September 2, 1895
How long will Liverpool stay second raters?
Liverpool can view the coming season with every degree of complacency in spite of being classed as but second raters. The excellence and fitness of their team, combined with the usual aggressive policy of the committee, point to but one result, and reads victory.
By reputation and in reality the Anfield fine combination is good enough to carry all before it, and if the efficient, finished style of forward play that was followed out last season is again pursued, then the Liverpool public – who only know too well how to distinguish between first and second class play – certainly will support the titular club.
The old time prejudice between followers of the two leading clubs is dying out, and spectators now patronise good football wherever it is to be found. Therefore the Liverpool executive have acted most wisely in largely strengthening their team, so that, it is safe to say, there is nothing in the Second Division to favourably compare with it.
In Fred Geary, Jimmy Ross, Harry Bradshaw, Malcolm McVean, and Davie Hannah Liverpool possesses five of the fastest forwards in the League, taken as a whole; and with Frank Becton and George Allan, the attacking force of the junior club should give some warm half hours to the different defences they will meet with during the coming season.
With the half way line the management are happy in the extreme in having the command of the old players, who proved themselves of such sterling worth last year, while the capture of John Holmes will, if his knee holds out, prove an unusually good stroke of business, as he can play equally well in either of the three positions.
Joe McQue, John McCartney, John McLean and John Curran, it is pleasing to note, appear to be in rare fettle, and consequently it will require a lot of discrimination and discretion on the part of the selection committee to choose the most likely men.
The weak spot of last year is promising to be just the reverse now. Billy Dunlop is training on to be a second Dan Doyle, his only weakness at present being a decided slackness with his head in the goal mouth. Tom Wilkie, with his more than average speed, is likely to make a capable partner to Dunlop, while reserve forces of Archie Goldie and John Curran make the rear guard apparently impregnable.
In the charge of Matt McQueen and John Whitehead the final line of defence is in willing and reliable hands. Liverpool commence their league season on Saturday next by antagonizing Notts County at Trent Bridge, while the Celtic open the Anfield ground tomorrow at 5.45 in a friendly game with the home club.
(Liverpool Mercury: September 2, 1895)