It was a goal by unsung half back Ted Virr on the last day of March 1928 that reawakened Everton in pursuit of what would be one of their greatest triumphs. Everton had started the 1927/28 season on fire and by January were far ahead at the top of the table while Dixie Dean had scored nearly 40 goals. But with 1928 came an unusual torpor.
From 7 January until 31 March, when Everton met Sunderland at Roker Park, the club went without a league victory. Dean was away on international duty when Everton visited the north east and without him Everton struggled for inspiration. Early in the second half Virr found what they were looking for.
‘From a corner kick, well placed by Troup, Virr, who was standing almost on the goal-line, headed the ball through the goal,’ reported the Daily Courier. ‘From then onwards Everton monopolized the attack, most of the raids being made by Critchley.’ A second goal by Bill Easton secured victory and from then on there was no stopping Everton. In the final seven games of the season, with Dean restored to the side, they won five and Dean scored 15 more goals. It took his tally up to 60 and earned Virr a League Championship winners medal.
Without question this was the highlight in Virr’s 127-match Everton career. He was spotted playing local football as a teenager and signed as a professional with Everton in April 1922. He had to wait another three years for his debut, but impressed the watching Daily Courier correspondent, F. McN, who wrote of his debut: ‘Virr, the local boy, showed great promise, his defensive tactics, under trying conditions, being extremely good.’
Everton’s half back line in the early-1920s had been problematic, with winger David Reid even lining up in it. In the 1926/27 season, however, the tall, slender figure of Virr made a first team shirt his own on the left side of the defence. Everton were wildly inconsistent, narrowly avoiding relegation that season before winning the title a year later. “Virr has come on splendidly during the season,’ it was recorded at the end of that victorious campaign.
Virr’s place would come under threat from Tom Griffiths from the 1928/29 season but he was still deployed frequently. On Christmas Day 1929 he picked up a knee injury in a match against Sheffield Wednesday. Extensive treatment at a sanatorium over subsequent months brought no improvement and in February 1930 the Everton board were informed that his playing career was at an end.