WHERE IS THAT SPIRIT, EVERTON?
April 2, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Aston Villa 2, Everton 0
No matter what the combination of the Everton side these days it does not seem to function. Where has that fighting spirit gone and what has happened to the stylish football they produced in the first-half of their cup-tie with Manchester City? Prior to my visit to Villa Park I had not seen much of Everton recently but I had noted how they had slumped in the table. All sorts of experiments have been made, but after watching them lose to Aston Villa I can see only hard work and deep thinking facing the newly-formed selection committee. I will admit that Villa came fresh to the game – they had no match the previous day –but even agreeing the display of Everton was hard to bear. One always expects good football from Everton but I saw none of it on Saturday and the score does not gave a true picture of Villa’s superiority. It may seem like rubbing it in to say that the Villa were not a great side so far as football was concerned, and that is the vexatious part about the defeat. It was accomplished by hard, asterous play which is not the old Villa style, but as their position in the League is desperate one could naturally expect, desperate measures. Despite this success I am afraid the Birmingham club are booked for another spell in Division 2, for that was about the standard of their football. It was bashing crashing football and it completely knocked Everton off their game. I say without fear of contradiction that Everton were without s forward worth his salt. At one time they could be depended upon to frame movements, good enough to carry them to within shooting distance but here they could not even do that in fact they were just a collection of bits and pieces. There was no link-up, one with the other and there were times in the first half when there was not a single Everton man in “enemy” territory. How a side can hope to score goals in that manner it is difficult to imagine. That fact was that Everton never looked like scoring. The Villa goalkeeper could never have had such an easy match, nor is he likely to have such another. The Everton defence had a battle on hand and it did remarkably well in the circumstances to concede only two goals’. One must however, not overlook the two occasions their woodwork was hit the two occasions when Moore kicked off the line. Everton appeared dispirited, without any purpose. One got a glimpse of a good movement here and there, but with Villa hitting hard it was only a question of time before they crashed their way to goals. That only two went on their agenda was sometimes due to their hurried methods. Their defence and no worries from a forward line which carried no powder. The need in the Everton sides a forward or two who can “clout” the ball.
Much To Be Done
Few in the Everton team came out of this game with any credit and those were in the rear ranks for it is only a truth to say the forward line was non-existent. Much will have to be done at Goodison Park to bring back confidence to the team. It gave up too easily to hard-tackling opposition. Villa were held for 44 minutes, but the escapes. Everton had speak for themselves, Moore had kicked off his goal line and the danger seemed to be cleared but Southern whipped the ball up for Pace to score. Everton had slightly more play in the second half, without being a threat to Sims, who had only one save to make, McParland had to leave the field in the second half with a damaged left arm and after the game I learned that he had been sent to hospital for examination –it may well be a dislocated shoulder. Even a handicapped Villa kept attacking. With a full complement they would possibly have won a more handsome victory. The quality of football was extremely low, but they had forwards who could produce a shot. Albert Harris made a fairly successful debut, although some are inclined to blame him for the second goal, claiming that Dixon’s shot passed under his body. Otherwise he did well.
LEAGUE DEBUTS OF BIRCH, KIRBY
April 2, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton’s changes for today’s match against Sheffield United at Bramell Lane involved the omission of Harris (B) and Lello, and the League debuts of twenty-years-old George Kirby at centre forward and twenty two years Ken Birch right half. Kirby who is in the Army takes the place of Jimmy Harris who is moved to outside right in place of his name sake for his first game in that position. Birch plays right half, Farrell who goes to left half in place of Lello. Team; Harris (A); Moore, Tansey; Birch, Jones, Farrell; Harris (J), Donovan, Kirby, Fielding, Eglington.
EVERTON RES 4 BLACKBURN ROVERS RESERVES 2
April 2, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton Reserves ran out worthy winners of a lively game at Goodison Park, for over an hour the Rovers were more impressive in their approach work but their forwards lacked finish. The Everton defence covered well with Birch and Rea fine attacking wing halfs. Williams and Kirby started in attack. Kirby (2), Thomas and Rea scored for Everton and Mooney and Willis for the visitors.
EVERTON WERE AT ROCK-BOTTOM
April 2, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton are slipping, slipping, slipping and while I do not consider there is real relegation danger the knowledge that they are likely to finish in the lower regions mot a happy thought. I am not a pessimistic person as a rule but I have got to admit that after their display at Villa Park my optimism has been sadly shaken. Theirs was a rock bottom performance against a side which had little to commend it except hearty endeavour and extreme pace and hard tackling. Everton were never together and defeat stared them in the face right from the start. Earlier in the season they did show a fighting quality –how often did they pull back a goal deficit –but nowadays they seem to be playing without heart without plan. They yielded to the opposition too easily. I admit the Villa played “hard? But their position dictated the type of play for they were desperate.
Never A Challenge
You must take the gloves off against such a side as Villa the way they are playing but Everton never really challenged the supremacy of their opponents and the Villa soon found that out. The Blues attack was practically snuffled out from the out-set and it became a question as to whether the Everton defence could hold the hard hitting. Birmingham side. There was little football artistry about Villa but their speed to the ball and the hard tackling was good noted. Within a space of two minutes Moore had kicked off the line and the post had been hit which was a warning that Everton had to be up and doing. That the defence held out as long as it did was a surprise packet. Luck played its part there for before the interval the crossbar was struck and several shots were charged down. What did Everton do about that? Very little let me tell you. Goalkeeper Sims had an “armchair” match. If he made more than two saves throughout the game I did not see them such was the paucity of the Everton front line.
Now that is nothing new. We have been bemoaning the fact that the attack lacked “punch” for weeks but we did have the knowledge that their football was attractive but I cannot say even that about this latest performance. Rarely did we see a concerted movement which was liable to draw the Villa defence out of position. One of the main reasons for that was the Villa’s speed to the ball. Yes, Everton were out speeded and unable to cope with the go-ahead methods of their rivals who slung the ball up and onwards and then scampered after it. That was not Division 1 good enough to crush Everton out of the picture. That the Villa were not two or three goals ahead by the interval was the amazing thing, for they were hovering around the Everton goalmouth almost throughout.
They say the best form of defence is attack. Well, Everton were lacking in that direction for never have I seen the front line so impotent. It never got together and the few occasions it looked like bringing in some combination the Villa defence cut it to pieces instantly. It lacked movement. The obvious was soon spotted by Dugdale and his colleagues so that Sims was covered so effectively as though a door had been shut in the face of the Everton forwards. I kept watching and waiting for an Everton revival but it never came and Aston Villa easily won points from mediocre opposition. I doubt whether those points will save the Midlanders for they are not likely to catch many teams so inept as Everton were on Saturday. What a good thing Everton had some point in hand for the slump was set in good and proper and how they are going to lift themselves out of it I honestly cannot say. Six minutes from the end Pace and Dixon burst-through the Everton defence and from the inside right position marked up goal No2. The ball seemed to pass under Albert Harris’s body on its way to the net. Otherwise I though he made a good debut and was in no way to blame for the defeat. He made one or two excellent saves, but forwards win games not defenders.
EVERTON SIGNED TERRANCE GANNON
April 2, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton have signed as part-time professional. Terrance Gannon a wing half, who played for Liverpool Schoolboys, Lancashire Boys and was an England trailist. He is a nephew of Billy Gannon the former featherweight boxer, who was the only man to beat Freddie Miller, the world featherweight champions.
EVERTON RES V SHEFFIELD UNITED RES
April 2, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton Res; O’Neill, goal; Parkes and Lindsay, backs; Woods, Billington, and Rea, half-backs; Mayers, Thomas, Lewis, Farrell and Williams, forwards. Sheffield United Res; - Hodgkinson, goal; Ridge and Shaw (G), backs; Atkinson, Daniel, and Waddock, half-backs; Hughes, Jones, Luke, Priest, and Easthone, forwards. Referee; Mr. L. Sleddon (Farrington Moss). Because neither side could master a lively ball, the early exchanges were rather scrappy until United achieved good combined work, but without being able to apply the finishing touch. A weak clearance by Parkes gave Bries a scoring chance, but the visiting inside left was too surprised to accept it. Everton now began to get on top without seriously troubling Hodginson but the goalkeeper was well beaten when a drive from Williams flashed inches over the bar. Half-time; Everton Res nil, Sheffield United Res nil.
IMPROVED DISPLAY Y EVERTON
April 3, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Sheffield United 1, Everton 1
Everton’s Easter egg was not wholly added for they got a point at Bramell Lane in the return game with Sheffield United. It may have been a lucky one for it is only true to say that the United had by far the better of the play but against that Donovan should have won the match for Everton in the last few minutes when he had an opening a forward dreams about. It is such happenings however which makes football what it is, for if everything went according to plan the game would lose much of its attraction. The inclusion of two debutants by Everton was not entirely a failure nor was it a brilliant success but one must make allowance for the fact that Birch and Kirby were lacking in experience. That I think was their only fault. This applied more particularly to Kirby who found first Richardson and then Iley a problem he had never had to face before Birch impressed me quite a lot. He made some good passes, tackled sharply and has something of a shot. There was still that old complaint however of weakness in the forward line. The United were not a great deal better in this respect for it took them an hour to break down the Everton defence in which Jones stood out head and shoulders above all others. I will say this about Everton. There was more movement in this game than there was at Aston Villa. In fact they provided some nice football at times, but one always felt at the back of one’s mind that there was no one to finish it off and that is how it turned out.
Slice of Luck
Sheffield were much the more go-ahead side but they had a slice of luck in the first minute when a Kirby header hit the cross bar. To counter balance that there was an occasion when Tansey headed out and was knocked out in the process. It is always deemed quite a creditable achievement to take a point from an away ground so on that score Everton will be feeling satisfied. But there is still a lot of spadework to be done before Everton recover their earlier form. Everton have often fallen away sadly towards the end of a season, and it has happened again in 1955-56. As a game this could not be classed a thriller. There were thrilling moments particularly after the United had scored through Hagan at the hour for this goal supplied the tonic they needed to spur them on to further efforts and it was then that we saw the strength of Jones and company not forgetting some particularly good saves by Harris. But it was goals we wanted and to be perfectly frank ‘I could not see Everton getting one, for the United held the whip had for some considerable time –all too long for my liking. But then came an Everton goal out of the blue. It started with a free kick taken by Birch. Burgin only half saved it and before he could recover. Eglington had whipped the ball back into the goalmouth and Jimmy Harris put it into the net at the seventy seventh minute. Thus a point as saved. At least that is the way it looked when that goal arrived but shortly afterwards with Everton having taken command for the time being it could easily have been two points. It certainly should have been for Donovan had the best chance of the match but to the disappointment of the Everton supporters he lashed the ball over the bar. No doubt it was due to over anxiety to do the right thing, but once again the human element had entered into the affair and so Everton had to be content with a point. Albert Harris had quite a good things in the Everton goal and Tansey and Moore assisted Jones to the limit. Farrell of course put in his usual tireless efforts, but until the forwards can find their shooting boots Everton are going to find it hard going. I must say, however that they were definitely better than they were at Villa Park.
EVERTON SNATCH WINNING GOAL
April 3, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton Res 1, Sheffield United Res 0
Thomas scored the only goal in a late Everton rally otherwise neither side looked like scoring in a scrappy game Everton however were lucky to keep their goal intact for United must have profited from defensive errors but for inept finishing. Despite poor support wingmen Williams and Mayers played well for Everton.
EVERTON’S NEW BOYS DID WELL
April 3, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
I have seen more new faces in the Everton side in the last few days than has been the case for a number of years, when the old pack was shuffled and shuttled again when a change had to be made. I had been hearing for years about the wonderful young talent on the Everton books, but when an opening was available it was not filled by the heralded younger members. How were these lads to gain the experience necessary if they were kept languishing in the Central League by the “A” or “B” teams? The new set up at Goodison Park has altered all that and in the last two games three debutants have made their bow to the public. The old combination was undoubtedly on the slide and something had to be done about it, and there was little else newly formed selection committee could do but give some youngsters a chance. On Saturday at Villa Park Albert Harris made his debut and came through the ordeal remarkably well. Yesterday at Bramell Lane George Kirby and Ken Birch made their first acquaintance with first class football.
Pat On Back
I am not going to suggest that they solved Everton’s problems but I can honestly say that they did not get the side down which showed much improvement on their displays against the United at Goodison Park and the Villa at Birmingham. One must not be too critic about a boy making his debut, for he finds himself in a different sphere where the pace of the game is faster the tackling and the experienced much greater than they posses, so let as he merciful in our criticians le me take Birch first I thought he had a fine match at the conclusion of which captain Peter Farrell went over to each and gave him an encouragement pat on the back. Kirby has the physical attributes of a centre forward but wants speeding up. That is not uncommon with a lad in the forces. They all seem to suffer that way. Gives full time training he could be infinitely better than he is.
That rally produced an equalizing goal by Jim Harris and with the slightest bit of luck Everton would have taken both points for Donovan was given the easiest scoring chance of the game but in his eagerness he slipped the ball over the bar. Kirby had a hand in Everton’s equalizing goal and Albert Harris gave another promising display in goal. What pleased me more than anything else was Everton’s fighting quality. In recent games they gave up the ghost if they found themselves a goal in arrears but against the United they battled on against a Hagan (still a great player) goal and in the last fifteen minutes of the game had the Sheffield defence which had previously been so confident and sure uncertain and jittery. It was then that we saw the full worth of Tom Jones. He was the mighty man for Everton in their two previous games there was no real method about Everton. At Bramell Lane they did show more constructive movements in fact there were one or two well conceived ideals. Don’t think that all is well out Goodison way for there is still plenty of spade work to be done.
EVERTON ARE UNCHANGED
April 4, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
For their home games with Wolverhampton Wanderers Everton will field the same side as that which through back a hard-won point from Sheffield United on Monday. Wolves, who have a good chance of finishing in one of the first four places and earning talent money thereby will be a tough nut to crack. The Molynuex team has been doing particularly well away from home for the past few months. They have not been beaten in their last eight games on opposing grounds, having won three times and drawn five. After the game Everton have to play Chelsea (away) and Blackpool (home) two fixtures which look quite as difficult as the Wolverhampton meeting. Unless the Blues can get some reward from their three remaining games they will fall still further in the table. Everton; Harris (A); Moore, Tansey; Birch, Jones, Farrell; Harris (J), Donovan, Kirby, Fielding, Eglington.
Everton Reserves (v. Blackpool Reserves at Blackpool); O’Neill; Parkes, Sutehrland; King, Millington, Rea; McNamara, Thomas, Saunders, Parker, Williams.
John King who makes his Central League debut was signed on part-time professional forms three weeks ago, after having been with Everton as an amateur since leaving school. He will be remembered by followers of junior football as the former Liverpool and Lancashire schoolboy wing half. At the moment he is serving his time as an apprentice gas fitter. His inclusion is another move in the Everton plan to give their younger professionals a chance to show their capabilities in a higher sphere than that in which they have hitherto been operating.
EVERTON’S POSITION IS A STICKY ONE
April 6, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
With a meagre three points from the last 14 at stake and only three more games to play, including tomorrow’s home fixture with Wolves, Everton may finish even lower in the table than they are at the moment, unless there is a decided improvement over their recent form. Unfortunately, their remaining games are very tough engagements. Wolves are unbeaten in their last eight away matches; Blackpool due here a fortnight hence are going strongly, and Chelsea whom the Blues visit next week, desperately need points toward off the threat of relegation. While Huddersfield cannot overtake Everton all the others clubs below the Blues could do so. That is not quite so ominous as it sounds, for to do that Aston Villa would have to win their remaining four games and Everton lose their three. Even so, it is a very disappointing and a very uncomfortable position to be in, and Everton must do their utmost to improve it. Difficult though the task appears on the basis of recent displays a return of their old fighting spirit and greater power in attack might enable them to arrest their recent decline. Tomorrow’s game is notable for the home debuts of the three former reserves recently drafted into the first team; Albert Harris, Ken Birch, and George Kay. They shaped reasonably promisingly at Bramell Lane on Monday. With the encouragement of the crowd I trust they will do even better against Wolves though Kirby’s task against a centre-half of Wright’s calbre is unenviable.
Talent Money Hopes
At present Wolves are fifth in the table with a good chance of finishing in one of the four talent money places. Their recent lapses at home have been balanced by some excellent away performances. The Midlanders defence the strongest part of their team has kept a clean sheet in the last three away games but the forward line has not been anything like so prolific in the scoring line as it used to be. Wolves paid a big fee to West Ham United for right-winger Harry Hooper after the transfer deadline last month, but cannot play him this season so Hancock retaining his place at outside right where he has netted 18 times so far. Another forward doing well is Murray who made his debut in November in succession to the injured Swinbourne. Murray’s nineteen appearances have yielded ten goals a useful return for a young player in his first senior season. After giving two younger players Booth and Deeley, a chance to show what they could do. Manager Cullis has reverted to the experience of Wilshaw and Mullen on the left wing in the past few games. Indeed, Wolves are a more experienced side than Everton are at the moment with their recent changes the switching of Jimmy Harris and the inclusion of Donovan. I am rather fearful of the outcome but hope that luck will be with the Blues. They need it badly just now. As neither Flowers nor Clamp is completely fit Wolves retain Howell’s who made his senior debut last Tuesday at right half. There is a slight doubt about Hancocks, victim of an ankle injury in his last outing but it is hoped he will be fit in time. Everton; Harris (A); Moore, Tansey; Birch, Jones, Farrell, Harris (J), Donovan, Kirby, Fielding, Eglington.
GOODISON SEES TWO GOALS IN TWO MINUTES
April 7, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Fielding Hits A First-Time Winner
Everton 2, Wolves 1
Everton put up a great fight in the second half when they made Wolves look a very ordinary side. The home team did not finish with much shooting but there was an questioning their determination, Jimmy Harris, led the line splendidly, and Albert Harris kept goal coolly and confidently. Everton; Harris (A), goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Birch, Jones and Farrell (captain), half-backs; Harris (B), Donovan, Harris (J), Fielding and Eglington, forwards. Wolverhampton Wanderers;- Williams, goal; Stuart and Shorthouse, backs; Lister, Wright (captain), and Howells, half-backs; Middleton, Broadbent, Murray, Wilshaw, and Mullen, forwards. Referee; Mr. L. Callaghan. Everton had to make a late change, Kirby who has been nursing a toe injury all week, failed to pass a fitness test this morning so Jimmy Harris returned to centre forward with Brian Harris coming in at outside right. Wolves also had a change, debutant Middleton taking the place of the injured Hancocks at outside right, Middleton who is 18 is a former youth international. The weather was dull but the rain had taken some of the “bone” out of the ground. Wolves produced a good shot in the first minute after Howells had fed Broadbent and the latter had pushed the ball up to Murray who tired only a foot over the bar. An Everton move in which Fielding, Farrell, and Eglington combined to take the ball half the length of the field, broke down when Eglington’s return pass to Fielding was a yard off the mark and went straight to an opponent. Albert Harris making his first appearance before a home crowd, seemed very confident in the early stages as also did the red-haired Birch, likewise making his Goodison debut. Jimmy Harris earned applause after a tussle with England captain, Billy Wright near the corner flag. Harris struck to his task so grimly that Shorthouse had to come to Wright’s assistance.
Harris (A) did well when he caught a strong shot by Howells which had been slightly deflected in fight and was not easy to handle. After Donovan and Brian had got in one another’s way the clearance by Howell’s which followed led to an Everton escape when Harris (A) was unable to reach a high “floating” centre by Mullen and Murray badly angled, could do no more than shoot into the side netting. Farrell sent Donovan away with a long accurate pass, but the inside took so long considering what to do that the defence had time to regroup itself, and Wright headed away an attempted pass to Brian Harris. Donovan did much better a moment later when he pulled back a ball from Eglington to Fielding, whose first time drive was tipped over the bar by Williams in the nick-of-time. This was Everton’s first shot after 15 minutes but it was the best of the match so far.
Another move in which five Everton players took part and which had Wolves defence very anxious was finished off with a splendid shot by Eglington which Williams patted down and then cleared. Moore sent Harris (J) away with his free kick after Mullen had been pulled up for offside. Harris quickly lobbed the ball out to his namesake only for the winger to centre behind. Jimmy Harris was trying very hard and more than once his speed had Wright in difficulties, though Stuart and Shorthouse to say nothing of the wing halves, were giving excellent cover to Williams and it was difficult for any of the Everton forwards to get a clear way through for a shot. Birch tried one from 35 yards – all along the ground – and though it was a strong effort, those sort of shots do not often beat such an experienced goalkeeper as Williams. Albert Harris though he had nothing difficult to deal with bar one shot was showing encouraging confidence in the way in which he handled the ball when cutting out centres or advancing from goal. He was fortunate however when he dived at the feet of Broadbent and failed to gather the ball which ran on to Murray whose lob over the heads of everybody except. Moore would have brought a goal had not the full back been there to nod away. Just before this Wolves had also had a narrow escape when passing between Eglington and Harris (B) saw Donovan hook the ball over his head and Jimmy Harris fail to make contact by inches only. Had he reached it Williams would have had to hope of saving.
Everton had been having the better of the argument for quite a while though they could not break down a closely-knit defence. Two offsides decisions –one at either end –cut off promising moves, and then Jones stepped in to hook ball off Murray’s toes. The irony of football was never more exemplified than when Wolves after having a narrow escape, dashed straight away and become a goal up. Eglington and Donovan paired off and Donovan’s high angled shot was helped on its way by Williams only to be met by Harris (B) who just as badly angled could do no more than head it across the face of the goal. It went from one end of the goal to the other only a foot off the goal itself, without anybody being able to get up in time to tap it over the line. Straight from this clearance Wolves dashed away on the left and Mullen beating Moore, recovered after partially stumbling and went on to score with a shot which Harris (A) could not reach with his hands, in desperately he stuck out his left leg and although making contact could not kept the ball out. This was at the 35th minute, but to the joy of the home crowd Everton were on level terms two minutes later. Brian Harris was the scorer and maker of the goal, for he went right across field, beating two men before sending to Eglington and picking up the latter’s return to beat Williams with a perfect shot. Everton continued to have slightly the better of matters and there was no questioning their fighting spirit and their keen determination. Jimmy Harris carved out a good opening for his namesake who fired weakly and well off the mark when he had only Williams to beat. Half-time; Everton 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1.
After a foul against Eglington had brought an Everton attack to full stop. Wolves came down twice in menacing fashion but Harris (A.) came out to catch the ball. He dropped it rather too close to Wilshaw for comfort on the second occasion but he quickly retrieved it. Mullen looked dangerous when he veered into the middle and beat two men, but Jones came up with a winning tackle before the winger could deliver his shot.
Farrell was always seeking to put the ball in the best possible use. Birch was not quite so good in this direction, but he was strong in his tackling and shirked nothing. When at last Everton got away from the stronghold of the opposition a good move in which four men took part was wasted by Eglington. A great run by Jimmy Harris deserved a better fate than that the ball should land in the side netting. The Everton leader left Wright yards behind but when Williams advanced from goal, there was little or no space left for Harris to edge the ball past him. Birch came onto the picture with a bit of great headwork and a final shot which struck the net support. The strength of Birch’s kicking was shown when from almost a standing position he helped the ball so hard from the right touchline that it was going out over the other end when Eglington managed to save it. For five minutes or more Everton hammered away at a defence which looked anything but happy without producing any worth while shooting. Williams brought off a great save after a shot by Donovan had struck Wright’s feet and been deflected. He did well to gather the ball. Fielding scored for Everton; Final Everton 2, Wolves 1.
ONE EASTER POINT- EVERTON STRUCK ROCK BOTTOM
April 7, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
It certainly wasn’t a very happy Easter for Everton in the matter of points collecting. Nevertheless, following the disappointing showing of Blues on Friday and Saturday it was very nice to gain even one point at Sheffield on Monday. I have no intentions of trying to cover up or make excuses for our poor showing against Sheffield United on Good Friday. It was one of those days when the Blues struck rock-bottom and many of us experienced a complete off-day. To make things even worse, I though that Sheffield United on their first half showing at Goodison were one of the worst sides to visit Goodison this season. However, once they scored they got right on top as we went from bad to worse and inspired by Jimmy Hagan, they ran out easy winners. Yet had the Blues scored first, as we might have done, there is no knowing what trend the game, might have taken. Even then, I suppose on our showing we never deserved to win.
Fought All The Way
Our game at the Villa saw the Blues once again in the doldrums and with the Villa getting on top from the start and throwing everything they had onto the fray, Everton never looked likely to take control. The Villa certainly deserved their victory. Monday’s return with Sheffield United was such more pleasant from an Everton viewpoint though some maintain that our standard of play was well below what we are capable of. Be that as it may, there is no denying that all the lads fought from start to finish as if their very lives depended on the outcome. This was very much in evidence when Sheffield took the lead in the second half, a set-back which seemed to instill even more urgency into the lads, whose persistence was rewarded with the equalizer by Jimmy Harris. In fact we might have won when just before the end a great shot by Don Donovan skimmed the bar.
Three New Names
The Easter games saw three new boys make their League debut, for Everton. Albert Harris, Ken Birch, and George Kirby. These three youngsters came into the side when its form was at low ebb, which was perhaps a little unfortunate for them. Nevertheless they can be well satisfied with their First Division baptisms. None of them let the side down. All three of them timed in very creditable displays and played their part in getting a much-credited point for the Blues at Sheffield. One ray of brightness arising out of our Easter games was the consistency and brilliance of Tommy Jones particularly at Villa Park and Bramell Lane. After the game with Aston Villa my old international colleague, Con Martin remarked to me that Tommy’s centre half display was the best he had seen all season. Pity Con didn’t see Tommy give an encore against Sheffield United last Monday. If Tommy maintains his present form and consistency soon or later the selectors must honour him, at least in the England “B” side. His reading of the play and anticipation is uncanny.
Congratulations to Bert Trauntmann on being adjudged “Footballer of the year” an honour which I am sure you will all agree he richly deserves. Apart from this amazing ability which had played such a big part in getting City to Wembley if you believe me ask any Evertonians; Bert has all the other attributes necessary to warrant such an honour. Congratulations also to the British sports writers, who by their fair-mindedness in such cases are an example to the rest of the sporting world. They grant such awards to the individual irrespective of his nationally or creed which is as it should be. Nice also to see Billy Liddell winning a place in the first six, I hope someday his sportsmanship and example will be rewarded by his name appearing as “Football of the year.”
YOUNGSTERS IMPRESS AS EVERTON CONFOUND THE CRITICS
April 9, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 2, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
By Ian Hargreaves
After hearing so many gloomy accounts of Everton’s recent performances it was a pleasant surprise to see them play so well at Goodison Park on Saturday against a team generally acknowledged one of the strongest in the country. Whether it was the quality of the opposition, or a determination to prove that predictions of a speedy return to the Second Division are quite unfounded that gave Everton the necessary inspiration one can only guess. But whatever the cause there was no questioning the effect –a welcome resurgence of confidence and fighting spirit. There was the old solidity in defence, intricate passing and famous second half offensive –and equally well known weakness in finishing. Though both goals came from hard, accurate shots, and only flying saves by Williams prevented at least three more, it could not be said that Everton ever looked like registering a big score. It was not that the shooting was poor – what shots there were generally well directed –but there was a wide spread reluctance to try a shot and an equal reluctance to progress down the middle. The dominance of Wright who forced J. Harris to wander even more than usual, may have been responsible for the continual employment of the wings, but it seemed a pity that the insides Fielding in particular, could not have made more use of the through pass. Making allowance for these failings Everton’s performance was highly encouraging and nothing gave more pleasure than the whole hearted display of their young wing half Birch, making his first home appearance in the senior team. Birch, whose brilliant red-hair must be a blessing to commentators, covered an enormous amount of ground, and if occasionally lured out of position by the crafty Wilshaw recovered so quickly that little damage was done. He showed a much appreciated penchant for attack, and late in the game startled many spectators by the power of his shooting one terrific drive hitting the junction of post and cross bar. If this is his usual form Everton have unearthed another in a long line of fine half-backs.
Wolves are probably the best known team in Britain, thanks to their televised victories over crack Continental opposition and an army of small boys lost no time in assailing them with demands for autographs, before being dispersed by a stalwart minion of the Law. The visitors, however, possibly feeling the absence of that diminutive bundle of energy. Hancocks, failed to live up to the promise of the first fifteen minutes and finished a well beaten side, although there was always a feeling that they were holding something back. Be that as it may, they provided two of the game’s outstanding personalities in Wright and Broadbent, whose constructive skill was at once entertaining and educational. Wright always appeared so much in command of the situation that an error is cause for comment, and on the one occasion Harris J. succeeded in dribbling past him there was applause from all present. Broadbent, less well known, supplies a very direct Wolves forward line with most of its tricks and gave an object lesson in the use of the feint. He created several openings, but since Murray could rarely elude Jones and Moore proved more than a match for Mullen, little came of his efforts.
Everton made a somewhat uncertain start and had a narrow escape when Murray shot inches over, before they found their feet. Then first Fielding and later Eglington brought the best out of Williams in a non-stop attack which saw the ball twice sail across an open Wolves goalmouth with no Everton player quite able to reach it. A goal seemed certain to come, but when one did it was Wolves who got it. A Harris (B) header was scrambled off the line out to the left wing where Mullen for once evaded Moore and went on to beat Harris (A) with an awkward shot that appeared to pass under his driving body. Spurred to retaliation, Everton swept back into the attack, and after at least two forwards had declined to try their luck Harris B, equalized with a left footer from Eglington’s pass. The second half was almost all Everton but with Wright barring the way down the middle they did not have as many chances as they might. Then the home halves joined in the assault, and in the end it was their influence that prevailed. Farrell took the ball upfield, found Eglington on the wing and was well placed to head the return on to Fielding who scored with a magnificent shot from about twenty-five yards.
EVERTON CAN BREATHE FREELY AGAIN
April 9, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
The season’s Soccer problems are gradually sorting themselves out, and the two which interest Merseyside folk most have now been settled. Everton’s great fighting victory over Wolves removed the last faint lingering fear from the minds of the followers but Liverpool’s defeat at Fulham put an end to the Anfielders promotion hopes. While Everton’s win was more a tribute to their pace, perseverance and pugnacity than to highly skilled football although there was some of that, it was none the less welcome on that account. Once more they displayed the fighting spirit which had carried them through against better finishing sides in the earlier stages of the season, and which enabled them again to recover from an opening goal to the opposition. It was a thrilling more than a stylish game, with little to choose between either team in the first half, but with Everton having it almost all their own way in the second portion. It only they had been able to rid themselves of the old irritating habit of lateral passing and the extra but unnecessary move in the penalty area they could have been won much more handsomely.
The Harris Boys
This game proved several things one of them that Jimmy Harris switched to outside right in the previous, game because of temporary loss of form in the middle is still a leader of much promise. Another thing which emerged is that part-time goalkeeper Albert Harris seems a real discovery. He was a bit unlucky with Mullen’s goal, for he started driving the wrong way and could only stick out a leg to deflect the ball into the far corner of the goal by the time he had realized he had been foxed. He also dropped the ball once or twice but I have seen far more experienced custodians to the same thing. Those were only minor blemishes on a display which was notable for the lad’s coolness and confidence and his command of the six-yard area. The promising form of Ken Birch at right half was another pleasing factor. Part from a short spell when he seemed a little out of touch and a few passes went astray; Birch had every reason to be well satisfied with his home debut. He is a strong and determined tackler, he has the right ideas about opening up play with sweeping cross-field passes and if he can maintain this form while he is gathering experience Everton should not regret having given him his big chance.
The return of Brian Harris due to his namesake switching to the middle because of Kirby’s unfitness also produce something to please, even if Harris’s finishing still leaves much to be desired. He had two good chances to score, but sufficed them, both through one was from a very badly angled position. Curiously enough, it was a clearance from the latter which led to Wolves breaking away and taking the lead through Mullen at the 35th minutes another of the countless instances in which failure to put one side a goal up leads quickly to them becoming one down. Brain Harris, however, made prompt amends for he both started and finished the movement which put the Blues on level terms within a couple of minute. He certainly took this chance as well as anybody could have done. The winning goal was rather a long time coming considering the volume of Everton’s second half pressure. When it did arrive it was Farrell, always a great inspiration to his colleagues who had a big share in it, though Fielding was the, am who scored with a splendid first time drive which was in the back of the net before Williams realized the danger. Whatever the future may hold for Everton so long as they can reproduce fighting determination of this calbre there must always be hopes for them. Once again this was a victory for team spirit and courage more than individual or even collective brilliance. The most puzzling thing about this game was to reconcile Wolverhampton’s run of eight consecutive away fixtures without defeat with their very ordinary showing after the first twenty minutes. They started stylishly and confidently but soon lost their poise and promised punch and in the second half seemed as though they had given up all hope. It’s an old football saying that any team can only look as good as the opposing allows them to be. Maybe that was the explanation. Certainly Everton played as though they had something at stake – they had – whereas at times the Wolves disjointed in attack and jittery in defence looked miles off a possible talent money team.
April 11, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
After their good victory over Wolverhampton last week, Everton have decided to stick to the same formation for their last away match in which they visit Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Although Chelsea appear safe from relegation, they could be overhauled by both the two bottom clubs if the latter won their three remaining matches and Chelsea lost theirs. Everton; Harris (A.E); Moore, Tansey; Birch, Jones, Farrell; Harris (B), Donovan, Harris (J), Fielding, Eglington.
Everton Reserves; (home to Bolton Wanderers); Leyland; Lindsay, Rankin; Grant. Billington, Melville; McNamara, Wainwright, Lewis, Parker, Williams.
EVERTON NAME ELEVEN PLAYERS FOR TRANSFER
April 12, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Parker and Wainwright Are In The List
Preparing For Future
Everton F.C have decided to put no fewer than eleven of their existing professional staff on the open-to-transfer list. In one of two instances the names of these being dispensed with may course a little surprise, as until quite recently they were regular first-team players. This is so with Wainwright and Parker, who are among those listed. Wainwright has missed only nine matches this season and appeared in the senior side as recently as Good Friday last. Parker was also an automatic selection for the first team until the end of December, but has had only one senior outing since. In addition to these two players, others with whom the club is prepared to part are Leyland, Lindsay, Potts, Grant, Saunders, Lewis, Melville, Rankin and Molyneux. With the exception of Melville and Molyneux all have played in the first team. This clearance is one of the biggest at Goodison Park for several years, and my be regarded as the first step towards the reorganization of the playing staff under the new regime. Assuming that the eleven players named are all transferred it will leave the club with 20 full time professionals, 11 part-time players and 11 professionals in the Forces. Four of the latter are due for demobilsation before the start of next season and several others soon afterwards. This makes a total eventually staff of 42, plus any close-season signings. In all cases the transfer fee will be fixed at a reasonable figure in order that the men concerned may not have undue difficulty in obtaining engagement elsewhere. In certain cases it is possible a free transfer may be granted but this has yet to be confirmed by the full board.
The full list of players retained for next season is as follows, the anterisic before the name indicating player still in the Forces and the dagger the part timers. Goalkeeper +Caldwell, Dunlop, +Harris (A), O’neill
Full-backs; *Heyes, *Hillsdon, Leeder, Moore, +Parkes, Sutherland, Tansey, Griffiths
Half-backs; Birch, *Billington, “Capper, *Clayton, Farrell, *Fitzsimmons, Jones, Lello, Rea, Woods, +King, +Gannon
Forwards; +Davison, Donovan, Eglington, Farrell, Fielding, +Harris (B), Harris (J), Jones (B), *Keeley, *Kirby, *Mayers, Meagan, McNamara, *Thomas, +Tomlinson, *Vizard, *Williams (K), +Williams (G).
The Men To Go
Following are brief biographic of players on the list
John Parker- joined Everton as an amateur and made his senior debut on and has been a regular first team player for several seasons, making many senior appearances and scoring many goals.
Eddie Wainwright- oldest player on the books in length of service. Wainwright signed as an amateur in 1939 and signed professional. Has been unlucky with injuries and illness but has played in 222 first team games and scored 71 goals.
Jack Grant –signed in December 1942 and though only had one season as a regular first teamer when he played in an 42 games in that season he has been a useful servant as captain of the Central League side. Has made 139 senior appearances.
Harry Pott-cost £20,000 when signed from Burnley in October 5 after being the clubs leading marksman for three seasons, received a full benefit last October.
Jack Lindsay-Last player to be brought by Everton until recent signing of Graham Williams. Lindsay cost around £7,000 from Glasgow Rangers in March 1951. Had made 117 senior appears when he broke his leg two years ago. Received a £750 benefit last month.
Gwyner Lewis- former Welsh youth international who signed professional forms in may 3 1948, made first team debut, March 1953 and has played in ten football league games.
Lee Melville- An England Youth international. Melville has been a regular member of the Central league side for several years and a professional since April 1950.
Ron Saunders;- Has been with Everton since leaving school and a professional for over five years making three senior appearances. Was a former England Youth international. Asked for a transfer last October.
Harry Leyland; Signed as an amateur in August 1947; turned professional August 1950 played his first football league game in September 1951 and altogether has had 38 senior outings.
George Rankin- members of his family have played for Everton, his grandfather, father, uncle and a cousin having all worm the clubs colours. Became a professional in August 1949 but latterly reverted to part-time only. Has appeared in the first team matches.
R. Molyneux;- has been on the paid staff since December 1951 but never in the first team.
Party for USA
Everton announced today the names of 16 players who will make the summer tour to America and Canada. These are;- O’Neill; Moore, Tansey, Birch, Jones, Farrell, Harris (B), Donovan, Harris (J), Fielding, Eglington,. Lello, Woods, Rea, McNamara, and Farrell.
EVERTON F.C. SEEK COACH
April 12, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton F.C have decided to consider applications for the appointment of a coach. Since Cliff Britton gave up the post of general manager last month a sub-committee of three directors have dealt with all playing matters. At Chelsea on Saturday Everton keep an unchanged side; Harris (A); Moore, Tansey; Birch, Jones, Farrell; Harris (B), Donovan, Harris (J), Fielding, Eglington.
CHELSEA NEED THE POINTS
April 13, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
After their victory over Wolves Everton should tackle Chelsea at Stamford Bridge with greater confidence then might otherwise have been the case, but the home side badly need the points to improve their lowly position. So do Everton for that matter. Chelsea last year’s champions have been a big disappointment to their followers this season and have slipped badly down the table of recent weeks. Since winning at home against Charlton on February 22 they have taken only two points from the last 18 at stake, during which they have had 23 goals scored against them and got only six themselves. From that it might seen that Everton should have a good chance if they can reproduce last week’s fighting form. Clubs in such desperate straits as Chelsea, however, are never easy to defeat and despite the Pensioners recent decline Everton may have a tough job on hand to get even one point.
The main danger to the visitors is likely to spring from Bentley and Blunestone for though neither has been much among the goals all season, they are still the main hope of the home team. For the last two games Bentley has been switched to inside left, with Ron Tindalls one of this season’s Stamford Bridge deputants taking over at centre forward. Considering their lowly position Chelsea have not made many changes in their side this winter and have called on only 24 players of whom half a dozen have made only very occasional appearances. Everton; Harris (A); Moore, Tansey; Birch, Jones, Farrell; Harris (B), Donovan, Harris (J), Fielding, Eglington.
CHELSEA SWAMP EVERTON IN A SIX-GOAL ROMP
April 14, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Chelsea 6, Everton 1
Everton were never really in this game with a chance. Two goals down in 15 minutes they never recovered and Chelsea went on from strength to strength. Chelsea ; Robertson, goal; Sillett and Willseme, backs; Saunders, Wick, Casey, half-backs; Lewis, Brabrook, Bentley, Stubbs and Blunstone, forwards. Everton; Harris (A), goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Birch, Jones, and Farrell (captain), half-backs; Harris (B), Donovan, Harris (J), Fielding and Eglington, forwards. Referee; Mr. SM Rodgers. At Stamford Bridge the playing conditions were decidedly bad for there was water on the pitch and the goal areas had been heavily saw dusted. Both teams were unchanged. There was only a moderate crowd. Chelsea were trying to check a non-winning run of nine games and with 12 minutes they had taken the lead but not before Everton had twice tested Robertson the Chelsea goalkeeper. Everton started off on quite a bright note and Jimmy Harris tired a drop kick which Robertson dealt with satisfactorily but he had a much better save to make a moment later when Fielding from just inside the penalty area whipped in a shot which Robertson managed to edge around his upright for a corner. This was cleared. Then the Pensioners enjoyed two spirited attacks and the Everton defence had to be on its toes to avert disaster. One or two raids on the Everton right wing were remised and came the first blow to Everton when Willemse lobbed in a free kick and although challenged Bentley was able to get his head to the ball and nod it high up net at the reach of Harris who was standing a yard or two out of his goal. He made a frantic effort to get his hands to the ball but was unsuccessful in doing so.
Chelsea, who had started rather slowly, had appeared up considerably and most times they were somewhere round the Everton goalmouth. Another goal was put on they score sheet when Stubbs headed home a similar sort of goal to Bentley’s goal. Blunstone proved the centre and with Harris again just that yard or so out he was unable to make contact, so that within 15 minutes Everton were being up against it. Much of Chelsea’s success was due to the speed to the ball and Bentley, who was doing quite a lot of roaming, was often responsible for passes which had the Everton defence rather worried. Blunestone came dashing in to meet a centre from his right wing colleague’s Lewis but he was just beaten in the tackle and both players went to ground. Fortunately neither was hurt. A free kick to Everton was successfully countered by Chelsea and Birch who we know is possessed of a hard shot was well off the mark when he tried one of these high-powered efforts. Everton had been strictly on the defensive for some time but eventually they broke the Chelsea bonds and Harris tried a shot which was well wide of the mark. A slip by Farrell enabled Lewis to get a second chance at centring the ball and this produced a corner.
Bentley was just about to go up for it, when he lost his foothold up that the Everton defence cane through unscathed but another cross from the right wing collied Albeit Harris who injured himself and play had to be held up while he received attention. A throw-down by the referee on the far side of the field looked as though it might produce another dangerous Chelsea raid, but this promise was not fulfilled and when Brian Harris tried a dribble he was beaten by Brabrook. One promising movement by Everton which saw the ball cross successfully from the left to the right wing, looked as though it might being something in its trail but it went without Robertson being called to duty and Chelsea were back again attacking. The condition of the turf today demanded quick movement, more direct movement in fact, and in this respect Chelsea had the edge of Everton, who were perhaps a little more skilful but Chelsea’s more straight-forward ideas certainly paid a better dividend. Tom Jones once concede a corner rather than anything more damaging and from this a Lewis header saw Harris push the ball under his crossbar. It rebounded and was kicked away, but it did not go any distance and Stubbs was left with an excellent opportunity of marking up a third Chelsea goal, but his shot wildly over the bar.
Half-time; Chelsea 2, Everton nil.
After Brabrook had shot over the Everton crossbar in the first minute of the second half, Moore made a brilliant clearance from Brabrook. It will therefore be seen that Chelsea were continuing their strong aggressive policy and a Lewis cross put the Everton goal in jeopardy but it managed to service and it was Everton’s turn to try their hand in the scoring business but Fielding’s lob passed outside.
Call Into The Tune
Chelsea were undoubtedly calling the tune and with Everton so busily engaged in defence their attacks were cut down to almost a minimum. Casey made a centre which had the goal look about it but Tansey just managed to get his foot to the ball and sweep it away from the advancing Lewis. There could be no denying that Chelsea looked as though they would score again and they did in the 57th minute when Bentley rushed up to a Lewis pulled-back centre and wracked it into the net. I think the ball touched an Everton man, but whether it did or not does not matter now, but what does matter is the fact that Bentley prior to transferring the ball to Lewis had deliberately elbowed off his Everton challenger. The first 15 minutes had been all Chelsea but then came a slight respite for the Goodison defence when a long ball up to Harris saw the latter try to dribble the ball beyond Robertson but failed in his attempt. The ball came out to Eglington, who tried a fierce shot well off the target.
Everton just could not get going and with a three-goal lead Chelsea were able to play without any tension. It was only on occasions that Everton paid a visit to Robertson’s goal area and when Eglington slipped the ball up the middle for Jim Harris, the latter shot wide. It was to say the least a disappointing Everton display. They were just enjoying a quick breakaway by Chelsea brought them a fourth goal. It was as between Bentley, Lewis and Stubbs, and Stubbs but the ball into the Everton net at the 77th minute. One minute later Everton last reduced the deficit by a goal by Harris. The move had a very simple look for he was left unchallenged after a shot by Eglington had hit the post at a time when Robertson was on the ground, the ball came to Harris who was standing a couple of yards out and all he had to do was pop it into the net.
Everton were encouraged by this success and Brian Harris shot over and Robertson had to save from Donovan. Straight from this Chelsea slipped forward and Bentley scored. Bentley who had scored there of Chelsea’s five goals almost got a fourth when a fast rising shot went over the cross bar. Chelsea scored sixth through Lewis. Final; Chelsea 6, Everton 1.
EVERTON RES V BOLTON RES
April 14, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton Res;- Leyland, goal; Lindsay and Rankin, backs; Grant, Billington, and Melville, half-backs; McNamara, Wainwright, Lewis, Parker, and Williams, forwards. Everton set a cracking pace and were two goals up inside ten minutes. Lewis shot against the upright for the ball to enter the net, while Wainwright scored the second. Bolton were almost entirely on the defensive and Everton forced corner after corner before Grant in breaking through the middle was pulled down by the goalkeeper. Lewis made no mistake with the penalty taken after 35 minutes’ play. During the first period Leyland had not had a shot of note to save. Half-time; Everton 3, Bolton 0.
April 14, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
This is an anxious time for professional footballers who have not made their places secure in their club’s senior side or have failed to show such promise in the reserves that they can be sure of re-engagement. Everton were among the first to publish their decisions, and though one or two of the names on the open-to-transfer list caused considerable discussion among the club’s supporters there were solid grounds for the Board deciding as they did. It should go without saying though apparently a few people think otherwise that such decisions are not lightly taken. The directorial sub-committee which made the recommendations spent long and careful through over each name before submitting the list to the full Board for confirmation and in many cases only reached their final decision with considerable reluctance. Although Parker has scored 89 goals in 177 games, and was leading marksman with 31 two years ago he was much off form long before it was decided to drop him last December. He was at his best in association with Dave Hickson, especially during the promotion season, wherein may rest a tip to Andy Beattie, Huddersfield Town’s manager. Parker might regain his form alongside his old colleague at Leeds Road. The impending departure of Wainwright who has been a splendid servant to the club, and Jackie Grant who though less in the senior limelight has given Everton equally useful service as the inspiration and mentor of the Central league side, is also a matter of regret.
Parting Must Come
Unfortunately the time comes with all players when their value to clubs begins to wane a trifle, not necessarily through any fault of their own, and the parting, sad though it may be has to come. Everton will do all in their power to help the players on the list to get settled elsewhere as quickly as possible, I don’t know the individual transfer figures but have been assured that in no case will fees be fixed on such a basis that the players chances of employment ate jeoparised. That is the generous and sporting view and everybody will be glad to hear it, not least the players themselves. I confess to a feeling of disappointment at the decision to part with Harry Leyland, who though not always without fault –and what goalkeeper is? - has never lacked courage and determination and with greater and more extended opportunities might have eventually made the first team place his own. Jock Linday’s departure will remove a full back of the classic type, whose career with Everton might have lasted longer but for an unfortunate accident which has kept him out of first team for two years. Of the eleven players on the list, seven have reached benefits during the current season, including one of the full £750 for Lindsay. The others were Wainwright, Potts, Leyland, Grant, Melville, and Saunders. Potts also got the maximum cheque despite having made only 63 senior appearances.
THE BUSBY BABES CHAMPIONS IN THE GRAND STYLE
April 14, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
Manchester United won the first of this season’s trophies by defeating Blackpool last Saturday at Old Trafford and became this season’s League champions, an honour well deserved. Matt Busby and all connected with Manchester United certainly deserve the congratulations of football followers everywhere not only for their League championship, but for their consistency as one of the foremost teams in the country since the war. Their League record during the past ten years plus their Cup triumph in 1948 speaks for itself, and must be very gratying. United’s cup-winning side which included Crompton, Carey, Aston, Chilton, Cockburn, Delaney, Morris, Rowley, Pearson and Mitten was one of the greatest club sides against which I have every played. When nearly all these great names left United, it was feared there would be a decline in the greatness of the Old Trafford club’s playing fortunes. Yet this year we have the “Busby Babes,” interning field with a few experienced players, not only hitting the high spots but becoming league champions well before the season has ended. What a great triumph for Matt Busby and his backroom boys. All who know Matt will not, I am sure, begrudge the likeable Scott his recent success. Busby is not only one of the most successful managers in the game, but also one of the best liked personalities in football, respected as well as liked by players and officials alike. With all his success Manager Busby is still the same unassuming gentleman who was a credit to the game as a player and is now a credit to football in the managerial side. So once again congratulations to Manchester United whose manager, with his vast resources of young stars must view the future with great optimism.
Everton’s victory over Wolves was a great tonic to all connected with Everton. It was certainly our best performance for quite a while. Firstly our victory, as has already been mentioned by some of the critic, was a team effort with all the lads going about the job with a zest and enthusiasm which showed a determination to overcome the rather lean spell we have been experiencing in recent weeks. Secondly I thought the combined movements of the side were the best by all Everton side since our Cup display at Maine Road. When Wolves opened the scoring things looked a little ominous but once the Blues got the tonic of an equalizing goal two minutes later, the lads went from strength to strength and completely dominated the second half proceedings.
Value of A Call
Our winning goal demonstrated the value of the play off the ball calling to a team mate in possession. When Tommy Eglington centred the ball and I was about to head towards goal, I heard Wally Fielding shout “Here Peter” two words which changed my mind for me and resulted to my heading the ball to the unmarked “Nobby” just inside the penalty area, who cracked in a great shot well out of reach of Bert Williams. Yet had “Nobby” not shouted to me a goal might never have ensued. Now that the Blues by their display last week have returned to something like the form of which they are capable let us hope that we will be able to maintain it for the remaining couple of games.
Wolves visit to Goodison means yet another grand display by the ever-popular England and Wolves captain Billy Wright. What a great player is Billy and what a splendid example to the younger football generation with his boyish enthusiasm and his tactics on the field of play. Very few players of today play a game as well as Wright.
SIX GOALS-AFTER NINE DEFEATS IN SUCCESSION
April 16, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Chelsea 6, Everton 1
There are some days when nothing seems to go right, Saturday was much a one for Everton, for at Stamford Bridge, they received the worst hammering they have suffered this season. The ground has never been a happy one for Everton, but rarely has it been so unhappy as it was last week-end. Chelsea had full revenge for their defeat in the F.A. Cup-tie and following a run of nine games, without a victory they had to go and rub it into the tune of six goals to one. It could well have been more, for Everton were never in the game with a chance and by their ineptitude made Chelsea look a good team, which we know they are not. I cannot say why Everton were so poor for it was the identical team which ran rings round Wolverhampton a week previously and Wolves are surely a better side than the Londoners. Everton seemed to lack confidence and played with little spirit and bite. Perhaps there was some excuse for that. They conceded two goals at fifteen minutes goals which in the normal way of things would never have been scored. The new goalkeeper, A. Harris was not without blame where the two headers by Bentley and Stubbs were concerned for he had advanced too far out of his goal and saw the ball pass over his extended arms. They were similar goals and taken from well out, but Harris lack of experience found him standing out of position. That may have snuffed any confidence Everton had. Then there was the last goal scored by Lewis though this made no difference to the result for Chelsea were by this time high and dry. Bluestone cracked in a hard drive which Harris saved but he failed to hold the ball and it went out to Lewis, who had no difficulty in shooting it back into the net. Uncertainly in a goalkeeper must have a tremendous effect upon his colleagues but don’t let us blame Harris too much. There were others who contributed to Everton’s heavy fall. Birch who had made such a promising entry into first class football over the Easter holiday and again against Wolverhampton was completely out of touch. He was overpowered by the Chelsea left wing pair, Stubbs and Blunestone and Farrell did not give his usual service. The whole of the forward line was easily mastered by the more progressive and enterprising Chelsea. Everton’s was a defensive battle almost from the outset and in this phase of the game, neither Moore nor Tansey played up to their usual standard. One can understand one, or even two men having an off day, but on this occasion the whole team fell from grace. The ground was muddy with heavily sawdusted goalmouths and it was soon obvious that the side who adapted themselves to the conditions would be the team to win. Chelsea moved the ball quickly, cut out frills and went straight for their objective, the Everton goal –and that was why it fell half a dozen times. This was Everton’s heaviest defeat of the season and coming at a time when there were indications that they had got over then bad patch, it was anything but a joy to watch. Chelsea were much too sack for Everton. They started rather slowly, and during those early minutes Everton suggested they would make a fight of it but not until J. Harris had scored his side’s only goal after Eglington had hit the post, did we see Everton adopt the correct method. Then it was only present for a matter of minutes before Chelsea were once again dictating matters. Bentley was one of the thorns of Everton’s flesh. His coving, good passing and then the dash football to take the chance gained him three goals. The Chelsea defence always held the mastery over Everton’s thin blue line, except when J. Harris slipped in to take a back pass by Wicks and then shot straight at the advancing Robertson. He got a similar chance in the second half when he decided to dribble his way through –unsuccessfully.
Best of Season
I was told that this was the best display Chelsea had produced for weeks. How much of their success was due to Everton’s mediocrity? Quite a lot of Chelsea were not so good though they were always active, tackling quickly and making fast interventions. The only really successful Everton player was Jones, who had a tremendous task. He shouldered it gallantly, but in the end Chelsea practically overwhelmed their opponents, not a pretty sight to the few Everton supporters present. What surprised me was the attendance. This was a First Division game, yet only 13,000-odd graced the proceedings which gives some idea as the sort of football Chelsea, have been putting up for their patrons. For record purposes here are the goals in their order and times –Bentley (12 minutes) Stubbs (15), Bentley (57), Stubbs (71), Harris (72), Bentley (77), Lewis (88).
A WOEFUL SHOW BY EVERTON
April 16, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
I would like to draw a quick curtain on Everton’s display of Stamford Bridge on Saturday, for it was not one I wish to remember one minute more than is necessary. I have seen them pretty low in effectiveness but I consider this the worst of all their 41 games this season. Just how easily it is to be misted on the strength of one display was fully shown at Stamford Bridge –never at happy hunting ground for the “Blues.” But after seeing Everton come from behind and then race through the Wolverhampton side as they did the week previous I must admit I went to London expecting a keen tussle. It could have been that Chelsea looked better than they actually were and that much of their success was due to the featureless Everton who had no fight back, no subtlety to outwit the Chelsea defence and what is more a lack of confidence in themselves.
Under A Cloud
It is not uncommon to see one or even two men fall to find their normal form, but here was a complete team under a cloud with perhaps one exception. Wing half-backs are such an integral part of a football team that much of its success hinges on them. If they are playing well it usually means that the rest of the team is doing well. Here is where Everton must be faulted. Birch who had made such an impressive early into first class football was right off his game. His tackling was insecure, his passing almost non-existent and Farrell a stalwart even when things are going ill for his side could neither rally his men nor give them much support at least so far as the forwards were concerned. It must have been trying to the small band of Everton supporters present to sit and were their team cut and carved to ribbons. I am convinced in my own mind that chose two early Chelsea goals had quite a lot to do with Everton’s fall –their hardest this season. It meant that they were on the collar almost from the start and the task of retrieving themselves was too great. They seemed to admit defeat at least they produced no fight back, which was at one time one of their strong points.
Tells The Tale
They say a team plays as well as it is allowed, and that is the way I look at this match. Chelsea were given a whole lot of latitude by a side which was never really together. Everything went wrong for Everton. They were beaten for possession by tactics, aye by practically everything which goes to make a successful football team. The score card tells you a lot, but it does not tell you all. You had to see this to believe it. a Bentley header caught Albert Harris out of position –too far out of his goal –and a similar sort of header, almost a replica by Stubbs also passed over his head again because he was a yard or so too far out of his goal. Both would, I think have been saved by a more experienced goalkeeper. Two goals down in 15 minutes and Chelsea, playing with a confidence these two goals produced was too heavy a burden for Everton’s shoulder. It was a muddy ground and tactics to obviate this were essential. Keep the ball moving swiftly and leave out the frills which had no value on such a day should have been the order of the day, but Everton tried the short passing game. Chelsea saw the futility of this and swept the ball about rapidly, rarely holding it more than a second, and it paid a high dividend. They soon saw that they had little to fear from this Everton side minus bite and ability. Chelsea grew in strength and at times they almost swamped the Everton defence by their progressive methods. They scored four goals in the second half when they had Everton clamped down in defence –a defence which was below par, Jones excepted.
Chelsea were delighted at their success for they had not forgotten that Cup defeat by Everton earlier in the year, Bentley got three of Chelsea’s goals. Stubbs two and Lewis one. Harris was at fault again, for he failed to hold Blunstone’s drive and the ball went out to Lewis, who whipped it to the back of the net like lighting. It will, no doubt be a long time before Everton have practically a whole team off form. Now about Harris’s goal. He had nothing to do but tap the ball home after Eglington had hit the post. He had a chance earlier on when Wilks made a faulty back pass but he shot straight at Robertson. He had another chance when he tried to dribble past Robertson, but failed in his planning.
April 18, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Still the rumours of Everton’s future manager keeps creeping up like mushrooms after an overnight shower. The position is still unchanged after last night’s board meeting and there is no truth in to-day’s latest rumours that Walter Gailbrath has been offered the job. As I have said so many times, all Everton are doing at the moment is to appoint a first class coach. Many applications have been received for this position but no decision has yet been made, and the matter did not even come up before the full board last night.
WINGERS THE ATRRACTION
April 20, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton’s home game with Blackpool takes on additional interest through the debut of Jimmy Payne when the Goodison fans hope will offer a problem which has bothered them on and off since Torry Gillick let ten years ago. The appearance for the visitors of Stan Matthews is another attraction. If Payne puts more punch into the Everton line, and also provides scoring opportunities for his colleagues then the money will have been well spent. Although Payne has not been up to his best form during the last season or two, not entirely due to himself. He is still a clever player, and the change of surrounding may bring him back to the best. He is determined to make every effort. This is Everton’s last league game, of the season, but not their last home appearance before leaving for America. There is the friendly game with the touring Brazilian side, Vasco da Gama next week. In addition to the incoming of Payne, there is a further experience in the forward line, in which Kirby is given a chance to show what he can do at inside left.
Everton will have to show a big improvement on last week’s display against Chelsea to take even one point. Blackpool although losing their chance of overhauling of Manchester United some time ago, are still keen to finish the season with their biggest post-war aggrate of points. Up to a fortnight ago they had played 14 consecutive matches with only two defeats. it was no great surprise when they lost by the odd goal at Old Trafford but it was a shock to their supporters when lowly Tottenham defeated them 2-0 at Bloomfield last Saturday. It would probably be a shock to them also to see Everton victorious tomorrow but that is not out of the question if the Blues can forget their lusterless display at Stamford Bridge and serve up some of the spirit and determination they showed when defeating Wolves. The Payne-Fielding wing should produce entertaining football, but that is not what Everton need so much as goals which have been in far too short supply all season. The last fifteen League and Cup matches have produced only thirteen. Everton; Harris (A); Moore, Tansey; Birch, Jones, Farrell; Payne, Fielding, Harris (J), Kirby, Eglington.
PRETTY PLAY BUT FEW GOODISON THRILLS
April 21, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Payne Not Given Chance To Shine
Everton 1, Blackpool 0
Everton;- Harris (A.), goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Birch, Jones and Farrell (captain), half-backs; Payne, Fielding, Harris (J), Kirby and Eglington, forwards. Blackpool; Farm, goal; Armfield and Wright, backs; Kelly (J), Snowdon, and Kelly (H), half-backs; Matthews, Taylor, Mudie, Durie, and Perry, forwards. Referee; Mr. J.M. Clough (Bolton). There was an excellent crowd for Everton’s last league game of the season. There were of course two reasons for the increased attendance, one being the presence of Stanley Matthews on the Blackpool side, the other the debut for Everton of the former Liverpool winger Jimmy Payne. So far as Everton were concerned there was nothing at stake in this game, but Blackpool were after talent money. It was warm and sunny and the ground looked remarkably well considering it was the end of the seasons. Blackpool struck immediately and had it not been for the quick intervention and determined tackling of Tom Jones, Mudie and Taylor might very well have been testing goalkeeping Harris. Everton were the next in attack but it was only a temporary raid for the ball was allowed to run over the dead ball line for a goal kick. This was the starting point of a dangerous Blackpool movement which almost culminated in a goal. Perry with a long cross field pass to Matthews saw the old maestro slip the ball in to Taylor who pushed it through for Perry who had run close in to goal and he actually hooked the ball and Harris had to save as he was challenged by Mudie. Kirby made two good headers one a pass which might have caused great difficulties for Blackpool had not Snowdon realized what was happening. Durie tested Harris with an awkward shot which the goalkeeper saved. He made an even better one 40 seconds later when Perry hit a fierce shot with his right foot but Harris got his body behind the ball and held it safely.
Eglington won a corner for Everton but this was speed cleared and play for the next few minutes was confined to midfield. Kirby made three headers and all had been perfect in execution. Matthews is like a good wine –he improves with age. He indulges in some trickery on the far side of the field, and he nearly always got his pass to his men. An attack by the Everton left wing culminated when Eglington centred behind, Birch swung over a long cross-field pass to Eglington but the latter’s short one to Kirby did not reach its objective because Armfield intervened. So far we had not seen a lot of Payne, Perry was moving to all parts of the ground in an effort to cause a break in the Everton defence.
Jones for once in a way misjudged the flight of the ball and this let in South African winger, Perry who saw Matthews standing out on his own and offered him an opportunity which was not taken up. so far Farm had nothing to do. This could not be said of Harris, who had already made several good saves. He made yet another from Durie who had so far been Blackpool’s chief marksman. It was Durie again who put the Everton defence on the spot while Harris rushed out to try and keep the ball away from Durie’s head, but he was just a fraction of a second too late and the ball was dropping over the Everton, goal-line when Moore kicked away.
For This Relief…
For some time Everton had been strictly on the defence and when Matthews cutely pulled the ball back for the oncoming. Taylor everyone expected a goal but the little inside right did not find a true line with his shot and the ball passed outside much to the relief of the Everton team and their supporters. The Blackpool front line was full of ball players and it was this which often prevented them from doing more damage for it gave the Blue’s defence the opportunity to get to grips whereas a little more direct effort might have been advantageous. Farm was at last called to duty, Farrell ran the ball well up-field and when most people expected a pass tried a shot. He only half-hit the ball, and Farm was able to stop it and clear on the second attempt.
It was just after this that Everton got a goal which few had anticipated and Farm was so completely taken by surprise when he saw Farrell’s shot deflected that he made very little effort to stop the ball. It was Eglington who made the pass to Farrell which brought this goal at the 37th minute. Some of the Blackpool players looked staggered. They nearly had another shock when Moore got the ball into the goalmouth and just as it was dropping Farm tipped it over the crossbar. Everton were now attacking strongly and Moore tried to blaze the Everton trail by cutting through on his own only to be finally dispossessed. Birch who we know has a fiery shot in his boot was given the chance to prove it by Farrell but he was off the mark on this occasion. Everton had been on top for the last ten minutes but when the interval arrived they had not increased their goal challenge.
Half-time; Everton 1, Blackpool nil.
As a matter of interest it was Snowden who deflected Farrell’s shot beyond Farm. Taylor returned limping but Blackpool nevertheless went straight into the attack through the combined efforts of Perry and Durie but the latter failed at the last obstacle. Everton who had finished off the first half quite well got back into the attacking frame of mind and Farrell ran into the outside left position before delivering a centre which Farm caught confidently.
Payne in Action
Payne who was now getting a better service did some nice things and I feel that when he settles down he will render Everton good service. A Birch long shot passed outside. Just prior to that Kirby tried to side foot a ball past Farm, but the Scottish goalkeeper was not to be caught that way. Blackpool who gave me the impression that they always wanted to sneak they extra yard , got back into their attacking ideas and Harris had to throw himself at the feet of Mudie a action which caused the Blackpool man to shoot outside.
IT HASN’T BEEN A REALLY GREAT SEASON FOR EVERTON
April 21, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
Today sees the last of Everton’s League fixtures and I hope by the time you read this we shall have finished up on a high note against Blackpool. To the average Blues’ supporter, I suppose it hasn’t been a really great season for the club. Our final league placing is not what we shall all wish it to be, but for that matter, very few clubs in the First Division are in the position they visualized at the commencement of the season. Looking back over our league programme I suppose our two home defeats by Preston in the opening game of the season and by Sheffield United on Good Friday were our two most disappointing shows in front of our own supporters at Goodison. On the brighter side, I am sure no one connected with Everton will ever forget the thrilling rally and finish to our game against Charlton at Goodison Park. Another league game which stands out in my memory was strangely enough, also against Charlton, early in the season at the Valley when the Blues won 2-0. It was not so much the score in this match as the manner in which Everton achieved their victory that made the game to memorable to all the lads. Our defeat by Manchester City, which foiled Everton’s bid for another Cup semi-final appearance was a bitter disappointment to us all but in days to come I am sure players and spectators alike will remember the Blues superlative first half display. I suppose some will maintain that it was fruitless, since the Blues were eventually defeated. Be that as it may I shall always cherish the memory of that 45 minutes football feast at Maine Road. However these League and Cup games are now behind us, and next week we welcome the visiting Vasco De Game side to Goodison. This team which comes with a high reputation, should be a great attraction for the fans. These friendly games usually produce very entertaining football as the players enter the fray in a slightly relaxed frame of mind, freed from the tension of battling for points. The fans, too usually look for something different from these visiting sides as regards methods and tactics and home players can also learn something from our opponents. Let us next week’s game will be no exception to the rule, and that we shall all enjoy the match and give our visitors a real Goodison reception. Our display at Stamford Bridge, particularly in view of the side’s good showing against Wolves was very disappointing.
Chelsea got off to a great start with two early goals, which put right on their mettle, and the London side went from strength to strength so that at the finish the Blues were a well-beaten side. It was one of those hard to explain days when nothing seemed to go right for us, and Chelsea were helped to their big win by fluky goals. However there wasn’t much wrong with one of Roy Bentley’s in the second half, which was the best shot I have seen this season. Bentley, went through the middle and from about 30 yards out released a terrific power drive into the top corner of the net, a shot which no goalkeeper could have saved. One pleasant aspect of our trip to London was that, for the first time for some years Harry Cooke accompanied us. Harry’s popularity with everyone is legendary, and it was certainly good to see the welcome gives to him by the porters, waiters and general staff in the hotel. He certainly leaves a great impression on all with whom he comes in contact.
CHESTERFIELD RES V EVERTON RES
April 21, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Chesterfield Res;- Banks, goal; Furnles and Sears, backs; Bannister, Flockett and Brent, half-backs; Ledger, McKnight, Brown, Hutchinson, and Dicks, forwards. Everton Res;- Leyland, goal; Lindsay and Rankin, backs; Grant, Woods, and Melville, half-backs; Wainwright, Loader, Saunders, Parker, and Williams, forwards. Referee; Mr. A. Smith (Stoke-on-Trent). Everton had the edge on their opponents for most of the first half. Several times they came close to scoring after beating the nervous home defence. But it was 20 minutes before Parker succeeded in netting. He did so by seizing a loose ball, gliding round Brent in the home goal mouth drawing Banks and shooting diagonally into the open goal. McKnight had several long distance shots, and Brown snapped one in from close range. Another close shot was headed off the line by Woods and Leyland just held a high drive from Bannister as it crept towards the underside of the bar. But try as they might Chesterfield were unable to equalizer before the interval. Half-time; Chesterfield Res nil, Everton Res 1.
ANTI-CLIMAX AT GOODISON
April 23, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 1, Blackpool 0
By Leslie Edwards
The presence of Stanley Matthews, the appearance for the first time as an Everton player of Jimmy Payne, and the sun contributed to an attendance of 57,853 at Goodison Park on Saturday. Yet long before the end of one of the most disappointing of games, thousands began to wonder whether their journey had been necessary and other thousands had decided quite definitely that it hadn’t. Thus at the final whistle there was no enthusiasm beyond the mild joy of Liverpoolians over their sides victory at Rotherham. So the Everton season ended anti-climatically and rather critically since young Kirby at inside-left suffered the crowd’s barracking almost at every turn. This does not improve a young player, especially one put far too early into first class football. Kirby was slow hesitant and out of the picture so long the crowd might well have saved their snorting sneers for those who close him. He was obviously playing as well as he knew. His only top-class attribute at the moment would seem to be his positional sense when centres come from either wing. The two men we went to see in a game that looked so attractive, prospectively – Matthews and Payne –both experienced frustration. It took Everton too long to discover Payne was among them. For ten minutes or so he rarely saw the ball, much less received a pass. Keen to do well, Payne was kept in an inoffensive role for lack of ammunition. With Matthews the case was different. He kept the Blackpool line well, charged with ammunition, none of which was exploded into goals.
That a game which so often promised goals should yield only one –to Farrell –was due to a combination of circumstances, not least that Blackpool four or five times in the first half disdained the invitation to score. Other factors were the good defence of Tom Jones and two or three fine saves from close range shots by Albert Harris. Farm, in the Blackpool goal had scarcely a thing to do except retrieve the ball from the net following a substantially deflected. Farrell shot at the thirty-fifth minute. This the only goal, appeared almost shame-faced that it should count, but it did and all Blackpool’s second half trying –their was many times within inches of getting a scoring boot behind the ball – could not counter it. Matthews diddled Everton and delighted the crowd in one first half run in which the ball at one time seemed out of play. But as if they did not want to stop his gallop Everton followers withheld their appeal Matthews bobbed up in the most unexpected places (having moved into them without our nothing it), but on this occasion this ground did not inspire him. For once the big drum of football sounded a little muffed. Tansey could have had no nightmare on Saturday –just pleasant memories of a man who beat him often and took the ball to the goal line, then squared it for some Everton defender to pick it up and send it safely upfield. As League runners-up Blackpool were disappointing, but they produced in Snowden a young man whose football peak at centre-half may come in the near future. They also produced inside forward Durie a man who should be as brilliant and durable as, say, Mortensen.
Durie covers the ground with long legs that seem to be wearing seven league boots. For half an hour he was here, there and everywhere, hardly making a mistake with head or foot. Only when he tired (as who wouldn’t?) did his play begin to suffer. It was the penetrating Durie who was all but a scorer when Farrell collided accidentally with his own goalkeeper and knocked him cold Harris took time to recover and the crowd were not slow to show recognition of a galliant save which cost him a painful blow to the nose. Given forwards of size Blackpool must have won but Matthews is no goal-taker. Durie was busy scheming and Taylor and Mudie stood too close to the ground to have any chance in the art with the Everton defence. Thus Perry on the left was usually the side’s striker but for once he went without a goal. There was not a great deal to like about Everton. They had no pattern in their play. The match developed some go as you-please lines towards the end, and the many people in the large crowd seemed content that cricket is coming in. In young Birch a redhead whose hottest line is his ability to sling the ball effortlessly from one wing to another, Everton have a find. In A. Harris they have a young goalkeeper of great promise. Elsewhere the story is not so happy.
LUCKY POINTS FOR EVERTON
April 23, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
The first thing you will want to know about the Everton-Blackpool game is what sort of a debate did Jimmy Payne have in his new colours? For my part he had a reasonably good game and I have a feeling that he is going to render good service to the Goodison Park club once he has really settled down and become more acquainted with his new colleagues. He was none too well supported in the first half; at least, not until the last ten minutes or so, when he produced some of the things which at one time earned him high praise at Anfield and a “B” international cap. One could not expect him to dovetail immediately but once he settles down he may prove to be the best outside right Everton have had since Torry Gillick’s days. He was starved for a time, but when he did get the ball he did something useful with it. Would that I could say the same about Kirby. He had anything but a happy home debut for apart from a few headers early on he could do nothing right and he soon came under the ban of the crowd. I readily admit to his shortcomings, but if you want to kill a boy’s enthusiasm that is the way to do it. Many a good prospect has had to seek pastures new because of the treatment of the crowd.
Kirby’s Great Need
His great need at the moment is to increase his speed. He was slow and lethargic, for there were times when refused to chase a ball as a young and enthusiastic new-comer generally does. Time and again his slowness allowed the opposition to nip in and take the ball from under his very nose, and there is nothing more annoying to the crowd than that. Yet for all his failings he did one or two things which suggested possibilities but it is obvious that he is not ready for senior football. I consider Everton were a wee bit lucky to take two points for the goal they scored had an element of luck about it, for Farrell’s shot was deflected by Snowden beyond goalkeeper Farm. Even the Everton captain was surprised to see that ball pass into the net. That it was all against the run of the play brooks of no argument for Blackpool had treated us to some good football but they missed the final point –the scoring of goals. They gave me the impression that they had too many ball players in the front rank. I think you can play too much football and miss the substance for the shadow hereby. Up to the penalty area they were craftsmen, but there fell from grace. They wanted to walk the ball into the net – steal the extra few yards –and Tommy Jones, in particular was not prepared to allow them the privilege. Taylor and Mudie were perhaps the biggest sinners in this respect for Matthews laid on some choice passes for his partner’s but they fiddled while Rome burned. It was during Blackpool’s ascendancy that Albert Harris performed his best feats. He can forget his Chelsea lapses and know that his work against the League runners-up was solid and confident. He along with Jones were the two men who had most to do with the subjugation of Blackpool.
Jones has had a wonderful season. He is without doubt the most consistent player in the side. He had a tremendous amount of work to do against Blackpool, yet not once did I see him also on err while he went to all Paris to lend a helping hand where it was most needed. When I say that Farrell was one of Everton’s best forwards I only speak the truth for the Everton captain was always surging forward to bring some power to bear in attack. His goal was made for him by Eglington but I am convinced in my own mind that Farm had the shot covered until it hit the Blackpool centre half and passed out of his reach. I must say however that the Scottish goalkeeper did not make a great effort when he saw the deflection. His most dangerous work was balls dropping close to his crossbar and he had no compunction in edging them over his crossbar –no risk for him. What a pity Stanley Matthews is getting near the end of his brilliant career. With his going football will lose its most glittering star, and he is still good enough to represent England I never tire of seeing the old maestro in action for I know I am going to see the best there is in football artistry. I liked the thrust of Durie who was the one man likely to beat Harris and he once did, but Moore was standing on the line to hover his goalkeeper’s face. This was the only time the young Everton goalkeeper looked like being beaten. Harris caught and held the ball well, and was usually master in the penalty wave. Everton were very much better in the second half when Kirby went to centre forward but he had not the subtleness to beat such sparkling wing half backs as the two Kellys and Snowdon I think he gave Farm one header to save and that was his full quota of scoring efforts in a game he will wish to forget at the quickest possible moment. This was not like an end of the season game and that the crowd can be lured away from others attractions was made evident with the attendance figures reading -57,823.
EVERTON SIGN FORWARD
April 23, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Player From Barry Town
Everton have signed what they believe to be a really bright young prospect in Edward Lowden an inside right from Barry Town, for whom he has been playing regularly. He is 21 years old, stands 6ft and scales 13 stones. Loader played for Everton Reserves against Chesterfield on Saturday and immediately after the game it was decided to sign him. Barry Town got Loader on his demobilization from the R.A.F. Several First Division clubs have shown an interest in him but he preferred to come to Everton, which was natural seeing that his manger is Murice Lindsay, the former Everton half-back. Loader was born in Colchester but has been in residence at Cardiff for a number of years.
The semi-final of the Liverpool Senior Cup will be played tonight. Everton meet Southport at Goodison Park. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Birch, Jones, Lello; Payne, Donovan, Harris (J), Fielding, Harris (B).
MCNAMARA GOALS PUT EVERTON INTO SENIOR CUP FINAL
April 24, 1956. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 3, Southport 1
Two goals by Toy McNamara a last minute substitute for the injured Payne, set Everton on the path to victory in their Liverpool Senior Cup semi-final at Goodison Park last night. The score was a true indication of the trend of play for Southport, despite many promising raids initiated chiefly by left back Hitchen and left half Charlton never threatened to overcome a stout Everton defence – though in the early stages O’Neill more than once saved Everton in tricky situations. Twice in the first half he made stunning saves from Mcllvenny and McDermott though Minsbull accomplished the evening’s best pierce of goalkeeping when he brought off a spectacular driving save from a Donovan header he could not have seen until the very last second. Centre half Jones, captain for the night paved the way to Everton’s first goal his raking free kick being headed on by Jimmy Harris to McNamara who had the simple task of netting from close range. A second goal to Everton and McNamara came in the 68th minute the right winger hitting a great drive of a fast, pulled-back centre by Jimmy Harris. Hereabouts Southport produced some of their most effective football and it was no more than they deserved when McDermott tapped the ball home to reduce the arrears in 79 minutes. Hitchen initiated the score with a free kick into the goalmouth, and Holmes put the ball against O’Neill’s body before McDermott hit it home.
Great Fielding Shot
Fielding and Donovan between them, made Everton’s position’s secure five minutes from the end. Donovan’s name goes on the scorecard but it was Fielding’s great shot which produced the goal for Minshull could only push the ball out to Donovan and the scoring of the goal was merely a formality for the Everton inside right. Moore and Tansey were sound Everton backs with Jones as usual dominating in the middle. The forwards disappointed despite their three goals though McNamara put across many splendid centres and Donovan was good in the air. Fielding was their most constructive attacker as was Mcllvenny for Southport. The little scot did many clever things but met with poor response from Bromilow and company. Attendance 6,845.
April 25, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Compared with the side which defeated Blackpool, Everton make two changes for their friendly game with Vasco Da Gama at Goodison on Saturday. O’Neill resumes to goal in place of Harris and Lello returning to the forward line after many years in the half-back department, displaces Kirby at inside left. Team;- Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Birch, Jones, Farrell; Payne, Fielding, Harris (J), Lello, Eglington.
Clubs needing players for next season can see nine Everton men who are on the list in the Central league game against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Harris (B) and Woods are the only two retained players in the team, which reads;- Everton Res; Leyland; Lindsay, Molyneux; Grant, Woods, Melville; Wainwright, Lewis, Saunders, Parker, Harris (B).
THIS SHOULD BE GOOD
April 27, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton could not have arranged a more attractive friendly fixture to fill in tomorrow’s blank than the visit of Vasco Da Gama, the touring Brazlian side. this game will give Merseyside football followers a splendid opportunity, the like of which very rarely comes their way of comparing our standard of football with that of South America, whose rapid strides in the game during the last generation or so are beyond dispute. Vasco Da Gama are one of the best club sides in Brazil. Their partly includes many players with representative (honours including two who were with the Brazilian national team for the World Cup in Switzerland. Ademir and Pinga. Altogether the team includes five Brazilian international and two who have played for Paraguay. Like most Brazilian sides, Da Gama are composed of white and coloured players and it is with no disrespect to the former that I say the coloured men will probably be the most entertaining. Most of them are magnificent athletic specimen, wonderfully supple and agile and they do things in the course of the match which no British player would attempt. The World Cup game between Brazil and Yugoslavia at Lausanne which went on for two hours in terrific beat, was one of the finest exhibitions of clever football I have ever seen. It was not characterized by a great deal of shooting, but for brilliant footwork and individual skill it was a masterpiece. Whether such football would be acceptable to English crowds as a regular weekly offering, however, is doubtful. There was too much tip-tapping and short passing and sometimes half a dozen moves were involved where one sweeping pass would have been just as effective,. Though not so pretty or entertaining I can imagine what remarks would be hurried at players who did that sort of thing regularly in our football. But it was certainly an object lesson in its own way. Brazil on that occasion showed outstanding stamping. When attacking they had eight men on the job when defending they all funneled back like lightning. Yet not one slackened or showed signs of fatigue in a really grueling game. If tomorrow’s Goodison offering is only half as good the public will still get their money’s worth. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Birch, Jones, Farrell; Payne, Fielding, Harris (J), Lello, Eglington. Vasco Da Gama; Gonzalez; Haroldo, Belline; Mirian, Orlando, Beto; Ademir, Manoca, Vars, Pinga, Parodl.
VASCO DA GAMA STEER TO DEFEAT AS BLUES FIND THEIR GOAL PUNCH
April 28, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton 6, Da Gama 3
Everton were too strong for their Brazilian, visitors who were probably feeling the effects of their long journey from Italy yesterday. Although Vasco Da Gama played some nice football they were too prone to individualistic touches and wasted opportunities by excessive short passing. Lello did the hat-trick in the second half but the outstanding forward was Brian Harris. Mayers also did well. Everton; O’Neill, goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Birch, Jones and Farrell (captain), half-backs; Mayers, Fielding, Harris (J), Lello and Eglington, forwards. Vasco Da Gama; Helio, goal; Dairo and Belline, backs; Laerte, Haraldo, and Beto, half-backs; Parodi, Yedo, Vara, Livinho, and Dejayr, forwards. Referee; Mr. Colliges. Despite the excellent weather there was only a very moderate crowd for the visit of Vasco Da Gama, one of the star sides of Brazil. The visitors made several changes in the team originally announced due to injuries received on the Continent and other causes. Pinga received a fractured jaw in Turkey, Mancea had a thigh injury; Ademir the star personality in the Vasco team was also unable to turn out, but was having message and said that if a substitute became necessary he would try to play. The question of substitutes was settled under F.I.F.A rules which permit the goalkeeper to be changed at any time during the match and one other player up to half-time. During their Continent tour Vasco have played ten games winning four and losing four. One interesting experiment in the Everton side was the appearance of Lello at inside left. Before the start the captains exchanged pennants and the Brazilian players each presented small memento to his corresponding number on the Everton side.
Unusual Line Up
The Vasco defensive formation bore little relation at the start to the numbers on the programme or the usual English line-pout. Belline (3) took up position as a second right back between numbers 2 and 5, with Beto (6) in the position normally occupied by a left back. Beto took the throw-ins on his side of the field. This meant that Jimmy Harris was watched all the time by dual centre halves. Everton began in good style and for the first ten minutes the Brazilians were rarely out of their own half. Brian Harris put in one splendid dribbling run, in which he beat three men in effortless fashion. Neither goalkeeper was in action in the early stages. Learte (4)was acting as a sort of loose forward more than a half-back and was always well up on the heels of his forwards when Vasco got away. The first real shot of the match came after 15 minutes when Fielding let go a powerful drive only a foot over the bar. The Brazilians were inclined to hold the ball too long and try too much individually, it paid them well, however at the 16th minute when a neat movement between Yeto , Vara and Livinho resulted in Liverho scoring for Vasco. Straight from the restart Everton went away from Jimmy Harris to call forth a smart save from Helio who though making it a little more acrobatic than perhaps it need have bee, captain had to be quick to stop the equalizer. At the 20th minute Everton equalized with a gift goal, Hello coming out too far and then finding a header by Farrell from outside the penalty area bouncing so high over his outstretched hands that he could do nothing to stop it.
The Brazilians were now warming to their game and O’Neill made two saves in quick succession from Yedo and Leacte, the forward Dario brought a cheer from the crowd for a typical South American double kick and Helio also gained approbation for three dazing saves in which he dived right at the feet of oncoming forwards. Hello was obviously trying to make up for his earlier slip and was showing plenty of courage. Livinho had a great chance to put his side in front again, but shot wide, Beto who had displayed some very clever footwork was well up with the Vasco forwards whenever he got the chance. On one occasion he tried a chip from a yard inside the Everton penalty area.
Jimmy Harris had a splendid shot tipped over the bar by Helio who then fisted out Mayer’s flag kick. Both Mayers and Brain Harris had taken corners exceptionally well. Yedo looked a certain scorer when he burst through O’Neill made a brilliant one handed save off his fierce drive. Learte again looked a likely scorer after Livinho and Dajayr had almost had themselves in Knuts with their intricate close passing and over-dribbling. His strong shot hit with both feet off the ground was well saved by O’Neill. Straight from this Everton bore down on the visiting goal in a beautiful combined movement which was finished off with a rocket-like shot by Brian Harris which Helio saved in great style. The visitors took the lead at the 40th minute when the Everton defence dallied and dallied and Farrell miss-hit a clearance straight to the feet of Dejayr who rammed the ball into goal from the edge of the penalty area with a fast low drive. Hello made two smashing saves in successive seconds –one from Birch and the other from Lello –and then Haroldo kicked off the line to prevent Everton equalizing. Right on half-time Harris broke through but shot straight at Hello. Half-time; Everton 1, Vasco Da Gama 2.
The second half was only two minutes old when Everton got the equalizer through Fielding in fortunate fashion. Fielding only got his chance when Farrell muffed an attempted shot. his badly sliced effort landed at Fielding’s feet and when the inside man shot the ball looked to be going out until I swerve at the last moment, strike the foot of the post and rebound into the net. An electfying run nearly half the length of the field by Jimmy Harris should have brought Everton the lead had justice been done for his shot after he had draw Helio out of goal, was saved in the luckiest fashion, by Dario, the ball cannoned off his boot to the foot of the post and then bouncing back in front of him so that he could clear. A leading goal was not long denied Everton, however, for at the 57th minute another splendid run by Jimmy Harris –this time on the right wing –carved out an opening for Mayers who scored with a low first time shot. The Brazilians were showing clever footwork but still tended to keep the ball too close and to hold on to it too long. They should have taken a leaf out of Everton’s book. The home side was washing no effort on unproductive embroidery. At the 63rd minute Lello put Everton further ahead after Mayers had done all the work, beating three men with a lovely run and leaving Lello nothing to do but swing his feet at the pass and place the ball out of Helio’s reach. Another sweet combined more by Everton saw Fielding try a first timer which had tremendous pace behind it but was not of the requisite accuracy otherwise Helio would have been picking the ball out of the back of the net again. Lello increased Everton’s lead at the 73rd minute, but once again as with his previous goal, all he had to do was tap the ball in this time after Jimmy Harris had made a wonderful run down the right flank and then crossed a ball which goalkeeper Helio failed to gather. Harris had a great game. His work on the wings was particularly outstanding and his speed and ball control were too much for the Vasco defenders. A breakaway by Vasco De Gama saw Yedo reduce the lead in the 78th minute, but two minutes later Lello completed his hat-trick with a header of a centre by Fielding. It had been a most entertaining game but the Brazilians tried towards the finish which was not surprising considering that after their long journey from Italy they had not got to bed till four o’clock this morning. Final; Everton 6, Vasco Da Gama 3.
BEHIND THE GOAL, BUT FAR AWAY FROM THE PLAY
April 28, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
Wembley, Soccer’s annual showpiece takes place next week in the form of the F.A Cup spectacle between Manchester City and Birmingham, a sight which will be witnessed by 100,000 spectators plus millions of televiewers. The people I feel most sorry for are the unfortunate loyal supporters of the Manchester and Birmingham teams who have not been able to secure a ticket to see their favourites in the final. True, they have some compensation for their disappointment through the medium of television but there is no real compensation for not being actually present at a Cup Final at Wembley, especially when your favourite side is participating. I always thing it is rather pathetic on Cup Final day to see the 15,000 or so supporters of each of the rival camps situated far away from the field of play at the back of each goal. I do think that these loyal fans who have supported their favourites in thick and thin and through all kinds of weather during the years, deserve a better “spec” but there again I suppose they are lucky in contrast to some of their fellow fans who fail to get any kind of ticket.
The fair disposal of Cup Final tickets is, I am sure s nightmare for those responsible. No matter what is done to endeavour to give a fair allocation of those most entitled to them, every year thousands find themselves seated at Wembley to see the Blue Riband of Soccer who have very little right to be there as a good proportion of them know very little about what is happening on the field. I have been to Wembley on two occasions and in the mid of Blackpool’s amazing rally against Bolton, a nearby lady was badly occupied with the aid of binoculars endeavoured to diagnose the Queen’s woreing appeared. Nevertheless perhaps this lady had as much right to be there as any ardent Blackpool fan or again portion she knew the right contacts. The game against Blackpool was a grand final for the Blues, who by their 1-0 victory had in successive home games beaten the two main contenders for the runners up position in the First Division. The manner in which Blackpool opened up made the outlook very gloomy for Everton in the early stages, but fortunately for us the visitors failed to accept their chances and once the Blues gained their rather lucky goal, the lads seemed to gain more confidence in themselves, as a result of which our general standard of play improved considerably and our second half showing was satisfactory to all. Our winning goal was a very fluky but nevertheless welcome affair. When Tommy Eglington nodded the ball to me, I miss hit the ball and it was nowhere near the target until strike off Snowden and gradually deflected into the far corner of the net. The magical drawing power of Stan Matthews was once more in evidence as many of the 57,000 crowd went alone specially to see the maestro. What a household word his name is! After the match while I was dressing I could hear a legion of young enthusiasts outside the players entrance chanting “We want Stan” Yes, everyone still wants Matthews even after all these years at the top of the tree.
I had a trip home to Ireland this week to play for a selected side in Dublin against the English league champions Manchester United. Our side which included Tommy Eglington, Nat Lofthouse and Neil Franklin was no match for the slick moving champions and we were beaten 4-0. Matt Busby’s boys gave the 25,000 crowd a great exhibition of the arts and crafts of the game. Their main asset and perhaps the major reason for the League championship success in my opinion is their ability to move into the open spaces and the fact that everyone in the side is continually looking for the ball. In conclusion I am going to have a go at forecasting something which has never been my line, but here goes I am taking Manchester City to beat Birmingham next Saturday.
MAN UNITED RES V EVERTON RES
April 28, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Manchester United Res;- Crompton, goal; Fulton and Beat, backs; Whitefoot, Cope and Whitehurst, half-backs; Scott, Whelan, Webster, Blanchflower, and Scanlon, forwards. Everton Res; Leyland, goal; Lindsay and Molyneux, backs; Grant, Woods, and Melville, half-backs; Wainwright, Lewis, Saunders, Parker and Williams, forwards. Referee; Mr. P.G. Brandwood (Kiddersministers). Everton res opened strongly and after Parker had gone close Saunders was only prevented from scoring minutes later by a brilliant save by Crompton. Manchester then took a turn and Molyneux saved a goal by heading out after Leyland had been beaten. After 31 minutes Manchester took the lead, Blanchflower scoring. Half-time; Manchester United Res 1, Everton res nil. The second half saw the visitors attacking and on one occasion Saunders got clear of all opposition but Crompton ran 14 yards out to block his shot. Manchester replied with a swift move but Webster’s shot went flashing by the post. After 64 minutes Saunders scored with a great header after Williams shot had struck the bar. Four minutes from the end Webster put Manchester in front. Final; Manchester United Res 2, Everton Res 1.
EVERTON ATATCK IN HAPPY MOOD
April 30, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
Everton 6, Vasco Da Gama 3
This Goodison Park game provided much entertaining football, a glut of goals, plenty of strong shooting, and a better display from the home forward line than we have seen for quite a while. Owing to the disorgaisation of their travel arrangements the Brazilians had 18 hours tiring travel on Friday did not get to bed until nearly four o’clock on Saturday morning, and obviously felt the effects of this in the second half, when they tired perceptibly. They also had to make several changes in their side, due to injuries so that under all the adverse circumstances they did quite well. The Brazilians fondness for close-passing and over-elaboration is a national characteristic. One could hardly expect them to shed it in this game though it must have become obvious to the visitors that it made the task of the Everton defence easier than it otherwise might have been. On the comparatively rare occasions that they moved the ball by sweeping moves and cut out the fancy tip-tapping Vasco da Gama showed that they might be quite a formidable team. They were not without strong marksmen though they did not do as much shooting as the home side.
Their defensive system was unusual, though the accepted thing in their own country. reading from right to left they had four defenders abreast in front of goal –number 2,3,5,and 6 –with No 6 in the left-back berth and No 4 acting more as a loose forward than a wing-half. For a time the visitors kept Everton fairly well in check. Once they began to tire, however, the home forwards really came into their own, and only some brilliant saves by Helio, one of the Continent types of acrobatic goalkeepers, kept the score to reasonable proportions. O’Neill also had quite a fair bit of work to do. Vasco da Gama were twice in the lead in the first half, with a fluky Farrell goal which bounced high over the goalkeeper’s head sandwiched between scores by Livinho and Dajayr. In the second half Everton got down to serious business, and Fielding, Mayers and Lello (twice) before Yedo got Vasco’s final goal. Then a header by Lello off a Fielding centre enabled the former wing-half to complete his hat-trick. That sounds extremely good for his first appearance in the forward line for years, but in each instance all lello had to do was put the finishing touch to good work by others. They were all simple chances. Nevertheless he deserves full credit, for Everton forwards have been missing simpier opportunities than these on many occasions.
J. Harris Best
Best of the Everton attack was Jimmy Harris. Although he failed to score he put in the most dangerous raids and shots of the match, and twice was foiled by miraculous saves by Helio. Some of his touchline runs were electrifying. Mayers and Brian Harris also shaped well, with the latter seeming much more effective on the left than he has been on the right wing. Vasco da Gama’s tackling was nothing like so keen and determined as Everton are accustomed to facing, and though it was encouraging to see the home attack shooting so frequently, they were allowed much greater scope than they could expect in a League match. Vasco’s display was more dainty and intricate than effective though on occasions they showed that they could be direct and incisive and shoot well. Their ball control was excellent up to a point. the weakness of their game, judged by British standards was that too many of their players hung on to the ball too long, tried too much individually, and finally either lost control or were dispossessed when tackled. They were also on the slow side. As an exhibition of academic football there was much to admire and entertain, and that, surely is the main aim of friendly matches between different nationalities. On that score the game fulfilled its purpose.
GLUT OF GOALS
April 30, 1956. The Liverpool Echo
If only Everton could score goals in League games as they did against Vasco da Gama there would also be less anxiety among their followers. Lello got a hat-trick, Jimmy Harris deserved one, and Mayers, Brian Harris and Fielding delivered many shots the like of which we have seen too seldom, in League games. Why the difference? The answer is simple enough. First, Vasco ad Gama did not tackle with the deadliness of English sides. Secondly, there was nothing at stake so that the home forwards could take chances without worrying about failure. Tardily Everton had most of the luck that was going and three of the goals were rather fortune to but it mildly. That, however, does not detract from the credit due to them for a most entertaining exhibition it would seem judging by his hat-trick that Lello was an outstanding success. He did well and took his goals nicely, but two came after Mayers and Jimmy Harris had done all the building up work, leaving Lello to add the appropriate crowning touch from close range. It was good to see him do it, so confidently, however, for we have seen many equally simple chances missed in the past. Top marks also go to him for being in the right spot at the right time which is another thing that has not always characterized some of Everton’s forwards. As an exhibition of some of the finer arts of football, the game was instructive. The Brazilians were dainty and delicate but their close combination as overdone far, too much and they frequently lost possession through indulgence in excessive individualism. Just what sort of show they might have put up had they been a full strength, or had they not been travelling until the early hours of Saturday morning is anybody’s guess. I don’t think the ultimate result would have been greatly affected even though it was obvious that some Vasco players were tired out in the closing stages.
Jimmy Harris Was Great
Owing to a telephone error I was made to say on Saturday that Brian Harris was Everton’s best forward. It should have read Jimmy Harris, who put in some wonderful runs on the wing after realizing that Vasco’s defensive set up could better be prised open that way than down the middle. The visitors played four men in line abreast in front of their goal –Nos 2,3, 5,and 6 in sight to left order. It was the system that their national side adopted in the World Cup. The defence, however, did not get the support I had anticipated from the forwards when it was hard pressed and the side was nowhere near as speedy as I had anticipated. I should hesitate to say that a side such as Vasco da Gama would make much of a show in English football over eight months of sustained endeavour in the tougher tackling atmosphere which characterizes our League matches. They would need to be far more direct, incisive much keener in fighting for the ball and a lot faster.