Manchester’s doom


April 24, 1905
The result of Saturday’s match at Anfield decided that Manchester United shall play still another season in the Second division. Up to then they lived in hopes of securing promotion, but their final effort was simply squelched by Liverpool, who were returned easy winners by four goals to none.

The match was beneficial to the Liverpool club in a double sense, for I was informed that never has then been such a crowd at Anfield even in its Everton days. The entrances were blocked half and hour before the time of the kick-off, some of the gates were closed, and altogether the treasury benefited to the extent of some 28,000 payees. The crowd broke in twice at two corners, but they never interfered with the play, for a few words of advice from Mr. Lewis evidently impressed them with the fact that they would not have their money’s worth if they encroached on to the playing pitch.

United’s misfortune.
With the wind at their backs United had the advantage on the play of the first portion of the initial half, but West and Dunlop were in their best form, while Raisbeck saved on many occasions when the Liverpool goal was in danger. It was seen that neither of the United’s backs was physically fit, and twice Fitchett fell down when he had no one near him. The second time he retired into touch so that his ankle could be re-bandaged, but he was evidently in great pain, and he did not return with the other players after the interval. He came on when play had been in progress ten minutes, but he retired almost immediately, and took no further part in the game. Of course, the second half lost all interest – I wonder if ever a match has been interesting when one side has played one back? – but under circumstances such as on Saturday a team require eleven players to win.

Liverpool’s four goals.
Forty minutes went by ere the first point arrived, and then a couple came ere the interval. The first was secured by Cox, who after working the ball to a capital position, almost under the bar, in fact, shot hard right at Moger. The custodian got his hands to the ball, but the shot was evidently too much for him, as he dropped the ball like a hot cinder and allowed it to pass into the net.

After a breather Chorlton got through splendidly on his own, tricking his opponents as though he was accustomed to such deeds of valour, and then finished up with coolly crossing the ball to Raybould, who shot goal No. 2. It was evidently Raybould’s birthday, for he secured two more goals in the second half, and the crowd carried him off shoulder high at the finish; indeed, the whole of the players had a most flattering reception. Goal No. 3 was secured with a flying shot, one of his old timers, and the final chalk was notched by the international after fine individual work by Robinson, though the general impression was that Raybould was off-side.

An incident.
The game never lacked interest, though it dwindled away somewhat in the second half when the United were fighting a hopeless battle. There was one little diversion in the first half which created some stir. Moger secured the ball and stumbled whilst in possession, but he would not part with it, with the result that players of both sides were using him for a cushion. As there seemed likely to be a few a few damaged ribs Mr. Lewis stopped the game and threw the ball up. Evidently a United player then touched the ball ere it reached the ground, for Liverpool were given a free kick. Whereupon the United men lined themselves in the goal mouth, a piece of strategy which was successful, for Liverpool did not score. But the crowd were treated to several minutes’ unusual entertainment.

United’s hopelessness.
After the first twenty minutes or so there was never any doubt as to which side would win, and in the second half the United players simply regarded the result as beyond recovery so far as they were concerned. But it must be conceded that they were not in favour with Dame Fortune, and to play with ten men with the wind against them in the second half, with a goal deficit of 2-0, must have been very disheartening to the players.

At the same time, I am under the impression that under any circumstances Liverpool would have won. They played a determined game throughout, and it was evident that they were resting themselves against Doncaster the previous day. Then again it showed the anxious spirit of the captain when, though United were but playing with one back in the second half, he should withdraw Chorlton from the forwards and play four half-backs.

Of course, there was not much necessity for scoring goals – though singularly enough the score was doubled – the idea was rather to prevent United from scoring thrice, though as it happened Captain Raisbeck need not have worried himself.

Bustling forwards.
Liverpool’s decisive victory might be ascribed to the bustling methods of their attackers, and I trust they will display the same energy in First Division matches next season, for I have a distinct recollection of their repeated failures of last season.

Parkinson, whose limbs were tested on Saturday morning, proved himself fit enough for anything, and I predict a successful time for him. A mere rusher is lost in first-class football, but a player who combines dash with skill is the sort of man for present-day matches. Robinson was perhaps the most successful forward, and he, too, works on somewhat similar lines to Parkinson. He is not unlike Raisbeck in appearance, and is just as keen for the success of his side.

Raybould completed a trip of most successful inside men. Chorlton, who came in at outside right at the last moment for his fellow-townsman Arthur Goddard, was a decided success, and a place will certainly have to be found for him somewhere next season, and as he has figured ins even positions this season he ought to find a berth in one of them.

Tom Chorlton, Liverpool F.C. (Athletic News: April 24, 1905).
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I have seen him play an excellent back game for Stockport County, equally well at half back for Accrington Stanley, and on Saturday he showed that he was just as much at home as an attacker. Cox on the outside left was also very smart, indeed, in the second half he was altogether too good for the crippled United defence.

Sound and unsound defenders.
The defence of the winners was excellent, and no man stood out more prominently than Raisbeck, who was evidently determined that Liverpool should play in the First Division next season. Fleming, the old “Wolf,” who came to England as a forward many years ago, also showed that he is more than a match for younger men, but Parry was at a disadvantage with a crocked limb. West and Dunlop defended admirably; in fact, Doig had very little difficult work to perform.

On the other hand, United’s defence was seriously handicapped, for Bonthron came on the field as though it was a worry, and it was palpable that he was not in a fit condition, while Fitchett was of course of no assistance whatever. Bonthron, notwithstanding his physical disability, strove hard to prevent disaster. Hitherto I have not had a great opinion of Moger as a goalkeeper, but on Saturday he accomplished some capital saves, though he ought clear quicker.

United’s redeeming feature.
The best one can say of the United players was that the half back line strove manfully against odds. Roberts was the strong man of the team, and it appeared as though the best English and Scotch centre half-backs were trying to outie each other. Roberts was also well supported by the wing half-backs, for both Downie and Bell fought hard.

Of the forwards little can be said in their favour. Schofield seldom had the ball passed to him, and for about twenty minutes of the second half he was almost a spectator; but he is not the sort of player to outwit the Liverpool defenders. Wombwell was the best of the five, that is whenever he got the ball he went ahead; but the three inside men were very commonplace, and Duckworth, of whom I had heard good accounts, was seldom seen.

Liverpool: Ned Doig, Alf West, Billy Dunlop, Maurice Parry, Alex Raisbeck (C), George Fleming, Tom Chorlton, Robert Robinson, Jack Parkinson, Sam Raybould, John Cox.
Manchester United: Harry Moger, Robert Bonthron, Jack Fitchett, Alec Downie, Charlie Roberts, Alex Bell, Alf Schofield, Dick Duckworth, Jock Peddie, Thomas Arkesden, Dicky Wombwell.
Referee: J. Lewis (Blackburn).
(Athletic News: April 24, 1905)

Alex Bell, Manchester United F.C. (Athletic News: January 2, 1905).
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