The opening of the Association season


September 1, 1890
Today football resumes its exhilarating and boisterous reign, and though its temporary dethronement came as a welcome relief with the sunny days of early summer, its reinstatement in office has been more impatiently wished for since dull, damp, dispiriting weather has rendered cricket and other summer game incongruous, unexciting, and unpalatable.

The recess has been more rigidly observed as a close time than ever, and little has been allowed to obtrude and disturb the repose of the vacation – save the ugly reports of Bootle’s perplexing and unexpected embarrassments.

In such a well-managed establishment as the Everton Club all apparently has been plains sailing, and few changes required to be effected either in management – except it be in a kind of redistribution of portfolios – or in the ranks of players.

When the gates are opened this evening, and the crowd of Everton’s patrons hic themselves to their familiar and favourable coigns of ‘vantages they will be struck with the great transformation that has been made in the appearance of the ground within the short space of three months.

A good crop of grass gratifies the eye where all was barn and desert-like, and now that the drainage has been perfected, it is reasonably expected that the turf will withstand the hard wear for a much longer period, even if it does not survive the whole season, whilst the disappearance of the recurring puddles will no longer bring down the devoted heads of the executive the opprobrium of visiting clubs.

There has been stand extension and other structural improvements, the most important being the erection of a treasury office, and everything that ingenuity could conceive has been done to ensure the comfort of Everton’s increasing number of supporters.

Bootle have had other less pleasant work to attend to than improvements to the ground, nor did they need to concern themselves much in that direction, as unhappily the accommodation as a rule last year was more than ample.

The north-end club certainly encountered turbulent waters, but all is well now. They were unlucky in the matter of piloting, and well nigh got stranded. The wreck, however, was prevented, and now that the good old ship has been thoroughly overhauled and newly manned, it may be sounder than ever, and catch that flood tide which leads on – to the League.

Clearly the financial troubles of Bootle had an influence at head quarters in London when the entries were received for the National Cup competition, and so Bootle find themselves for the first time since its establishment compelled to take part in the qualifying stage, the draw for which will be made this evening, instead of being included in the fortunate eighteen selected.

This slight is hardly justified by last year’s play, seeing that Bootle, in addition to being second in the Alliance, got into the third round of the cup ties. But troubles are proverbial for marching in battalions. When things are at their worst, and change takes place, the tendency must be in the direction of improvement.

This is a truism of which Bootle are, receiving practical demonstration. A couple of months since they touched the nadir and the critical point of their career, now they are within a measureable distance of the zenith and confident stage.

Petty jealousies, bickerings, and schism are suppressed, and all real supporters have banded together to place the tottering institution firmly on its base once more. The number and heartiness of Bootle’s friends must have come as an agreeable revelation to the anxious officials; but perhaps no handsomer action in the history of sport was ever volunteered or more highly appreciated than that of their old rivals to play a match for the sole benefit of their less fortunate neighbours.

Everton evidently believe that the strong can afford to be generous, and the spontaneous, unsolicited, chivalrous offer has made them more popular than ever among all who like their sport served up in a sportsmanlike manner.

Nothing could have given Everton’s patrons greater satisfaction than this opportunity of assisting Bootle out of the slough into which they have strayed, for though feeling may run high when a tussle is being carried on for local supremacy, they know competition is the one essential incentive to skilful play, and the more skilful it be the less proneness to rough tactics.

The Everton executive mean to make the benefit a bumper so far as lies in their power. They could not have selected a more convenient day than Monday next, since a Saturday would have been an impossibility, for both teams will then have emerged from their initial crucial test in the League and Alliance – Everton against West Bromwich Albion, and Bootle against the much-vaunted and greatly amended Nottingham Forest.

With fine weather a mammoth “gate” is assured, and Bootle will be grateful. Some day, in the whirling of time, the north-end club may find themselves on the crest, and their friends in the trough of the wave, and the old debt will, should such an undesirable necessity arise, be paid off with interest.
(Liverpool Mercury: September 1, 1890)

From the Everton Collection (from Committee meeting, May 27 – 1890)
Anfield 1890 2

From the Everton Collection (from Committee meeting, July 7 – 1890)
Anfield 1890 3

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