NOV
12
2013
Exclusive Interview With Tony Kay
16 comments
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The Blue Echo Interviews Tony Kay.

After a couple of attempts I managed to get an interview with Tony Kay. He keeps himself fit by going to the gym on a regular basis and was a breath of fresh air to speak with.

He was full of energy and enthusiasm during the interview which no  doubt was part of his makeup which made him such a great player many years ago.

I felt that it was unnecessary to talk about his ban from the game  as I did not wish to be tactless and as a mark of respect was grateful to him for his time with me.

Ladies and Gentleman I bring you Tony Kay. COYB!

Q1/ YOU STARTED YOUR CAREER WITH SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY. HOW DID YOU JOIN THEM?

A1/ I started at school and my dad used to drink in a local pub. The landlord was a friend of my dad who was an ex football player a fella called Ted Catlin who played for England many years ago. He persuaded my dad which didn't take much persuasion as he (dad) was a Sheffield Wednesday fan.  I would  go after school to Sheffield Wednesday which is what happened.

Q2/ AT THE AGE OF 17 YOU MADE YOUR OWLS DEBUT AGAINST BOLTON WANDERERS IN A 2-2 DRAW. WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER OF IT?

A2/ Nothing whatsoever. I know when I joined Wednesday I got paid £7 in the summer and £9 in the winter.

Q3/ AFTER 8 YEARS AT HILLSBOROUGH, HARRY CATTERICK CAME BACK TO SIGN YOU. WHEN WERE YOU AWARE OF THE MOVE TO EVERTON?

A3/ When I saw it in the newspaper. The manger at Wednesday then was a guy called Vic Buckingham and one day he said to me your friend has come to see you"

I said "Who's that?"

He said "You know very well who, Harry Catterick"

So I was told to go into the directors room to chat with Harry which was the first time I knew about it.

Q4/ WHAT CONVINCED YOU TO SIGN FOR EVERTON?

A4/ Well, money. It might be a sad thing to say but it's a fact. Harry knew about me before and knew about my wage structure. He said "I want you to come and be captain but Roy Vernon is the captain so I want you to come and take charge of the defence and sort it out".

He told me that he would double my wage and give me a crowd bonus as crowds then were a regular 40,000 a week.

So it worked out that my first weeks wage being transferred from Wednesday to Everton and we also played a midweek game plus bonuses was £150. And on top of that his final offer was £2,000 in cash.

So I replied "You've got me"

Q5/ WHAT WAS YOUR RELATIONSHIP LIKE WITH LIKE WITH HARRY CATTERICK . WAS HE MORE OF A DISCIPLINARIAN AT EVERTON OPPOSED TO SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY?

A5/ Harry was always like that, quite strict. He knew a lot about me otherwise he wouldn't have bought me. He knew that I would always give 100% every week that was the reason I moved across.

Harry was a man that never got too close to players. He told them what he wanted and that was that. 

Q6/  BECAUSE OF EVERTON'S "MERSEY MILLIONAIRES " TAG. DID YOU FEEL MORE PRESSURE TO DELIVER?

A6/  John Moores was a lovely little man. Of course Everton were labelled the Mersey Millionaires because John Moores was a millionaire.

He made sure they had everything they wanted and gave it to them money wise. Harry was well pleased about that because that's the way he worked.

Q7/ WHEN YOU FIRST JOINED EVERTON, WHICH PLAYERS WERE THE MOST WELCOMING?

A7/ I don't think anyone would have liked to have thrown their arms around me. They may have wanted to punch me on the chin once or twice.

We all knew and respected one another and that was the way it was. On arrival at Everton I was taken into the billiard room to be introduced and carried on from there.

Q8/ AS A PLAYER WHAT WERE YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?

A8/ Strength was, I gave 100% every single week and was a good man to have in your side. I'd take no prisoners. I'd over indulge in a bit of brutality and that was about it.

I was also a good reader of the game.

My weaknesses were that I would have like to have had more pace. I wished I would have had another yard or two but always made up for it by getting there first.

Q9/ WHAT WAS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE GAME AND GOAL DURING YOUR CAREER?

A9/ The one that sticks out in my mind was when I got picked for England which is everybody's ambition.

The prelude to that was that one day Harry (Catterick) called me to the office to tell me that he had good and bad news for me.

I asked him for the good news to which he announced my call up for England to which I went "yeeesssssssssss!  My ambition is there"

He said "Do you want the bad news?"

I said "Okay, what is it?"

He said "You're injured" You've been picked for England against Brazil and Pele and we (Everton have a midweek game which you are needed for and you are not playing"

That was my biggest disappointment until I got picked again against Switzerland away from home and I scored a cracker from about 30-40 yards. It went in off the underside of the crossbar.

I've got one of these accomplished records which say, played one scored one and won one. There are only about 8 or 9 of us to have done that.

And that is an achievement in itself.

Q10/ WHAT OTHER SPORTS WERE YOU GOOD AT AND IF NOT A FOOTBALLER WHICH SPORT WOULD YOU HAVE MADE A CAREER FROM?

A10/ When I was 15 years of age we had a great football team and won four trophies for football. We won 3 trophies for rugby and also a competition for cricket. We won all the lot when we were at school.

Q11/ WHO WAS YOUR TOUGHEST OPPONENT IN FOOTBALL?

A11/ I think Denis Law. He could be a bit naughty could Denis and he could play a bit as well.

Q12/ WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE STADIUM?

A12/ I played at Barcelona and the San Siro so I would imagine it would be any of those two. 

Q13/ YOUR BEST FRIEND IN FOOTBALL?

A13/ I don't have one.

Q14/ WHICH MODERN DAY FOOTBALLER IS SIMILAR TO YOURSELF?

A14/ Oh gosh (Laughing) I haven't seen that many. It's,  a very difficult thing to asses is that.

If you asked me what I used to play like I wouldn't be able to tell you . It's only because people keep coming up to me and say "You did this , you did that" Which triggers something off. I don't think that I was ever that good of a player.

It's like fairytales, they get handed down which just grow and grow. People still come to me in the street at Goodison and say "You would have been England captain instead of Bobby Moore"

I'd say "Don't be ridiculous, don't be so silly because that man (Moore) was a great footballer and a great captain".

So beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Q15/ WHO WAS THE BEST PLAYER YOU PLAYED WITH?

A15/ The best player I played with. Now that's something? It depends on what you mean by best player. Is he a goal scorer a passer.

The best players for scoring goals were Jimmy Greaves and Roy Vernon.

For skill I would put Alex Young up without any degree of consistency.  Johnny Haynes is another but there was a lot of good players about.

If I had an idol it would be Duncan Edwards but I didn't have an idol.

I played with Duncan for the England youth side. He was absolutely superb, you could put him anywhere.

I f you put him centre forward he would get you 3 or 4 goals. Centre half he would stop em.  In midfield he absolutely wonderful.   It was a crying shame what happened to him and her was a lovely man too.

Q16/ EVERTON FORMER PLAYERS FOUNDATION. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?

A16/ I think it's the finest organisation on God's earth who do so much voluntarily work to look after the old players and don't get the recognition they deserve. They should get more recognition from the club and everybody else.

Q17/ SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY/ EVERTON FANS STILL SPEAK AND THINK OF YOU HIGHLY. HOW DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL?

A17/ Surprised. I'll tell you of an instance of the centenary year. I had not been to Everton's ground for 40 years. I came out as they were doing the line up ,announcing the players as they came out.

We had to come out and walk around the pitch and I was asked to come out second to last just before Dave Watson. I couldn't believe it when I got out. I had tears in my eyes with the reception that I got after all those years of being away and don't forget, I only played about 45 games.

That was adulation that because I still can't believe it and I didn't deserve it.

I go into pubs today and people come up to me and say "Hello Tony, how are you?" It's just incredible how people /fans think of you.

Q18/ WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU BE WORTH IN TODAY'S TRANSFER MARKET?

A18/  You can't ask me a silly question like that. In those days it was either £50,000-£60,000 and that was the most for a midfield player. I was a transfer record at the time being transferred from Sheffield Wednesday to Everton.

Q19/ ONLY FOR YOUR BAN, WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD HAVE ACHIEVED IN THE GAME?

A19/   I think I would have got there. I would have been involved in the World Cup as well.

Q20/ MY IDOL GROWING UP WAS ALAN BALL. I MET HIM A FEW YERAS AGO AT A SPORTSMANS DINNER. HE TOLD ME THAT YOU WERE HIS FAVOURITE PLAYER. WHO WAS YOURS?

A20/ ( Laughter) Is that what he said? I played against Bally at Blackpool when he was 17 at Blackpool you know.  

I can't believe he said that to you. I think your having me on?

You ask some foolhardy questions. I was a defender and I was from the era of Di Stefano and Puskas who were truly great players. Garrincha and Pele were wonderful players.

Fortunately I played against Pele when he came across to Sheffield Wednesday when we played Santos. So, although I got pulled out of the International I played against him before.

Q21/ WHAT DOES TONY KAY DO WITH HIMSELF IN 2013?

A21/ I live in Southport which is a beautiful place and when the weather's nice, I go wandering about up and down streets and looking at places. Seeing people who I sometimes spend an hour or two with.

When you get to a certain age you become limited as to what you are capable of. I do keep myself fit and go to the gym.

Q22/ WHEN THE BAN WAS INFLICTED ON YOU, DID YOU GET ANY HELP OFF THE PFA?

A22/ No , nothing. They wiped their hands of the whole thing and so they should. I wonder how that PFA man has gone on with all that betting? They've not stopped him doing it. The committee have said leave him alone, don't sack him.

At the time I got £150 fine and four months in prison and banned for life. They can't do that now.

Q23/ THE FILM THAT THE BBC DID ON YOU CALLED THE FIX WITH STEVE COOGAN.HOW TRUE TO LIFE WAS IT?

A23/ I knew the director very well. It was 90% right that was.

Q24/ DID YOU EVER SWAP A SHIRT WITH AN OPPONONT AND IF SO WHICH SHIRT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED?

A24/ I never swapped shirts. You weren't allowed to then. You had to keep a team shirt. It never occurred to me as I was never a hero worshipper. I'm not a materialistic sort of person.

Q25/ MERSEYSIDE DERBIES. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THEM?

A25/ I thought they were great, loved them,  more so for the boys who lived in Liverpool. Sheffield Derbies were big as were Barnsley and Doncaster but there was nothing like the Merseyside one's.  They were brilliant and the crowds as well, they were absolutely wonderful.

Q26/ DO YOU REMEMBER DURING YOUR TIME WITH EVERTON CONDUCTING THE CROWD SINGING DOWN AT WEST HAM?

A26/ Singing what? We hate Tony Kay. (Laughing) I can quite believe it. I used to jump in the crowd and chatting with them sometimes when the ball went out of play.

Somebody told me once that I was running around the pitch with a cigar in my hand. I said "You're kidding me aren't you?"

 

Email Bluekipper at enquiries@bluekipper.com

Comments about Exclusive Interview With Tony Kay
 
16
Great player ,finished in his prime due to his mistake .Before people judge him look at the context .in them days players where treated pretty shabbily by managers and chairmen and the game was not as pretty as we like to think off the field .A career ending injury and your on your own .I would bet what they done was rife at that time wih players setting themselves u for the inevitable rainy day. Dont condone it but understand it He paid the price and his short tme in a blue shirt was magic.Typical working class lad that stufed up .plenty of them from the pool.
Jimmy Byrne , new zealand, 11:26 PM 15/11/2013
 
15
Great interview. My mates dad Albie said he was the best Everton player he'd seen and he'd seen some great players.
kevin fletcher, liverpool , 7:06 PM 14/11/2013
 
14
If my memory is correct, Tony's first game for Everton was at Swindon in the FA Cup. It was 1963 and Everton's first game after the big freeze of that dreadful winter. Swindon's ground still had banks of grimy snow all round the touchlines and the playing surface was mud over frozen soil. As Everton took the field, Tony slipped over and got to his feet with his strip as black as the referee's outfit. He didn't have a chance to get changed and played the match covered in mud. The home crowd was shouting, "We want 6!" at the start. Well they got their wish as Everton scored 5 to Swindon's 1. Only 50 years ago . . . .
David Catton, Chesterfield, 5:39 PM 14/11/2013
 
13
He was awarded the Man of the Match for the game he got banned for betting on
Ian clarke, prescot, 2:18 PM 14/11/2013
 
12
Tony Kay was my first real hero as an Everton supporter in the early sixties. I remember my father bringing in the Sunday People carrying the story about Kay, Swan and Layne etc. I was absolutely gutted. I think the whistle blower was a former Everton player if my memory serves me. When you think of the punishment handed out to some of todays overpaid prima donnas for gang banging in hotel rooms, killing people in cars and missing drug tests etc., a life ban does seem harsh in the extreme.
Vic, Exiled Blue, Carshalton, 1:24 PM 14/11/2013
 
11
I like these interviews even when it's a player I never saw (or heard of!). There'll always be someone who has a question or two they think you should have asked, whether it's a player or someone who runs the club. But nobody likes a smart arse :o)
Spectator, Crosby, 1:23 PM 14/11/2013
 
10
From the Blue Echo, this was an excellent interview on the football side of the matters from a great footballer,I always enjoy reading these.
LES, PHUKET, 1:03 PM 14/11/2013
 
9
Blue Echo (comment *8), mate you need apologise for nothing, it was a good read and i appreciate all you do but it is all conjecture of opinion, i voiced mine and we all move on together.
Alan, Hinckley, 11:09 AM 14/11/2013
 
8
With reference to Alan who made the comment on number 5. I tried very hard to get Mr Kay to do an interview as he very rarely does them. I was only interested in the side of his career and not serving his time in HMP. If this was not to your satisfaction then I apologise but I always do my best to bring some good ex players for the readers' attention. I certainly hope you enjoy the future ones I have lined up.
The Blue Echo, North West, 5:15 AM 14/11/2013
 
7
Great interview. A great player in the short time he played for us. He made a huge difference when we signed him. So much so that we won the Championship a few months later. I had the Privilege to meet him at Alex Youngs dinner when Alex book came out. An absolute gentleman.
John, Birkenhead, 7:27 PM 13/11/2013
 
6
Shaun, Geta Grip.. S/he without sin, cast the first stone!! This sounds to me like a very honest and, as ever, informative interview!!
Joe Dids, Bury, Lancs, 7:06 PM 13/11/2013
 
5
Love the old interviews but on this one i think not. I remember when the shit hit the fan and Kay and Swan got done. Sorry i beg to taste on this one but bring on the flak as i expect.
Alan, Hinckley, 3:17 PM 13/11/2013
 
4
His betting was at Sheffield not Everton. Truly great player.
Nudger, St Helens, 11:32 AM 13/11/2013
 
3
Wonderful interview, loved it. Still remember Tony in an Everton shirt.
Dave, Wirral, 9:14 AM 13/11/2013
 
2
When he fixed that match Tony Kay let down himself, the fans of his club, the club and, most important of all, something much bigger than him or his club, the game of football. I was at the centenary match he mentioned and I didn't applaud him. Until he shows true remorse and that he appreciates the enormity of what he did, I never will.
Shaun Harbord, UK, 8:00 AM 13/11/2013
 
1
Great read. I love these interviews. Keep up the good work.
Gerry Morrison, Los Angeles, 6:03 AM 13/11/2013
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