'He Will Forever Be Synonymous With Everton'

@Everton

The funeral for Everton legend Alex Young took place at Warriston Crematorium in Edinburgh on Saturday morning.

Club Everton Ambassador Graeme Sharp was present and paid the following tribute.


As an Evertonian, and someone who is immensely proud to have played for Everton Football Club, I would like to extend on behalf of the Club our deepest condolences to Nancy, to Alex, to Jason, to Jane and to your extended family and friends.

Alex Young will forever be synonymous with Everton. When I first came to the Club in 1980 I was aware of the players who had worn the shirt before me. Dixie Dean. Bob Latchford. Alan Ball. Dave Hickson. And Alex Young was always put out there as a player I had to try to live up to.

I never had the chance to see him play in the flesh but I had the distinct privilege of meeting him on different occasions over the years. He was always a great ambassador for the Club and a proper gentleman, as you would expect of a man who never forgot where he came from, whose humility defined the impact he had as a player as much as his formidable range of skills. Nine times out of 10 when I would ask Evertonians who their favourite player was, they would say Alex Young because he embodied something in the Sixties that made time stand still. He took the breath away with what he was able to do with a football. In the words of Joe Royle, he is part of the legend of our Club.

Joe and Alex were teammates, of course. As Joe would tell you now, He swayed and floated around the pitch but few mention that he had a wonderful turn of foot over 10 yards and his acceleration was terrific. For not the biggest of men, he was also tremendous in the air. It was artistry with Alex, a cleverness. He would stand on the ball, knowing, almost like a matador, tempting someone to tackle him. He would be going one way, then his body would be going in completely the opposite direction. People would find themselves looking rather silly, for he made opposition players fall over and, for Alex, it seemed almost effortless.

Joe would tell you that you had to get close to him and be quite threatening but that didn’t bother him either. You’d see this gentle man with blond locks but, boy, could he look after himself.
A Division One League title in 1962-63 – when he scored 22 league goals in 42 games – and an FA Cup winner’s medal in 1966 do not begin to reflect the impact Alex had on a people – a very proud people, as Evertonians are.

Bill Kenwright, the Everton chairman, a better wordsmith than me, summed up his impact thus: “Without any doubt the finest 'true' footballer it has ever been my privilege to worship. And those who were lucky enough to have seen Alex play did worship him. It is difficult to explain his sheer majesty on the ball... he strolled... he glided... he shimmied... he tricked... he passed... and he scored! All with the beauty and poise of a Nijinsky. His feet hardly seemed to leave the ground...other than the times when, as a relatively small forward, he rose like a salmon swimming upstream to head the ball and leave opposing defenders bewildered.

“He was the quietest most unassuming hero any lad could ever meet. He was my hero, man and boy. He never changed. Nor did my love for him.”

As Evertonians, our love for Alex Young will never die. He is part of Goodison, part of the fabric of our Club, part of our history, part of who we are. A truly unique part. May he rest in peace.


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