Jimmy Tansey - Everton stalwart of the 1950s

 

As a tenacious, sharp-tackling, consistently competent full-back with Everton throughout most of the 1950s, Jimmy Tansey took his work extremely seriously.

But that never stopped him having a laugh with the fans. Once, after being dumped on the seat of his pants by the wizardry of an opposing winger – and there was a plethora of beguiling examples in his day, of which the incomparable Stanley Matthews and Tom Finney were the most renowned – the slightly bandy-legged Liverpudlian was subjected to a chorus of colourful ridicule from the massed ranks assembled on Goodison Park's Paddock terrace, now long defunct.

His reaction, rather than revealing unseemly bitterness or retreating into a shell of impotent hurt, was to round on his tormentors with an imaginary machine-gun, pretending to mow them down in waves, all the while wearing a grin as wide as the Mersey. It was a typically spontaneous gesture from an engagingly warm character and it was greeted with uproarious delight, instantly disarming his erstwhile critics. For such moments, as well as for his general efficiency in a frequently toiling team, was Jimmy Tansey loved.

After joining Everton as a teenage wing-half, he was converted into a full-back during his rise through the junior teams and made his senior entrance for the Second Division side as a replacement for the injured Jack Lindsay in a 2-2 draw at Notts County in March 1953. However, it was not until the 1955-56 season, by which time Everton had been promoted, that Tansey laid regular claim to their No 3 shirt, initially at the expense of the Republic of Ireland international Don Donovan.

That season, with the team ensconced in the wrong half of the league table but reaching the last eight of the FA Cup, the local boy impressed with his dependability, the crispness of his challenges, his shrewd positional play and his subtle knack of jockeying his opponents away from the area of immediate danger. Tansey peaked in 1956-57, when he was the only ever-present in manager Ian Buchan's hard-working but rather limited side, which finished 15th in the top tier. Playing at left-back, he struck up an effective understanding with Donovan, now on the right, and the commanding centre-half Tommy Jones.

One of his finest hours came that autumn, when reigning champions and current table-toppers Manchester United were humbled 5-2 on their own Old Trafford turf, with Tansey shackling Johnny Berry, the Busby Babes' quick and feisty little outside-right, thus cutting off a main supply line to the hosts' predatory strike force of Tommy Taylor, Billy Whelan and a rookie named Bobby Charlton.

He retained his place for another full season before yielding it to the younger John Bramwell early in the 1958-59 campaign. Thereafter, losing pace as he strove to recover from a series of niggling injuries, Tansey languished on the fringe of the team until, having entered his thirties, he joined Fourth Division Crewe Alexandra in the summer of 1960.

He had made 142 appearances for Everton, but only managed a handful more for the Gresty Road side before leaving the professional game. Tansey, a gentle and engagingly affable character with a twinkling sense of humour, later worked as a fitter for British Leyland.

James Tansey, footballer: born Liverpool 29 January 1929; played for Everton 1948-60, Crewe Alexandra 1960-61; married (two sons); died Liverpool 7 July 2012.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Sport
Louis van Gaal watches over Nani
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
transfersColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Developer - Permanent - London - Up to £50k

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum 23 days holiday plus Pension scheme: Clearwater Peop...

IT Technician (1st/2nd line support) - Leatherhead, Surrey

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Technician (1st/2nd line support)...

Primary Teacher EYFS, KS1 and KS2

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education are urgentl...

KS1 and KS2 Primary NQT Job in Lancaster Area

£85 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn