Two names are intrinsically linked to Everton’s 1966 FA Cup triumph. The first was the unheralded Cornishman, Mike Trebilcock, who, with Everton losing 2-0, seemed to come from nowhere to hit a rapid fire brace that levelled the tie. The second is Derek Temple, who struck a spectacular winner 17 minutes from the final whistle. But unlike Trebilcock, Temple was far from a one-match wonder and by 1966 his career at the club had already spanned nearly a decade.
A son of Dovecot who progressed through Everton’s youth ranks in the mid-1950s, Temple first broke into the Everton team at the end of the 1956-57 season and played in each of the final seven games, scoring three times. He impressed immediately and the following season he established himself in the first team as a speedy inside right partnering the irrepressible Dave Hickson. After a productive first half to the season, his progress was halted by a national service call up. He joined the Kings Liverpool Regiment because their headquarters were in Formby and was assured that his Everton career would not be unduly hampered, but ended up in Kenya.
By the time of his return to Merseyside in 1960, a crucial part of his early career had been lost. Everton, moreover, had changed too, with Moores millions starting to eradicate the 1950s gloom. Temple initially struggled with the transition as chances were difficult to come by. His perseverance seemed to have paid off when Harry Catterick rewarded him with a run in the team during the closing stages of the 1961/62 season. This proved to be particularly productive and he scored five goals in Everton’s last ten games of the season from the left wing, bringing his tally for the season to ten, which included an early season hat trick against eventual champions, Ipswich.
But just as Temple re-established himself in the Everton team, once more his progress was stunted, this time by a cartilage injury. In the 1962/63 season he made just five appearances, but his return in April 1963 was timely and he struck a crucial goal against West Ham that kept Everton’s title bid on track. Alas, he never made enough appearances to claim a League Championship medal. The following season Catterick dropped Johnny Morrissey and brought in Temple on the left wing where he remained, until his transfer to Preston North End in 1967.
Equally skilful with both feet, Temple played on both wings and as an emergency centre forward. A reliable goalscorer, he averaged a goal every three games – a tally which many an out and out striker would be proud. But it wasn’t just the number of goals which Temple scored that made him a favourite, more their nature – often a rasping shot at the end of a spectacular dash up field.
None were better or more important than his effort against Sheffield Wednesday in Everton’s FA Cup final victory. It came on 73 minutes, after the ball had slipped away from the control of Wednesday centre half Gerry Young on the half way line. ‘As Gerry was the centre-half, I knew there was nobody behind him except the goalkeeper, Ron Springett,’ recalled Temple. ‘I also knew that I would be expected to score. I was helped by the fact that Springett did not come far off his line. As I got to the edge of the penalty area, I aimed for the far post, and although the keeper got his fingers to the ball, he could not keep it out of the net.’ Perhaps Temple’s telling makes his goal sound easy, but his accomplishment – coming late in the match and with tired legs, against an England international goalkeeper – was truly magnificent.
For many Everton supporters it was the first time they had seen their team win the FA Cup, and it sparked epic celebrations. Yet Temple’s first thought was relief. ‘Not thrilled or excited, although that came later,’ he would recall. ‘Just relieved that the ball had gone in, because if it hadn’t I would have been branded a villain.’ For Temple it was the fitting conclusion of a decade’s service, guaranteeing his place in Everton lore.
As Harry Catterick reconstructed his team around the Kendall-Harvey-Ball axis, Temple was a casualty, with Everton’s manager preferring Johnny Morrissey on the Everton left through the latter half of the 1966/67 season. Despite featuring five times in the opening stages of the 1967/68 campaign, when Preston North End made a £35,000 offer in September 1967, the Everton manager accepted it.
In 1970 Temple dropped out of league football to combine playing semi-professionally with Wigan Athletic with the running of a newsagents he owned in Maghull. He subsequently worked in insurance sales, then for a double glazing company, before working for a chemical company. Still a regular and popular visitor to Goodison Park, his lengthy Everton career is invariably defined by memories of his FA Cup winning goal. It was, said Albert Geldard, who had played on the Everton left when they previously won the FA Cup in 1933, ‘One of the greatest goals I have ever seen. Those sort of openings can be missed so easily.’