September 5, 1904
Are you satisfied with Thursday’s game?
Well, if you are, my friend, I certainly am not. Liverpool met one of the weakest teams they will meet this season, and instead of winning by ten goals, they annexed a solitary two. What was the matter with the men? I hardly know. They were lifeless and apathetic forward, and we certainly want something more than we received on Thursday. Just let me say a few words of the game itself. When I arrived, like others, a few minutes late – the cars are abominably slow when one is in a hurry – the Livers looked like running away with the game.
They were hotly assailing the Burton end without getting too near Bromage. Doig had not touched the ball. It was certain that the major part of the game would take part in the Burton half, and the only thing to be considered was how many goals the reds would win by. Still, over twenty minutes went by before Robinson found the net with a high fast shot. Once the ice was broken I thought it would be a case of piling on the agony. Raybould had one disallowed, and it was right on half time when Robinson added the second.
Now it just seemed in the first forty five that the men had not properly shaken down, and the second half would witness a record bombardment of Bromage. I think the wish was father to the thought – it certainly was at the end, because chances of scoring faded away as each minute passed away. With the exception of an occasional breakaway, the play was all in the visitors’ quarters, but if the goal had been twice as wide I doubt if Liverpool would have added to their total.
I am positive it was a case of the Liverpool forward rank, and to some extent the halves also, holding their opponents too cheaply. They indulged in too many monkey tricks, and of course paid the penalty. Goddard was as listless as a man in a dream, and Cox, who had golden opportunities of showing his speed preferred to give an exhibition of sand dancing. Raybould was only moderate, and must put more of his old dash into his play and trust himself more if he intends to make me a true prophet – for have I not said that he would head the goal scorers of the Second Division with a record total? Hewitt, well – did nothing. He was easily rodded and not pass to much advantage.
But here I have a word for the spectators. It does a man no good to shout at him, and Hewitt has never yet had a fair chance from the crowd. He is barracked the whole time – and over anxiety must have something to do with his poor play. Robinson distinguished himself by scoring twice, but he ought to have scored six times with the chances he got. At half, they had nothing to beat in the opposing forwards save only Beddows, who, fortunately for the Livers, I thought, was much neglected by his partners. Parry had the annoying idea that he was bound to run round a man twice if he got the ball, but beyond giving more fouls than necessary, he played fairly well. Raisbeck and Hughes were all right.
At full back Dunlop was himself again, and Murray, bar two mis-kicks – or rather wrong kicks – when he fancied he belonged to Burton, was safe. I think he will improve. Doig of course was Doig. For Burton, only Beddow, who ran well once or twice, and Bromage, the goalkeeper, were above the average. The latter kept a fine goal, although his opponents obliged him by making him the target instead of trying to miss him. It was fortunate for Burton that the Livers had an off day for the first. Only the puerile play of the Reds saved Beeropolis from severe defeat.
It is just as well to be outspoken, and I must say that if the Livers play as they did in the first match, against more experienced opponents they will receive a huge shock. We had football of but ordinary quality served up. It was not hot enough. It is not the kind to bring them through as champions. The worst feature was this: The Burton men were a poor lot. Slow and cumbrous in their movements. Had they even played a hard game it would have been a good victory, but playing as they did, it was most disquieting. Liverpool will have to buck up. They must reach the premier position or for ever hide their head. They must ignore the clubs, never minding whether weak or strong, and go for all they are worth. If they do, they will win matches handsomely – go through the season without being beaten, and be well supported. If they do not their gates will fall away, and the stands present but a beggarly row of empty benches. It is in the hands of the players. They have the ability and the opportunity but must use them and not fritter them away.
Liverpool: Ned Doig, David Murray, Billy Dunlop, Maurice Parry, Alex Raisbeck, James Hughes, Arthur Goddard, Robert Robinson, Sam Raybould, Joe Hewitt, John Cox.
Burton United: Harry Bromage, Charlie Aston, Edward Kirkland, Horace Frost, Christopher Mann, William Wildin, Harry Beddow, Harry Hargrave, Fred Hargrave, Orlando Evans, Harry King.
(Joint Everton and Liverpool Match Programme, 05-09-1904)