The £4000 record signing of Stan Fazackerley from Sheffield United in November 1920 marked the conclusion of an eight-month-long pursuit of the inside forward.
It had started in March that year when the Everton board were alerted to his unhappiness at Sheffield United. A board minute recorded: ‘Secy. reported that this player had informed him of his desire to leave his club but that the latter, on being approached, had declined to part.’ A stand-off emerged over the following summer, with Fazackerley refusing to sign new terms at Bramall Lane. Eventually he relented but Everton did not give up their hunt. In November, with hopes of a title challenge in the Goodison air, a delegation was dispatched to Yorkshire to sign the player. This time they got their man, beating Bolton Wanderers in a bidding war.
Nearing his 30th birthday at the time of his Goodison arrival, Fazackerley was an accomplished and experienced addition to the Blues’ squad. He had spent eight war-interrupted years in Sheffield, the highlight of which was the club’s 1915 FA Cup final win over Chelsea, in which he scored the second of three goals. Previously he had turned out for Hull City and Accrington Stanley.
HOPES WERE high that the new boy would form a good partnership with outside right Sam Chedgzoy, and he did not disappoint. ‘The entrance of Fazackerley into the Everton team on Saturday led to some good results,’ reported the Liverpool Daily Post and Mercury of his debut, a 2-2 draw with Bradford City. ‘The ex-Sheffield United player has art to recommend him in a year when artistry is rarely seen. With his skilled edging of the ball, feinting and dribbling,
so Fazackerley has come to the right team. Then he has added confidence to a side that lacked it. Moreover, he has the necessary height where heading of the ball is necessary. All told, he comes at the right time to mend a disjointed side. There was more “forward” play by Everton on Saturday than had been seen throughout the season.’
Standing 6ft tall, Fazackerley added some presence to the Everton forward line, but an assault on the top of the table never came, Everton finishing the season in seventh. Fazackerly scored eight goals, including a hat-trick at home to Chelsea, when he was used as an auxiliary centre forward.
The following campaign was a disaster for Everton. After opening the season with a 5-0 thrashing of Manchester United the club then spent most of the season floundering around the bottom of the table. Fazackerley was Everton’s leading goalscorer, but amid the gloom he fell out of favour spectacularly. Allowed by the club to live in Preston and train three days per week on Merseyside, the agreement broke down in early March 1922. Everton suspended him for ‘disobedience’ and he played just four times more for the club. In November 1922 Everton accepted a £1750 bid for the player from Wolverhampton Wanderers and the inside forward played out his career in the Midlands at Molineux and with Derby County.