Season preview 1896-97: Liverpool F.C. (Athletic News)

August 31, 1896
The enthusiasm is as great at Anfield as at Goodison Park, and equally large numbers have been present at the two practices. With the exception of Becton, all the men turned up on Friday evening, and a hard game resulted. The teams were a bit mixed, but the blue and whites had considerably more probable members of the League team.
They were, however, beaten, and right well, too. The whites, no doubt, were more serious in their intentions, and occasionally the play was too rough to be pleasant.

The committee have not a very large number of men to select from, yet their task is no light one, for the claims of several who will have to stand down are just as great as those who are selected. The new men are, Willie Michael, forward, Neill, half-back, and Donnelly, goalkeeper. All are Scotchmen, and each one is qualified to take his place in the team. Donnelly has done very well between the posts, and Michael was great favourite with the crowd on Friday evening. He is a very nice player – one of the big ones in a small compass, and can play on the wings or centre, so that he will run several members closely for honours, even if his claim are not recognised in the first match. Neill is a clever little half back, quiet and unassuming in style, but very quick and effective.

The club have a splendid lot of half backs, McQue, McCartney, McLean, Cleghorn, Holmes and Neill. Each one is capable of taking a place in the team, and the question is whom to select, as all are in good form. The committee are relying on the same backs as did duty last season. These are Goldie, Wilkie, Dunlop, and M.McQueen. There is not a brilliant player in the lot, but all are of the useful kind. Goldie and Wilkie were very successful last season, and should be equally so this, even allowing for the better class they will meet. It is a pity to keep Dunlop out of the team, but he will probably get more opportunities this season, for he ought to develop into a class man. M.McQueen, I suppose, will be the general utility man.

In Storer and Donnelly the club have capital goalkeepers, though I should say Storer would take first honours. The team, then, at command, is practically what won first place in the Second Division, but is it capable of attaining a decent position in the First? I think it is, with judicious working, and Mr.Watson will find plenty of scope for the exercise of that tact which is a feature in his administration. The team have never had a “boss” off the field, and there have been too many on, so that a central figure, and one that commands respect, should work wonders in this direction.

The team is good enough to figure in a capital position in the League table, and they have received from two supporters strong inducements to get in the first four. McQue is captain this season, and for the first match at Sheffield against Wednesday, to-morrow (Tuesday), he will have very few changes from what did duty last season. The reserve team are in the Lancashire Combination, and play at Anfield on Wednesday. They will be able to put a good eleven in the field for, in addition to a few local lads and names I have given, there are as forwards Fred Geary, Davie Hannah and Benjamin Bull.
(Source: Athletic News: August 31, 1896)

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