The number nine shirt is held in high regard by supporters of Everton Football Club and the majority of those fortunate to wear the famous shirt have been revered by the Goodison Park faithful.
Of course the number nine shirt has been made so special by the performances of those who have occupied it. Iconic goal scorer Dixie Dean was the first Everton number nine and since then a long list of centre forwards have performed with distinction.
Traditionally these have been your ‘old fashioned centre forwards’. Good in the air, commanding and above all else, prodigious goal scorers.
Yes, Everton has certainly been blessed with a fair few of them. Below I’ve listed three of the best striker’s in Everton’s history. It’s a difficult task and so to Messrs. Gray, Hickson, Lawton, Latchford, Lineker, Royle and Vernon (a number 10), I can only apologise.
- Dixie Dean
Who else? There has never been a better goal scorer for the Toffees than William Ralph Dean. He scored 383 goals in 433 appearances in the royal blue shirt a record that will more than likely never be broken. Dixie was in the habit of setting records.
He scored 37 hat tricks for Everton, more than any other player and until Ian Rush took his crown he had bagged more goals in Merseyside Derby matches, netting 19 times.
But of course there is one record for which he will always be remembered, revered even. In the 1927-28 season Dean scored an unprecedented 60 league goals as he lead the blues to the league championship. It’s a record that nobody in England has showed any signs of breaking. It is fitting that the greatest goal scorer of them all was the first to wear the famous number nine shirt.
- Graeme Sharp
Everton’s second highest goal scorer, who I must admit almost missed out to Bob Latchford but Sharpey’s success with the club just edged it. The Scot scored 159 goals in 425 appearances during the club’s most successful era, making him the post war record goal scorer. He scored some important goals for the club including the first in the 1984 FA Cup Final win and the equaliser in the European Cup Winners Cup semi-final against Bayern Munich and who can forget his 25 yard volley against Liverpool?
However, there was far more than goals to Sharp’s game. He was a brilliant target man and equally as impressive with the ball at his feet, with Andy Gray and Gary Lineker two partners who profited from his all round game. His influence in such a successful era saw him named in Everton’s greatest ever eleven.
- Alex Young
There have been more prolific goal scorers but Alex Young was idolised by Everton fans. ‘The Golden Vision’ was a different breed of centre forward, not content with merely scoring goals he was the complete player. His touch was sublime and his awareness and vision allowed him to pick passes at will, meaning he created just as many goals as he scored.
He netted 22 times and laid on many for partner Roy Vernon as the Toffees won the league in the 1962-63 season. 87 goals in 268 does not match up to his fellow number nines but there is no doubting Young’s credentials as one of Everton’s best centre forwards.