When I received the news that Alex Young – The Golden Vision – had passed away today, I was sat with a former Manchester City youth player from Alex’s era who used the quote above. An Aston Villa fan, who had played against Everton for City in the 60’s, described Alex Young as “the most cultured centre forward these isles have ever produced.”
There are, of course, countless tributes to be paid to Alex, both as a player and as a man.
I was proud to be part of the making and release of “Alex The Great” in November, a film dedicated to following up the BBC film “The Golden Vision” from the 1960’s which featured a fan’s obsession with Everton, and with Young in particular.
The film’s Director, Dr David France, said at the time that we are all too good at paying tribute to our heroes when they have left us, but Alex deserved to hear those tributes for himself.
Thankfully, despite his ill-health, Alex was able to attend the Goodison Park premiere with his family. His wife Nancy held his hand as they and his children saw what Alex meant to those who played with him, against him, and those who watched in awe from the terraces.
One player, who went on to become an Everton great himself, said that when he watched Everton as a youngster, he would see players with the ball and think “I can do that” but when Alex touched the ball, he would watch on in wonder before going home and desperately trying to reproduce the first touch, or the dribble that he had just witnessed.
I never got to see Alex play, except for the footage we have from the 60’s, but to stand among a room of over 200 Evertonians with tears in their eyes at being close to their idol says it all, and knowing him as a former player cemented his hero status.
An unassuming, softly spoken, gentleman, Alex always had a sparkle in his eye. He always had a subtle quip ready, but was always ever so slightly bemused by the fact that Evertonians idolised him almost 50 years after he played for the club.
Many will remember him for his dazzling skills with a football, others for his charm. My lasting memory won’t be of the time he stuck up for this website ten years ago while sitting his the lounge named after him at Goodison, nor will it be how graciously he took the endless praise heaped on him, it will be the subtle wink and cheeky smile he gave the crowd at Goodison Park back in November as he waved goodbye for the last time.
Good night god bless Alex, you’ll leave a giant hole in the lives of many, but every one of those lives will have been enriched for having you in them.