Born: October 10, 1940;

Died: July 10, 2021.

IT was said to have been one of the most exciting FA Cup finals yet seen. Sheffield Wednesday were leading Everton 2-0 in a thrilling Wembley encounter on May 14, 1966, with just 30 minutes remaining. But Everton asserted themselves emphatically and scored three goals in the space of a quarter of an hour to take the lead.

The Merseysiders’ gripping fightback culminated in a memorable cameo of time-wasting by Scots-born Jimmy Gabriel near the end, as he shepherded the ball towards the corner flag, stubbornly and skilfully resisting attempts to dispossess him, much to the acclaim of the Everton faithful, and happily acknowledged by a grinning Gabriel with arms aloft.

Gabriel, who has died at the age of 80 in Phoenix, Arizona, enjoyed a highly successful football career as player and coach in Scotland, England and the United States.

He won two full caps for Scotland as well as six for the under-23s and four for Scottish Schoolboys. After 67 games for his home-town team, Dundee, he joined Everton in March 1960 for a record fee for a teenager of £30,000.

In 1967 he joined Southampton, where he was crucial to the Saints preserving their top-tier status over five seasons, before he wound down his English career with Bournemouth and Brentford. Thereafter he crossed the Atlantic to play and coach, mostly with Seattle Sounders over two spells, bisected by coaching stints in England prior to settling permanently in America.

In total, Gabriel played over 600 games, scoring 70 goals. A tough tackling, skilful and determined right-half, he was unfortunate not to win more caps but faced competition from such as Dave Mackay, John Greig, Jim Baxter and Billy Bremner.

James Gabriel was born in Dundee, the only son of James and Mary. With his sisters Maureen, Patricia, Anne and Sheila, he was brought up in Haldane Terrace, attending St Peter and Paul Primary School, then Lawside Academy. His father was a cleansing department supervisor who had played for Forfar Athletic, among others.

Gabriel jnr was spotted playing for Scottish Schoolboys against England in 1956 at Dens Park by Dundee manager Willie Thornton, who signed him afterwards.

He made his first-team debut aged 17 on August 13, 1958, at Fir Park against Motherwell, with his consistently impressive performances leading to an under-23 cap in 1959 against Wales and a transfer to Everton four months later. Apparently the fee paid for new floodlights at Dens Park, which were nicknamed ‘Gabriel’s Beacons.’

He soon became established at Goodison where under manager Harry Catterick the ‘Toffees’ won the old First Division title in 1963 as well as that FA Cup final.

Meanwhile between 1960 and 1964, he won another five Scotland under-23 caps, against Wales (twice) England (twice, the latter in 1964 as captain), and Belgium. His first full cap came just after his 20th birthday, against Wales in October 1960, in an old Home Nations international at Ninian Park, Cardiff, where in front of 55,000 fans the Scots lost 2-0.

His second was against Norway in a friendly at Hampden Park, as a second-half substitute for Jim Baxter in a 6-1 win.

By 1967, with his Everton place in jeopardy through the arrival of Alan Ball and Howard Kendall, Gabriel, after 303 games, agreed to a £42,500 transfer to Southampton. He spent five happy years on the south coast, maintaining the club’s top-tier status and becoming in the process hugely popular with the fans as he chalked up 224 games and 27 goals.

He wound up his English playing career with Bournemouth and Brentford before going to the States in 1974 as player/coach with Seattle Sounders, in the North American Soccer League.

In 1976 he scored the first goal in the club’s new stadium, New Kingdome, against Pele’s New York Cosmos, while as head coach in 1977 he led a squad including Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst, both England 1966 World Cup winners, to the ‘Soccer Bowl’, the N.A.S.L. championship final.

After five years with the Sounders he coached briefly at Phoenix and for two years with San Jose Earthquakes, featuring George Best.

Back in England, he coached at Bournemouth and Everton, where he was assistant manager to his old team-mate, Colin Harvey, and in 1997 he returned to Seattle for stints with Washington Huskies and the Sounders, whom he led to the American Second Division title before retiring in 2005.

In 2009 his contribution was recognised with a Golden Scarf award to ‘Mr.Original Sounder,’ for services to soccer in Seattle, which also involved much voluntary work at all levels. Following news of Gabriel’s death, the Sounders owner said online: “Jimmy Gabriel was beloved in this region and our sport would not be where it is today without his influence.”

Away from football he enjoyed golf, was a talented artist, and wrote poetry and short stories.

In Liverpool Jimmy met Patricia Gaskell, whom he married in the city’s Holy Rosary Church in the early 1960s. They enjoyed almost 60 years of happy marriage, during which they had three daughters, Karen, Janet and Samantha.

The couple lived in Washington state but in 2016 moved to Arizona to be closer to Samantha and her family, Jimmy by then having contracted Alzheimer’s, something that made his latter years difficult. To assist research into this disease his brain has been donated to Boston University.

A wholehearted player and inspiring coach, the ever-humble, generous and popular Jimmy Gabriel left his mark everywhere he went. He is survived by his wife, daughters, 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.