The Everton F.C. picnic of 1891

August 22, 1891
In face of the continued rainy season, tickets for the Everton Football Club’s annual picnic and sports were not in request, as usual, until the last day. On Thursday, at noon, the committee had completed all the arrangements, but only five tickets had been sold!

Then the hesitancy broke down, and caterer received orders for at least eighty, and on Saturday afternoon a party of about a hundred, animated by the spirit of Mark Tapley, left Liverpool, under a lowering sky, in waggonetts for Formby.

The start was late, as the programme could not be curtailed; the sports had to be cut in two, one section of events being run off before tea and the other after. Happily no rain fell, and the sky cleared, so that the evening was very pleasant.

All arrived in merry moon on Mr. Henry Howarth’s field in Paradise Lane, and pending the making up of the entries, which took place on the ground, two footballs were par in play, and the kicking, combinations, and tactics witnessed promised treats in store for Everton’s patron when next they gather round the goalposts.

The members of the team were present save, Alex Latta, David Jardine, Robert Smalley, and Richard Williams (the new goalkeeper), some of the absentees filling cricket engagements.

The club’s president (Mr. John Houlding) was at Llandudno, and sent an apology. Among those on the ground were Dr Flinn (Medical offer to the club), Councillor Ephraim Walker, Mr. William Jackson (assistant treasurer), Mr. Robert Edward Lythgoe (secretary Liverpool District Football Association), Mr. John James Ramsay, Mr. Thomas Howarth, Mr. Frank Currier, Mr. Alex Nisbet, Mr. R. Stockton, and Mr. Richard Molyneux (secretary).

The men who entered for the competition mainly did so for the fun of the thing, and it by no means followed, because a player or a veteran put his name down to compete, that he did not afterwards prefer to figure as a spectator. Equally, if a man felt inclined to run or leap he was welcomed, and it would be a libel to say that the Evertonians took their pleasure sadly.

The photographing of a large group was proceed by the punning announcement –“Now, gentlemen, your four toes will be taken,” but the camera proved obdurate, and the crescent of faces echoed with laughter during a wait of ten minutes.

The free and easy conduct of the sports, however, did not prevent the conscientious starter (Mr. Blackmere) from being severe and even penalising with the restive, and there were some gallant finishes. In the dribbling competition the professional spirit evoked scientific display which was much enjoyed.

On the other hand the tug of war was downright amusement, and the team which had the aid of three extra men went “into the air” amid general rejoicing. Tea was served at the Grapes Hotel, under the presidency of Mr. Jackson, the senior member of the club, who also distributed the prizes a capital collection provided by the club according to the following list:-

120 yards Handicap; 1, Geary, 2, W. Campbell, 3 R. Jones.
Veteran’s Race; 1, W. Jackson, 2 Lawrence Crosthwaite.
440 yards handicap; 1 Hope Robertson, 2, R. Jones, 3 Lochhead.
Long Jump; 1, Milward, 2 Campbell.
Half-mile handicap; 1, Currier; 2, McMillan; 3, Campbell.
Throwing Cricket ball; 1 Geary,; 2, Campball.
Tug of war (ten a side); McLean`s’s team.
Dribbling; 1, Edgar Chadwick, 2 Milward.
Mile Handicap; 1 Lochhead; 2. Pewtriell; 3, Currier.
(Liverpool Mercury: August 24, 1891)

Alex Latta, Everton (Lloyd’s Weekly News: October 30, 1892):

Alf Milward, Everton (Lloyd’s Weekly News: January 17, 1892):



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