Following the death of Gwyn Morgans, we have received more sad news from North Wales – this time from St Asaph- with the news of the passing of John Michael Clayton, aged 86, on 21st July.
Johnny, as he was known at Haig Avenue, attended Rhyl Glyndwr Secondary Modern School, played for Flintshire Boys, and went on to win two Welsh schoolboys’ Caps against Scotland and England. It was whilst playing for the Welsh schoolboys that he was spotted by Everton joining them as an Amateur in May 1952 .The club also found him a job as a motor mechanic. Johnny subsequently turned professional in June 1954 and made his Everton Reserve team debut against Huddersfield Town in March 1955. He remained at Goodison Park for seven years without progressing beyond the Central League team.
In July 1959 Johnny was signed by former Evertonian Wally Fielding making his debut against Rochdale at right-half in the opening game of the 1959/60 season . He was converted to centre-forward following an injury to Brian Green but dropped out of the side in mid -season following injury which necessitated an operation.
Johnny’s preferred position was right-half but when the experienced Jack Hanaway was signed, he found himself starting the following season at centre-forward. However, he was soon displaced by the youthful Reg Blore. Johnny was transfer listed at his own request and spent much of the remainder of the season in the Reserves. His last Football League appearance was on 28th January 1961 when he scored what was his third goal in 32 League appearances.
On retiring from League Football Johnny spent a season with Rhyl and after two seasons out of the game he concluded his playing career by signing for Prestatyn in September 1964, He continued to play 5-a-side football until he was 63. Johnny was a plasterer by trade and his interests included watching football and clay pigeon shooting .He and his wife enjoyed occasional trips to Southport when he would call into Haig Avenue.
Johnny is survived by his wife Mary, sons Craig and Paul, daughter- in -law Morag and three grandchildren Alice, Grace and Angus. A celebration of his life will take place on 10th August at St Asaph Cathedral followed by a cremation at St Asaph crematorium.
I leave the last word to Mary who was married to Johnny for 62 years. “ Southport remained a very special place to us. All our courting days were in Southport”.