You could almost name a squad of footballers who’ve played for both Everton and Liverpool – but few were as ferocious as centre forward Dave Hickson.
Coached by Everton legend Dixie Dean, Hickson gave no quarter, and was frequently in trouble with referees for his robust approach to the game. The fans loved it!
The combative Hickson played for Everton from 1948 to 1955 and again from 1957 to 1959 before moving to Anfield days before Bill Shankly became the Reds’ manager.
He was a Liverpool player from 1959 to 1961, scoring 37 goals in 60 league appearances. He’d previously notched up 91 goals in 225 league matches in his two spells for the Toffees.
Along with John Heydon and Frank Mitchell, Hickson shared the rare honour of playing for Everton, Liverpool and Tranmere during his career.
His determination and spirit were summed up in the Fifth Round of the 1952-3 FA Cup when Second Division Everton played Manchester United at Goodison Park.
Hickson suffered a gash above one eyebrow in the first half when he launched himself against flying boots. He was led off the pitch and no one expected him to return.
But not only did Hickson emerge for the second half with his wound freshly stitched – he scored the winning goal too!
He opened up the cut by heading against the post, but refused the referee’s pleas to leave the pitch. It’s reported that he played on with his blond hair red and his blood-stained shirt the same colour as those of his opponents!
As well as Hickson, Mitchell and Heydon, there’s an illustrious list of footballers who played for Everton and Liverpool.
It includes Kevin Sheedy, David Johnson, Steve McMahon, Peter Beardsley, Gary Ablett, Don Hutchison and Nick Barmby.
There’s also Portuguese full-back Abel Xavier who managed to play in a local Derby for both clubs in the same season in 2002.
Nearly a century earlier, in 1913, Scottish goalkeeper Frank Mitchell joined Everton from Celtic. He made his debut against Burnley and played either side of the First World War.
The Liverpool Echo wrote that he was ‘the only goalkeeper of the day to play in spectacles’.
In February 1921, Mitchell transferred to Liverpool for £1,250, but could not displace established ‘keepers Elisha Scott or Kenneth Campbell.
In 1949, midfielder John Heydon signed for Liverpool at the age of 20 and made his debut in the 1950-51 season. He played 63 matches for the club before joining Millwall in 1953.
Midfielder Kevin Sheedy signed for Liverpool as a 19-year-old in 1978 but made only nine league appearances in four years before transferring to Everton for £100,000 in 1982.
He spent a decade with the Toffees, winning the league twice in 1985 and 1987 and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1985.
Another midfielder, Steve McMahon, started his career at Goodison Park before moving to Aston Villa in 1983. He joined Liverpool for £350,000 in 1985.
A favourite with both sets of fans, forward Peter Beardsley was Everton’s most expensive signing from Liverpool when he transferred between the clubs for £1 million in 1991.
The highest fee Liverpool paid Everton for a player was the £6 million spent on attacking midfielder Nick Barmby in 2000.
Defender Gary Ablett, who moved from Liverpool to Everton for £750,000 in January 1992, is the only player to have won the FA Cup with both clubs.
Scottish midfielder Don Hutchison played for the Reds from 1990 to 1994 before spells with West Ham and Sheffield United. He joined Everton in March 1988. He became captain in the 1999-2000 season when Dave Watson was sidelined.
Liverpool-born striker David Johnson made his debut for Everton in January 1971 and quickly caught the attention of Reds’ manager Bill Shankly. But Toffees’ boss Harry Catterick refused to sell.
Johnson joined Ipswich Town in 1972 then signed for the Reds in 1976. He returned to Everton in August 1982 for a transfer fee of £100,000.