In October 1970 Henry Newton became the third most expensive footballer in English football, after Harry Catterick paid Nottingham Forest £150,000 plus Northern Irish midfielder, Tommy Jackson, for their captain. In joining Everton, the former England u-nder 23 midfielder had rejected the advances of Brian Clough’s Derby County.
Something of a midfield general, who matched brave and effective tackling with sharp and constructive distribution, Newton was considered among the most talented midfielders in the country. But his addition to a team already boasting the illustrious Harvey-Kendall-Ball triumvirate seemed strange, if not wholly incongruous. Indeed he was never able to break into this part of the Everton team – even after the departure of Alan Ball the following year. Instead, he was inserted as a straight replacement for his namesake, Keith, at left back.
Newton was perfectly adept in this position, and in a declining side his efforts could never be faulted. A competitive player who did the simple things well there was nevertheless a perpetual sense that he was a square peg in a round hole at full back. Indeed his best performances came during the 1971/72 season when called upon to deputise for Colin Harvey and Howard Kendall in the Everton engine room.
Offered the chance of a return to his native Midlands in September 1973, he accepted a £110,000 move to Derby. Clough had finally got his man and Newton was restored to midfield. The following season, his midfield partnership with Bruce Rioch and Archie Gemmill was instrumental in bringing the First Division title to the Baseball Ground. In the process Derby had pipped Everton to the post: Newton had had the last laugh.