March 3, 1893
The Theatrical Football Gala. The fifth annual theatrical football gala, which originated with a committee of gentlemen in Liverpool, and is still carried on under that committee, was held at the ground of the Liverpool Association Football Club, Anfield.
The weather and the fact that this gala was the second of the season militated considerably against its success, there being only a moderate assembly. Arrived there the fun of the day began, and it must be said that one and all worked with a will to gain the smiles and the money of the spectators. A host of pantomimeists – both ladies and gentlemen – from Manchester also assisted in no small degree to make matters lively. The reappearance of the ”coster” and his ”donah” (Messrs. Austin Harford and F. McKernan), assisted by an ”undertaker” and a ”Gringoire”, was a signal of the opening of pockets, and ”gags”, songs and the sale of ”buttonholes”, oranges and cabbages brought in a considerable sum. The ladies with cigarettes, sweets, photographs, and other unconsidered trifles also succeeded in coining large amounts. Special calls were made on the committee box, in which were the Mayor (Mr RD Holt), Mr JA Willox, MP Mr Alderman Ruddin, Dr Whitford, Dr Flinn, Messrs. Thomas McCracken, J.H. Dunne, John Houlding, H Bruce, E Brownbill, Austin Taylor, Woods, Byrne and others.
The entertainment of the afternoon opened with various races for stage bands, ladies, gentlemen, and others, and considerable excitement and amusement were caused by the contests. The great attraction of the afternoon was the match between the Liverpool and Manchester Pantomime gentlemen, and it must be said that, though both were playing in earnest, there were many comical occurrences and situations, everyone of which was fully appreciated by the onlookers. Liverpool came out best by two goals to one, while in the tug-of-war Manchester succeeded in lowering the colours of the Mersey city.
In the match between the Liverpool League Team and the County Cricket Eleven, also, there was plenty of amusement combined with a considerable amount of excitement, the final result being a draw of two goals each. Though there was not a great ”gate”, there can be no doubt that the opportunities offered were taken full advantage of, and, if the expenses were heavy, there is every prospect of a substantial sum being realized for the benefit of the Stanley Hospital, the Infirmary, and the children of the late Mr Albert Smith (the originator of the sports), in whose aid the match was arranged.
During the afternoon the band of the 12th Royal Lancers gave a selection of music. Prior to the openings of the grounds the committee were entertained by Mr McCracken and Mr Dunne at the Sandon Hotel. Subsequently, Mr McCracken, in the name of the subscribers, made a presentation to Mr John Houlding, in acknowledgment of his work on the committee and also of his attention to the wants of the Stanley Hospital. Mr Houlding, in accepting the testimonial, which took the form of a silver punch bowl, said that it had always been his endeavour to serve the interests of the Stanley Hospital, as it was doing such good charitable work among the poorer classes of the north end.
(Liverpool Mercury: March 4, 1893))