Winger Wally Boyes was a dashing flanker in an era defined by thrilling wide men. He joined a club that had in its recent past possessed such players as Jackie Coulter, Albert Geldard, Torry Gillick and Jimmy Stein, and still found a way into the hearts of supporters spoiled for choice by its wingers.
Standing just 5ft 3in tall, Derbyshire-born Boyes had been a schoolboy prodigy in nearby Sheffield, but ultimately made his way as a professional with West Bromwich Albion. In 1935 he came up against his boyhood team, Sheffield Wednesday, in the FA Cup Final, but despite scoring, Wednesday proved too strong and ran out 4-2 winners.
Success that proved elusive at the Hawthorns came quickly at Goodison. Signed for £6000 in March 1938 he immediately replaced Torry Gillick in the Everton team, and played 36 times as the Blues lifted the 1938/39 league title. Already an England international, he added a further two caps to the one he had picked up while in the Midlands and with Joe Mercer and Tommy Lawton playing alongside him, Everton looked set to have a decisive say in the fortunes of the national team for years to come.
Such hopes proved cruelly elusive. War struck, and by its conclusion Boyes, like so many of his team-mates, was past his best. He was ever-present during the Football League North season of 1945/46, but when the First Division resumed the following year Everton struggled and he lost his place to Tommy Eglington.
Now in the veteran stage of his career, he would remain at Goodison past his 35th birthday, but seldom getting a run-out for the first XI. Norwich City offered him the chance to become player-coach, but the board would only release the winger if he gave up his share of the benefit – a significant sum in a time of austerity. Boyes remained, eventually joining Notts County, where he was reunited with Lawton, whom he had partnered with such distinction a decade previously.