YOUNG, Alexander Simpson (Forward) Born: Slamannan, 23 June 1880
Died: Portobello, Edinburgh. 17 September 1959
1911: Height: 5 ft 9 inch. Weight: 11 stone 8 lbs.
Career: Slamannan Juniors (11 (0) + 7), Paisley St. Mirren (1899), Falkirk (1899-01, 35 (0) +1), Everton (1901-11, 314 (0) + 125), Tottenham Hotspur (1911, 5 (0) + 3), Manchester City (1912, 13 (0) + 2), South Liverpool (1912), Burslem Port Vale (1913). Total: 378 (0) + 137
Alexander Simpson Young, better known as Sandy was born in the Scottish Town of Slamannan on 23 June 1880 and started his football career in his hometown.
It was whilst with the junior club that he played eleven games and, in one game against Bannockburn in the Stirlingshire Cup managed to net seven goals in a glorious 11-1 victory.
It was whilst Young was at Slamannan Juniors when was spotted by St. Mirren whom offered him a deal which he accepted.
He played just one season with the Scottish club before joining Falkirk, who then competed in the Midland League, Scottish Combination and Central Combination at this time.
His stay at Brockville brought him 35 appearances, but unfortunately records do not show how many goals (if any) he scored. Walter Young, his brother also played for Falkirk between 1901 and 1902 where he played four games.
In 1901 Alex was transferred to Everton in a deal that most probably changed his football life forever. The Merseyside club weren’t as successful as they may be now but during Young’s Goodison Park career which spanned ten years he was able to lift the FA Cup in 1906, whilst a year later would fail in their attempt to retain the trophy.
Although a prolific scorer for the Merseyside club, netting one in three games on average he was only ever capped twice by his native Scotland, against England in 1905 and against Wales in 1907.
He made history when, in their third FA Cup Final Young netted the winning goal with thirteen minutes remaining on the clock – this, after seeing a previous goal disallowed for offside.
Cup finalists Newcastle United would have been disappointed with this defeat, they were, in the eyes of the football World considered as the strong favourites to lift the cup, but lost to the weak underdogs from Merseyside.
After being denied FA Cup glory in 1893 against Wolverhampton Wanderers (1-0) and four years later against another Midlands team Aston Villa (3-2) it would have been a great achievement to finally bring to Cup home. More so as rivals Liverpool had yet to appear in a major Cup final.
From Liverpool’s lime street station, the Everton heroes were taken to Goodison Park in a four-in-hand carriage with ‘Super Captain’ Jack Taylor showing the greatest trophy in the World to the cheering blue crowed.
Ironically history would repeat itself, Liverpool had won the Championship in 1906 and 60 years later the same feat would happen with Everton, two goals down at half-time the Toffees would fight back to beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-2 in the 1966 final with their rivals, the Reds winning the league.
However, with only days remaining to the Cup final Young was hit hard in the Liverpool Echo as they revealed their player profiles; “Sandy Young, the centre-forward, is a variable sort of man who plays one good game in three on average. He takes the bumps a centre-forward must inevitably expect smilingly and determination makes up for lack of skill at times.”
After this victory, the only which Young would manage during his playing career would see the 1906-07 campaign go down with a barn storming success. Along the way to a 2-1 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup Final he would net 28 goals and become First Division top scorer for that season.
Only Bill ‘Dixie’ Dean (1924-37, 433 (0) + 383), Graeme Sharp (1979-90, 426 (21) + 159) and Bob Latchford (1973-80, 286 (3) + 138) scored more goals than Young during their Everton reign.
It was at the time considered a great achievement by an Everton player to find so may goals in a season. The memory of this is still celebrated today at Goodison Park with an historic mosaic image of Young, which hangs from the wall at the top of the staircase from the haply-named ‘Alex Young suite.’
The image of the player was discovered in 1986 when doing some renovation work at the Sandon Hotel. It was, in Victorian times used as the Everton FC changing rooms, and like Young’s downfall the picture is unclear as to origins.
He is pictured wearing the old salmon pink shirt with navy blue shorts. Having completed renovated work on the Sandon Hotel the mosaic image was handed rightfully back to the Football Club and the old Hotel was named ‘The Picture House’.
1906-07 was a good season for Sandy; on 29 September 1906 the former Falkirk forward helped himself to two goals as Everton recorded a 2-1 victory at Liverpool with the home fixture much later that season ending 0-0.
And, in March 1907 Young would finally be handed another cap by Scotland in their Home Nations tie against Wales.
On 1 September 1906, the opening day of the season Young would score in a 2-2 away draw at Middlesbrough whilst 48 hours later he would help himself to four more as Everton recorded their highest ever league victory in a 9-1 home win against Manchester City.
On 8 June 1911 Tottenham Hotspur paid Everton £500 for his services, but just before he left Merseyside, in November 1910 he scored a hat-trick against Blackburn Rovers in a net busting 6-1 victory.
In doing so Young become the first Everton player to score a hat trick against the Lancashire club.
During his Goddison Park career Young managed to grab himself no more than five hat-tricks, these (listed in chronically order) are:
- 1 April 1904 – Everton 5-2 Liverpool (scored four goals)
- 5 November 1904 – Everton 5-1 Nottingham Forest (scored four goals)
- 3 September 1906 – Everton 9-1 Manchester City (scored four goals)
- 26 September 1908 – Everton 6-3 Manchester City
- 19 November 1910 – Everton 6-1 Blackburn Rovers
His stay at White Hart Lane only lasted a few months and on 4 November Manchester City also paid £500 to take him away. He played just five games for Spurs, scoring in three, but these were all played during the month of September.
After 13 games and two goals for City he left and later moved back to Merseyside where he had a spell with South Liverpool and Burslem Port Vale before he immigrated to Australia in 1914.
What happened in the Southern Hemisphere has long been a mystery, it was once knowledge that sources claim he was hanged following a case of sheep rustling, whilst others suggest he ended his days in asylum in Scotland following a manslaughter case.
His brother John Young raised a herd of dairy cattle at Tongala, it is believed he moved there to help is brother.
In December 1915 Alex was charged with the murder of his brother, despite being guilty of such charge he was, in June 1916 found guilty of ‘manslaughter’ and sentenced to three years in an Australian prison.
Although guilty, Young ‘got off’, but only owing to evidence produced from football officials from England. They testified that during his playing career Alexander Simpson Young had been subject to fits of temporary insanity.
Upon completion of he sentence he was not released straight away but was, in fact kept in custody on the grounds of mental ‘weakness’ and it was some time before he returned home to Scotland.
A newspaper cutting from the Liverpool Daily Post in December 1960 recalled; “Sandy Young immigrated to Australia after leaving Goodison Park and was involved there in a case of manslaughter.”
On Thursday 17 September 1959 he passed away in a nursing home in Portobello in the capital city of Edinburgh. He was buried two days later at 11:30 am at Seafield Cemetery.
His playing career didn’t last long in contrast to other players, but his fourteen or so years in football made him a legend at Everton. In the end he had notched up 293 appearances and scored 115 goals in the Football League, all at top flight.
He was described as “an alert player, skilled in ball control and finishing, and an excellent marksman,” a fitting tribute to a once great player.
Edited: 19 February 2012
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