Our full report of the event, together with a short video, filmed and edited by Lewis Royden:
Séamus’s Big Night
It was a night of celebration, cheers and even a few tears shed as Everton FC Heritage Society’s Séamus Coleman tribute evening was held at the People’s Lounge, Goodison Park on 16 February 2024. The Toffees’ talismanic, long-serving skipper was the 32nd recipient of the illustrious Dixie Dean Memorial Award.
At 7:30pm, the familiar strains of the theme from Z-Cars filled the room and compere Ken Rogers introduced our award winner and the evening’s special guests to a deafening reception from the 150-plus attendees.
Dixie Dean Memorial Award
Dave Prentice, married to the legendary striker’s granddaughter Melanie (who was present, along with her mother, Barbara Dean), gave context to the award, which has been presented since 1980 to Merseyside ‘sportsmen in the great tradition’. There could be no more deserving person to have his name engraved on the trophy than the inspirational right-back from Killybegs, who has made Merseyside his home for the past fifteen years.
It was fitting that another great Everton captain, and past holder of the Dixie Dean award, was there to make the presentation on behalf of the Hertiage Society. Recognising the importance of the award, Dave Watson had volunteered to make the 350-mile round-trip from Newcastle to do the honours. Before hitting the road for the journey home, he shared hilarious anecdotes from his playing career with the Blues spanning fourteen years, which included a League Championship in 1987, and lifting the FA Cup in 1995.
Séamus Coleman – Our Guest of Honour
The evening’s guest of honour, Séamus Coleman, joined the sell-out crowd in watching a film put together by the Society (take a bow, Mike and Lewis Royden) covering his sporting life – from days as a Gaelic footballer to representing Sligo Rovers, where Dixie Dean also had a spell in 1939 (the Irish club sent a message of congratulations to be read out on the night), to proudly pulling on the blue shirt of Everton and green shirt of Ireland.
(Apologies but we cannot post it for public viewing online due to copyright reasons)
When interviewed afterwards, Séamus was typically modest, but his enduring passion for the club shone through brightly.
Ian Snodin and Graham Stuart
Darren Griffiths then joined Club ambassadors Ian Snodin and Graham Stuart on stage – hailing the current captain’s immense contribution to Everton, as well as reflecting on their own careers and the Toffee’s current fortunes on the pitch.
The Work of Everton FC Heritage Society
After a break, Heritage Society member and former chairperson Bren Connolly gave a whistlestop tour of the group’s many activities, aimed at, preserving and celebrating this grand old club’s heritage. A collector of football memorabilia, Bren brought the house down with the tale of how he ‘rescued’ and returned some very important documents that had been ‘liberated’ from the car of one of the Toffee’s mid-1990s stars.
This was followed by a screening of the Memories of Goodison Park, a Heritage Society documentary film which culminated with a montage of great footballing moments at the stadium, beautifully backed by Dusty Springfield’s superb track ‘I’m Going Back’
(NB. there were some PA system issues encountered during the event which were beyond our control, which affected the smooth running of the video, so we recommend visiting our YouTube channel to watch this film again – and other documentaries we have produced over the past year – or click above to run it within the web page).
John Hurst, one of the club’s most cultured centre-backs (and the previous Dixie Dean Memorial Award recipient) passed away recently, so it was fitting that his wife and daughters were present as special guests. They joined other audience members in watching a moving video presentation, which captured the essence of this fine footballer and lovely man who epitomised all that is great about Everton. Rob Sawyer then shared tributes from Joe Royle and Colin Harvey to their friend and former teammate.
(with thanks to the Hurst family, Crawford Miles and Rob Sawyer)
The memorable evening was concluded with a conversation between Rob Sawyer and Derek Temple, the latter in fine form at 85 years-young. The former Blues forward added his own heartfelt tribute to John Hurst before regaling the audience with tales of a career at Everton which, amazingly, started 70 years ago. Derek has always been a great friend to the Heritage Society and fine ambassador for the Club over many decades – it was little surprise that the crowd showed their love for him with a tremendous ovation.
(Mike Royden, with thanks to Rob Sawyer and Crawford Miles)
And so ended a memorable evening which highlighted, again, just how special Everton FC, its players and its supporters are. The Heritage Society is grateful to the assistance from the Club in helping to bring the event to fruition – notably Darren Griffiths and Séamus Coleman, plus Richard Kenyon, Ian Snodin and Graham Stuart.
Special thanks to Dave Watson, for giving his time, his superb captain’s performance, and for making such a long round trip from Newcastle to be with us.
As ever, we are grateful yet again to Derek Temple, a very good friend and supporter of the Society – who at 85 is still fighting fit, giving us a 40 minute performance on stage!
On the Society’s side, it was a team effort, but special recognition is due to Ken Rogers, the principal organiser as well as being master of ceremonies, Mike and Lewis Royden (who produced the audio-visual content, supported by Crawford Miles and Rob Sawyer), Brendan Connolly, and Richie Gillham.
Many thanks to all who came along and supported the event!
Written by Rob Sawyer
Layout, illustrations and slide reels by Mike Royden
Photography and filming – Lewis Royden (except where indicated)
Before the start of the event
Just before the start of the proceedings, our guests collected together briefly in the Sky TV box, located ‘backstage’. This gave us time to take a few photographs, film a swift interview, and for a few quick signatures on various items of memorabilia.
(photo: North American Toffees @NAToffees)
(photo: North American Toffees @NAToffees)
[Neil sadly passed away in November 2022 and his obituary can be found here].
The Original Pre-publicity for the Dixie Dean Memorial Award Event:
Our Latest Everton FC Heritage Society Event
Join us for a special event, hosted in the intimate People’s Lounge, Stanley Park Stand, at Goodison Park, where we will be presenting the Memorial Trophy instituted in honour of the legendary Dixie Dean. This year, we are delighted to have Seamus Coleman, captain of Everton Football Club and esteemed award winner, as our guest of honour.
Date: Friday 16 February 2024
Time: 7.00pm for a 7.30pm start
Location: People’s Lounge, Stanley Park Stand, Goodison Park, L4 4EL
Tickets, priced at only £20 each –
This event is now sold out – many thanks for your support!
SIXTY GRAND, SIXTY GRAND SEAMUS COLEMAN!
What a remarkable signing he has been for Everton – and now fans have the chance to personally let him know just how much they appreciate and respect his 15 years of royal blue dedication.
The famed chant that regularly rings out around Goodison will echo around the Park End ‘People’s Lounge’ on Friday, 16 February (7pm for 7.30) when he steps forward as the latest winner of the prestigious Dixie Dean Memorial Trophy, awarded since 1981 to individuals who, like the immortal Dean, show qualities in the ‘Great Tradition’.
Seamus follows in the footsteps of many legendary winners, men like Howard Kendall, Colin Harvey, Joe Royle, Graeme Sharp and Duncan Ferguson.
The event is organised by the official Everton FC Heritage Society and you could be there with other star guests on a special Evertonian evening. Seamus was an astute capture from Sligo Rovers in January 2009. Fittingly, Dean himself once went in the opposite direction, joining the Irish club late in his career.
There will be on stage interviews, the presentation of the award, plus films.
Tickets, priced at only £20 each, will go very quickly. There will be free parking at the Park End.
Act swiftly to be part of a very special and intimate Evertonian evening!
The evening will also include a special tribute to John Hurst, a member of Everton FC’s famous 1970 Championship side. John was the last winner of the Dean Award, but sadly passed away recently after a short illness.