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Money Can’t Buy Us Love: Everton in the 1960s By Gavin Buckland

Release date: 13th August, 2019
Publisher: DeCoubertin Books

List Price: 17.80
Our Price: 20.00
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Whenever a definitive social history of modern English football is written, the author will find the early 1960s a perfect start point. More specifically, he or she will spend time highlighting Everton’s pivotal role in creating a football business model that was eventually adopted by every ambitious club in the land.

Everton were perhaps the first to accommodate a rich, powerful benefactor who used his wealth to reinvigorate an already big club, “taking English football into unchartered territory at the time,” according to Gavin Buckland in Money Can’t Buy Us Love.

Buckland’s thesis is a perfectly reasonable one upon which to base a modern-day book about football, although some of his contemporary social history requires an overhaul.

What Buckland does remind us, though, is that, unlike many of the villains and shysters who now control some of the sport’s largest clubs, former Everton chairman John Moores was a self-made man.

Born in 1896, Moores was one of eight children who, after leaving school, worked as a messenger boy for the GPO on six shillings (30p) a week.

With two pals, he later formed Littlewoods Pools, each partner contributing £50 to have 4,000 coupons printed prior to a Manchester United match in February 1924. Only 35 coupons were returned and the venture was losing money from the start. By the following season, the trio had each invested a further £200, but only Moores wanted to continue with the idea, buying the other two out. Within three years, his pools business was turning over £200,000; by 1932, Moores was a millionaire. He used his wealth to invest in both Everton and Liverpool.

Moores’ business acumen would stand Everton in good stead by the time he was invited to join the board in March 1960. He would often show a ruthless disregard for old-fashioned ways, but always with an eye on the greater good, maintaining that success was dependent upon both well-trained employees and competent executives.

The combination of music and football made 1960s Liverpool one of the world’s most compelling cities, with Everton and Liverpool two of the country’s most successful clubs. In seeking to capitalise upon this, Moores invested heavily. He was, in footballing parlance, ‘years ahead of his time’, but supporters at football’s School of Science didn’t always appreciate his methods as winning at all costs, not entertainment, became the sole criteria for measuring success. Nonetheless, the Moores model had taken root; today we see the results of his legacy in every game we watch.

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