The Everton legacy of Sir Philip Carter

Thursday's sad news of the passing of Everton's ex-chairman Philip Carter has been met with widespread admiration for the success he brought to Merseyside.

Carter - a childhood Everton fan - died peacefully in his sleep aged 87, after a short illness, and it is not hard to appreciate the legacy he has left at Goodison Park through a lifetime of work, which also involved a stint as president of the Football League, and was later rewarded with a knighthood and CBE.

At the age of 21, Carter joined Littlewood Pools, worked his way on to the board in 1965 and became managing director in 1976. A year later he was asked to join the board of nearby Everton Football Club and the club's rich success in the mid-1980s can be traced back to that key appointment.

Sir John Moores - who had appointed Carter as MD at Littlewoods - had vacated his role as vice-chairman of the Toffees and Carter took on the position, subsequently becoming chairman two years later.

By this time Everton were on the rise. The appointment of Howard Kendall as manager in 1981 was the catalyst for not just a trophy-laden decade, but for the basis of Everton becoming an established Premier League club operated with diligence and wholesome values. This is what Carter brought to the club and, as a long term by-product, is almost as significant as the trophies gathered as Everton forged a fierce cross-city battle with rivals Liverpool.

The Everton board were under severe pressure to sack Kendall in January 1984, but Carter in particular was steadfast in his belief that Kendall was the right man. At the end of that season Everton won the FA Cup, their first major trophy in 14 years, defeating Watford 2-0 at Wembley. It triggered a period of dizzying success, with the Toffees winning the League Championship in 1984/85 and 1986/87 and the European Cup Winners' Cup, also in 1985. The club were also losing finalists in the FA Cup three times in the 1980s, and it was Carter's determination to stick by Kendall that was richly rewarded, and set the blueprint for the next thirty years. 

Kendall himself spoke to the Liverpool Echo following news of Carter's passing on Thursday, saying: "He was a superb man. He was very professional and I remember in the difficult times he was there, behind me. I'll always recall when the supporters had banners calling for me to be sacked...he stuck by me and we enjoyed a great time together."

Carter left Everton when Peter Johnson bought the club - only to return for six years in 1998 when Bill Kenwright bought Everton and asked Carter to return as chairman - but he had already been instrumental in forming the Premier League in 1992, which Everton have since been permanent members of, and have bucked the trend in being faithful to managers such as David Moyes and current boss Roberto Martinez.

Where some fans have questioned the ambition of Everton in leaner times, rivals will point to the rollercoaster events at their own clubs and quietly wish for a board and a philosophy that chooses wisely, demonstrates faith and most of all maintains stability. In the cut throat business of the Premier League, there is a lot to be said for having courage in your convictions and maintaining faith under pressure.

Carter was a pioneer of that belief, and Everton have much to be thankful to him for.   

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