TRIBUTES have been paid to Birkenhead-born footballer Jimmy Harris who has passed away aged 88.

A boyhood Evertonian, the talented centre forward came through the ranks at Goodison Park before emerging as one of the Toffee's most celebrated players of the 1950s.

Harris made his debut for Everton, replacing Dave Hickson, in 1955 and finished his debut season as the club's top scorer with 21 goals in all competitions. He was also capped for England under-23 that season, scoring in a 3–1 win against Scotland under-23 at Hillsborough in February 1956.

In 1960, having scored 72 goals in 207 appearances in all competitions for Everton, Harris was sold to Birmingham City and in four years at St Andrews he scored 53 goals in 113 games for the Blues. 

After leaving Birmingham he moved on to Third Division club Oldham Athletic, and played once in the League Cup for Tranmere Rovers.

Harris ended his career in 1967 with Ellesmere Port Town, where he was later appointed player-manager.

Paying tribute to Harris, Everton chairman Bill Kenwright, said: "Unlike other centre-forwards of the era, Jimmy had blinding pace and skill.  He was cheeky and brave…everything you would want from your leader up front."

Former Everton player and manager Joe Royle also had glowing praise for Harris.

He said: "Jimmy was a very good player – quick and very single minded. I got to know him, of course, and he was a lovely guy. I always enjoyed his company and my thoughts are with his family.”

A spokesperson for Everton added: "Jimmy Harris remained an Evertonian to the core and continued to regularly attend matches at Goodison into his senior years.

"The thoughts of everybody at Everton are with Jimmy’s family and friends at this difficult time."