George Telfer was one of a succession of gifted players to progress through Everton’s youth set up in the early-1970s, but who perhaps lacked that little extra something necessary to thrive at the very highest level.
A stocky, powerful forward, always full of running, Telfer first came onto the scene in the 1973/74 season. Hardworking and fast when at full pelt – though perhaps lacking some of the acceleration that would have marked him out for the top – the teenager’s effervescent performances on the Everton wing saw some observers state that the club possessed a future England international. He was a fine finisher and possessed a powerful shot, yet sometimes lacked subtlety in his approach play.
His finest season came in 1975/76 when he was frequently utilised as Bob Latchford’s foil. Towards the end of the season Telfer was asked to play as centre forward and although the 20 year-old gave his all, for demanding sections of the support it was not good enough. He became a whipping boy as Everton lost five straight league games.
For a club with League Championship ambitions, what they needed was a top class partner for Latchford. What they got, later on that year, was Duncan McKenzie, whose cavalier approach divided fans. Telfer outlasted him, but his confidence and chances seemed to be stunted thereafter. By his mid-twenties his career was drifting, and he left Goodison shortly after Howard Kendall’s arrival in May 1981. In retirement he became involved with youth football in his native Liverpool.