Post by Everton News. on Feb 27, 2017 14:56:20 GMT
Everton Football Club is deeply saddened to confirm the passing of one of Goodison’s greatest sons, The Golden Vision, Alex Young.
The legendary Scot, a title winner with the Blues in 1962/63 and part of the side that famously came from 2-0 down against Sheffield Wednesday to lift the FA Cup three years later, passed away on Monday, aged 80.
A centre-forward who combined elegant skill with a boundless determination and passion, he was an icon of his era, a player who glided across even the heaviest of surfaces, shimmying and tricking his way past defenders before effortlessly floating shots past baffled goalkeepers.
In total, Young appeared 273 times for the Blues after joining from Hearts in 1960, netting on 87 occasions before departing for Glentoran in 1968.
He was named an Everton Giant in 2000.
“We are all very sad and will miss him terribly,” said Young’s son, Alex Junior. “He passed away peacefully with my mum by his side at a small hospital close to Edinburgh.
“He has been ill for a few weeks but he battled on bravely. It’s still very raw but I wanted people on Merseyside to know.
“He loved Everton, he loved being back at Goodison Park. He always said it was like going to church.”
The thoughts of everyone at Everton Football Club are with Alex’s family and many friends at this sad time.
Post by Everton News. on Feb 27, 2017 15:19:06 GMT
Deep in the marrow of Goodison there is a special place that will remain Forever Young. It goes beyond the memories of all the goals and all the sophisticated deceptions that persuaded his teammate, Joe Royle, to recall wistfully that the intricate way Alex Young swayed and moved while on the ball “he could make men fall over”. On the terraces he made men fall head over heels in love with him to the extent that almost half a century after he last kicked a ball in an Everton shirt the ovation he received following a special screening of a new biopic Alex The Great was, in Royle’s words again, “a lovely reminder of just how much this club loves him”.
The labour of love that is David France, Tabacula Films and Everton Football Club’s collaboration and tribute to a Blues icon had a fitting preview on a perfect, autumnal November afternoon in the Alex Young Suite. The Golden Vision, the moniker bestowed on him by former Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur player and Sunday Express columnist 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”), graced the room as he had once graced the Goodison pitch, with style and dignity and courage and pride. And when the miner’s son from the small town of Loanhead in the heart of Midlothian stepped out on the pitch at the end of an emotional day, it was his own son, Alex, who summed up the feelings of the entire Young family.
“For my dad and mum [Nancy] to have been joined today by family, friends and fellow Evertonians [who numbered about 160] for this special screening here at Goodison is unbelievable, a really special day,” he said. “It’s been really emotional and we’re all really proud. The film is an incredible tribute to my dad, a man who has always been really modest about what he achieved in the game. It’s touched us all to be back at Goodison to watch the documentary and to feel the way he’s loved by Toffees even today. As a family, we’re all really grateful. It’s been overwhelming.”
As the lights dimmed and the power of documentary film transported us from the theatre-like setting to a vivid reconstruction of an era when Young was at his zenith and the likes of Alan Ball, Gordon West, Brian Labone, Colin Harvey, Roy Vernon, Ray Wilson, Derek Temple and a young Howard Kendall and Joe Royle represented a star-studded supporting cast, the experience was almost spiritual. “I was stood on the paddock [at Goodison], under the clock and I watched Alex Young make his debut and we all had our mouths open that night,” Royle recalled. “It was one of those moments you know that you’ll remember for the rest of your life because we were witnessing a wonderful talent, something breathtaking.”
Harvey concurred: “Alex was ahead of his time in terms of the way he played as a centre forward. He had great imagination on the ball and he would do things you had never seen before.”
His ball control under the most intense pressure from physically imposing opposition players of the size of Ron Yeats (who played with him for Hearts and Scotland and against him wearing the red of Liverpool) was mesmerising and he could demoralise a man with a sudden surge of acceleration or a twist of his torso that seemed to defy the laws of physics. “He would stand on a ball, almost like a matador, tempting someone to tackle him,” Royle recollected. “And whilst he moved one way, somehow or other his body would move in a different direction and opposing players would find themselves looking rather silly.” His strength and resilience underpinned, along with his bravery, a repertoire of skills that could humiliate as well as inflict deadly damage and he was an excellent header of the ball, too.
“It was great to play with him because you could give him the ball anywhere and he had such wonderful control,” said Derek Temple. “You might give him a poor ball but he’d make it into a good one because of his ability and wonderful skill.” Royle added: “I had the unenviable task for one game of taking over from him but only in name because it was just for one game and he was back the next week and won the Cup and, besides, you couldn’t replace Alex Young. You just couldn’t.”
For David France, Young’s biographer and long-time friend, the playing of the documentary was the realisation of a dream, albeit some work remains to be done: “It’s not finished, we still want to make it better and source more contemporaneous footage, which is difficult, but it’s been a magical experience for everybody who was able to witness it and then see Alex in the room named after him, truly wonderful. Alex Young is revered because of the special player he was, a magnificent player, a talent and a man who stood apart. The depth of love for Alex, we were all able to experience it one more time here at Goodison and that’s the warmest of feelings.”
As he left the room at the end of the screening, Young raised his arms and blew a kiss to fans and family. Then he ventured down the tunnel and out onto the pitch. It was cold and dark but it was almost as if he had shed 50 years of his life as he gazed towards the Gwladys. In his mind’s eye, if he looked hard enough, he would have seen generations of Evertonians, wide-eyed and open-mouthed, feeling blessed to catch a glimpse of perhaps the most sublime talent ever to grace Goodison.
The above interview first appeared in December’s Everton magazine.
Post by Everton News. on Feb 27, 2017 15:30:24 GMT
Alex Young was one of the finest players ever to pull on Everton’s royal blue jersey.
Here some of his former teammates discuss the phenomenon that was the Golden Vision…
It was great to play with Alex because you could give him the ball anywhere. He had such wonderful control – you could give him a poor ball and he would turn it into a good one because of his ability. Then he would either take people on or give you a good pass back. He had wonderful skill.
Alex was ahead of his time in terms of the way he played as a centre-forward. He had great imagination on the ball and he would do things you had never seen before.
Alex is part of the legend of this Club. He was always good to me in the dressing room and there was never animosity if I was in the team sometimes. Instead, he was always encouraging me.
He was a wonderful, old-fashioned talent. He swayed and floated around the pitch but few mention that he had a wonderful turn of foot over 10 yards and his acceleration was terrific. For not the biggest of men, he was also tremendous in the air.
It was artistry with Alex, a cleverness. He would stand on the ball, knowing, almost like a matador, tempting someone to tackle him. He would be going one way, then his body would be going in completely the opposite direction. People would find themselves looking rather silly.
You had to get close to him and be quite threatening but that didn’t bother him either. You’d see this gentle man with blond locks but he could look after himself.”