Murmurs from the Mersey (November 4, 1899)


November 4, 1899
Liverpool cling desperately to the title of the surprise packet team of the League. Their affection for it is positively pathetic, and the team that would rob them of it will have to perform wonderful, nay, supernatural feats. When the season opened the Anfield lads created a surprise, mild, it is true, by allowing Stoke to walk through their affection, and followed it up with one of sensational character, Sunderland, by their victory at Anfield, being the medium though which it was supplied.

Then came surprise upon surprise, the height of sensationalism being reached when Bob Suter, or rather Notts County, allowed the despised and rejected of Liverpool to appropriate two whole League points. Footballers at that time had come to the conclusion that Liverpool had made a specialty of losing League points, and were determined to hang on to what wooden spoon at all hazards.

Notts County, however, showed they were no mean opponents at this game, and, as already stated, created a great and glorious surprise by deposing Liverpool of their 8-0-0-8 record. This was a great blow to those who believe in the beautiful symmetry of figures, but a greater still was to follow. Manchester City supplied it. Look at this, you lovers of sensationalism! Liverpool 1 goal, Manchester nil! How’s that for high? The surprise of the Liverpool season, without a doubt!

But surprise or no surprise, we Liverpudlians are delighted with the victory. It brought us a very much-needed two points, and what is better still, enabled us to hand over that blessed wooden spoon to poor Preston North End. The spoon in question has been weighing us down very heavily for some considerable time past, and we part with it as gratefully as we are wont to do with the up-to-date mother-in-law. Now that the points have commenced to pour in, I suppose Fate, with that perversity for which she is so justly famed, will supply us with a typical example of that old, old saying “It never rains but it pours.” Pour on, ye points! You can’t come too fast! Two more will, I suppose, be added to the list today.

Sheffield United are the only undefeated team in the League, but the heroes of the 8 0-0-8 figures meant to play havoc with their figures, and the victory at Manchester has given the Anfielders a much-needed supply of confidence, and now that the ice has been thoroughly broken, I would not in the least be surprised to find the boys run up a beautiful sequence of victories. We Liverpudlians, certainly, would not find the compilation monotonous.

Rab Howell showed a return to form at Manchester that was exceedingly pleasing to his many admirers. Rab is a great favourite with Liverpudlians, ad his displays previously this season have, as a rule, been disappointing and dispiriting. We were beginning to think, in fact, that the little gipsy was rapidly qualifying for the membership of that noble society known by some as “the lights of other days,” and by others as “good old have beens.” The knowledge, therefore, that he is still the Rab of old is doubly pleasing, and I can only hope that he will be enabled to repeat last season’s feats, and once again figure in the English team that will line up against Scotland.
(Lancashire Evening Post: November 4, 1899)

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