Everton 0-1 Leeds. 7th November 1964
“So there you are – you can see what it is like. The camera’s hot, probing eye, these monstrous machines and their attendants – a kind of twentieth century torture chamber, that’s what it is.”
In 1962, Prime Minister Harold McMillan decided to open a Conservative Party broadcast with that candid statement. It could just have easily been Everton manager Harry Catterick describing his queasy unease for publicity.
Because of this, most of the 1960’s – a wonderful era for Everton – is shrouded in darkness. Catterick, worried about rivals studying Everton too keenly, shunned the limelight and repeatedly shooed cameras away from filming his stars. Perhaps though, Everton’s match against Leeds in 1964 wasn’t something either team would want anyone to see.
“The Battle of Goodison” was an ugly game, pockmarked with violence, and staggers onto this list with “love” and “hate” tattooed on its knuckles. The adage was that if you stood up to Leeds they bit back twice as hard. At Goodison that afternoon not only did the Everton players stand up to them, but the crowd did too. Throughout the game angry faces in the stands were clenched like fists.
Famously, a tackle by Willie Bell on Derek Temple knocked him out cold; Brian Labone later told writer James Corbett that they thought Bell had killed him. After the “tackle” – and the howls from an increasingly feral crowd, referee Spokes escorted the two teams off the field for a cooling off period. Richard Burton and Liz Taylor had nothing on Everton and Leeds that day.
Cushions, hats, and all manner of debris were tossed onto the pitch – Leeds players feared a lynching – and winger Albert Johanneson was flecked with racist phlegm. Amidst the carnage, Leeds managed to score.
This is a lesson that history isn’t always written by the victors; Leeds had won the battle of Goodison; but they went on to be remembered as the bullies. Everton evolved into “The Three Graces”, with the saintly skills of Alex Young. Leeds were to become infamous for their brutally successful football; more totalitarian than total.
Everton fan exiled in Michigan. Duncan Ferguson obsessive, history buff, optimist.
Follow me on Twitter @DixiesSixty
Europa League: Thurs 23 Nov (20:05); Atalanta at Goodison
Premier: Sun 26 Nov (13:30); Southampton at St Mary’s