November 18, 1905
The Liverpool club have experienced a considerable amount of success with the new men they have drafted into their team this season, and not the least prominent is the subject of our present sketch. As under-study to the veteran keeper, Ned Doig, he has not had to wait long for an opportunity of displaying his worth in first-class company, and his performances thus far have been decidedly creditable. That with wider experience he will further advance is indubitable, for he possesses the requisite ability for a custodian, and his future will be awaited with interest.
Sam Hardy was born at Newbould, near Chesterfield, in December 1883, and thus,with youth on his side, he has ample time to develop his skill in football matters.He first commenced playing the game with a school team at Newbould in a Shield Competition, and filled the post of centre-forward for two or three years. After leaving school, his occupation prevented him from taking part in football on Saturday afternoon, but better times in this respect came when he was 16 years old.
He then joined Newbould White Star, who were connected with the East Derbyshire League, and with them acted as custodian.He was accustomed to take this position during the practices held intermittently before the season opened, and the White Star players prevailed upon him to adopt the role of guarder. For two years he gave every satisfaction in this onerous position, and at the age of 18 joined Chesterfield.
Hardy took part in the preliminary canters with the Second Division club, and shaped capitally,but, curiously enough, he was not tried with either the League or Reserve eleven until the last month of the season of 1902-3 when, on April 10th, he was placed in the first team to play at Woolwich. On this Good Friday Chesterfield were beaten by three clear goals. However, Hardy gave satisfaction, and finished that campaign with the Leaguers. He resume the following year, and never missed a League match for Chesterfield from that time onward. This is a wonderful record of consistency and efficiency.
Against Liverpool last season he gave a fine display, and had it not been for a slight injury sustained by him during the game, it is more than probable that the Anfielders would never have equalized. Last May the latter entered into negotiation for his transfer, and he became a Liverpool player. His long immunity from serious injury was quickly broken, for in the match against Everton Reserves at Goodison on September 4th he collided with an opponent, and was off duty for several weeks.
He was given a trial with the First Division team on October 21st, against Nottingham Forest, and though he was afforded little opportunity of demonstrating what he was really capable of doing, he satisfied everyone with his manner of dealing with the little that came in his direction. Since then he has kept his place, and has proved worthy of the confidence reposed in him.
Judging from the cool, yet effective, methods which he adopts in clearing his goal, we feel pretty well assured in prognosticating a successful future for this young player. He is fearless in stopping a rush, and remarkably agile in covering the goal space, and is equally at home with both high and low shots. When his first grueling afternoon comes, we trust Hardy will show himself a master of his craft.
He stands 5ft. 9½in., and weighs 12st. 2lbs. During the close season he has been in the habit of assisting the cricket team at Newbould, and thus keeps himself in fitness for the winter game. This latter is his favourite pastime, however, and now that he has rapidly gained the sympathies of the Liverpool supporters, we hope he will continue to merit the same for many years to come.
(Joint Everton & Liverpool Programme: November 18, 1905)