Ian Buchan’s 1956 appointment as team coach seemed an odd move by the Everton board. Never afforded the title of manager, Buchan’s position seemed tenuous from the start.
A polite, dedicated man, Buchan’s background as a Scottish International Amateur gave him an instant rapport with the players. A commitment to improving team fitness saw Everton acquiring an enviable reputation as the fittest team in the First Division, but with Buchan’s players lacking the skill to put their physical condition to good use, success remained elusive.
An intense man with a deep sense of loyalty, Buchan never really gained the confidence of the board, and while his style of fast, first-time play worked well for the team early on in the season, any accomplishment proved difficult to maintain. Struggling against a general perception of himself as merely a caretaker, Buchan eventually stepped down in 1958, leaving a team well on the way to recovering their pre-eminent First Division position, but without the necessary drive to do so.
As the position of manager became vacant yet again, the Everton board began searching for a bigger name manager to capitalise on the process Buchan had begun. That man was to be Johnny Carey.