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Everton Football Club 1903-04


October 27, 1903
Everton Village: where the toffee comes from: is very much of a rus in urbe now; for Liverpool City long ago swallowed it up. But Everton’s name is famous in football annuals as belonging to a team who have played well for years in the forefront of the “Soccer” game. For resolute and scientific combination the club has established a very high reputation both in League fixtures and cup ties.

The Evertonian team had a humble beginning. It sprang from a little local chapel club that played in St. Domingo Vale, and the name of Everton was assumed in 1879. In 1880 the club joined the Lancashire County Association, and its members showed an abundance of pluck. At this period Great Lever was a power in County Palatine football, and when Everton was drawn against them in the Lancashire Cup Competition it was admitted that they had an arduous task to perform.

1903 Everton 3

Still, the Evertonians played up with such spirit and pluck that they contrived to make a draw, but in the re-play they were badly beaten. In the next season, Everton met Bolton Wanderers, only to be smashed up to the extent of 13 goals to 1 –rather a different result from those which eventuate at the meetings of the two clubs nowadays.

It was in 1883 that the club got its first enclosed ground, their first gate amounting to only 14s. It was in this same year that James Trainer, one of the finest, if not the finest, goalkeeper ever seen, became a member of Everton club, playing with the second team, but he did not stay long with the Liverpudians, as he went off to Bolton, Everton thus losing an embryo international.

In the year 1884 the club captured the Liverpool Association Cup, overthrowing Earlestown in the final. At a meeting between Bootle and Everton clubs in a cup tie on January 31, 1885, £40 was taken at the gate, which was reckoned very satisfactory at the time – there were no £1,000 gates then. But step by step the club rose in reputation, and with its football successes came increased support, and of course a swelling of the exchequer.

This enabled the management to improve the club all round, and when the League started in 1888 Everton could boast of such a powerful team that they were runners up to the then invincible Preston North Ender; their points were 30 out of a possible 44, Aston Villa coming next with 29.

In the year following Everton ran Preston North End very close for the championship again, the “Invincible” scoring 33 points while Everton obtained 31. Blackburn Rovers were third with 27. Then came the crowning glory of the team in 1890, when Preston in their turn had to play second fiddle to the Evertonians, who occupied the proud position of League Champions. They scored 29 points against the North Enders’ 27, Notts County and Wolverhampton Wanderers each obtaining 26.

The members of the Everton club in 1892 formed themselves into a Limited liability company, a speculation which turned out a most gratifying success. Everton became one of the richest clubs in the League, so wealthy, indeed, that they could afford to pay away thousands of pounds per annum in players’ wages alone.

In 1894 Everton could not compare with Sunderland which was a grand League form; but the Villagers had been engaged hotly in another tussle, for they had run into the final of the English Cup, in which the Wolverhampton Wanderers only beat them by a single goal in an ever-to-be-remembered game, the one played at Fallowfield. Only moderate success attended their efforts in the League in the next season, in spite of the amount of money that the directors disbursed with no niggardly hand, but in 1894-95 Everton occupied second place to Sunderland with 42 points out of a possible 60, Aston Villa being third with 39.

It was about this period that the club entered into negotiations with Colonel Naylor Leyland for the acquisition of the freehold of the ground at Goodison Park, and eventually the spacious area of somewhere about 30,000 square yards was purchased for a little over £8,000. It was a good bargain, and the directors spent another £4,000 on the now celebrated enclosure, which was converted into one of the best football centres in the land.

Everton made a good show in the League in 1895-96, but in the following season the club’s efforts were not quite so good in the direction, for they were busy again going for the Cup, and reached the final only to be defeated at the Crystal Palace by a goal, Aston Villa being the victors. Since that date Everton have not reached the Cup final, though they have remained all along a team to be greatly feared in the League games. Everton obtained in the First Division competition in 1897-98 the same number of points as the Wolverhampton Wanderers, 35; the only two clubs above the pair being Sheffield United, who finished with 42, and Sunderland, who scored 37.

In the spring if 1889 Everton again occupied fourth position to Aston Villa, Liverpool and Burnley, the respective points being 45, 43, 39 and 38. Then in 1899-1900 came a big drop in the matter of position in the League; and, although there was no danger of them ever finishing at the bottom, many of their performances were distinctly disappointing, and when the final table was made up they occupied –for them- the very lowly place of eleventh on the list. It was a bad year’s work, and one quite unworthy of Everton.

The villagers picked up in the year following, but they were overpowered by their neighbours of Liverpool, who won the premier place in the League with 45 points, whereas Everton’s total, was only 37. In 1901-02 Sunderland was on top in the championship tussle with 44 points, and Everton came in a good second with 41, while Newcastle United occupied third position with 37. In point of goals scoring, however, Everton were the best side in the League that season, for they, like Sunderland, had only 35 goals obtained against them, whereas they pierced their opponents’ defence fifty-three times to the fifty of the champions. They had a tough fight in the Cup ties with Liverpool the same year, and it was only a drawn game that Liverpool proved the conquerors.

In 1903-03 Everton did not do well in the League, being as many as ten points behind the champions, Sheffield Wednesday. To almost everyone’s surprise, too, Everton succumbed in the third round of the English Cup to Millwall in London.

Though naturally the present players attached to the club appear more vividly in the mind’s eye than several ancient lights of the Evertonians, it is hardly possible to give even a belief survey of the club’s history and doings without reference to such as John Southworth, Edgar Chadwick, and his great partner Milward, Latta, J. Bell, and speedy Fred Geary, the tricky Holt, the solid Kelso, and the famous “Nick” Ross. Since then Whitley has done good service in goal, and so has Kitchen, for the matter of that, on many occasions.

Brearley, a fine Liverpool-born forward, played well for Everton after he had been with various other clubs; but he finally went to Tottenham Hotspur. Another admirable player of Mersey-side nativity is W. Balmer, the right full back. He is one of the coolest defenders in the League which he has represented against Scotland.

1903 Everton 11

Tom Booth can play centre of right half-back. He was born in Manchester in 1876, and began his football career in the Ashton North End team, subsequently joining Blackburn Rovers, of which club he was when he got his international cap in 1898. He is a splendid all-round exponent of the game and always reliable. He makes a most capable captain.

Wolstenholme, right half-back, was born at Little Lever in 1878. His clever tactics are always a feature of Everton’s games. J. Sharp, the outside right, was born at Hereford in 1879. He is one of the best-known player both as cricket and football in the country. He made his name with Aston Villa with whom he was a portion of two seasons, and reached Goodison Park in 1899. Gained his international cap last season against Ireland, playing inside right.

A great player is J. Settle, the inside left, who was born at Millom. From Bolton Wanderers Reserves he went to Halliwell Rovers in 1895, Bury securing his transfer two years later. It was while with the latter club that he got his first international cap, and he was secured by Everton at a big fee. Has played well in all three internationals, and has stuck to the “village” team in spite of many tempting offers to go elsewhere. Other players for Everton who may be mentioned are Crelly, a good back; Abbott, a useful left-half, who hails from Birmingham, and used to play for the Small Heath Club; McDermott., a clever Scottish inside right who came from the Celtic; A. Young, a centre forward who has done well in the that position with several North British clubs; and Hardman, a promising player in the forward line on the outside left position. For that place, Corrin, who has been with Portsmouth and formerly assisted Everton, has also returned to his old club when wanted.

Mr. W.C. Cuff, the secretary of the Everton Club, is a model official, courteous and indefatigable, and in every sense a keen man of business. Under his aegis affairs at Shirted “Goodison Park go on swimmingly, and we expect to hear of a good many more successes falling to the share of the blue-Shirted “villagers.”

In the opening match of the League tussle this season, as one anticipated the Everton team, strengthened by the inclusion of Hardman, from Blackpool, and McDermott, the Celt, proved as everyone expected, equal to defeating Blackburn Rovers at Goodison. It was a fine game, and for quite half the battle Crompton’s brigade fully held its own. It was curious somewhat that Bowman, the Toffee’s’ centre forward transferred man, should open the scoring against his old love. But Sharp equalised on the stoke of half-time, and for the succeeding “45” the Everton boys went hot and strong, this being plain evidence of their fine condition. Still, time was travelling on a pace before they got their heads in front. This goal ranks as possibly the finest ever scored on the ground, and Jack Sharp was the executes. Single-handed he took the ball through all opposing for a distance three-quarters the length of the field. Then Young scored a third on the stroke of time, and Everton thus succeeded in almost reversing last season’s figures. The shining lights for the winners were Balmer, Booth, Sharp, and Hardman. Since the opening match Everton have played well, and as we write hold a very good position in the League table.
(Source: Sunderland Daily Echo: October 27, 1903)

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