John Roach, a Striker from Shropshire By Tony Onslow

Today a grade two listed building - the main engineering works of The Cambrian Railway Company once employed many of the people who lived in the Welsh Marches town of Oswestry and provided the local football team with several players. One such person, who also represented Everton, was John Roach . Born April 1863, he was the 3rd child ofMartin, a Labourer, and his WifeBridget who together had moved to Shropshire from their birthplace in theCounty Mayo across the Irish Sea.John had begun to work, as a Blacksmiths Striker, in the foundry of the Cambrian Company when he started playing football for the Oswestry White Stars who shared a ground with the local cricket club. On the 29th of December 1883, the little Shropshire club found themselves in the limelight having received a home FA Cup draw with the famous Queens Park club from Glasgowwho were renowned for playing quality football with a strong emphasis based on teamwork. Their visit created a great deal of interest and special trains were “laid-on” from all areas of the Welsh Marches which produced a record crowd, reported to be over 3,000 people, to theVictoria Road ground. John Roach took his place on the left side of the Oswestry forward line where he was accompanied by a certain George Farmer. The Salopians held their own during the first half - and trailed 2-1 at the break, but the Scots overwhelmed them in the second half to win the tie by 7 goals to 1. Later that season both Farmer...
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James Morris, a Shropshire Lad – Tony Onslow

The Welsh Marches village of Trefonen - which lays in Shropshire – was the birthplace of James Morris who made a most unusual appearance, for Everton during their first season as members of the Football League. He was born in April 1863, the 3rd child of Anne and her Welsh Husband Robert. According to the 1881 census the family are living in Oswestry and James is working, along with his Father, as a Brickmaker. He began his football career with an Oswestry club who were founder members, in 1879, of the Shropshire FA. They shared a ground with the local cricket club at Victoria Road and lifted the Welsh & Border Counties FA Cup in 1884 by beating The Druids. They also won the Shropshire Senior Cup one year later by beating St Georges on Monksmoor Racecourse at Shrewsbury. Jimmy Morris had established a place in the Oswestry side when they played Everton, 13th of March 1886 and lost the game 2-0. Next season Morris had a busy time with Oswestry as they participated in the FA Cup losing, in round three, 3-0 away at Stoke, and were later eliminated from the Welsh & Borders knockout. On the 21st of March...
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Welcome to Part Four of ‘Son of my Father’ – Steve Zocek

George Wood was signed for Everton in August 1977 by manager Gordon Lee.  George soon became a “darling” of the Evertonians, making 126 appearances for the Toffees before joining Arsenal in August 1980. George also represented Scotland, and once told me he was the one who launched Diego Maradona’s career as the Argentinian scored his first international goal against him. Maradona scored his first international goal in the fixture after beating George Wood courtesy of SNS Group This feature is a little different to the previous ones as it features George’s son, James, who followed in his father’s footsteps wearing the green jersey between the posts, but on this occasion not with Everton. Confused? Read on and enjoy. I asked James if it was his father who encouraged him to take on the role of a goalkeeper. It was weird when I was younger, because I was multi-talented at sport. Living in South Wales, I played a lot more rugby than I did...
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GERRY MULLAN-WHEN IRISH EYES ARE SMILING – Steve Zocek

GERRY MULLAN-WHEN IRISH EYES ARE SMILING – Steve Zocek

Gerry Mullan signed for Everton from Ballymena United in October 1980. To date he was the most expensive Irish league player at £30,000. Gerry failed to make a first team appearance for the Toffees but gained 4 caps for his country-Norther Ireland. Gerry is quite a private man, but was very helpful in assisting me with an insight to his time at Everton.  Gerry Middle row 2nd from the left SIGNING FOR EVERTON "After 4 reasonably good seasons at Ballymena, I trained really hard in my fifth season, trying to push myself to the limit. As well as Everton, a few clubs watching me, such as Celtic, Sunderland and Brighton. Ballymena played at Seaview against Crusaders and I managed to score two goals whilst Harry Cooke (Chief Scout at Everton) was watching. I think that game sealed the deal as I signed for Everton soon after." KNOWLEDGE OF EVERTON/FIRST IMPRESSIONS "Obviously with Everton being a very big club I was delighted to sign for them....
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