September 1, 1906
The trial spins, public and private, the preliminary canters of our two big local clubs, were today things of the past. To proceed in racing parlance, the connections of the two great stables, Goodison and Anfield, were particularly sanguine a few hours ago that those whom they had elected to deliver at the post against Middlesbrough and Stoke respectively would give a satisfactory account of themselves.
A good start we are told is a great help towards ultimate success, and it was the earnest desire to those whose interests in the game are wrapped up in the well-being and doing of Everton and Liverpool that the English cup-holders and League champions of 1905-6 should get victoriously off the mark this afternoon.
Neither club started particularly well last season for at the end of September Everton ranked but 11th on the table, and, parenthetically, I may remark, this was the lack-lustrous position occupied by the Blues when the curtain was finally rung down in April. Concluding events had cast their shadow before!
It was indeed unlike Everton to lose more schedule games than they had won in a season – a condition of things only twice previously noted since the League’s inaugural season. However, for such a series of mishaps (which were, perhaps, unpreventable, seeing the club was visited so heavily in the matter of accidents) due compensation was forthcoming when that cup of cups was lifted for the first time in the club’s history.
Liverpool’s ease seems different in that they made a wretched start, and then, the crisis having passed, we beheld them picking up steadily day by day, to go on, and ultimately finish the strongest club in the land.
Sometimes a great illness or a great trial leave a hitherto uncertain atom of humanity stronger, more chastened and purified than before it burns out the dross so to speak – and he goes along to a higher eminence. It was thus with our Anfield friends. If it is true (which sometimes it is not) that a good start is half the battle, Liverpool went on to coin another axiom – that “a bad start is all the battle.”
Our chief concern is the future.
But ‘tis the future that chiefly concerns us now. Both managements doubtless feel thankful that all the preliminaries have been worked off without any of those annoying accidents which have grown so plentiful during practice hours in recent years.
Each club has steered clear of ill-luck in this respect – unlike, for instance, our already hard-hit but twice misguidedly-valorous friends out Hyde-road way. The immunity referred to, then, will be taken as a good omen by the supporters of both Liverpool and Everton, but, of course, the men must needs build upon deeds rather than signs.
Liverpool’s little jaunt on the Tower Grounds last week-end brought out some most satisfactory points. Both goalkeepers were in capital form, although each goal recorded was somewhat of the fluky order. The old back division firm of Alf West and Billy Dunlop showed no evidence of diminishing powers, and there were other two on view equal to the task of League football at any time. Tom Chorlton was off duty last season for several months, owing to a blood-poisoned foot, but he is now fit and well. Methinks he will yet develop into a top sawyer among backs. He is quick to think and act alike, and these traits tacked on to a refreshing originality of method, go to make the great back, who leaves his opponent the while in dreamland.
Percy Saul, of Plymouth Argyle, struck one as a back who takes his duties seriously. One can almost detect the lines creeping across his brow as he goes out to clear a peculiar situation or solve a knotty problem, but such corrugation is in him a sign of care rather than age. Yes, Saul was a thoughtful tackler, even in a sham fight.
I shall be surprised if Alex Raisbeck has not another great season. His only goal last winter was obtained when Woolwich Arsenal visited Anfield, and it was certainly curious that such a poor marksman should actually be the first to find a bull’s eye against the Gunners. However, on Saturday, Liverpool’s captain surprised the crowd with his fine marksmanship. By thrice striking the crossbar he must have sent a distinct chill down Ned Doig’s vertebra, whilst it is certain he shivered the timber yard in the upper region.
At right half Robert Robinson gave a splendid display and Parry must needs be on his best behaviour to keep the silvery topped Wearsider in the background. Robinson, given the opportunity, should develop into Snowball Frost the Second, of League football, minus the ex-Mancunian’s acrobatic tendencies. Robinson, you will remember, is no stranger to the half-back line; in fact, it was as a recruit from Sunderland Royal Rovers that he dropped into the Wearside eleven for the first time, and operated at centre half. What a fine emergency man then should he make this current season.
Then there is George Latham – a bog worker the full 90 minutes, and an improving lad like James Hughes, the reserve’s penalty kick artiste.
Of the old forwards the sparkle of John Cox and the fire of Jack Parkinson were pleasing features, but Joe Hewitt was not too noticeable. Joseph will need his best shooting boots on if such as W.H. Jones and Shepherd are to be lost in the search after goals this season.
John Carlin, who was such a useful left winger last winter played well enough to show that he may have serious designs upon gaining his “red” as John Cox’s partner. The spirit of healthy rivalry should act as a goodly tonic upon him, and also Sam Raybould.
It is perhaps full early to judge upon the two fresh forwards, Jack Lipsham and William Macpherson, but each made an encouraging start. The former had a number of his Chester admirers in evidence.
(Source: Cricket and Football Field: September 1, 1906)