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Angry scenes at Anfield


February 24, 1896
Ever since Everton began to gather round them the large crowds of loyal adherents for which the club is now famed all over the kingdom jealous and envious eyes have been turned towards the banks of the Mersey, and of course the phenomenal and brilliant career of Liverpool draw them also into the same state of envy as the older organisation.

As a natural consequence of their good fortune in the way of their abnormal “gates,” &c., every other club, in a greater or less degree, is imbued with a spirit of jealousy towards the more successful rivals. Certain it is that Everton and Liverpool receive less favours from the autocrats of the game who conduct the various matches they are engaged in than any other club; and any reason for this state of affairs, except the above, is difficult to discern.

At Wolverhampton there were recorded against Liverpool two goals which were of such a doubtful character that if the overseer of the contest had chosen to nullify them, it would have caused, even to the home supporters, but a slight amount of heart-burning. Again on Saturday last, it was by the merest chance or stroke of luck that the indecision of character and hesitancy and weak-mindedness in dealing with foul play from both sides did not rouse the usually well-behaved Liverpool spectators to a pitch excitement which might have brought about dire disaster to both the players and the Liverpool Club. Fortunately a posse of police were present, which, together with the pacific advice given to the crowd by Messrs. William Houlding and John McKenna, had the desired effect upon the angry assembly, who eventually dispersed quietly, winding up, however, by giving continuous groans for the visiting team.

The first half of the game was as well contested, interesting, and really brilliant an encounter as may be witnessed anywhere. The early and totally unexpected score for the fishermen fairly roused the Liverpudlians, and they scored three goals with ten minutes afterwards.

The second half was a continuity of fouls, exasperating and at times brutal in their character, to which the home team at the finish quite naturally retaliated, and had a scene occurred, which at one time seemed quite probable, the onus of such a catastrophe must have rested upon the shoulders of the referee. Had he called the players together and administered a caution, or had he sent one or more of the players off the field, there is little doubt that the contestants would immediately have become amenable to discipline.

Harry Storer had but little to do, but appeared to be caught napping with the overhead kick of Bob Gray’s, otherwise his work was all right. Archie Goldie and Tom Wilkie were extremely safe and were perfect stumbling blocks to the visitors’ vanguard. Each of the halves did his portion with alacrity, but Joe McQue was almost perfect in his dealings with his opponents, and scored repeatedly.

Harry Storer, Liverpool (Lloyd’s Weekly News: December 1, 1895):

The whole of the attack were in tip-top form, and gave, as previously mentioned, about one of the very best displays this season. Malcolm McVean was in magnificent form, his swift rushes being a feature of the game, and his spirited dashes inspired his otherwise lethargic companions to bestir themselves more than usual, Jimmy Ross was an especial butt of the Grimsby players, and during the period they were in their best fighting form wisely withdrew to half-back out of the fray. George Allan did well, and shot a fine goal, whilst Frank Becton seemed to be in irresistible form, but was prone to neglect his partner.

The performance of the visitors may be summed up in the word vigorous. They seemed to lose their tempers at the tricky and bewildering work of the Liverpool forward and half-backs, and were not in any way particular as to their methods of meeting an opponent.
(Liverpool Mercury: February 24, 1896)

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