A former England schoolboy international, there must have been times when Archie Styles wondered if his chance for Everton would ever come. After working his way through the club’s youth ranks through the later half of the 1960s, he was aged 23 when he made his belated debut in December 1972. But the long wait seemed worth it, for Styles immediately proved the cause of great optimism to an increasingly beleaguered Goodison crowd.
Replacing Henry Newton in the left back berth, the local youngster would retain his place for much of the remainder of the 1972/73 season. A player tutored in the traditions of Harry Catterick’s School of Science, he was a fine ball player, possessing a fine first touch and decent range of passing.
However at the end of the season Catterick was replaced by Billy Bingham, who did not share his predecessor’s faith in the full back. After giving him a handful of chances, in February 1974 he was sold to Birmingham City – a £90,000 makeweight in the British transfer record deal that brought Bob Latchford to Goodison. The comparatively high price paid for him was indicative of how highly Birmingham coveted him.
Styles never seemed to live up to his promise after leaving Goodison, however, and a journeyman career followed.