Players

The Likely Lads; Mark and John Higgins – Son of my Father (Part Nine)

The Likely Lads; Mark and John Higgins – Son of my Father (Part Nine)

              Mark Higgins joined Everton as an apprentice. Having excelled in his performances for the reserves, he earned a first team start a month after his eighteenth birthday in a 2-2 draw against Manchester City under the lights at Goodison Park.  Mark, a tough no-nonsense centre half, gave nothing less than 100% in an Everton jersey, but his career was blighted by injuries, which sadly led to him missing out on the success of Howard Kendall's sides of the eighties.  After over 150 appearances for the Toffees, Mark made a decision to retire from the game due to the frustration…
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Ted Sagar – ‘The Boss’

Ted Sagar – ‘The Boss’

When talking of great centre forwards, it is easy to rattle off numerous contenders, but when thinking of goalkeepers, just three tend to dominate the discussion. Gordon West, a brilliant keeper and a larger than life character off the pitch; then Neville of course, who achieved so much in his seventeen years, making 578 league appearances (750 in all competitions) and breaking so many records along the way. Until 1994, the record for a goalkeeper stood at 497(463 league games), and was held by a man that my father never tired of telling me about - Ted Sagar. Ted joined…
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Ray Veall – honoured at last

Ray Veall – honoured at last

'I played with great players... I just wish it had lasted longer' By Rob Sawyer Skegness-born Ray Veall, now 71, was a slightly-built outside-left who made an impact at Doncaster Rovers and placed himself on the radar of the two Harrys – Everton’s chief scout Cooke and boss Catterick. A £10,145 outlay was sufficient to persuade the Division Two outfit to part with their left-wing prodigy in the autumn of 1961. Veall recalled: “The coach called me in and said, ‘Harry Catterick wants to see you at the Earl of Doncaster Hotel.’ I caught the bus there by myself –…
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Lost in France: Leigh Richmond Roose

Lost in France: Leigh Richmond Roose

A talk given by author Spencer Vignes to the Everton FC Shareholder's Association Leigh Richmond Roose Leigh Roose was born in a small village called Holt which lies just on the Welsh side of the border between England and Wales a few miles outside Wrexham. As a youngster he took to goalkeeping like a duck to water, perfecting his art during kick-abouts in Holt and while at university in Aberystwyth where he went to do a science degree. While he was in Aberystwyth he also played for the top local side, Aberystwyth Town, with who he won a Welsh Cup…
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Billy and Bob: The Fabulous Balmer Brothers

Billy and Bob: The Fabulous Balmer Brothers

Billy and Bob: The Fabulous Balmer Brothers By Rob Sawyer William and Robert Balmer formed a fearsome, and fruitful, fraternal partnership in Everton’s back-line in the early years of the 20th Century. William’s selection for national team duty would also make him the club’s first Scouse England cap. They were the sons of James (a carpenter and joiner) and Martha. William Atherton was born on 29 July 1875 whilst Robert followed on 28 November 1881. The pair - better known and Billy and Bob - grew-up alongside their siblings John (b. 1874) and Mary (b. 1877) at the family home…
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Dixie’s Sunset, Bally’s Sunrise

Dixie’s Sunset, Bally’s Sunrise

Ashton's Everton Connection Ashton-Under-Lyne, six miles to the east of Manchester, is dominated by a huge Ikea store and known by football trivia fanatics as the birthplace of Sir Geoff Hurst.   Yet it is another Hurst that connects this Tameside town with Everton Football Club. Hurst FC was founded in 1878 (a familiar ring to it for Evertonians), playing its first reported fixture the following year.  Within two years the club had relocated to the Hurst Cross ground and remains there to this day – one of the longest residences in football. The team has muddled along in regional leagues…
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The Life of Hunter Hart

The Life of Hunter Hart

Hunter Hart was always recognisable by a distinctive quiff which pre-dated that of Wolves' Billy Wright. He served Everton with distinction on the field in the 1920s and behind a desk in the 1930s but, unfortunately, his association with the club he loved was to end prematurely, as was his life. Born on Glasgow on 11 March 1897 to Alexander (a carter) and Jessie, Hart grew up less than half a mile from Celtic's stadium. By the age of 14, living in Shettleston, Lanarkshire, he had lost the sight in one eye,  in what was described as 'a childhood accident'.…
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Initials T.G. – Researching Tommy Jones, The Prince of Centre-Halves

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…
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George Sharples Remembered by Rob Sawyer

George Sharples Remembered by Rob Sawyer

George Sharples, who passed away on 14 December 2020, aged 77, had been one of nine surviving players to have played a part in Everton’s title-winning season of 1962-63 (the others being Jimmy Gabriel, Mick Meagan, John Morrissey, Derek Temple, Tony Kay, Billy Bingham, Ray Veall and Frank Wignall). George Sharples c.1961 A son of Ellesmere Port, he was born on 20 September 1943, to parents James and Florence, who ran a large and successful newsagent business in Overpool. A student at Wirral Grammar School – a rugby-playing establishment – George always had soccer as his first sporting love. He…
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The Stanley Park Three – Tony Onslow

The Stanley Park Three – Tony Onslow

The names of Marriott, Morris, and Pickering might not instantly come to mind when mentioning former members of Everton Football Club, but they played a major defensive role during their formative years on Stanley Park. The first of this trio to appear there was Thomas Marriott. He was born 4 February 1861 and was the third son of Mary and her husband, John, who worked as a cotton porter. The family were, at that time, living at 2 Duke Street, but by 1881 they were living in better surroundings at Grey Rock Street where Thomas was working as a clerk. He first played at full back alongside Tom Evans, from whose experience all three were to benefit, during the season of 1880-81 after which he was partnered by a man from the North East of England. Born in 1862, Richard William Morris was the son of John, a sergeant major…
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