England might have gone out last night, but our World Cup is still alive and kicking, just.
Over the past few weeks you’ve been voting for your favourite strikers of all time, and we’re down to the last four. Now, it is a straight vote for you to decide which two will feature in our Stacey West XI.
There’s no point in hanging about, let’s get straight on with the final four and then you’ll get your chance to vote. The winners will be unveiled Sunday, after the real World Cup Final which I doubt I’ll even bother watching now.
Finalist 1 – Andy Graver
Andy won his match up with Percy Freeman, but only just. He polled 198 votes, compared with Percy’s 187.
Andy topped a group containing John Ward, Jamie Taylor and Tony Woodcock, before beating Mark Stallard to earn the match up with Percy. His victory is even more remarkable in that only a small fraction of those voting will actually have seen him play, but such is his legend that he’s rightfully into the final four.
Graver netted 150 goals in almost 300 appearances across three spells with the Imps. He was fast, opportunistic and above all, a natural goal scorer who showed a passion that would be unheard of today.
Bill Anderson brought him to the club from Newcastle United, a rather reluctant figure at first having set his heart on playing for the Magpies. He enjoyed immediate success for the Imps scoring on his debut against Halifax and quickly established a fruitful partnership with inside-forward Johnny Garvie. He played a key role in City’s record-breaking 1951/52 campaign scoring 36 goals in 35 League games as the Imps won the Division Three North title. He even earned a call up to the England B side, but injury prevented him from getting international honours.
Earlier in that great season he hit six goals as the Imps registered their record victory, 11-1 over Crewe Alexandra – a game he nearly missed due to illness. He scored a perfect double hat trick, two with his left foot, two with his right and two with his head.
In December 1954 he was sold to First Division Leicester City for a record fee of £27,500 plus Eric Littler, making the deal worth around £28,000. That figure today would be the equivalent of around £600,000.
The following season Andy returned to Sincil Bank for £14,000 but stayed only a couple of months before moving on to Stoke City for another large fee. He finally returned to Sincil Bank for two more seasons before retiring from football at the end of the 1960/61 season.