December 22, 1906
Poor football qualities of Notts.
The Liverpool v Notts County match is not one on which the genuine lover of football would seek to dwell. Somehow, it very seldom happens that we have a good spectacular game when the Lambs are the visitors, be the venue Goodison or Anfield, and one can readily understand how it is the County as a team fails to draw big crowds to Trent Bridge.
With about three exceptions, the eleven never dreamt about playing the game on anything approaching, say Newcastle United lines. No attempt is made at getting a good “finish” on their general movements, and the stranger within the gates at New Anfield would have never suspected he was gazing at First Division football, and – possibly – maximum wage guns.
If we take Jerry Dean, Percy Humphreys, and Ben Craythorne away, there is not much class left. The remainder in the main are simply out to despoil the opposition, to break up the play. Interesting, pretty and exhilarating football seldom materialises when the rivals have not sympathetic movement.
Enter Liverpool’s Five Goals – Exit “Monty.”
From the very outset the Liverpool attacking brigade experienced little difficulty in working round the Notts halves and backs; and goals looked probable every minute. As I stated last week, Robert Robinson’s opening shot was very well put in, for Joe Hewitt’s centre was taken at an awkward angle, Robbie swinging round to apply the parting thrust ere the ball had touched the floor.
Hewitt’s corner was also well placed when Sam Raybould scored No. 2 with a header, the ball going clean and clear into the net; but from that point Hewitt was seldom seen in the piece. Raybould’s second goal was distinctly lucky, the scorist being located well offside until William Macpherson’s forward pass touched a Notts man on route; but Macpherson’s fourth goal was a stunner.
The story of the second half one would prefer blotted out. Albert Jones’s partial breakdown, followed by Tommy Waterall’s sudden collapse, and the culminating point – the ordering off of John Montgomery – was a case of piling on the agony for Notts; but Liverpool as a team were charitable, and for this at least the visitors were thankful.
I still think Liverpool would have won by a bigger margin had the Notts team remained sound, for the visitors were at sixes and sevens, and the Reds seemed repeatedly puzzled how to best formulate their attacks. I was glad to see the perfect manner in which the crowd treated Montgomery, as the visitors’ robust back walked slowly and in subdued fashion to the dressing rooms.
Montgomery has always been a back whose style of defence has been somewhat open to criticism. Somehow, like Walter Wigmore, of Birmingham, and Ambrose Langley of old in the service of Sheffield Wednesday, he rather gets on a crowd’s nerves. He possibly can’t help his style, and may mean well, and there never was a more genuine man in a general sense than Langley; whilst Wigmore, we hear, is also of superior taste and behaviour vary; and in the heat of battle players behave in a wild fashion, the description of which doubtless staggers them upon opening the evening paper.
On the other hand, we have tractable-looking, mute, meek and mild operators in the field of play whom the casual observer imagines incapable of saying booh to a goose, and yet in isolated instances such men are very demons in mufti and are the bane of a secretary’s or a trainer’s life. Sometimes a player’s zeal for his club causes his discretion to be outweighed, and I fancy this was the case with Montgomery, who also was very much upset at the appalling manner in which Dame Fortune had treated Jones, Waterall, and sundry others during the game.
I felt sorry for Mongomery and his club, although wrath at his treatment of Sam Raybould. Montgomery’s loss is sure to be severely felt, for he is one of the few Notts County men who have operated in all the club’s schedule games this season.
It must have cost Referee Kirkham a pang to order him off; but the FA instructions are very clear on this point, and we know how desperately anxious the governing body is that referees should put their foot down on doubtful tactics; nay, they insist upon such course of action by referees.
General criticism must necessarily be short respecting the players. Percy Saul gave his best exhibition, but his opposing wing was woefully weak. George Latham was disappointing, however, against this same wing. Arthur Goddard thereby suffered as he also did by reason of Robinson’s neglect. Latham, I should say, is best fitted for a roving centre-half commissionship. I liked Raybould; and also Macpherson, whose individual bursts were great. Hewitt was disappointing after the first twenty minutes. Greater alertness in making off with the ball is necessary in an outside winger.
(Cricket and Football Field: December 22, 1906)