Saturday, November 4 – 1905
The acquisition of the subject of our present sketch by the directors of the Liverpool Club was a decided stroke of good fortune for the Anfielders, and already the Staffordshire-born player has ingratiated himself into the affections of followers of the game in Liverpool by his sterling work on the football field. There was a certain element of good fortune in the manner he was captured by the Anfielders, for more than on club angled for his services, but now that he has settled down in his present quarters it is to be hoped his migratory days are ended.
James Bradley was born at the little colliery village of Goldenhill, in the Pottery district, in 1879. Not until he was 18 years of age did he participate regularly in football, but he then became associated with a junior team called Goldenhill Wanderers, and played for nearly a season with them as left half back. The Wanderers were members of the North Staffordshire and District League and Bradley performed so creditably that he was selected to represent the League against the champions of that year. Owing to illness, however, he was unable to take part in the match.
His abilities was noised abroad, and emissaries from Wolverhampton and Stoke were on his track. He was persuaded to sign a League form for the latter club and finished that season with them in their Reserve team, still maintaining his original position as left half back.
The following year he shaped so finely in the trial games at commencement of the season that he was drafted into the premier eleven straighaway, and never lost his place from that time onward. His initial appearance with the Leaguers was a trying one, for it was against the Villa at Birmingham, and Bradley had to face such notable performers as Dewey and Athersmith. This was a severe ordeal for the young player, but he fared very well, and the experience he gained was of the utmost value to him.
For seven years and three months he rendered invaluable aid to the Potters, who, in September 1903, apportioned him the proceedings of a Birmingham League match, as a benefit for his services to the club. During this long stay, Bradley was one of the most consistent players in the team, and his cleverness attracted the attention of the English Selection Committee. Unfortunately for him, he was showing his best form at a time when half backs were plentiful, though on two or three occasions he narrowly missed securing his first International cap.Perhaps the honour will come to him this season, as indeed it must, if continues to play as in recent matches.
At the close of last season he joined Plymouth Argyle, but the F.A. refused to sanction the signature, and this led to negotiations for his transfer, which were fortunately successful from a Liverpool point of view.While with Stoke he secured half-a-dozen medals in the Birmingham, Staffordshire, and Walsall Cup Competitions, and was undoubtedly a great source of strength to the team.
His first appearance with Liverpool was on September 23rd at Anfield, in the League match with Small Heath and against Derby County on October 7th he played a brilliant game. He practically rendered the famous Bloomer and Davis wing harmless. He plays brainy football, and reminds us very forcibly of a former Liverpool left half back – Goldie – by his methods. In controlling the ball, and skillfully placing to his forwards, he is remarkably adept, his passes being invariably along the turf, and directed so that the men in front of him can derive the greatest possible advantage from them. When at his best he fairly bewilders one by his artistic footwork, and we know no half back who can so effectively smother the opposing wing.
His presence in the Liverpool team has served to make their intermediate line one of the strongest in the country, and the forward division has likewise experienced beneficial effects thereby. Bradley is highly gratified with his reception in Liverpool, and it would be a fitting result were he to secure his first International cap during his initial season with the Anfielders. His height is 5ft. 10in., and he scales 11st. 10lb.
(Joint Everton & Liverpool Programme, 04-11-1905)