They say that if you remember the 1960s, you weren’t really there.
Which is perhaps why the record of the most successful club manager of that swinging decade appears to have been airbrushed from memory.
Ask any football fan of any vintage for the name of the manager who collected the most top flight points throughout the 1960s. You’d get plenty of near misses.
But not many would get the answer spot on.
Most would go for the charismatic bosses, Bill Shankly or Matt Busby, men who courted publicity and made headlines as well as winning trophies.
Others might point to Don Revie, forgetting that Leeds United only won promotion in 1964, while those old enough to remember that era clearly would highlight Bill Nicholson.
The legendary Tottenham manager might have won more trophies than any other manager that decade – but one of his contemporaries won more matches and collected more top flight points than any other. And he’s always overlooked.
Everton manager Harry Catterick was a giant of that decade.
His Sheffield Wednesday side were runners up to Nicholson’s Spurs in 1960-61. Then when Everton came calling he crossed the Pennines, created two title winning teams, only once saw his side fall below sixth that decade – and that same season saw his side lift the FA Cup for the first time 33 years.
And Catterick did so playing stylish football totally in keeping with Everton’s School of Science traditions.
So why is Catterick so unfairly overlooked?
Manager points in the 1960s
A Goodison legend handed his debut in the San Siro at the age of 18, Colin Harvey, says: “The press enjoyed being courted by Bill Shankly, but Harry was an introvert and snubbed them.
“As a result Don Revie, Bill Shankly, Bill Nicholson and Sir Matt Busby all get mentioned as being the great managers of the era, while Harry doesn’t. However, he was right up there among them and created three different trophy winning sides.”
It’s an omission frustrated Evertonian Rob Sawyer has tried to redress.
His biography “Harry Catterick – The Untold Story Of A Football Great” is on sale now, and Harvey is delighted.
“Over the years I have been disappointed that he hasn’t received the respect and recognition he deserves,” said Harvey.
“I am delighted that Rob has written a biography which chronicles Harry’s life and celebrates his achievements.”
Rob, a regular chronicler for the Everton website Toffeeweb, spoke to Catterick’s family and received access to notes Harry had made in the mid 1960s for an unpublished memoir.
He interviewed scores of Catterick’s players, Everton supporters, scoured newspaper archives and worked closely with author and journalist John Roberts, the man who penned Everton’s official centenary history in 1978.
“I was brought up an Evertonian and my father, Ken, would eulogise about some of the great Everton players he watched from the 1930s through to the 1960s,” explained Rob.
“He also had kept a lot of matchday programmes from the early 1970s. This served to pique my interest in the club’s history. I was at the FA Cup tie in March 1985 at which Harry Catterick passed away – and perhaps that planted the seed to learn more about the man.
“Despite Harry’s achievements in football he seemed to have been practically whitewashed from the sport’s history – something that irked me when I saw the coverage afforded to many of his contemporaries.
“Here was a man who had spent 14 years at Goodison as a player, 12 as manager plus two as a “consultant” and who had created, arguably, one of the finest post-war teams to grace English football pitches, yet he had not been given recognition in the form of a biography.
“Having written articles for Toffeeweb, the Everton independent website, and joined EFC Heritage Society, I finally decided to take the plunge and attempt to document Harry’s life for posterity. Perhaps the death of my father in September 2012 gave me the impetus to take on the task.
“I started my research in the spring of 2013 and worked on the manuscript from the following autumn. I was very fortunate to have the assistance of Harry’s family and John Roberts, who lives near me, was a great help in giving me access to interviews given by Harry and John Moores in 1977.
“It has been a challenge writing this, my first book, but it has been hugely rewarding.
“Certainly, I learned that there was more to Harry than the image painted over the years of a dour, taciturn man who was feared by players. I hope that readers feel that it does justice to Harry, my principal regret is that my father is not around to enjoy it.”