Bio: I was born in Walton Hospital within earshot of the Goodison Roar and was brought up in Bootle. My father had no interest in football whatsoever but my brother was a Kopite, he used to go to the reserve games at Anfield in the late 1950s but because I was younger I wasn’t allowed to go and he didn’t want me there anyway .
It was in school where I heard about Everton from my mates, they told me all about a guy called Dave Hickson, he was their hero. Listening to them was like having a Superman Comic read out to you, my mind pictured Dave Hickson as a Super Hero…
I asked my Dad for months to take me to see Everton but he wouldn’t, then suddenly one Saturday out of the Blue (where else) he said come on I will take you to watch Everton. I was ten years old and on that day I felt so good, I was more excited than any Christmas or birthday I had celebrated. I remember walking to the ground and the crowds were getting larger and noisier. We went into Goodison Road just to the left of the players’ tunnel, as I walked into the ground it was as if a shaft of light hit my heart. I knew right there and then that this ground, this club was going to play a major role in my life.
My brother was sent off to Australia on a £10 Poms Trip, they needed more people as they had run out of convicts and Kopites were the natural replacement.
I travelled everywhere in the 60s & 70s watching Everton, I got thrown out by my Dad, lost my job, was abandoned by my girlfriend and suffered many long hours hitch-hiking to games.
I decided to write about my travels in the 60s Everton agreed to publish it for me and I then did the 70′s & 80s. I was asked by Everton to write a history page in the Match Day Programme which I did for three seasons 1998 -2001. I then started my fanzine Blue Blood which is dedicated to finding lost items and stories from Everton’s History.
Its on issue 89 now and I still sell it outside the Winslow on Match Days. My Dad did say I would still be hanging around street corners when I was 60 and he was right.
As you can see from above it was that first game at Goodison in the 1958 /59 season against Aston Villa. Little Bobby Collins the Mighty Atom and the Cannonball Kid Dave Hickson. What child could resist such amazing characters?
I loved the ground the atmosphere, everything about the place. I went to my first away game when I was 12 with my mate, my Dad didn’t know, he thought I had gone to the pictures, the Saturday Matinee. It was at Preston and the pride of wearing an Everton scarf at an away ground was overpowering.
Q2. I remember standing amongst a glum chain gang of fans at Kirkdale train station in the late 90′s, we’d just been beaten at Goodison, the rain was pissing on us, and some cheeky Liverpool fans were laughing and mooning us from the top of the stairs. That was the lowest I felt as an Everton fan. What is your all time high/low as a fan?
The worst for me was losing at home to a relegated Tranmere Rovers in the F.A. Cup at home 3-0, Dire, Abysmal, Disgraceful; there really isn’t a word to describe the depths of despair that I felt that day. Walter Smith should have been sacked that night, told to get out of town and never come back. Kenwright’s weakness was exposed that day.
The best, where do you start, maybe the 1962/63 League Champion Team, for me the best I have seen. The Alex Young goal against Spurs to virtually clinch the title the same season. But I will go for the 1966 F.A.Cup Final for a few reasons. Everton had been the dominant force on Merseyside for many Years and then in the early 60s a dark cloud hung over Goodison, its shadow from across the Park loomed. They had won the Cup the year before, they had clinched the Championship this Season and Everton’s greatness was under threat. Although we were the Top Club on Merseyside we hadn’t won the Cup for 33 years, that’s one hell of a long time. They were crowing, they were chirping, singing their silly little Beatle songs and we had to shut them up. I had been to every League and Cup game home and away and I knew at the start of the season we would win the Cup, I just KNEW, I told everyone I would have the F.A.Cup tattooed on my arm at the end of the season (I did). Everyone knows the story, dropped Centre Forward virtually unknown replacement, 2-0 down and then WHAM the Super-heroes Struck. It was the best week end of my life.
Q3. What player from the past would you sign for our current team?
To me there can only be one man Alex Young, imagine Messi & Maradona without the cheating then you have half of what Alex Young was. The 60s was the so called Shankly, Busby, Best, Greaves era then ask your self why did the BBC produce a play called the Golden Vision that was all about Everton and Alex Young?
The answer is simple, he was unique, a player that took on the thugs that were in fancy dress as defenders, Alex did Float, he did Glide, he was the first human Hovercraft. Many myths were created around Alex, the one that he didn’t play as well away from home as he did at Goodison, False he scored many goals away from home, ‘He suffered with blistered feet and was injury prone,’ well he did suffer with Blistered Feet but he was never injury prone. The season we won the League was the worst winter for 50 years grounds were rock hard , solid and dangerous, Alex Young was an ever present that season.
When Merseyside was rocking to the Beatles, Goodison was rocking to Alex Young, the support was unbelievable 70,000 for home games and when we went to places like Burnley, Blackpool, Stoke over 20,000 Blues were there.
Alex was worshipped long before Beatlemania was a word. He was truly the first 60s football con, Danny Blanchflower, George Best all sold their soul to the TV Advert Men. Alex kept himself to himself, he talked with his boots.
There will never be another Alex Young.
Q4. Who is your favourite all time player?
As above Alex Young, when you saw a little man rise as if on a cloud , head the ball and direct it with laser precision while under pressure from a 6 foot 4 inch centre half , from the penalty spot and watch as it flew into the Gwladys Street net and nearly 50 years later that goal is still fresh in your mind then you know that on that day you witnessed something special. Over the years selling my books and fanzine there have been so many Blues come over to me and say George you are right, that was the best goal ever at Goodison, then you know its not just your mind playing tricks, nostalgia can be romantic but Alex young transcends nostalgia, he is part of Everton history.
Q5. What’s your take on our motto Nil Satis Nisi Optimum?
I am a proud Evertonian the crest, the motto and the shirt mean so much to me, I don’t care that it isn’t as well known as it should be, that is the failing of Everton’s Commercial Team. As a fan Only The Best Is Good Enough were the words of Will Cuff & John Moores, I find that Kenwright falls short in their shadow.
The crest on the shirt should just be the Tower with Nils Satis Nisi Optimum, no 1878, no Everton, like Tottenham’s cockerel, no more needs to be said.
Q6. Do you think this summer will be a positive one for Everton in terms of buying players?
In a word NO, Moyes said last season that it was his best squad since he has been here and he thought he needed to win a trophy, we lost to Brentford & Reading. So I am not convinced that we will make any strides in expanding the squad. As I type we look to be lumbered with the Yak, talk of getting the West Ham lad Demba Ba make me laugh, he has turned down £50,000 at West Ham , Everton will not get anywhere near that wage figure, its just another well planted story from the inner workings of the Board.
Q7. The press is awash with rumours about bids for Everton players like Rodwell and Baines. What are your thoughts on selling some of our bigger names?
My thoughts are that we should try to keep all players that are the future, Rodwell and Baines have years of service yet to give us. Yak, Neville, Howard, Arteta and others can go.
Q8. What are your thoughts on a sharing a stadium with Liverpool?
I wouldn’t share a bath with them even if I was wearing a wet suit. There is no need to share with anyone.
One of the few things we have left after asset stripper Wyness is Goodison Park. Everton along with every other Premier Club Everton get a set amount of money from Sky T.V. and sponsors. If just £25 million was used next season to pull down the Bullens Road stand and rebuild it… Ban away fans while the work is in progress; relocate the season ticket holders to the Main Stand Park End St End. At present the Bullens only earns income on a match day there are no Boxes, no dining suites etc. With the technology we have now if the Bullens was pulled down at the end of the season in May then by the following January it would be ready to be used. The additional income from dining suites, sponsor boxes can help part fund the next project the Gwladys Street.
There is no need to rebuild Goodison for 50,000 fans they do not exist. We can on a good day get 40,000 if there are no obstructed views, better more modern catering facilities then more income can be earned all year round.
The Main Stand took less than a year to complete that was in 1969, the building trade has moved on since then, instead of wasting £12million on players like Billy, who Moyes hardly ever plays, or wasting £15 million on an unknown player like Fellaini, who hasn’t had ten great games in two seasons, or the likes of Kroldrop who couldn’t head a ball and played one game that cost £5million. And lets be honest we have survived without two of those players more often than not.
Its time the board looked and saw that we are fairly safe in the Premiership, so invest in the ground. Look to the future. Everton left Anfield in 1892. Within 20 years we had built the best football ground in the world. Will Cuff Started that, John Moores continued it, even Johnson did the Park End, Kenwright built a marquee on the Park End car park.
Q9. Where do you think the majority of Evertonians lie, with “Moyes Out”, “In Moyes We Trust” or somewhere in the middle?
Two seasons ago I would have said the majority were behind Moyes but now its closer maybe even 50/ 50 His constant negative tactics and boring football have consigned us to the last spot on Match Of The Day unless we play a top four club.
I as an Old Time Blue can remember the Glory Days and I will never accept that we can not still win the League but I do concede it will be very very hard to do that. The Moyes fans tell me I am not being realistic, I say ok then, it can only be the Cups and our record under Moyes in the Cup is abysmal, Brentford, Reading, Oldham, Shrewsbury are only a few of the embarrassing moments under him. The there is Europe, Benfica, Dynamo, Sporting Lisbon.
After nine years with Moyes in charge I still go to Goodison not knowing what style of play we will use on the day, one up front at home against Reading convinced me Moyes has run out of ideas, the old, no money, injuries, etc excuses no longer wash.
Of course you will be flooded by people now who say ‘well who else could we have?’ And when you Mention, McLaren, O’Neill, Managers who have won trophies (and it didn’t take them 9 years to do it), you will get ‘We don’t want him he’s rubbish’.
I don’t argue with people who want to keep a man who has won nothing and not want men who have, there has to be logic to an argument and they have no logic to theirs.
Q10. Is money necessary to compete at the highest level, and if so – should Bill Kenwright step aside?
Money of course is vital but it’s not just buying a £20 million player it’s paying him and then you have others in the team on less who get unsettled. Its human nature, if you get paid a lot less than your work mate you resent it and you do not give everything because he is the Blue Eyed boy. So money has its place but a wage structure is so much more important, Arsenal have stuck to their principles and because they have not been successful lately the doubters are having a go.
If you think about it, we have had no money for what seems like ages yet we have had a £27 million pound player called Rooney, Moyes could not have gone out and bought him but we had him for nothing, did Moyes play the lad in every game? No he was protecting him, they were his words, well he was bought for £27 million and from that moment on he played every minute of every game , Ferguson didn’t protect him.
As I said we are SKINT but we have a £20 million pound midfield, player called Rodwell, Moyes drops the lad, doesn’t know his best position, again Moyes the man with no money has a £20million player but he ignores him, says once again the lad is young , learning his trade. If he goes to Man United or City they will know his position, he will play every game I am sure of that.
So back to the question, no money isn’t everything because we have the players that are worth money but not a manger who can play them. You need a top manger to succeed, that is so much more important than money.
Q11. Where do you see Everton in ten years time?
If we have moved on from Moyes and his negative football then I feel Everton can compete with the top six and also have success in one of the Cup Competitions , I am constantly told how Moyes has taken us away from a team always fighting relegation to a team that is now safe. Well I have watched Everton Football Club for over 50 years and only in two of those seasons on the last day did I fear relegation.
At this moment in time, do not let the negative Evertonians get you down, consider this Everton compete at the highest level of English Football, we have done that for most of our History, We are the fourth most Successful team in English Football History, Chelsea have won the League three times we have won it nine times. Sky T.V. and the Premiership have brainwashed so many people don’t let them brainwash you.