December 1, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
Everton plans to increase admission charges will be received sympathetically. Many who go to Goodison Park have travelled the country for away matches and find that nearly all clubs, and especially those in the South, have dearer prices for accommodation which does not compare with that at Everton. A friend was telling me that he paid over 4s to stand and watch Everton at West Bromwich. In inflationary days it would have been well if Everton could have maintained old charges but with most of the rest of the world of football asking and getting, bigger money at the gate their decision is understandable. Everton today field the team which got home by a late goal against Sheffield Wednesday. Cardiff City, unbeaten at home this season want a deal of beating at Ninian Park and if they are to get a point or two Everton’s shooting will need to be more punishing – and luckier-than in the match against Wednesday. Much depends on Gauld. He is the kind of player who can win matches almost off ahis own bat and to defences not aware of his powers of penetration he represents special danger. Everton; Dunlop; Donovan, Tansey; Birch, Jones, Farrell; McNamara, Gauld, Kirby, Fielding, and Eglington. Cardiff City; Vearncombe; Frowen, Stitfall; Harrington, Malloy, Sullivan, Walsh, Reynoulds, O’Halloran, Nugent, and McSeeveney.
TEAM WORK RARELY THE STRONG POINT OF NATIONAL SIDES
December 1, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
A question I am often asked by football fans is “What are the differences between playing in an international team and playing in your club’s League side?”
Well there is a vast difference. From my experience of international games the players meet a few short days before the game, and during their short together the trainer coach team manager in charge does his best with the co-operation of the lads during practice to work up some kind of understanding and team work. After the game the players part and do not meet again, except in opposition in League games, till the next international, if they are lucky enough to be chosen again. Is it any wonder in view of this that despite a large constellation of stars, team work is rarely the strong point of any national side? In constant to this a League side trains regularly together and the players have ample opportunity not only to developing an understanding, but also of getting to know the traits the assets and the weaknesses in one another’s make-up. Furthermore due to continual daily association with team mates, League sides build up a spirit of comradeship and helpful co-operation that stands them in good stead on match days which international sides rarely have a chance to develop.
Again it often strikes me that in internationals some players are apt to be too individualistic hoping that their repertoire in tricks will be noticed by the selectors and stand them in good stead when the next international side is being chosen. This may look well, but is not in the common interests of the side. On the other hand in a League side, in which each player is knows his team mates style intimately players are more apt to rely on team work rather than the individual skill or a player or players. Speaking from the experience of my games for my own country, I find there is a lot more tension in an international than in a league match particularly in front of the home supporters. When I have played for my country, before my home fans in Dublin I have always felt a little more loved up or on edge than in a club game, probably due to the fact that I am conscious that these fans who only see me in action occasionally, have come along expecting a really good show, and to a side a comparison with my present form as against that of my previous appearance in front of them.
One Thing In Common
International and League games have one thing in common for me, namely that I get a great thrill every time go out for a League game and wondering what the coming 90 minutes has in store for the Blues. So too for the green jersey of the country, I have always felt a great thrill as I took the field with my team mates to the roar of the crowd, the one small difference being the rather different setting between international and League football. Last week’s game against Sheffield Wednesday resulted in two very useful points to Everton which is the game were on, we didn’t look like getting, in fact in view of the manner we missed plus those that hit the woodwork and it looked one of these days when the Blues were not going to score and them Kirby goal near the end was a welcoming relief to players and spectators alike. It was just as well we did in collect those points in view of the results of sides in the lower half of the table.
EVERTON RES V BURY RES
December 1, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton Reserves;- O’Neill, goal; Sutherland and Leeder, backs; Meagan, Sanders, and Rea, half-backs; Tomlinson, Thomas, Harris (J), Farrell, and Williams (G), forwards. Bury Reserves;- Adam, goal; Fairclough and Charey, backs; May, Bunner, and Gordon, half-backs; Robertson, Conroy, Greenwood, Pearson and Lawson, forwards. Everton combined the early exchanges and when Williams placed a free kick near the goal Meagan shot wide. After Williams had run the ball over the goal line Farrell stumbeded when about to round Burnley Adams caught an overhead shot from Harris but was well beaten when Burnner deflected the ball into his own net to give Everton the lead after eight minutes play. Although outplayed Bury managed to equalize when O’Neill hesitated to save Robertsons shot. Thomas restored Everton’s lead when Conroy’s attempted clearance cannoned off him into the net. Half-time; Everton res 2, Bury Res 1
Everton increased their lead through Farrell five minutes after the restart. The visitors however, had now livered up considerably and the home goal had a let off when Greenwood flicked Pearson’s pass over the bar. Greenwood also scrapper an upright in helping a Pearson cross-shot. Williams made a great run for Everton but in having to do too much was finally stopped by Conroy.
EVERTON HAD A BAD DAY
December 3, 1956. Liverpool Daily Post
Cardiff City 1, Everton 0
Cardiff City had a good home record to defend at Ninian Park and they defended it successfully. At the same time their task was not a heavy one. Everton fell much below their recent form. Cardiff have drawn five of their home games this season yet the Welsh city’s football following were apparently not satisfied with their displays. It was one of the poorest crowds at the ground this season. Victory, narrow as it was, will bring better support. Cardiff miss Trevor Ford their fans miss him also but when it came to earnest, spirited football Cardiff were much better than Everton. I have not seen Everton since their memorable win against Manchester United, so you can imagine how disappointed I was on Saturday. During the first 45 minutes the Everton forwards did not deliver one direct shot to trouble goalkeeper Vearncombe.
A side cannot expect to win unless it produces shots. By comparison Cardiff delivered quite a few and Dunlop, in goal, was responsible for many good saves. Cardiff were not great marksmen but they did have a go and that was something Everton didn’t. During this first period Cardiff’s speed and quickness in the tackle was one of their strong points. They kept the ball moving swiftly and openly too and this compared with Everton’s more delicate passing, paid better dividends. With no score at the interval it seemed possible that Everton would, perhaps pull the game round in their favour. They did have ten minutes when they looked as though they might snuff out Cardiff and I was heartened to see that there was some shooting from the line, but my wishful thinking was not allowed to remain long. Cardiff were soon back on attack and once more gained the ascendancy. Tom Jones played a grand game throughout. So did Dunlop but I am afraid I have little praise for any of the others. They seemed to be lackadaisical with no sense of urgency. Cardiff took command again and at the sixty-seventh minute scored the all-important goal. Just prior to this Dunlop had saved a great shot from Nugent but he had no earthly chance with the winner.
Walsh was always a trouble to the Everton defence and it was he who made the goal. His centre was taken first time by McSeveney and the ball was in the net before you could say “knife.” I would not say Cardiff are a brilliant side, but they were go ahead were first into the tackle, and swept the ball about quickly and were not afraid to shoot. Everton’s attack was never working well. Perhaps they were inclined to keep the ball a bit too close. The defence particularly on the Cardiff right wing, was not always able to master the fast and elusive Walsh. He was the spearhead of most of Cardiff’s advances but it was teamwork as much as anything else that produced this win.
EVERTON RESERVES WERE FASTER
December 3, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton Res 4, Bury Res 1
The ball ran unkindly for Bury in this Central League game at Goodison Park although Everton were much superior at half-back. Neither set of forwards impressed but Everton were faster and more direct. Centre half Sanders effectively blocked the middle and Meagan and Rea played constructively, but O’Neill appeared at fault when Bury scored. Farrell, apart from scoring two goals, was Everton’s best forward, Bunner (own goal) and Thomas also scored for Everton, Robertson replying for Bury.
EVERTON TOUCHED A NEW “LOW”
December 3, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
The last time I saw Everton prior to their visit to Cardiff was at Old Trafford when they entertained me with a display of football which was heartening for the future. You can therefore imagine my disappointment in their showing at Ninian Park where they could not be recognised as the same team. I thought I had seen the poorest Everton exhibition at Preston but this was almost as bad, and I cannot put my finger on the sore spot. All I can say is that it was too bad to be true. True, the margin was only a goal, but it was sufficient for Everton never looked like retrieving that McSevency goal scored just after the hour. I can name only two Everton players who really touched their normal form –Dunlop and Jones –although in a minor degree Farrell and Donovan were not too bad. The rest can be written off. When I tell you that during the first half not one single direct shot reached the Cardiff goalkeeper you may be able to judge for yourself the feebleness of the Everton attack. There was no spirit about the side; no fight back and certainly not the movement one associates with a side with ambition to finish in the top half of the table. Cardiff City are unbeaten at home. They never looked like losing that record for they had little to fear from this lifeless Everton who showed their teeth for only a matter of ten minutes after the interval. Now you don’t win games with only ten minutes of attack nor do you win games without you do some shooting. Cardiff were no great shakes in this goal-making business, but they were greatly superior to Everton as witness the number of saves Dunlop had to make as compared with Vearncombe. If an attack is not doing its work, the burden must fall on other shoulders and those shoulders were on this occasion not strong enough to carry the burden. What would have happened if not been for the magnificent display of Tom Jones I fear to think. Cardiff can say night have run riot. Time and be true again, he stepped into the breach only to stem dangerous looking Cardiff attacks driving off the like spirited City forwards almost single-handed behind stood the confident and secure Dunlop. The first half was a particularly bad one for Everton. I tried to find a reason for their ineptitude but could not spot one. They played as though there was no urgency about things and Cardiff became a confident side when they could readily have been beaten, if the “Blues” had shown any semblance of the form which beat Manchester United and the Arsenal. Tansy so rarely had a poor game that one could say that he is entitled to have one occasionally. Well, this was his worst ever, for Walsh gave him the runaround, particularly in the second half. He could not hold the outside right who had a field day as well as providing McSeveney with the goal point.
The strength of Cardiff was in its half-back line, Harrington and Sullivan were always prompting and the latter often came through with a shot of power. Malloy was another stumbling block to Everton. When the interval arrived without any score, I thought Everton had a chance and when they set about the City for the first time in the game, I said to myself well here we go-another away win; but the pressure was not maintained. It was only a flame which soon died down. Everton did come in the game the last five minutes in an endeavour to snatch an equalizer, but to be perfectly honest it would have been an injustice if they had won one point for they were not deserving of it. These may seem hard words but they are fully warranted, for this was a new Everton “low.” Some say it was the worst this season. Well it was undoubtedly bad and I hope never to see such another display from them. Farrell tried all he knew to get his lads moving but he could have saved his breath for there was no response. It was just not Everton’s day. It is not uncommon for one player to be off form, but when three quarters of a side are “off” at the same time then it needs some explaining away. I am not going to attempt to make excuses, for there are none to offer. Cardiff were delighted with their victory. Maybe there will be an improvement in their attendances from now on for 16,000 is a meagre return for a side which has not yet been beaten at home. Everton should have knocked that record to smithereens and would have done if they had shown some fight.
The Rue Position
Everton say they are disturbed at a report that they are ready to part with Moore, Sutherland, Farrell, Vizard, Glazzard, and other players. “Such stories only unsettle the men named,” said a club official. “None of these players has been offered to anybody, though an attractive offer was made it would- in accordance with usual practice-be considered. That applies to all players, Jimmy Harris is the only man on the open-to-transfer-list.”
TRAUNTMANN AT GOODISON
December 5, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
By John Peel
Soccer enthusiasts who intend visiting Goodison Park this afternoon to watch the Lancashire Senior Cup first round replay between Everton and Manchester City will have the opportunity of seeing two well-known players who have been out of the game for some time because of injury. They are Everton’s right winger Payne and Manchester City goalkeeper Trauntmann. The latter played for City reserves last Saturday, his first game since breaking his neck last season and he appears to have made a complete recovery. The kick-off is at two o’clock and the teams are; Everton; O’Neill; Sutherland, Leeder; Meagan, Sanders, Rea; Payne, Farrell, Harris (J), Haughley, William (J). Manchester City; Trauntmann; McDonald, Hannaway; Phoenix, Marsden, McTavish, Barlow, Bourne, Faulkner, Davies, Murray.
December 6, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
So They had Journey For Nothing
Everton 3, Manchester City 1
Representatives of First and Second Division clubs who went to Goodison Park yesterday to watch Jimmy Harris, Everton’s transfer-listed centre forward in this replayed Lancashire Senior Cup first round game had their journey for nothing. Harris pulled a muscle midway through the first half and afterwards was never able to do himself justice. He finished the first half hobbling on the right wing, and though he went back to centre forward later his right thing had to be strapped up and he could move at no more than half pace. Among the senior club officials who had come to watch Harris were Trevor Morris, Cardiff City’s manager, who had made a special overnight journey and representatives of Leicester City, Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday. Several Third Division clubs were also represented, though in their cases the fees for Harris is beyond their means, and they were looking for the possibility of less expensive acquisitions, Crewe, Tranmere Rovers and Chester were among them. Sunderland had also indicated their intention of being present but nobody arrived. After a goalless and almost shot-less first half Manchester City took the lead in the forty-ninth minute when Murray scored with a swerving shot which left O’Neill helpless.
The visitors did not enjoy their advantage for long, for within eight minutes Haughey and Farrell had put Everton in front, each with powerful drives which gave Trauntmann no hop of saving. Eight minutes from the finish Haughey put the issue beyond doubt with a rather lucky goal, for it was a shot which normally Trauntmann would have saved with ease. Although he got both hands to the ball it slipped from his grasp and trickled slowly over the line. Everton were well worth their victory. Although neither side did much of note in the first half, the home team were well on top afterwards, despite the handicap of Harris injury. Payne, making his first appearance of the season apart from junior games, was obviously much in need of match practice but did enough to show that it is not impossible that he may be challenging for a first team place when he has run himself in again. He showed no signs of being handicapped following his operation. Haughey was the best of the home front line. He took both his goals well, and showed intelligence in his positioning and ball distribution. Harris due to his injury, had no real chance to show his ability, though before being injured he put in two splendid shots which called forth equally good saves from Trauntmann, Payne also had one fierce drive tipped over the bar, while Williams hit the post. Sanders, Sutherland, and Rea were solid in the home defence and next to Haughley, Williams was the most dangerous forward. Trauntmann on this showing is either not ready for a return to first team duty or was taking the match a little too easily. While he made some excellent saves –none better than two in quick succession from Williams and Farrell- there were times, when his anticipation was not as good as usual and others when he saved more by good luck than sound judgment.
ONLY EVERTON’S BEST WILL EXTRACT ANY PROFIT FROM BIRMINGHAM CITY
December 7, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
After a run of four out of five home games against teams in the bottom half of the table –Arsenal were the exception –Everton tomorrow, like Liverpool a week ago, will be facing a side whose placing in the League table indicates that it is above average class. Birmingham City who are the visitors to Goodison Park, are strong and robust rather than individually brilliant. They have been noted for some time for their determined team spirit and the solidity of their defence. Birmingham have not conceded a goal in five games – including their two most recent matches –and have one of the best defensive record in the First Division. Only 27 goals have been scored against them in 19 engagements or eleven fewer than Everton have conceded in one more game. This performance is all the more meritorious seeing that they have lacked the services of their former captain Len Boyd who was forced into premature retirement during the close season with a back injury. In his place three players have been tried right half, with Newman the most recent occupant of the position. In spite of the loss of Boyd the Midlanders half back line is still among the best and Smith and Warhuest –the lately now completely fit after missing the Cup final –are outstanding. Internationals Merrick and Hall, plus the reliable Green form one of the finest rearguards in the First Division. Like the Blues however, Birmingham have done little of note in the scoring line particularly in recent weeks. There biggest win was a 6-1 home success over Newcastle United early in September.
Not Impressive Away
When they have failed to find the net in four games and have scored only one goal in a similar number and have barely generated a goal a game over the last dozen engagements. Nevertheless they come to Goodison holding fourth place in the table, a position almost entirely due to their excellent home record. They have yet to be defeated before their own supporters, having dropped only three points of the 20 at stake at St. Andrews. Away from home they have not been nearly so impressive. Their best performance was to hole Manchester United to a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford where Everton did much better. They have also drawn at Leeds and recorded wins at Portsmouth and Sunderland by a single goal margin. Apart from left winger Govan who has missed the last three games through injury, the Birmingham attack contains no outstanding marksman. Govan’s total of 15 includes three hat-tricks, two in successive matches but before his injury he had tailed off to one goal in five matches. Next on the list Astall and Murphy with five each, Murphy normally an inside forward has recently been occupying Govan’s place on the wing, with Welsh international Kinsey as his partner. To fill the vacancy at inside right manager Arthur Turner recently introduced Brian Orritt, young debutant whose seven senior outings have brought him two goals.
Not Rubbing It In
As it has been getting rather monotonous to stress week by week the urgency of improved finishing by Everton, a necessity which sticks out as plainly as the nose on ones face, we will let it pass today without additional comment. Everton’s defeat last week cost them three places in the table. I hope they will recover a bit of leeway tomorrow but to do so they must improve considerably on their low grade display at Ninian Park. The time has not come yet when they can rest on their laurels such as they are or expect their supporters to indefinitely extract encouragement from the victories against Manchester United and Arsenal. Everton; Dunlop; Donovan, Tansey; Birch, Jones, Farrell; McNamara, Gauld, Kirby, Fielding, Eglington.
GOODISON TALE OF TWO HALVES
December 8, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Jones Made Sure With Late Penalty
Everton 2, Birmingham 0
Birmingham’s much changed side was never really a menace. At the same time Everton’s second half display was distinctly poor. In the first half they had been well on top, shot well and were the superior side but perhaps it would be as well to forget the second half. Dunlop had one save to make. That will give you an idea of Birmingham’s lack of shooting power. The referee after the match explanation of Everton’s disallowed goal was that the ball hit the outside stanchion, not the crossbar, and was therefore a goal kick. Everton; Dunlop, goal; Donovan and Tansey, backs; Birch, Jones and Farrell (captain), half-backs; McNamara, Gauld, Kirby, Fielding and Eglington, forwards. Birmingham City; Merrick, goal; Farmer and Allen, backs; Watts, Green, and Warhurst, half-backs; Cox, Orritt, Murphy, Kingsley and Goven, forwards. Referee; Mr. T.T.E. Lingsdale.
Transport difficulties due to the petrol situation had a big effect upon today’s attendance at Goodison Park. There were around 20,000 people when the game started. Preceding the match Manchester Bulling Ladies gave a gymnastic display. Birmingham hard hit with injuries made a number of changes, Everton were as selected. Everton kicked off and straight away advanced to the Birmingham goal area but Merrick had no difficulty in claiming Eglington’s centre which was too close to goal to be of use to his colleagues. Birmingham’s reply was an attack by the left flank but when Govan’s centre Orritt shot outside. Farrell put up a long pass for Kirby and this looked like getting the Blues into a striking position, but a misunderstanding between Eglington and Fielding allowed the opposition to nip in and collect the ball. From this Cox trieds an oblique shot which passed in front of goal and outside. A nice movement started by Birch and carried on by Kirby and Gauld did not reach the point desired for the ball went out of play.
Jones was prominent both with head and foot, Everton got a free kick but wasted it and when Kinsey tried to find his outside left partner, Birch had anticipated the move. It was open football particularly by Birmingham who believed direct methods would pay better dividends than close passing, Kinsey a hard working little inside forward was beaten by Donovan and then Fielding appeared to be fouled when Orritt tackled him. The referee, however allowed play to proceed and for a moment things looked rather bright for Everton, but once again the penalty line was as far as they got. McNamara made two quick shots the first of which Merrick saved although I think the ball would have gone out in any case, but on his next attempt his shot was travelling towards the far post when it was taken charge of by a Birmingham defender. So far these had been the only two exciting moments of the game. Eglington showed a clear pair of heels to Farmer, and as soon as he saw sight of goal he unleashed a fast shot which Merrick patted down and cleared. At this point Everton were definitely on top, and excellent movement by four of their forwards and Birch was really good to watch even if it did not bring any reward. Merrick came out to retrieve a ball found it was outside his penalty box and had to make a kick away, something he did again a moment later. Everton had n the past few minutes looked prospective scorers, but when play was transferred to the other end, I did not like the way the Everton defence passed the ball one to the other with a Birmingham man close in attendance.
Shot Cannoned Away
Gauld and McNamara between them opened the way for a Birch shot which was cannoned away for a corner. The close passing of Everton while being nice as a spectacle more than once enabled the Birmingham defenders to get to grips but Merrick had an anxious moment when he saw Kirby accept a pass from Farrell. The Everton centre forward was challenged as he was about to shoot so that Merrick was not called upon. Birch, who had been doing grand work up to now made a faulty pass which might have cost Everton a goal. Personally I think it should have done, for when a ball came to Orritt, he was in a good scoring position, Jones saw the danger-lights and came running in so that Orritt’s shot cannoned off the Everton centre half and behind the goal. This was a narrow squeak. Birmingham had one almost as narrow when Kirby brushed his way through but found the ball bobbling awkwardly so that he could not get in his shot. He did, however, manage to square the ball but Merrick was in position to take it. A goal seemed a certainly when a swinging ball from the right seemed to be going straight to the head of Gauld. He did not move however, and it passed over his head. A great opportunity missed. After one or two incursions by Birmingham, Everton came back and a Gauld run ended with a pass to McNamara, who centred to the far side of the goal, Kirby got his head to the ball and although Merrick touched the ball, he could not prevent it crossing his line at the 25th minute. I think Everton were worthy of their lead and when Kirby tried to increase it, Merrick barred the way with a grand save. Everton were hitting hard mow, and Gauld was moving down very fast when the bounce of the ball beat him. Birmingham were finding the Everton defence rather a tough proposition, although Orritt tried to make a way for Murphy, who was pulled up for an infringement. Birch sliced his clearance and gave away a corner. He was fortunate not to have given away a goal. A nice ball from Fielding to McNamara should have sent Everton on the way but the idea came unstuck. Just previous to this McNamara, from the left flashed the ball across the face of the Birmingham goal, but there was n Everton man there to do the necessary. When Gauld raced through the possibility of goal number two looked very promising but in trying to improve his scoring position he moved inwards and when he did shoot Merrrick saved. The best shot of the game so far goes to the credit of Fielding. His low drive was of such power that it brought Merrick to his knees to save.
Gauld from close in, hit a fierce shot which appeared to hit the underside of the bar and rebound into play. The referee however signaled a goal against which Merrick immediately appealed. The referee went to his linesmen and the goal was not allowed to stand. But why a goal kick? The ball had not crossed the line. So far Dunlop had nothing at all to do put when Kinsley burst through it seemed that he at last would have to pull off a good save. In actual fact he was not even called on for Kinsey shot wide. Half-time; Everton 1, Birmingham City nil.
One could not accuse Everton of not shooting today and Fielding in the first minutes of the second half let go a fiery effort when passed outside. McNamara also had a header saved by Merrick. Tansy tried a back pass to Dunlop, who was unable to grasp the ball first time but eventually secured hold of it. Birmingham now attacked strongly and Kinsey tried a shot which passed high over.
A free kick to Birmingham never had a chance of succeeding for the whole of the Everton defence stood while Cox took the kick. Immediately he put a foot to the ball Everton moved up in line and Murphy was caught in the offside trap. A Kirby back-heel enabled Birch to try one of his fiery drives, but this was one occasion when the plan failed. Tansy was hurt but resumed after attention. Everton had slowed down considerably though Kirby did try to get McNamara away but his pass went to the opposition. Orritt was sadly at fault when he allowed the ball to elude him and pass on to Farrell, who was only too pleased to get the chance of clearing. Donovan had to race back to prevent Kinsey becoming dangerous but the football was now very ordinary. Kinsey tried a long shot but Dunlop saved despite a deflection. Everton had deteriorated considerably typified when Gauld thinking McNamara was on the wing pushed the ball there only to find McNamara placed well down field. The crowd were heartened when Eglington slapped in a good shot, but Merrick took the ball with ease. The crowd was calling for action which it got when Birch with a long lob inside the penalty area saw Green head the ball over his own crossbar. The corner was soon disposed of. There was plenty of effort, but at this stage very little skill. Murphy made one good centre, but Kinsey was offside then a left wing trio by Everton saw Eglington make a good centre which Gauld could do nothing with. Gauld was threading his way through when brought down in the area by Warhust. The referee did not hesitate a second in awarding a penalty from which Jones scored Everton’s second goal at the 79th minute. This brought Everton back to life as Merrick had to have a second bite of the apple before he finally saved Eglington’s fast drive. There was another stoppage when Birch was injured, but play was soon resumed. Final; Everton 2, Birmingham City nil. Official attendance 25,529.
THERE’S SECURITY FOR THE PART-TIME PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL THEY SAY
December 8, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
I was recently speaking to two young professional footballers both currently in their clubs first teams and doing their National Service. Both will soon be out of the forces, and I mentioned to them that I supposed they would be very glad to be turning full time professionals and have the opportunity of devoting so much time to the development of their careers as footballers. I was rather amazed when the two lads informed me that they intended becoming part-time professional footballers with their clubs and returning to their respective trades in which they claimed they could not only earn more money, but also feel a greater sense of security for the future. We very often hear nowadays about the standard of football not being comparable with the pre-war standard. Perhaps the maximum wage a footballer can earn at present is not attracting as many ambitious footballers to forsake their trades or good jobs to turn full time professional. Don’t get the impression that I am decrying the lot of professional footballer. On the other hand, speaking from they own experience I think all its disappointments that a footballer’s life is a grand one and if I had my way over again I would do exactly the same. The point I am trying to illustrate is that, whereas pre-war days it was every young football minded lads ambition to be a professional footballers nowadays the younger generation are looking now to the future and security. Quite a number of these are unlined to think that t is far better to complete their time as a trade to have as a standby in case they do not make the grade as a professional football rather than plunge into big time soccer without much thought for the future. This attitude is quite understandable as the percentage of top-class stars in football is very small in comparison with the thousands of players. The ordinary players who haven’t become really well known can hardly hope to have with enough saved from their football earnings to start some kind of business when their playing days are over. It is very well for the big stars who through their ability and name get the opportunities outside football to swell their annual earnings, but those opportunities rarely come the way of the vast majority. It is any wonder then that young potential footballers are thinking twice nowadays for devoting all their time to football without firstly having a trade on their bent. There is not the same glamour attached to football at prewar days as every young schoolboy in Liverpool playing in his school team dreams of the day when he hopes to trot out in a blue or red jersey at Goodison or Anfield before 40,000 spectators. In my opinion professional footballer in England is a full time lot which calls for easy training those who wish to be successful. A youngster on the threshold of taking up soccer as a career has to decide for himself whether to take a chance and devote all his time to the game or get on with the completion of a trade and be a part-timer merely somewhat lessening his chances of making the grade. It is certainly a sticky decision to have to make. I was hoping that last week at Cardiff being my 400th game for Everton, it would be a memorable day for this with a good win for the Blues. Unfortunately it turned out to be one of the side’s worst displays of the season. However, I hope we left our poor form at Cardiff and have turned to winning form against Birmingham today. On the journey to Cardiff I was presented with a set of beautiful pipes and tobacco by the Everton party to commorate my 400th League game and one that was greatly appreciated.
HUDDERSFIELD RES V EVERTON RES
December 8, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton Res;- O’Neill, goal; Sutherland and Leeder, backs; Meagan, Sanders and Rea, half-backs; Tomlinson, Farrell, Glazzard, Haughey and Williams (g), forward. Referee; Mr. L. Stone (Sheffield). It took former Town centre forward Jimmy Glazzard just 18 minutes to settle down in his old surrounding at Leeds Road. Then with a close range shot from a Tomlinson centre the Everton Reserves a goal against his old club mates. Glazzard was frequently to the fore in a smooth Everton forward line which might have taken a second goal but Kennan fisting over the bar a scotching Farrell drive. Huddersfield showed good approach play but missed good chances. The best shots of the half came from wingers Payne and McHale –both were too hot for O’Neill to hold but were somehow cleared away, almost on half time Haughey added a second goal for the visitors. Everton retained their attack, Glazzard continued to be having a great game against his former club and in the 62nd minute scored Everton’s third goal a header from Tomlinson’s corner kick. Four minutes later he added a fourth goal for Merseysider’s who might have been further ahead had Kelly not blocked a shout out of the goal with Kennan beaten.
THE REFEREE WAS RIGHT!
December 10, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 2, Birmingham City 0
By Leslie Edwards
This was a match which produced a controversial point. it came in the first half when Fielding, flinging one of his accurate long distance passes to McNamara on the right wing opened the way for Gauld to run on to the ball and shoot it beyond Merrick with cannon-ball speed. A spilt second later the ball had rebounded from something solid and Referee R.T.E Langdale, of Darington appeared to signal a goal. Gauld got joyous congratulations a Birmingham defender picked the ball up in the penalty area. Everton, it seemed were safely in the lead by two goals to nil. It was then that Merrick, an international goalkeeper, not given to being over-theatrical, left goal to protest to the referee. The referee was persuaded to consult a linesman. There followed a decision which gave Birmingham a goal kick. What mystified people who watched the incident from the side stands was whether the ball had entered the net before rebounding from an inside supporting iron or whether it had struck the underside of the bar. Immediately after the match Mr. Langdale said “I was never in any doubt that a goal had been scored. The ball hit the outside supporting stanchion of the net.
One accept Mr. Langdale’s explanation unquestioningly but it does seem strange that many including Everton players were under the impression that a goal had been awarded. From talk with Everton players from people who saw the match from behind the Stanley park goal and from the evidence of the Daily Post picture of the incident it is clear that the right decision was a goal kick. But that did not stop everyone giving their verdict of the incident at the time. Everton won in the end but until that penalty award in Gauld’s favour – I think he would have scored if Warhurst had not brought him down-there was always the danger that this injury torn Birmingham whose defence was always top-class might match a point they scarcely deserved. Tom Jones aimed for direction with this latest penalty and Merrick already unluckily beaten by Kirby was involved in a second goal. Kirby had scored at 25 minutes in a first half in which Everton were always the better. Gauld and McNamara were the lead to this beautifully headed goal. Kirby got immense pace into his effort and Merrick having partially saved was luckless when losing the ball and allowing it to turn just a foot over the line near the post. Perhaps the best player of all was Tansey an Everton back who does his work, like Jones in an indemonstrative way. He scarcely put a foot wrong nor did Donovan facing what we had expected to be the error of the Birmingham line, Govan needs to play with any anxiety. Birmingham great lack as of a plan to general their attack. Fielding reserved for this occasion some of his best shooting. How a man so small can get such punch into his shots many of which tested Merrick fully through they were from a long distance only –Fielding knows Kirby had a better game for some weeks. Gauld with two or three brilliant surging runs should have scored but did not always have luck on his side.
HUDDERSFIELD RES 1, EVERTON RES 4
December 10, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Glazzard making his first appearance at Huddersfield since joining Everton in August scored three goals. With Tomlinson and Haughey who claimed Everton’s second goal in the 44th minute supporting their leader excellently the home defence had a difficult time. Only a brilliant save by Kennor from Sutherland’s second half prevented penalty prevented a fifth goal. The referee had kick retaken after the full back had fired the first shot into the net.
GAULD’S SHOT THE TALK OF GOODISON
December 10, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
The chief talking point after the match at Goodison Park on Saturday was the goal incident which had puzzled most people, including myself and press colleagues. When I saw the referee Mr. R. T.T. Langdale, and put the question to him his reply was; “There was no mystery about it. Gauld’s shot hit the iron stanchion outside the net and therefore the decision was a “goal.” Jimmy Gauld fell after making his shot and said he did not know what happened to the ball but other Everton players confirmed what the referee had said. So there you are I was certain the ball hit the crossbar and rebounded into play. I spoke to people behind that particular goal and no two person’s agreed as to what had appeared. While Everton fully deserved to win, it must be remembered that Birmingham were hard hit by injuries and were without several of the first team men. This was undoubtedly the poorest City I have ever seen. When I tell you Dunlop did not have above one shot to deal with you can imagine just how poor they were. True, the Everton defence refused to give anything away and Jones once more was the backbone of a tightly knit rearguard. Everton’s first half display was good enough to have given them a commanding lead, for they were on top almost throughout playing progressive football and shooting with a will. Fielding in particular closely followed by McNamara. They were fast and away too lively for Birmingham but Merrick was very sound in the City goal. Not that he was over-whelmed with work but what he had to do he did in the style of the international goalkeeper, that he is. I don’t know what went wrong with Everton in the second half, for they almost fell to the standard set at Cardiff, and that was anything but good. Nevertheless they always seemed capable of holding the shot shy Birmingham.
I wonder whether Everton considered one goal efficient to beat the Birmingham. I could be, but it brought a dangerous pressure for a game can be turned inside out in a flash and a one goal margin is not enough. As things turned out one goal would have been good enough, but who was to know that at the interval, I admit City were poor, but I did not like the way Everton deteriorated. They had move nicely in the first “45” but then fell from grace, so much so that the crowd called for more action and it was certainly needed. The Everton followers were not happy until Tommy Jones scored that penalty 11 minutes from the end. The Birmingham menace what there was done with. I liked the way Everton went to their task in the opening half. They were progressive, linked up well and made goal openings by good football. Birmingham by contrasts were never moving like a winning team. When they reached the Everton defence they crumbled just like a ship, when it hits a rock. In midfield they were fast and straight forward but the Everton defence would not yield an inch and if you want me to emphasize that fact I have only to tell you that Dunlop did not have one anxious moment. It was not until late on that he had to save a cross-shot from Cox.
Merrick was by far the busies goalkeeper and if Everton had maintained their first half superiority, Birmingham would no doubt have suffered a heavier reverse. This was a “live” Everton as compared with the side at Ninian park, yet it took them 25 minutes to gain any reward for their efforts. When the first goal did come it was a result of an excellent movement started by Gauld helped along by a McNamara centre and was in the net via Kirby’s head. Everton not content with that success kept giving Merrick work to do but no further goals came their way up to the interval. It is a long time since I saw Fielding shoot so well. He made several excellent drives but you don’t get much chance out of Merrick. You have only to look at Birmingham’s goals against column to see how powerful they can be in defence. I would willingly draw a blind over the second half, for there were long spells when there was nothing of importance to put down in my notebook. I cannot just explain it, but Everton had lost their verve and Birmingham never had any. Where Everton had been secure in their passes and tackling they were now featureless and I asked myself if Birmingham could stage a really good enough to upset things. They gave me the answer in an uninspiring display. Everton’s second goal came via the penalty spot. Gauld was threading his way towards Merrick’s charge and there was every possibility of another goal. It was a tense moment for Birmingham and Warhust in desperation, brought down, the Everton forward. Tom Jones made no mistake this time. I think we can safely say that this game was like the parson’s egg, good, in parts.”
MOORE ASKS FOR HIS TRANSFER
December 12, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Eric Moore who made senior debut for Everton exactly seven years ago this week has asked to go on the transfer list, and has had his request granted by the club. He joined Everton shortly after the war as an amateur from Haydock C and B and after good work in the Central League side –in which figured at centre forward and right half as well as in both full back position he was signed a Professional in February 1949, making his first team debut in the middle of December the same year, at right full back. From that point on he was regular choice for 18 months but as troublesome knee injury limited his appearances during the next two seasons. When he was at last fit again he was unable to regain his place for a while against the competition of Clinton and Donovan. He returned at the start of the 1954-55 campaign however and missed only one game during the season and the following one. He also played in the opening game of the current campaign but was dropped after the heavy defeat at Leeds and has since been out of the senior team and made only five Central league appearances. Aged 28 Moore at one time was amongst the best backs in senior football, and is still capable of giving good service to some other club .
Everton have delaying selection of their side to meet Leeds United at Goodison on Saturday for 24 hours. Jimmy Harris who pulled thigh muscle in the Lancashire Senior cup-tie last week is making good progress and may possible start light training in a week’s time. Cardiff City are still interest in him.
BLUES BETTER OFF AT HALF-WAY STAGE THAN SEEMED POSSIBLE
December 13, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton have reached the half-way stage of the season’s programme which is an opportune time to review what they have done so far. They are in a better position today than many people anticipated after they had begun the season so disastrously. At the same time they are not s comfortably placed that there need to be no further anxiety regarding the future. Despite the improved results, much remains to be achieved before the outside possibility or relegation is findly dispelled. Obviously a lot will depend on what the others below them in the table do, or fail to do. But providing Everton can maintain the same ratio of points to games as they have obtained over the last of the fixtures they will have no need to worry. They would then finish with 43 points which would ensure a satisfactory league placing. Only time can prove whether he Blues will be able to maintain that ratio. There have been occasions when one has felt that they were on the right road at last and that the patient training and coaching of Ian Buchan who has done much better than many people thought possible was bearing permanent fruits. There have been other occasions particularly the home games with Chelsea and Portsmouth and the away matches at West Bromwich and Cardiff when the team’s displays have been almost as disappointing and unpromising as the early stages of the campaign. Taking a fair average though there has been considerable improvement in many respect. If only the forward line could do better in the scoring line the club could look to the future with reasonable confidence.
However, to errantly one regards it an aggregate of only 23 goals in 21 matches –and nine of those from two games is poor. In fairness to the forwards however, it should be stated that the bat has rarely run kindly for them in some games, notably against Portsmouth and Sheffield Wednesday. They might have comped home by half-time with the slightest luck. Five times in those matches Everton hit the woodwork with shots that had the goalkeeper beaten and on numerous occasions the custodians saved when they knew little about it. considering the poor start made to the season, which brought only one point from the first seven games –with 9 goals for and 23 against –Everton have made an excellent recovery. There are some good judges who think they will do even better when the going is heavy and the ball is not so difficult to control. Gauld and Kirby may be more successful under such conditions in any case Kirby should recover his lost zip when he gets into full time training on the completion of National Service this week. Charlton and Sunderland look to have little chance of overtaking Everton unless stage a big revival of which they have given no sign, unless Everton collapse catastrophically of which also there is no indication. But the margin of the Blues advantage over the four other clubs below them is so slender that it could soon be whittled away by a few Everton reverses or somebody else’s sustained success.
EVERTON HAVE CHANCE OF “REVENGE” AGAINST LEEDS AT GOODISON
December 14, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Leeds may prove a harder nut to crack than Birmingham. They have a better away record than the Midlanders and with a winner like John Charles in their team are always able to put any game out of the fire even when overrun territorially. The Yorkshire club has won three and drawn three of ten away engagements and though Charles has scored 20 of their goals United are not the one-man team that some folk my to make out. Even Charles cannot succeed without adequate support and he has been getting that very consistently. On the face of things, with only one goal from each ever present winger, Meek and Overfield, Leeds would appear to lack strength on the extreme flank. But Charles has got many of his goals from their centres and the fact that neither winger has yet missed a match indicates that Manager indicates that Manager Riach Carter is not bothering much about that lack of goals.
Defensively Leeds possesses one of the best records in the country having concerned only 10 goals in 21 engagements of which five came at White Hart Lane when Tottenham defeated them in the third match of the campaign. This instance apart the Elland Road side has not sustained any heavy reverses. They have kept the opposition from scoring on six occasions and three of the five defeats have been a single goal margin. Hardy surprisingly therefore the rearguard has almost picked itself a season Goalkeeper, Wood full backs Dunn and Hair and left half Kerfoot have appeared in every game. Gibson and Charlton, the other two defence men have missed two and seven fixtures respectively through injury in each case. With the men behind them in such consistent form the Leeds forwards have been able to control themselves. Everton; Dunlop; Donovan, Tansey; Birch, Jones, Farrell; McNamara, Gauld, Kirby, Fielding, Eglington. Leeds United; Wood; Dunn, Hair; Gibson, Charlton, Kerfoot, Meek, Charles, Ripley, Forrest, Overfield.
O’Neill Wants Move
At the conclusion of training yesterday afternoon Jimmy O’Neill, Everton’s Eire international goalkeeper went up stairs to the office and asked for his transfer. The request will be considered by the board next week and if normal practice s pursued will be granted. O’Neill was offered to Charlton two months ago at the time Everton signed Gauld but declined to join the London club after having talks at the Valley with their officials. Signed by Everton from an Irish junior side at the age of 17 in May, O’Neill made his debut in August 1950 and altogether has appeared in 193 League and Cup matches for the Blues. He was a regular choice for most of the last three years but for his place two months ago to Dunlop and has since been unable to regain it.
Wednesday Cool Off
When I asked Mr. Eric Taylor Sheffield Wednesday’s manager whether he was still interested in O’Neill whom Wednesday watched three times in recent weeks he replied. Not as much as we were a while ago.”
GAULD GOALS GATHER THE POINTS
December 15, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Farrell Subdued Charles Menace
Everton 2, Leeds United 1
Everton got their revenge for their defeat at Leeds in the opening day of the season, though it was by the merest of margins. The home side did not impress in the first half when they seemed to lack confidence and to be as much afraid of pressing as they were of Leeds. In the second half they were the more forceful and better balanced side and a grandly taken goal after fine individual effort by Gauld earned them maximum points. Everton; Dunlop, goal; Donovan and Tansey, backs; Birch, Jones and Farrell (captain), half-backs; McNamara, Gauld, Kirby, Fielding, and Eglington, forwards. Leeds United; Wood, goal; Dean and Hair, backs; Gibson, Charlton, and Kerfoot, half-backs; Meek, Charles, Ripley, Forrest, and Overfield, forwards. Referee; Mr. N.A. Collins. John Charles got a good reception from the crowd, evidence of the appreciation people have of his sportsmanship as well as of his ability. Farrell won the toss and Everton awarded the Gwladys Street end which gave them the advantage of fast breeze. Everton quickly made tracks for the Leeds goal, thanks to touch line dash of Eglington but McNamara lay too far back to cash in when Eglington’s shot went over the heads of the Leeds defenders through eventually the move produced a corner. Charles not only set his co-forwards going with a canny pass to Forrest but was well placed for the eventual centre from Meek. The tall Leeds forward missed it with his head by inches only. Very early on it was clear United’s tactics were likely to reply largely upon the provision of high centres from the wings in the hope of making heading chances for Charles. Three times in quick succession Overfield and Meek lofted the ball over into the middle, but in neither case, however, was Charles able to make contact with his head.
After Eglington had contributed another thrilling run –again without Wood being called upon –Leeds had a chance to take the lead at the 16th minutes, when a clever back-heel pass by Ripley had the Everton defence going the wrong way and left Forrest with only Dunlop to beat Forrest from an angled position, hit the ball like a rocket but was wide. Another back-heel this time not so smart came from Tansey. All it did was to open the way for Forrest to dart through and slip the ball out to Overfield whose centre was cleared. When Ripley side-stepped Donovan and moved the ball inwards a goal seemed on the cards for he had only Dunlop to beat from 10 yards but he hit a strong shot almost straight at the goalkeeper. So far the only Everton man to try a direct shot had been Eglington. Twice the winger brought Wood to his knees with strong drives. Twice McNamara could have tried a first-time shot from reasonable range instead he tapped the ball back into the middle and the chances were lost. Kirby also muffed an opening carved out for him by Eglington who was by far the most dangerous Everton forward. The visitors were playing more open and effective football and whenever possible were getting the ball do the work. Twice Charles got his head to centres without achieving the right direction and then he got such tremendous length on a throw-in that it was almost as good as a corner. Whenever near the Leeds goal Everton went in circles. Farrell and Birch set an example of first-time shooting but it was an example not to be copied as far as direction was concerned. Gauld spent a lot of time helping the defence and once came back half way into Everton’s territory to dispossess Charles from behind. At last someone other than Eglington decided to have a shot. It was Fielding who hit a splendid ball only inches wide.
Hook Shot By Charles
Good work by Overfield and Meek produced a thin chance for Charles who hooked the ball just over the bar with his back to goal. wood was glad to concede a corner by tipping the ball over the bar after Charlton had almost deflected an Everton shot into his own net, and then from another corner Dunn cleared off the line a header by Kirby. At the 37th minute a long clearance by Gibson bounced near the Everton penalty spot and Jones and Ripley disputing possession. As Dunlop left his goal to help Ripley struck out his foot and toe-ended the ball into the net. To some extent it was a fortunate goal, but Leeds had been the more aggressive side. Almost straight from the restart Leeds broke away again but this time Ripley again with only Dunlop to beat, shot across the face of goal and outside. Charles failed to produce the expected pile-driver when he shot from just inside the penalty box and Dunlop had a simple pick-up. although for a long time Everton had been making heavy weather of the simplest of tasks they deserve every credit for a grand move which took the ball half the length of the field in four passes and produced the equalizer. Gauld set Eglington going and McNamara beat two opponents to the centre to return it to Gauld, who scored from six yards range. There was barely time to centre the ball before the whistle went. Half-time; Everton 1, Leeds United 1.
Eglington streaked away for goal, veered into the middle and slipped through a beautiful ball for Gauld to hit a fierce fast-time shot into the netting. Twice in a minute Charles bumped his head when going for a high ball –first colliding with Tansey and then with Donovan. Although Tansey played on, he was obviously dazed and eventually had to go off for attention to his right eye. He soon returned. A long oblique cross by Kerfoot went right to Charles head only for Leeds man to put the ball outside from one of the best heading chances he had in the match. Several times Charles tried to force his way through with the ball on the ground but Farrell continued to keep a good check on him, and honours so far had been slightly in favour of the Everton captain. Everton were now playing better. They were more forceful, had cut out unnecessary passes and were keeping Leeds penned in their own half to lengthy periods.
Cheers For Overfield
Overfield was giving Donovan plenty of work and the Leeds man got a cheer for one particularly fine bit of work, although actually he finished up only where he had started after an amazing bit of dribbling. Then he provided a shooting chance for Charles whose strong effort was tipped round the post by Dunlop in great style. After being overshadowed for some time Leeds were now back in the picture as an attacking force, though not to the same extent as previously. Charles was still finding Farrell a big barrier. It was after the Everton captain had dispossessed his opponents and put the ball out to McNamara that the latter dragged it back to provide a first-time shooting chance for Kirby who was out a yard or so off the mark. Jones stepped across to forestall Overfield after the latter had rounded Donovan, then a beautiful side flick by Gauld saw Fielding set Eglington off but when Gauld ran into the open space, calling for the ball it was not forthcoming. Offside against McNamara nullified a splendid Everton move. Everton were now back on top and combining crisply and effectively, though offside this time against Kirby spoiled another well conceived attack. Gauld gave Everton the lead at the 79th minute with one of his characteristic individual bursts. He beat three men in succession before slotting the ball safely home with a low angled drive from just inside the penalty area. A great goal. Leeds pulled out all the stops in the closing stages in an effort to snatch the equalizer but Jones, Farrell and the rest resisted stubbornly. Final; Everton 2, Leeds United 1. Official attendance 33,765.
PASS-BACK HASS CHARMS
December 15, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
But It Is Negative Unless…
By Peter Farrell
A keen follower of football remarked to me during the week that he considered there was a growing tendency in League football for defenders to overdo the pass-back to their goalkeeper at the slightest threat of danger from the opposition. I hadn’t really noticed this, but while on the subject there are two ways of considering this pass back. Firstly in my opinion this practice is a negative type of play when it is used unnecessarily and particularly when the defender has plenty of time to turn around with the ball and start a constructive move rather than turn it back to the goalkeeper from quite a distance without any of the opposition being within a radius of 15 or 20 yards. I admit that while the latter is not a common practice in football today it is sometimes used even by the best of teams as a safely first means. Sometime it doesn’t turn out as such. Many a goal has been scored by an opponent nipping in and intercepting a faulty pass back to the keeper. Passing back is the last line of defence when there is really no need to do so is also rather annoying to spectators who have paid in the hope of seeing good constructive football. On the other hand a pass to the keeper by a player who is being harassed by an opposing forward and who is not in a position to get the ball under control and then round to face the way he is playing can very often be the means of starting a constructive movement.
Way To Start Attack
How often do we see the keeper on receiving such a pass, throw the ball quickly to his winger who has come back deep into his own half? The winger on receiving possession is then in a position to start an attacking movement. Furthermore the goalkeeper is not only in the side to prevent goals but also to use the ball like the other ten players constructively when possible. When the Hungarians were sweeping all before them in the international soccer field there goalkeeper was a very impotent part of their set-up for starting moves. In Everton’s game against Arsenal this season at Goodison the ball came to me, head high from the right wing. I was facing my own goal about eight yards out and nodded the ball back to keeper Dunlop who in turn threw it to Eglington from whom the ball travelled to Kirby and Gauld and finally to Fielding who crashed it into the back of the Arsenal net for the Blues fourth goal. I mention that incident to prove how a constructive back pass can be the means of leading to a goal.
Congrats Rakers !
As long as this pass is used only in dire necessity or as a means of starting an attack, it is all right but it is useless to the team or spectators when used aimlessly. Congratulations to New Brighton on their great Cup feats which have thrilled all soccer enthusiasts on Merseyside. It doesn’t seem very long since New Brighton were members of two football League. Since they became a none league club very little has been heard of them till their great performance against Stockport and Derby County. I am sure both Everton and Liverpool supporters will be hoping New Brighton will go into the hat for the fourth round, but at the same time hoping that their favourities will not be drawn against the Rakers –if both Everton and Liverpool are fortunate enough to surmount their third round obstacles.
BURNLEY RES V EVERTON RES
December 15, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Burnley Res; Blacklaw, goal; Angus and Rudman, backs; Wilson, Applyby and Cockburn, half-backs; Milner, Robson, Shackleton, Alexander, and Lancaster, forwards. Everton Res; O’Neill, goal; Sutherland and Griffiths, backs; Meagan, Sanders, and Gannon, half-backs; Mayers, Farrell, Glazzard, Haughley, and William (G), forwards. Referee; Mr. J. Berry. Most of Everton’s first half attacks came from their wingers Williams and Mayers but they had their work cut out in trying to beat the Burnley backs. Playing clever football, Burnley gradually forced the visitors back on the defence, but O’Neill had only two difficult shots to deal with. Everton’s best move came when Farrell just headed a Mayer’s centre over the bar. Cockburn but Burnley ahead at 30 minutes. Half-time; Burnley Res 1, Everton res nil.
After the interval Burnley faced a revived Everton for whom Farrell was prominent. Blacklaw made a great save to stop the inside right’s hard shot curking under the bar, then Glazzard was unfortunate with a header which deserved a goal. Milner scored a second for Burnley. Final; Burnley res 2, Everton res nil.
EVERTON’S RECENT POINTS RETURN IS FOURTH BEST IN FIRST DIVISION
December 17, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
What is the difference between Everton’s form of the last three months and that needed to put any other team, not suffering the Blue’s handicap of a disastrous start, in the running for a talent money place? Its sounds a strange question bearing in mind that not long ago Everton were deep in the relegation wood it also invites the caustic or cynical to return an impolite answer. But results and points speak louder than words. The table below shows the points which all the First Division clubs have gathered. It was from games subsequent to September 8. From it you will note that only Manchester United and Spurs –with one more point from one game less – Preston North End have a better return than Everton over the last three months, Wolves have equaled the Blues and so will Blackpool if they win next week. Here are the more comparable figures.
From 16 Games;- Bolton 18 points, Sheffield Wednesday 11, Charlton 9.
From 13 Games;- Preston 20 points, Everton and Wolves 19, Arsenal 18, Leeds 17, Chelsea 16, Burnley 13, Manchester City 12, Sunderland 9.
From 14 Games;- Manchester United and Spurs 20 points Blackpool 17, West Bromwich 16, Birmingham 14, Portsmouth 12, Newcastle 11, Luton and Cardiff 10.
From 13 Games;- Aston Villa 11 points.
One Bogey Laid
Don’t assume from this that I suggest Everton could either (a) get into the latest money running, (b) that they even have that look about them. They are too far behind to achieve the first distinction. And not good enough to claim the second. But if they keep on a little longer as they have been doing for the last three months the more anxious minded of their followers can give up studying the bottom half of the league chart and calculating the prospects of keeping away from the last two places. Indeed that bogey already seems well and truly laid. Ten days ago I would have been reasonably satisfied to feel certain Everton could take a point each from Birmingham and Leeds instead they have lifted he lot and though the manner of the victory against Leeds left something to be desired as they did that against Birmingham, there is no disputing the healing effect on their position. There are now eight clubs below them, compared with only one three months ago. Their rise, however has been a trifle flattering I should hesitate to say they are as good as it makes from appear –that your cannot get away from the figures.
The display against Leeds was another of those patchy ones in which one half contrasted strange with the other. By way of change it was the first portion this time in which the Blues looked worst, and the second in which they came to their best. It was a good job for them that the Leeds forwards were so wasteful with good chances prior to the interval; otherwise the result might have been less pleasing. Forest and Ripley each missed close-range sitters long before Everton got into their strides and though these were partly balanced by a goal-line clearance off a Kirby header by Dunn, it was no more than Leeds deserved when they took the lead at the 37th minute even if Ripley’s goal did come from a break away and have a tinge of fortune about it. For most of the first half some of Everton’s forwards severely tried the patience of even their most loyal and long-suffering supporters. They fiddled and finesse and passed and repassed and –Eglington apart-just would not shoot. They took half a dozen moves where one would have sufficed seemed beret of all confidence in their own ability and played right into the hands of the opposing defenders –as well as generously passing the ball to them on numerous occasions.
One Fine Movement
The movement which led to Gauld, equalizer almost dead on half-time was not only an object lesson in how maximum ground could be made with a minimum of effort but the goal itself gave the Everton attack renewed belief in its ability to win a game which hitherto the forwards –Eglington again excepted –had seemed willing to surrender almost without a fight. In the second half the Blues were well on top most of the time, and Gauld’s winning goal, the result of a brillant individual effort eleven minutes from the end, was well deserved. Apart from his goals, Gauld was not particularly prominent partly due to the fact that he got very poor service of the ball. On numerous occasions he ran into the open space for the return pass, but it rarely came Everton are not getting the best out of aim and won’t until some of his colleagues adjust their play more to his needs. I thought the outstanding Everton player was Farrell whose seen marking of Charles prevented the Leeds skipper from ever getting more than a quarter chance. Jones and Dunlop were next best in the defence for though Dunlop had not much to do, he did what he had in a manner which gave every confidence to his co-defenders. Kirby still lacks the forcefulness and finishing power that he showed in his earlier games it may return when he gets down to full-time training in the weeks ahead. Latterly he has been covering a lot of ground to little purpose. I was told that the visitors display was one of the worst Leeds have put up this season. One can believe it otherwise they would never have got so high in the table.
Tribute To Farrell
Although Farrell gave Farrell a “token” benefit cheque six weeks ago, at the time Eglington received of payment, the actual cheque was not handed over until prior to Saturday’s game when Mr. Dick Searle the Everton chairman, now happily much improved in health and rock in harness made the official presentation. In doing so he paid brief but sincere tribute to the club’s skipper. “We have in English, Scots, Welsh and Irish captains at Goodison he said but never a more genial to loveable man than Peter who has encouraged and inspired both young and old players throughout his many years of valuable service to the club. This of course is the second full benefit Farrell and Eglington have had with Everton.
THE RAIL WAY TO GOODISON PARK
December 19, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
Good news this morning for some of the fifty thousand people who want to be at Goodison park on Boxing Day for the Tottenham Hotpsur match –an augmented service of trains from Liverpool Exchange to Kirkdale. This will be of special help to those who travel to matches from the Cheshire side of the river. Trains will leave Exchange Station at 1.15, 1.36, and 1.58 p.m. the return times being 4.0, 4.15, and 4.49 p.m. on the following Saturday when Everton have an equally attractive match against Wolverhampton Wanderers five trains will leave Exchange for Kirkdale between 1.16 pm, and 2 o’clock and five will return at times between 4 o’clock and 4.52 p.m. It is possible that additional trains will be run on Saturday week, according to the demand for train travel to Everton on Boxing Day. A shuttle service of electric trains would be ideal if it could be fitted into existing schedules.
O’NEILL ASKS FOR HIS TRANSFER
December 19, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Jimmy O’Neill, Everton’s Eire international goalkeeper, has asked to go on the transfer list and in accordance with their usual practice the club has granted his request. This makes the fourth successive week that either a Liverpool or an Everton player has made a similar request and had it granted. Last week Everton agreed to Eric Moore’s desire for a move and prior to that Liverpool had done the same with Johnny Evans and Harry Wilkinson. In addition to Moore and now O’Neill, Everton also have Jimmy Harris on the open to offer list though at the moment he is injured and any negotiations are held up. O’Neill who made his request verbally last week as I reported at the time has been with Everton since May, 1949 when he was signed from an Irish junior side at the age of 17, after he had given a promising display against Everton when they were on tour. He made his debut in August of the following year and though returning to the Central League side after ten games he came into the first team the following season, alternating as first choice with Leyland, who is now on Blackburn Rovers staff. Since then he was usually automatic senior choice until towards the end of last season when he was dropped in favour of Leyland and later Albert Harris a part-time player. He played in the first 13 games of the current campaign when he gave way to Dunlop who has since shown such excellent form that O’Neill chances or regaining his place unless Dunlop was injured have not looked good. In all O’Neill has played for Everton in 193 Football League and F.A Cup matches. At the time Everton signed Gauld from Charlton the London club made an offer for O’Neill but after talks with Charlton officials in London he decided against joining them. Sheffield Wednesday at one time were also interested in him, but since then they have signed the oddly named Charlie Plity from Scarborough, who is said to be serving up such amazing displays in the Central League side that Wednesday are not very anxious to spend a futher sum on a goalkeeper.
Same Again For Blues
Once again Everton put their faith into the unchanged side which has been getting such an improved return of points over the last couple of months. For the visit to Bolton the team will be the same as that which defeated Leeds United last week thus making the ninth time out of the last 10 matches that there has been no alterations. On the other occasion one was unavoidable owing to McNamara being injured. Everton; Dunlop; Donovan, Tansey; Birch, Jones, Farrell; McNamara, Gauld, Kirby, Fielding, Eglington.
BENEFITS FOR TWO AND A TRANSFER
December 20, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
Jimmy Harris, the Everton centre-forward who is on the transfer list at his own request and Ken Birch, the club’s right half, will on Saturday receive benefit cheques. Birch is included in the team to play at Bolton on Saturday which is unchanged for the ninth time in the last ten matches. It is; Everton; Dunlop; Donovan, Tansey; Birch, Jones, Farrell; McNamara, Gauld, Kirby, Fielding, Eglington. Bolton who are also unchanged field the English international Nat Lofthouse at centre forward. Their team is; Hopkinson; Hartle, Banks; Hennin, Higgins, Edwards; Holden, Stevens, Lofthouse, Parry, Gubbins.
Everton have agreed to place their Eire International goalkeeper Jimmy O’Neill on the transfer list. O’Neill who joined Everton in May, 1946 from an Irish junior side made a request for a transfer last week and the club do not want to hold him against his wishes. He recently lost his first team place to Dunlop.
MORE EVERTON BENEFITS BRING THIS SEASON’S TOTAL TO NEARLY £6,000
December 20, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Two more Everton players will be handed their benefit cheques this week-end by which time the Goodison Park club will have paid out just under £6,000 benefit money since the start of the season. The latest recipients are reserve centre forward Jimmy Harris who is at present in the transfer list at his own request and right-half Ken Birch who has made only 17 first-team appearances. Harris has played in 50 senior matches. The presentation will be made to these two players on Saturday morning by Mr. R.E. Searle the club’s chairman prior to the first team’s departure for the game at Bolton. Although obviously their benefits will not be at the full £750 maximum they will be very little short of it. Both are being generously treated, and must be very appreciative. Everton never allow recognition of any players past services to be effected by ruling circumstances when he becomes due for a benefit and the fact that Harris has asked for a move has not prejudiced his position in any way. Some years ago there was the case of Tommy Jones, the former Welsh international who threw in his lot with Pwellheli, a non-League club. Although this meant Everton got no transfer fee for him –he was on the list at around “£12,000 and had been sought by several clubs –they paid him the full permissible amount of benefit as reward for past services. Around the same time they also gave a full benefit cheque to Jack Hedley who had gone off to Bogota but later joined Sunderland and also to Gordon Dugdale who had to give up the game on medical advice after only 64 senior appearances.
Not So badly Off
In additional to Farrell, Eglington, Thomas, Vizard, who have already had their cheques –and now Birch and Harris, payment of accrued share of benefit has been made, since the start of the current season to nine players now with other clubs, namely Rankin, Parker, Molyneux, Lewis, Wainwright, Potts, Grant, Melville, and Leyland. On top of that the club has also applied for the Football League’s permission to make a similar payment to Matt Woods, now with Blackburn Rovers which will be forthcoming in due course. We have heard a lot during the past year or two of the supposedly hard lot of professional footballers who have been alleged to be slaves, bonded men, and so on. But if they are with a good club they don’t do so badly. The ones I am sorry for are those who cannot make top grade and have to remain with struggling Third Division sides. Even some of those are not so unfortunate if they have other jobs. It is the man with no other skill to turn to financial account who has the worst of it and most deserved sympathy. Those are the ones I would like to see get more out of the game, but unfortunately they are usually with clubs who hardly know where their next weekly wages are coming from.
For their Central League home game with Leeds United Reserves on Saturday (2.15) Everton try the experiment of playing Mayers, normally an extreme winger at centre-forward. He has been figuring there in practice games, and from all accounts has been shaping well. Moore who is on the transfer list, at his own request is included at left back in order that any clubs, who may be interested may see him in action. The same applies to O’Neill, whose transfer request was granted on Tuesday evening. Everton Res; O’Neill; Sutherland, Moore; Meagan, Sanders, Rea; Tomlinson, Farrell, Mayers, Haughey, Williams (G).
Everton are hopeful that their Youth team, now in the last 16 of the National Youth Cup competition can put a stop to the “farming” of the trophy by Manchester United who have won it each year since it inauguration four seasons ago. Manchester United have to visit Goodison in the next round which has to be played before the middle of February. Though no date has yet been fixed many Everton followers will doubtless make a mental note of this game now and go along in due course to give the youngsters encouragement. As soon as a date has been arranged it will be announced here. Everton defeated Middlesbrough’s youth team 6-1 in the last round and on this form must have a strong chance against the holders.
SOUR NOTES OF McNAMARA’S BAND
December 21, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Two Everton players occupy the centre of the stage this morning –Tony McNamara and Jimmy Gauld. One of them, McNamara is a native of this city the other came to us via Charlton from Scotland. Each is a forward, each has artistry and Gauld has nothing less than genius when a defence opens and he starts a Gauld rush every bit as spectacular and breath-taking as any ever made in the Yukon. Gauld has few if any critics; McNamara currently in the Everton outside right position, has thousands of them. For the sake of convenience I will christen them McNamara’s Band. By nature McNamara is like Liverpool’s Jack Balmer of old, a mild mannered man with no streak of cheeky confidence like Stanley Matthews or Wally Fielding’s or John Charles. Thus this Everton player suffers (as did Balmer in his playing days) no lack of advice from those on the terraces. They do not wait for him to get possession –they start telling him what to do and what not to do almost before the ball is passed out to him on the wing. McNamara’s band and their crescendo of advice do Everton and McNamara no service. You cannot hold a ball and at the same time get rid of it..You cannot shoot with one foot and centre with the other. If McNamara’s Band really want to be constructive they should at least agree beforehand, whether it is a day when they want him to hold the ball or pass it instantly it comes his way. Failing this they would be well advised to say nothing. Silence would at least give the player opportunity to play his own game.
The thing which seems to infuriate most of McNamara’s terrace critic is that he persists in holding the ball. Some times when standing still. It is clear to me, if to no other that he is not prepared to send the ball away unless he is reasonably sure his pass will find someone in a good position to take it. Apparently this is not enough for McNamara’s Band. They want him to hare down the wing with the ball before flinging over one of those centres which usually finds a –defence teed-up and ready to receive it. What I must add about people who counsel McNamara to get on with it and get rid of it is their reluctance to ask other right wingers to do similarly. Stanley Matthews has only to set foot on Goodison Park and stand motionless with the ball at his feet to captivate them. Yet McNamara is only following Matthews’s policy when he refuses to make his move until he is satisfied of its chance of success. McNamara as a great shot –if the crowd will only help to give him confidence instead of helping him to lose it; he is a good header, he is dainty and clever in beating one man or two sometimes three. By good fellows, please and leave him to show what he can do …what he can do without the doubtful help of hundreds offering gratuitous advice. After all if many of you, could play football as well as McNamara you might be on the wing at Goodison Park and McNamara might be an onlooker on the terraces you occupy. But if he were I like to think he would give you a better deal than you give him.
Now Gauld. They said he played indifferently against Leeds United and so he did for many of the ninety minutes. But he scored twice and one of those goals the second was of the kind a player rarely scores once in a life-time. Having seen Gauld four or five times I am convinced he is one of the most dynamic forward in football today. With the ball at his feet he moves so fast and so straight for goal one presuppose that any thoughtful defence might stop him. But it is his infinitesimal feinting as his surging run develops, which leaves defenders flat-footed, floundering. I am convinced too, that Gauld is always potentially more dangerous to a side on the offensive. In Everton attacks which develop orthodoxy defences are usually too tighty-knit to allow him an opening for a characteristic burst. It is when Everton’s opponents break down when they are on the attack that the quick, through pass to Gauld (usually starting his run before the ball reaches him) gives him his best openings. He may not have scored often so far, but his goals have been timely and I recall three or four instances when he all but scored following attack build up of no special consequence. The pity is that Gauld is sometimes ignored when in full flight in position which demand a quick pass on to which he can run. I look forward confidently to many occasions on which he will demonstrate, as he did on Saturday, his refreshing desire to get a goal all alone –a quality which fewer and fewer present-day forwards seen to posses.
MANSFIELD BID FOR GLAZZARD
December 21, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Deal Will Go Through Today
Everton and Mansfield Town have agreed on terms for the transfer of Jimmy Glazzard, Everton’s inside forward. Glazzard has indicated his willingness to sign, and representatives of the two clubs left for Huddersfield this morning to complete the deal. It is expected to go through without a hitch later today and Glazzard will play for Mansfield against Carlisle United at Carlise tomorrow. Mr. Charlie Mitten, Mansfield’s player-manager said this morning; “Everything has been arranged and all that now remains is for the player to complete the forms which he has promised to do as soon as our secretary arrives in Huddersfield. “We are leaving at mid-day for Carlisle and Jimmy will come through to join us tomorrow morning. “I think he is just the man we need and we are hoping he will soon settle down with us and regain his old form.”
Only Three Games
Glazzard who has been with Everton less than four months, joined them from Huddersfield –where he still resides and does his training –and has made only three first team appearances. Two of these were at inside left and one at centre forward. Coming into the team when it was doing badly, he had little chance to prove himself, and has since been in the Central League eleven for which he has scored seven goals in seven appearances.
BOLTON WILL BE STIFF TEST FOR EVERTON
December 21, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton’s increased return of points during recent weeks, even it a little flattering has been most welcome and has given the side that renewed confidence in itself which is always so helpful. The Blues may need the confidence if they are to put up a good show against Bolton who represented one of the sternest tasks which has faced the Goodison lads for some weeks. The Wanderers have suffered only a single defeat in eleven matches on their own ground. That was on September 22 when Wolves defeated them 3-0. In their three most recent home engagements Bolton have beaten Manchester United, Burnley, and Newcastle, and with the loss of only one goal, while they have scored eight times themselves. Lofthouse has been back in action in the last two matches after several weeks on the injured list and to prove his lay-off has had no ill-effect he has netted three times.
Team Without Cost
These goals bring his total for the season to sixteen, an average of exactly a goal a game, and more than twice as many as Stevens the next highest scorer. Who has seven to his credit. Bolton are proud of the fact that their present side cost them nothing in transfer fees. Wheeler and Barrass who have left Burnden Park for Liverpool and Sheffield United respectively since the season commenced have been replaced so effectively by Hennin and Higgins that there has been no loss of efficiently in the Wanderers ranks. The rearguard has played unchanged in the last twelve matches of which only two have been lost, both of these away from home. Indeed apart from Higgins and Banks who have missed only six games between them, all the defenders have played in every match. Only Aston Villa and Burnley have conceded fewer than the Wanderers 30 goals. Although nobody apart from Lofthouse has done much in the scoring line. Bolton’s attack is one of decided potentialities and went it once starts to click and gets a little more confidence it may spring a few surprises. Everton will do well if they bring back a point. They might manage that if the forwards will remember that plenty of shooting is the best way, to round off their approach work not the extra pass than so often proves fatal. They know that well enough the trouble is that when they get on the field they either seen to forget or to be afraid of missing. Bolton; Hopkinson; Hartle, Banks; Hannin, Higgins, Edwards; Holden, Stevens, Lofthouse, Parry, Gubbins. Everton; Dunlop; Donovan, Tansey; Birch, Jones, Farrell; McNamara, Gauld, Kirby, Fielding, Eglington.
GLAZZARD OF EVERTON FOR MANSFIELD
December 22, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Mansfield Town, who earlier this week made a bid for Trevor Ford, Cardiff City’s Welsh international centre-forward, yesterday signed another centre forward –Jimmy Glazzard from Everton. Glazzard joined Everton in August following thirteen years at Huddersfield but has made only three League appearances with the Goodison Park Club. The Football League Management Committee on Thursday told Mansfield that the League might not accept a registration for Ford until after their January meeting. Earlier this month Ford attended a meeting of the League Management Committee following publication of articles in his name.
EVERTON AT BOLTON
December 22, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Ian Hargreaves
Everton begin their Christmas programme with a visit to Bolton a team who have promised more and achieved less than any other First Division side since the war, Years after year they are in a challenging position for League or Cup year after year they fade away with scarce a whimper. There is still plenty of time to achieve fame this season and their performance against Everton may give some indication of their potentialities. Certainly with men like Lofthouse, Stevens, Banks, and Hopkinson they seem unusually well equipped. But Everton too are improving slowly perhaps but unmistakably. The injection of new blood has steadied the defence into one of the League’s best and few find it wasy to pass the imperturbable Jones the fiery Birch and the cat like Dunlop. Forward the picture is less impressive but one has the feeling that here too progress is being made on the right lines. McNamara needs only confidence to make a grand winger, Kirby is learning fast and best of all Gauld is showing those flashes of genus that brings goals. At this stage the way Everton play is more important than the result, but there is every reason to hope that they will not return from Bolton empty handed. Teams; Bolton; Hopkinson; Hartle, Banks; Hannin, Higgins, Edwards; Holden, Stevens, Lofthouse, Parry, Gubbins. Everton; Dunlop; Donovan, Tansey; Birch, Jones, Farrell; McNamara, Gauld, Kirby, Fielding, Eglington.
EVERTON’S VAIN JOURNEY
December 22, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Bolton Game Postponed
Everton’s scheduled match with Bolton Wanderers at Burnden Park today was postponed because of fog. The ground was enshrouded when the Everton party arrived at 11.20 and it was impossible to see both goals from the centre line. As there was a danger of the visibility becoming worse as the afternoon went on the decision was made at 1.30 to postpone the game. The referee Mr. H.L. Broadhurst who had to make the journey from Atherstone, Warwickshire had no arrived but the chief linesman Mr. G. F. Peverell was present and with officials of both clubs came to the decision that it would be impossible to play. The gate had not been opened and there were very few people outside. This is the eight Everton game to be postponed since the resumption of Football League competition proper after the second world war. The last occasion was in February of last year when snow at Goodison Park caused the fixture with Aston Villa to be rearranged.
IT’S “IN THE PIT” YOU FIND THE GREAT PLAYER
December 22, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
I wonder do we ever consider the very important part temperament plays in the make-up of a professional football? Time and time again we hear of promising youngsters with amazing ability whom good soccer judges predict will eventually, when they get their chance prove to be really great players. It is obvious to the onlookers that youngsters in this category posses all the ingredients from the point of view of ability that go into the making of really great footballers. Despite this only a very small percentage of them turn out to be star players, mainly in most cases because they lack the temperament for the game. During the period such players are being groomed for stardom they have all the confidence in the world to display their real talents in the junior leagues and even in the Central League when they make the Reserve side. The stage is set for their entry into the big time, but as soon as they turn out before a crowd of 40,000 they appear to be different player entirely tackling the confidence to do the things which others have seemed to come natural to them. In after words, they find that they lack the importament to perform in front of crowds as they had done in the late competitive business in which they had previously played. On the other hand players with the same ability as the class I have mentioned not with the right temperament for big time soccer grasp their opportunity with both hands and big crowds watching them perform have little or no effect on this type of player’s game. In some cases football crowds play a very important part in either developing a player’s temperament or running. When a nervous or self-conscious type of player comes into big football and despite his shortcomings and obvious nervousness is helped by the encouragement and patience of home crowd he gradually gets more confidence in himself and settle down to prove he has the ability for the big game.
Not A Chance
If on the other hand, the crowd is shouting at him “Get rid of it” and other discouraging remarks it has a very bad effect on the young sten and he goes from bad to worse without having a chance to get confidence n himself and gradually disappears into obscurity. Remember even great players like Billy Wright, Stan Matthews, Billy Liddell and John Charles all had to develop the right temperament for the game, and all, I am sure were a little nervous when they first crashed into big time football. So when you go to watch games in future always be a help with your local encouragement to a youngster and not a hindrance as apart from the real stars, even ordinary players can serve their club and their followers well as long as they get the necessary encouragement from the supporters. The mention of John Charles reminds me that at a boys club this week, I was asked “What is it like to oppose John Charles in a game?” My reply was “it is always an honour and a pleasure to oppose a player of the caliber and sportsmanship of Charles whatever the outcome as apart from his extraordinary ability and versatility Big John is one of football’s gentlemen a fact which has endeared him to football crowds everywhere” I wonder how the football leagues will look after the important Christmas glut of fixtures? The four games in eight days is a very testing time for clubs and always plays a very important part in relegation battles. I should like to take this opportunity of wishing all readers and all Merseyside football enthusiasts a very happy Christmas and the results they are hoping for whatever team they follow.
EVERTON RES V LEEDS RES
December 22, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton Res; O’Neill, goal; Sutherland and Moore, backs; Meagan, Sanders, and Rea, half-backs; Tomlinson, Farrell, Mayers, Haughey, and Williams (G), forwards. Leeds Res; Nimmo, goal; Polton and Ashalf, backs; McConnell, Marsden, and Jones, half-backs; McKenna, Crew, Herron, Flynn, Ambler, forwards. Referee; Mr. I. Seldon, as United were delayed on route the game started 20 minutes late in bad visibility which made it impossible to identify the players on the far side of the field. Ambler belled his name by outpacing the Everton defence but ran the ball over the by line. The respective defences were well on top in the early stages and fully 10 minutes elapsed before either goalkeeper had a shot to save. Then O’Neill leapt into action to collect Crowe’s accurate high drive. Everton gained two quick corners from one of which Haughey headed just over. A moment later the home inside left tricked the Leeds defence before passing to Williams, whose centre however, was confidently gathered by Nimmo. Half-time Everton res nil, Leeds United Res 1.
HERRON GOAL BEAT EVERTON RESERVES
December 24, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton Res 0, Leeds United 1
Kicking off twenty minutes late through the visitors being delayed on route it was almost a miracle that a finish to this Central League game at Goodison Park on Saturday was possible. Never could the more distant play be followed and the second half introduction of the white ball made no diffence at least to the onlookers. The whole Everton defence performed impeccably. Williams (G) was their best forward, Herron scored the goal.
A REAL CHAPTER OF ACCIDENTS
December 27, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Tottenham Hotspur 6, Everton 0
Nothing went right for Everton at Tottenham on Christmas Day. Three minutes after the star Dunlop let a simple header by Smith slip through his legs into the net, and soon afterwards skipper Farrell hurt himself. Then full back Tansey had to be carried off –injured while tackling Stokes before he shot goal number two-to return ten minutes later. Even at full strength Everton never settled down and misfortune dogged them constantly. A header by Medwin who also scored the fourth went in off Jones who later was penalized when the ball hit his hand accidentially. Harmer netted from the spot. Then to crown everything Smith when apparently yards offside to make the total six.
DUNLOP’S FINEST SAVE;
December 27, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Referee;-Gauld Was Offside Before Run Began!
Everton 1, Tottenham 1
By Leslie Edwards
Irate followers of Everton snowballed Tottenham players as they left the field and Everton men who went down the sub-way side by side got their share of the missiles. One Tottenham player who had evidently “stopped one” could be seen being restrained from jumping over the barrier separating-players from spectators as he disappeared down the steps. The crux of Everton spectatorial annoyance was that Tottenham had saved a point with a last minute goal after referee Keith Howley, of Middlesbrough had only a few minutes before disallowed an Everton goal which thousands thought he should have given, I hold no brief for those who throw snow-balls at football matches –unless they throw at each other –but in my opinion the referee’s refusal to give Everton a second (and almost certainly decisive) goal was one of the greatest blunders I have known this season. Gauld, taking a through pass and well onside sped overt the snowy ground and having only goalkeeper Ditchburn to beat contrived to edge the ball beyond him so that only an empty net was left. the stage was set for Gauld to tap the ball over the line as he pleased but he lost his balance as he turned to do this and sensing that Kirby was coming in behind, unselfishly stood aside to allow Kirby to apply –the coup. The surprise of Kirby and Gauld and company can be imagined when they found the goal had been disallowed –after Mr. Howley’s consultation with a linesman. The referee later explained that he gave Gauld offside before he started his run!
Behind The Ball
What convinced me that it was a good goal was the fact that Kirby was behind the ball by yards when Gauld last played it. The fact that the Tottenham defence was so spread-eagled as to be “out of sight” is of no consequence. So long as Kirby was behind Gauld when Gauld last played the ball the verdict had to be a goal. In the circumstances –Everton were then leading 1-0 and were promising to hold their lead in the final few minutes –the decision did not seem to be a very material one. But when in the semi-darkness of the final minute Robb, on the left volleyed in a ball half-cleared from a corner taken by Dyson its significance became great – and so did the signifience of Tom Jones first half penalty miss. Yet on a review of all the play a draw was no less than Tottenham deserved. I cannot forget that Dunlop made some brilliant saves and that in many ways the Tottenham play was more sustained and less likely to go wrong on a pitch which ruined most attempts at finesse and rewarding everything practical I rather Referee Howley voted the ground fit after examination the pitch in front of the main stand on the Bullens Road side where the blizzard had left drifts there seemed o be a six-inch layer of snow on which the ball often dropped an stopped like a poached egg.
That Everton should lose their lead in the last minute after missing a penalty (and some other almost equally good chances) and after the disallowed of what seemed to be a perfectly good goal was aggravating but in the circumstances the match was quite rewarding for those who had braved the weather the even worse vigiours of petrol rationing, and the risk of the game not being played to produce an attendance of 20,172 –a wonderfully good figure on the day. True, some of the football was freakish (and laughable to people whose living did not depend on it) but many moves proved that even on the most difficult surfaces the good player can still play outstandingly. The goalkeeping of Dunlop and Ditchburn was excellent remembering their icy vigil Donovan’s handling of the always dangerous Robb. Gauld’s tremendous speed in possession on such an unhelpful ground Fielding’s ability to kill the ball and use it constructively and the characterically consistent half-back play of Blanchflower –these things shone in the murk in which most of the game was fought.
The rugged effectiveness of Rydon the centre half Spurs signed from Accrington was also clear –though the programme named the man in this position as Clarke –and so was the artistry of little Harmer who contrived with another small un Dyson, to make the game’s best wing. Everton started and finished on the wrong foot. The match had barely begun when Kirby found an open gapping following a Gauld run. A little steadiness and Kirby could hardly have helped scoring. Instead he was overcome by the necessity for speed and pulled his shot disastrously. Gauld took up a long through ball from Donovan to create the situation out of which the penalty came. Hopkins was the guilty man and he must have known it after Gauld had risen! Tom Jones right foot shot from the penalty spot swung wide. Immediately following this Ditchburn drew the attention of the referee to snowballing which had been going on behind his back. Gauld facing only Ditchburn and close in, hit the goalkeeper with a shot then from a Fielding pass beautifully pulled back (and made when everyone was convinced he was too late) Gauld sent the ball towards the post and it had actually stopped rolling when a Tottenham defender arrived to lift it to safely with a hugh punt.
Everton survived successive moments of stress when Dunlop with the palm of his hand edged Blachflower’s centre over the bar and Robb on the left hit an upright with the corner which followed. Everton scored, as Liverpool had the day before on the stroke of the interval, Birch’s shot was deflected high; Ditchburn could only not tip it on to the bar as the ball hung over his head and from the rebound Eglington with a ram-rod shot scored almost as he pleased. He was at almost the same spot as Robb was before scoring in the game’s final minute. A flying header by Gauld (from Donovan’s lobbed centre) a bad miss by Dyson on the right and an equally unhappy mistake by McNamara, who refused to bang the all into a goal denuded of Ditchburn were high (or should I say low) lights on the early part of the second half. Again Gauld missed in this brilliant game of his, this time because he just could not move his feet quickly enough of a chance provided by Fielding. Donovan reserved his best tackle for the moment when Stokes at inside left was surging through unopposed. Next Kirby fumbled the ball after one of Gauld’s inspiring runs Dunlop saved from Dyson when Tansey slipped and all seemed lost; he did even better with a tremendous save from a Robb shot so deflected that any goalkeeper could have been excused not reaching the ball as it bounced towards the far post.
Gauld was then victim of the season’s most vexing moment, and again one must confess that if the referee disallowed this point because Gauld was adjudged when he first received the ball few on the ground would agree. Rydon’s work was full of courage in a game which reverted at times to such as those we used to see when home and away fixtures against the same team were played consecutively. It was a game which required firm handling and the wonder was there was no serious injury –though Gauld was off-field for a minute late in the second half. McNamara whose build it totally unsuited to balancing tricks on treacherous going had one of his least distinguished matches. Gauld has never played with more fire or fervor. It was though he wanted to rub out t by his own efforts, the disgraces of the 6-0 defeat of Christmas day. Rea, who came in for Farrell (a damaged ankle) did well indeed except for their failure to take chances Everton could scarcely have done more . Tottenham moved like the well-organised side we know they can be with Harmer and Dyson always a threat and Smith held with the greatest of difficulty by Jones. This is a match which will go into Everton records as one of their most luckless. Not only did they lose a point they lost something in the nature of £2,000 at the gate.
EVERTON’S CHRISTMAS WAS A LEAN ONE IN POINTS, CASH AND GOALS
December 27, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
While the attendance at Anfield and Goodison were excellent considering thee wrenched conditions they were well below what they would have been had the weather been more tempting. Everton’s 20,172 yesterday was less than half the Boxing Day average. Such a drop is no small matter. It means Everton lost about £2,300 gross on the average of their post-war Boxing Day games, which in view of the inevitable decline in gates in the future due to weather, petrol restrictions and reduced public transport will eventually mean a substantial drop in the season’s takings. Yesterday’s return with Tottenham was a game of if’s and buts, if Everton had gone ahead when Tommy Jones for the second time in the last five home games hit the post from the penalty spot… if Kirby’s goal had counted instead of being Nuffield by offside…if some of Everton’s splendid first time efforts in the first half had gone in or if the defence had not nodded and left Robb unmarked to get a last minute equalizer then the Blues would have taken both points. As it was a draw was an equitable result, for though I rated Everton the more aggressive and dangerous team in the first half, Tottenham had the advantage in the last half hour when the Everton defence was often hard-pressed to keep them at bay. Considering the handicap of the conditions with snow two inches deep at the best end and nearly four inches elsewhere the game was productive of better football and more thrills than usual under such circumstances. True now and again play tended to become slightly fanicial when players slipped and slithered and could control neither their feet nor the ball. It would have been strange had either side facing such handicaps been able to pinpoint their passes or defenders to make their clearances as they intended. All things considered however and looking on mistakes with a windy and forearming eye in keeping with the season both teams earned praise for providing so acceptable an offering for the hardy folk who braved the conditions and trudged through the snow. Naturally the snow was a temptation to a few unthinking folk who regarded it as a heaven sent method of showing their disapproval in certain instances notably when the referee was snowballed at the finish presumably because of the disallowed goal. There were many who thought this decision was against Kirby who ended off a fine individual dribble by Gauld by slotting the ball home. That was not so, Referee Howley told me afterwards that his linesman flag was raised because Gauld was offside when he recived the ball at the start of his run. While it didn’t strike me that way, I am not going to quarrel with the linesman concerned who had a better view. Everton’s shooting on the first half left little room for complaint if we made allowances for the occasional mis-hit shot due to the slippery foothold and the tricks the ball did on the snow.
Ditchburn saved brilliantly from Gauld at point-blank range repeated the “dose” off the same player’s header looked upwards a gratefully at hot drive by Birch and Tansey soared inches over the bar and then foiled Rea and Kirby with further gems from his repershare. He was unlucky when Eglington put Everton in front 30 seconds before the interval for he had saved two shots in rapid succession one of which he tipped on to the bar, before Eglington gave him no chance by hitting the rebound home like a rocket. In the second half it was Dunlop who distinguished himself making several saves every bit as good as his opposite number had done earlier. I have remarked before on Dunlop’s courage. He proved it again in the manner in which he went down on many occasions at the feet of the in-rushing forwards to scoop the ball into safe custody almost off their toes. His best effort was when he tipped the ball in safety while on his knees after it had been deflected by a colleague as he was driving forward. How he got to it was amazing for not only had he to change direction, but the ball seemed to be going well out of his reach whichever way he had gone. As a test of football skill the game lost much of its point because of the state of the pitch, it developed more into a test of the players ability to keep their feet their speed of the slippery goal and their willingness to take a risk. In all those respects none did better than Gauld who with luck might have had two or three goals. He was a constant thorn in the side of the Spurs defence who never knew from where he would pop up and some of his colleagues had been as quick in the uptake and given him stronger support Everton might have pulled it off. Kirby worked hard but rarely got the better of Hyden, deputsing for Clarke at centre half. Ryden has had to wait along time for his chance since leaving Accringston Stanley and showing he is a strong and valuable pivot. Tottenham’s attack was a little better balanced than Everton’s and moved the ball more accurately and with greater purpose but there was little to choose between the defences.
Chapter Of Accidents
Everton’s heavy defeat at White Hart Lane on Christmas Day was due to the combination of lack of fighting spirit in attack and a succession of mishaps in defence. Tansy was off for 10 minutes, Farrell was handicapped by an ankle injury soon after the start and though Spurs were well on top throughout some of their goals had a tinge of fortune about then. One was the result of a partial error by Dunlop another went in off Jones, a further one came from a disputed penalty against Jones which seemed to many people a case of ball to hand, with no deliberate intent and the crowning blow was yet another which Everton claimed was yards offside. After making all allowances for these freaks of ill-luck, however Everton were well beaten on the play by a superior side, who might have accrued even more, thankly if they had taken all their chances.
WOLVERHAMPTON ARE NOT TOO FORMABLE IN AWAY ENGGEMENTS
December 28, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton home tomorrow to Wolverhampton Wanderers will be facing for the third successive game one of the most prolific scoring side in the First Division. Only Tottenham who have 61 goals to their credit in 23 games have found the net more frequently than Wolverhampton. The Molineux team has totally 57 in the same number of matches, compared with Everton’s 31 in 24 engagements. At the moment of writing the prospects are that the underfoot conditions will be goal. Most of the snow had disappeared from the pitch by midday and the surface was draining well. Providing there is no overnight frost or heavy rain, the going although a bit on the soft side should be conducive to good football and not reduce play to such a hit-or-miss business as it was on the snow-covered surface on Boxing Day. Although Wolves stand seventh in the table with 27 points from their 25 matches they owe their comfortable position largely to their excellent home record. Away from Molieux they have not been shinning so brightly having suffered seven defeats in eleven engagements some of them when opposing fairly lowly teams in these away games they have scored only 15 goals to 24 against compared with a goal average of 42-18 in front of their own supporters. Their only away victories have been against Bolton and Manchester City, while they have drawn at West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea. They lost 2-1 to Charlton at the Valley on Christmas Day. The Boxing Day return games was postponed.
As Everton only lost their earlier game with Wolves at Molyneux 2-1 since when the Blues have proved considerably they should –assuming the September game. Is a pointer which is by an means certain –have a reasonable chance of victory tomorrow if the state of the going allows both sides to play something approaching normal football. Since the fixture at Wolverhampton was played the visitors have made a few changes in their team. Shorthouse has given way at left back to Harris who is in his first season as a senior player. Wilshaw has returned as leader of the attack after asking to go on the transfer list some months ago, and Neil, the young ex-Portsmouth amateur has come in at outside left in place of the experienced Mullen. Everton of course have made even more changes for O’Neill, Sutherland, Llewellyn, and Glazzard were in the eleven at Wolverhampton. Hooper the former West Ham outside right is the only ever-present in the visiting attack. He is also joint leading scorer with 21 year old Murray a utility forward who has played all three inside forward positions this season. Each has scored 13 goals, though Hoopers total includes four converted from the penalty spot. After missing a dozen games through injury Bert Williams former England goalkeeper returned to face Wolves side at the beginning of this month. Right half Slater is the only ever-present in the defence for skipper Billy Wright has missed one game through international needs and Flowers has been absent once through injury. Altogether Manager Stan Cullis has utilized the services of 18 players but only in the inside forward perths have more than two players been called upon for any one position. Four have been tried at inside right, with Booth the most successful and five at inside left where Broadbent has been the latest occupant. The full record of post-war League matches between Everton and Wolves is exactly even with each having won six and three having been drawn, so that tomorrow’s game is in the nature of a temporary rubber, Everton have the advantage at Goodison having won four and drawn two of the previous seven games. Tomorrow’s may well go any of the three possible ways but if they are to make sure of victory Everton must endeavour to put a better edge on their finishing than they did against Spurs.
HARRIS CELEBRATES HIS RETURN
December 29, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
First Half Goals Settle The Issue
Everton 3, Wolves 1
Everton laid the foundation of victory with two goals in the first 13 minutes, each the result of swift raids turning defence into attack. Plus the right finishing touch. Jimmy Harris, recalled to lead the home attack had a good game and was a constant source of anxiety to Wright. Wolves, usually so direct and forceful were too elaborate and really looked as dangerous as Everton in attack. Everton; Dunlop, goal; Sutherland and Tansey, backs; Birch, Donovan (captain), and Rea, half-backs; McNamara, Gauld, Harris (J), Fielding and Eglington, forwards. Wolves;- Williams, goal; Stuart and Harris, back; Slater, Wright (captain), and Flowers, half-backs; Hooper, Mason, Murray, Broadbent, and Neill, forwards. Referee; Mr. A.W. Luty. A cheque for £2,213, the whole of their share of gates receipts plus television fee, from the match with Red Banner on December 11, has been sent by Wolverhampton Wanderers to the Hungarian Relief Fund. It is possible that this figure may swell to £4,160 for application is being made for refund of entertainment tax. Everton had to make three changes compared with the side which drew against Sours on Boxing Day. With Jones still with a pulled muscle behind the knee Donovan took over at centre half, Sutherland coming in at right back. The other change was at centre forward where Kirby was dropped after 17 senior outing and Jimmy Harris took his place. It was only a week today when he received his benefit cheque that Harris asked the club to take him off the transfer list saying that he would endeavour to fight his way back to the first team. His outing today was his first in the season since September 8. Wolves had Murray at centre forward in place of Wilshaw injured. Donovan who captained Everton in the absence of Farrell and Jones won the toss and elected to attack the Gwlady’s Street goal. When Gauld headed the ball back to Sutherland for the latter to lob it well into Wolves half Harris (J) took advantage of the bounce beating Wright to dart through for quickly and hit a strong drive across the face of the goal. The pitch was in excellent condition considering the snow and rain of the past week. It seemed quite firm underneath.
Rea In The Wars
Wolves played some nice football in the early stages, keeping the ball on the ground moving it quickly and accurately and finding their men with apparent ease. One terrific shot by Flowers struck Rea on the leg and though he played on for some moments he had to receive the trainer’s attention. At the eight minute Everton took the lead. A clearance out of hand by Dunlop was helped on its way by Harris to Eglington just inside his on half. He beat his man to swing over a long centre, and McNamara stooping low, headed deliberately into the far corner of the net. It was a well judged effort but Williams should have made a better attempt. He was slow in moving to a ball which bounced twice before crossing the line. Two long shots by Wolves had little hope of beating Dunlop, but Birch brought Williams to his knee with a strong 25 yards drive. Everton supporters were naturally jubilant at this start and their joy was greater still at the 13th minute when Jimmy Harris added a second goal starting and finishing the movement in brilliant fashion. Another clearance from well inside the Everton half was the starting point of the goal. Harris in the outside left position beat Wright with a body swerve which had the England captain going the wrong way and then sent a long pass to the far side of the field. When Gauld returned it, Harris had positioned himself well to out head two opponents and send the ball beyond Williams. After six senior games without a goal, Harris now got his name on the list within 13 minutes of his restoration. Eglington had a chance to make it 3-0. Well positioned for a left foot-shot he screwed the ball wide of the far post.
Although two down, Wolves showed plenty of fighting spirit for some minutes kept Everton penned in their own half to such an extent that both visiting backs were able to try 30-yard shots. Dunlop taking charge in confident manner. Wolves were not getting their deficit ruffle them or upset their balanced teamwork. They were going for the ball resolutely and were always ready to try a shot whenever there was a reasonable chance o success. One pleasing feature of Everton was the manner in which they swung the ball about freely. There was none of that tip-tapping which sometimes leads them to make heavy weather of simple tasks. Both their goals had sprung from the ability to turn an attack at one end to a raid at the other with the minimum of movements. Jimmy Harris was shaping well and off an Eglington pass he gave Williams a shot to cope with followed a moment later by a special attempt to connect with a Gauld centre. Harris leaped to a great height missing by no more than an inch.
Back On Top
Everton had one temporarily at least taken the sting from the Wolves attack, and were back on top. Donovan came across to dispossess Mason as the latter was shaking for a shot. Both he and Sutherland were holding their own against a speedy and aggressive attack. Again Donovan stepped into the breach when he started across to take the ball off Neil. Wright made what might have been a costly mistake when he elected to dribble instead of clearing first time. As he was not far from the centre circle possibly he thought there was no risk but he had not reckoned Harris who darted through, collected the ball and put it out to McNamara whose centre produced an Eglington effort which almost skimmed the ar. At the 41st minute with Fielding at the starting point a three-piece movement ended by McNamara scoring a third goal with a fierce angled drive from eight yards. Williams got his fist to the ball but was unable to do ant more than slightly deflect in en route to the back of the net.
Half-time; Everton 3, Wolverhampton Wanderers nil.
The second half resumed on a lively note, Eglington angled shot was unavoidably deflected on to the post when it struck Stuart with Williams in no position to do anything about it. Gauld had hard lines when he beat Flowers in a quick dribble and hen trying to lob the ball over the head of the advancing Williams, just failed to loft it sufficiently. The Wolves goal had another escape –the third in five minutes –when McNamara headed in and the ball was “kneed” away from the line by Harris (G). Sutherland not for the first time got the better of Neil when the amateur, who is still at school tried to go through. Although Wolves were all playing good combined football at times, there was little punch about it with too much lateral play.
Hooper beating two men in a sinuous dribble veered into the middle before letting go a right foot shot which struck Rea and went behind for an unproductive corner. Another fine dribble by Fielding opened the way for Eglington to hit a first time shot into the side netting. A free kick against Everton produced a melee around the penalty spot in which Dunlop after punching the ball away ran to the edge of the area to retrieve it, only to find it lobbed behind him, but the danger was eventually claimed. Jimmy lost his grip of the ball when charged by Harris who was penalized as the goalkeeper had both feet off the ground. Neither side could now claim any outstanding superiority for out of Everton and Wolves some of the sparkle had gone were still trying to redress the balance. Neil gave another display of dribbling and after Dunlop had been drawn out the amateur tried a shot only to find Dunlop darting back to make a smart catch.
Off The Line
Hooper who had not been as prominent as anticipate considering his scoring achievements, put a strong shot just off the mark, and then it was Everton’s turn for a spell of pressure which saw McNamara foiled of his hat-trick through a goal-line clearance by Stuart. With 20 minutes left Broadbent scored for Wolves after he had been played onside by Birch when the latter attempted to slap away a centre from the left. The ball spun off his foot to the scorer who would otherwise have been a couple of yards offside. Wolves might possibly have had a “second” goal also from Broadbent a couple of minutes later, when Donovan was too tender with an attempted pass back and the Wolves man almost got to the ball before Dunlop. The latter courageously threw himself at his opponents feet to save the situation. Gauld made an electrgying dribble from well inside his own half to the Wolves penalty area. Although stumbling and being harassed by two opponents, he tried a shot cum pass, which struck Wright. Everton were taking risks for first Donovan and then Sutherland came right up field and were in no position to get back when the ball was returned. Fortunately others stepped into cover up. Final; Everton 3, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1. Official attendance 43,871.
AS WE SEE IT ISN’T ALWAYS AS YOU SEE IT
December 29, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
The Christmas holiday programme, which generally plays such an important part in promotion and relegation, is now past, and what an extra-ordinary Christmas it has been for the footballes and football in general. Speaking from an Everton point of view, we arrived at Bolton last Saturday to start our Christmas programme only to find our game postponed owing to dense fog. On Monday afternoon we left Liverpool in a deluge of rain for London, where on arrival we learned that White Hart Lane was practically water-logged.
On Christmas morning against the Spurs we played on a bone hard surface due to heavy overnight frost which transformed the previous day’s soft going into a very treacherous playing surface and finally the Blues returned to Goodison for the Boxing Day game on a snow-covered pitch. Thus in the space of several days, the Blues encouraged practically every type of adverse playing conditions. There are many soccer followers who consider that the heavy glut of Christmas fixtures should not take place until later in the season when conditions are apt to be more favourable especially in view of the fact that these games often have a detrimental effect or otherwise on the important issues of promotion and relegation. In view of the farcical football conditions experienced by many clubs over this year’s holiday games this argument will have even stronger support. On the other hand some maintain that good well-trained professional footballers should be able to adapt themselves to any conditions. Others claim that the fixture list could be arranged at the start of the season to avoid long journey over the holiday. We are all agreed on this point, but I should imagine it would be a very difficult task to arrange such a fixture list without improving quite a number of clubs in long distance travels on top of their heavy programme. At Goodison on Boxing Day quite a number of Blues supporters asked me what happened that we were hammered 6-0 by Spurs the previous day. This was due to the fact I suppose that there were no papers on Boxing Day to tell the story of the Blues humiliating defeat. Well, we were beaten by a far better side on the day. Spurs adapted themselves to the treacherous conditions far better than we did and got those little breaks that help a side so much to take command of a game. Injuries to Jimmy Tansey and myself didn’t help matters much, and all in all it was a Christmas Day all of us in the Everton side will want to forget. Fortunately, Tansey’s injury responded to treatment but I had to take a seat in the stand to watch the Blues going all out to get revenge for their 6-0 defeat. As I have mentioned before in this column you sometimes get a different picture of incident in a game when watching than you do when playing. Take for instance Tommy Jones’s penalty kick. From where I was sitting I was sure Tommy had shot yards wide and was a marked in the dressing room after the game when the lads told me that the ball hit the side of the upright before going outside. Again, when the referee awarded Everton a second goal, only to disallow it on consulting a linesman, I though Jimmy Gauld was on-side a view shared by Danny Blacnchflower and other members of the Spurs side whom I spoke to after the game, yet some of our players and those in the home trainer’s box though Gauld was offside. The linesman’s version for the incident was that Gauld was level with the defender, in which case he was offside. One way or another there must have been very little in it, and a goal at that time would have inclined the game for the Blues. Still, incidents and hair’s breadth decisions such as this are the spice of football which make the game so controversial for the fans everywhere.
BOLTON WANDERERS RES V EVERTON RES
December 29, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton Res; O’Neill, goal; Moore and Leeder, backs; King, Sanders and Gannon, half-backs; Tomlinson, Farrell, Mayers, Haughey, Williams (G), forwards. Referee; Mr. F.S Jackson (Preston). Everton were a goal down in the first minute, Rollitt scoring following a free kick Bolton sustained the pressure and only the alertness of O’Neill prevented a second goal to Pollitt. In the 20th minute Everton gained a surprise equalizer from an attempted clearance by Grieve at the edge of the penalty area. The ball struck Mayers who ran on to shoot into an untenanted goal. Grieves made two saves in quick succession from Mayers and a Farrell shot was cleared on the line by Edisbury. Half-time Bolton Res 1, Everton Res 1. Both goalkeepers were soon in action O’Neill saving a hard shot from Deakin and Grieves making clearance from Mayers and Farrell, Everton were the more impressive team with their clever approach play and Haughey was only inches wide with header and with a shot, O’Neill pulled off a good save from Pollitt.
HOW TO WATCH FOOTBALL –BY TWO EXPERTS
December 31, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 3, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
By Leslie Edwards
Among those present were two men normally to be found on the pitch rather than in seats next me, in the Press Box –Peter Farrell and Tom Farrell. Their comment, sotto poce and otherwise, and Everton’s magnificent goals made the match (for me) the game of the season. There was proper if restrained applause of good play, enthusiasm over the goals and some captain’s comment which might have helped the Everton defence had they been able to hear it. I learned one thing of importance –that the player’s eyes from the stand are rarely on the man in possession but on those who are or should be taking up position to receive the ball. Too often the ordinary spectator keeps his eye on the man with the ball to his exclusion of all else. Not so Messrs Jones and Farrell who will doubtless e fit to take their places next Saturday in the cup-tie which brings Blackburn Rovers (and Matt Woods and Harry Leyfield) back to old haunts. With Farrell and Jones absent and Sutherland filling the full back blank left by Donovan’s redeployment at centre half, Wolverhampton must have considered their task half done. They played in the early moments as though an Everton goal or two would not disturb them, and as if it was merely a matter of time before they made their strength tell. But it did not work out like that Everton once in front were determined to stay there and granted that some of then looked more than a little tired and leg weary when Wolves finished strongly (who wouldn’t be tired after three games in six days) they were value for the points and exposed the futility of a Wolverhampton attack which had cleverness and speed and cunning but absolutely no penetration.
Kirby Or Harris
The Everton problem now is whether to play Kirby or Harris in the Blackburn match. Harris whose transfer request has been withdrawn, came back full of life and sparkle, though at old times, it was possible to discern the rustiness which must characteristic the play of any man who has not had a game for a month or more. With Kirby temporarily off form after showing remarkable promise in at least three of the earlier games, it may be that the fresh, more experienced Harris so the man best suited to beating the massive Woods a week thence. Harris gave Wright a lot of trouble –and dummied him out of position more than once- in the most excellent match. He scored too, and was the centre-piece of a line which was immediately more dangerous than Wolverhampton’s frequently as Wolves wingers crossed the ball to the quick sure hands of Dunlop. There was much to like about this make-shift Everton in a game which scarcely had a foul and which sensed the best we have seen on the ground for months. All three goals were as thrilling as they were spectacular. There was an inevitability about them which impressed me, though if, Mr. Stanley Cullis were to argue that three defenders should be capable of covering one centre –the one from which Harris headed his goal –I could not agree more.
Harris had made one good snap-shot volley from a deflected pass by Sutherland before he had his part in the first goal at eight minutes. He tried to nod the ball back to Eglington on the wing but falling with his head, contrived to send it where he wanted with the knee. Eglington promptly hit the ball cross-field beyond the far post, where McNamara met it running in and steered it past Williams. Harris went to the left wing again to start the move out of which came the second goal (thirteen minutes). The ball was flung to Gauld on the right and again with admirable promptness it was flung back for Harris to rise to it while Wright. Slater and Stuart stood flat-footed nearly. Again William was beaten by a header. Eglington-has match of the season, I thought-and Rea did the spade work for the third, at 41 minutes. In this case McNamara whose earlier goal had stiffed most of his critics hit a vicious cross-shot which Williams touched but could not stop. He would have scored another early on in the second half if Wolverhampton’s Harris had not kneed out his header from the line.
Harried and Hurried
Finally a Wolverhampton attack which had been barred and hurried into mistakes by the excellence of Donovan and Tansey and company got the consoling goal their too intricate play scarcely deserved. Broadbent stood a good two yards offside when he received the ball inadvertently from the foot of Birch. No question of offside from a pass so obviously from the foot of an opponent. Dunlop had no chance. This was his only defeat in a match in which he handled the ball as surely as an England international and Williams handled it no better than any club goalkeeper. This was Eglington at his best because everything he did was done with assurance; because he shot well if unluckily one of his drives deflected struck an upright) because his vast experience took him into the right positions at the right time. He varied his play more giving his man no indication of a slavish desire to beat him for speed down the wing. I like Dunlop particularly too, because his decisiveness was as apparent to his own men as to those of Wolverhampton. He is quick once he has made up his mind, and once made up his mind never seems to falter. His courage in coming out to the feet of a shooter or chivying one into shooting too quickly and his ability to be back on his line in readiness for what comes next makes him ideal between the attacks. Everton have cause to bless him for their goal tightness in recent weeks. They have cause to bless the generalship of Fielding, the man who makes the Everton clock tick.
Imagine Five Of Them
Gauld did some extraordinarily brilliant things, though suffering as he was from occasional twinges of cramp in a calf muscle he did well to play even adequately. His ability to take a ball at top speed and keep it under control is one of his best qualities. His directness once he has decided to go so the most refreshing thing in present day football. Imagine a line of five such goers! Donovan rose high and mighty in his task of looking after Murray; he used the ball well, too, Rea in attack was excellent; not quite so good positionally in defence. Birch had one of those games when passes often went astray but Everton as a team were at their best and Sutherland of the nonchalant style got through a lot of work against the boy Neil, and found time to serve the ball well to those up front. Neil has developed in both feet the “shutter” which characterized the late Alec James footwork. The boy was brilliant at times but too often ran into trouble when more practical winging would have produced good results. If we could have such games week by week there would be no diminishing returns in football attendances. Well refereed well played this was soccer at its best.
TICH-AND-GO FOR EVERTON RES
December 31, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Bolton W Res, 1, Everton Res 2
It was touch and go for Everton in a hectic last fifteen minutes after they had taken the lead but the defence weathered the all-out Bolton offensive. A different match result would have been less than justice to Everton who fighting back from the loss of a goal in the first minute proved the better team. There was little to choose between the two defences but Everton had a superior forward line which possessed craft and speed and combined intelligently. They also had a match winning centre forward in Mayers who scored their first goal and made gift of the winning goal to Haughey, Pollitt was Bolton’s scorer.
EVERTON EXPECT JONES AND FARRELL TO BE FIT FOR CUP-TIE
December 31, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton will not have any special preparation for their third round cup-tie against Blackburn Rovers at Goodison Park on Saturday. If anything their training this week will be lighter than usual. In view of the heavy Christmas programme of three games in five days, Mr. Ian Buchan, the club’s chief coach, considered players will benefit more by a slight relaxation of the normal schedule with just enough training to keep them at the maximum peak of fitness. Two queries upon which the next few days may throw light are the prospects of Jones and Farrell being fit. Well though Donovan filled the centre half berth against Wolves and he earned top marks in that respect. I like him better at full back. That is the position which comes naturally to him. In the pivotal berth he seemed to be playing at full stretch all the time, without anything much in reserve and occasionally was rather too easily drawn out of position. At full back his positional sense is more strongly developed and he invariably has something in reserve to cope with extra tight spots. It is largely a question of use. Given a run of games at centre half, I don’t doubt Donovan would equate the coolness and command of Jones just as he has developed those attributes at right back. Although Jones himself told me he was rather doubtful for the cup-tie the club specialist is more hopeful. Jones had an injection on Saturday and will receive special treatment each day this week. It is hoped this, will put him right before Saturday. Farrell is almost certain to be fit. His ankle swelling has already gone done considerably and unless anything untoward happens in the meantime he should be all right in another couple of days.
Open Game Paid
Everton’s victory over Wolverhampton –and particularly their first half showing-was a triumph of teamwork and the open style of play. For the first half hour their swung the ball about in almost carefree fashion and showed once again as they did against Manchester United and Arsenal that far greater dividends come from their type of football than from the close passing tip-tapping variety. The first two games were the direct result of clearances which were turned t scoring account simply because they players took the most direct route to goal and cut interpassing to the minimum. They were more the type of goals we are accustomed to seeing at Anfield. A defensive clearance a lightning burst through and wham in the back of the net.
Three Fine Goals
The third was nearer the old-fashioned tradition, for it was an intricate bit of dribbling by Fielding, who regained the ball after losing it which opened up the chance for McNamara. McNamara had got the first at the eight minute with a stooping header off a tremendously long centre by Eglington and Harris not only started the move which brought the second but ran through at such speed after centring from outside left, that he was on the spot to meet the ball when Gauld returned it to the middle. All three goals were good ones, even allowing for Bert Williams being slow to make a dive to McNamara’s header and getting a hand to the last without being able to stop it. After the Wolves goal had three narrow escapes in the first few minutes of the second half Everton gradually returned to their less effective style. They started taking two or three moves where previously one had satisfied them, and instead of continuing to race to meet the ball began to wait for it to come to them. The consequence was that Wolves came more into the game, and remembering how they had staged startling recoveries against Chelsea and Preston each after being three goals down, one wondered whether the same thing was going to happen again.
Fortunately for Everton, Wolves were just as prone to over-elaboration and lateral progression as the Blues themselves have been in other games, and though the visitors played some attractive football, it rarely got them into a position where they had the home defence at their mercy. Everton occasionally recollected the lesson of the first half, and cut out unnecessary embroidery though they never regained their swift progression of the first half hour. Wolves goal at the 70th minute was something of a gift for Broadbent standing well offside was played onside when Birch mishit an attempted clearance and left the scorer nothing to do but ram the ball home with only Dunlop to beat from a few yards range. The surprising aspect of the visitors play was their lack of fighting spirit. This used to e one of their main attributes. We saw little of it in this game. They had just as much of the play territorially as Everton – in parts of the second half they had more of the ball –but rarely did they look dangerous and Dunlop had little to do beyond catch occasional long lobs or cut out cross balls. He had only two really worth-while shots to deal with which is not like the Wolves of old.
Justified His Recall
I imagine that Manager Stan Cullis, who was very out spoken in his conversation with me, will have something strange to say when he gets down to the after match “inquest” and pin-point his team’s remissness. I have referred already to Donovan’s display and Dunlop’s comparative inactivity. Sutherland shaped most pleasing at right back and Rea gave a workmanlike display in Farrell’s berth. The most encouraging feature of the home attack was the manner in which Harris justified his recall. He tired a bit towards the end which was not surprising, seeing this was his first game of any kind since he was injured in the Lancashire Cup-tie against Manchester City nearly a month ago. It must be remembered also that he was up against Wright who has tamed” many a star centre forward and who for years has been England’s outstanding pivot. In all respects it was a stiff test for Harris but he came through splendidly. Only a week ago, after receiving his benefit cheque he had asked to be taken off the transfer list and expressed his determination to try fight his way back in the senior side. He has achieved his aim quickly. Now it is up to him to prove worthy of retaining his place he has started on the right foot. What the future holds remains to be seen. Wolves if this is a fair criterion are not the side they used to be. Williams was uncertain, the backs were slow in recovery and the forwards line lacked punch down the middle. Little was seen of the usually dangerous Hooper and Neil though obviously a natural footballer tends to hand on it to long or double back and find himself faced again with a man he has just beaten.
The Right Spirit
Not only was George Kirby the first man to wish Jimmy Harris good luck on returning to Everton’s team but it was he who first accoutered Harris of his inclusion. Mr. Ian Buchan, Everton’s coach and team selector, advised Kirby of the change prior to telling Harris and before he could cross the room to tell the latter Kirby had dashed over with his good wishes. “I have no complains” said Kirby, for I know I have not been playing well lately. That is the right attitude and typical of the excellent team spirit which Mr. Buchan has been inculcating in the Goodison staff over recent months. It augurs well for the future.