The clouds have fallen at Anfield

December 12, 1887
Yesterday basking in the sunshine of increasing success and popularity, today Everton are overwhelmed in a deluge of discomfiture, or, in other words, the proffered cup has proved a positioned chalice, and they are strictly with helplessness for an injudicious drought of a delusive beverage.

They have been tried on a charge of veiled professionalism found guilty, and sentenced to a calendar month’s suspension from the 5th instant.

To be ordered to “stand at ease” for a few weeks does not appear a terrible infliction on the surface, but on penetrating a little deeper it is found to be disastrous in some of its results.

The punishment falls at a most inconvenient time, as in addition to some interesting Saturday matches, all the extra Christmas and New Year’s fixtures will have to be abandoned, to the great financial loss of the Everton Club, to say nothing of the widespread disappointment of the many thousand followers of the denizens of Anfield.

But the most unfortunate suffers will be the Scotchmen concerned- namely, Dick, Izatt, Weir, Watson, Goudie, Cassidy, and Murray – for, having been adjudged to be professional importations, they are prescribed for two years either as professionals or amateurs unless they can persuade either the English or Scotch Associations to mitigate the penalty.

Dick, however, it is said, has a residential qualification, and will be registered as a professional. The others will doubtless bide their time though Murray and Cassidy have “gone back” not liking the prospect of compulsory professionalism.

It was evident from the influential names of the commission, which consisted of Messrs. Crump (Birmingham), J.C. Clegg (President of the Sheffield Association), R. P. Gregson (Secretary of the Lancashire Association), and Charles William Alcock (Secretary of the Football Association) that the inquiry was to the conducted in no half-hearted spirit.

The question of whether Everton had found situations for Scotsmen was soon settled, as it was admitted by Mr. Nisbet at the outset; but the knotty point, as to whether these men held bona-fide “jobs” independent of the club, was a matter the council had to satisfy themselves on.

This they did on Monday, and decided that Everton had imported players for a “consideration.”

It has been a huge bungle on the part of the Everton officials, and they no doubt feel keenly the disgrace their management has visited upon a club made famous – though it must for the present be described as notorious – mainly through their energy and enterprise; but the trouble has arisen perhaps more from error of judgement than deliberate intention of driving a coach and four through laws for football guidance.

The Everton officials may be to blame for the deadlock; but whether they are or not, and whether they are to enjoy continued confidence as a managing body, is a subject which may safely be left to the club members.

Everton are applying for re-instatement on the 19th, and on Wednesday will appeal for the support of the Liverpool Association.

At the local Association meeting Everton’s position in regard to the cup competition will be settled. Severe as is the blow on the Liverpool cup holders, their suffering may yet prove a “blessing in disguise,” if it should lead to amendment of the professional rule and render it more in conformity with common sense and practicability.

There should be equality among professionals, and the residential qualification must be less rigid. It is a matter that concerns all clubs, for how many could be put through the crucibles and leave no dross.
(Liverpool Mercury, 12-12-1887)

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