Posted 28 Apr 2006 - 18:06
i just seen this on Blue Kipper, i like the final quote!
A tribute By David France
Brian Labone was my conscience in establishing the Everton Former-Players' Foundation, my reference source for selecting the original inductees into Gwladys Street's Hall of Fame and my telephone directory for organizing the Hall of Fame Galas. Also he has been my strength throughout my recent medical battles. I spoke with him only a week or so ago to review the reference to him in the upcoming 'Everton Treasures' book which is a joint-collaboration with Dave Prentice. It reads:
'His name catches the eye in over 500 programmes - No 5 Labone. Their pen-pictures hint at his abilities ... cultured defender ... dominant in the air ... strong in the tackle ... comfortable on the ball... constructive in his distribution ... gentleman both on and off the pitch ... respected universally for his sportsmanship ... blessed with a character that made him deservedly popular. Brian Labone was the backbone of his one and only club for fifteen years and deserved greater recognition outside of Merseyside. His 1962 nightmare in Paris coupled with his 1966 decision to withdraw from Alf Ramsey's World Cup squad proved costly in terms of caps, about 40 of which were awarded to Maurice Norman and Jack Charlton in his absence. My most enduring image of The Last of the Corinthians? Not him towering over Bobby Collins as both the Everton and Leeds teams were ordered to the Goodison dressing rooms to calm down in 1964 nor him glaring at Peter Bonetti after the England keeper had fluffed Franz Beckenbauer's shot in 1968; but as the Everton skipper downing a pinta at Wembley after receiving the FA Cup from Princess Margaret in 1966.
I am often asked what is the greatest Everton treasure not in my collection? My standard response is Brian Leslie Labone - the Blue Hope, one of the finest diamonds in the world. Having made 500 or so near-flawless appearances, Brian's essence is woven into the fabric of my post-war memorabilia. I believe that no single player has done more for Everton Football Club after hanging up his boots. Every club deserves such a passionate, proud and gentlemanly ambassador. Possibly because he has always lived on Merseyside and is so accessible, fans have tended to overlook him in favour of the fleeting visits by other ex-players. Notwithstanding, Labone continues to promote the royal blue cause not just as part of his matchday responsibilities but on every single day of the week, every week of the year to football fans of all persuasions.'
My words embarrassed him. So much so that he muttered: 'Can't you add something about the delicate royal blue veins in the Princess' hands and the twinkle in her eye? Also I'm not sure about the Blue Hope reference.' I retorted: 'Well what would you like chiselled into your headstone?' After a pause, he suggested: 'Simply, a Son of St Domingo.' David France. (28/04/06)