Signed from Bristol City in March 1930 for £1500, Billy Coggins was brought in to Goodison to help avert a goalkeeping crisis. Arthur Davies had suffered a drop in form and rookie Ted Sagar was not yet deemed ready for the relegation battle in which Everton found themselves embroiled.
COGGINS, whose thick West Country accent saw him marked out by other players as a figure of fun, particularly Dixie Dean, was soon a popular member of the dressing room. His inclusion in the Everton team at the end of the 1929/30 season led to a dramatic upturn in form. Everton won four of their last five games, but it was not enough to lift them from bottom spot and the nightmare of relegation.
Coggins, nevertheless, had done enough to impress the Everton management and was ever-present as Everton lifted the Second Division Championship in record-breaking fashion. There were some lingering doubts, though, about a player who still managed to concede 66 league goals, 17 more than the second-placed team let in. When Everton faced West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup semi-final at Old Trafford, Coggins was caught off guard when a cross shot was carried over his head for the game’s only goal.
Still, the 1930/31 season was a triumphant one and the high point of Coggins’ career. But just days after the season ended, the Everton goalkeeper was rushed to hospital with severe appendicitis. Complications emerged and two months later, with Coggins only just well enough to leave a convalescence home, the Everton board started seeking a replacement for the new season.
Ultimately the board kept faith with Ted Sagar, and so perpetually excellent was he that Coggins played just three further games for Everton.
HIS FATE in the reserve team epitomised the lack of player power in this era. Not until January 1934 was he transfer-listed, and then the Everton directors demanded £1000 or £750 from the likes of Brentford and Chester City. Such sums were beyond the likes of these clubs, and by September 1934, the board resolved to ask Luton Town for £400 – or whatever they would be willing to pay!
Coggins eventually joined Queens Park Rangers and played out his career with Bath City.