January 2, 1904
For a team that has time and again proved itself capable of achieving great things on the field of football, Liverpool has this year played the role of a club disappointing to its admirers, and has lost match after match which they hoped it would win. But there is a restoration day coming for the wearers of the red shirts from Anfield Road in the Merseyside port, who were “on top” in the First League “Soccer” tussle in 1900-1, and have in various other seasons shown up well.
In the first year of the Second League competition, 1893-4, Liverpool finished a very long way ahead of its rivals, and went into the division above in consequence, only to make such a poor show in the season following in the best company as to secure an Irishman’s rise. Liverpool struggled out of the second string as the result of the 1895-6 play once more, and has since always evaded degradation and sometimes shone conspicuously. In 1898-9 the club did extremely well, and were the runners-up to Aston Villa for the championship. In the season following Liverpool did not figure so favourably; but in 1900-1, as has been indicated, they cleared the decks, ending up the League struggle with 45 points, as against the 43 of Sunderland and 40 of Notts County, who were second and third respectively in the table. There was a considerable falling-off from glory for Liverpool in 1901-2, but last season saw a recovery, and the Anfield Roaders finished a good fifth.
They had to face the present season practically a reconstituted team owing to the removal of Raybould, Goldie, and Glover from the great Lancashire port, and the subsequent suspension of these players for a breach of the Association rules in refusing the maximum salary from their old club and signing on for Portsmouth. The return of Raybould to Liverpool, repentant, with the advent of 1904, has been looked forward to for some time expectantly, and many will be glad if the circumstance should mend matters for the red shirts. Not only were Liverpool deprived of this splendid centre-forward in the unfortunate way adverted to from the end of last season, along with Goldie and Glover, good men both; but Livingston was lost to Manchester City, and McCallum went to Morton. McLean, from the Vale of Leven, was negotiated for to fill Glover’s post, and Craik to take the part Goldie had played; while Buck and Chadburn were transferred from the Throstles, and have served Liverpool well in circumstances not always very inspiring. Raybould’s defection was a very heavy blow, as will be realised on remembrance of the fact that he was last season’s champion, scoring no less than thirty-one goals in League games. He was Derbyshire born, and certainly belies the proverb unjustly applied by aspersers of the Peak County to natives thereof, “Derbyshire born and Derbyshire bred. Strong i’ th’ arm and weak i’ th’ head.” Raybould played for New Brighton before he became the chief of Liverpool goal-getters.
In the place of Raybould at centre in the Liverpool vanguard, sometimes Parkinson has been played, sometimes Smith. Both can play, but one can say they are not Raybould without disparagement. Smith is a local school-master’s son with talent in him, and Parkinson is something of a utilitarian. Goddard, the outside right, is generally reliable. He came from Glossop, and has justified his selection amply, for he is an ideal shot, and very fast in his work on the wing. Buck, late of West Bromwich, is an inside right who was prominent last season with the Throstles, and went to Liverpool at the end thereof; he has brilliance, and with support and good handling should do well anywhere. Chadwick, who has taken inside left in the forward line for Liverpool when available, was a Blackburn boy, and played with the Rovers of that town before going to Everton and Southampton, and eventually to the Anfield Road combination. He has been several times capped, through his ambition to wear an English Cup winner’s medal still remains unsatisfied. When Chadwick gets disabled Fleming, a good half as well as forward, fills the gap, but he is a very long way off being a satisfactory substitute for one who at his best has been described in language which is not exaggerated “as one of the grandest players who ever stepped on the field to do battle for England.” One must bear in mind, however, that Chadwick is no chicken, but began his international career a dozen years back. J. Cox, Liverpool’s steady-going outside left, is distinctly a good player when seen in finest form, but he needs a good partner to get all that is to be got out of him. He is an international, too, having been capped both by the Association and the League against Ireland and Scotland respectively. Liverpool is pardonably proud of Cox, who was born and bred in that busy maritime city.
Liverpool’s halves are a serviceable, indeed admirable, trio. Parry, who plays right, is in his third season at Anfield, and used to be with Brighton United. He hails from the Principality, and has several times been capped for Wales. Raisbeck is a splendid centre-half from Scotland whose skill only shone fully out after he left his native heath for England. He was born at Larkhall, and played for Royal Albert before migrating to the banks of the Mersey. He is a rare smart header, and places his forwards with discrimination and accuracy. Three times he has figured for Scotland against England, and once when Wales was antagonising the sons of Caledonia.
Fleming as a half we have spoken of; but at left in the second line Hughes is usually very good when available for Liverpool. He came from Aberdare, and was first reserve for Wales in a couple of last season’s international.
Of the backs available for Liverpool, Chadburn, late of West Bromwich, is good, and used to figure as a speedy forward with the Wolves, Notts County, and at Lincoln. He was born at Mansfield. Dunlop is a useful defender, and so are Hoare and West, the latter being particularly cool at a pinch. Platt, the goalkeeper, is reckoned one of the best in the League by some, but he is not always equally brilliant, and some day may be superior to now.
(Sunderland Daily Echo, 02-01-1904)