September 2, 1905
Away down south
To-day the tocsin of war has sounded, and for the next eight months battles will be fought without intermission. Many are the hopes and fears, and soon one will be able to gather which are the likeliest elevens for the honours, and which will have to struggle desperately to escape degradation.
Twelve months ago the Livers were face to face with the problem of promotion. How they fought their way back to the First Division after a ding-dong struggle has been told many a time and oft. The greatest number of points ever gained was theirs, and yet so strenuous was the fight that the interest was kept up almost to the fall of the curtain.
Woolwich is the venue of the Livers for their first encounter. The Woolwich Reds had their baptism of fire last season, and did fairly well, finishing up somewhere in the middle of the table. They did nothing of a sensational nature, but their ground obtained rather an unenviable name for barracking visitors.
Doubtless a longer experience of the First League football will render them more sedate. Since the close of last season the “Infants” have lost Jimmy Jackson, their captain, and this will certainly weaken their defence. Still, there is always an advantage in playing at home, and especially in the first match, so that the Livers will have to put their best foot foremost to secure a victory.
The men they have.
Liverpool have not added to their team since last season, with the exception of Sam Hardy, the Chesterfield man, who will be understudy to Ned Doig. Whether the men engaged are sufficient to carry the club through an arduous season remains to be proved. Doubtless the directors and their secretary Mr. Tom Watson, have no intention of trying the experiment, and I fully expect to hear in the near future that the forces have been augmented and strengthened.
But at the moment it is my duty to deal with the material at hand. In the first place, the defence is apparently safe. Doig showed no diminution of his marvellous powers last season, and many times was the saviour of his side.
It was the same with Billy Dunlop, who was as brilliant as at any period of his career, and Alf West, once he recovered from his accident, came on with leaps and bounds.
At half-back Alex Raisbeck worked gallantly, and George Fleming was more than useful. Maurice Parry was good and bad by turns. Apparently the weak spot is Fleming, but the wold Wolf is so genuine a sticker that he may have more surprises in store for us. Parry is clever, and in his benefit year should do something to demonstrate that he has not lost his powers.
Forward John Cox and Sam Raybould made a great left wing, and Jack Parkinson, given fair play, will be England’s centre yet. Neither Arthur Goddard nor Robert Robinson were superlative last year, yet the latter was instrumental in notching many goals. Goddard was off colour, and with renewed health should be his old self again.
Taking them individually, the Reds have a strong team, and on paper their forwards are as good as any in the country. They ought to win, seeing that all of them have played many times together. In the practice matches their displays were not altogether great; but I fancy that more than one of them does better when pitted against classier opponents than when operating against their inferiors.
This is not always a good trait, as it leads them sometimes to be careless in their play when they fancy an easy victory. Accidents are what most to be feared, and more than one of the men seem peculiarly liable to get hurt.
The reserves are full of energy, and gave their brethren of the first team a rare shaking up in the second practice match. Hardy please everybody, and David Murray has only to reproduce is form to do away with any qualms about the full-back position.
George Latham is a centre-half of more than average merit. He has all the enthusiasm and fire of the Cymric race, and never tires. What would not John Carlin be worth if he could reproduce his reserve and practice form in the upper circle; he would be one of the best centres in the country.
Ellis Dudley and James Garside are built on the right line for wingers, and Joe Hewitt strikes the observer as a natural half-back. Tom Chorlton was, unfortunately, not on view, owing to an injury to his foot.
The Southern tour of Liverpool will be continued on Monday, when they will open the new Chelsea enclosure. This is a friendly match, but doubtless the week-end in the great metropolis will be enjoyed, especially if success crowns their efforts on Saturday.
(Joint Everton and Liverpool Match Programme: September 2, 1905)