Cliff Marshall 1955-2021

Cliff Marshall who died on 24th November, aged 66, was the first black footballer to appear for both Everton and Southport in the Football League.

Cliff was born in Sefton General Hospital and attended Windsor Street Primary school. He seemed destined for great career when selected for Liverpool schoolboys aged only thirteen.

Cliff went on to represent Lancashire and England Schoolboys at outside-right and joined Everton straight from school aged just 15 in June 1971. He had the opportunity of signing for both Liverpool and Manchester United but opted for the Blues. A glittering career beckoned when Manager Billy Bingham gave him his Everton debut aged 19. However, Cliff, who was not without a lot of natural ability, rarely performed to his potential and after six League starts resulting in five wins and a draw, was released by the Club at the end of the 1975-76 season.

Cliff spent the summer in the United States where he enjoyed himself immensely. He played for Miami Toros in the North American Soccer League, scoring five goals in sixteen appearances . His last appearances in the States brought him a hat-trick in a 5-4 win over Boston Minutemen. On his return to England, Cliff was signed by Ray Henderson, who knew him from his time as Everton’s Reserve Coach and was reunited at Haig Avenue with former Everton Reserve, Alan Wilson.

Cliff made an encouraging debut for Southport on 11th September 1976 against Torquay which featured a superb scything run from the halfway line, which took him through three tackles and into the penalty area where he was brought down and won a penalty. This was an isolated flash of brilliance and after an ankle injury he struggled to make the League side. Cliff was freed at the end of the season and on the soccer scrap heap at only twenty-one. His career finally ended after a spell at Winsford United.

When Geoff Wilde and I interviewed Cliff in his sister’s Pub in Toxteth he admitted that he had fallen out of love with football during the latter stages of his time at Goodison. He was not prepared to say whether this was because of racist remarks from the terraces.

In later life Cliff had a few business interests including billiards and snooker as well as clubs and pubs in the Liverpool area. A likeable and genial personality ,his precocious footballing talent was largely unfulfilled.