How I signed Billy Lacey in sixty seconds

Football –Officials by W.C. Cuff

This is the second of the series of articles written shortly before his death by Mr. W.Cuff, who was President of the Football League, in collaboration with Ernest Edwards (“Bee”)
Transfer deals appeal to anyone having a heart in or for football. Some deals were simplicity itself, others had to be dragged from their ifs and buts. The simple cases were often of married players, and recall the call to the clergyman to a new church –he is busy praying for guidance in making his decision while his wife is busy upstairs packing the goods ad chattels.

My Quickest Deal

Quite the jauntiest and simplest transfer deal I can remember concerned two great Irish friends. We wanted a broth of a boy named William Lacey. Now we had on our books, Val Harris, who had the honour of getting one goal in his life and being presented with a medal by the Echo for his performance. He was a half-back, and had no concern for taking goals –he preferred to make them for others. This day he slipped himself and scored. Hence the appearance of Directors Kirkwood, Allman, and company on the field at Goodison Park next home game, all with the ladder-collars of their period of life (1909) to present Harris with a memento. Rumours had it in later years that Val had been given a piano and the freedom of the city –all of which shows how football rumours spread in this football- loving city. I went to Dublin, arriving at 7.30 a.m., and said to Val Harris; “Is Lacey here?” “Yes, sorr,” said Val, “Bring him in,” The pair appeared in the hotel. “Would you like to play for Everton?” I asked Lacey,” I would that, sorr,” said the big boy, “Sign here then,” said I, and within sixty seconds the deal was done, no argument, no questioning of promises –and that was the quickest transfer I can remember.

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