April 21, 1906
Looking over the Liverpool record.
Praise for players.
This day has been the end of the season of the Liverpool Football Club, so far as League matches are concerned, their remaining fixtures being with that lever amateur organisation Corinthians.
In this article – a short retrospect – we shall endeavour to point out a few features which have enable the club to hold the great honour of League champions, 1905-6.
The club opened the season in a sad manner. The management had only signed on one new player, and that was Sam Hardy, late of Chesterfield, and he was injured in the encounter between the two local reserve teams. People straightway complained bitterly that Liverpool had failed to strengthen their ranks.
The directors were fully alive to their need of players, and especially was this evident when they had Jack Parkinson smashed up in the first match at Woolwich; but they were judicious in their desperation, and, as their excellent chairman (Councillor Edwin Berry) said at the social gathering at which the medals were presented to the players in commemoration of their winning the Second Division championship,
“We don’t want to sign on any but absolutely class men. It is useless our filling our books with their names if we are not sure that they will be men of value.”
This has been the principle of the Liverpool Club throughout the season, and one would imagine that they have fewer players on their list than any club in the First Division. They started with but a few odd members over the required twenty-two, and even now they cannot have more than thirty on their list.
The opening blow was Parkinson’s wrist being injured, and this caused the directors to try Joe Hewitt, who had failed in other duties, in the centre-forward position. From being a limp, uncertain player, he showed up into brilliance, such as marked his play in the days when he was a Sunderland player. He challenged comparison with Albert Shepherd, of Bolton Wanderers; in-fact, Hewitt and Shepherd are the two most talked-about players this season.
The Liverpool centre has scored in nearly every engagement in which he has taken part, and has opened out the game beautifully with his long across passes. The Anfielders, therefore by a mere accident, unconsciously gave birth to a centre-forward who has made his name in the football world.
The management realising, after their defeat in the Midlands by a huge margin, that George Fleming, who had served them so well, had lost his pace, and that sentiment must be ignored and a left half-back signed on, were fortunate enough to complete negotiations with Stoke for the transfer of James Bradley, who made a host of friends in a very short time.
Bradley put the finishing touch on a line of half-backs the equal of which it would be hard to find on this season’s form. In Maurice Parry, Alex Raisbeck, James Bradley that has been the order whenever possible all through the piece, and they have proved stumbling blocks to opposing forwards in the centre position – we have, of course, admittedly the finest centre-half operating, and to Raisbeck primarily must be given every credit. His efforts have been almost indescribable, and he has captained the team with the utmost skill.
The sub-captain, Billy Dunlop, has surprised his most enthusiastic followers. How he has lasted the season is surprising, and yet it is not a startling surprise, because Dunlop is known to be most abstemious, and a man who never yet gave his team or trainer the slightest trouble. His whole heart is with Liverpool, and he has passed the double figures in years of service for the “Reds.” He will receive, all being well, a benefit next year, we believe, and know full well the public will rally round him and give the popular punter a rare good sum. His long kick has been invaluable to his co-defenders, because when he gets his boot to the ball it is to clear cleanly and guarantee that the forward will have a chance to relieve the defence.
Sam Hardy, too, has played very finely in this interesting season. It is only within the last week or so that he has failed his side, but the best of goalkeepers must crack up now and again. Hardy, ever since he superseded Ned Doig, who was laid up with rheumatism, had made some remarkable saves, and to him there is every degree of praise deserved.
Arthur Goddard has been the most consistent of the forward line. He has always been ready to go that last yard, whereas he previously seemed to ease up where he now bustles and hampers the defence. He is a graceful player is Goddard, and when one sees him trip along the touch-line could imagine him gliding on ice. He is an artistic footballer, and nothing but the ultra-excellence of the outside right of other clubs kept him from being recognised in the internationals.
By the way, Goddard is the only player who has not missed a solitary match this season – a magnificent record.
Robert Robinson has “foraged” most persistently for the benefit of his partner, and we should just like to see him a little more speedy. Still, in the art of goal-getting he has been one of the foremost, and the club has always rejoiced that it signed him on from Sunderland, together with Hewitt. The latter player we have already mentioned, so we now pass along the forward line Sam Raybould, John Carlin, and John Cox – a trio that has assisted most manfully to raise the club to its great height.
Parry and Bradley also have merited great commendation, and last, but certainly not least, little Alf West, who has increased his reputation as a first-class back. His play has been characterised by delightful touches, and he has improved without doubt in the art of tackling a fleet-footed forward. Some day, maybe – we hope it will – international honours will crown his efforts.
Tom Chorlton has been called upon most recently, and when needed has been of great value.
Robert Blanthorne has been a rare glutton for goals with the Combination team, and it is a matter for favourable comment. He is going to be a first rate player, and there is special satisfaction in his performance, as he is a local product.
Harry Griffiths, the Wednesbury back, is also a lad who will come along into prominence when the opportunity arrives. At half back, also, the club has James Hughes and Sam Hignett, youngsters of promise.
Altogether the outlook for next year, if we can be so far-reaching, is extremely hopeful. To the trainer William Connell, and the groundsman J.M. Elliott, one offers eulogy, and to the directors, especially Mr. John McKenna, go out of our praise and congratulates, only we should like them to refuse to increase the prices of admission at any match when the new ground, which is to be started within a week is in readiness.
Mr. Tom Watson, of the iron nerves, has borne off another season with laurels. The Liverpool Club and the public look to the admirable secretary as an example of a man who has fought against the fortunes of fate. Mr. Watson has steered the good ship Liverpool in his own inimitable style, and he is a proud man to-day – proud of his players, proud of their record, and proud that two championships – Division I and Division II – have been gained by the wearers of the red jersey in successive seasons.
The Livers have won eleven matches at home and lost two. The biggest score recorded by them was against Middlesbrough at home, the score being 6-1. The biggest score recorded against them was 5-0 by Aston Villa. No team has taken four points from the Anfielders, while they have drawn the maximum from Sunderland, Derby County, Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, and the Wolves.
Chatty lines about their careers and styles.
Sam Hardy: Goalkeeper.
He is a terror for his size, and has wondrous keen eyes. Through Doig’s rheumatism the ex-Chesterfield man received his opportunity in the first team, a chance of which he took full advantage. The Liverpool Club have experienced a considerable amount of success with their new members this season, and Hardy proved no exception to the rule.
Samuel was born at Newbould, near Chesterfield, in 1883. He first commenced his football with a school team in the town of his adoption, appearing, strangely enough, as a centre-forward for a couple of seasons. After leaving school he joined Newbould White Star, members of the East Derbyshire League, and with them he acted as custodian.
For two years he gave satisfaction in this onerous position, and joined Chesterfield when eighteen years old. His first match was against the now promoted Woolwich Arsenal, on April 10th, when Chesterfield were beaten by three clear goals. Hardy, however, performed creditably.
Liverpool made overtures for his transfer, and he was tried with the first eleven on October 21st against Nottingham Forest. Since then he has kept his place, and has merited the confidence reposed in him.
A grey-haired left back of Scotch build and Scotch blood. Dunlop has been playing for the Anfield Road team for a considerable time now, and has proved invaluable as a defender. He, like his club-mate, Raisbeck, has followed the fortunes of the “Reds” in both depressing and successful seasons. He is a powerful punter, a fact which has proved of great assistance to his club, particularly in the later stages of the game.
Is a clean-cut partner, inasmuch as Dunlop is boisterous and forceful; West is dainty and effective. The pair blend beautifully together. Alfred West was born at Nottingham in December, 1882. His first appearance in a football team was at school, and he figured on the losing side in the semi-final of the shield competition.
When sixteen he was connected with Notts Jardine, and played with them for three years. He left Nottingham and joined Ilkeston four years ago, and the following year he was seen in the Barnsley ranks, and played Second League football for them during one winter, and two months of the next. On October 31, 1903, he played a superb game against Woolwich, and the crowd carried him shoulder high off the ground.
Liverpool came to terms with the Tykes for his transfer. It will be remembered that last close he was accidentally shot while training for running. He is an adept at taking penalty kicks, and gave an instance as late as Good Friday last against Everton.
Nicknamed “Parry Longlegs,” musician, composer, and half-back, has a style that is not patented, but cannot be copied. He was born at Oswestry, appearing with Leicester Fosse for a short period, and a season with Brighton, but practically the whole of his football career has been spent with his present club.
The latter made a great bargain when the secured his services for a nominal figure. Maurice Parry is one of the best half-backs his country has had, and he has represented them time and again. He is still young as regards athletic life, and should have many years yet of service.
The popular captain, and certainly the finest half-back that ever played in the central position; “Alec,” as he is affectionately called by his many admirers, has done yeoman service for Liverpool, both as a player and in the capacity of captain.
He is a Scotchman by birth, and hails from Stirlingshire. He quickly came to the front rank when with the local organisation, and his ability was soon noticed by the Scottish Selection Committee.
He has occupied the position of centre-half for Scotland whenever available, and, perhaps, played the finest game of his life for his country against England at Hampden Park, Glasgow, this year, when he was acknowledged by all as brilliant in the extreme and the best man on the field. It is to be hoped that Raisbeck will remain with us for some time to come.
Liverpool accomplished a rare stroke of business when the secured the signature of James Bradley, for he has strengthened the team in a position which had for some time proved unsatisfactory.
He was born at the little colliery village of Golden Hill, Staffordshire, on June 25, some twenty-seven years ago. When at the mature age of eighteen he assisted Goldenhill Wanderers as left half-back, and the best local organisation quickly “had their eyes on him,” with the result that Stoke secured him.
He was only nineteen when figuring with that club’s reserve team, and the following year he was drafted into the League team, in his one and only position – left half-back. During seven years with them he invariably gave the utmost satisfaction.
His short acquaintance with Plymouth Argyle was never allowed to materialise with the FA authorities, and being on the transfer list, Liverpool fortunately successfully signed him.
Is showing his best form in most graceful manner this season, and is one of the best of a splendid forward line. He has deservedly become a great favourite in Liverpool, and is a typical example of the highest class of football.
Goddard was born at Stockport in 1879. He was scarcely sixteen years old when he played for the Christ Church club as outside right. He joined Stockport County, and advanced into the first team, then members of the Lancashire League. He stayed two seasons, and then migrated to Glossop, then in their one and only first division season.
He came to Liverpool, however, in February, 1902, and in his second match against Grimsby Town registered a draw. It would seem unlucky for him that he has not before now received recognition from the English selection committee.
Amongst recent additions to the ranks of the “livers” is Robinson, who, since his connection with them, has gained hosts of admirers by reason of his being a genuine worker.
“Robbie” was born at Sunderland in October, 1882, and early earned a position in the Thomas Street School team of that town. They won the championship of Sunderland three years consecutively, and Robinson played outside right during that period. On one occasions his club won by 17 goals to nil, of which number Robinson scored 15.
At sixteen he was attached to Sunderland Juniors, which eventually merged into the Sunderland third team. He had a successful season with South Hylton. Sunderland Royal Rovers were his next masters. Sunderland eventually signed him, and he finished the latter half of 1901-2 with them in the League and Cup-ties, at inside right.
In February, 1903-4 he was persuaded, along with Hewitt, to come to Liverpool. He made his first appearance against Stoke on the 13th, and on the 22nd scored the only goal against Middlesbrough. He is a consistent goal scorer.
Was a rank failure in all positions till he took the place of Parkinson in the centre positions, after the latter broke his wrist on September 2 at Woolwich. Hewitt hails from Chester, where he played for St. Paul’s School. He assisted the Chester boys against those of North Stafford, and also appeared for Chester Rangers and Chester Locos.
He was recommended to Sunderland by a Chester acquaintance, and played for them at inside right and left. He came to Liverpool with his club-mate Robinson. Since he has been playing centre-forward he has been a great acquisition to the Anfielders.
He is a variable character. His connection with Liverpool has been truly an exceptional one, and the time he went South for a very short period will no doubt be well remembered. Sammy first saw the light of the day at Seymour, near Staveley, a Derbyshire town some twenty-eight years ago.
When eighteen he played for Derby County against the Villa, Raybould scoring the only goal. He developed as a sprinter, and participated in several Sheffield handicaps.
Locally he will be remembered as playing with the ambitious New Brighton Tower Club, from whom he was secured by Liverpool in the close of the 1899-1900 season, and with his aid the latter managed to escape the second division. He has twice been selected for the Inter-League matches with Scotland.
Is another player with his off days, but when the Liverpool flier is in his best vein there is no more clever outside left at present playing football. Not so very long ago he wanted to join Fulham, but the Football Association did not consider his claims for doing so feasible, and, as a consequence, he remained with the “Reds.”
He first really made his mark when playing for Blackpool, and he was transferred by the seaport club to Liverpool. He was not long in making his presence felt, so to speak, and he was advanced into the first team.
He is considered in the majority of cases, to be the fastest winger to-day, and this is to no little extent justified.
John Carlin has been a general utility man to the Anfielders, especially so when any of the regular members have been on the injury list. He has figured in nearly all forward positions, and as recently as the match against their rivals across the park, on Good Friday gave a brilliant display for his club. Carlin is a man who has come on considerably since he has been connected with Liverpool.
He is another good reserve, and can play either half-back or back, although there is a diversity of opinion as to which position is best suited to him. His birthplace is Heaton Mersey, and he played for the juniors of that place.
He has played for Stockport County, and he gained a reputation as a right back. He migrated to Accrington Stanley in 1902, and for them played full-back. He came into Liverpool service in 1903-4 season. He possesses a good turn of speed.
Jack Parkinson is a local product, and was born in Bootle in September, 1883. He played for Hertford Albion in the Bootle and District League. Parkinson next joined Valkyrie, and remained here two seasons. Jack played at inside right for the Liverpool Reserve team in 1901-2, but still retained his amateur status.
He is a capital shot, and with his speed is a dangerous forward for a back to tackle. This season he was unfortunate in being hurt early on in the season.
James Garside is a player of reserve merit, occasionally called upon to do duty with the seniors. Garside was born at West Gorton, near Manchester, twenty-two years ago, and one of his first clubs was Sale Holmfield. He has played for no fewer than three Lancashire Combination clubs – Darwen, Accrington Stanley, and Liverpool Reserves respectively.
His first game with the League team was against Lincoln City on January 21, 1905. He is also a cricketer of average ability.
(Liverpool Football Echo: April 21, 1906)