Everyone at Everton Football Club is saddened to learn of the passing of Mick Meagan at the age of 88.
The former Blues defender, who made 177 appearances and scored one goal during a 14-year stint at the Club, passed away on Sunday (27 November) after a long battle with illness.
“As a man and a footballer, Mick Meagan was the salt of the earth.”
Ivan Ponting’s simple but resonant description, in his excellent Everton Player by Player volume, encapsulates the esteem in which the Irish international defender, who passed away on Saturday night aged 88, was held.
An anecdote related by our Chairman Bill Kenwright underlined his selflessness.
“Mick was one of the team I first supported,” said Mr Kenwright, “a great Evertonian in a team of great Evertonians. Ray Wilson once told me Mick went into the post office the day he left and sent Ray a telegram wishing him good luck on his Blues debut - the man bought to replace him!! A one off…”
That day came in 1964, after more than a decade at Everton. By then Mick had made 177 appearances in an Everton jersey, won a League Championship medal and earned the admiration and respect of opponents and team-mates alike.
Bobby Collins, the striking genius of the early 1960s Everton, rated his team-mate as the best exponent of one-two passes he had ever seen.
But calmness under pressure and unstinting honesty were his greatest qualities. Unflappable, assured and undemonstrative, “Chick” as he was nicknamed joined the Blues in 1952 as an 18-year-old inside forward but established himself as a reliable utility player, filling in wherever and whenever an emergency dictated.
He started the 1962/63 title winning campaign as a right-back, replacing the injured Alex Parker, but then later replaced George Thomson on the opposite flank on merit.
Mick made 36 appearances in total in that celebrated season.
He was 30 when he left for Huddersfield in the summer of 1964, valued at £15,000 in the deal which brought Ray Wilson to Goodison, prompting that classy telegram.
He was quickly made captain at Huddersfield and flourished in Yorkshire, later joining Halifax, and then returning to his native Ireland to represent Drogheda.
After collecting 17 Ireland caps, Mick was offered the distinction of becoming the Republic’s first manager in 1969, a role he combined whilst still playing.
Until that point the Irish team had been selected by FAI committee. Mick selected himself just once before focusing solely on managing the side and was responsible for reintegrating Johnny Giles into the squad after the committee had previously axed him.
“I liked and respected Mick, who was an excellent player for Everton and the Republic of Ireland,” Giles later said in his autobiography.
According to Mick’s wishes, and underlining his selflessness, he will not have a funeral as he elected to donate his body to medical science.
RIP Mick Meagan, 1934-2022.