High hopes rested on the slender shoulders of winger Ted Buckle when he joined Everton from Manchester United for a fee of £6500 in November 1949. The club was struggling to find its way in the post-war years and the arrival of the tall Londoner from one of the best sides of the era was considered something of a coup. Within 24 hours of signing he was lining up against his former team-mates and played his part in a 0-0 draw, which lifted Everton from the relegation zone.
Alas, most of Buckle’s Goodison career was to be consigned to the depths of one of the deepest depressions in Everton history. Although he played in every match in Everton’s run to the semi-finals of the 1950 FA Cup – also playing at the same stage of the competition three years later – it was his misfortune to be part of the team that was relegated in April 1951 and subsequently the side that plunged to 16th in Division Two in 1952/53, the nadir of Everton history.
For some, Buckle provided a glimmer of light during hard times. ‘This long and lanky winger proved in a very short time that his direct methods and goal-scoring penchant were just what our forward line needed,’ a generous profile in the club programme recorded. ‘Ted is a real character, who frequently has the dressing room in an uproar with his antics. His style of play is most distinctive, his most noticeable trait being an eel-like twist of the body when passing opponents with the ball.’
Buckle was a regular through the first half of the 1953/54 season, which saw Everton win promotion back to the top flight. However, the re-emergence of Eddie Wainwright following a lengthy injury battle saw his place under threat. On Everton’s return to Division One he made just a single appearance and in June 1955 a deal worth £2000 was concluded for his transfer to Exeter City.