John “Sailor” Hunter’s about the English game


May 10, 1907
The signing of John “Sailor” Hunter, as he is popularly known on the football field, completes Dundee First League forward line for next season, Currie, the Buckhaven lad, being intended for the reserve eleven.

Hunter’s first experience of English football was when he left Abercorn and joined Liverpool, with whom he played until secured by the Hearts three years later. Although it was as an inside-left he was best known at Tynecastle, during the three seasons he was with Liverpool he played on both wings, as well doing spell of centre forward work. He confesses that if anything he prefers to play on the right wing, although it did not really make much difference to him to which of the three places he was allocated.

Hunter did not think the games were so hard contested in Scotland as they were in England. The Englishmen were smarter in covering up, and did not give players the same time to see where to land the ball to the best advantage. He did not say that they played better football, judged from the standpoint of science, but they played a more robust game. The average Scottish teams were as good as those in England, but in the south they were much better balanced. The fact that there were so many large gate-getting centres in England gave football an impetus it was hopeless to look for in Scotland.

His Hardest Games.
Touching on the hardest games in which he has ever played, Hunter instanced out the matches between Everton and Liverpool in the English Cup ties in 1902. The first encounter was a stiffener altogether, and they left the field two up, but the second match was bit easier, and his side won by two goals to nothing.
His hardest day’s work in Scotland was on the occasion of the Hearts’ first encounter with Hibs at Easter Road, just after his return to Scotland.
Portsmouth, the second year he was with Hearts, were anxious for Hunter to join the old Hearts centre-half, Albert Buick, and they were a disappointed club when he again signed on for the Maroons. In fact, Bob Blyth, the “Pompies” manager, had traveled all the way to  Edinburgh to get Hunter’s signature.
The following year Phil Kelso nipped up the player, and it was only after he had done a season with the “Gunners”, that he gave his services to Portsmouth.
Although not now so young as he was in the days’ he spent with Liverpool and Hearts, Hunter is yet fleet on foot, and quite capable of scoring a few goals. He should have every opportunity of showing his goal-scoring powers with such capable partners as McDermott and Macfarlane.
(Dundee Courier: May 10, 1907)

John “Sailor” Hunter
John Sailor Hunter
© copyright owner. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD

This article was copied on to a Dundee football forum without credit given, which is sad I think.

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