Dr David France OBE
David Harry France OBE (born 30 June 1948) is an author, football historian, and philanthropist. He is also the founder and Life President of Everton FC Heritage Society.
Throughout the past two decades, he has been the driving force behind numerous initiatives related to Everton Football Club including Gwladys Street’s Hall of Fame, the Everton Former Players’ Foundation, the Founding Fathers of Merseyside Football and the David France Collection (now known as the Everton Collection). In January 2011, Liverpool’s Freedom of the City panel rewarded David France with the prestigious title of Citizen of Honour.
Dr David France and wife Elizabeth, pictured at Buckingham Palace
David was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to football in the United Kingdom and Europe.
He was born in Widnes and educated in the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany (BSc, MSc, MBA, PhD) before moving to North America in 1978. There he worked in the nuclear and space industries, before joining the executive of an oil & gas corporation. He retired from corporate life in 1990 to concentrate on consulting and charity work. Although based in Texas, he has travelled in excess of 2 million miles supporting the club and his Everton initiatives. Known as ‘Dr Everton’, he was appointed Life President of the Everton Shareholders’ Association. In a 2009 website poll involving eight candidates, he came a close second to manager David Moyes as the person who Everton fans trust the most. The results were David Moyes 35%, David France 34%, Bill Kenwright 19%.
Dr France has written 18 books to tell the Everton story. Some involved collaborations with David Prentice, Rob Sawyer, Becky Tallentire, Barry Hewitt and cartoonist Peter King, while others embraced inputs from a cross-section of Everton enthusiasts. The profits from these books were donated to Merseyside charities. (See List below)
[See also ‘Books‘ page on this site]
Gwladys Street’s Hall of Fame
Conceived by Dr France after consultation with baseball’s counterpart in Cooperstown, New York, it pays tribute to the men who have contributed to Everton’s history. In 1996 he recruited an independent panel of players, journalists, shareholders and season-ticket holders to painstakingly assess the qualifications of the 800 or so candidates and select the initial 75 members. Subsequent additions have been elected by Everton supporters via postal and internet ballots. The Hall of Fame inductions were celebrated passionately in 1998 and every subsequent year at Liverpool’s Adelphi Hotel. Known locally as the “Nuremberg Rallies of Football”, never before had any club’s supporters interacted intimately with heroes who had won the World Cup, European silverware, FA Cups and League titles. The 2009 inductions of Duncan Ferguson and Bill Kenwright brought the total to 126 members. The 2017 additions of John Bailey, Kevin Campbell, Nigel Martyn, Ian Snodin and Pat van den Hauwe increased the membership to 131.
The Everton Former-Players’ Foundation
Dr France registered the Everton Former-Players’ Foundation (Charity No 1080101) to alleviate their medical and other hardships of old footballers in 1999. With the support of the Professional Footballer’s Association and the generosity Everton Football Club and its supporters, the EFPF has raised and spent over £100,000 per year during the past 10 years assisting individuals with knee and hip surgeries and even home improvements. All grants are confidential but any player who made one first-team appearance for Everton is eligible for help. The EFPF is the first of its kind in the football world and is considered to be the UEFA model. Subsequently, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich have established similar organisations and along with Everton are members of the European Former Players’ Association.
The David France Collection of Everton memorabilia
[See The Everton Collection page on this site]
The Founding Fathers of Merseyside Football
Further information: Founding Fathers of Merseyside Football
Because there had been no recognition at Goodison or Anfield of the men who started and shaped football on Merseyside, Dr. France commissioned artist Wasan Suttikasem to produce six oil paintings depicting the key figures from the early days of Everton and Liverpool. Known as ‘The Founding Fathers of Merseyside Football’, The subjects are Rev. Ben Swift Chambers, John Houlding, Dr. James Baxter, George Mahon, John McKenna and Will Cuff. The portraits are owned by the Everton Shareholders’ Association and will be rotated between different venues throughout the United Kingdom so that all football can celebrate the roots of Merseyside football.
- Toffee Cards – The Tobacco Years (1997) ISBN 1-874799-05-9
- Toffee Pages – The Post-War Years (1997) ISBN 1-874799-06-7
- Gwladys Street’s Hall of Fame (1998) ISBN 1-874799-09-1
- Gwladys Street’s Hall of Fame Edition 2 (1999) ISBN 1-874799-10-5
- Gwladys Street’s Hall of Fame Edition 3 (1999) ISBN 1-874799-12-1
- Gwladys Street’s Holy Trinity (with Becky Tallentire 2001) ISBN 1-874799-14-8
- Gwladys Street’s Big Book for Kids of All Ages (with Peter King 2002) ISBN 1-874799-15-6
- Gwladys Street’s Blue Book (with David Prentice 2002) ISBN 1-874799-16-4
- Virgin Blues (with David Prentice 2003) ISBN 1-874799-17-2
- Toffee Cards – The Bubble Gum Years (with Barry Hewitt 2005) ISBN 1-874799-18-0
- Moyesiah (2006) ISBN 1-874799-19-9
- Evertonians Eat Scouse (2006) ISBN 1-874799-19-9
- Everton Treasures – The David France Collection (with David Prentice 2007) ISBN 1-874799-20-2
- Dr Everton’s Magnificent Obsession (with David Prentice 2008) ISBN 978-1-905266-79-1
- Alex Young – The Golden Vision (2008) ISBN 978-1-874799-21-4
- Everton Crazy – Sixty Seasons, Two Million Miles (2016) ISBN 978-1-909245-46-4
- Everton Proud (2016) ISBN 978-1-909245-52-5
- Blue Dragon – The Roy Vernon Story (with Rob Sawyer 2019) ISBN 978-1-9162784-0-0