Terry Darracott was one of a select band whose Goodison career dovetailed Everton’s two golden eras. As a rookie full back in the late 1960s he was a bit-part player in Harry Catterick’s second great Everton team, eventually becoming a stalwart of the following decade. He returned to the club, via a spell in the US and a year at Wrexham, as part of the youth coaching staff in the mid-1980s, later serving as Colin Harvey’s assistant.
It was an Everton career that lasted some 18 years – 13 as a player and five as a coach - and yet Darracott never seemed to find a way into Evertonian affections. A boyhood fan, whose commitment and enthusiasm could never be called into question, the response from the terraces was often muted. Later, as Everton’s mid-1980s team broke up, Darracott – now assistant manager – was made a scapegoat by some fans for the club’s decline. It was a harsh outcome for a dedicated servant, but maybe symptomatic of the fact that he had again come to prominence just as Everton waned.
DARRACOTT made his debut as a 17-year-old apprentice in April 1968, deputising for Ray Wilson as left back. Over the next three years Evertonians caught mere glimpses of the youngster, but when his chance came early in the 1971/72 season he was deputising for the injured Colin Harvey in midfield. For the rest of the decade, he would be like a latter-day Sandy Brown, filling in every position across the back line and also in midfield. In only one season – 1973/74 – was he a guaranteed starter in his favoured right back position.
Wherever he was called upon to play, Darracott did so with passion and bravery. But for fans of a club stuck in Liverpool’s shadows it was never quite enough. A rough and ready defender who made up what he lacked in finesse with unstinting dedication to the Everton cause, he was an effective man-marker and occasionally indomitable presence. George Best was one big name he subdued in an early encounter. On another occasion, Darracott’s bravery was plain for all to see: after colliding with an opponent he bit through his lip, but played on despite gore foaming from his mouth.
Alas, many Evertonians’ memories of the 1970s are defined by the team’s shortcomings. Darracott is perhaps best remembered for his part in the calamity of the errors that led to Aston Villa’s winner in the 1977 League Cup Final:
a Villa cross clipped off Ronnie Goodlass, wrong-footing Darracott – who would ordinarily have cleared easily – and letting in Brian Little to score. It was the cruellest of blows.
In 1979 Darracott joined Tulsa Roughnecks in the NASL. He returned to English football with Wrexham, later turning to coaching. After serving Everton in a variety of coaching roles through the 1980s, he became youth coach at Manchester City in 1991, later holding down similar roles at Blackburn Rovers and Bolton. In October 2008 he was appointed assistant manager of Wrexham, a position he held for a year, before he joined Bolton as part of its scouting team led by Colin Harvey.