This is a story about the forgotten Manager of English Football, forgotten by all except Evertonians, Harry Catterick. To this day the media, especially Sky TV totally ignore his success in the 1960’s.
I followed Everton in the 1960’s home and away, it was a Golden Era for the Club. Harry was brought to the Club in April 1961, he had been very successful at Sheffield Wednesday but they did not appreciate what he did for them and refused to give him the wage he deserved. John Moores the Everton Director and owner of Litttlewoods Pools, saw the potential in Harry and gave him a contract, telling him that he had three years to win a trophy.
Catterick, with the backing of Moores and his Pools money set about making a team that could not only play nice football, which the former manager John Carey had created but a team that could also be hard and determined, this meant a total revamp of the playing style and discipline. Catterick was the Sergeant Major style of manager, aloof from the players and strict when they stepped out of line.
An early example of this came when Everton undertook a tour of the USA playing games in New York and Canada. Harry was opposed to the tour, it wasn’t something he wanted but he had no choice. The tour went ahead and the players, who might have looked upon it as a holiday soon realised that it was to be very far from that. Roy Vernon club captain and one of the star players was sent home for a breach of discipline.
In the 1962-63 season there was something in the air on Merseyside, a vibrancy in the City with the Beatles waking the World up with their music and Liverpool F.C. regaining their place in the top division, which meant Derby games.
Evertonians also had a buzz because in the World Cup in 1962 over in Chile Brazil had amazed the World with their style of football and from the black and white images on the tv Everton fans could hear Brazilian supporters chanting BRA – ZIL, BRA – ZIL, this was soon changed to EVER – TON, EVER – TON by the Goodison faithful. The long awaited success came when at the end of the 1962-63 season Everton were crowned Champions of the First Division.
Catterick had fulfilled John Moores request for trophy within three years.
Of course the Press accused Everton of Buying the League and dubbed them The Mersey Millionaires and the Bank of England Team. Although it was true in some ways it didn’t give Catterick the praise he deserved, he had come to a sleeping giant of a club and woke it up, not with money but with tactics and flair plus steel in defence that made Everton a complete unit.
He was a man who had no time for the Press or media in general, leaving everything to his staff, even the training sessions but his tactics and method was strictly enforced and he imposed discipline like an old fashioned head master.
He would punish players who arrived late for training on a Monday morning accepting no excuses; he would say they had since 4.40 pm on Saturday to get there.
By 1965-66 I was old enough to go to away games and decided to make sure I never missed a game. In those days a London away game meant getting a coach in Liverpool at St Johns Gardens by St Georges Hall at 11.30 pm. We would arrive in London about 5am and most of the lads on the coach would head to a local park or street to play, what sometimes was a 50 a side football game. Of course this didn’t make the locals happy and within minutes Police cars arrived and the game was abandoned.
Lesson were learned this season for me, West Brom away was a mid week game and I didn’t get back home until the early hours of the morning, I had forgotten to take my house keys with me, I was still living at home with my Mum & Dad. So I rang the bell and knocked, I looked up and saw the curtains in my Dads room open, they closed again, nothing, no movement at all, after about 10 minutes I realised he wasn’t going to let me in so I went around to the back of the house. I knew the bathroom window would be slightly open, I started to climb up the drainpipe which was covered in rust and dirt, my white jeans were now looking like the earliest version of Tie Dye known. I got to the window ledge but it was still about two foot away from the drainpipe, with the agility of James Bond I swung my arms across and grabbed the ledge, hanging on for my life I put my head under the open window frame and pushed up with my neck to open it further, I managed to go head first onto the floor in the bathroom and went quietly up to my bedroom, that was 1965 I have never ever since forgotten my keys.
The 1965-66 season was getting exciting we were on a up run and had been drawn against Non League Bedford Town these were the games I loved, going to grounds that you would never otherwise visit. Tickets were hard to get but that’s the norm for this type of game, anyway on the day a fleet of Everton coaches arrived in Bedford, it was amazing, the locals were out on their doorsteps waving and looking amazed at the amount of coaches passing their houses. He game was a fairly easy one for Everton and a 3-0 victory saw us into the next round. With the Cup run taking its toll on the first team some youngsters were making their way into the first team Joe Royle had played at Blackpool which upset many fans as Alex Young had been dropped to fit him in. Also on New Years Day 1966 we arrived in London in the early hours of the morning, no celebrating the New Year for the Blues who made the trip but an unexpected surprise was in store, as the Everton coach arrived at White Hart Lane we noticed a strange face on board. We all looked at each other trying to figure out who he was. In those days there was no newspapers on New Years Day or any tv stations like Sky etc it wasn’t until the team was announced that we heard the name Mike Trebilcock, a new signing from Plymouth Argyle.
Catterick once again had pounced, The Cat had bought a player that the fans and the press had no idea he was interested in.