Liverpudliana: By Richard Samuel (March 23, 1907)

March 23, 1907
Liverpool’s disappointing exhibition at Preston.
The Anfielders gave a wretched exhibition at Preston. Of course, the enclosure was a veritable Deepdale in more than mere name, and with nothing particular at stake – no incentive in the shape of championships, as last season; no financial promotion, seeing that practically the whole of the team on view are already in receipt of maximum fees, and no bonus spurs for either a draw or a win (same altogether barred) it was too much to expect the now despondent Reds (following their Cup demise) to exactly kill themselves in this particular Deepdale mud-larking show.

Was it?

Very little real football was looked for, and the eyes of the spectators merely beheld the expected – with not a single unlooked-for item thrown in to relieve the monotony. But it shows a dirty game (the charwoman will confirm me in this), and one wonders how it is the once good name of Preston gets so persistently dragged in the mire now-a-days.

Whenever they visit Anfield it is either a case of rough play, unsportsmanlike football, or else the poor referee drop into hot water. When Everton and North End cross swords it is usually the same, and readers do not require their memory boxes jogging to recall the incidents accruing when Everton last visited Preston and, vice-versa, when North End last visited Everton.

I feel sure these solid facts must trouble that fine, genuine Preston sportsman – Mr. Tom Houghton to wit – in explaining away. Apparently the names Everton and Liverpool are like red rags to a bull, to those Preston fellows. And curiously, Preston is the only name on the books of either local club to which there has been attached even the semblance of mutually rough play this season. It is a coincidence worth noting.

Liverpool this season and last.
When the Prestonians visited Anfield, Liverpool walked off with their biggest victory of the season, for Alex Raisbeck (2), William Macpherson (2), and Sam Raybould (2) joined in a delightfully even scoring competition.

Yet Saturday’s return brought on a defeat to Liverpool’s which equals their previous worst of the season. Sam Hardy might have saved No. 1, but he kept out quite a host of other scoring shots, and really was the only Liver to do himself full justice.

Percy Saul, after figuring in 24 consecutive League games, was given a well-earned rest, but his deputy, Tom Chorlton, only behaved moderately, and what is more, actually understudied Saul, and what is more, actually understudied Saul to the giving of another penalty – the tenth debited to Liverpool this season, five of same dating from their last seven matches. This is a feature which surely needs remedying.

Parry’s return to duty after a four months’ absence created a flutter of interest, and I was pleased to learn he stood the test satisfactorily. The Livers’ vanguard was constituted as in season 1905-6, when they proved such adepts at goal-scoring, for Robert Robinson resumed at inside right, and Joe Hewitt again operated as pivot. But with the exception of John Cox, they shaped very, very poorly.

The defeat meant the loss of two further comparative points on last season, making the Reds’ net loss to date one of a dozen points. Thus Liverpool this morning only totalled 27 points, or merely a trifle beyond one-half of the 51 points recorded last season.

“Oh, what a falling off was there!” as the man said upon dropping his wig. But such are the bald facts, gentlemen: hence New Anfield is not looking quite at its best yet. The season has been an unfortunate and a disappointing one on the whole, and the club has been especially hard hit in the matter of injuries to players.

Still the public patronage bestowed has been, somewhat in advance of Liverpool’s championship year, and as the club this morning had still six home matches to decide and only two out-of-town visits, there is still plenty of time for a rousing good finish and a capital financial addition. Last week the men played their fourth successive away match.
(Cricket and Football Field: March 23, 1907)


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