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.
Great goal from The Golden Vision. pic.twitter.com/Xfa9Lo3G2S
— EFC Feelin Blue (@EFCFeelinBlue) February 27, 2017
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.
Premier League: Saturday 12 Aug (TBC); Stoke City at Goodison
Saturday 19 Aug (TBC); Manchester City at Etihad Stadium