It was Alan Ball who famously uttered the words “Once Everton has touched you, nothing will be the same.”
It’s a quote that, decades on, continues to resonate deeply with Blues fans and players alike.
But what else is there to know about the late great?
On Sunday, Everton will pay tribute to Ball when Burnley visit Goodison Park in a Premier League sell-out.
Here’s our fact file on Harry Catterick’s 1969/70 title-winning pocket dynamo…
- A skilful and tireless midfielder, Farnworth-born Ball stood at just 5ft 6ins (1.68m) tall.
- He joined Everton from Blackpool in August 1966 for a British record fee of £110,000 - less than a month after putting in a sparkling performance to help England beat West Germany in the World Cup final at Wembley.
- At just 21, Ball was the youngest member of Sir Alf Ramsey’s World Cup winning England team. He would go on to score eight goals in 72 appearances for his country before earning his final Three Lions cap in 1975.
- His first Everton goal came on his debut in a 1-0 win at Fulham on 20 August 1966.
- Ball’s third game for the Club was a Merseyside derby at Goodison Park and he netted twice in the opening 17 minutes of an eventual 3-1 win.
- His total of 18 goals made him Everton’s top scorer in his first season at Goodison Park, ahead of the likes of Derek Temple, Jimmy Husband and Alex Young, who all hit double figures as the Blues finished sixth in the First Division table.
- The following campaign, 1967/68, saw Ball better his previous season’s tally as he struck 20 goals in just 34 league appearances. The Blues finished fifth in the league and also reached the FA Cup final - though remarkably the in-form Ball failed to register in four outings in the competition.
- Ball hit 18 goals in 1968/69 and then added 12 to his tally (10 in the league) as Everton lifted the title in 1969/70.
- Ball and Everton teammates Colin Harvey and Howard Kendall would famously become known as 'The Holy Trinity'.
- In total, the fans' favourite struck 79 times in 251 appearances for Everton - putting him 22nd on the Club’s all-time list of goalscorers.
- Coincidently given his role in England’s World Cup triumph, Ball’s final tally of league goals for the Club was 66.
- When Ball left Everton to join Arsenal in December 1971, the fee - £220,000 - was again a British record.
- Ball’s career in management began with a brief spell as a player-coach at Philadelphia Fury in 1978, before he took up his first job in England when he was appointed player-manager of Blackpool in 1980. He later had spells in charge of Portsmouth, Stoke City, Exeter City, Southampton and Manchester City, before returning to Pompey for his final role in football in January 1998. He managed his final game in December the following year.
- Ball was made an MBE in 2000 for his services to football.
- He was then inducted into the English hall of fame in 2003, two years after being named an Everton Giant.
- The popular midfielder is also in the Hall of Fame at Blackpool FC, having been selected as one of five Tangerines legends of the 1960s.
- In a 2003 poll, Ball was chosen by Blues fans as part of the greatest ever Everton team.
- Despite representing 11 clubs during his 23 years as a professional player, Ball felt a lasting attachment to Everton and served as honorary president of both the Everton Collection Charitable Trust and the official Everton members’ club before his passing at the age of just 61 in April 2007.
Read more about Alan Ball here