Two years after Cliff Britton’s exit, the Everton board appointed Johnny Carey as manager in October 1958. A star from Manchester United’s post-war glory days, the appointment of Carey coincided closely with the acquisition of prominent Celtic player Bobby Collins. With Collins joining players such as Albert Dunlop, Mick Meagan and Derek Temple, Carey inherited a squad with a lot of potential, but lacking real leadership.
Joining Everton following a five-year stint at Blackburn Rovers, Carey’s quiet assuredness seemed the perfect antidote to an increasing lack of confidence in the club. Lucky enough to secure millionaire Everton supporter John Moores as a club benefactor, Carey used Moores’ financial backing to enter the transfer market enthusiastically, acquiring such luminaries as Roy Vernon, Billy Bingham, Alex Young and Jimmy Gabriel.
Following two low seasons, Carey’s leadership saw Everton reach their highest league position since the war in the 1960-61 season, finishing fifth. However, with the increased financial backing of Moore, and the removal of the maximum players’ wage, football was starting to become big business. In a new era of market forces, anything less than first place was sure to be seen as failure.
His success not enough for the growing demands of the Everton board and the club supporters, rumours of Carey’s impending dismissal were rife. Joining new club chairman John Moores at a Football League meeting in London, Carey accepted Moores’ decision to replace him as manager with characteristic stoicism.