Just who is the greatest winger in Everton history? That’s an awfully big question to ask.
The likes of Andrei Kanchelskis plus Steven Pienaar and Mikel Arteta – although probably more wide midfielders in their style – have starred in the Premier League era while Kevin Sheedy and Trevor Steven were legendary figures of Howard Kendall’s great side of the 1980s. Going further back, Dave Thomas was a fan favourite in the 1970s, Johnny Morrissey and Derek Temple wowed in the 1960s while in the pre-Second World War era there was the likes of Torry Gillick, Ted Critchley, Sam Chedgzoy and Jack Sharp.
However, a new book tells the story of Jackie Coulter, a player who might have been considered the very best ever for the Blues had it not been for injury. That’s the view of Everton super fan Dr David France.
He’s the man who amassed The Everton Collection, the world’s greatest single club assemblage of football memorabilia, so given that he knows the Blues history better than most is as well-placed as anyone to pass such a judgement. Dr France has reviewed ‘Jack Coulter: From Whiteabbey to Goodison Park’ by Rob Sawyer.
He writes: “With his expertly researched and richly illustrated book, Rob Sawyer has put this extraordinarily gifted, yet often forgotten, left-winger back in the Goodison spotlight. With no little eloquence and less than 90 pages, the author tells Jackie Coulter’s story from his childhood in County Antrim to his playing days at Belfast Celtic, Everton and beyond. Of course, it describes the incident when his top-flight career was truncated by a devastating leg injury while on international duty.
“Were it not for injury, it is likely that Coulter would be lauded as the club’s greatest winger and one of the first names to trip off the tongues of Evertonians of all ages. The shortness of his time at Goodison does not diminish the impact made on those who witnessed his sublime skills.
“From a personal perspective, I was made aware of Coulter’s wizardry as a child. Raised in an Everton family divided by the Dixie Dean versus Tommy Lawton debate, my grandfather and father were united in proclaiming that TG Jones was the club’s greatest-ever defender and that ‘The Great Jackie Coulter’ was its greatest-ever winger. Without exception, that is how they both referred to him.
“With Everton boasting such outstanding spearheads, it’s not surprising that it recruited some of the finest wide-men to provide them with ammunition throughout the 1930s. These included Jimmy Stein, Ted Critchley, Albert Geldard, Torry Gillick and, of course, Jackie Coulter with his mastery of the football and divine close control. In my father’s eyes he was the complete outside-left – ‘Tommy Ring with wings.’”
- ‘Jack Coulter: From Whiteabbey to Goodison Park’ is published by 1878 Books and is priced at £5 plus p&p for paperback or £3.75 for Kindle download. You can click here to order a copy from Amazon or alternatively you can email email@example.com or call 07779 483713 to order a signed copy.