Defender John Bramwell was a £3,500 signing from non-league Wigan Athletic in April 1958. His arrival came between an era when the club relied on such cheap prospects as himself and a time when the Moores millions were starting to make an impression on the complexion of the Everton team.
The young rookie was soon given a chance to impress and after Jimmy Tansey and Bryan Griffiths had been used unsuccessfully at left back in the opening stages of the 1958/59 season, Bramwell was drafted in and remained ever-present through the rest of the season.
This was a period that saw the arrival of Johnny Carey as manager, the introduction of players such as Bobby Collins and Alex Parker, and, of course, Everton’s record 4-10 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. They were, recalled one observer of the era, ‘a team that could win 4-0 one week and lose by the same scoreline the next’. Quite often they did just that.
Initially favoured in this wildly inconsistent team, Bramwell fell victim to Carey’s attempts to find the winning formula the next campaign. During the 1959/60 season, a young Brian Labone was favoured at centre half and in order to accommodate him the club captain T. E. Jones was shifted to left back. Bramwell made just 15 appearances in his second full season.
In October 1960 Everton bid for Luton Town’s Northern Ireland international winger Billy Bingham. In exchange the Hatters asked for £10,000, the inside forward Alec Ashworth and Bramwell, who was without a game in the 1960/61 campaign. All parties agreed to the deal and Bramwell went on to serve Luton over almost 200 appearances.