September 25, 1899
A few years ago Everton declined to meet their successors at Anfield Road, but the Liverpool people by their plucky and determined efforts gained a position in the First Division of the League, and Everton were of course, bound to play them.
They did so successfully, and then Liverpool were again relegated to the Second Division, but once more came out at the top, and had to meet Everton again. But success did not attend their efforts, and Everton were able to do a little crow all to themselves. Last year matters were somewhat different, for Liverpool won both matches.
The present season has not progressed vert far, but the two clubs were on a pretty even foting, for neither had won a match up to Saturday, and this ill-fortune did not suit the average Liverpudlian, who likes, and has a right, to see his own particular team win at home, for in the matter of transfer fees alone both clubs have spent a small fortune.
Recently, Everton have favoured the English article, and Saturday’s team contained but three Scotsmen – Taylor, Boyle, and Muir. Liverpool have also gone in for the home-bred product, and five out of the even claim England as their birthplace.
They would probably have felt better satisfied had Allan and Walker been able to take their places, and the absence of these two men went a long wat towards the defeat which they sustained. The Everton selection committee of five have ad a rocky voyage so far, and on Saturday made what might be termed drastic changes by placing Taylor outside right, thereby introducing Blyth, of Jarrow, at half-back, and putting Settle inside left, with Sharp inside right. They were justified, and at the conclusion of the match evidently thougt so, but in the meantime Taylor had changed his forwards about, for himself went inside right, then inside left, and both Settle and Sharp resumed their original position.
But under present conditions, both teams may be said to be represebntative, and they turned out in the following order: –
Liverpool. – Bill Perkins, goal; Archie Goldie and Billy Dunlop, backs; Rab Howell, Alex Raisbeck, and William Goldie, half-backs; John Cox, Jack Parkinson, Charlie Wilson, Hugh Morgan, Tom Robertson, forwards.
Everton. – Willie Muir, goal; William Balmer and George Molyneux, backs; Sam Wolstenholme, Dickie Boyle, and Joe Blyth, half-backs; Jack Taylor, Jack Sharp, Wilf Toman, Jimmy Settle, and Alf Schofield, forwards.
Referee: Mr. Aaron Scragg (Crewe).
Everton were successful in winning the toss, and this carried with it a bit of sun, and a lot of wind. But I don’t think Everton made the of their luck. So far as pressing went, the most pessimistic supporter they possess could not grumble, but Perkins was not troubled as he ought to have been, and it the Everton forwards displayed what may be termed finesse of a high standard, they did not make for goal as one would like.
Of course, Dunlop and Goldie were waiting to prevent them doing so, but there was an absence of dash, or devil, or what you care to call it. Perkins, however, made several very clever saves, and is a young man who may be tristed to look after the Liverpool goal. Once or twice he had some very difficult customers to account for, and with about three exceptions Muir watched the battle from afar, so to speak.
Everton scored the first goal, but it was owing to a piece of bad play on the part of Goldie, the back, who was not sufficiently resourceful, and placed the ball right at the foot of Taylor, who, in his determined manner, took full advantage of Goldie’s mistake, and opened the scoring 25 minutes from the start. As a result his right arm ran a serious risk of being dislocated. It was a good goal in its way, but many previous efforts have been quite as much entitled to reward.
Up to now, the Liverpool forwards had not displayed tactics of an aggressive order, but a goal against them seemed to rouse up matters, and Robertson got away very dangerously when, in my humble opinion, he was office – one of the few mistakes I though Mr. Scragg made in an admirable afternoon’s work – but immediately afterwards the Liverpool left outside gentleman ran away on his own, and , aluding his opponents, scored a very clever goal. Like Taylor, he was the recipient of a wholesale hand-shaking, and he certainly merited it, for it was a capital individual effort.
To be on an equal footing at half-time, with the wind in their favour, looked exceedingly good business for Liverpool, but Everton proved to be what in Scottish vernacular is dubbed “dour,” and soon made it perfectly clear that they had not given up hopes of winning. The half-backs kept the ball down, and the forwards also favoured ground work. It is surprising to me how teams will adopt the same style with the wind as against it. Surely any man with brains knows the difference between playing with a breeze and fighting it!
I would not care to go so far as to say that our modern footballer is not in possession of brain power, but, as a rule, he certainly does not use it.
On Saturday, Taylor and his partners showed discernment of a high standard, and won. They pressed Liverpool much more than Liverpool had pressed Everton, and fully deserved the goal they obtained. It was a single-handed effort on the part of Settle, who had been doing nothing in particular except watching the movements of the other fellows with an apparently keen interest.
By this time the International had been removed to the right wing, and he got the ball, coolly worked it past the backs, ran in, and, never losing control of it for a single second, landed in front of Perkins, and quite unofficially, as it were, placed the ball safely inside the net. It was one of Settle’s master-pieces, but I am bound to say it was one of a very few bits of International form he displayed throughout the afternoon. For an hour out of the hour and a half he appears to think he is James Settle, the International forward. Probably this is satisfactory enough to James Settle, but it would hardly suit me if I were manager of a club with which James Settle happened to be engaged.
However, to get back to the game. Liverpool tried hard to equalise, but without effect, and Everton were left winners by two goals to one. Bearing in mind the unpleasantness in time gone by between the two clubs, it was exceedingly agreeable for an outsider to note the sportsmanlike manner in which defeat was accepted and victory received. We had quite a nice little gathering of the rival clans after the match, and no un-parliamentary language was used. Indeed, the only toast proposed was that of the losers.
On the field the players are as keen as ever, but once off both players and officers are the best of friends. There is not the slightest reason why this feeling should not exist. Without doubt, the better team won. In the first half the Everton goal-keeper was seldon troubled, whilst in the second Perkins had pretty nearly as many shots to stop as Muir. Perkins could not be blamed, for he made some very clever saves, and had no chance with the two shots which scored.
Dunlop was badly injured in the first half, but pluckily kept on, and it was not his fault that his team lost. Goldie played well, even if he did lose the first goal. But the Liverpool team is not what it was twelve months ago. They possess two fine and speedy extreme wings in Cox and Robertson, but as a team they fail. There is not that cohesion in their movements which one expects. For a start, Wilson is not a centre forward, and the whole lot seem to work badly together, whilst the half-backs feed them badly.
Raisbeck was in poor form – for him – and did a lot of unnecessary rushing about, whilst the half-backs as a trio were not combined, and when they had the wind in their favour failed to utilise it. I don’t think the Everton team is up to the standard of say Aston Villa, but it is a very serviable one, and will be much nearer the top than the bottom when we come to calculations next April.
Balmer, at back, is a very determined gentleman, and he has a good partner, whilst no fault can possibly be found with Muir in goal. At half, they are strong, for “Dicky Boyle in the centre is always knocking about, and it would be difficult to find two more promising youths than Blyth, of Jarrow, and Wolstenholme, of Bolton. Both are well built lads, and possess more than a common or garden knowledge of the game.
The forwards are the weakest part of the team, and I should say keep Taylor amongst them. It does not matter a great deal where, but let him remain there. I have often seen him score goals single-handed, and although as a general rule this is not an accomplishment conducive to the success of a team, the present Everton forwards require something of the sort to waken them up.
I say this in the face of what they did on Saturday, when they were streets in front of Liverpool so far as dash was concerned. The Liverpool men might also do worse than remember that there are goalposts, and that clever individual work on the part of the forwards is sometimes made to look very small indeed by energetic half-backs from Jarrow and other remote places.
(Athletic News: September 25, 1899, by ‘The Free Critic’)