DEC
29
2013
Exclusive Interview With Colin Harvey
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Blue Echo Interviews Colin Harvey

Colin kindly invited me to his home to talk about his 40 year association with the club where he served as a boyhood fan, player and manager. Known affectionately by the Goodison faithful as the White Pele he was cruelly denied more England caps obtaining only one by representing England in Malta

Colin was always renowned to be a tough hard working player who formed a partnership with Ball and Kendall known as the 'Holy Trinity'.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you Mr 'Everton' Colin Harvey.  Enjoy the latest article. COYB!!

Q1/ YOU SUPPORTED EVERTON AS A BOY. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST GAME AND WHO WAS YOUR FIRST IDOL?

A1/ I went into the boys pen. My dad would drop me and my brother off and meet up outside the pawn shop on the corner of City road afterwards.

My first game was against Preston North End. I bunked off school on a Friday afternoon and Tom Finney scored a hat trick, a proper hat trick. Left foot , right foot and a header.

He played centre forward that day and could have played anywhere in that front line because he was a fantastic footballer.

Whereas Stanley Matthews was an out and out winger, Tom Finney could play anywhere. He could play left wing, right wing but played centre forward that day.

Q2/ HOW DID YOU BEGIN YOUR LOVE AFFAIR WITH EVERTON?

A2/ My grandad on my mum's side, he was a real Dixie Dean fan. He used to talk about the goals that Dixie scored. He was a good storyteller. You could practically see Dixie Dean diving over people to head the ball, they were that real.

My dad was also an Evertonian and his father was a Liverpudlian. Probably my grandad on my mum's side. He used to like the Daily Express because of the photographs at that time of Dixie scoring spectacular headed goals.

Q3/HOW DID YOU JOIN EVERTON?

A3/ I had an Uncle on my dad's side who had a pub. There used to be a couple of directors one each from Everton and Liverpool who used to visit the pub.

I got a trial for Liverpool so I went along to Melwood one Tuesday night and played in a game along with Ian Callaghan who was a year or two older than me who was doing an apprenticeship at that time. I was then told to come back next Thursday.

I was then invited to Goodison where there used to be a grass pitch behind the Park End which is now the car park. It had floodlights which weren't great but okay.

The youth team coach Les Shannon asked me if I was tied up with anyone to which I replied "No, but I was still at school"

He told me that he wanted me to play in the "B" team on the Saturday. I played for the school in the morning not that I told anyone at Everton that and played for the "B" team in the afternoon.

I made my way to Bellefield and walked straight past it as I had never been there before and it had a very narrow entrance. I spotted a lad with a pair of boots and asked him did he know where Bellefield was and he was heading there himself.

We played Blackpool "C" team and I was absolutely knackered having played in the morning for the school. I never even had time to wash my legs from the morning game! Anyway we beat Blackpool 4-3.

I then trained until the end of the season then Les Shannon said "They (Everton) were going to run like a training camp on Tuesdays and Thursdays and would I like to attend. I was playing with lads who were a lot older than me.

That summer I had got myself a job in the National Health Service in Falkner Street and had to get 2 busses.

 I started work on the Monday then the following night Les Shannon said to me "Are your mum and dad in tomorrow night?" I said "Yes, why?" He said "Harry Cooke wants to come and see you about signing apprentice forms"

I'd only been in my job for 2 days then Harry Cooke came to our house and asked me if I was interested in joining the club. My dad told me to make up my own mind. I agreed to join Everton then had to go into work the next day and hand in my notice.

I told my boss at work that I was leaving because I had been offered an apprenticeship at Everton. He looked absolutely amazed and told me that I had to work my 2 week's notice which I did.

Q4/ YOU MADE YOUR DEBUT AGAINST INTER MILAN IN 1963 AT THE SAN SIRO. HOW DID YOU FIND OUT AND HOW MUCH OF A SHOCK WAS IT TO YOU?

A4/ I played on the Saturday in the reserves against Sheffield United then on the way back  we stopped for a meal at the dog track at Belle Vue long before motorways.

The reserve coach said to me,  Barry Rees and Roy Parnell,  you have to come in on Monday morning ready to go with a collar and tie. I'm thinking that we're going to carry the skips.

We flew from Manchester and got delayed due to bad fog and eventually we got away and arrived in Milan early hours of Tuesday morning. We stayed in Monza where they have the Grand Prix.

We trained on the Tuesday and Wednesday morning then had lunch at the hotel then Harry Catterick was about to announce the team.

Jimmy Gabriel was injured and in them days the shirts were numbered 1-11.  Harry said to Dennis Stevens "To drop back and -play number 4. Colin, you come in and wear 8". That was the first I had heard of it so it took me by surprise as I didn't have time to think about it or anything.

Next thing was we were on the bus going to the ground and as we arrived pretty early, Harry asked the driver to drive around again.

When we finally arrived at the ground the whole place just lit up which sent a tingle down your spine.

I did alright, I wasn't brilliant but I did okay. We played against the eventual winners of the European cup for the next 2 years.

Q5/ YOU SCORED THE WINNING GOAL IN THE FA CUP SEMI FINAL AGAINST MANCHESTER UNITED IN 1966. WHAT ARE YOUR MEMORIES OF THAT GAME?

A5/ It was at Burnden Park (Bolton ) and it was an absolute mud bath. It was a bit of luck when I picked up the ball and hit it with my left foot and it went just off the post. Not long after, Alex Young hit the post and I'm thinking that I wished it would have gone in and we would definitely be at Wembley. To score the winning goal in a game like that is great, it was just fantastic to be at Wembley.

Q6/ WEMBLEY 1966, IT MUST HAVE BEEN A BIG THRILL TO PLAY IN SUCH A BIG GAME? 

A6/ In them days it was such a big occasion and Everton took the cup as serious as they did the league.

We were outplayed for the first 30-35 minutes, Sheffield Wednesday murdered us. They had an extra man in midfield and there was only me and Jimmy Gabriel and we were absolutely getting run ragged.

We then eventually managed to bring Derek Temple in a little bit then just to help us out. As you know we were trailing by 2 goals then Trebilcock and Temple scored with Derek's being a wonder goal.

It was a through ball that went under Gerry Young then Derek took a couple of strides and smashed it home.

I'd been down to Wembley the year before in 1965 as a mate of mine a red hot Liverpudlian John Butterworth and a lad called Les Philpott. I was asked if I could get any tickets which I did and the 3 of us went down on the train.

Down at Wembley I thought it was fantastic, the atmosphere and the following tear I'm playing in it.

Q7/ WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS WHEN EVERTON WERE TRAILING BY THE TWO GOALS?

A7/ My grandad who I mentioned earlier who told me about Dixie Dean had got up and left the ground. He was having a pint near Wembley, heard the score was 2-2 then dashed back in. 

Q8/ WHAT DID YOU THINK THE TURNING POINT WAS IN THAT GAME?

A8/ The goal from Trebilcock. Like I said, I don't think we had played particularly well and was chasing the ball in midfield.

When I look back at it and I have seen recordings of it since, like I say the first half they battered us and could have gone in at 3 or 4 down. The comeback was great in many ways.

Q9/ YOU EVENTUALLY CEMENTED A MIDFIELD BONDING WITH ALAN BALL AND HOWARD KENDALL TO BE KNOWN AS THE HOLY TRINITY. HOW MUCH OF A COMPLIMENT WAS THAT TO YOU?

A9/ Oh it was fantastic. Harry Catterick was years and years ahead of his time. With  3 players in midfield. Today they are all doing it.

It was 1966 when he (Catterick) signed Bally and 1967 when he signed Howard and Harry played the 3 of us in midfield.

Johnny Morrissey wide left and Jimmy Husband wide right with Joe down the middle on his own. He (Catterick) was always on about midfield controllers. If you controlled the middle of the park you controlled the game.

Q10/ A MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT IN THE 1968 FA CUP FINAL. WERE YOU PREPARED FOR AN UPSET?

A10/  We played them a few weeks earlier at the Hawthorns and we beat them 6-2 with Bally scoring 4 goals.

It wasn't as if we had been big headed or taken it lightly we played a lot better than we actually did against Sheffield Wednesday.

We had a lot of good chances. We took the chances against Sheffield Wednesday two years previous but failed to that against West Brom.

Q11/1969/70 YOU BECAME LEAGUE CHAMPIONS.  APART FROM THE GAME AGAINST WEST BROM WHEN YOU SCORED THE CLINCHER, WHAT OTHER GAMES STAND OUT FOR YOU THAT SEASON?

A11/ One against Coventry City. We played poorly and we won 1-0 at Highfield Road. I thought, if we can play that badly and win, our name must be on the league championship.

The 2 years previously we had played better football but lacked consistency.

Q12/ WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER OF THE NIGHT WHEN YOU WON THE LEAGUE?

A12/  It was a good night (Laughing) We had a night out and the town was just full of Evertonians celebrating. I hadn't been married long and I got I home the early hours of the morning.

The following day (Thursday) it was Aintree and we all went there but it wasn't as well attended as it is now.

The Friday we travelled to Sheffield Wednesday and we had our evening meal and around 8.30pm  I went to bed as I hadn't slept for 2 nights.  Then at 9pm came a knock at the door, it was Howard, Bally and a few others. They said "we are going down the village for a pint" I said "No, I'm done in"

The next day, we were played off the park by Sheffield Wednesday and we scored the winner with a couple of minutes to go. I fed the ball out to Johnny Morrissey, he hit it and it went in and we won 1-0. It was an absolute travesty.

Q13/ YOUR PERFORMANCES EARNED YOU THE TAG OF "THE WHITE PELE" HOW DID YOU REACT TO THAT?

A13/ It's unbelievable to be thought of in the same breath.

I was a bit obsessive about ball work even when I was a kid. I always had a ball with me and it never bothered me to train on my own.

My mum had an old garage and it had a light in it. I would go in there with an old tennis ball for hours on end, fire it and bring it down. I was under no pressure, just taking my time doing it which improved my touch.

When Alan Ball arrived it was a case of that's how good you have to be which made me work even harder.

To be called the "White Pele" was just a terrific compliment.

Q14/ EVERTON SEEMED TO CRUMBLE THE SEASON AFTER BEING CHAMPIONS. WHY DO YOU THINK THAT WAS?

A14/ It was a number of things. I could rattle of 6 or 7 things but at the end of the day we just didn't carry it on.

I started off which I thought was a groin strain and it turned to be my hip which I now have had replaced but it was just one of those things.

Champions go on and we didn't do it. It was no one's fault but the players.

Q15/ YOU ONLY EARNED ONE ENGLAND CAP AGAINST MALTA. DID YOU FEEL THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE HAD MORE?

A15/ At the end of the day it was up to Alf Ramsey.

In 1969 I went to South America before the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. I went with a party of 16 and we had a game at the Azteca stadium. The Tuesday before it was in Guadalajara where England were based in the world cup 12 months later.

It was an England XI against a Mexican XI and I played in that which wasn't classed as a full International and I don't know why?

Q16/ YOU END YOUR ASSOCIATION WITH EVERTON IN 1974 TO JOIN SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY. DID YOU ENJOY YOUR TIME THERE?

A16/ No I didn't because my hip had gone then which I was getting constant pain from and I felt that basically I had let them down.

I always had an affinity for Sheffield Wednesday because every time we played against them we always had a tough game against them as they were a hard working side. I always think back to the 1966 cup final.

I felt as though I had let myself and them down as I didn't perform to the best of my ability due to my hip.

Q17/ FAST FORWARD IN TIME AND YOU ARE BACK AT EVERTON COACHING THE YOUNGSTERS. WHO WAS THE BEST YOUNG PLAYER YOU BROUGHT THROUGH?

 A17/ The obvious one is Wayne Rooney isn't it? There was a lot of good footballers that came through.

Initially I went back in 1976. Kevin Ratcliffe was still at school aged 14 when I joined the coaching staff. He didn't do too bad considering he was 14 and playing against 18 year old lads.

There was lots and lots of good young lads ie Joe McBride, Brian Borrows, Ross Jack, Mark Higgins, Ken McNaught and Pat Heard and it's amazing to think of how many good footballers we brought through.

When I went back last time it was Danny Cadamarteri , Richard Dunne who was amazing, Franny Jeffers, Leon Osman and Tony Hibbert. It was very rewarding seeing them all come though and watching them make the first team.

Q18/ YOU EVENTUALLY BECOME HOWARD KENDALL'S NUMBER 2 DID YOU ENJOY THAT ROLE?

A18/ Actually I did. I enjoyed it especially the first time. I enjoyed the role that I played but ultimately it was Howard that made the final decisions.

It was a good time and some great football with some great footballers.

Q19/ AFTER HOWARD DEPARTED FOR SPAIN YOU TAKE OVER THE REIGNS. HOW DIFFERENT WAS IT BEING IN CHARGE OPPOSED TO THE LATTER ROLE?

A19/ Very difficult. unless you win something as a manager you are not regarded as a success. We came very close finishing 4th, 6th and 8th.

 The FA cup final against Liverpool, the Simod cup final against Nottingham Forest and of course the League cup semi final against Arsenal but we never quite made it. Winning that first trophy is a difficult thing to do and we failed to do it.

It was a big job when I took over and there is no doubt about it, so I was classed as a failure.

Q20/ WHY DO YOU THINK THINGS FAILED TO PROGRESS FOR YOU AS A MANAGER?

A20/ It was just winning that first trophy like I say and I didn't do it. 

 Q21/ EVERTONIANS HAVE NOMINATED YOU FOR AN MBE FOR THE LAST 40 YEARS. DO YOU THINK YOU WILL GET IT?

 A21/ No, I don't think so. I think it would have been done by now wouldn't it? I'm very flattered the fact it has been muted.

 Q22/ WHO WAS YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCE?

 A22/ There was two players that I looked up to when I arrived and they were Jimmy Gabriel and Bobby Collins. Bobby Collins was the hero when I was watching them and Jimmy was the one that looked after you when I first arrived.

I have a lot of time for them both as people and footballers as well.

 Q23/ WHAT WAS YOUR BEST GAME AS A PLAYER AND AS A MANAGER?

 A23/ Best game as a player? Difficult one. I remember one game at Goodison against Spurs and we ended up drawing 1-1.

It was one of those games where I wasn't out of breath and everything went right. It was funny because I came off at the end not feeling one bit tired. 

I had never been off the ball and every pass I hit was right and I had 3 or 4 really good shots and it was one of those games. I wished it had been that easy every week.

As a manager? Any time you beat Liverpool isn't it?

We beat them in the League cup when Gary Stevens hit one.

Q24/ YOUR FAVOURITE STADIUM?

A24/ It had to be Wembley.

Q25/ MOST MEMORABLE GOAL?

A25/ I would probably say a goal I scored against West Brom.  I just hit it and it went in.  My first Derby game at Anfield we beat them 4-0 and scored in that  so that deserves a mention too.

Q26/ YOUR TOUGHEST OPPONENT?

A26/ (Thinking hard). It would have to be Tommy Smith wouldn't it?

Q27/ BEST PLAYER PLAYED WITH?

A27/ Bally

Q28/ MOST FUNNIEST AND EMBARRASSING MEMORY?

A28/  Most embarrassing was knocking a gentle back pass to the goalkeeper Geoff Barnett against Blackpool and he let it go through his legs.

I had turned around to look up the field to see where he was kicking it. The next thing I could hear boos and ah's and the ball was just bobbling into the back of the net. We got beat 3-0 and that was the one when Harry Catterick was allegedly attacked.

Funniest moment would be Bally sitting on the ball and pretending to look at his watch or blowing his nose with the corner flag.

Q29/ BEST ADVICE GIVEN TO YOU IN FOOTBALL?

A29/ It would have to be something that Harry Catterick said because he gave me lots of good advice, not particular thing. Anything he gave me.

You always knew when you had a good game because he used to help you off with your shirt and he would tell you "Well done son"

Q30/ BIGGEST REGRET IN THE GAME?

A30/ It was probably over training because it probably brought my hip on. But if I did it again now, I would do the same thing.

Q31/ IF YOU COULD RELIVE ONE GAME AGAIN. WHICH ONE WOULD IT BE?

A31/ When we beat West Brom to win the league.

In 1963 I played in the 'B' team and we kicked off at 2pm. One of the lad's dad's gave us a lift back to Goodison and with minutes to go we got into the boy's pen as the gates had been opened.

 

Email Bluekipper at enquiries@bluekipper.com

Comments about Exclusive Interview With Colin Harvey
 
4
Colin has always been in my top three along with Bally and the Golden Vision. I've always wanted to meet him and hope to do so one day. Pure class !
Steve McAdam, Beaconsfield, 2:41 PM 2/01/2014
 
3
Truely Mr Everton. Met him once and he is a true gent. When he left it was a 'where were you when Kennedy was killed moment'. One of the silliest moves our club has made, £70,000. They were having a laugh.
Mike Berry, Upper Bullens, 1:06 PM 2/01/2014
 
2
One of my all time greats at Everton and so modest! I have a lot of great memories of Colin Harvey.
Maurice Reid, Delph Nr Oldham, 3:23 PM 31/12/2013
 
1
A genuine Everton legend, right up there with the best of them and a real gentleman. Goodison was almost in mourning the day of the Wolves game that saw the "White Pele" banner unfurled over the Park End scoreboard.
Andy C, Warrington, 5:55 PM 29/12/2013
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