September 1, 1904
Alex Raisbeck, Captain, Liverpool F.C.
One of the most striking personalities in League football during recent years, has been and still is Alex Raisbeck, chosen for the fourth successive season to lead the premier eleven of the Liverpool Football Club. Born at Wallacestone, near Polmont in Sterling, in 1879 Raisbeck was accustomed even in his boyhood days, to spend most of his spare time in chasing the leather, for football is practically the only game that lads indulge in ayont the Tweed.
When 15 years of age, he became associated with the Larhall Thistle Club, for which organization he played as outside right for half a season, but a vacancy occurring in the half back division, he was drafted into the intermediate line. After two years’ service with the Thistle, he joined the Edinburgh Hibernians and figured in all three positions at half, but after six months, he became the regular centre, and during the remainder of his connection with the “Hibs” always occupied this post.
Towards the latter end of his second year with this club, he was induced to assist Stoke, being then about 19 years old, but after two months’ in the Potteries’, he attracted the attention of the Liverpool officials, and came to Anfield the following season – 1898. From this time onward Raisbeck’s career has been one continued run of success, and the highest honours of the football world have fallen to his share, the only distinction he has not yet gained being an English Cup Medal, though this with a bit of luck should have been won in 1898, when those memorable semi-finals with Sheffield United were played.
In his first season with the Hibernian, and when 18 years old, he played left half back in the inter-League game between Scotland and Ireland. In 1899 he was selected as centre half for the greatest International of the year, England v. Scotland, and for five years in succession has occupied this position, whilst in 1902-3 he also played against Wales, this being the first occasion when Anglo-Scots were chosen to oppose the Principality team.
Raisbeck is distinctly a class player, and this is clearly ploved by the manner in which he rises to the occasion in an International Match. This is a sure test of the really gifted footballer – one who can shine in the highest company – and the critics voted him the greatest player on the field in last year’s International. As a centre half he has no superior, though his destructive tactics are in advance of his initiative methods. A more loyal, earnest, reliable player does not exist, and it can be faithfully said of him, that he never goes on the field without being fully determined to exert himself to the utmost for the benefits of his side. A tireless worker, an adept in breaking up an attacking set of forwards, indefatigable in falling to the rear and assisting his backs out of a difficulty, heading the ball oftener than any other player on the field, Raisbeck is indeed a host in himself, and we imagine that many a second division club this winter will discover these facts for themselves. Eleven players imbued with the same spirit that permeates Raisbeck, could accomplish anything, and in this respect, he, as captain, sets a splendid example to his comrades.
His two brother are footballers, the younger after being two years at Anfield having joined the new organization at Hull, whilst the other has played for Sunderland, Derby and New Brompton, and is now at Reading. At billiards and bowls Raisbeck is no mean exponent, but he is inclined to belittle his abilities in these games. Standing 5ft. 9½in. and weighing 12st. 9lbs., he is ideally built for a footballer, but to enumerate the full worth of his services to the Liverpool Club, would occupy more space than is at present available.
(Joint Everton and Liverpool Match Programme: September 1, 1904)