Everton legend Joe Royle was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by Chairman Bill Kenwright at The Dixies on Tuesday night.
Part of the Blues’ legacy of great number nines, Royle hit 119 goals in 276 appearances during an illustrious eight-year career at Goodison Park. Renowned for his power, link-up play and finishing ability, Royle was the complete centre forward and a hero to a generation of Evertonians.
He was a key figure in the Blues’ title-winning team of 1970 and – after returning to Everton as manager in 1994 – led the Toffees to FA Cup glory in May 1995.
Speaking after being presented with his award, Royle said: “I thought I was going to be here to give a presentation out! When Denise [Barrett-Baxendale] rang me, I thought I would come along.
“It’s always emotional to win such an award. We are a community Club, we are all Evertonians together. As Alan Ball once said, ‘once this Club touches you, nothing is the same’.”
Royle made his Everton debut in 1966 against Blackpool at the tender age of 16 – and at the time was the youngest player ever to pull on a Blue shirt. He held this record for almost 40 years, before James Vaughan made his bow in 2005.
As the Toffees’ focal point in attack, Royle played an integral role as Everton secured the league championship in 1970.
The lifelong Evertonian departed the Club in 1974 to sign for Manchester City - but that is not where his association with his beloved Blues came to an end.
He became manager of Everton in November 1994 and in his debut season as boss enjoyed FA Cup glory after a sensational Wembley defeat of Manchester United.
Royle was named as an Everton Giant in 2004 and his incredible legacy at the Club was underlined even further as he won the Lifetime Achievement Award at tonight’s Dixies.