finishing been more “biteful,” for that has been their main fault not only this season, but far many weeks at the back end of last term. The football during the last few weeks has been everything to be desired, especially that display which made the unbeaten Charlton Athletic people set up ad think. While enjoying the Blues’ delectable football they did not like the way Everton carved up their favourities Everton had their revenge over Manchester United for last week’s unlucky defeat so on paper they look a “good thing” against Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park tomorrow. On Wednesday last Everton put more punch into their play and had more shots at goal than in any other previous match, even though three of their goals were from headers. It was a most lively Everton which ultimately snuffed the young United team out of the game.
A New Everton
It is a new Everton these days. They are going out and seeking the ball, not waiting its arrival, and having taken possession Lello and Farrell are prompting the forwards with sound passes. The attack is responding splendidly with Harris leading the line intelligently. His speed off the mark is terrific. He also is chock full of ideas as witness his back heel against United, which should have brought another goal to Wainwright who was however, surprised by the move. But the secret of Everton’s recent success has been at half back. They have been control of the opposition yet at the same time giving full service to the attack. Tottenham Hotspur, a great team a few years ago, have fallen from their high estate but their defeat of Arsenal last week must have had a uplifting effect. There is no finer tonic than to beat the “Gunners” even though the Highbury team is not what it used to be. Spurs will come to Goodison a much more confident side, and in the past they have put up stern opposition. With Everton in their present confident mood it looks like another two points for them. We thought that against Luton, who, however, walked off with the points but I think Everton have learned their lesson and show that matches can only be won by football that is alike to good shooting if they can maintain their Charlton and Manchester United form and keep hard at the shooting business, I think they will account for the Londoners who field an unchanged side. There were no serious injuries in the game with Manchester United so the Everton team is unchanged. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Jones, Lello; Wainwright, Fielding, Harris, Parker, Eglington. Tottenham; Ditchburn; Withers, Hopkins; Blanchflower, Clarke, Marchi; Walters, Brooks, Stokoe, Daily, Robb.
Everton Reserves; (at Barnsley); Leyland; Sutherland, Rankin; Birch, Woods, Melville; Harris (B), Thomas, Saunders, Lewis, Mayers.
DEATH OF GOALKEEPER
Yorkshire Post-Saturday 17 September 1955
Mr. Walter Scott, who kept goal for Grimsby and Sunderland before the World War, died yesterday at his home in Worksop. He was 69. Mr. Scott became known as the penalty king. In one match for Grimsby in 1909 he saved three spot kicks.
HOT SPUR TO TOTTENHAM
September 17, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
Though great efforts are being made to make professional football attractive as it used to be, there is no sign of the return of the boom attendances clubs enjoyed for some seasons after the war. I confess that some of Everton’s home attendances this season have surprised me by their smallness, despite the club’s ordinary start. But today I think 50,000 or thereabouts should be at Goodison Park for the visit of Tottenham Hotspur, still a great drawing card if not in a football sense, a team comparable with that which won Second and First Division championships in succession seasons. A week ago Tottenham were without victory. A week ago-before the match against Arsenal at white Hart Lane-misguided Tottenham critics on the terraces threw into the directors box a shower of pennies. It is not recorded whether the coins were as thrown to carolers, red-hot-nor is it recorded whether Tottenham directors hurled them back after their side had won. But if they had they would have been justified. Everton, too have had their critics,. Happily the directorial sanctum at Goodison Park is too long a throw for the most rabid of fans, but Everton quieted their critics in a better way. How foolish it was to suggest that Harris (J.) could never be another Hickson! Equally, how foolish it is to suggest that Harris (J.) with only a few Div 1 games under his feet is the England centre forward of the future. His promise is enormous and he shows admirable restraint but such lavish long-distance fore-casting could easily be harmful.
Baily, one of the Spurs players reckoned to be far past his best was, for two thirds of the Arsenal game, the man who put the side into their old grove. Odd that Spurs should have to reply on him and another of their old players Ted Ditchburn to help find success after many early failures. Given the Everton who played so much better against Manchester United today’s could be a great match, with yesterday’s rain a help to both sides in their traditional desire to keep the ball on the turf. For a view of Blanchflower alone the game is appealing. Careful study of this long-legged tireless half-back rarely shows him making a faulty pass and almost invariably prompts the belief that he is supreme among contemporaries. George Robb too, can be brilliant. The unchanged Everton X1 may find that collecting points from a rehabilitated Tottenham is more difficult than taking them from a mixed old and new bag of Manchester United. Clarke’s size at centre half means that Everton must try to find Harris feet rather than his head. Given service, I think Harris will confirm my early opinion that he was here to stay. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Jones, Lello; Wainwright, Fielding, Harris, Parker, Eglington. Tottenham; Ditchburn; Withers, Hopkins; Blanchflower, Clarke, Marchi; Walters, Brooks, Stokoe, Daily, Robb.
LIVELY EXCHANGES IN GOODISON GAME
September 17, 1955. The Liverpool Football Echo
Spurs’ Lead Cancelled in Late Rally
Everton 2, Spurs 1
Everton; O’Neill, goal; Moore and Tansey backs; Farrell (captain), Jones and Lello, half-backs; Wainwright, Fielding, Harris (J.), Parker and Eglington, forwards. Tottenham Hotspur; Ditchburn, goal; Withers and Hopkins, backs; Blanchflower, Clarke, and Marchi, half-backs; Walters, Brooks, Stokoe, Baily, and Robb, forwards. Referee; Mr. Ryals (Sheffield). More than one Spurs move in the early moments had the crowd murring approval. Prompted by Baily they moved the ball along the ground sweetly in lines of accurate passes. But it was Everton who were closest to a goal Harris on the right wing delayed his centre well others of the line were set for it, and then delivered a ball beautifully placed for Parker to make a header. He glided the ball a few feet above the bar.
Saved on the Line
The football was thrilling and no sooner had O’Neill made a lovely catch of a centre by Brooks operating at outside left, than Eglington put Parker through down the left wing so that player could centre to the lurking Wainwright, whose shot seemed certain to score until Marchi, standing near Blanchflower turned the ball away from the line. Spurs were playing some good stuff but an unrelenting Everton defence so far out into their forward scheme at critical moments. A reverse pass by Jones to O’Neill nearly let in Walters and Everton were at lucky to escape a goal as Spurs had been a moment or two earlier.
Spurs made moves more fluently than Everton but Everton were still very practical, though a trifle slow, and when Eglington forced a corner he gave goalkeeper Ditchburn the opportunity to show his sure grip of the ball in the air. A misplaced pass by Blanchflower and a side footed pass from Harris to Wainwright all but tore a hole in the Spurs’ defence than Everton were on the receiving end of a narrow offside decision, with Stokoe in full cry and a score except for the whistle. Spurs went ahead after 14 minutes with a headed goal by Walters. Farrell chased Robb down the left wing, but the winger edged the ball to the line to find a space in which to centre and crossed the ball so accurately that Walters coming in and heading the ball downwards had a goal for the taking.
As on Wednesday the wind was swirling the ball a good deal and both Spurs’ backs were guilty of mistakes for this reason. Harris’s left foot shot from the headed prompting of Parker sailed narrowly over the angle and gave the crowd one of their few opportunity’s so far to show their approval. Again Withers was beaten by the swerving flight of the ball this time from a clearance kick by O’Neill and Spurs were glad to see the corner to prevent Eglington’s centre finding the mark. Spurs were desperately unlucky when Marchi coming up at full speed to convert a Walter’s corner kick misjudged the ball’s flight. Everton only half got the ball away, and it was well Baily’s shot was deflected just over the bar and not just under.
Spurs were equally unlucky when Stokes, anticipating a through pass from a free kick found himself all on his own with only O’Neill to beat, but lost control at the critical moment. Referee Ryalis was sharp and adamant in making his decisions and the game raged on at tremendous pace with Spurs promising to add to their goal lead. While Eglington was preparing to take a corner kick, the referee held up the game while he spoke to a police-constable and when the game continued policemen stood facing spectators in the terrace behind the goal.
A Brave Save
For a side with only one victory in their name, Spurs were playing astonishing well, Harrison getting the better of two clinches turned the ball to the edge of the penalty area near the goal line, where Ditchburn made a brave and necessary dive to the feet of Parker to take the ball. When Everton scored it was a glorious goal, and although Eglington was the scorer, all the spade work was done by Parker. There seemed no sign of a goal until Parker chancing position with Eglington, insisted not only of beating Walters but in taking the ball right up the goal line and luring Ditchburn to the post before pulling the ball back ultra-squarely for Eglington to score as he pleased with his right foot. The goal came at 37 minutes.
The game had gained a lot of bite at the expense of some of the earlier artisting. Wainwright made a spectacular attempt to keep in play an Eglington centre with the result that Hopkins feet tangled with a Press photographer a few yards from goal. Baily who had been so conspicuous early on was tiring; Brooks who had hanged in nearly all of the forward positions at one time or another was still playing gloriously. Half-time; Everton 1, Spurs 1.
HOYLAKE V EVERTON “C”
September 17, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Hoylake had most of the early play and Richardson scored after 15 minutes. The same player added a second, Chamberlain scored for Everton with a 40-yard drive. Half-time; Hoylake 2, Everton “C” 1
EVERTON IN A NEW LIGHT –THEY CAN FIGHT BACK
September 17, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
Our last two games against Charlton and Manchester United have certainly shown the Blues in a new light, and although you cannot judge a side on two good displays no more than a few of the critic were entitled to condemn us on our opening couple of games. With victories over such competent sides as Charlton and Manchester United, the side seems to be regaining its confidence and a belief in itself to play attractive football rounded off with those all-important goals. Another pleasing feature about Wednesday’s game was the manner in which the team fought back in the second half against a 2-1 deficit. It was grand to hear the old “Goodison roar” urging the Blues on. I suppose before last Wednesday we had not given fans much to cheer about this season at Goodison, but even when the sides was 2-1 down against Manchester United the crowd played their part in encouraging the lads by vocal support to fight back. When Manchester United scored their second goal just before half-time I must have been the only person within the Goodison enclosure not to have seen the ball enter the net. I went for the ball on the goal-line along with a United player, and just managed to get my boot to it and deflect it up in the air, at the same moment receiving an accidental kick in the ear and finally landing in the back of the net a little dazed. I didn’t know what happened immediately following this incident. When I finally regained my full senses some little time later, to my dismay I found the ball nesting beside me in the back of the net and how it got there I didn’t know till the lads told me after the game. Still I saw our four goals hit the target and what a grand sight it was, as it is a long time ago since we scored four in one game. Now that the forwards have regained their goal touch (and incidentally all five of them have now scored this season), I hope it augus well for the future. In these notes last week I mentioned about Luton’s Continental style boots. I wonder did you notice that some of our lads last Wednesday were wearing a now German type boot similar to those worn by the Germans when they won the World Cup? Before long, when the rest of the team have broken in their new ones, the entire side will be equipped with these rather lightweight boots. On away grounds we very often notice the different atmosphere prevailing during a game. Merseyside fans are famous for the atmosphere they create both at Anfield and Goodison. What a difference at Charlton last week. the home team were undefeated and obviously had got off to a great start, yet right through the game the Charlton fans rarely if ever gave one full-blooded roar, not even when their undefeated heroes took the field for the commencement ion of the game. This is hard to understand and yet it happens at quite few grounds up and down the country. Naturally when a side is having bad time one does not expect the fans to be in the same mood as if it were the other way round; but the Charlton fans lack of encouragement or enthusiasm or a side that had gone six games without defeat certainly amazed me. Reading an account of our game with Charlton on Monday morning I was rather surprised to read the following extract “Charlton certainly had more technique than Everton.” How anyone with any knowledge of football having witnessed last week’s game at the Valley could come to that conclusion certainly baffles me. A few words of congratulation to the Everton reserve side who before today’s game are undefeated. They have got off to a good start, and if that old football saying that the strength of a club is not only reflected in the first team but also its reserve side,” is true, then Mr. Britton and his directors can face the future with confidence.
BARNSLEY RES V. EVERTON RES
September 17, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Barnsley Res;- Walls, goal; Roscoe, and Walton, backs; Jackson, Sharp and Price, half-backs; Smyllie, Anderson, Chappell, Holmes and Lunn, forwards. Everton Res; Leyland, goal; Sutherland and Rankin, backs; Birch, Woods, and Melville, half-backs; Harris, Thomas, Saunders, Lewis, and Mayers, forwards. Referee; Mr. C.A. Sharp (Stockport). With the young Barnsley team keeping the ball too close, Everton were able to tear large gaps in the home defence. It was not until the 30th minute; however, that they managed to take the lead, Thomas scoring with a low drive, Lewis a live wire in the Everton forward line got their second goal. Half-time; Barnsley Res nil, Everton Res 2.
Everton “B” v. Aintree S.S.
Aintree were quicker on the ball and intercepting Everton’s passing well. After 35 minutes Drury scored for the visitors two minutes later Jones equalized with a penalty. Just on the interval Richie put Aintree ahead again with a fine oblique drive from the right wing. Half-time; Everton “B” 1, Aintree S.S 2.
GOOD NEWS OF EDDIE WAINWRIGHT; A TV COMPARISON
September 19, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 2, Tottenham Hotpur 1
By Leslie Edwards
The news about Eddie Wainwright is good. The damage to his right leg which caused him to be carried off ten minutes from the end of this match at Goodison Park is not a break, as was suspected but a severe strain of the ankle. While Everton, minus their outside right, were getting a great winning goal Wainwright was en route by ambulance to Broad green Hospital. There his damaged ankle was encased in plaster and he was provided with crutches to enable him to go home hobbing causalty. He is to see the specialist again tomorrow. Wainwright was injured when tackled by the Sours left back, Hopkins, immediately in front of the main stand. I confess I feared another leg-break such as Wainwright suffered some seasons ago. Happily examination proved fears wrong. Everton outside rights have been unlucky this season, Tony McNamara is only just recovered from a cartilage operation. He played his first game for one of the Everton junior clubs on Saturday and his complete return in a few week’s time or earlier, would be convenient. Much of the joy of the Spurs’ match was killed by the fact that the B.B.C chose to put on immediately most fans had reached their homes on Saturday evening, the second half of the match between Switzerland and Hungary at Lausanne. Allowing for the fact that one was comparing club football at Goodison Park with international football as brought by Eurovision, one could not escape the fact that Continental football can still teach our players a great deal.
Almost At Will
The Swiss, rather unluckily beaten 5-4, employed methods akin to ours. The Hungarians prompted by a Puskas, whose sleeves were as far down as Fielding’s used t be, looked as if they could score almost at will. Their thoughtful, rolled aside –almost invariably along the turf –were made effortlessly and with fluency and almost at walking pace. But one could not help noting that having passed players were like lightning to some open space where they could receive a return. In short the onus for the pass finding its mark was on the receiver not the man in possession. It is he receiver’s place to find some space in which the ball can be passed to him acceptably. I think our football would benefit from the introduction of such balance play and players. Also in days when any sort of charge in this country is apt to be penalized it might be better if we expunged charging in all forms from laws. Once a goal keeper has done his job, surely he is entitled to a chance to clear the ball. Though the Continental goalkeeping system of throwing the ball to start a new attack is now used successfully in Britain, one finds spectators at Goodison Park and elsewhere who are disinclined to allow a player to stand still with the ball when considering his next move or waiting for comrades to find new positions. Fielding uses this ruse well, but few are pleased that he has waited rather than rush into some less worthy project.
I apologize for arriving so late at the match under notice, but the comparison of what I had seen at Everton and the screened international which followed made comparison necessary and useful. Everton won because they took their chances; Spurs lost because they did not appreciate that however fine your approach to goal –and many of their’s were brilliant –it is valueless so long as you fritter shooting chances, Spurs contributed to their own failure and the Everton defence in which Jones and Moore were consistently good contributed their share o toiling and folling. ‘Spurs did not look like a team which had won only one match; indeed in the first half many of their forward moves were made so wetly and faciley that even the ranks of Evertonians were prepared to applaud. They did not like the hugh Clarke’s vigorous treatment, in the air, of young Harris, but that was partly the fault of Everton forwards and half backs who sent the ball forward so high that Clarke’s mastery was assured. Spurs scored first when Robb, in one of his early elusive moments beat Moore and centred for Walters on the other wing to head the ball down wards and into goal. The Everton equalizer was due to Parker’s artistry and his desire to make an opening which demanded acceptance. He carried the ball up the goalline, per a back-heeled Fielding pass, and delivered in square to where Eglington could not miss-even with his right foot!
Everton were more together and promised victory in the early moments of the second half, when the pace had taken toll of the lively Baily, but eleven minutes from the end when Wainwright fell injured both teams had equal prospects of victory. Oddly, once they became handicapped Everton put more flight into their game and Harris having a lion’s share of his fourth goal for Everton in the past few days, beat Hopkins avoided the lumbering Clarke who bore down on him and centred for either Fielding or Eglington to take a goal. Each thought quickly and cutely. Each allowed the ball to pass on to where Parker stood ready to take one of the easiest goals. So Everton went to their third win in eight days against opponents of such calibre as Charlton, Manchester United and, now Spurs. When Everton’s wing half backs play well the side has a good day. This was the way of it against Spurs. Yet it must be put on record that Spurs made the game’s best moves with half the effort Everton put into their effort to follow suit. That lively centre forward Stokes was impressive hard and well as Jones played, Brooks one of the best inside forwards I have seen this season, also had moments of brilliance. Robb was kept quite once Moore began to appreciate that Robb’s usual gambit is to go fast for the line and then pull the ball back quickly. Eglington might well have won the match for Everton earlier. Rarely has a Spurs back played so badly as the small Withers, who rarely put foot or head right in the first half. No doubt the swirl of the wind between the Everton stands had him puzzled.
So To Anfield
Referee Ryalls of Sheffield had a good match, I thought. He had to draw the attention of the police to a bottle which appeared on the pitch mid-way through the first half. Ditchburn restored to the Spurs’ goal was good as ever with his commanding height and reach and ready hands, Blanchflower looked less like the great player he is than ever before, but Spurs will win matches when they become more practical. Meanwhile we await tonight’s Anfield benefit for Eddie Spicer and the possibility that Stanley Matthews will add an Anfield goal to the rare one he got against Wolves. Having seen Wainwright’s painful injury on Saturday and realized the possible implication of it many will be more ready to pay tribute (and toll) to the Spicer whose career would still be running except for the tragic effect of a second broken leg.
BARNSLEY RES 0, EVERTON 2
September 19, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
After Everton had deservedly taken a won goals lead by half-time they were pegged on the defensive following the interval. It was then that goalkeeper Leyland came to the rescue with a series of fine saves. Saunders led the Everton attack cleverly. The scorers were Thomas and Lewis.
• Bootle J.O.C League; Everton 5, Bootle St. James 1
• Orrell Wardens Youth 1, Everton 14
EVERTON STILL CLIMBING
September 19, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
But Latest Win Not Their Best
Three successive victories have put Everton in a much-more respectable place in the table than looked possible only a fortnight or so ago, and has doubtless made some of those who were unduly critical at the start of the season repent their hastiness. Some readers sent me hot-tempered letters ofter I had suggested following Preston, Luton and West Bromwich defeats that it was too early for wholesale condemnation. Patience is a virtue in Soccer affairs as in so many others. By the same reasonising however, I am not no claiming that everything is well and that because of three consecutive matches have brought in the maximum points there is nothing to worry about. This would be a good bit off the mark. First though Tottenham started off extremely well for 20 minutes or so, they faded out badly and were never punishing in their finishing at any time. Secondly Everton played too much air ball “for my liking. They did not link up from stern to stem as they can when at their best. But for one thing I gave them full marks and that was their splendid fighting spirit and grim determination not to knuckle under when things were running against them. After Tottenham had taken the lead through Walters at the fourteenth minute, and the visitors who had been superior to that point continued to play delightful on-the-ground football it looked as though Everton were in for another reverse. There was a time a few years back when to be a goal down and on the losing end of things in a territorial sense used to rob the Blues of initiative spirit and determination.
Plenty of Spirit
That isn’t the case now. Once more, as against Manchester United, three days previously they buckled to their task in the right manner, if not always with the type of stylish and immaculate football which the purists like to see. As the Everton programme itself remarked only a fortnight ago, however the majority of fans do not go to see an entertaining game of football but to see their team win. On that basis the crowd probably went home happy and contented, particularly as the entertainment value of the game was reasonably satisfying from some angles. There were plenty of excitement, occasional flashes of brilliance a few near misses a couple of miraculous saves, some narrow escapes to either goal and a very hard and sportingly-fought ninety minutes of football which at times had the old Goodison roar –for the return of which Manager Cliff Britton made a plea in the programme –bursting out with all its former vociferousness. Thus spurred on Everton showed that even if they could not on this occasion produce all their promotion season on the turf, sickness and accuracy they would not be found wanting on the score of hard and determined effort. A great dribble and lovely square pass by Parker enabled Eglington to do what he has seldom done in his long and useful career –slot the ball home safely with his right foot. Though he was only about three yards off the target and unimpeded when he did it, the fact that it was with the foot which so often lets him down is worthy of mention. The second half saw Everton at last on top of a Tottenham side which had promised so much but produced so little though as the minutes sped by it seemed almost a certainly that a point would be dropped, for Parker’s header, which brought forth a wonderful one-handed save by Ditchburn was about the only time Everton served up anything really dangerous looking. The Goodison roar, redoubted as they repeatedly swept in to attack was not doing the trick this time.
What did it was something which looked at the time to be a mortal blow to their hopes. It was the injury to Wainwright which I am happy to say is nothing like so serious as at first feared. When the right winger had his feet bound together by ambulance men and was taken off on a stretcher it looked odds on that this most unlucky player had broken his leg for the second time inside five years. Actually it was found on X-ray examination at Broad green Hospital to be only a severe wrench. Bad enough it is true, but infinitely less serious than everybody had imagined. This mishap was the spur Everton needed first when they were beginning to flag, and five minutes after Wainwright’s departure a good bit of work by Harris enabled Parker to notch the winning goal.
Fine Team Work
I have lost count of the times when I have said here that the foundation of an Everton victory has been based on solid all-round team work rather than the brilliance of one or two viduals. At the expense of reiteration I must say it again. When everyone so wholeheartedly pulls out his utmost in the common cause as on this occasion it is difficult to single out anybody for special mention without ending to detract somewhat from the rest. This was such a day. The defence revolving smoothly and capably around the rock like Jones, struck well to its task when Tottenham started their pattern-weaving and on subsequent but less lengthy periods when the visitors occasionally regained some of her earlier effectiveness. The attack likewise shaped reasonably well, if we overlook those instances when the ball was given too much air and the task of the visiting rearguard was simplified. As for Tottenham they need more punch in attack and better co-ordination between wing halves and the front line Baily has gone off considerably since last I saw him, and the wingers were not impressive after 20 minutes or so. stokes and Brooks were the best of the forwards and Clarke though the crowd got up against him for one offence on Harris, did his job well enough particularly when the ball was in the air.
NOT SO FICKLE, NOT SO FOREGETFUL!
September 20, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton-Liverpool X1 2, Spicer’s X1 2
Attendance 41,266 (at Anfield).
By Leslie Edwards.
Put on view the world’s best outside right, Stanley Matthews and the world’s supreme goalkeeper, Bert Trauntmann, and give the gate receipts to one of the best fellows who ever kicked a ball, Eddie Spicer, and you get an attendance of 41,266 –Liverpool’s largest this season –and a benefit sum of about £5,000. Could there be a finer tribute to Spicer the man or Spicer the player, whose career ended as the result of a second broken leg eighteen months ago? Scarcely believing that so many people –all of them paying at the gate –remembered him and patronized his benefit last night. Spicer asked me to thank again, everyone for what must be the most successful benefit ever promoted in the city. Players, public and clubs contributed equally to making this such a happy occasion. Spectators who made their visit dual-purpose were rewarded by entertainment such as one rarely sees even in international football with the finest goalkeeping by Trauntmann, ever seen on the ground. It says much for the Kop sense of sportsmanship that they should give him all ovation for his play at the other end at the interval. He returned thanks (as Eddie Spicer had over the public address system) by putting on before them an even more astonishing series of saves. When players foregathered for handshakes at the end –as well they might – and walked off to tremendous applause one sensed that the special warmth of it was for this light-haired German giant who not only saved shots from point-blank range, but held the ball as if in a vice. It took a Trauntmann to overshadow a Matthews but Matthews pulled them into the ground and captivated them with touches of his skill until after a fast and brilliant run five minutes after the interval he elected to leave the field. No one minded much because his first half mesmerism of the combined Everton-Liverpool defence had justified everyone’s attendance. Time and space mean nothing to Matthews. He makes his own. Moran rightly contended himself by playing Matthews negatively. To slip the ball out of play from the master’s feet is about as much s a back can do. This was a game of no charges good will all along the line and arts and crafts which cannot be indulged in the hurly-burly of League football. It was exhibition plus football. While Matthews was there the crowd were entranced by the good things they saw, later when the managerial warning not to get hurt had worn and the crowd roared the game and the players sprang to greater life. But for Trauntmann I swear our team would have won by six goals. His finest moment was when he took, from Alan A’Court’s boot a closed in cannon ball shot and held it. For moments those on the Kop seemed to refuse to believe the evidence of their eyes.
Rarely have I seen a match containing so many fiery shots. Some from Liddell had Trauntmann at full stretch; one from Brian Harris on the right wing –from his left foot-left the post quivering. Our team compared favourably with the other; the insurmountable barrier was Trauntmann. Shannon once a Liverpool forward took the joy of the first goal at thirty minutes when O’Neill allowed from his gasp a Scanlon centre and the application of a tap was all Shannon needed to turn the ball over the line. Anderson made it 1-1 after thirteen minutes of the second half when after his initial drive had struck Trauntmann and rebounded back he returned the ball over the line with an equally fierce drive. Trauntmann’s size his power his covering of all angles was superb. His commanding reach in his area, too, meant that any ball crossing his line of vision was almost automatically his. Sixty-eight minutes had gone, and the crowd were still loving every moment of it, when Stanley Matthews, Saunders (introduced as a substitute for Matthews) showed what Liverpool are missing from their forward line. With a feinting run he started the right wing move which ended in Moir gliding a header past O’Neill for a lead of 2-1. It was then that Trauntmann started his almost unbelievable goalkeeping with saves, in succession, from Fielding and A.Court that had us marveling. Two minutes from the end Twentyman from Fielding’s pass, slammed the ball in to make the score level and the combined Everton-Liverpool side got the reward their play merited.
Praise For The Other Everton Harris
Brain Harris can rarely have played better; Saunders as a forward was an eye-opener, Fielding and Liddell as one expected were as much at home with each other’s play as if they had been in the same team for seasons. Farrell and Farrell and Jones in Liverpool red looked different but played well as ever; Anderson in this exalted company, showed that he can be every bit as good as the Moirs and Shannons; Wheeler for power-driven shots, was in a class of his own; Eckersley for quiet construction was the thoughtful back as ever. But one could go on forever in praise of the people who made this match so memorable and so rewarding for a man whose service to the Liverpool team –and to his country –has not passed un-noticed by those normally rated as “the forgetful fickle, football public.”
September 22, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Potts and Fielding The Latest
In another few weeks Everton will have paid out no fewer than ten benefit cheques to first team and reserve players since the end of last season. In some cases the players have received their second payment of this nature. Wainwright, Leyland, Grant, Gibson, Melville, McNamara, Sutherland, and Clinton –in the case of the latter the payment was for occurred share of benefit –have already had their cheques. Now the board with its usual generously has granted full beneficiaries to Harry Potts and Wally Fielding. In the case of Fielding this will be his second payment for he competed ten years on the club’s professional books a week ago. Footballers may be “slaves,” but as Dave Morris said in a recent broadcast they are the highest paid slaves in captivity and when they are with a club which honoures its bond as do Everton –or Liverpool also for that matter –it isn’t such a bad life after all. The professionals to whom my biggest sympathy goes but are those associated with the struggling Third Division sides many of whom with all the good will in the world, simply cannot contemplate paying even a modern benefit sum. In certain cases –that of Harold Bell was a notable one –the player is given a benefit match and is so highly esteemed by the public that he gets as much as he would with a senior side. But those instances are rare.
Their First Defeat
Everton Reserves 1, Manchester United Reserves 2
As was the case with Liverpool Reserves on Saturday Everton second string lost their unbeaten record in their ninth game when Manchester United won 2-1 at Goodison Park last night. Both the visitors goals by Whelan in the 18th minute and Charlton three minutes after the interval were the result of defensive lapses. Had the Blues played as well throughout as they did in the last 20 minutes their record might still be intact. In that period they galliantly overcame an injury which had reduced Grant to little more than a passenger from the early stages of the game and hammered away at a United defence which had great difficulty in keeping them out. Even so they produced little really strong shooting and Crompton best save of the evening was a flying drive which kept out a Saunders shot midway through the first half. Apart from a good effort by Thomas this was the nearest the Blues came to saving a point in a somewhat disappointing display on which only Thomas and Lewis of the attack and Melville at left half produced their normal form.
BRIAN HARRIS CHOSEN
November 23, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
Brian Harris, Everton’s twenty-year-old outside right returns to the team for his fourth League game, when they visit Portsmouth tomorrow. He replaces Wainwright on the right wing. Team; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; Harris (B), Fielding, Harris (J), Parker, Eglington.
Mr. H.P. Hardman chairman of Manchester United and former Everton player, at the annual meeting yesterday paid tribute to the high standard of the club’s young team, which had made them one of the few clubs to experience increased attendances last season. He said that four of the six players who received benefits last season were under twenty one, and soon there would be several more players due for a similar reward. “We shall be happy to pay. They have earned their benefits,” said Mr. Hardman.
EVERTON’S BOGEY GROUND
September 23, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton’s post-war record of Portsmouth may not be calculated to encourage much hope that they will registers their fourth consecutive victory if you are a firm believer in tradition and “bogey” grounds but it is often when the prospects look most slender that an unlucky sequence comes to an end. I have that will be the case tomorrow. Everton have lost every game played at Fratton Park since the war, and all but one of the Goodison Park meetings. What is more, they have frequently been beaten severely. But figures are not always what they seen. For instance though Pompey were much the better side last season, Everton should not have lost 0-5 even though they were without four of their Eire Internationals. The Blues missed there “sitters.” The most discussed Portsmouth player this season is their 17-years-old schoolboy winger Pat Neil, who has done so well that he has kept Gordon Dale, the costly signing from Chesterfield out of the side. He also earned an amateur international cup against Ireland last Saturday. On the other flank Peter Harris is still going great guns, having scored two goals in each of his last three games and eight in all. Veteran Duggie Reid is still doing duty at centre half with the young Scot Henderson leading the attack. He and Rees have each scored three times, Neil twice and Gordon once. Portsmouth lost their first two away matches, won the next two, and have yet to be beaten on their own ground, where they have defeated Wolves 2-1 and drawn with Blackpool and Bolton. While the Hampshire side are not the power they were in the days of the Scoular-Flewin- Dickinson half-back line which was the back bone of their two successive First Division championships, they are still a formidable combination.
Their manager Mr. Eddie Lever, with whom I spent many hours talking soccer in Switerland at the World Cup series last summer, has been endeavoring over the past 12 months or so to graft the best of the Continental training and playing ideas on to the more or less stereotyped English pattern of League football. Pompey have introduced many innovations into their coaching and training schedules and have also endeavored to mould their style of play on slightly different lines.
NO MANAGEMENT BY REMOTE CONTROL FOR ME
September 24, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
By Joe Mercer (Manager of Sheffield United).
Many people have told me that they were surprised when I accepted the offer to take over at Sheffield United. The lightning switch from managing a chain of grocery stores in Wirral to a new and amorous position in football was not done without much thought. I am sure however, that it will prove to have been well worthwhile. My heart has always been in football from my very earliest days . It has been good to get back to it, and I am determined to do everything I can to restore the former prestige of Sheffield United. I have been a manager for just six weeks. Many times I have been asked what it feels like to be in charge of players instead of being one of them. United have won two matches in eight games and scored only ten goals –and one o those was an “own goal.” Am I downhearted? The answer is a possible “No.” I am quite sure we shall improve on that. It takes time to get your plans working effectively. Those who expected me to be a new broom which would clean may have been disappointed. I am following a great manager in the late Reg Freeman. I may have different ideas to his, but I do not intend to embark on a wholesale change of policy. What are my plans for Sheffield United. My aim is to make them into an attractive team which play good methodical football. First and foremost a team should be able to shoot so I have decided an priority for shooting practice. For hourly periods players have been sending the ball against a stone wall, mainly with their weaker foot, I think this was the case of the improvement which was shown during the first half last week at Cardiff. I am not interested in buying players, I intend to develop our stars from the promising youngsters of which we have quite a number. With that end in view Mr. George Smith, a leading F.A. Coach and former Charlton Athletic centre half has been appointed coach.
I rank George as the No. 1 coach in the country. He is a man I am proud to have with me. I am certain we shall work very happily together. We played alongside each offer in war-time football, and are great friends. Unless things go badly with our First Division side Mr. Smith will not spend much time travelling with that team. He will look more to the reserves and “A” teams but all his work will dovetail into a more comprehensive coaching plan for the club. Y this means we hope to produce some outstanding players. I think we will. How does it feel sitting in an office under the stand in front of which I have so often played for Arsenal and Everton? The truth is I am still learning fast. Everybody has been most helpful. It is a big switch and I can assure you it is no bed of rose. I did not expect it to be when I took the job on. One thing I made up my mind about; I will not be a manager by remote control. I get on to the field with the lads during their training. Despite my long experience in the game as a player and coach I am still just a “babe-in-arms.” Nobody will ever k now all there is to know about football. Matt Busby I a great friend of mine. He has given me the benefit of his years of experience. That is extremely valuable for you all know how successful Matt has been with Manchester United. If I can emulate the good work he has done for Manchester I shall be very happy.
Tricks Of The Trade
As a manager I know I am expected to give orders. What of it? I have been a player and taken orders. But also have been giving orders on the pitch for a long time as a captain. When you are skipper you are, in a way, carrying out managerial duties. Discipline plays a big part in running any club. I shall not soft pedal my ruling or dealings with players. As a player a 25 years experience I think I know most of the “tricks of the trade” as well as the mental and physical difficulties of players. There is one thing I would like to do. That is make some contribution towards stopping the fall in attendances at soccer matches. Sheffield experiencing this drop as in other parts of the country. What is the cause? You cannot really put your finger an anything definite. There are diverse reasons. I feel it is up to us who are in the game to find ways of means of attracting the crowds back again. You remembered the cinemas experienced the same thing a few years ago. What have they done to combat it? They have introduced 3-D, cinemascope, and other new ideas. I think floodlighting may be part of our answer. There is a great future for floodlit football. More attractive football will also help to bring back the last crowds. One of our troubles is that most spectators want to see goals. That may be thrilling but to me the method of play is more important. True, it is goals which finally count, but the approach work is, to my mind equally important. Take Continental football. The spectators over there are different from the majority in this country. They are Hungary for good football. Our spectators have to be made to realize that the methods of play count for a lot. Goals may be good to see, but in my opinion goals and the ultimate result tend to cloud the judgment of most of our spectators. Nobody can guarantee any result. The game would not be worth playing or watching of that were possible. But good football will always win out in the end. Play good football –that always has been and always will be my approach to the game. Welfare plays a large part n the lives of the players. I firmly believe in adequate welfare facilities. A club that looks after its players gets good service and loyalty from them. I should know, I was with two of the best clubs in the country. You know their names –Everton and Arsenal. The welfare of their players was always foremost. I would say it was remarkable. Every player was treated the same. At Highbury all the players were made to realize that the club comes first, with the player a close second. As a manager I shall try to see that my players are treated fairly and het a square deal in all directions. It keeps them contended. A discontented player cannot give of his best. The player must also realize his obligations to the club. Some things I have in common with United players; Many I have know for years. Right winger Alf Ringstead was with Ellesmere Port, the club with whom I started. But so far as the managerial side is concerned I am a new boy.” I know my capabilities and I know my limitations I have got to make background. It is a difficult job in every way. No doubt it will have its hard times and its disappointments. It is useless to say I am satisfied with United’s record since I joined the club, but there are bound to be trials and tribulations as well as successes. I am prepared for both the good and the bad. As a boy I was always willing to listen to the advice of the great players with whom I came in contact, I found that much of that résistance stood me in good stood. So though I have 25 years practical playing experience behind me, I am still as in the past, willing to listen to take advice about a manager’s job. It is said that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. I shall do my best I cannot do more. One final word about the much-discussed “slave” players. All I can say is that I wish I could have another 25 years’ slavery.
SCHOOLBOY’S SCORING LSSON; BLUES FAIL TO LAY POMPEY BOGEY
September 24, 1955. The Liverpool Football Echo
Portsmouth 1, Everton 0
A scrambled goal at the 69th minute gave Portsmouth their seventh successive victory over Everton at Fratton Park. Pompey deserved to win, but Everton put up a good fight. The visiting goal had several narrow escapes. Portsmouth; Uprichard, goal; McGhee and Mansell, backs; Gunter, Reid and Dickinson, half-backs; Harris (P), Pickett, Henderson , Rees (P), and Neill, forwards. Everton; O’Neill, goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Farrell (captain), Jones and Lello, half-backs; Harris (B), Fielding, Harris (J), Parker and Eglington, forwards. Referee; Mr. R.E. Smith. Farrell won the toss and set Portsmouth to face the strong sun. The home side’s first attack petered out when Henderson’s back heel was collected by Jones. Everton shaped better in their first raid a five man attack looking most promising until Reid stepped into the breach to forestall Harris (J.). Peter Harris was soon in the picture with a long solo run and a centre by Neill also looked to be laden with danger until Tansey blocked away Henderson’s shot. Another run by Peter Harris was followed by a low centre which sped across goal without any Pompey man up to apply the finishing touch. Jimmy Harris showed a clean pair of heels to Reid when seeking to connect with Fielding’s canny up-the-middle pass. Unfortunately he just tailed to reach the ball before Uprichard dashed out and collected it.
Portsmouth made ground rapidly by a series of long sweeping passes but Everton’s defence closed’ it’s ranks and O’Neill was not called upon Brian Harris tried a 20-yard shot, which curled away on the wrong side o the post. Everton had a miraculous escape when Peter Harris got clear away on his own. A goal looked certain but O’Neill made a splendid one-handled save at he was falling to the ground. Another Everton escape came when Henderson outpaced Jones and also looked a certain scorer. This time Moore kicked off the line. In between these two incidents Uprichard saved smartly from Jimmy Harris at the foot of the post. Despite Portsmouth’s speed positional interchanging and frequent raids Everton were not getting rattled. They still tried to play good football. One promising moved carved out a shooting chance for Fielding. He took it hurriedly and inaccurately. Another side bit of work saw Brian Harris head narrowly over the angle of the woodwork. Henderson Neill and Harris moved sweetly only for Rees final shot to be plucked out of the air by O’Neill. At the other end Fielding brought Uprichard to his knees with a 30 yards effort. A foul against Mansell who brought Harris (J) down saw Fielding skim the bar with a free kick. Everton’s defence sometimes held off the tackle and gave Pompey’s forwards who were well supported by the wing halves too much space in which to operate. It was fortunate for O’Neill that the home attack finishing was wild and had otherwise he would have been kept more busier. Twice Henderson was well off the mark when nicely placed.
Gunter was applauded for some excellent work and a final long shot was a gift for O’Neill, so was one by Neil. Off-side against Parker brought Everton’s next raid to an abrupt end. Everton’s retreating defence allowed Pompey to take the ball more than half the length of the field without a challenge and matters looked ominous until. Tansey stepped in with a lusty clearance. Everton were fighting a tremendously hard but their finishing was no better than Portsmouth’s and neither goalkeeper had been seriously troubled apart from O’Neill’s early save against Peter Harris. Half-time; Portsmouth nil, Everton nil.
Offside against Brian Harris pulled up Everton and then Pompey gained a corner which brought them no advantage thanks to O’Neill’s confident catch beneath the bar. Portsmouth continued to hold the upper hand territorially yet try as they would they could not translate it into the goal which meant so much. Then an Everton breakaway started by Moore and helped on by Farrell saw Jimmy Harris through with only Uprichard to they Uprichard saved as he was failing to the ground in almost identical fashion to O’Neill in the first half. This was a lucky let off for the home side. Portsmouth’s best effort for some time was a Henderson shot of tremendous power which was only a foot off the upright. It was followed almost immediately by another from Rees, which was just as strong and almost as close. Spurred on by the crowd, Portsmouth were how hammering away against the hard pressed visiting rearguard. After Rees had hit the bar , Jones hooked the ball behind for a corner, and from Pickett’s flag kick, Farrell cleared after Henderson had missed his attempted shot.
Not Done With
Everton were by no means done with, and after they had forced a corner, a centre by Jimmy Harris had the home supporters hearts in heir months. Luckily for Pompey the cross eluded friend as well as foe. Good work by Jimmy Harris and Fielding provided Eglington with an opening but his first time drive swung away just a fraction too much. Lello was equally unfortunate with a 20 yarder which flashed over the bar like a rocket and then Jimmy Harris put in a centre which Mansell lashed against parker’s body. The thrills were now fast and furious O’Neill saved well from Rees, stuck out a knee to cannon the ball away when Henderson looked a likely scorer and then Tansey had to concede a corner to hold off Peter Harris. It was from this that at the 69th minute Portsmouth took the lead through their schoolboy amateur international Neil, who scrambled the ball through after it had been bobbing about in the visiting goalmouth for some seconds and had twice been only partially cleared. Portsmouth were all out to increase their lead, and twice O’Neill saved luckily from Henderson and Pickett. It looked as though the Fratton Park bogey was still dogging Everton who have not won here since the war. Though they could not grumble at being in arrears it was not a convincing goal that had put them behind. Neil ran through the Everton defence at top speed without getting in a shot, Jones stepped in to frustrate Henderson and Peter Harris wasted a good chance after rounding Tansey. Jimmy Harris darted through on his own, holding off a challenge by two opponents before shooting into the side netting. Everton never gave up the struggle and though they had less chances than the opposition they continued to fight back gamely, with the defence taking major honours against Pompey’s lively raids. Final; Portsmouth 1, Everton nil. Attendance 29,980.
September 24, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
The dreadful display against Preston North End in the opening match depressed everybody. The reserve at West Bromwich four days later did not help matters. But there were signs that Everton were not as bad as some people had made out and recent games have proved it. Everton have rehabilitated themselves in the good books of their supporters to a large extent and at the moment are in a satisfactory position. I hope it remains that way. The side is not one of outstanding brilliance, ledividuually or collectively, but it has this in its favour, that every man is a genuine and earnest trier, that the team spirit is excellent and at all times the side tries its best to play good constructive on-the-ground football. They don’t always achieve it. There are few sides which hit the high spots consistently every week.
Everton, however, are at least workmanlike and I still stick to the opinion I expressed before the season commenced, that they are likely once again to finish around the middle of the table, possibly just below the half-way mark. If they do better I shall be pleased. One encouraging feature is the excellent promise of the three former reserve players who have come into the side. Though Tansey has much to learn yet, he is fashioned himself most promisingly. When he can control his clearances a little better and improve the constructive side of his play he is going to be a most useful back. Jimmy Harris needs no words of mine to embellish what he has done since he took over from Dave Hickson. Harris has not burst upon the football firmament with a spate of goals. In his seven appearances he has produced only a couple. Unless I am much mistaken however, he is going to better that average considerably in the not too distant future. A centre forward’s value should not be entirely measured by his goal taking. His goal making abilities are equally important and Harris has proved his ability in that direction. Brian Harris has also pleased though to a slightly lesser extent in his three senior outings and after his showing in the Spicer benefit match it seems certain that in course of time this right winger is going to be another big asset to the Blues. In addition to these young players here are many more in the Everton “school” whom Manager Cliff Britton is convinced will be equally successful. I have said on many occasions that in the long run I feel convinced his policy will be justified. I see no reason to retract that. The proof of the pudding is in the eating and even the most astute judge cannot say with complete certainly what the future holds. With that reservation I think Everton will get through this season without undue anxiety, providing they steer reasonably clear of injuries. Next year when the majority of their young promising players now in the Services are available for full time training I feel we can look forward to an era of sustained success.
Big Drop In Goodison Gates
The drop in Everton’s gates this season is the heaviest in the country. The aggregate attendance for the first five home matches is 39,000 less than a year ago which represents a decline in income of about £6,000 net after allowing for entertaining tax. Though nobody expected last season’s fabulous gates to be maintained this is a big decline. The picture, however, is not quite so ominous as these figures seen to indicate as the average attendance is 43,028 against 48,395 last winter. So long as there is not a corresponding drop later in the year of the lost in the early weeks may be regained.
ON WEARING RED AND HEARING THE KOP
September 24, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
It was a strange experience trotting out last Monday evening at Anfield in a red jersey. When I arrived at the ground the doorman greeted me with the words “I never thought I’d see the day that you would war out colours? In the pre-match kick about two of the good huroured remarks I heard floating in the air from the obvious followers of the Reds were; Don’t blush, Farrell, you are playing for a good team tonight” and “What does it feel like to be a Red Peter?”
I am sure every one of the 41,000 spectators enjoyed the game as much as the 22 –sorry 23 players did –Roy Saunders must not be forgotten. Nothing but the highest of praise is due to the soccer followers of Merseyside who turned up in such large numbers to pay tribute to Eddie Spicer. I am sure Eddie was not only a very pleased man as he watched the game on the ground where he rendered such yeoman service in the not too distant past for the Reds. The exhibition of goalkeeping by Bert Trauntmann was one of the finest that we have seen for along time. His anticipation was uncanny and following one extraordinary save from Alan A’Court from four yards range Don Revie remarked to me “He is like this every day, “Peter.” If this is a sample of Bert’s true form then I can well believe Revie when he said there is no better. Before leaving Monday night’s game I should like to add that it was rather an unusual experience playing towards the kop goal in the second half and to hear my own side’s efforts being cheered so enthusiastically by the famous “Kop Roar.”
As Billy Liddell says elsewhere, there was a marked difference between this friendly and a match in which there are vital league points at stake. In a game such as last Monday players can afford to take risks which they normally would never undergo. While incentive or friendly games are a welcome change occasionally for players and spectators alike I am sure we would all get a little tired of the fare served up if we hadn’t the two points for a win, plus relegation or promotion, at stake in our leagues. Getting back to home affairs in case Everton supporters think I have changed my colours for good, the Blues picked up two useful points last week against the Spurs. This game was by no means one of our best showing this season, but it was nice to win as I am sure you will agree that too often in the pass we have come off the field in the knowledge that the side has played good football and yet lost. Last week’s game proved that even when the side does not slick as we would wish it to we still have that fighting spirit which is so invaluable to any team. When Eddie Wainwright left the field near the end I could sense that the rest of the lads were making a special effort to pull out that little extra. All Evertonians were greatly relieved to hear that Eddie injury was not as serious as was first thought. It certainly looked bad when he was carried off. Fortunately however the X-ray showed only a badly wretched ankle. Here’s hoping this great clubman will soon be fit again.
RESERVE DERBY THRILLS
September 24, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Hold On To Lead
Everton Res;- Leyland, goal; J. Parkes, and Donovan, backs; Birch, Woods and Melville, half-backs; McNamara, Thomas, Saunders, Lewis, and Mayers, forwards. Liverpool Res;- Underwood, goal; Perry and Byrne, backs; Wilkinson, South and Campbell (D), half-backs; Scogings, Rowley, Dickson, and Robson, forwards. Referee; Mr. M. Taylor (Wigan). Everton took the field as chosen but Liverpool brought in Wilkinson for Campbell (R) and Scogings switched over to outside right with Robson at outside left. Liverpool had the advantage of the wind but it was Everton who were first on the attack and they forced two successive corners, the second of which was placed behind by Mayers. In Liverpool’s first attack Campbell (D.) shot narrowly over the bar but after seven minutes play Liverpool took the lead when Healy raced between the Everton backs and coolly placed the ball well out of Leyland’s reach. Everton equalized after 25 minutes play when McNamara’s low centre hit Lewis’ legs and rebound into the net. Two minutes later Rowley restored Liverpool’s lead. After Liverpool had scored their second goal, Everton retaliated strongly and Saunders saw a good shot pass narrowly just wide of the upright with Underwood well beaten. Everton appealed for a penalty when Perry held off Lewis on the edge of the area. Outside left Robson was by no means having his own way against Everton amateur right back J. Parkes, who in beating Robson to the ball went right down to Liverpool ‘s corner flag only to be foiled of centring the ball by Byrne. Half-time; Everton Res 1, Liverpool Res 2.
EVERTON ADD A “O” TO THEIR HOODOO
September 26, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Portsmouth 1, Everton 0
Although Everton were unable to lay the bogey which had dogged the, on all their post-war visits to Fratton Park, they put a good fight and in some respects, might be considered a trifle unfortunate to lose by a scrambling sort of goal. it was a hard and desperate game, with the advantage fluctatuating, Portsmouth started off in great style, swinging the ball about from wing to wing and interchanging positions so speedily and effectively that it seemed the hard-pressed Everton defence would be forced to give way. Jones and Moore, however, stood firm and with Farrell and Lello at their best and Tansey improving weathered the storm. Then it was Portsmouth who were struggling to hang on against Everton’s onslaughts. And so it continued, with each side in turn having spells of superiority, without either being able to turn their advantage onto a goal until the game was 69 minutes old. The decider was tinged with fortune. It arose originally from a corner, the ball, hovering about in the Everton penalty area before Henderson on the right flank lobbed it into the middle.
O’Neill tried to turn Henderson’s effort over the bar but could do no more than palm it away to the head of Harris who nodded it back from near the dead-ball line to the feet of Neil, standing two yards from goal. Even then it took two attempts before the seventeen-year-old winger managed to squeeze to into the net. Once Portsmouth had taken the lead they turned on the heat in a manner which again kept the visiting defence at top pressure for long stretches. Jones and his co-defenders though often in difficulties stuck it out manfully, and when they were beaten there was always O’Neill who made many saves under circumstances which he could not have been blamed had he been beaten. It was in attack that Everton were least impressive. Up to a point they played well enough and were always seeking to serve up good combined football, but there was a lack of virile and accurate finishing which allowed Uprichard to get of easily. The two Harrises tried hard enough but both still lack just that bit of experience which makes so much difference.
Yet each of them produced quite a few noteworthy scoring attempts. Two excellent headers by Brian Harris came within inches of beating Uprichard and his nameshake also had some strong first-time shots which flashed narrowly past the woodwork. Though Everton’s best in defence were O’Neill and Jones, the other members of the rearguard all played a valuable part. Lello and Farrell also found time to give assistance to their forwards when he side veered in Everton’s favour. Lello was the strongest marksman in the final stages when Everton came within an ace of getting the equalizer. On the whole, however, was a game in which the respective defences took most of the honours. Both forward lines spoiled good approach work when they came within shooting distance.
EVERTON RES 3 LIVERPOOL RES 3
September 26, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
A last minute goal enabled Liverpool to finish level at Goodison Park. While Liverpool deserved to turn a goal up, a transformed Everton created sufficient chances to have won comfortably. As it was Everton had to wait until a quarter of an hour from the end before two quick goals put them ahead. Birch and Melville have good support to the forwards of whom Saunders and Lewis were the pick. Scorers; Lewis, Saunders and Thomas, for Everton and Dickson, Rowley and Robson for Liverpool.
SO NEAR AND YET SO FAR EVERTON LOSE, BUT PUT UP GOOD FIGHT
September 26, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
So near and yet so far. Those six monosyllabic words must have been used scores of times already by various clubs this season. They will be heard on numerous occasions in the months ahead. They were my instinctive reaction to Everton’s best post-war display at Portsmouth. A glance of the League table shows what a difference one or two points from this game would have made to the Blues, who on this occasion played in white with stylish black shiny shorts, which sparkled in the sun like some of their play. I am not suggesting that Everton should have had two points, or even that justice would have been done had hey taken one. Personally though I found myself in a solitary minority in holding this view I felt that Portsmouth just about deserved their victory. The fact that opinions were so divided however, obviously indicates that Everton put up a good shot of this “graveyard” ground, which had seen them hammered so severely on so many previous occasions that one viewed their prospects at the start with considerable misgiving. Looking at it one way you might consider them a trifle unfortunate to lose y a rather fluky sort of goal at the 69th minute. But on the basis of Portsmouth’s chances and the many excellent saves of O’Neill –plus two fortunate ones by his knees –the result was equitable enough. It was a hard and fast game fought out so sportingly from start to finish that there was not a single foul apart from technical offences, and neither trainer went on the field.
Pompey began like a bunch of greyhounds just out of the trap. They swung the ball across from wing to wing in a manner which often saw the Everton defence spread-eagled and every man of the home forward line for a time seemed to have the beating of the opposition both for speed and control. ‘It look ominous. One’s mind went back to the many past occasions when Portsmouth have run Everton off their feet. It seemed as though history was about to repeat itself. Everton, however, kept their heads, concentrated on playing good football, and with Jones and Moore the bulwarks, Tansey gradually getting the “hang” of Peter Harris and Lello and Farrell lending valiant aid when the threat was greatest the visitors slowly but surely got back on an even keel. Having successfully emerged from this ordeal Everton started to hit back themselves in no uncertain manner. The turning point came fairly early when O’Neill made a miraculous close-range save from Peter Harris who must be wondering to this minute how it happened he did not score. Once Everton had got their teeth into the game and realized that Portsmouth were not the all-conquering side of old they often gave as much as they had to take and sometimes more.
Ebb and Flow
The advantage ebbed and flowed almost with the regularity of the Mersey’s tides. First one team was on top for a spell then the other. Had the ball run more kindly for Everton they might have been a goal up at the interval. Two headers by Brian Harris and shots by Jimmy Harris and Fielding produced audible sighs of relief from the home crowd as they flashed narrowly on the wrong side of the woodwork – or the right side of it from the onlookers viewpoint. Early in the second half the Portsmouth goal had an escape which was almost a carbon copy of that enjoyed by Everton in the first portion. This time it was Jimmy Harris, who was clean through. He looked as certain scorer as Peter Harris had done. But Uprichard had come out to narrow the angle and saved a stinging shot from a few yards range. Then came the goal which settled the matter, though at the time we were not to know that. It followed in the wake of a corner which has never properly cleared. After the ball had bobbed up and down in the Everton penalty area like one of those tiny celluloid balls on water-sports at a fairground, it was at last lobbed into the middle by Henderson.
A Scrappy Goal
Just as it seemed about to curl under the bar O’Neill made a tremendous leap and palmed it away. Unfortunately Harris was standing on the dead-ball line to meet it and when he headed it back to Neil, the young grammer school outside left found himself on-side only two yards from goal. Even then his first shot was scrambled away, but as luck would have it the ball came right back to him. He made no mistake the second time. This success encouraged Portsmouth to such an extent that for some minutes they had Everton in rather a flat spin. Spurred on by the roar of the crowd and the chanting of the old “Pompey Chimes” which seems to have the same effect on Portsmouth’s team as the Kop roar has on Liverpool, they came with an ace of snatching a couple more goals.
A Final Rally
Again, however, Everton gallantly weathered the storm. Earlier Rees had struck the bar. Now O’Neill made excellent saves from Henderson, Neil and Pickett albeit with a little bit of luck in one instance and as Portsmouths’ all-out effort gradually preferred out the visitors again came back strongly into the picture. All things considered Everton earned almost as much honour in defeat at the victors by their win. The main credit goes to the visiting rearguard. Starting with O’Neill every man did well with Jones once more the stalwart around whom the rest revolved Farrell and Lello rarely out a foot wrong. Tansey redeemed his not-so-impressive start and Moore was solid throughout. In the closing stages Lello was Everton’s strongest marksman. It was in attack, where the Blues not quite measure up to expectation though even here there was much that was good to wash out the memory of occasional lapses and misplaced passes. Jimmy Harris was always a danger, and had the beating of Reid for speed. The other Harris boy similarly shaped well. The only real fault one could find was that sometimes neither ran into the open spaces quite so quickly as they might have done. That is something which experiences will soon remedy. Both Fielding and Parker often found the ball running most perversely. Yet each kept pegging away, and though not as outstanding as usual, there was nothing seriously lacking. The same applies to Eglington. On this display Portsmouth are a solid and well balanced side, with a forward line which promises to get plenty of goals once it starts putting the right finishing touches to its otherwise excellent work. The defence is sound, even though Reid covers the minimum of ground these days and has not he speed to cope with a very lively opponent. Gunter has developed into a most constructive half-back, with a penchant for acting whenever possible as an auxiliary forward.
September 26, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Sharing six goals Everton and Liverpool provided entertaining fare in the reserve “derby” at Goodison Park. Everton had enough chances to ensure victory for after deservedly leading at the interval Liverpool were forced on the defensive by a revitalized Blue attack in the second half. Everton bombarded the Reds goal for half an hour before being rewarded by two quick goals to take the lead for the first time and Liverpool fought back to equalize through Robson in the last minute. Besides scoring so early goal, Dickson had a good first half but Rowley who scored the second goal was Liverpool’s star forward. Lewis, Saunders and Thomas netted for Everton the first two being the pick of the attack. The Everton defence was shaky at times though amateur right back J. Parkes acquitted himself well while wing halves Birch and Melville excelled constructively.
TYNESIDE TEST FOR EVERTON
September 30, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton away to Newcastle United have another stiff task on their hands, for although Newcastle are four places lower than the Blues in the League table, this is solely due to their poor away record. In their “out” engagements the Georgies have taken only one point from five visits but at St. James’s Park they are still undefeated. One helpful factor from Everton’s point of view is that the opposition will be without Jackie Milburn who has been called upon by England for their game against Denmark at Copenhagen due to injury to Stanley Matthews. Milburn has been in excellent form of recent weeks, scoring six of Newcastle’s seven goals in their last three matches and Newcastle are going to miss him tomorrow. The Novocastrians managed by the former Everton player, Duggie Livingstone are a queer side to weigh up this season. They have been getting plenty of goals –their nine games have produced 21 –but at the same time they have been allowing the opposing to score with equal facility, and their defence, which on paper would seen to be as strong as any in the country, has not so far lived up to expectations. They make three changes in it tomorrow compared with last week. Both Preston and Luton Town have scored four against them, Birmingham and Tottenham each notched three, and altogether Newcastle seem to be losing on the defensive swings what they are gaining on the attacking roundabout. Since the injury to Ronnie Simpson at the end of last month, the Newcastle goal has been in the charge of John Thomson, a product of their junior sides, who made his senior debut last season, but Simpson returns tomorrow while Battye displaces Lackenby who has made few senior appearances during his five years with the club.
Converted From Leader
The half back line has also been subject to changes this term. Brennan has given way at centre half to Bob Stokoe who originally made his senior debut at centre forward five years ago, but is said now to be one of the soundest pivots in senior football. Casey took over from Crewe at left half after the former had figured in the first two matches of the season. Now Crowe is recalled for the Everton fixture. Jimmy Scoular the former Portsmouth, Scottish international, shares with Alf McMicheal the only ever-present certificate in the rear half of the team. In the forward line the only other ever-present besides Milburn, who now losses that distinction is inside right Reg Davies, who has scored four goals. Centre forward Keeble has also figured at inside left, where he displaced the former Evertonian George Hannah, a fortnight ago. As Keeble is injured, Hannah gets another chance. Scottish international Bobby Mitchell has missed one game at outside left. St James’ Park has not been a particularly lucky ground for Everton since the war. In four visits the Goodison lads have extracted only one point, and scored a solitary goal to ten from the Georgies. Last week, Everton put up one of their best post-war displays on another “bogey” ground, if they can produce the same spirited display tomorrow but with a little more convincing finish, they may give Newcastle something to think about. Newcastle Utd;- Simpson; Battye, McMicheal; Scoular, Stokoe, Crowe; Tall, Davies, White, Hannah, Mitchell. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; Harris (B), Wainwright, Harris (J), Parker, Eglington.