A giant, no-nonsense centre forward, Jock Dodds’ imposing frame propped Everton up in the immediate post-war years, as the pre-war champions struggled to make an impression in football’s new era.
BORN in Grangemouth in 1915, but raised in Durham, Dodds had started his career at Huddersfield Town, but was unable to make a breakthrough at a club considered among the best in the country. In May 1934 he joined Second Division Sheffield United and here the goals – 114 in 178 league outings – flowed. He helped United to the 1936 FA Cup Final, which they lost to Arsenal, and to promotion in 1938/39. By then Dodds was a Blackpool player, having moved for family reasons two months from the end of the season. War intervened, but Dodds remained in Blackpool as a PT instructor, turning out in the wartime leagues and for Scotland. Goals came in Dixie-like proportions: 65 in the 1941/42 season, and 47 the next campaign.
WHEN peace came and league football resumed, Dodds was aged 31, and after finding himself in dispute with Blackpool, became a target for Everton, whose attack was blunted by the departure of Tommy Lawton, and signed for £8500.
With his bulk, power and fearless drive’, he was, believed Brian Glanville, ‘the epitome of the marauding centre forward, more prevalent between the wars than later.
Even playing in some lamentable Everton teams, he found the net with astounding regularity, including 17 goals in 21 games during the 1946/47 season. Dodds also finished the 1947/48 season top scorer for a second time.
But nothing at Goodison made much sense during these years. Everton started the 1948/49 season in abysmal fashion, shipping 28 goals in the opening ten fixtures and propping up the First Division. Despite this disarray, Dodds managed six goals in seven games, including a hat-trick against Preston. His reward? A £6000 transfer to Second Division Lincoln City. It would take several years and relegation before Everton could claim an adequate replacement in the form of Dave Hickson.
Now a veteran, Dodds was a prolific lower league striker, but his career was to end in controversy two years later. Colombian teams, operating outside the auspices of FIFA, had started poaching some of the best players from across the planet, such as Alfredo di Stefano, with lucrative wages on offer. Dodds became a recruiting agent for the Colombians, arranging the transfers of Neil Franklin, George Mountford and Charlie Mitten. For his troubles he was banned by the Football League, bringing an end, at the age of 35, to his playing days.
Post-football, Dodds retired to Blackpool, where his enterprises included a hotel and a rock-making factory. He remained there until his death in February 2009.