The Tale of a Former Everton Full Back

  George Molyneux was on the books of Southampton when he was selected for England, against Scotland, and thus became the first Liverpool born man, having previously played football for Everton, to do so. The 1881 census tells us that George, who was then 6 years old, is living, along with his parents, at 29 Sessions Road in the Kirkdale area of the City. The 1901 census then reveals that the family had moved to nearby Croyland Street and that George, now 15 years old, had begun serving an apprenticeship as a Plumber. It is around three years later his name starts to appear in the local sporting press while playing football for his local amateur side, Kirkdale. On the 9th of September 1895 Molyneux was selected to represent the Liverpool & District side, against the Everton Combination XI, on the home of the St Elphins club in Warrington. After the game he was invited for a trail match with his...
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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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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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