The Story Of The Blues: The Golden Vision

Of all the Everton greats, Alex Young was, arguably, adored more than any other.

A sublime artist with matchless grace, the worship for Young on one half of Merseyside during the Swinging Sixties bordered on the hysterical.

When legendary manager Harry Catterick left Young on the sidelines to blood a promising centre-forward named Joe Royle in 1966, the Everton manager was jostled in the Blackpool car park by his own supporters. 

Brian Labone, no less, was once booed by the home crowd because he had accidentally injured Young in a training session. 

So why the fuss?

In sum, Alex Young came possibly as close as any single player to embodying the essence of the Club's famous School of Science ethos.

He stroked the ball, rather than kicked it. 

He glided across even the heaviest of surfaces, shimmying and tricking his way past clogging defenders before effortlessly floating shots past baffled goalkeepers.

His nickname - The Golden Vision - first coined by former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Danny Blanchflower, describes him best.

Former Spurs midfielder, Danny Blanchflower
The view every Saturday that we have of a more perfect world, a world that has got a pattern and is finite. And that's Alex – the Golden Vision.

A deep-lying centre-forward, he was never in the same mould as traditional Everton number nines like Dean, Lawton and Hickson, but he possessed incredible spring and could hang in the air to meet crosses before dispatching bullet headers with one flick of his blond halo. 

Signed in November 1960 from Hearts for £40,000, Scottish experts reckoned Young was too inconsistent and too peripheral to cut it in England.

They were proved spectacularly wrong. 

He peaked in the 1962/63 Championship side, when his striking partnership with Roy Vernon was the bane of First Division defences. Young scored 22 goals, and created countless more for his skipper, as Everton claimed their sixth League title. 

He was also an integral member of the 1966 FA Cup winning side, the team which became the first to pull back a two-goal deficit to win at Wembley. And Evertonians who study the video tape of that match today are still puzzled as to why he wasn't awarded a first-half penalty! 

Despite suffering painfully from blistered feet throughout his playing career, Young amassed 273 appearances for Everton.

Alex's wife, Nancy Young
Before he played, his feet would be bound up with foam and bandages and plasters and anything they could think of that might help ease his pain, but by the time he got home, his socks would be stuck to his feet with blood.

His goals return of 87 in those matches was more than respectable - but it was his almost mythical appeal, rather than mere statistical successes, which endeared him to the Everton supporters. 

He left Goodison to become player-manager of Irish side Glentoran in 1968, before briefly returning to English football at Stockport County.

Young passed away following a short illness in February 2017, but his legend will forever live on at Everton.

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