My Everton #67: From No Money For Football To Everton Giant - Derek Temple

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Growing up, as one of six children, there wasn’t a lot of money about. 

My father, who was a labourer at Merseyside Passenger Transport, based on Edge Lane, was the only wage-earner and looking back I don’t know how my mother managed to feed us all. It must have been really hard going for both of them.

Things came extremely close to getting worse when, at the age of two, I developed lobar pneumonia and had to undergo an emergency operation to remove fluid from my lungs. I still have a large scar on my side from that procedure.

My mother was told my chances of survival were slim, even if I had the operation, but, thankfully, I went on to make a full recovery after spending some time in one of Liverpool’s convalescent homes.

After that I went on to live an ordinary childhood for the time, really. I always loved football but there certainly wasn’t enough money to go and watch Everton or Liverpool.

It wasn’t until senior school that I noticed I was doing quite well in sport.

The school had a football team and I ended up playing for them as a centre forward. 
I’d have to borrow boots to play in and there was a lad who let me borrow some from him, but his shoe was a size smaller than mine, so the boots were crippling but, of course, I played in them, anyway! 
I used to score goals in them and then I started to get noticed and went to play for Lancashire School Boys and then England School Boys.
I was doing quite well and it was around that time that one of my brothers very generously bought me a pair of McGregor football boots — McGregor was the name then, as there was no Puma or Adidas or anything like that. 
It was wonderful, just wonderful to have these boots that were comfortable and actually fit me. 
I kicked on from there, playing for England School Boys and that attracted various clubs who wanted to talk to me.

I wasn’t an Evertonian or a Liverpudlian as a kid because, not only was there no money, all I wanted to do was play. That was my only interest. 
I’d play it anywhere I could and by any means — we’d often play with a tennis ball in the road outside our house and they were great times. Looking back now, I probably enjoyed it most when I wasn’t playing for money because once you start playing for money and then you get married and have children, it becomes a living and that’s where the pressure comes on you a bit. You don’t have that when you’re just playing for the love of it.
When it came to deciding where to go, Liverpool at the time had a manager called Don Welsh, who came to see me at my home. Everton sent a representative, not the manager but a guy called Harold Pickering. Manchester United sent somebody and so did Prescot Cables.
It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what convinced me about Everton at the time but it felt right and that was going to be the best decision for me.
I always loved playing football but I then got to love Everton.

Although I was on the ‘ground staff’, as it was known then, the only time we’d train would be Tuesday and Thursday nights. There were no floodlight facilities as they came later. 
On those training nights, it wasn’t the ideal situation because we were running on concrete, jumping on concrete, landing on concrete and the girders that formed part of the Gwladys Street stand had old footballs hanging from them and you’d have to run and jump and head the ball. 
It was good training but definitely not ideal to be doing it on concrete because you could be jarring everything. 

(Pictured above: Brian Labone, Gordon West, Mick Meagan, Dennis Stevens and Derek Temple of Everton on 13 February 1964)
The manager, Cliff Britton, would be there. You’d see this figure in the shadows with a trilby and an overcoat, just watching on — he’d never say a word and I never actually spoke to him once. 
It was an interesting time. We had some very good young lads in that group.

While I started on the ground staff, I went straight into the Everton Colts, which was basically the lowest team in the Club. We had the Colts, a ‘C’ team, ‘B’ team and an ‘A’ team, as well as the Reserves. You had to work your way through those but I seemed to do that quite quickly and I made it into the Reserves and I did quite well.
I knew I must have been doing okay in the junior teams because they then had me start training with the First Team, which had the likes of Peter Farrell, Tommy Eglington, Cyrill Lello, Jimmy O’Neill, Jock Lindsay — they were all the senior pros. 
The one thing I had was speed. I always think you need speed — if you don’t have speed I think you’re going to struggle a bit, especially in top-class football.

When I got in the First Team, Dave Hickson was out of the team and I’d played centre forward for a very short while, then, when he came back, I was moved to inside forward.
I got a few goals because Big Dave used to take all the bangs and I’d get the second balls that he’d won. I could knock them in… I was deadly from two yards!

Of course, the goal everyone remembers is the winner in the 1966 FA Cup final. It doesn’t feel like that long ago — it could have been yesterday. I’ve still got vivid memories, even if they’re maybe starting to fade a little bit!
It was a wonderful day for everybody connected with the Club. 
Of course, it’s a treasured memory but I have plenty more from playing for Everton.
I only scored one senior hat-trick in my career and that was for Everton against Ipswich in 1961. We won the game 5-2 and I got three of them. The manager of Ipswich at the time was Alf Ramsey. I think I must have caught his eye that day and I remember playing a game against Leeds at Elland Road when he was there as England manager. 
It was after that Leeds game that I got selected. 

I only got one cap and that was against West Germany in Nürnberg, when we won 1-0 and I created the goal — what you’d call an assist today — for Terry Paine. 
That was another very proud moment for me.

I can still recall the feeling of when the time came to leave Everton, too. Horrible. It was just horrible.
Harry Catterick told me that [Preston North End manager] Jimmy Milne was coming to see me and once you hear that, you know the writing is on the wall… Your time is up. 
I told him I didn’t want to go anywhere. I was happy, I was still in the team and playing but he insisted that it wouldn’t do any harm to talk to him. 
I reluctantly agreed and I met Jimmy, who was a very nice man, then I thought about what Harry Catterick had said and it felt like I couldn’t stay.
But it was extremely sad for me. I was very emotional to leave Everton. 

How could I ever say anything negative about Everton?

The Club has been very, very good to me and always looked after me. I still go to the games now.

I still love Everton and I always will. 

By Derek Temple, Everton Giant

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