Millennium Giant - 1900-1909
Jack Sharp was an apt name for a winger of breathtaking brilliance, who combined impeccable sportsmanship with his outstanding talents in two sporting fields.
Each of Everton's 10 Millennium Giants were leading figures in the world of association football.
Only one, however, achieved international honours in two sporting arenas!
Jack Sharp was a goalscoring outside right, whose dashing wing-play and thunderous shooting earned him two international caps for England. A supremely talented cricketer as well, however, he also won three Test caps for his country - and scored a century against Australia in 1909.
It was his performances over 342 appearances in an Everton jersey, however, which earned him inclusion as our first Millennium Giant of the century. Signed from Aston Villa in 1899, he was a short, stocky man described by one writer of the day as a "Pocket Hercules."
A lightning fast sprinter, he possessed the ability to flight pinpoint centres onto the head of Everton's marauding centre-forward of the day, Sandy Young, or cut inside his full-back to unleash shots of fierce power.
In the days when a sports star's popularity was measured by the number of times his portrait appeared on cigarette cards, Jack Sharp had 14 different cards created for him.
Stats and Honours |
|Everton Appearances: 342 |
|Everton Goals: 80 |
|FA Cup winner 1906 |
|First Division runner-up: 1901/02, 1904/05, 1908/09 |
|England Caps: 2|
Only two Evertonians could boast more - Dixie Dean, the most celebrated player in the League, and Harry Makepeace, who followed Sharp as an England international at football and cricket.
Renowned as much for his sportsmanship and fair play as his wing wizardry, Sharp's career almost perfectly encompassed the first decade of the 20th century.
He made his debut on the opening day of the 1899-1900 campaign - and ended his one-club career on the final day of the 1909-10 season.
His career had threatened to become a series of near misses - after three runners-up spots in the First Division Championship and an FA Cup Final defeat in 1907.
But he became a winner on April 21, 1906 - and was instrumental in helping Everton bring the FA Cup back to Merseyside for the first time. With the Crystal Palace Cup Final against Newcastle United heading for a goalless stalemate, there was an exchange in midfield between Jack Taylor and Jimmy Settle.
The ball was switched out to the feet of Jack Sharp who, according to a contemporary newspaper report "resisted the attentions of McWilliam and dashing along centred like a flash clean into the goalmouth, where Young, smartly following up after the leather, finished the job in style!
"Needless to say, the pent-up feelings of the multitude broke forth in such a volume of sound that it was a wonder the threatening rain-clouds overhead did not discharge their deluge." Sharp's eventual decision to retire, after a decade of stalwart service, was influenced by witnessing the tragic and premature end to a team-mate's career.
Jack Taylor was forced to quit, according to Thomas Keates' Jubilee History of the Club, by a "disabling blow to his larynx" in an FA Cup semi-final. Sharp followed a month later, but his devotion to Everton remained undimmed.
After the decision a club historian, Mr Pickford, commented: "No player's brilliance on the field was more vividly impressed on the minds of the Everton spectators than Jack Sharp's." He continued to impress himself on the supporters' minds in a new role as Club Director, a position he held with distinction for many years.