Ted Critchley – My Dad

Rob Sawyer in Conversation with Doris Holmes (née Critchley) Ted Critchley was the Trevor Steven, Dave Thomas or Alex Scott of his day: fast and skilful with an unerring ability to dribble and deliver crosses into the box from the right flank.Ted made his name as an outside-right with hometown club, Stockport County, whom he joined as a 17-year-old in 1922 after impressing in local football. His 188 games for The Hatters, including a few alongside Harry Catterick Senior, saw him play Second Division football and collect a Manchester Senior Cup winner's medal. Everton, on the look-out for a replacement for Sam Chedgzoy, came calling in December 1926 — albeit after some procrastination. Ted turned out to be an astute signing as he and Alec Troup marauded down the flanks to help “Dixie” reach his glorious 60 in 1928. Famed for his pace, Ted would later joke: “Let’s put it this way – I could run half-an-hour in 25 minutes!” In his 8-year...
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Charlie Gee: Stockport, Everton and England

Charlie Gee’s story is one of a remarkable rise from Stockport church football to Everton and  England honours.  In three consecutive seasons he played Third, Second and First Division football – culminating in a 1932 league championship medal. Charlie also holds the key to the Everton career of one of the most important men in the Toffees’ illustrious history – Harry Catterick. Charles William Gee was born on 6 April 1909 in the Reddish district of Stockport. He was one of eight children born to Edward and Jane Gee. Edward was a sweet shop owner who, as a side-line, also operated as a bookmaker from his cellar Charlie’s elder brother Ted was reputed to the best footballer in the family but broke his leg in a fall when working on a roof. Like Ted, Charlie trained to be a joiner but was a passionate about sport – adept at cricket, swimming and football. Appearances as right-back and captain of the North Reddish...
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Jack Cock – Scorer, Singer, Soldier, Superstar

Relatively few Cornishmen have represented Everton but several have left their mark on Merseyside. Mike Trebilcock carved his name into FA Cup folk-lore whilst Nigel Martyn established himself as the finest Goodison goal-keeper since Neville Southall.  However, the most remarkable life story is that of Jack Cock: international footballer, team manager, war hero and star of stage and screen. John Gilbert “Jack” Cock, the third child of James (an iron-trimmer) and Eliza, entered the world on 15 November 1893 in the Cornish village of Phillack, close to the port town of Hayle. By the time Jack was seven James had relocated the family from this bucolic setting to Fulham in West London. Jack would earn pocket money selling chocolates to spectators inside Craven Cottage and dream of becoming a footballer. Such hopes faded when James' work took the family to the footballing backwater of Camborne in Cornwall. Nevertheless Jack preserved and, according to a newspaper article he penned he: “soon had...
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 Archibald Leitch – The Man Who Shaped Goodison Park

At the start of the 20th Century, Goodison Park was arguably, England’s premier football stadium. Today, for better or worse, it is one of the most historic in the land. As you sit in your seat and look across the famous “Old Lady”, two of the stands you see can be credited to Archibald Leitch — stadium designer extraordinaire. Glasgow-born Leitch was an architect specialising in the design of industrial buildings when he was commissioned to design a new 80,000-capacity Ibrox Stadium for Rangers, the club he supported.  The resulting stadium was spectacular but tragedy struck in 1902 when fatalities resulted from a section of wooden terracing collapsing at an international fixture. As a safety measure, Leitch’s subsequent terrace designs were based on raised earthworks. In spite of the Ibrox disaster, Leitch remained very much in-demand. He was engaged south of the border in the early 1900s at the likes of Craven Cottage and Anfield Road where he then created the terracing for...
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Nat, King of Goals…and Bowls

As with many players at Goodison in the 1930s, Jimmy “Nat” Cunliffe’s achievements are overshadowed by the Everton giant that is W.R. Dean. Yet his life in sport was a remarkable one. Plucked from non-league football Jimmy went on to win international honours. Not content with this, he subsequently embarked on enjoy a highly successful career in another sporting arena. Born James Cunliffe on 5 July 1912 to Mary and Peter (a coal miner), Jimmy grew up in Blackrod – a small settlement close to the current location of Bolton Wanderers’ stadium. Upon leaving school he started an apprenticeship as a plater in the boiler-making section of the nearby Horwich Locomotive Works.  The young man excelled at cricket, football and crown green bowls, confiding, years later, to the journalist Stork that most of his friends rated him as a better cricketer than footballer. In one season he had a bowling average of seven but preferred to pursue a career in football,...
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Neville Southall – The Winding Road from Winsford to Goodison

A version of this article was previously published in When Skies Are Grey, the digital Everton Fanzine. The WSAG team are offering a discounted subscription rate to ToffeeWeb readers for a limited period via this link.  George Rooney was a boyhood Blue, growing up off Mere Lane and, later on, in Knowsley. The full-back represented Liverpool Schoolboys and joined Everton as an apprentice in 1962. Coming through the ranks with him at Goodison had been the likes of Gerry Glover, John Hurst, Tommy Wright, Jimmy Husband and Aiden Maher.Released by Everton after two years George joined Coventry City under Jimmy Hill but promptly suffered a broken leg. Laid up back home on Merseyside, George was lent Jimmy Husband’s extensive Buddy Holly record collection to listen to during his convalescence. George recalls what a great prospect Husband had been as a teenager: ‘Jimmy was a lovely lad and a hell of a player. He made such an impact when he got in the...
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Charlie Leyfield – Everton, Wales and England

Charlie Leyfield had a long association with Everton as a player and trainer. He also can claim the unique distinction of being trainer to both the England and Wales national teams. Charlie was born on 30 October 1911 just south of the River Dee in Chester, the eldest of seven children. Attending Handbridge's St Mary's School, he excelled at football — initially as a centre-half and inside-forward but later as a fast, direct winger capable of going down the outside or cutting in. This led to selection for Chester Schoolboys representative team at the age of 13. Promoted to captain the following season, he was signed by leading local amateur side, Brickfield Athletic. Three appearances for, then, non league Chester FC followed, including in an FA Cup victory over Rhyl. Gifted with his hands, Charlie was a capable artist and, away from football, as apprenticed as a joiner to Cartmel Brothers in Willaston. On the pitch he became the first junior player...
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Initials T.G. – Researching Tommy Jones, The Prince of Centre-Halves

William Ralph “Dixie” Dean sits unchallenged as the king of Goodison Park. Joining him in the Royal Blue dynasty is the Prince of Centre Halves: Thomas George Jones. Tommy, as his friends knew him, was so famous in his pomp for Everton and Wales that he was known merely by his initials - T.G. Devouring Everton history books as a youngster, I would read of this artist in the Blues’ half-back line. Dominant in the air, immaculate on the ground and possessing a rocket-like shot, T.G. was so confident in his own ability that he would dribble in his own penalty area - accompanied by gasps of fear and appreciation from the terraces. In 14 years of service at Goodison, T.G. cemented his reputation as Everton’s most cultured centre-half – overshadowing the likes of T.E. Jones, Brian Labone, John Hurst, Kevin Ratcliffe and Dave Watson. I sometimes pondered on why T.G. walked away from Goodison to run a hotel in Pwllheli but...
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