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Everton's First Substitute

We speak to 1969/70 title-winner John Hurst.

Everton's First Substitute

History was made on 28 August 1965 when John Hurst became Everton's first ever substitute in a 1-1 draw at Stoke City's Victoria Ground.

evertonfc.com spoke to the versatile Lancastrian about his place in Blues folklore and winning the 1969/70 First Division title.

The Interview - John Hurst

"It was strange at the time being the first substitute. It was the start of a new era all together in football. The substitute was never used as a tactical thing, just in the case of injuries. I got thrown on when Fred Pickering picked up a knock.

"I'd sat there before as 12th man but I'd never been ask to strip and get ready to play before. I could played in defence, midfield and attack, so I think I was chosen because I was adaptable. I was fortunate like that.

"There are records like Everton's youngest ever player, but that changes every few years. This is one thing no-one will ever be able to take away - it will always be in the record books.

"I played with a great team at Everton and it was tremendous to be part of it. The vast majority of us had come through the juniors within two or three years of each other. My first game for Everton saw Tommy Wright inside right, I was centre forward and Colin Harvey was inside left - and we'd all come through together.

"I remember the day of the 1968 FA Cup final [Everton lost 1-0 to West Bromwich Albion]. It was just one of them days. We'd beaten them twice in the league and both times convincingly. But we couldn't do it at Wembley. It was disappointing. But Wembley is a place for the fans to enjoy, and I think they did.

"Of course, looking back, one of the proudest moment of my career was winning the title in 1969/70.

"We had a very difficult start. We had Arsenal away and Manchester United away. It was a heck of a start, but we won both. I scored the only goal at Arsenal and then I scored again against United on the Wednesday. We won 2-0 and Alan Ball scored too. So we started well, and we knew we were a good team. We'd been close the year before and it gave us the confidence to go on.

"Our boss was Harry Catterick and he was completely different to what football managers are like today. Harry was a very strict, regimental kind of manager. He wasn't a tracksuit manager and you'd very rarely see him out on the training pitch. That was all done by our trainer, Wilf Dixon.

"Harry was very much the disciplinarian. For example, we had this book and we all had to sign in every day. You had to be in by 10am and at 9.45am there was a blue pen waiting. By 10am there was a red pen and if you signed in with the red too many times you'd be fined.

"But that strictness helped him bring together one of the greatest Everton teams there has ever been. He had this tremendous talent to buy players who would fit in with everyone else; that's a difficult thing to do, to buy players and mould them into a good team. Harry certainly had that ability and that's one of the key reasons we were able to be so successful."

John Hurst was talking to evertonfc.com in September 2008.

JOHN CUPITi remember having this photo on my bedroom wall what a sie i got to know alan whittles brother grahm who played for wrexham quite well and if i remember right geoff barnett played in goal for arsenal in the 1971 cup final vleeds

Sunday 1st March 12:55 Report Comment

Chris JeremyAndy Whittle in the picture is of course Alan Whittle. He was who I was in the playground! Is Johnny whittle any relation?

Sunday 14th September 10:30 Report Comment

edward kennynice to see my brother billy kenny snr on thefar right of the front row our family have great memorys of billy playing for everton in that era

Sunday 14th September 00:44 Report Comment
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