A record crowd at Anfield

April 14, 1906
Fine weather, a holiday season, and keen partisanship combined to produce a record crowd at Anfield yesterday when the return League match between Liverpool and Everton was played. Indeed, the crush was so great that not only was the proper accommodation packed, but spectators encroached on the playing area.

Fully an hour before the kick off the utmost capacity of the ground was tested. At half past two the dense and swaying crowd at the Oakfield Road end broke down the railings and surged on to the field. A staff of constables, kept the spectators behind the touch line, but shortly afterwards a similar incident occurred, and further avalanches of spectators poured on to the green.

All round the playing pitch enthusiastic supporters of either club swarmed around the touch line. Others climbed on the roofs of the stands while several partisans swarmed up the pillars supporting the roofs and perched themselves in forks of the ironwork.

The ground is supposed to hold 28,000 people, but there were probably 35,000 present, while thousands remained outside unable to gain entrance. Owing to the encouragement of the spectators on the playing area, which the police found utterly impossible to prevent, it was very doubtful whether the game could be concluded.

The players duly turned out shortly before three o’clock, and it was obvious that a start at all events would be made. Neither side was at full strength. Liverpool were without Billy Dunlop and Robert Robinson, their side being the same as that which, defeated Newcastle United. Parkinson partnering Goddard, while Chorlton took the place of Dunlop. Everton were short of Settle and Makepeace, Cooke playing inside left, while Black was drafted into the half-way line.

Both teams were enthusiastically cheered when they appeared on the green, the League leaders receiving the warmer welcome. They lined up in the following order.
Liverpool: Sam Hardy, Alf West, Tom Chorlton, Maurice Parry, Alex Raisbeck (C), James Bradley, Arthur Goddard, Jack Parkinson, Joe Hewitt, Sam Raybould, John Carlin.
Everton: William Scott, William Balmer, Bob Balmer, William Black, Jack Taylor (C), Walter Abbott, Jack Sharp, Hugh Bolton, Sandy Young, Herbert Cook, Harold Hardman.

The management of the Liverpool Football Club could not have had a greater object lesson as regrets the necessity for extending the accommodation of the Anfield Road enclosure than was afforded yesterday. Never in the history of the club have more people been on the ground at any match. Many of them could not see the game, but when doors are rushed police and officials are powerless. So great was the crush that barriers were smashed, and it was exceedingly fortunate, that no accident occurred.

Still, the play was sadly interfered with by reason of the great attendance, and it was no wonder that the game, had to be stopped several times in order to keep the people from getting over the touch line. Under the conditions Mr. Green the referee, carried out his onerous duties with praiseworthy fact and judgement. At one time it was feared that the game might have to abandoned, but unfortunate, full time was played, and the match must of necessity stands as a League fixture.

Perhaps under the circumstances it was just as well that the game resulted in a draw. At the same time such a verdict was not at all was Liverpool would have liked in view off their race for championship honours. Whether it was the overcrowding or the customary intense excitement when local rivals meet, certainly the match was a disappointment as an exhibition of Association football. It was a hard struggle throughout, but the finer points were for the most part conspicuous by their absence.

The first half in particular was uninteresting – excepting of course, when Everton scored ā€“ and the second portion came as a welcome relief. Once Liverpool equalised there was a rare struggle for supremacy, and possibly had the Liverpool forward line even approached their true form the home side might have achieved a decided victory.

As it was their attack was lacking in methods, and with the Everton defence in fine form, continuous pressure brought no tangible reward. Everton’s goal, which the veteran Taylor obtained, was altogether a soft affair, for which that usually safe custodian Hardy was responsible. Taylor dropped the ball into the goalmouth, and apparently Hardy had a very easy opportunity of clearing. Unfortunately for his side the custodian failed to gather the ball and Taylor promptly had it in the net. This was a slice of luck for Everton, but matters were pretty well equalised, seeing that Liverpool drew level by means of a penalty kick given against R. Balmer.

While Liverpool had more of the play than their opponents. Everton’s rushes were more suggestive of danger. Indeed, in the last minutes after Young had nipped in between the backs, Sharp had a grand chance of beating Hardy, but from an easy position he shot yards wide. The defence on both sides was better than the attack. Except for his one mistake, Hardy kept a good goal, but he was not so conspicuous as Scott, whose marvelous save from Parkinson will long be remembered.

The brothers Balmer were a fine pair of backs, and while West played well, Chorlton gave a capital exhibition in the capacity of Dunlop‘s understudy. The respective captains- Raisbeck and Taylor ā€“ were the pick of the halves, their experience and judgement being of great value. Carlin was the most prominent of the Liverpool first line, which as a whole was below par, especially in front of goal.

Young gave his best, and Cooke was a thorough trier, but neither Sharp, Bolton, nor Hardman excelled himself, although the right winger was responsible for some brilliant runs.
(Liverpool Courier: April 14, 1906)


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