CHAIRMAN'S TRIBUTE TO BRIAN
Everton chairman Bill Kenwright has paid tribute to Brian Labone, who passed away on Monday night at the age of 66.
A Goodison legend, Labone played 534 times for the Blues between 1958 and 1971, leading the club to two league championships in 1963 and 1970 as well as the famous FA Cup triumph of 1966.
He died unexpectedly on Monday night after attending a supporters club event at the Winslow pub opposite Goodison. Brian always worked tirelessly for the football club, looking after sponsors on a match-day and making himself typically accessible to the supporters who idolised him.
One of those supporters was Chairman Bill Kenwright, who has paid tribute to Brian on behalf of the club.
"Brian was quite rightly known as the last of the Corinthians - a fitting title which was given to him by Harry Catterick," he said.
"In a world where we very seldom use the word 'never' I am pretty certain that it will be a very long time before we again see a one-Club player with more than 500 senior appearances to his name.
"Brian Labone was not only a truly great footballer and a marvellous leader of men he was - both on the football pitch and away from it - a true gentleman - something which is under-scored by the fact that he was only ever booked twice in a lengthy career.
"I will always remember his nobility. When I arrived at Goodison Park for a game, he was always the first to greet me - when I left afterwards he was always there to say " goodnight - safe home."
"He did that, not because I am the Chairman of the Club he always loved but because he was my friend; he was also my idol.
"Everything that is good and wonderful about Everton Football Club can be summed up in two words - Brian Labone.
"Like everyone who has a passion for Everton Football Club I am in shock. Everton - indeed, football - has lost a true great.
"On the foot of the Dixie Dean statue outside Goodison Park are the words " Footballer - Gentlemen - Evertonian "..........those words summed up Dixie - and they apply, equally, to the great Brian Labone."