The Life and Times of Thomas Evans

When you read into this it might make you think that parishioners of St Saviours were more instrumental in the formation of Everton than those of St Domingos. It's true that the Cuffs and the Wades were members of the Methodist chapel but Tom Evans, who I believe was an experienced footballer, could well be the main driving force behind Everton on the football field.Tom Evans, I believe, was pal William J Clarke and both men once lived on the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire border. Both men are the same age. It is Clarkes Father, who also came from this area, who is, in 1880, the Landlord of Queens Head in Everton. This article, I hope, could provoke some debate amongst the members who, no doubt will have their own opinion on the subject. Tony The Rugby code of football still  held sway in Liverpool when, in the summer of 1878, the first Australian touring side arrived to play a cricket match against the Stanley club...
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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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The Forgotten Blue of Ruhleben Prison Camp

When the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia, her ally Germany immediately closed her borders to prevent all British nationals from leaving the country. The date was June the 28th, 1914. They were then rounded up and placed in a civilian internment camp at Ruhleben race course on the outskirts of Berlin. Amongst them were several former professional footballers who, prior to the outbreak of war, had been helping to improve the standard of play at several German football clubs. It has been believed, by the certain historians, that three of these individuals had once played football with Everton before accepting a coaching position in Germany. There was however, a fourth who, unlike his former teammates, was the holder of Football League Championship winners’ medal. Perhaps the two most noted of the footballers, held at Ruhleben, were England internationals Steve Bloomer and Fred Spikesley. The latter had won a Football League championship medal with The Wednesday club of Sheffield. The three former...
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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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The Men from the Hill Country

Everton Books - The Men from the Hill Country    Everton FC The Men from the Hill Country Tony Onslow, 2002. Countyvise Ltd;  (112 pages)  ISBN:  1 901231 29 1 � Paperback The book traces their development from Stanley Park to Anfield then on to Goodison.  Contains detailed and factual statistics, some long-forgotten illustrations and undiscovered match reports unearthed from some unlikely places.  And it takes a novel illustrative approach to the history of each topic, showing how football grounds and other points of interest were depicted on contemporary maps and plans.  Covers their participation in the game before the Football League was formed, during the early League, the Lancashire Cup and the FA Cup in the 19th Century. A "must read" for all Evertonians interested in the history of the club. Price: �5.95   Published: 23 August 2002 ...
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The Lost Professional of Everton FC

It has now been a long accepted fact that both George Dobson and George Farmer were the first two players to be employed as professional footballers by Everton Football Club. However, it is quite possible to believe that the same gratuities offered to these two players might well have extended to reach a third man. His name was Job Wilding and he came from Wrexham. Both Dobson and Farmer first came to Liverpool during the Easter of 1885 and, having had a trail period with Everton, were invited to return to the club next season. Dobson returned alone and took up residence, but Farmer, who did likewise, almost certainly arrived back on Merseyside accompanied by Job Wilding. Both men, in course of the previous season, had played international football for Wales. Wilding and Farmer had made their international debut, 14 March 1885, against England in a match that was played on the Leamington Ground in Blackburn. The visitors proved a match for...
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