1950-1959

Any Dream Will Do: Don Donovan – (Son of my Father Part 13)

Any Dream Will Do: Don Donovan – (Son of my Father Part 13)

Don Donovan arrived in England from Cork, the second largest city in Ireland located in the south west of the country, an area which also produced Roy Keane. Don played junior football for Maymount Rovers then Dalymount Rovers, where he was spotted by an Everton representative whilst the club was on a pre-season tour. Don was invited to cross the Irish Sea in 1949, just after the war, leaving his close family and moving to new surroundings in Liverpool, only to be welcomed by a fellow countryman, Tommy Eglinton. Tommy later became the godfather of Don’s son, Terry. Other members…
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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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A Classic Everton ‘Who-Dunn-it’

A Classic Everton ‘Who-Dunn-it’

My laptop is playing up during this strange period of Coronavirus induced limbo. I plugged it in again last night and, whaddya know, it worked! Predictably within moments I was on Findmypast.com browsing Victorian newspaper archives for mentions of Fergus Suter and Jimmy Love, stars of the excellent Netflix series ‘The English Game’, which I binge-watched earlier in the week. I found a few bits and bobs about Suter, Love, Arthur Kinnaird, Darwen FC, and co. I knew the TV drama, brought to us by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, had played with certain facts and figures here and there for dramatic…
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Tommy E Jones: A Gentleman on and off the Pitch

Tommy E Jones: A Gentleman on and off the Pitch

The telegram was succinct: ‘Best of Luck — may everything go well for you'. It had been sent by Tommy G Jones — the exalted Prince of Centre-Halves — to his namesake, 20-year-old Tommy E Jones, who was debuting for the Everton first team against Arsenal on 6 September 1950.  Tommy (often referred to as T E Jones in football circles — short for Thomas Edwin) would have the burden of succeeding the supremely gifted and ‘T G'. Nonetheless, he'd go on to carve out his own place in the Gwladys Street Hall of Fame. Looking back when interviewed for Three Sides of…
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Eddie Thomas – An Unsung Goodison Hero

Eddie Thomas – An Unsung Goodison Hero

Whilst researching and writing Blue Dragon, the forthcoming biography of Roy Vernon, my interest was piqued by Eddie Thomas, the makeweight in the deal that brought Vernon from Blackburn to Merseyside. The fact that Johnny Carey was prepared to sacrifice Thomas, in spite of a remarkable goal per game ratio, underlines just how highly the Everton manager coveted the Rovers man. Like Vernon, Eddie did not have the physique of a footballer. Slight – almost frail looking – he appeared ill-equipped for the hurly-burly of professional football. But appearances can so often be deceptive and the Lancastrian enjoyed a fruitful career over…
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The Age of Illumination – The Story of Goodison Park under Floodlights

The Age of Illumination – The Story of Goodison Park under Floodlights

There is something truly magical about a football stadium under lights. The glow guides you from miles away. From within, there’s an enhanced - almost animated - quality to your view of proceedings. The artificial light glistens on the fabric of the players’ shirts and picks out the moisture on the freshly watered, bright green pitch. And, of course, the electricity seems to energise the crowd - adding a few extra decibels to the crowd’s roar.   It’s hard to imagine that, as recently as the 1950s, winter kick-off times had to be set so that matches would conclude before dusk,…
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Britton’s Blues

Britton’s Blues

In September 1948, Cliff Britton completed the short journey from Turf Moor to Goodison Park to become Everton manager. In so doing, he became the first former player to hold the position and his appointment offered hope for the future. At Burnley he was considered one of the most promising managers in England, leading the Clarets To promotion from the Second Division, an FA Cup final and third place in the top flight in successive years. Britton was a favourite son of Goodison, having enjoyed a distinguished playing career as half-back. He was, recorded a 1936 profile, ‘One of the…
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Clocking On…

The Good Old Days of the Three O'Clock Kick-Off.....   Today’s 2.05pm kick-off inevitably gets supporters talking about the ‘good old days’, when we remember all football matches being played on a Saturday afternoon at 3pm… but just how common was that 3pm time slot? Well, it depends on how far back you look! Prior to the Premier League era, most of Everton’s home matches, aside from those played in midweek, did indeed commence at the ‘traditional’ time of 3pm – but that had only been the case from the early 1960s onwards. From 1957 to late 1961, Everton’s Saturday…
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When Parker Tamed Tigers

Run through the list of Everton’s record scorers against almost every club we’ve ever faced and one name predictably dominates. William Ralph Dean. Everton’s top scorer against Arsenal? Dixie with 12 goals. Liverpool? Dixie with 19. Chelsea? Dixie again with 10. But not today’s visitors Hull City. The man who tormented the Tigers even more than the celebrated Dixie throughout his career was another Everton striker, a man who doesn’t feature as frequently whenever lists of Everton’s great forwards are mentioned but whose goals return was impressive. John Willie Parker was described as a “stylish inside- forward” who played much…
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Another Great Book from deCoubertin: Rob Sawyer’s The Prince of Centre Halves – the Life of Tommy ‘TG’ Jones’

Another Great Book from deCoubertin: Rob Sawyer’s The Prince of Centre Halves – the Life of Tommy ‘TG’ Jones’

ANOTHER GREAT BOOK FROM DECOUBERTAIN - Q&A WITH ROB SAYWER, AUTHOR OF 'THE PRINCE OF CENTRE-HALVES: THE LIFE OF TOMMY 'TG' JONES' Posted by Jack Gordon-Brown on May 31, 2017 Rob Sawyer comes from a long line of Everton FC supporters. Listening to his father and grandfather regale the stories of Dixie Dean and the Holy Trinity led to a deep interest in Everton's illustrious history. Whilst researching his first book, a biography of Harry Catterick, Sawyer found just how important TG Jones was to the Toffees. We spoke to him about the Everton great... Hi Rob. You say that…
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