Tom Watson with a good eye for talent

Wednesday, August 5 – 1896
It is not the weather to turn one’s thoughts to football, but, seeing that there is only one more month to go before we assist at the dawn of the winter sport, it is high time that the news came pouring in.
Strangely enough, little is being said, and this quiescent state would not argue great energy on the part of the various clubs, but I think we are to see an all-round improvement all the same.

A very startling piece of news is the transference of Mr. Tom Watson from the Sunderland to the Liverpool Club.  Superficial followers of the game would not think that the success of a team would be affected by secretaryship, but I make so bold as to say that the various triumphs of the Sunderland Club have been not a little influenced by Mr. Watson‘s personality.

Mr. Watson had a good eye for football talent.  Big names did not move him to emotion so much as real ability, and, when you come to think that Sunderland have played very few really poor players, the worth of Watson becomes more apparent.  There is no denying that the mediocrity of Southern professional football has been largely brought about by the inefficiency of the managers.

Manager Watson made, perhaps, his only mistake when he came down South.  He cast his eyes upon the waters, and he wanted an amateur fish in W. H. Russell, the well-known London Caledonian—then Clapton—back.  Negotiations in this direction fell through, and Watson instead took Hyslop, of the 2nd Scots Guards, and Mackenzie, of Millwall, both forwards.  With Hyslop he soon quarrelled, and he transferred him to Stoke.  Mackenzie has not realised anticipations, but he may yet do well.
(The Sketch, 05-08-1896, by “Olympian”)
** Transcribed by Jeffrey S. Gaydish 3 August 2012.

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