Friday, April 21st, 2006. One hundred years since Everton won the FA Cup for the first time, and the day on which Bob Latchford chose to launch his first book, 30, which details his fantastic achievement of scoring 30 goals in the 1977-78 season.
NSNO were lucky enough to be invited along, and spend an evening with the Latch and some of his team-mates from that fantastic era. We could hardly refuse, could we!
The Holiday Inn in Liverpool City Centre was the chosen venue to launch the book, from which all proceeds go to the Everton Former Players’ Foundation, and as the crowds gathered upstairs waiting to meet their heroes, the atmosphere rose and rose.
As we took our seats, Magic 1548’s Mark Jones got proceedings under way, introducing Bob’s team-mates to roars of adulation from the crowd. But the biggest cheer was undoubtedly reserved for the man himself – who was greeted with a rapturous chorus of “Bobby Latchford walks on water”
Bob’s team-mates await his arrival
Physio Jim McGregor was the first to speak, introduced by Co-Author of the book, Martin O’Boyle as “the envy of thousands of Evertonian women, as he was always rubbing Bob’s legs!” He told of Bob being the model patient, and being the perfect gentleman, before going on to tell us how Gordon Lee had said of a plate of Welsh Rarebit – “That looks just like cheese on toast.”
Ronnie Goodlass talked for so long he asked how we’d done against Birmingham!
All of Bob’s team-mates spoke of their respect for the man they called “The Latch” and all of them posed the same question – How much would he be worth today.
Jim McGregor compared him to Alan Shearer, but claimed Bob was missing one key attribute of Shearer’s game which makes him so valuable – “Bob never stamped on anyone’s head”
Ronnie Goodlass entertained us, and clearly enjoys holding a microphone, with tales of training with Bob on the beach at Pontins, and let us into a secret about Andy King (who wasn’t there to defend himself!) – his nickname was “TH” – but we’ll leave you to guess what it stands for!
Dave Thomas, attending his first Former Player’s Foundation event, spoke of his respect for Bob, and the understanding they had, which he told us came naturally – they didn’t need to work on it, it just happened.
Mike Pejic, who was sporting the best haircut of the night, and George Telfer also paid their respects to the Latch, and entertained us with tales from their days playing alongside Bob, before Bob himself took to the microphone.
More choruses of “Bobby Latchford walks on water” and “One goal at a time” followed, and Bob gave us a bit of an insight as to how he feels about the club, about the fans, and about the utter adulation that follows him wherever he goes.
His love for Everton Football Club is clear, and his enjoyment of the time he spent at the club comes through as clear as day, although he’s still a bit shy, and finds all the chanting a bit daunting sometimes – although he enjoys it no less than anyone else!
The night finished with a scramble to get Bob’s imprint on his latest work in print, but not before an auction which raised over Â£1000 for the Foundation, adding to the amounts raised through the evening and the book itself – which sold over 400 copies on it’s first day.
You can get your copy from the Everton Megastore, or online direct from the Everton Former Players’ Foundation – ensuring that ALL proceeds go to the charity – at www.boblatchford.com or at a special signing at St Luke’s Church on Goodison Road tomorrow at 2:30pm.
For more pictures of the night, check our Gallery here