Chairman's Tribute To 'Goodison Idol' Harris

Everton Chairman Bill Kenwright has paid tribute to "Goodison idol" Jimmy Harris following the former Blues forward's sad passing at the age of 88.

A boyhood Evertonian born in Birkenhead, Harris came through the ranks at Everton before emerging as one of the Club’s most celebrated players of the 1950s after initially replacing Dave Hickson in the Toffees' attack.

In a tribute, Kenwright told "There was Dave…but he was transferred and Jimmy took his place. 

"He had to be good to replace a legend.

"And he was better than good, he was special and 21 goals in his first full season made him an absolute Goodison idol.

"Unlike other centre-forwards of the era, Jimmy had blinding pace and skill.  He was cheeky and brave…everything you would want from your leader up front.

"When Dave returned there was no way Jimmy could be overlooked, so he moved to the wing where that pace worked to magical effect. He supplied Dave and the rest with great crosses and, of course, kept scoring goals himself! 

"It was during this period that he got his only hat trick for Everton.  It was against Spurs and he is surely the only striker in history to score a hat-trick but still see his team lose by six clear goals! We lost 10-4 at White Hart Lane.

"I met Jimmy when I was a kid in short trousers! I saw him near Owen Owen in town and was so in awe that I literally followed him through the streets for twenty minutes before I plucked up the courage to ask if I could shake his hand (I didn’t have paper for an autograph!) 

"And later, one of the many privileges of being involved in this beautiful club, I met him for real as part of the Former Players’ Association. 

"He was smashing. 

"He was still a Blue, he always has been, and he loved coming to Wembley with us, and to any Everton celebration.  Jimmy was always lively and always ready with a great quip.

"When asked about his 10-4 hat-trick he would respond, “well I did my bit…”

"They say don’t meet your heroes as they will inevitably let you down but that certainly wasn’t true for me. 

"Jimmy Harris, with a flick of his heels and what appeared to me to be an Olympic sprint towards the opposition, will always be one of the two greatest idols of my fifties introduction to the best football club in the world. 

"On and off the field Jimmy was a hero. 

"And a legend. It was that simple.

"He was unique.

"Thank-you Jimmy."

Meanwhile, former Everton player and manager Joe Royle also had glowing praise for Harris.

He said: "I watched Jimmy at Goodison when I was a kid and him and Dave Hickson were my first Everton heroes.

"Jimmy was a very good player – quick and very single minded. I got to know him, of course, and he was a lovely guy. I always enjoyed his company and my thoughts are with his family.”