Monday, February 27, 2017

Alex Young RIP

Dubbed "The Golden Vision", Alex Young has died at the age of 80. He made 273 appearances for Everton from 1960 to 1968, and scored 87 goals, winning the League Championship in 1963 and the FA Cup in 1966.

His title was backed up by no less than 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."  In his day, he was one of the shorter players to wear No 9, but he could make prodigious leaps, particularly at the near post. At his best, he could put defenders on their bottoms, without prodigious speed but with almost balletic feints.

In 1968, towards the end of Alex's time in the top flight, he was enjoying life swapping elegant passes with new boy Alan Ball. Neville Smith and Gordon Honeycombe wrote a Wednesday play, directed by Ken Loach, which caught the passion of the fans, with much of the dialogue improvised in real time at matches. It was called the Golden Vision.

I meet Alex in the summer of 1964 - I was 13 rising 14, and had been pea-picking for pocket money in Maghull. My dad was going to pick me up in the early afternoon from an agreed spot outside Maghull Post Office. Here's the full dialogue, as Alex gets out of his sports car and approaches the shop.

Alex: "Is it closed ?"
Me: "Yes".

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