CHESTER BEAT EVERTON
May 1 1951. The Liverpool Daily Post
Chester 5, Everton 3
Everton, with seven players in their side who have had first team experience played pretty first half football in this benefit match for David McNeil, one time Chester left back, now captain of the reserves. They made some attractive moves with Hampson a clever ball player, but his partner, Donovan centred too near to the goalkeeper. With centre half Lee and full back Molyneux playing well, Chester took command in the early stages of the second half. Foulkes opened the scoring after three and a half minutes. Hickson equalized for Everton 30 seconds later and put his side ahead. Morement equalized and in the second half Devonshire scored two more for Chester and Hickson completed his hat-trick.
BUXTON MAY DO THE TRICK AGAIN
May 1, 1951. The Evening Express
Everton Stay There En Route to Sheffield
By Pilot (Don Kendall)
Buxton can complete a glorious hat-trick of football triumphs this week. Newcastle spent five days at Buxton before moving off to Wembley where they defeated Blackpool in the Cup final. They used the same hotel occupied by Everton in 1933, before the Blues succeeded at Wembley. As Newcastle moved out for the south last week, so Everton moved in, and the Blues made it a nice Saturday by beating Derby County 1-0 so bringing off the “double” for the same hotel. Everton will be doing their training at home for Saturday’s great and vital clash with Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsbrough, but Buxton will again be their stepping off centre for the game. Everton travel through on Thursday; rest on Friday and move on to Sheffield on Saturday morning –a short journey. This will his one of the hardest of all tests and Manager Cliff Britton is hoping that he will have in all the complement from which to select his team. The only player who suffered a slight injury at Derby was Ted Sagar who had a recurrence of the pulled thigh muscle. Ted is under constant treatment and when I asked Manager Britton the prospect of Sagar playing at Sheffield he replied “I am still hopeful” Knowing Sagar I think we shall see him there ready to play the fighting Wednesday who must win to escape to safety on goal-average.
NOMINATION DAY AT EVERTON
May 2, 1951. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
Nomination of candidates for election to the Everton Board were to have been lodged with the club in business hours” yesterday. Although the Shareholders Association decided last week, to nominate Mr. Tom Nuttall to fill any vacancy which might arise, it is likely that one if not two of the three directors seeking re-election (Mr. Fred Lake and Mr. Norman Coffey) will be opposed by candidates not necessarily backed by the shareholders Association. At their weekly Board meeting this evening the Chairman Mr. W. R. Williams will disclose nominations received. Meanwhile everyone anxious to see Everton remain in the First Division are planning their trip to that vital match at Sheffield, on Saturday. One fan who wrote last week for a stand ticket was told by the Sheffield Wednesday club that all have open sold so anyone who wishes to encourage Everton in their most important game for years must do it from the terraces. That is not likely to discourage thousands from attendance.
EVERTON BOARD; SURPRISED TURN
May 3, 1951. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
A Battle for places on the Board of Everton Football Club is imminent. The three retiring directors, Messrs R. Searle, N. Coffey and F. Lake, have been joined as candidates by Messrs T.C. Nuttall, R. Murphy and John Carson. The Board, at their meeting last night, decided to back, the candidatures of Messrs Lake, Coffey and Nuttall, the last named the nominee of the Everton Shareholders Association. Nominations by Mr. R. Searle, of Messrs Murphy and Carson came as a surprise to the other members of the Board. The Shareholders Association yesterday made the following announcement:-
At a meeting of the Executive Committee of the association it was resolved to recommend to members of the association that they should support in the forthcoming election at the next annual general meeting the following candidates; Messrs F. Lake, N. Coffey and T.C. Nuttall. Members and shareholders generally are strongly recommended not to sign proxies in favour of any other candidates. A statement by the Everton club on the situation is expected soon.
Lawton “Thumbs Down”
Tommy Lawton, Notts County and former Everton centre forward has turned down a tempting offer from New York to act as coach for a series of American National challenge cup games this summer. A cablegram he received yesterday from the manager of the German-Hungarian team of Brooklyn, New York, offered the player the post on the grounds that it would give a big boost in soccer in the state. Lawton refused the offer because he hoped that during the close season he would be able to combine an effort to get really fit again with some business transactions.
HUMPHREYS’S FOR TRANSFER
May 3, 1951. The Evening Express
Pilot’s Log (Don Kendall)
Everton have decided to place Jack Humphreys their Welsh international centre-half, on the transfer list. Club have to advise players by the last day of each season on this occasion it is Saturday, what are their intentions for the new season, and Humphreys is now on offer. Jack is a native of Llandudno, who joined Everton during the war while serving in the Army. Humphreys played with Crystal Palace as a “guest” while stationed in the south, and when football was resumed in the re-habilitation season of 1945-46 he became centre half in Everton’s team. Humphreys and another Welsh international T.G Jones “jockeyed” for the first team position for a couple of seasons and also for the centre-half berth in the Welsh international team. Jack played for Wales against Ireland in 1947 when Jones was unable to play because of injury.
EVERTON TEAM CHANGES
May 3, 1951. The Evening Express
By Pilot (Don Kendall)
Everton will have Wally Fielding back at outside-right for their up-or-down match against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsbrough on Saturday, but ted Sagar, their long service goalkeeper is unable to play. Fielding has been absent for three matches because of strained stomach muscle, but he is fit again and takes over from young Gibson. Sagar is suffering from his first ever pulled muscle, and following a try-out at Goodison Park today, he felt it to an extent which made him chary of risking it in such an important match. So George Burnett returns to the spot he occupied up to October. There are the only changes. Everton; Burnett; Saunders, Lindsay; Grant, Jones, Farrell; Fielding, Potts, Catterick, Parker, Eglington. Sheffield Wednesday field the X1 which lost to Tottenham. It is McIntosh; Jackson, Curtis; Henry, Packard, Witcomb; Finney, Sewell, Woodhead, Froggatt, Rickett.
THREE EVERTON BOARD VACANCIES
May 3 1951. The Evening Express
By Pilot (Don Kendall)
There are six candidates for the three vacancies of the board of the Everton Football Club which will arise at the annual meeting and the present directors last night decided to support only two of the retiring directors. Three directors retire by rotation each year and those who are coming off and offering themselves for re-selection are in seniority of service Messrs R.E. Searle, F.W. Lake and Norman Coffey. Other nominations have been received on behalf of Mr. Thomas C. Nuttall, of Maghull, a member of the shareholders Association Executive Committee; Mr. John Carson, head of a Merseyside firm of shipbuilders, and Mr. Reginald Murphy, a Merseyside timber merchant. The club Chairman, Mr. W. R. (Dickie) Williams, told me last night; “The directors at their meeting this evening passed a resolution to support the candidatures of Messrs Lake, Coffey and Nuttall.” Mr. Seale is the senior in service of the three retiring directors, for he was elected to the Board unopposed in 1942. Mr. Lake was elected in 1944, and Mr. Coffey was elected to the Board in 1943. Mr. Coffey is the son of the late Mr. Andrew Coffey, who was twice chairman of Everton.
ONE POINT AND EVERTON WILL RACH SAFETY
May 4, 1951. The Evening Express
Hillsborough Decider with Sheffield Wednesday
By Pilot (Don Kendall)
Everton tomorrow face the most important match in their 63 years of membership in the Football League. They visit Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough knowing that defeat means their second term in the Second Division. One point is needed to enable the Blues to preserve First Division status. Two of three clubs – Everton, the Wednesday and Chelsea –must go down. Everton are at the moment two points ahead of their rivals, but they have the minor goal-average. Should Chelsea and Wednesday win then Everton and Wednesday go down. Wednesday’s fate depends on the Chelsea-Bolton struggle, just as much as on Hillsbrough, and this two-way position could affect their approach to this test with the Blues. Everton, we know have been tantalizing disappointing but the lads showed by their victory at Derby last week that they have that fight so essential in a crisis.
I think Everton have superior midfield craft, and I believe they can make good football coupled with resolute defence and striking power take them to that one point which will make Merseyside breaths freely again. Make no mistake about it the Peter Farrell boys will fight to the last ditch and while I appreciate that Wednesday have improved out of all knowledge, they are just as worried as their rivals. Ted Sagar’s injury prevents him playing in this ultra-important game, but his good wishes will go out to George Burnett his deputy and George will rise to the occasion. The return of Wally Fielding to outside right is, in my opinion, yet another reason for maintaining the optimism and faith I never have lost in the ability of the players to win through. I shall be at Hillsbrough to see the final act in the drama and, like you, hoping for the happy ending. Everton; Burnett; Saunders, Lindsay; Grant, Jones, Farrell; Fielding, Potts, Catterick, Parker, Eglington. Sheffield Wednesday field the X1 which lost to Tottenham. It is McIntosh; Jackson, Curtis; Henry, Packard, Witcomb; Finney, Sewell, Woodhead, Froggatt, Rickett.
EVERTON GO INTO SECOND DIVISION
May 5, 1951. The Evening Express
Wednesday Score 3 in 8 Minutes
Burnett Saved a Penalty in Game of Good Goalkeeping
By Pilot (Don Kendall).
Three goals in eight minutes at Hillsborough by Sheffield Wednesday sent Everton hurting into the Second Dvision for the second time. He in their long and glorious history. Woodhead (2), and Sewell were the scorers of goals which bore the tinge of good fortune but which expressed the vital difference between the two teams. The Wednesday always finished with greater conviction than Everton who however can gain some consolation from the fact that they went down gallantly and still playing good football. The first goal came direct from a clearance by McIntosh, the Wednesday goalkeeper and the ball actually went between Jones legs to provide Woodhead with his chance. Early in the second half Burnett saved a penalty and then Finney scored, while in 65 minutes Froggatt made it into five. In this game of good goalkeeping McIntosh set Everton at defiance. Everton last went into the Second Division in 130 on a points margin, but now go down just because their forwards have lacked penetrative power. In the last 12 matches the forwards have scored only two goals. That tells its own tale. Sewell added a sixth goal for the Wednesday. Liverpool were among the many who sent telegrams of good wishes to the Blues who had thousands of Evertonians present to cheer on their favourities in a great “Life and death battle.” The conditions were dismal for there was a cross-field wing taking with it a slow penetrating drizzle which blew into the main stand. Sheffield Wednesday; McIntosh, goal; Jackson and Curtis, backs; Henry, Packard and Witcomb, half-backs; Finney, Sewell, Woodhead, Froggatt, and Rickett, forwards. Everton; Burnett, goal; Saunders and Lindsay, backs; Grant, Jones and Farrell (captain), half-backs; Fielding, Potts, Catterick, Parker, and Eglington, forwards. Referee; Mr. H.T. Wright (Maclesfield). When the Wednesday appeared spectators ran on to present McIntosh with a lucky horseshoe. Everton wore white with black knickers because of the clash of colours. Farrell won the toss, but this had little advantage. The first incident was a foul against Catterick for barging into Packard and this, on the half-way was lobbed forward by Witcomb. Burnett came out into the fame to make a safe catch. Packard was there to clear Catterick’s neat back heel and then Lindsay nipped in to hold up Finney while Saunders did the same at the expense of Rickett. From the throw in Fielding slipped the ball far across the field to Eglington, who pushed it back along the penalty line for Fielding to make the first shot of the day, the ball going about four yards wide. This game really sparkled. There was a incident in every second with tremendous strength on the ball and also in the tackle. There was no lighting the endeavour of the two. Wednesday had rather more of the pressure in the first fifteen minutes, put Everton moved with greater energy. Froggatt slipped through and had a left foot shot from which Burnett made a two-handled catch and then Fielding was brought down and from the free kick Packard just managed to head away. Potts and Catterick combined for Catterick to nod the ball back to Fielding who se quick shot was off the target. Fielding was the first casualty and after attention to his injuries and the Wednesday went on attack to take the first corner kick, Burnett fisted away to safety. Finney returned the ball quickly and Burnett nipped through the crowd of players to hold the ball with easy.
Saunders and Lindsay showed some anticipation and strong tackling to hold up the lively Wednesday wingers, and then Fielding spring to life as he so often does when he raced to inside left and called upon Eglington. Fielding ran into position for a quick return and then lobbed the ball across for Parker to burst through but Packard kicked away when Parker was about to shoot. Parker was injured when he was tackled but the free kick actually helped a fierce Wednesday attack in which Woodhead back-heeled the ball cleverly with his right foot and Burnett had to go full length to help the ball outside. Personally I think it would have gone outside but Burnett was wise to take no chances. Wednesday forced two more corners as they roared to the attack and from the second Woodhead made a reasonably good chance opening, slipping when the odds were on him. Burnett pulled out a quick header by Finney as the Wednesday for a spell, were pressing Everton without actually getting on top of a defence aided by Potts. Everton had a little luck when Rickett got clear and then lobbed the ball behind. Woddhead tried to burst through at inside left, but suddenly Saunders pounced on him to make a magnificent tackle and a clearance. The clever intervention of the Wednesday put paid to several sprinkling Everton raids. The Wednesday simply refused to be dawn out of position and so was able to hold up attempts at short passing. Potts swung the ball into the goalmouth for Parker to try a header which McIntosh saved low down and from the clearance the Wednesday went straight away to take the lead through Woodhead in 23 minutes. The ball was slipped up the centre towards Woodhead and Jones it seemed odds on Jones getting it for he stumbled and Woodhead was passed him in a flash to burst on to score with a left foot shot which gave Burnett no possible chance. Everton battled back for Fielding playing the ball into the goalmouth to Parker went in to make his head, McIntosh came out to make a safe catch and then Woodhead again became a headache to Jones. It looked as if he was bursting though he lost control and consolidated defence put paid to another promising Wednesday raid. Everton might have drawn level when Parker had a chance for a quick shot after McIntosh had just deflected a centre but instead of shooting he tried to make ground at outside left. He did this and centered but straight to Packard who cleared. In 29 minutes Wednesday were two up and Everton a step nearer the Second Division. This was another Woodhead effort and became in the nature of a gift. Finney centered from just outside the penalty area and Burnett leapt towards and outwards in an effort to fist away. He failed to get hold of the ball which ran away to the left where the ever alert Woodhead found himself unmarked and he whipped the ball into the net. In 32 minutes the Wednesday were three up but it was no hat-trick for this time Sewell was the scorer. Rickett from the goal-line sent in a high centre and Sewell leapt up to head the ball into the net and give a whoop of delight. Since that great move between Eglington and Fielding, Everton had only one attack and the Wednesday had crammed on their three goals in seven minutes to almost assure themselves of their First Division position. Buoyed up by the goals they became faster and more accurate than Everton out of whom a lot of heart had been taken. Everton recaptured their old spirit and Farrell had the foundations for a glorious attack which produced a succession of thrills in the Wednesday goalmouth. McIntosh handed out two short headed attempts; Jackson kicked off the goal line; and then Potts sprang through with a shot which was speeding to the net when it crashed against Packard. Everton continued to play football far above Second Division standard and Parker, who was repeatedly changing positions with Eglington went on with a delightful pass to slip a hard low shot towards the far corner, McIntosh dived down and out to hold the ball to his body. Everton attacked so strongly at this stage that even Lindsay lent his weight in an endeavor to grab a goal just before the interval which would have given Everton some lingering hope.
Half-time; Sheffield Wednesday 3, Everton 0.
We had all the fun of the football fair on resuming for in a space of five minutes there had been a penalty and a goal. Rickett was racing through with Saunders at his heels and Saunders made a legitimate tackle to push the ball behind for a corner. The referee awarded a penalty despite Everton’s protests. Woodhead took the kick and shot hard to Burnett’s left but Burnett dived across and made a magnificent double fisted save, the ball actually going out to touch. This was a great save. Burnett enjoying the thrill, dashed out to become a second full back and dribble Sewell before passing the ball to Parker, now at outside left with Eglington inside. In 49 minutes the Wednesday were four up, and it was Rickett who made this possible. He streaked through on the left and flashed a ball across for Finney to make his shot on the half volley, the ball rocketing into the net from the underside of the bar. When the news filtered around hat Chelsea were three up against Bolton, one could feel the approach of the gloomy atmosphere. A Chelsea win and an Everton defeat meant that both these teams at Hillsborough were doomed to relegation unless Wednesday could with by an astronomical score. Everton kept interest alive and in 51 minutes games their first corner of the game, but this brought no real thrust and Parker was slow to shoot just after when Catterick created an opening for him. Grant had some grand work in defying the Wednesday forwards but in 65 minutes Everton were five down following a corner on the left. Rickett used the in swinger and although Burnett leapt out to it be missed the ball. It was cropping into the net when Lindsay headed but from the far post and Froggatt running in, turned the ball into the net. When Grant tackled Rickett Referee Wright immediately blew his whist an advantage a penalty against Everton. Everton induced him to consult a linesman and the decision was altered to a free kick outside the penalty area. From this Sewell headed in brilliantly but Burnett leapt up to turn the ball over the top. The referee had a word to say to Henry and Eglington as play continued to be spirited although we knew that the fate of Everton had been practically settled. Grant went through at inside right to make a magnificent right-foot shot which McIntosh saved at full length and then Eglington cracked a terrific shot against the concrete surround. Farrell joined in the fun with a shot which went over. The Wednesday held this Everton burst and took up the running again only to find Burnett rising to the heights of goalkeeping, turning over a shot by Froggatt and holding safe a quick shot by Rickett and another by Woodhead. With three minutes to go Jones conceded a corner to held up Woodhead, and from this Burnett beat out Woodhead’s header but Sewell cashed in to bang the ball into the net for a sixth goal. Final; Sheffield Wednesday 6, Everton 0. Attendance 41,166.
ERRORS AND OMISSIONS
May 7, 1951. The Liverpool Daily Post
Sheffield Wednesday 6, Everton 0
A Note, at the foot of the slip giving the day’s attendance was handed to reporters at Hillsborough, states “Subject” to recheck which is Soccer’s equivalent of the comments “F and O.F.” while there were many errors and omissions in Everton’s display, all the luck in the world would not alter the fact that not only did Sheffield Wednesday thoroughly deserved their victory but that the score card could have been much greater. That it was kept to a half dozen was mainly due to some brilliant second half saves by Burnett when the Wednesday forwards were attacking in long spells of shooting against a overworked defence and if lesser degree to some bad misses from close range by the hot attackers. Unfortunately well though Burnett did himself in the closing stages nothing could wipe out the damage done by earlier defensive mistakes. It was these which presented Sheffield with gift goals and set them off on the victory trail. All three home first half goals scored in a devastating eight minute blitz which completely demobilized Everton’s hopes of saving the point which would have made their First Division position secure were tinged with some errors. With so much at stake and tension so keen it was not unnatural there should be occasional slips. They were expensive affairs for the visitors for the Wednesday took full of them all.
Others at Fault
It would be decidedly unfair, however to debut any one player with an undue share of blame. There were others at fault besides Burnett. The real truth I that Everton were nowhere near good enough against a side which at times played football more like championships vintage than anti-relegation stuff, though in extenuation it might be added that all the luck ran Sheffield’s way. When the home side made defensive slips they got away with them unscathed chiefly because of Everton’s poor finishing. The real turning point of the game came at the 25th minute. Up to then Everton had held their own quite well, and though they had not seriously tested McIntosh, they had shown plenty of willingness to shoot even if their direction had been faulty. Then, following a strong Everton attack, a long clearance from the Wednesday goal area saw Jones slip as he was about to return the ball whence it had come. Like a flash Woodhead slipped it through his legs, collected it again, and ran forward to ram home an unstoppable shot beyond the advancing Burnett. This was just the tonic Wednesday needed to set them alight with determination and confidence. Encouraged by an almost continuous roar from their supporters they staged an all-out assault which got the Everton backs and halves badly tangled up.
When Finney centred and Burnett failed to gather the ball as he jumped, Woodhead was presented with an easy chance for the second goal at the 30th minute. A somewhat similar miscalculation left Sewell with an open goal into which to head the third three minutes later. The damage was now done beyond repair. Though Everton literally as well as metaphorically rolled up their sleeves and fought back to the best of their limited ability Sheffield had the bit between their teeth. It became only a matter of conjecture as to the extent of the final margin. Finney got the fourth at the 48th minute after Burnett had saved a Woodwood penalty in splendid fashion. Froggatt made it five when Lindsay could do no more than breast out a corner kick which almost curved into goal, and Sewell made it six in the last few minutes. Everton’s nearest approaches to a goal was when Curtis kicked off the line with McIntosh beaten. Otherwise the home custodian never looked in danger. He had a few shots to save notably one by Grant which almost crept in at the foot of the post, but most of the visiting forward’s efforts were either wide of the target or had not sufficient pace behind them to present any difficulties. Parker did hit one very hot drive which might have found the right millet had it not been straight at the goalkeeper. Farrell was not as dominating as he usually is, Jones found the Wednesday’s inside men too hot to hold once they were properly on the war-path, and Lindsay nearest to giving an exhibition in keeping with what was expected.
CHESTERFIELD RES 2, EVERTON RES 3
May 7, 1951. The Liverpool Daily Post
The work of O’Neill under the Everton bar, at Chesterfield, was so brilliant as to make him outstanding. The hardest worker was centre forward Hickson. Everton were leading by goals registered by Hold, Hickson and Easthorpe up till ten minutes from the end when Costello and Lockett reduced the lead in 65 seconds. Everton were much the cleverer side.
May 7, 1951. The Evening Express
Pilot’s Log (Don Kendall)
The work of re-building the team as Everton football club following relegation to the Second Division for the second time in history, will start immediately. It is going to be a grand tough task, but one which I am confident will be tackled with that same determination Everton showed in 1930, when the Blues first finished bottom at the First Division. Yes, that is it. Twice down and twice bottom. Everton now have a record to defend. At no time have either they or Liverpool even been more than the one season in the lower Division. The Reds have been up three times at the first time of asking and Everton once. This tradgy has been in the shape of things to come ever since we resumed after the war. We had four seasons during which disaster was staved off, and a fifth in which relegation proved to be inevitable. The story is old by figures. In 42 games Everton have conceded 85 goals or two more than two a match, and they have scored only 48 goals which is six more than one a match. Everton have not scored a single victory since February, but for 15 minutes at Hillborough everyone including the Wednesday through Everton were going to break the spell. Then came the defensive errors to make the goal average even worse for such goals. Tommy Jones failed to clear the first, for the second goal Burnett misjudged a centre from Finney, leaving Woodhead with an goal; in the third he failed to clear a Rickett centre, leading Sewell to head into a vacant net; in the 4th a high floating centre eluded everyone including the advanced Burnett and Finney rammed it home; in the 5th a corner eluded Burnett’s clutching hand, struck Lindsay and ran out as a grit for Froggatt; and the 6th became easy for Sewell, for Burnett made a great save only to find the shot too strong to hold, it ran away to Sewell.
Hard Luck, Peter
That is how it all happened, and it was Burnett’s mighty goalkeeping late on which prevented another six. He made some sensational saves including an epic Woodhead’s penalty, and which made his earlier uncertainty seem almost unbelievable. McIntosh was allowed to be a spectator for the most part, simply because Everton would not follow Fielding’s early example of “having a go” at anything in the shooting line. Grant and Parker each gave “Mac” a pretty hot shot, but after that bright opening it was more a case of preventing goals than getting them. No blame attaching to Jack Lindsay, the best player of the team, who seemed destined for a splendid future with Everton, for he has clear plus. Eglington was the one forward of consistency; Grant the tireless began too late and Peter Farrell, the inimitable, ran himself into the ground to try to stave off what even his big heart must have known.
May 7, 1951. The Liverpool Echo
The Past Is Dead ---But What of the Future?
Everton will be a Long While In Division 2 Unless –
Well, that’s that. The Reds light to which this column has so frequently referred burst into open conflagration at Hillsbrough …and Everton’s First Division membership was charred to ashes in the flames. But there will be no Coroner’s Court here today. The past is dead. Let it burn itself for nothing we can say, now will alter things instead we must face the future and, while expressing the hope that it will not be as black as it looks, let us not shirk the stern fact that unless there is a drastic overhaul of Goodison affairs it is going to be a long time before we see Everton back in their rightful sphere. It has taken them five years of consistent decline to get into the Second Division. In the absence of an all out effort at rehabilitation it may take them as long to work their passage back. That is no pessimistic view.
This is no time for recrimations. Yet the lessons of the past must be learned if good is to come out of evil. The first lesson is that Everton have not suffered relegation through any sudden misfortune. After finishing up in 1946-47 with 43 points they have consistently lost ground each successive season. In 1948 they fell to 40 points, then to 37 last year to 34, and now vanquish at the bottom with 32. The next season is that there has been too much wishful thinking in high places. Players who over a long period had proved not good enough –some even to the extent of being put on the transfer list – have been recalled and preserved with because of an occasional good display. An isolated flash of brilliance has been mistaken for a consistency which was never there. Perhaps the most unfortunate thing to happen this season was the spell of success around Christmas. It lulled too many talent fears. A manager’s job in seeking established signings is not easy. We know that many stars seek another job as “make-weight.” A few with no witnesses to testify against them later want to know what’s in this for me?”
Early Signings Vital
Most folk will require a lot of convincing however that anything but a very small proportion of good players who have moved in the last couple of seasons have been in the above categories. This, however, it all by the way, (I mention it solely to give emphasis and point to the urgent need for early strengthening signings to be made in readiness for Everton’s Second Division programme. This is vital. I am not blaming the players. Apart from an odd game now and again they have fought gallantly. All have done their best. Nobody can do more. But something move than just fighting spirit is needed. The need is for players of outstanding ability in the key positions and Everton haven’t had them since the departure of Mercer, Lawton, Stevenson and T.G. Jones. With the possible exception of Farrell there isn’t a player who stands out like any of the old pre-war championship side. The team too long has lacked personality.
Burden Too Great
The players that have been brought, Potts apart have all been more or less mediocre performers. Earnest theirs good for a bright performance now and again but no more. Potts would have made a bigger, difference had he been obtained two years earlier. Now his speed though not his heart has gone back. Some promising young players have come to light and done well. They would have done infinitely better had they come into a winning side. Too great a burden has frequently been placed on inexperienced shoulders. Much still remains to be said, but this is not the time to say it. The remarks above I repeat have been made with a purpose. That purpose is that there shall be no further false complacericy, no false sense of security because of a few good performances. As for Saturday’s debacle the least said the kinder. After the first 25 minutes Everton were never in the hunt. The longer went the worse that looked, until finally apart from brief periods when the Wednesday were gathering their wind it was largely a matter of “shooting in.” The Sheffield club ought to make a good show in the lower sphere. I wish I could save the same about Everton, but to do so would only be indulging in wishful thinking.
Larne Times- Thursday 24 May 1951
Johnny Houston, former of Linfield, and Everton footballer, now employed in the G.P.O. in Belfast.