Jimmy Gabriel, former Dundee, Everton, and Scotland midfielder, dies at 80

Tributes have been paid to former Dundee and Everton footballer Jimmy Gabriel, who has died at the age of 80.

Jimmy Gabriel, pictured in 1964 during his time with Everton
Jimmy Gabriel, pictured in 1964 during his time with Everton

The English Premier League side confirmed the sad news in a statement, which read: “Everyone at Everton Football Club is deeply saddened to hear the news that our former player and coach, Jimmy Gabriel, has passed away.

"Jimmy played 303 games for the Blues, scoring 37 goals, winning the League title in 1963 and the FA Cup in 1966. RIP Jimmy."

Born in the City of Discovery on October 10 1940, Gabriel began his career with Tyneside Boys Club but it was his performance at right-half for Scotland in a schoolboys international at Dens Park that brought him to Dundee’s attention.

Gabriel, second from left in the back row, pictured with his Everton team-mates shortly after joining from Dundee

He debuted for the Dens Park outfit at the tender age of 17 in a League Cup win against Motherwell in August 1958, going on to make 67 appearances in all competitions and his displays earned him numerous admirers.

When Everton manager Johnny Carey came calling in the spring of 1960, Dee boss Bob Shankly was unable to turn down the £27,000 offer, despite wanting to hang onto the influential midfielder.

The fee made him the most expensive transfer out of Scotland at the time and although he took time to adjust to the English game, he went on to play more than 300 games for the Toffees, helping them to the league title and Community Shield in 1963 and the FA Cup in 1966.

It was during his time at Goodison Park that Gabriel was capped twice by Scotland but despite this, there was greater competition for places in midfield at Everton with Howard Kendall and Alan Ball breathing down his neck.

An initial approach from Southampton was turned down by the player in March 1967 before he swapped Merseyside for the south coast in the summer, moving for £42,500.

Gabriel played 224 times for the Saints, occasionally being deployed as an auxiliary striker, finishing with 27 goals in red and white.

He left in 1972 to make the short trip to Bournemouth, playing more than 50 games and spending time on loan at Swindon Town before wrapping up his career in England with Brentford in 1974.

Gabriel then moved to the United States to take up a role as player-coach with Seattle Sounders. He eventually became manager of the team in 1977 and had players such as Geoff Hurst and Bobby Moore at his disposal but was replaced in 1980.

He had a spell coaching George Best and the San Jose Earthquakes and was one of two Scottish coaches to take charge of the short-lived Seattle Storm team, replacing Bruce Rioch in 1985 and remaining at the helm until 1988.

Gabriel returned to England and after a spell on the coaching staff at Bournemouth, returned to Everton as assistant to Colin Harvey in 1990.

He served as caretaker manager on two occasions in the early Nineties and coached the club’s reserve side until 1997, when he returned to America.

Gabriel rejoined the coaching staff at Seattle Sounders, serving as No.2 to Dean Wurzberger, who had played under the Scot in the Seventies.

He retired from football in 2005 after the Sounders won the US Second Division title but returned in 2008, again as assistant coach.

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