Jackie Grant was one of a number of highly committed players charged with reviving Everton’s post-war fortunes, but who ultimately proved short of the standard required.
In an Everton career that spanned more than 17 years, Grant was a dedicated servant who never gave anything other than unstinting dedication, despite never really being able to call a first-team shirt his own.
The exception was the 1950/51 season, when he was ever-present in the number four shirt, deputising for the injured Cyril Lello. But despite his best efforts, the season was an unmitigated disaster and Everton were relegated after finishing bottom of the First Division.
Born in County Durham, Grant first came to Everton as a 14-year-old amateur in 1939. Yet the outbreak of war later that year forced his return to the Northeast and for the next three years he played for High Spen juniors. He returned to Merseyside in 1942, and from the following year was a regular in Everton’s wartime teams, taking the place of Joe Mercer, who had been stationed away from Merseyside.
When peace came and the Football League resumed in August 1946, Grant found himself inandoutoftheteam.Hewasa skilful right half, but was often called to play in unfamiliar positions throughout his Everton career. Popular in the dressing room, he captained Everton’s reserve team when absent from the first XI.
HIS FINEST MOMENT in an Everton shirt came in Everton’s epic FA Cup fourth round replay against Wolves in January 1948. Played in front of 72,569 spectators, it was the ninth highest attendance in Goodison’s history. Yet the day seemed destined to end in disappointment, with Wolves entering the last minute 2-1 in front. Everton were then awarded a corner kick.
Nobby Fielding took the corner with about 30 seconds left,’ Grant recalled in 1970. ‘Bill Shorthouse went up for it, but the ball landed at my feet. All I did was thump it. I was told later that the people outside heard the roar, realised it was the equaliser and then tried to get back into the ground for the 30 minutes of extra time. It was bedlam inside the ground, too. We went on to beat them 3-2. It’s nice to think back and remember how they carried me on their shoulders at the end.
After slipping out of first-team consideration by the mid-1950s, in June 1956 his former team- mate Harry Catterick – now manager of Rochdale – paid £2500 to bring Grant to Spotland. He made more than 100 appearances for Rochdale before ending his career with Southport.