November 30, 1907
Local players are being gradually wedged into our two premier League elevens at Anfield and Goodison, to the exclusion of the foreign individual, and this policy is bound to bring forth good fruit in due course. Again this week we present our readers with the career of another Liverpool born footballer in the personality of James Hughes, one who has learned his craft in junior teams, of which there is such an abundance in and around this city. At the present time the Anfielders are in need of clever and reliable half backs, and there is a splendid prospect in store for a young player of promise in the League eleven, so that Hughes has a rare incentive to excel.
Born at Bootle twenty years ago, Hughes was educated at St. Paul’s School there. One of his boon companions was Jack Parkinson, whose reappearance as leader of the front line at Bury to-day will be watched with the keenest interest. They both participated in school football, but in those days Hughes, a sturdily built lad, was deputed to play full back in the League matches.
His career at school ended, he attached himself to a club called Bedford, which was connected with the Oakfield League, and it was with this team that Hughes commenced operating at left half back. For a year he stayed with Bedford, and materially assisted the club to secure second place in the final table of results.
At the age of seventeen he joined the Diamond Match Works eleven, who were members of the Liverpool League, but he only played a couple of games with them at half back, when he was persuaded to join Bootle Amateurs. A couple of friendly fixtures sufficed for him, however, and he transferred his services to Hertford Albion, meeting here his former schoolfellow, Parkinson.
That season was a most successful one for the Albion, who not only gained the Championship of the Princes’ Park League, but won the Minor Medals competition, a tourney promoted by the Liverpool F.A.
Hughes was now generally regarded as a left half back, and one campaign with the Bootle junior club ended his career as an amateur.
He was approached by the Liverpool management, and was given a number of trials with the Combination team at Anfield and in away games. So well did he perform that he was eventually signed as a professional, and thus three years ago Hughes commenced his career as a Liverpool player.
In the season of 1906-7 he gained a place in the League team for the first time, this occurring on Christmas Day, when he played left half back against Manchester United at Clayton, and helped his side to make a draw of no goals.
On New Year’s Day he was afforded another chance at Bolton, when he was selected to play against the Wanderers, who prevailed by three clear goals. Then at Anfield on January 5th he filled the post of right half back in the Rovers’ match, when Liverpool were beaten by two goals to nil. This was a disastrous start for the young aspirant, for not a goal was gained by the Reds in any of the three matches.
He did not appear with the first eleven again until April 29th, when he was left half back in the Liverpool Senior Cup final against Everton, the Reds securing the trophy by three clear goals.
Now we come to the present season. Hughes first turned out for the Leaguers on September 16th, at Bramall Lane, a draw being the result of the contest. On September 21st he played right half back at Bolton, but had the misfortune to fall heavily on his wrist, which was fractured. This kept him out of the League eleven until November 9th, when in the same position he helped to rout Notts County.
His appearances with the Seniors, it will be gathered, are becoming more frequent, and we hope to see him become a permanent Leaguers in the near future.
In the summer months Hughes is an enthusiastic baseball player, and for three seasons has assisted the Bankhall P.S.A. team in the Church Baseball League. First base or backstop is his favourite post when fielding, and the pastime keeps him thoroughly fit for the more arduous work of the winter months.
Last year his team won the Championship of the Second Division, the victors receiving handsome silver medals for their achievement. Thus, the year round, Hughes is kept in touch with healthy sport, and there need be no wonder as his always being in the best possible condition.
Standing 5ft. 9in., and weighing 12st. 4lbs., he is physically well adapted for a footballer, and this should serve him in good stead. He only requires wider experience in first class football to broaden his ideas and increase his ability to baffle more by skill and deft footwork, than by sheer vital force. There are possibilities about this player, which we hope will develop into realities both for the benefit of himself and his club.
(Joint Everton & Liverpool Programme: November 30, 1907)