Eric Moore was a powerful full back and stalwart of some of Everton’s darkest days, a man admired by his teammates for his footballing integrity at a time when defenders first and last task was to defend.
Spotted playing local football for Haydock, he was signed with a £20 donation going the way of his former club – a bargain that would be repaid many many times. ‘He was from St Helens and classed as a local lad,’ recalled Derek Temple, whose Goodison career overlapped with Moore’s, in 2011. ‘A lot of them were then. It wasn't a matter of signing players for big money and clubs brought in their own local men. He was a big strong full back, a hard player - but then again they all were! You didn't come across soft defenders. I don't think you do now, either, but you could tackle from behind then.’
Moore’s break came in the 1949/50 season when, as a 23-year-old, he took the place of George Saunders. A year later he played in all but five league matches as Everton suffered the ignominy of relegation. Moore lost his place to Tommy Clinton and seldom played in the dark days of the Second Division. But after three seasons away he returned to a regular berth in the 1954/55 season and played in all but one league game over the next two years as Everton re-established themselves in the top flight.
‘He was a bit of a classy player,’ recalled the wing half Ken Rea. ‘He could tackle, but he could use the ball well too. He was a good kicker of the ball, down the line.’ Temple acknowledged that the role of the full back in the 1950s was very different back then: ‘You didn't really get overlapping full backs in those days. They were there to defend. They didn't really come across the halfway line until Ray Wilson came along. Ray was very very quick at a time when most full backs were heavy and slow. They weren't built like they are now. They were all heavy legged and barrel chested and could kick a ball a long way. They could kick a player a long way as well!’
After Cliff Britton left the club in 1956, Moore never found favour with his replacement, Ian Buchan. He played just once under the new manager – a disastrous 5-1 defeat to Leeds United on the opening day of the 1956/57 season. In November 1956 Buchan presented a list of playing staff to the board with which the club could dispense and Moore was the most senior figure to be included. In January 1957 he joined Chesterfield for £1,000 but soon returned to Merseyside with Tranmere Rovers, where he played out his career.