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Everton Album: A Summer In The Canaries

Find out why Dixie Dean spent his 1934 summer holidays in Tenerife.

Everton Album: A Summer In The Canaries

Nowadays pre-season tours are part and parcel of the football calendar.

Recent summers have seen Everton travel to America, Asia and even Australia in search of both form and fitness.

But the Club's ventures into the wider world began a lot earlier than you may think.

Indeed, in 1934 an Everton team including the great Dixie Dean became the first English team to make what was then regarded an adventurous voyage to Tenerife.

Like its tourism industry, football in the Canary Islands was growing in popularity year on year. The result was a steady improvement in standards, but difficulties in travelling to the mainland prevented clubs from participating in a national league.

Instead the island's teams thrived on the summer visits of big clubs, mainly from Spain.

However, by the summer of 1934 the beach resort of Santa Cruz - an area which had long enjoyed strong port links with the city of Liverpool - had attracted a large British population. And it was with the help of this ex-patriat community that a three-game series between Everton and CD Tenerife was arranged.

"The expectation for the matches excelled anything seen before," reported local newspaper, the Tenerife Sun. "Even more so than previous visits of Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao.

"In fact, a planned tour of Tenerife by FC Barcelona was cancelled when the Everton matches were confirmed."

Everton's players line up for a photograph in Tenerife in 1934Everton's players line up for a photograph in Tenerife in 1934. Dixie Dean is second from the right.

Click here to see an enlarged version of the photograph

The Everton team, including seven internationals, set off from Liverpool's Lime Street Station, taking a train to London and then onto Southampton. There they boarded 'The Dunbar Castle', a boat which took them on a six-day expedition to Las Palmas in Gran Canaria.

The final leg of the trip took them onto Santa Cruz, a journey mirrored by an unprecedented number of football followers from Las Palmas. In fact, demand was so high, a tour package was arranged offering supporters a return ferry, a bed and a match ticket for a sum of 20 pence.

Said the Sun: "On the day of the first match, the excitement by the English colonies, from both the Canary capitals and locals, was reaching fever pitch.

"Bars and cafes were buzzing from early on in the day around the stadium."

A lack of grass on the pitch meant Everton had to arrange for specially-made boots to be supplied for all the players. Despite this, they opened the tour with a 2-1 win.

Four days later the two teams met again, although this time the hosts held the Blues to a 1-1 draw. For the second time, the spectacle was watched by a capacity crowd and the masses got what they came to see, the idolised Dean getting on the scoresheet.

Everton's players then had a week off to tour the islands before the final game of the series. This time Tenerife threatened an upset, taking the lead. But goals from Alex Stevenson and Albert Geldard ensured the trip would end victoriously for the Blues.

The tour was declared a huge success by both the local football authorities and Everton director C.S Baxter.

Everton's blue shirt has since travelled all across the world, while our international players come from countries dotted across both hemispheres. Tenerife, meanwhile, play regularly in the domestic leagues of Spain and have done since 1953.

In the current football climate, a future meeting between Everton and Tenerife is by no means unimaginable. That wasn't the case in 1934 and, for that reason, the Toffees - and Dixie Dean - will forever demand a page in the history annuals of Canarian football.

Richard LuntAt last the article I mentioned to Adam Clarke way back in July 2009 is on the website.Sunshine and dust did not stop the crowds from coming to see a great team. Shame we couldn't make their 75th celebrations maybe we could have saved them from being relegated again. The blues got everywhere even in those days! COYB

Saturday 29th May 13:46 Report Comment

john connollyMay 1934, Tenerife,why do some of them look like they are cold but what a tall side they look too.

Thursday 9th October 19:40 Report Comment

mark winterExplains why, when on hols there, the good old Blue shirt gets so many nods of approval.either that or the locals are sick of the sight of the Red shirt lmao

Thursday 9th October 10:22 Report Comment
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