He famously observed that ‘one Evertonian is worth 20 Liverpudlians’, a sentiment particularly apt if that Blue in question is considered an Everton Giant.
Brian Labone’s now iconic quotation will forever, just like him, have a place in the bosom of Goodison folklore – a fact exemplified, and celebrated, when the former defender indeed took on Everton Giant status at the Club’s 2012 End of Season Awards.
Labone is considered by many to be the Blues’ finest ever defender and that posthumous prize saw him take his rightful place among an elite group of former players and managers.
Born in 1940 in the city and always an Evertonian, a true one-club man, Labone sadly passed away in 2006.
In his absence his wife Pat collected the award from a former teammate of the late, great centre-half in Derek Temple, who spoke warmly of a man he describes as one of the very best.
“Obviously there have been some wonderful players that have received this award, and Brian's right up there with the best of them,” said Temple on the night.
“He was a wonderful character, a big man and a big Evertonian. The thing about Brian was that he wore his heart on his sleeve and told you how it was. He deserves this award thoroughly.
“We came into the side at about the same time and he matured into an excellent centre-half.
“He got quite a number of England caps and never let anyone down at all. He was a very cultured player that read the game well. He was a big lad so he was good in the air and very strong.
“He was first class. He never ever gave anything but his best.”
Pat added: “Brian would be very honoured. His love for Everton will never be surpassed – you had to know him to know just what this Club meant to him.”
Labone joined Everton at the age of 17 in July, 1957. His debut for the first team came just a year later and he scarcely looked back.
No outfield player in the Club’s proud history has bettered the 534 appearances made by the commanding central defender in his 15-year career at Goodison Park.
Labone captained the Toffees to the FA Cup in 1966 and the League Championship in 1970, while earlier had been part of the 1963 title-winning team.
‘Labby’ played alongside a host of other Blues legends including Alex Young, Colin Harvey and Roy Vernon.
He was capped 26 times by England and played in the 1970 World Cup in Mexico as the holders reached the quarter-finals.