By his mid-twenties, Gordon Dugdale seemed to have the world at his feet. After establishing himself as Everton’s first-choice left back – in the process displacing the club captain, Norman Greenhalgh – he was tipped as a possible member of Walter Winterbottom’s England squad for the 1950 World Cup Finals in Brazil.
But then disaster struck. A heart complaint linked to the rheumatic fever he suffered as a Fleet Air Arm pilot in the US during the war resurfaced. Aged just 25 he was forced to call time on a career that had seemed full of potential. Dugdale, who had long defied doctors orders having been told as a 19-year-old that he would never play football again, remained phlegmatic about his fate. ‘In view of what happened, I consider myself lucky to have got in three years with them,’ he said in 1969. After wartime service, Dugdale had signed professional terms with Everton in 1946. His debut came in October 1947 against Wolves and after vying with Greenhalgh and Jack Hedley for the number three shirt over the next 18 months, by spring 1949 he looked to have finally made it his own. Yet Dugdale had less than a year as a first choice, his career ending in December 1949 after just 63 appearances.
AFTER RETIRING, Dugdale became a successful local businessman, with interests in accountancy and property. He also served as a city councillor for the Conservative Party, as a coach with Marine and director of South Liverpool FC.