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60 Greatest Everton Players: #5. Alex Young
by Ed Bottomley

 271 appearances, 87 goals

 “I left Everton Football Club in 1968. But I can honestly say that Everton has never left me.”

A unique player who was never truly liked or trusted by manager Harry Catterick, Young bewitched the fans with his rare skill and it soon became fluorescently obvious to Evertonians that they had someone truly special.

Alex Young was the beatific poster boy for the School of Science. Bought for £42,000 from Hearts, “The Golden Vision” with his vicar’s collar and blonde locks was an elegant forward, even Bill Shankly was an admirer. It might not sound like it but Young was a fighter. He fought his manager’s icy glare, crippling lack of self belief, horrendous blisters on his feet, and deafness to be one of the most expressive, exciting, and aware attackers this Isle has ever seen.

“I’d have loved to have had you in my team at Anfield. The Spion Kop will smile on the day you hang up your boots but I’ll weep.”Bill Shankly to Young.

By his own admission he faded in games, and he lacked confidence in his abilities; very little film of the Scot is out there but it makes him all the more fascinating, and the tales of a blonde god holding court at Goodison are more than mere rumour. The romantic’s choice, sit down with some on Merseyside and you’ll leave believing that the tongue on Young’s boots was as expressive as the one in Oscar Wilde’s mouth.

Young was at the peak of his powers during the 1962/63 Championship season – scoring 22 and helping Vernon hit 24. It’s a tragedy that there isn’t more footage of Young, as it is we can only look at his talents through the grubby window of grainy reports and hazy memories.

So acute was his reading of the game that he could deliver exquisite passes without even checking where his teammates were. Young scored 89 goals in 275 appearances; his 22 strikes helped win the league for Everton in 1963 and he was in the FA Cup winning team of 1966. There was something almost ethereal about Young, who somehow throttled the life out of games with the lightest of touches, and he is probably the most beloved of all Everton legends.

#16.Everton 1-0 Tottenham. 20th April 1963.

“Our biggest rival was Tottenham and thanks to the work of Jimmy Gabriel and Tony Kay, we slaughtered them at Goodison. It was a tremendous effort and I was thrilled to score the golden goal. I must admit that it was a pretty good header.” – Alex Young

Everton came into this game level on points with Tottenham at the summit of the league table. The next six games would be a straight sprint for the title.

Alex Young, on seventeen minutes, hung in the air as he headed in a Roy Vernon cross and won Everton this game. Young’s leap was a springboard for success – pushing them from third place to first.  They wouldn’t relinquish their place at the top for the rest of the season.

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” – these words could have been written for the Golden Vision just as easily as the Louisville Lip.

 

 

Written by Ed Bottomley

Everton fan exiled in Michigan. Duncan Ferguson obsessive, history buff, optimist.
Follow me on Twitter @DixiesSixty

6 Comments

well you are not so well informed .I am blue to the core but to put Alex in 5th place is a travesty ,you obviously only saw the TV program ,he wasn’t even a regular -his name was tenderfoot -he played a little more than Gibbo .Yes he was an inspiration but not ahead of so many others

by Brian on Feb 24, 2017 at 4:10 pm


    Interesting… My dad found a letter from him in a programme where he pretty much acknowledged that he had games where he didn’t do himself justice. There’s such an enormous following of Young though – people I respect like Dr. France who would say that he’s not high enough on the list…

    by Ed Bottomley on Feb 24, 2017 at 6:22 pm


    The Gibbo comparison is unfair…

    Gibson was with us for five years and played 51 games
    Young was with us for eight years and played 228 games – that’s 28.5 games a season on average. Not too shabby.

    by Ed Bottomley on Feb 24, 2017 at 6:26 pm


To be a true Evertonian is to understand that Alex Young was the purest of footballers and the perfect aesthetic antidote Liverpool’s yard dog, long ball, joyless game.
As a philosopher of life and exponent of the “bon mot” Shankly was unsurpassed in the footballing world, but actually his mode of football exemplified our Anglo Saxon-Celtic norm for lack of sporting artistry. Young was the antithesis of a Liverpool player under Shankly.
As Gordon Honeycombe once said, “Football is the Golden Vision.”

by David Large on Jul 2, 2017 at 1:58 pm


Hi, could you tell me where the print originates from please? My Dad was a huge fan of Young and would possibly be a good gift. Thanks in advance

by BARRY JOHNS on Jul 2, 2017 at 2:18 pm


    Hi Barry – unfortunately there is no print, I created this with photo editing software.

    by Ed Bottomley on Jul 6, 2017 at 5:00 pm


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