Everton Giant 2008
The first signing of Harry Catterick, Gordon West arrived at Goodison Park from Blackpool in March 1962.
At the time the transfer fee of £27,000 was the highest ever paid for a goalkeeper, but it proved to be an astute piece of business.
Technically brilliant, the Yorkshire-born stopper was also a superb athlete and went onto make 399 appearances for the Toffees. In that time he won two league titles and an FA Cup.
“Naturally, I’m very proud to be named an Everton Giant,” West said in June 2008. “In the 1960s I won two championship medals, two FA Cup final medals (one winners' and one runners-up), played for England, the lot. It was marvellous to be an Evertonian and I’m so proud of being one.
“In the 60s I played in four different teams. In 1962/63 we won the championship – that was my first season. Then when we [won] the ‘66 FA Cup final it was a different team all together, then ‘68 was a different team and ‘70 was different again. There were only two players who got medals from all four of those achievements and that was me and Brian Labone.”
Stats and Honours
Everton career: 1962-1973
League Championship: 1962-63 and 1969-70
FA Cup: 1966
Charity Shield: 1963 and 1970
England Caps: 3
A veteran of all those great Catterick sides West may have been, but he is in no doubt as to which was the best he played in.
“The 1969/70 title-winning side with Bally in it. They were all good sides, but that one was fabulous.”
At the end of that campaign West staggered the football world, declining a call up to England’s 1970 World Cup squad.
It was an odd decision from a player whose undoubted talent had, for the most part, been overlooked by his country. At the time he said he simply wanted to stay at home with his family. In fact he was going through a divorce and it left him with little choice but to withdraw.
He would finish his career with three England caps to his name. His tenure as Everton’s first-choice stopper was far longer lasting however. A brief spell in the 1970-71 season apart – Catterick dropped him in favour of Andy Rankin – West was a regular fixture in the Blues first-team for over a decade.
On his induction as a Giant, he put his success down to the ability he had to read the game as it unfolded in front of him.
“I must have been alright to have played 400 games,” West jokes. “I did my bit for Everton put it that way. And I was proud to do it. I was good at reading the throughballs and the angles. I made saves where I didn’t even touch the ball simply because I was reading it, cutting down the angles and being in the right place at the right time.
"That’s good goalkeeping. All keepers get credit for is great saves, but there’s a lot more to it than that.”
West retired from football in 1973 only to make a comeback with Tranmere Rovers three years later. When he finally put down his gloves for good in 1976 he went into security, working at RAF Woodvale in Southport. He is now retired.