Season preview 1906-07: Liverpool F.C. (Liverpool Football Echo)

August 25, 1906
The Liverpool Club have, like their neighbours from across the park, a reputation to maintain, inasmuch as they hold the distinction of being League champions. The honour is not new to them; but they, too, will have to play at the top of their form if they do not desire the title wrested from them.

Last season, from every standpoint, was most successful, and the approaching one can be looked forward to with equanimity. It will mark an epoch in the history of the Anfield club, because what for many seasons has been accomplished – namely, a home worthy of the club and its supporters.

The new ground, when completed –and this undertaking will take some time yet, probably until the opening of the season 1907-8 – will be one of the finest in the country. It has always been a sore point, even with the most ardent supporters, that the accommodation was not nearly adequate for the number of supporters, which yearly increase.

The directors were alive to the necessity of an enlarged enclosure, and, with this object in view, secured, as all are now aware, a piece of land adjoining the original ground. All through the season the work has been pushed on with expedition, and when Liverpool open the season spectators will be provided with an infinitely superior view of the play hitherto, while at the same time the conditions will be more comfortable. The playing area has also been improved, the turf having been re-laid, and it should present a splendid verdant appearance by September 1.

Liverpool have reached a pinnacle of eminence which will require some maintaining in these days of rivalry. They have, like Everton, the same team that secured the League Cup, Liverpool Cup, and the Dewar Shield, together with several new men, although the policy of signing the latter has not been particularly evident, the directors, wisely, for the present at any rate, relying on the men that have served them so well in the past.

Since their enjoyable visit to Paris the players have been in training at New Brighton, and this should be a great factor in improving their condition.

I take it for granted that Sam Hardy will again guard the breach for the first team. The Chesterfield youth came on in wonderful fashion last season, showing himself cool and resourceful in critical periods of his club’s fortunes. He has a fine pair of backs to assist him. The defence has been in no small measure responsible for the success of the club, and it is pleasing to think the same men will serve us again.

Billy Dunlop has come up smiling, and given us hope he has not forgotten his string and forceful punting. Aside of him, and giving him support, is Alf West, whom I regard as one of the cleverest backs playing to-day. His kicking and tackling are almost typical of Howard Spencer at times, and, what is of great advantage, he has a fine turn of speed.

It has often been a matter of opinion how useful a man Maurice Parry has been to Wales. It is questionable, however, if Liverpool would be able to fill his place. Fortunately, the necessity has not yet arisen, nor yet is it likely to do so. “Long legs” is a familiar figure and a clever half back of three.

Without making light of other players, Alex Raisbeck, the captain, is, I opine, the mainstay of the team. Ever since he joined the Liverpool ranks he has been universally popular, and especially since he became captain, Liverpolitans have much to thank Raisbeck for, and there is little cause for wonder at the open-manner in which they give vent to their expressions of admiration. He is a veritable tower of strength at centre half. When things were going badly with his team, when they were in need of a full back, Raisbeck stepped in to the breach with credit,

After William Goldie went South there was always something lacking in the middle line until James Bradley was signed. He was the necessary factor which made a previously moderate trio strong. Parry, Raisbeck, and Bradley should be as strong in future as in the past, and thus present the forwards with opportunities for a good goal average.

The composition of the forward line has been greatly discussed. There are six good men in Arthur Goddard, Robert Robinson, Jack Parkinson, Joe Hewitt, Sam Raybould, and John Cox. After Parkinson hurt his wrist at Woolwich, Hewitt was tried in his stead, and what a valuable asset he has proved all are aware. That he will be moved is unlikely. Goddard and Robinson are a well-tried wing, and so are Cox and Raybould.

Now, it appears impossible to drop any of these men for Parkinson, good player as the latter undoubtedly is. I think Parkinson will have to play the part of understudy, unless, of course, there is a marked deterioration in one or more of these men, a contingency which I hope will not arise.

Rather, on the other hand, should they provide some of the brilliant footwork which was instrumental in reaching the top rung of the ladder.

Of the three new men signed only one is a really important capture, although the others hold promise of development. Percy Saul, who comes from Plymouth Argyle, is a back on whom the directors can rely should necessity arise. The other two are Jack Lipsham and William Macpherson, The former has made a name for himself at Chester, and is a brother of the Sheffield United player, while the latter is from Paisley St. Mirren. These two fill up in the reserves the vacancies caused by the migration of Garside and Hughes.

The veteran Ned Doig enters upon another season of football with the reserves, and his backs will probably be Saul and Harry Griffiths. Tom Chorlton, George Latham, and John Hughes are still with the club, as also are Robert Blanthorne, who has done yeoman service at centre forward. John Carlin, who on several occasions acquitted himself creditably when called upon to appear in the first team, Charlie Wilson, John Graham, Macpherson, and Lipsham.

In conclusion, I wish both Everton and Liverpool a successful season from a general standpoint, and hope the honours which they possess will still be retained at the close of this arduous campaign.
(Source: Liverpool Football Echo: August 25, 1906)

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