Of all the Everton greats, Alex Young was arguably adored more than any other.
A sublime artist of incomparable grace, Young’s cult following half of Merseyside during the Swinging Sixties bordered on hysteria.
When legendary manager Harry Catterick left Young sidelined to bleed a promising centre-forward named Joe Royle in 1966, the Everton manager was pushed around in the Blackpool car park by his own supporters. Brian Labone, no less, was once booed by the home crowd because he accidentally injured Young during a practice session.
So why all the fuss?
In sum, Alex Young is perhaps as close as any player to embodying the essence of the club’s famous school of science ethos.
He stroked the ball instead of kicking it. He slid through even the heaviest of surfaces, squeezing his way in and out past obstructed defenders before effortlessly firing shots past bewildered goalkeepers.
His nickname – The Golden Vision – first coined by former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Danny Blanchflower, describes him best.
Former Spurs midfielder Danny Blanchflower
The view we have every Saturday of a more perfect world, a world that has a pattern and is finite. And that’s Alex – the Golden Vision.
A deep centre-forward, he was never in the same mold as traditional Everton number nines like Dean, Lawton and Hickson, but he possessed an incredible spring and could hang in the air to meet forward crosses. ‘send ball heads with a sound. blond halo.
Signed in November 1960 by Hearts for £40,000, Scottish pundits felt Young was too inconsistent and peripheral to cut him in England.
They turned out to be spectacularly wrong.
He peaked in the 1962/63 Championship side, when his striking partnership with Roy Vernon was the bane of Premier League defences. Young scored 22 goals and created countless more for his skipper as Everton claimed their sixth league title.
He was also an integral part of the 1966 FA Cup-winning side, the team that became the first to overturn a two-goal deficit to win at Wembley. And Evertonians studying the videotape of that game today are still puzzled as to why he didn’t receive a penalty in the first half!
Despite suffering painfully from blistering feet throughout his playing career, Young amassed 273 appearances for Everton.
Alex’s wife, Nancy Young
Before he played his feet were bound with foam, bandages and plasters and anything they could think of would help ease his pain, but by the time he got home his socks were stuck to his feet with some blood.
His 87 goal return in those matches was more than respectable – but it was his almost mythical appeal, rather than mere statistical successes, that endeared him to Everton supporters.
He left Goodison to become player-manager of Irish side Glentoran in 1968, before briefly returning to English football at Stockport County.
Young died after a short illness in February 2017, but his legend will live on forever at Everton.
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