Tommy Ring’s Everton career stretched for only the briefest of periods, but his mesmerising talents left a deep impression upon Evertonians.
The Scottish international left winger was approaching his thirtieth birthday, when Johnny Carey made him an £8,000 signing in January 1960. Although Ring had spent all of his career with Scottish minnows, Clyde, it was one distinguished by remarkable success. Twice he lifted the Scottish Second Division title, but even more remarkably Clyde also twice won the Scottish FA Cup during this period, in 1955 – when Ring struck the replay winner against Celtic – and again in 1958.
His signing was designed to add fresh impetus to a team hovering perilously close to the relegation zone. The impact was immediate and remarkable. Everton beat Nottingham Forest 6-1 on his debut and the Daily Post’s Horrace Yates wrote: ‘If one signing, that of Tommy Ring from Clyde can convert a team of non scorers in four successive matches into a side which can take six goals, with at least as many opportunities wasted in one game, what sort of transformation can be expected when Johnny Carey the first instalment in his reconstruction programme with the 2 or 3 captures which are necessary.’
Ring – along with fellow new signing, Roy Vernon – helped exact a remarkable transformation in fortunes: Everton climbed from twentieth to sixteenth and safety. Invariably the winger was an instant crowd favourite, his dazzling runs and change of pace being his most potent weapon. ‘Ring is the most complete outside left I have seen at Goodison in a royal blue jersey since Eglington's brightest days,’ wrote Yates. ‘He beats an opponent effortlessly, inside or outside, and having done that centres the ball with an accuracy which is an open scoring invitation to forwards with any competence for their job.’
And yet as Everton stood on the verge of a golden era Ring’s career was brought to an untimely end. In October 1960, a collision with the Chelsea goalkeeper, Reg Matthews, resulted in a broken leg. The break healed, but Ring never returned to top flight football, playing out his career in a brief spell with Barnsley.