In this article, Neil Jones will look at the impact that Welsh players have had on Everton Football Club. It is the 2nd article looking into the history of Welsh players on Merseyside, with Part 1 having looked at the Welsh players who’ve represented Liverpool FC. At the end of the article, there is a COMBINED XI of players from Part 1 and Part 2.
Everton Football Club was founded in 1878 as St Domingo FC, as it allowed the members of the congregation of St Domingo Methodist Chapel in Everton to play sports all year round, as the cricket team could only play in the summer. The club was renamed to Everton FC in 1879 after the local area, as people not from the congregation wanted to participate. Everton was a founding member of the Football League in 1888-89 along with 11 other clubs.
The first Welshman to make a significant impact for Everton was George Farmer from Oswestry, as it has been difficult to establish who was the first Welsh player to represent the club. He, along with George Dobson became the clubs first ever professional players in 1885. Farmer had previously played for Oswestry White Stars FC and helped the club win the Welsh Cup for the first time in 1884, having joined the club in 1881 as an 18 year old. He won his only two caps for Wales in 1885 before joining Everton in the Easter of that year. He will be forever known as Everton first-ever goal scorer in a recognised competitive match when he scored against Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup in 1887. He would only stay at the club until 1890, missing out on winning the League title the next season. Farmer would go on to play for non-league clubs Liverpool Caledonians, Liverpool South End and Rock Ferry FC. He would unfortunately pass away in 1905 at the young age of 40, leaving behind his wife Louise and 3 young children. Farmer has been credited with building up Everton in those early days to enjoy the success they would have soon after Farmer left. (Image from: http://www.penmon.org/page91.htm)
A Welshman who would go on to win the League title in 1890/91 was Charlie Parry from Llansilin near Oswestry. He joined the club in 1889 having previously played for Chester St Oswalds. He would be at the club until 1895 having played over 90 matches in that time. Parry was considered a versatile player as he was comfortable playing at full back or half back and would go on to win 13 caps for Wales, although only one of these appearances resulted in a win. Parry’s 6 years at the club could be now considered controversial as in 1891 he asked to leave the club due to a lack of playing time and in 1893 was suspended for two weeks for drunkenness and would again be suspended later on that season for not attending training. He would also gain a reputation for “bashing goalkeepers” although this did not result in any suspensions or known injuries. Parry would leave the club in 1895 and go on to play for 4 more clubs before retiring in 1906 at the age of 36. Among those clubs being Ardwick (before they became Manchester City) but this move only lasted a few months and he made no appearance for the club. His next move was to Newtown and he would play for them for the next 4 seasons. At this time, he was to benefit from a testimonial match as Everton came to play Newtown on the 17th of November 1898 with the Blues winning 5-1. In 1899. Parry would move to Aberystwyth Town for a season and would see success again, winning the Welsh Cup, defeating Druids FC 3-0. His last club would be his home town team Oswestry United where he would play in goal for the next 6 years. Having fallen on hard times, Parry would again benefit from a testimonial match, this time the visitors being Liverpool who would travel to Oswestry’s home ground of Park Hall and would win against their hosts 4-0. Parry’s health soon declined and he received another benefit match in 1921 when Everton came to visit in front of 3,000 spectators with Oswestry winning 1-0. Parry unfortunately passed away on the 4th of February 1922 leaving a widow and 6 children. (Image from: http://www.penmon.org/userimages/KH2Corinth.jpg)
Thomas George Jones – a man considered to be the prince of centre halves, an elegant defender who was doing what Beckenbauer would do, but in the 1930’s and 40’s, dribbling out of trouble and spraying the field with passes. Jones, a native of Connah’s Quay arrived at the club from Wrexham in 1936 having only played 6 League matches. The investment in Jones was £3,000 but this would turn out to be money well spent as he would go on to stay at the club until 1950 making 178 appearances although he would lose his best years to the Second World War. He would win the League Championship in only his second season, with a team that contained Tommy Lawton and Joe Mercer and was one of the most attractive sides of their era and looked capable of dominating English football well into the 1940’s. The Second World War put an end to this and Jones would spend his time working in a factory and occasionally turning out for Everton and Wales in wartime matches. When play resumed in 1946, the club had lost Mercer and Lawton (Jones was best man to both) and would struggle to regain their success. Jones would continue to impress, although disagreements with management, such as when a director would falsely accuse Jones of feigning an injury, even though the injury was severe enough to put him in hospital for four months, would mean that Jones was in and out of the team and would struggle to even make the reserves. This situation came to a head in 1950 when Everton agreed his release. It was a sad way for his Everton career to end as even legends such as Dixie Dean described him as “the best all-round player I’ve ever seen”. He was revered not only in England and Wales, but abroad as in 1948 Roma made a bid of £15,500 for his services, but this was scuppered at the last-minute due to foreign exchange issues. When he left Everton, he would go to Pwllheli and become their part-time manager whilst running a hotel. Staying in this role until 1956 when he became manager of Bangor City and was instrumental in one of their famous European nights, when he managed to defeat Italian giants Napoli 2-0 in the home leg of a European Cup Winners Cup tie. He stayed in this position until 1967. Jones was also the founder of Connah’s Quay Nomads FC as he noticed the lack of a football club in the town in 1946. So he created a junior team called Connah’s Quay Juniors FC which was initially an under-19’s side, but with the attraction of Jones, the youngsters from all over the area flocked to join the club and it soon became successful in youth football, winning the Welsh Youth Cup in 1948. Such was its success that a senior team was formed that would later be known as Connah’s Quay Nomads. Jones passed away in 2004 at the age of 86. He is still remembered by the club and fans as he was inducted into the Gwladys Street Hall of Fame in 1996. (Image from: https://i.pinimg.com/236x/9a/1e/11/9a1e11b637c609f55b32db4b075af9c9.jpg)
Roy Vernon – who become one of the most revered strikers in Everton’s history, arriving in 1960 from Blackburn Rovers after a succession of fall outs with manager Dally Duncan, for a fee of £27,000 and Everton striker Eddie Thomas. Vernon’s displays as a teenager in Flintshire (hailing from Ffynnongroew) attracted Everton and Manchester United but rejected their overtures and signed for Blackburn believing that he would face less competition for a place in the first team. This became true when he made his debut in 1955 at the age of 18 and within 18 months would make his debut for his country. He was an important part of the team, which would gain promotion to the First Division in 1957/58 and appeared for Wales in the World Cup finals in Sweden. At Everton, Vernon would become their top scorer for four seasons and would score 24 goals whilst captaining the team to the First Division title in 1962/63. In 203 matches for the club he would go on to score 111 goals and be club captain from 1962 until his departure in 1965. His departure was caused by fall outs with manager Harry Catterick and was sold to Stoke City for £40,000 whilst still only 28 years old, although injuries began to slow him down during his time there. He would remain at Stoke until 1970 although this included a loan to Halifax Town in 1970. He would continue his football career in South Africa, playing for Cape Town City and Hellenic, whilst also playing for non-league club Great Harwood Town FC for a couple of seasons. Vernon, a heavy smoker would often be seen smoking in the tunnel before and soon after a match, died from cancer in 1993 at the age of 56 in the Blackburn area. (Image from: https://i.pinimg.com/736x/e2/42/3a/e2423afb07d4d808c872b663a0d78a06.jpg)
Kevin Ratcliffe – to simply put it, is Everton’s most successful ever captain, leading the club to League titles in 84/85 and 86/87, the FA Cup in 1984 and the European Cup Winners Cup in 1984/85, whilst also captain for two other FA Cup Finals. Although Everton would not get the chance to play in Europe after their triumph against Rapid Vienna for only a couple of weeks after this success, English clubs were banned from European competitions for five years in the aftermath of the Heysel disaster. Ratcllife arrived at Everton 1977 from the small Flintshire village of Mancot (the same village where Gary Speed hailed from) as an apprentice, having previously played for the clubs under 15’s but would not make his debut until 1980 against Manchester United at Old Trafford, he would not become a regular in the first team until 1982. He began his career as a left-back often with mixed results, but he proved his capability when moved to centre back and was made captain in 1983 just before the club embarked on its most successful period in its history. This success might never have happened for Ratcliffe as he handed in a transfer request in 1982 after being dropped from the first team for a home match against Birmingham City but luckily for him, he soon regained his place in the heart of Everton’s defence and the rest is history. He would go on to make 493 appearances for the club which puts him fifth in the all-time appearance charts, making his last appearance against Leeds United in 1991. Known as one of the quickest defenders with an uncanny ability to read the game along with the leadership qualities that would make him a successful captain for club and country. He would leave the club to go to play for five more clubs including Dundee, Cardiff City, Nottingham Forest, Derby County and Chester City. It is at Chester that Ratcliffe would begin his managerial career in 1995 staying in the role until 1999 when he left to manage Shrewsbury Town for another four years. The highlight of his time there would be the FA Cup third round victory against Everton in 2003. Ratcliffe, is still involved in football with his role as a commentator for BBC Wales and an Everton football columnist for the Liverpool Echo. He is a member of the Gwladys Street Hall of Fame. (Image from: http://gwladysstreet.co.uk/news/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/kevin-ratcliffe1.jpg)
Neville Southall – a teammate of Radcliffe and the last line of defence in Everton golden era in the 1980’s. Southall was considered one of the best goalkeepers of his generation and one of the best in the world at his peak, is one of only four goalkeepers to have been awarded the Footballer of the Year Award, when he won it in 1985, the others being legendary goalkeepers Bert Trautmann, Gordon Banks and Pat Jennings. Southall’s journey to Everton was a long one, playing for many different clubs in his youth such as his local team Llandudno Swift, where one of his team mates was Welsh international Joey Jones. He then moved on to Llandudno Town, playing for them at the age of 15 before moving on to Bangor City, where he failed to establish himself as number one and played understudy to Peter Eales. When Bangor began to get into financial trouble, Southall would move on to Conwy United, whilst working various roles such a builder, hod carrier, floor cleaner and bin man. He would move to Winsford United, a semi-professional football team in Cheshire in 1979 where his form after a season attracted the attention of Bury who paid £6,000 for his services. After a season at the club, Everton came calling with a bid of £150,000 which was duly accepted in November 1981. He would go on to make 750 appearances for the Blues, becoming their all-time record appearance maker, a record unlikely to be broken, whilst he is also the all-time appearance maker for Wales with 92. His career at Everton did not begin smoothly as he lost his place to Jim Arnold in November 1982 and spent January and February 1993 on loan at Port Vale in the Fourth Division and tried to take him on a permanent basis which was rejected. He would not regain his place as Everton number one until October 1983. During Everton’s successful run to the European Cup Winners Cup trophy, Southall would only go on to concede two goals. Everton would not have a chance to participate in the European Cup the following season due to the five-year European ban on English clubs. Southall’s last honour with the club was the 1995 FA Cup, a run in which he only conceded one goal and made him the most decorated player in Everton’s history. His last appearance for the club was in November 1997 against Tottenham Hotspur, eventually being replaced by Thomas Myhre. Many individual honours would be bestowed on Southall, such as in when he was awarded an MBE for service to football. He was voted Everton’s 1980s Player of the Decade by the Millenium Giant Panel at Everton, whilst he is also included in the Gwladys Street Hall of Fame. He was also voted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2016. (Image from: http://i1.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article5498254.ece/ALTERNATES/s615/Neville-Southall.jpg)
Barry Horne – a team mate of Southall from 1992- 1996, Horne arrived at his boyhood club from Southampton for a fee of £675,000. Horne’s career took a somewhat unusual path as although he enjoyed considerable success in football whilst at school, representing district teams near his home town of St Asaph and turning down offers of league football, he would go to Liverpool University to study chemistry. He would leave there with a degree and masters which he would use later in life as a chemistry and physics teacher at King’s School in Chester. He would not sign professional forms until 1984 when signed for Wrexham, when he was 22 years old after having impressed for Rhyl. He would stay at Wrexham for three years before earning a move to Portsmouth, where he would stay for two years before moving to another south coast club in Southampton in a deal worth £700,000. Horne’s is fondly remembered by Everton fans as he scored one of the most important goals in the club’s history when he netted from 30 yards against Wimbledon in the final game of the 1993/94 season which helped them survive relegation. He would go on to win the 1995 FA Cup against Manchester United, where he and his team mates were dubbed “Dogs of War” for their battling ability, he was also named Everton’s Player of the Year award that season. Horne is the club’s first player to score a Premier League goal when he did so against Sheffield Wednesday in 1992. He would continue playing football until 2002 when he retired at the age of 40. Since then Horne has been able to keep himself busy, not only with his teaching career, but also the work he has done with Wrexham FC, when in 2011 he became a director of the club and later became the Head of Football Operations, a role he was in up until October 2016. He also does some work in the media, doing commentary and punditry work on Match of the Day and Sky Sports, whilst writing columns for the Liverpool Echo. Horne is still remembered in the Welsh national team as the supporters’ brass band is called The Barry Horns in his honour. (Image from: http://www.sportsworldcards.com/ekmps/shops/sportsworld/images/everton-barry-horne-156-merlin-s-english-premier-league-1995-football-sticker-57420-p.jpg)
I would like to thank the following websites for their valuable information in the making of this article:
COMBINED MERSEYSIDE WELSH XI
From these article, I will attempt to make a Merseyside Welsh XI, I have found it easier to complete compared to my Manchester XI as there were more players in certain positions to choose from. I have opted for a 4-3-3 formation as I feel that this would be the best formation for me to use. As with the previous XI, I have opted for an XI of only Welsh born players.
GK – Neville Southall – What more is there to say about Southall, one of the best goalkeepers to have ever played the game. Would take a lot to score against him
RB – Ray Lambert – a more than capable full back who was unfortunate to play in a time when Wales were blessed in the position or else he would have gotten more international recognition.
CB – Kevin Ratcliffe – my captain for the team. Who was one of the best defenders in the country at the time he was playing.
CB – T.G Jones – The Prince of Centre Halves would provide a calming influence to the team and ensure that chances are kept to a minimum.
LB – Joey Jones – Wales’ first European Cup winner would provide the team’s enthusiasm and be a tough match up for most opponents with his uncompromising manner.
CM – Gary Speed – a boyhood Evertonian, who would not look out of place in this team. A scorer and creator of goals but also a hardworking player. You can’t have too many of them.
CM – Barry Horne – every team needs a ball winner and Horne would be best suited for this role and would be able to give the ball to others in the team to display their skills. A dog of war is always useful. A tough tackler, similar to Joey Jones.
CM – Joe Allen – another hard-working tenacious player, who is composed on the ball. I would use him in this team as the midfield playmaker.
CF – Roy Vernon – both a scorer and creator of goals. An expert penalty taker, which would be handy in any side.
CF – Ian Rush – the goal scorer supreme, give him a chance and he will score and with Toshack and Vernon supplying the chances, Rushie would have a field day.
CF – John Toshack – would win most balls in the air and be a dominant force.