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v Swansea City

Tuesday 23 September K.O. 19:45

1931 - 1960

1931 - 1960
Stories of the Era


The relegation to the Second Division at the end of the 1950-51 campaign had long been expected, and a last day 6-0 drubbing at Sheffield Wednesday just about summed it all up.

This time there was no instant return and the Evertonians had to endure three seasons away from the top flight before John-Willie Parker and Dave Hickson led the promotion charge of 1953-54, with 56 league goals between them.

JOHN-WILLIE PARKER AND DAVE HICKSONJohn-Willie Parker and Dave Hickson

But there was one bright spot in the 1952-53 season when the Blues reached the last four of the FA Cup only to be beaten by Bolton Wanderers - whose side included the Football Writers Association Footballer of the Year, Nat Lofthouse - the 'Lion of Vienna'.

The Blues were enduring one of only four-ever seasons outside the top division in that term, when they embarked upon a stirring FA Cup run.

After home wins over Ipswich Town and Nottingham Forest, mighty Manchester United were drawn to visit Goodison Park in the fifth round.

Predictably the visitors took the lead, before Tommy Eglington snatched an equaliser - and Hickson made his bid for Everton immortality.

In the days before substitutes were allowed, Hickson typically threw his blond quiff in amongst flying boots and emerged with a wicked gash over his eyebrow.

He left the pitch to have the injury stitched - and 10 team-mates and 50,000 supporters gloomily accepted that Everton would be a man down for the remainder of the match.

They reckoned without Hickson's unfailing courage.

An ear-splitting roar greeted his return to the fray - with five stitches hastily inserted in the wound - and minutes later he scored the match-winner.

As if to confirm his warrior's stature, he re-opened the wound in a heading duel, resisted pleas by team-mates and referee to leave the field again, and eventually retired after 90 minutes to a hero's ovation.

He scored a spectacular match-winner in the quarter-final, too, against Aston Villa - before the Blues' brave bid for Wembley glory ended in a seven goal thriller in Manchester against Bolton Wanderers.

The Blues had been defeated in three previous visits to Manchester to play a final four FA Cup tie, but on this occasion, they were favourites to overturn their opponents from Burnden Park.

However, with Lofthouse in imperious form, Everton found themselves 4-0 down at the half-time interval.

A star had been born during that rousing run, however, and the following season Hickson hammered 25 league goals in the successful promotion campaign.

In truth, the 1950s was a barren and largely forgettable decade for the club, but the appointment of former player Harry Catterick as manager in April 1961 was a prelude to Everton's reinstatement at the top of English football.
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