As one of the stars of Everton’s 1933 FA Cup win, Cliff Briton’s 1948 appointment as manager was viewed by many as a triumphant return home. Having spent the previous three years at Burnley, Cliff’s easy-going approachability lent new confidence and stability to a team badly in need of recapturing their glory days.
Within two years, Britton seemed to have succeeded. March 1950 saw Everton facing old rivals Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final at Maine Road. Once again, hopes had been raised only to be quickly dashed by a decisive 2-0 loss.
Undaunted, and unafraid of playing the transfer market, Britton spent £28,000 acquiring Burnley’ inside forward, Harry Potts, and Glasgow Rangers full-back, Jack Lindsay. Unfortunately, despite their early promise and an injection of new talent, Everton’s 1950-51 season saw the club near the bottom of the First Division, only two points ahead of the joint bottom teams Chelsea and Sheffield Wednesday. A crushing 6-0 defeat by Sheffield Wednesday coupled with a 4-0 Chelsea victory over Bolton dealt the club a double blow that left Britton distraught and the club relegated.
Following a vote of confidence from the Everton board, Britton struggled to drag the team back into the First Division, a struggle that saw the team finish 7th and 16th before becoming Division Two runners up in 1953-4. Following a dispute with the board over managerial control, Britton left the club in 1956, saying: “I want all managers to have the freedom to do the job for which they were appointed.”