Slamannan, Stirlingshire born inside right Alex “Sandy” Young began his football career with Slamannan Juniors in 1898. In one of his 11 matches for Slamannan Juniors, he scored seven goals in a famous 11-1 defeat of Bannockburn in the Stirlingshire Junior Cup, before joining Scottish League St Mirren in May 1899, where he scored 6 goals in 19 appearances. He joined Falkirk in April 1901 and at Brockville Park he scored 11 goals in a further 19 appearances for The Bairns before being transferred to First Division Everton in the summer of 1901, making his debut playing centre forward at Aston Villa towards the end of September. In his debut season he missed only four matches as Everton finished runners up in the League Championship. Two seasons later he scored 9 goals as they finished third, and in 1904-05 he scored 14, including four in a 5-1 victory over Nottingham Forest in November 1904 as they again finished runners up, also making the 1905 FA Cup semi final, where they lost to eventual winners Aston Villa in a replay at The City Ground, Nottingham.
The 1905-06 campaign was all about reaching the FA Cup Final. In the build up, The Liverpool Echo’s pen pic stated: “Sandy Young, the centre forward, is a variable sort of man who plays one good game in three on average. He takes the bumps a centre-forward must inevitably expect smilingly and determination makes up for lack of skill at times.” But he ensured his place in Everton history 15 minutes from the end of the Final at The Crystal Palace, when he smashed Jack Sharp’s cross into the Newcastle United net for the only goal to bring the FA Cup back to Merseyside for the first time.
However perhaps he arguably equalled this achievement with his feats the following season. He scored on the opening day of the season at Middlesbrough, registered four more 48 hours later in a 9-1 slaying of Manchester City and was never overtaken again at the top of the nation’s scoring charts., his 29 goal haul in the 1906-07 campaign was then the highest total gathered by a Blues striker to that point, in a season in which he was the English First Division’s leading scorer. They also returned to the FA Cup Final, failing at the final hurdle in defence of the trophy as they went down 2-1 to Sheffield Wednesday at The Crystal Palace.
While his rate of goalscoring dropped off thereafter, 21 goals in 1907-08 and 9 goals in 1908-09 as Everton again finished runners up in the League Championship, he remained a fixture in the team until the end of the 1910-11 season, when he joined Tottenham Hotspur in the 1911 close season. His goalscoring record was unparalleled at Goodison until the emergence of Dixie Dean, scoring 124 goals in a 314-match Toffees career. His stay at Tottenham was brief, scoring 3 goals in 5 appearances during September 1911 before a move back to the North West to join Manchester City in November, where he scored twice in 15 appearances before the end of the season before joining non league South Liverpool in the summer of 1912.
His memory is celebrated still at Goodison Park in the shape of an historic mosaic which hangs from the wall of the staircase leading, appropriately enough, from The Alex Young Suite.
NB in the photograph he is pictured with The English Cup (the previous version of the current FA Cup, which was first awarded in 1911).