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Football Management in 1964 – Harry Catterick, Everton Writes / Football Management in 1964 – Harry Catterick, Everton Writes

Football Management in 1964 – Harry Catterick, Everton Writes

By on 28 September 2017

In the 1960s Everton were one of the big boys in English football. They won their sixth Division One Championship in the 1962-63 season. In February 1964, when they were defending champions, manager Harry Catterick wrote an article in Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly, reproduced here by SoccerAttic, in which he talked about the pressures of managing one of the top football teams in England.

With all due respect to Everton supporters, you could not put the club into such a bracket today. Since their heady days of the mid to late 1980s they have, financially at least, fallen behind the so-called “Elite Six”. But the issues Catterick discusses are all very familiar. Having to spend money to win trophies, managing difficult players and failed attempts to nurture your own talent are all mentioned and all just as poignant in today’s game.

It’s probably fair to say that most modern managers would read Catterick’s words with the phrase, ‘you had it easy’ going through their heads. While so many of the same pressures exist today, they are grossly more exaggerated than in the 1960s. But everything’s relative. For us, the most interesting part of the article was Catterick’s closing phrase in italics concerning the inevitable gravitation of the best players to a few clubs in a Super League. Amazingly perceptive Harry!

Click or  tap the pages shown to read the article in its original format. Alternatively, the text is  stripped out here and we’ve included a team picture of that Championship winning Everton side after the article.

IT’S TOUGH AT THE TOP…but the worst enemy is complacency!

 WHAT is it like to manage a club with a star-packed team? In one word—tough!

One often hears of the troubles and difficulties of the manager of a hard-up club; his life certainly is tough, but it is a sinecure compared with life at the top. You see, it depends entirely on how ambitious the club are, and to what lengths they are prepared to go to achieve their ambitions.

To attain the top honours in Soccer today, it is almost essential to buy players. Very few clubs are able to produce all their own playing requirements. Therefore, if a club cannot provide the manager with necessary cash, they often have to be prepared to accept a middle-of-the-table position as a fair return. But when the directors are willing to spend, and the club succeed in attracting star players then the pressure is on. The manager just has to show results. And results means cups, trophies and European Soccer. All the world knows that if Everton want a player who is available, the money is forthcoming. But then I have to satisfy not only the directors, but also 50,000 fanatical fans who watch every home game—and demand success.

And if that success doesn’t come, it is the manager’s head that they ask for—not the players’. To a degree that is not unreasonable, for it is the manager who decides what players he wants to carry out the tactics he lays down.

If he has those players, surely he is to blame for any failures?

Or is he? What about loss of form? Is the manager to blame for that? And what about the bogy of injuries? They can completely destroy the best-laid managerial plans.

“But,” you might say, “a good manager will budget for loss of form and injuries.”

So he does. But how can he budget for the loss of a complete half-back line? That happened to me towards the end of 1963—Gabriel, Labone and Kay were all missing at the same time from one cause and another.

But that is the cross a manager has to bear—and the best he can do is take every possible precaution. And he has to be a psychologist, too. For while he must be the boss and command respect and obedience from his players, he must also be friendly enough with them to be able to talk over with them any difficulties that might arise. And those difficulties can be legion.

Complacency is one of the worst enemies, especially when a side are playing well and winning games. It is natural for players to feel on top of the world, full of confidence—but when the crash comes, it is so much heavier. After a winning run, several players could lose form at the same time for many reasons. Maybe the trouble is physical, due to loss of sleep, or maybe even indigestion.

Maybe there is some domestic trouble that affects a player mentally. The manager must be close enough to his players to be able, by a process of elimination, to diagnose the reason. Often, once that is done, the remedy is simple.

A manager must also be able to assess a player’s personality as well as ability. To decide whether or not a certain player will fit—in the dressing-room and in the coach, as well as on the field of play. Players spend a lot of time together. One “nark” in the team can upset any manager’s plans. And—like thoroughbred horses—the better, more finely-trained the player, the more chance there is of temperament.

So, you might say, why not bring up your own players instead of buying stars?

Very nice—in theory. We at Everton have a first-class apprentice scheme of which we are proud. We have 20 or so extremely promising youngsters, but I will be very happy if six or seven materialise into regular first-team players. And that won’t be for several seasons. I think it is wrong to push 16-year-old boys into the maelstrom of championship Soccer unless it is unavoidable. That is the reason I am always on the look-out for ready-made reserve strength. One must always be ready for the unusual. This is not pessimism—it’s plain common sense. I refuse to be complacent, and I try to check it among the players.

I have no hesitation in promoting players if their form deserve sit—and circumstances warrant it. Goalkeeper Andy Rankin was brought into the first team on the strength of Central League performances what Gordon West suffered a loss of confidence.

Colin Harvey is an inside-forward who recently got his first-team chance. We have some good reserves at Goodison—the Central League side is higher-placed than for many seasons—but if vacancies occur in the League side, the second teamers will have to be as good as, or better than, any players with other clubs who may be available!

But even at Everton, cash is not unlimited. Despite our cheque-book reputation, the present full League side (for which we have paid out £240,000) actually cost on balance only £70,000. We have sold well, in addition to buying! I believe that cash is needed if major honours are to be annexed. Real Madrid, Milan, Inter-Milan, Santos—all bought the best talent available.

As we are League Champions, every club is straining to depose us. We expect it, but we are determined to hold on to that championship, with the hope that we shall do better next time in the subsequent European battle.

Firstly, I am convinced that before long the best players will be with a limited number of clubs in a Super-League. The public wants the best. Soccer will have to give it to them.

[End of  article]


Everton FC

Everton FC from Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly, Feb 1964. Click on the image to zoom in for a bigger view.

Click here for more information on the players in this picture.

Everton Gifts From SoccerAttic

If Everton is a passion for you or a loved one this picture of the 1962-63 side from the original Charles Buchan magazine is available on a mug to buy online.  Click on the image to visit our shop and buy the mugs.

Everton 1962-63