Fun loving full back Alan Sanders was one of a generation of young home grown players vested with the unenviable task of restoring Everton in the 1950s back to their pre-war splendour. His chance came in the 1957/58 season when Everton's longstanding right back, Don Donovan, was called upon to replace the injured T. E. Jones in the centre of defence. Sanders impressed enough to supplant the Irishman and his first team career would extend into the tenure of Johnny Carey before he made way for the classy Scot, Alex Parker.
He was, wrote the football historian Ivan Ponting, ‘a flamboyant right back with the stature of a body builder who radiated confidence; unfortunately, although he was blessed with a fair degree of ball skill for such a strapping man, he was a rather cumbersome mover who found it difficult to recover his ground if given the slip by a fleet footed opponent.’
Derek Temple remembered: 'Alan Sanders was a lad from Manchester: big, strong, not to be unkind, I didn't think he was the greatest player we ever had. He was a character - a bit mad. We had a billiard room at Everton. You went up a little spiral staircase from the dressing room and there were chairs in there and benches and two or three snooker tables. It's where we would relax after training and have something to eat.’
‘I always remember Alan Sanders getting Eddie Thomas and tying him to a chair and putting a load of newspaper under him and lighting it and then doing an Indian war dance around him! Old Frank Blundell who ran the place was going mad. He was crackers, Alan. There was mischief, but we were all young fellas with lots of energy.’
Parker's arrival saw chances limited for Sanders. It was a fate shared with many of his generation of home-grown players as the Moores millions started to make an impression on the club. In November 1959 he was allowed to join Swansea Town and in the lower leagues his career flourished.