Harvey was born in Liverpool and joined Everton as an apprentice in 1960. Harvey was often described as an elegant and skilful player and was nicknamed the “White Pelé” by Everton fans. “A beautiful footballer this boy” commented Kenneth Wolstenhome during the 1968 FA Cup Final, while Goal magazine called him “a delightful player to watch”. The ‘White Pele’ nickname came about because of his natural ability, grace and technique.
“It was when I made my debut for Sheffield Wednesday at Bolton. My dad had brought me back and I got a few phone calls asking how the game had gone, and someone told me that there was a banner at the Park End at Goodison saying something about me and the white Pele – it was a very proud moment for me! For someone to say that about you comparing you to probably the best player that ever played the game is really unbelievable. To think that people thought that much of me was hard to believe.”
Harvey made his debut in 1963, aged 18, against Italian side Inter Milan in a European Cup tie in the chaotic San Siro Stadium. He became a first team regular during the 1964–65 season.
Of the occasion he said: “[I found I was playing] on the afternoon of the game. We had lunch and then we had a team meeting. Harry Catterick said there would be only one change. He said “Dennis Stevens – you move to number 4 and Colin Harvey goes to number 8″ This was all because Gabby was injured at the time. It was as simple as that! I just gasped, I didn’t have a clue that I was going to play – it was a great way of doing it, he didn’t give me a chance to think about it, I just had to go out there and play! I thought no-one was going to expect too much of me, I just went out there and done my best and I did okay.”
Harvey became a part of the famous midfield trio known as the “Holy Trinity” with Alan Ball and Howard Kendall. Widely regarded as the best midfield of their generation, they were the key components of Everton’s Football League First Division winning team in the 1969–70 season captained by Brian Labone. In an interview in the late 1970s, Harry Catterick claimed that in terms of “skill and ability, Colin was the best of the three”. Of the late 1960s/early 70s Everton side, George Best said “they were a delight to watch and indeed play against.” It was in fact Harvey’s superb solo goal which clinched the title at Goodison Park vs West Bromwich Albion which has been described as one of the best ever goals to win the league championship. He also helped Everton win the 1970 FA Charity Shield.
- Full Name: James Colin Harvey
- Position: Midfield
- Date of Birth: 16.11.1944
- Birthplace: Liverpool
- Nation: England
- Full Caps: 1
- Major League Career
- 1963-74, Everton (320/18)
- 1974-76, Sheffield Wednesday (45/2)
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