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Dave Ganley
1 Posted 16/02/2021 at 16:12:40
I'm really enjoying your articles, John. My first game at Goodison wasn't until 1974 as a 9-year-old so it's really interesting reading about football in a broad sense in earlier years from someone who was there at the time, especially from the lower leagues as they are never really reported on from those days. Chester in particular. Always had a soft spot for them as mum came from there.

Carry on the good work, John, hope there are many more articles on the way.

John Raftery
2 Posted 16/02/2021 at 19:05:01
Thanks John, some great memories here. Everton v Aston Villa was my first game at Goodison in October 1962. Joe Mercer was the Villa manager, Gordon Lee played full back for Villa. A couple of years later Joe suffered a stroke. When he recovered he was promptly sacked by the Villa board. His subsequent huge success at Manchester City was a fairy tale for one of the most popular men in the game.

Apart of course from winning the league twice and the cup, the greatest moment of the decade for me was on the day in August 1966 when we signed Alan Ball. We had all assumed he was heading for Leeds. Hardly anything had been mentioned recently in the press of our interest.

The BBC mid evening news headlines on that famous Monday evening, read by Richard Baker, ran along the following lines: ‘Football; Alan Ball a member of England's World Cup winning team has tonight signed for Everton...'. I jumped so high I nearly hit the ceiling. My mother told me off for shouting. The following morning I cycled to Maghull to buy every newspaper I could get hold of.

To have the best player from a World Cup Final playing for us was absolutely fantastic. From 1966-1970 the whole country basked in the glory of that World Cup win but we had the player whose sheer will to win had driven the national team to victory. ‘All we are saying is Alan's our King' was only one of many songs we sang in the middle of the Street End in honour of our greatest outfield player of the post war era.

Match of the Day became compulsory viewing for millions on a Saturday night even though only one game was featured until 1969 when they started to show brief, poor quality footage from a second match.

Peter Mills
3 Posted 16/02/2021 at 20:22:58
John, most unusually for you, I think you have taken a mis-step here. I suspect many of your readers will have started going to the match during this era, and to leap between 1962 and 1970 is huge. Each season deserves an article in itself.

For me, I went to a couple of games in the 62-63 season, but in all honesty cannot remember them. However, move forward to season 63-64, an 8 year old boy seeing his team beat Manchester Utd 4-0 in the Charity Shield at Goodison, a bright sunny day glinting off a trophy, that's when I fell in love, that's why Everton FC winning a trophy is important to me.

Dave Abrahams
4 Posted 16/02/2021 at 20:41:04
John (2), I think we did the same things at the same time, in different parts of Liverpool, the night Everton signed Alan Ball, my wife thought I'd gone completely, she already knew I wasn't quite right when it came to Everton and football, it made my night and he hadn't even kicked a ball for Everton, but we all knew didn't we!!
John Raftery
5 Posted 16/02/2021 at 20:45:22
Dave (4) We most certainly did!
Danny O’Neill
6 Posted 16/02/2021 at 21:00:29
Thanks John Senior. That record of 7 internationals; interesting given now we see entire squads of them but also that it was 7 internationals only from the "home nations".

I wonder if that young Sunderland keeper is the youngest top flight player ever? In line with the subject of these articles, we only ever hear of the youngest ever Premier League player of late and whoever it is, I don't believe they were that young?

John McFarlane Snr
7 Posted 16/02/2021 at 22:29:32
Hi Dave [1], I suppose it was my gentle reminder that there were 92 clubs in the Football League.

Hi John [2], if your first game at Goodison was against Aston Villa, I think you've got the date wrong, you must be referring to the first home game in the 1962-63 season when Derek Dougan took to the field sporting what we call a 'Mohican haircut'. It was reported in one of the newspapers a few weeks later, that Joe said to him, "If you want to be different score a bloody goal"

Hi Peter [3], my aim was to cover every season from 1948-49 to 1991-92 to remind 'Oldie's' like myself and Dave Abrahams, [plus many others.] of the time when we could turn up and pay at the gate, and football being what it is I've no doubt that we saw our share of games that were less than impressive.

Hi Dave [4], I hope you don't mind being enrolled into the "Oldie's Brigade".

Hi Danny [6], I've had no success in tracing the youngest player prior to the Premier League, but I do know that Albert Geldard was 16 years and 156 days old when he made his debut for Bradford Park Avenue in 1929, making him 29 days younger than Forster.

Dave Abrahams
8 Posted 16/02/2021 at 22:31:47
Danny, I think Elliot of Liverpool is the youngest player to play in the Premier League for Fulham.

I know at one time Albert Geldard was the youngest player in the English league at 15 years and so many days, not sure if it was with Bradford, he later found fame with Everton, John Mac should put us straight with that.

Dave Abrahams
9 Posted 16/02/2021 at 22:39:48
John (7),

I just told this thread that you would put us straight regarding Albert Geldard, and while I writing that you were doing it... mind-reading skill as well eh, John.

My age would stop me from protesting about being in the “Old Brigade” unfortunately!!

Ron Marr
10 Posted 16/02/2021 at 23:26:26
My first 2 games were the last two home games of the 1962-63 season, against Bolton and then Fulham. Everton winning the league against Fulham with Roy Vernon scoring a hat trick. Me and a mate were 9 years old, and just the two of us got one of the green buses from Old Swan right to Goodison Park. Different times.

The Alan Ball signing was fantastic (and Howard Kendall too). Viewed thru my blue-tinted glasses Alan Ball was the greatest player to have kicked a football.

I hope all the fans who've suffered thru mostly shite since the late 80s get to see Everton win the league.

Dave Williams
11 Posted 17/02/2021 at 11:00:09
Great series – keep going please, John!!
John Raftery
12 Posted 17/02/2021 at 11:36:40
Hi John (7),

My first game was definitely on 13 October 1962, a 1-1 draw versus Aston Villa. The Villa game you are thinking of was actually on the first day of the previous season 1961-62. We won that one 2-0. I remember one of my uncles talking about Dougan's haircut which also got a mention in the papers.

John McFarlane Snr
13 Posted 17/02/2021 at 12:20:36
Hi Ron [10] you got on board just in time, I was two months short of my 25th birthday on seeing Everton win a trophy, and there will be some of my generation quite a bit older. You were part of a 52,047 crowd for the Bolton game and 60,578 for the Fulham fixture, surprisingly the attendance on the day we clinched the title, wasn't the highest of the season.

Hi Dave [11] there are three more episodes covering the seasons 1970-71 to 1991-92, when football was claimed to have been reborn.

Hi John [12] you are absolutely correct, please excuse the wanderings of an old man, the game you attended was indeed a 1-1 draw. Roy Vernon scoring from the penalty spot, and you were part of a 53,035 crowd. By the way I've never found the word sorry difficult to say.

Dave Abrahams
14 Posted 17/02/2021 at 14:02:17
Ron (10),

Yes, nearly everyone remembers the 4-1 Fulham game when we won the title that year, but the Bolton game was a very nervous one, if I'm correct. We won 1-0 but, because of the only-goal margin, most of us were on edge until the final whistle. I don't even remember who scored the goal, I'll have a guess with Roy Vernon.

John McFarlane Snr
15 Posted 17/02/2021 at 14:43:27
Hi Dave [14],

Like yourself I couldn't remember the scorer of the goal against Bolton, but you are correct in guessing that it was Roy Vernon. There are goals that stick in the mind, like the Alex Young effort against Spurs and the Dave Hickson goal at the Gwladys Street end against Birmingham. Had we dropped a point then, we would have been confined to the Second Division, and who knows for how long?

I can't remember some match details of recent seasons, and have to rely on Josh to refresh my memory. I now give advice to younger people, I say, "Whether you grow old gracefully or disgracefully don't worry, the secret is to grow old slowly" unfortunately nobody's cracked the formula.

Rob Hooton
16 Posted 21/02/2021 at 09:39:09
Thanks for this. John, my dad took me to my first match in 1984 so a lot of this is before my time – however, I had been regaled with tales of football from previous years (my dad was also a huge fan of Ball, Kendall and Harvey, who wasn't though?) and in 1990 I got the best present a 10-year-old footy fanatic could get: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of British Football.

This had every result in the history of the British game and I swear at one point I knew almost every Everton score and attendance! Love the way you add the personal touch to this and that it brings back memories for others.

I wonder if I still have that book somewhere, we moved house so often with my dad being in the army that lots of things had to be left behind.

More please!

Phil Parker
17 Posted 21/02/2021 at 16:30:55
Great stuff, John. The John Charles signed photo came from a lad named Jim Hossack, big fan of Hibs, and a big general footie fan, and a book writer himself. I know he had a stroke a few years ago, not sure how he is now.

I just want Everton to be the first club to win the title in 3 different centuries. Now that would be history.

Really only look at your articles now, think you know why, I am a head the ball free zone, so keep them coming. Stay safe and keep well, and I need an operation to take the smile off my face. Long, long, long overdue but hopefully many more good days to come.

John McFarlane Snr
18 Posted 21/02/2021 at 17:44:17
Hi Rob [16] Like yourself I too was brought up listening to the exploits of a much loved trio, Jerry Kelly, Hunter Hart, and Ted Virr, the half back line of the twenty's Championship Winning team. My uncle Tommy, who was a walking encyclopaedia on all things Everton, told me that Hunter Hart only had one eye, I tried for years to confirm this and it was only at one of the 'Hall of Fame, dinners, that it was in the books that were distributed where Gordon Watson confirmed it. We're on part 3 and there are three more to come, the final one 1991/92. I too have a book that lists all the FA Cup results from the first Cup games in 1871/72 to 2000, and the League results from 1888/89 to 2000, but the print is quite small and I'm afraid that I'm finding it difficult to read them now.

Hi Phil [17] thanks for your kind remarks, and as you rightly say, it would be nice to win the FA Cup in three different centuries, I'll have to do a bit of research to confirm that we'd be the first to do so, I'll let you know how I get on. [watch this space]

Chris Williams
19 Posted 21/02/2021 at 17:56:04
Dave and John,

I remember the goal against Bolton, Roy dribbling round Eddie Hopkinson in his inimitable style, in slow motion in my mind's eye.

The nice people at Bluekipper sent me a copy of a photo of it, endorsed with Roy's Everton record, goals, attendances, which I used as a wallpaper for years.

Possibly the goal that pretty much sealed the Championship, but it didn't feel like that then!

John McFarlane Snr
20 Posted 21/02/2021 at 19:09:52
Hi Chris [19] there are goals that are etched in the mind for years, and there some that evade you forever. Although I have a seat in the Park End I have difficulty in remembering more recent goals and matches, I have to ask my grandson Josh, "How did we get on against such and such team"? Luckily he has the memory I possessed when I was his age, I think that it's a good job that I can't recall much of the last few years, [many instantly forgettable], but let's hope we're in for a change of fortune.
Phil Parker
21 Posted 21/02/2021 at 21:01:00
Ii was talking about the League title John. No worries, you may still be hungover from yesterday.

Can you confirm that 69-70 was the year Westie had to start wearing the same shorts as the rest of the team.

Dave Abrahams
22 Posted 21/02/2021 at 21:14:49
Chris (19), thanks for that, even though you've described it I still can't recall it, not even which end the goal was scored in. I know I went to the game, missed my wife's sister's wedding to go to see the Blues, got a few glares off the bridegrooms family in the night time, but they were Blues as well so it ended okay.
John McFarlane Snr
23 Posted 21/02/2021 at 22:59:07
Hi Phil [21] sorry I misread your post, but I have checked this season's quarter-finalists, and it turns out that Everton would be the first to win the FA Cup in three different centuries. Also, my mistake wasn't due to a hangover, I'm afraid my drinking days are well and truly over.

Regarding the dark shorts that Gordon West and his predecessors wore, I have no idea when goalkeepers were forced to wear the same coloured shorts as outfield players, but I do have a photo in a book that shows him in white shorts, in a fixture against Sheffield United in August 1971. I think that now it's the norm for goalkeepers to wear shorts of a different colour than their team-mates.

Andy Crooks
24 Posted 24/02/2021 at 20:31:44
I enjoyed that, John, especially the home international stuff. My brother was at the match where Billy Ferguson was sent off.

I loved the Home International series. It was a brilliant end to the season and a chance for us to see players we only saw on TV. I was at the match where George Best was sent off for throwing mud at the ref. Also, one of his greatest performances, in a 1-0 win over Scotland where Dave Clements scored the winner.

I also seem to remember seeing Bob Latchford score in a 2-0 at Windsor Park, a match in which two of the Irish lads fought on the pitch (Terry Cochrane and Gerry Armstrong. Big Gerry buried his boot in Cochrane's arse) and I think Billy Bingham subbed them.

England eventually decided they were too good to bother with the series and it died with Northern Ireland as the last Champions. The late Noel Brotherston was the player of the series.

I think the decision by England is the main reason why I have had a slow burning resentment of the England international side. Having said that, I was always an admirer of Alf Ramsay despite him ignoring some of my favourite players and cheered England on when an Everton player was in the team.

I can recall Tommy Wright playing a blinder against Rumania, a match in which Alan Ball scored.

John McFarlane Snr
25 Posted 25/02/2021 at 13:13:05
Hi Andy [24] I thought that this thread had run it's course, but thanks for your post. I always found the Home Internationals a pleasant distraction, if only to watch via television, the performances of any Everton player's selected. The scoreline meant nothing to me, my concern was that the Everton players returned free of injury, the same applies today.
David Peate
26 Posted 28/02/2021 at 17:15:47
Many thanks, John, for this most interesting series of articles. I pre-date the start of these. My first match was as a child in the Autumn of 1943. I was privileged to attend a game against Manchester United when the Blues scored five or six goals. It was a result that cemented my allegiance to Everton. I did not live far from Goodison although I was slightly closer to Anfield. However, there was no hesitation in supporting Blue rather than Red. I must add that in the 1940s and 1950s, my Blue friends and I did attend at Anfield on occasions. There was never the animosity shown then as appears on this Website today. I recall the first peacetime league after the Hitler war when Liverpool were second and Sheffield United were playing Everton. The Everton board told the Liverpool Echo that the team would do its utmost to defeat United to deliver the championship to Liverpool. Unfortunately, Everton lost. I think that there were two 'divisions' then - North and South.
John McFarlane Snr
27 Posted 28/02/2021 at 20:51:21
Hi David [26], It appears that you also pre-date me, I was 5 years old in the summer of 1943. My first recollection of football was in 1948, although my brother Tommy, 5 years my senior (who sadly passed away last Thursday), told me that he used to take me into the Boys Pen earlier than that.

I'm glad to know that you enjoy the articles, I had hoped that they would bring back memories to the older fans, and give the younger fans an idea of what football was like in those days.

Brendan McLaughlin
28 Posted 28/02/2021 at 21:06:17

So sorry for your loss.

Brent Stephens
29 Posted 28/02/2021 at 21:08:19
John, so very sorry to hear about last week.
John McFarlane Snr
30 Posted 28/02/2021 at 21:18:36
Hi Brendan [28] thank you for your kind words, but Tommy was a strong character and accepted his situation, at least he's at peace now and not in pain. I have often stated on this site, that there are more important things in life than football, losing a football match pales into insignificance in the scheme of things.
Chris Williams
31 Posted 28/02/2021 at 21:19:17

Sincere commiserations to you and your family. Take care of yourself.

Paul Birmingham
32 Posted 28/02/2021 at 21:29:00
John, deepest condolences and prayers at this terrible time, for you and your Family.

Si Cooper
33 Posted 28/02/2021 at 21:42:42
John, thoughts and best wishes to you and your family.
John McFarlane Snr
34 Posted 28/02/2021 at 22:33:04
Hi Brent [29] Chris [31] Paul [32] and Si [33] I have stated in posts on this site, that on match-days my world is 120 yards long and 75 yards wide, and for the best part of two hours household bills, mortgage repayments etc. are forgotten. I believe that's the attitude of the 'Football Fan', but in the outside world there are people experiencing far more important issues. I realised some time ago that no matter how important football was to me, it wasn't the most important thing in my life. If the club we support loses a match it can win one next week, if we lose a loved one there is no next week. Apologies for the sombre tone of this post but I'm trying to explain the reasoning behind my thinking.
Brent Stephens
35 Posted 28/02/2021 at 22:46:37
John #34 no apologies needed for the tone nor the attempt to explain. Football is a diversion but no more than that. I lost a brother – a younger brother – and it needs no explanation. May your god be with you, John.
Derek Thomas
37 Posted 01/03/2021 at 00:47:47
Fascinating John. Most of your snippets triggers an 'Oh yes I remember that'

Re the 4-step rule for keepers; this came about as a direct result of the time-wasting by the Portugese keeper vs North Korea at Goodison Park... Once they got ahead thanks to Eusebio and one from Torres, every time the keeper had the ball, he would spend ages jogging to rand fro across his area, still bouncing the ball as legally required, every 3 steps and the ref could do nothing. He would only kick it when the Gwladys St crowd got louder and louder in its disapproval... (gerra'kinmoveon)

While we really appreciated Eusebio, we were all for the underdog and wanted to see if North Korea could score again... which they always looked likely to do, because Portugal seemed a bit shakey at the back, but I think their physical and mental legs gave out when they conceded the 5th.

It was too late for Fifa to amend the rule for the start of season 66-67 so it had to wait until 67-68.

Don Alexander
38 Posted 01/03/2021 at 01:39:44
My respects John, to you, family, friends and Tommy. Toffee fanatics as we all are there's always worldly events to deal with, and they're way more important than three points, or publicly trying to slaughter the mere opinion of a fan on ToffeeWeb!

The Portugal vs North Korea game in '66 was sensational. The sum of knowledge world-wide re North Korea was zero. 3-0 up as they were in the quarter-final (having already seen off Italy no less) they were then destroyed by Eusebio alone, belting in four goals. That guy was electric, in everything he did. Check Youtube folks – he was something else!

David Peate
40 Posted 01/03/2021 at 11:20:34
Yes, John, it must have been a sad occasion for you and you have my sincere condolences. I would comment on the time wasting that Derek mentioned. I seem to recall that Southall was booked for alleged time wasting in an International match. Or is my memory wrong? Perhaps someone can confirm or otherwise.
John McFarlane Snr
41 Posted 01/03/2021 at 11:50:59
Hi Derek [37] I was fortunate enough to see all the group games at Goodison, three plus the quarter-final from the Park End and the semi-final from Gwladys Street. The Koreans appeared to approach their game with what can be described as Gay Abandon, in todays climate they would have no doubt shut up shop, robbing us of an afternoon of pleasure. In my opinion football at that time was the workingman's game, Goodison housed the largest attendances outside of Wembley, and the largest was 58,479, the smallest the semi-final West Germany vs USSR 38,273. can you imagine what the attendances would be today if the venues were Old Trafford, The Etiad, the Emirate, the London Stadium, and the new White Hart Lane?

Hi Don [38] thanks for your kind words, I obviously echo your comments on the subject of life's priorities. The attitude of the Korean's was magnificent, and the memories of that day are firmly fixed in the minds of those who were lucky enough to witness their valiant efforts, of almost fifty five years ago.


Dave Abrahams
42 Posted 01/03/2021 at 11:52:53
David (40), I think there was a game v Notts Forest, might have been a league cup tie? when Neville was penalised for time wasting and Forest scored from the resulting free kick and won the game. It could have been a league game.
Brian Murray
43 Posted 01/03/2021 at 12:30:55
Remember it well. Last minute lee chapman free kick awarded for time wasting. League cup. Hitchhiked me and mate all the way from Torquay ( on yer bike advice Norman tebbit ) Lots of scousers done the same in the 80 s and 90 s. I think that rule just started about goalie time wasting.

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