It’s been written many times, but worth repeating again, that the roots of Everton Football Club run deep into the bed-rock of the city of it’s birth. In fact, the first club of Liverpool boasts an unrivaled history of 106 seasons in the top flight of the English game and not surprisingly has woven a golden thread through the evolution of football. This unparalled heritage has served to link generations of fans.
Because their heritage is important to so many Evertonians, Gwladys Street’s Hall of Fame was conceived by David France to celebrate the men who had made significant contributions to the club’s welfare. To this noble end an independent, as well as motley, panel composed of former players, local journalists, shareholders, season ticket holders, plus a couple of rabid Blues painstakingly assessed the abilities, service, honours and other accomplishments earned by the candidates during their Everton careers. No formal guidelines such as a pre-requisite number of first team appearances, medals or international caps were used by the panel – just common sense. As a direct result of the original painstaking exercise conducted in 1996, Hall of Fame membership was extended to five club officials and 75 players representative of all eras. No doubt some of their names are less familiar than others, while many of them will also evoke misty-eyed reminiscences of the great Evertonians of yesteryear who helped to establish our royal blue pride.
Although subsequently flattered by a rush of imitators, the Hall of Fame was the very first of it’s kind in England and it has been celebrated every year for the past decade at Liverpool’s Adelphi Hotel. Of course, the compilation of a list of individuals is a thankless task. Invariably some fans disagreed with one or two of the original choices and with even more of the omissions. In fact, Gwladys Street’s high standards are no better reflected in the qualifications of the well-known footballers who have yet to be inducted.
The number of members has been expanded during the past decade via polls to included previously overlooked men and via adjustments to include the club’s Victorian pioneers. Today there are 119 Hall of Famers, fewer than oner per year of the grand old team’s illustrious history. For the record, their names are presented alphabetically and not as a league table.