October 29, 1904
The election of Mr. Edwin Berry, C.C., to the chairmanship of the Liverpool Football Club will be received with a vast amount of pleasure by all who take an interest in the winter game.
The time has gone by when players managed their own little affairs. In the days of yester-year a few youths got together, paid a weekly or monthly subscription, bought a football and goal posts – sometimes it even ran to a crossbar, although frequently a tape had to do duty – and called themselves a club.
Out of such beginnings came the majority of the League clubs, and have grown into organisations that need careful management, and men of great integrity at their head. At this particular time it is highly necessary that the Liverpool A.F.C. should have a strong and powerful head. In the first place it is in the stormy waters of the second division, and in the second it is to be placed on a popular basis, and no longer run as one-man show.
And the subject of this sketch is just the one man capable of guiding the troubled barque through all difficulties, both financial and otherwise. He was born in Liverpool, in the Everton district, and, as a youth, helped to form the Saint Domingo Club, practically the first football club in Liverpool, and out of which the Everton Football Club sprang.
Then he joined a club called the Liverpool Association, the members of which were mainly school masters and public school men. This club used to play on a part of what is now the Liverpool Football Ground in Anfield Road. In those days matches were an event, and usual Saturday afternoon game was between two teams chosen on the ground. In the meantime the Everton Football Club had been formed, and overtures were made to “Ted” Berry to join it, which he finally did.
During the connection with Everton the Liverpool Cup was first put up for competition, and he was a member of the Everton team, which won it in its first year. The names of players taking part in it were as well known in Everton and district as the League players are today. For “auld” times sake I will just mention them: Charlie Lindsay, goal; Marriott and Morris, full backs; Parry, Pickering and Preston, half-backs; Berry, Williams, McGill, Mike Higgins, and Richards, forwards.
The club had its ground in Stanley Park, then played for a season at Coney Green in Priory Road, and finally located itself at the Anfield Road Ground, where Liverpool now has its headquarters.
Edwin Berry played with Everton for several season, finally relinquishing the game for family and business reasons. But he still kept up his interest, and was frequently on the line before neutral linesmen were necessary. Only once, however, did he officiate as referee, and that was in one of the local Derby’s between Everton and Bootle. The appointed referee did not turn up, and although he was a member of Everton, the captains of the two clubs joined in requesting him to take the vacant place, and sure testimony of the fair-mindedness which has ever characterised him in every walk of life.
He, together with Robert Lythgoe and Tom Evans, better known as the Sefton cricketer than as a footballer, founded the Liverpool Association. Mr. Berry was the first treasurer, and officiated for many years. In the early days inter-district matches were played, and to be selected for such a match was a hallmark as much coveted as an International is at present day. It was with Denbighshire, and was played on the old Bootle ground. This was not enclosed, so was surrounded with canvas. On the eventful day £13 was taken at the gates. As the expenses amounted to £20 the committee lost £7 on the day. Now, twenty-five years later, four figures is not unknown in special cases, and £300 would be a small gate at Goodison Park.
Mr. Berry played at outside right, and among all players of the present day, the one I should compare him to is Arthur Goddard, who occupies the same place on the field in the club of which Mr. Berry has been elected chairman. He had the graceful style, the speed, and the power of centring that Goddard has, and everybody felt that when he retired the club had lost a worthy player was who yet in his prime. I can well remember the enthusiasm his runs down the wing used to evoke, and doubtless Jack McGill can call to mind many a goal scored from the centre which followed the runs.
Such is the gentleman who has been elected to fill the place occupied by the late Alderman John Houlding, and Mr. William Houlding. Of his fitness for the position there is no question, and his acceptance of the office will be a guarantee that in its new manner of working everything will be conducted on proper lines.
It will be an inducement to other men of high standing to take part in the management of the sport beloved by the masses – a clean, healthy sport, which has done much to provide recreation and enjoyment for the workingman on a Saturday afternoon. Mr. John McKenna is vice-chairman, and he will prove a worthy coadjutor.
Mr. Edwin Berry is a solicitor by profession. He is a man of charming personality, and is well known in all circles. He has long been identified with politics, and for six years has represented Breckfield Ward – the Anfield Road ground is just over the border – in the City Council. His return is challenged on Tuesday next, and doubtless all good sportsmen of whatever shade of politics they may be will wish him success.
In addition he takes much interest in Art, having been deputy-chairman for the Arts Sub-Committee, and also in the charitable work of the town, especially in the Food and Betterment Association.
(Source: Joint Everton and Liverpool Match Programme: October 29, 1904)