April 29, 1905
That there are capable players in the Liverpool reserve team is amply demonstrated by the position which the club has gained in the Lancashire Combination tourney this season. As “runners-up” in this competition, the Anfielders have at times displayed excellent prowess, and their success has been largely due to the efficiency of their intermediate line. George Latham and Tom Chorlton have been responsible for much good work in this direction, and their doing have already met with recognition in this column. It is therefore only natural that the sequence should be completed, and we have pleasure this week in submitting to the notice of our readers in the career of another genuine and thoroughly reliable footballer.
John Hughes was born in the town of Flint in the year 1880, but when quite young his parents came to Liverpool, so that he may be rightly looked upon as a local player. In his early days, he took but little part in properly organised football, and was accustomed to getting a game with whatever team require his services. It was not until the season 1897-98 that the Liscard C.E.M.S. managed to attract his notice, and as left half-back he became a member of their ranks. In his first season with them, whilst members of the Egremont and District League, the championship was won, and the successful team received medals.
The following year the Liscard Club joined the South Liverpool and District League, and Hughes continued with them as a half-back. Good fortune adhered to them, for the Cestrians gained first place at the close of the season, for which they were rewarded with medals. Another change ensued, for the C.E.M.S. became connected with the Wirral Senior League, and nearly pulled off this championship.
Towards the close of that season, 1899-1900, Hughes was asked to assist New Brighton Tower Reserves against Magazines, as they were then termed, and he shaped so well that he signed a professional form for the Tower team He played for the League eleven in the return engagement at Woolwich, when the Tower were beaten by five clear goals.
His connection with New Brighton was not a long one, and in the winter of 1901, he was assisting a club named Clarendon, in the Wirral Senior League for half the season. From here he went to Aberdare in South Wales, and took part in the South Wales and Monmouthshire League matches. He attracted the notice of the Welsh Executive and played left half-back in the Trial match at Wrexham in 1902, but he did not get his place in the International eleven, though he was first reserve. After this match he was persuaded to come to Liverpool, and opened the season of 1903-04, by helping the Reds defeat Accrington Stanley in their first Combination game.
On September 19 he was chosen to play in the League team at Sunderland, and there gained his initial experience with first class clubs. In 31, out of 34 League fixtures he figured in the Liverpool eleven, and had his club not been so dangerously placed in the League, he would doubtless have secured International honours. These, however, were forthcoming, and this season Hughes played in all three games, and in the last match, at Belfast, had the misfortune to sprain the muscles of his thigh. He has not been seen in the League eleven at Anfield very often this season, for George Fleming has done so well that he could not be omitted, but there should be further opportunity afforded him next winter of showing his real worth as a left half-back.
In other respects, besides football, Hughes is a conspicuous performer, and he possesses a notable testimonial of his pluck and valour in the shape of the Royal Humane Society’s Certificate for Life-Saving. Always fond of bathing, he has been enabled thereby to save the lives of four persons from drowning. Two of these were rescued from the River Mersey, which practically passed unnoticed, but the third feat, for saving a child that had fallen into a clay pit, gained for him a monetary reward from the Liverpool Branch of the above society. For the fourth case of a similar character, he secured the certificate alluded to, which was beautifully framed by some local admirers, and presented to him. This is a record of which Hughes may well be proud.
Our subject is also a skilled performer at Quoits, and has met and defeated some of the best players in Lancashire and Cheshire. Two years ago he won the Liscard Quoit Handicap from scratch, and last season played with the Seacombe club, which is connected with the English Amateur Quoit Association He pitches very heavy irons, weighing 18lbs., which he had made for him in Kilmarnock. By this means he keeps himself fit during the summer months, and a finer exercise than quoits throwing could not be desired. Large crowds witness the competition games with Ness Holt, Neston, Birkenhead, Bootle, &c., and this pastime is certainly increasing in local interest.
Sufficient will have been gleaned from this short sketch to prove that Hughes is a capital all round sport, and though he has not been so prominently brought to the notice of the Liverpool public, during the season which has almost ebbed away, he should be heard of another year. He is a half-back of the sound type, reliable rather than brilliant, and his head work is especially noticeable. In better class company his talents should develop, more particularly in the direction of drawing the opposition before placing to his forwards. He stands 5ft. 9in., and weighs 11st. 12lb., and considering the limited character of the chances he has had of making headway, must be said to have fared exceedingly creditably in the football world.
(Joint Everton and Liverpool Match Programme: April 29, 1905)