Season preview 1908-09: Everton F.C. (Cricket and Football Field)


August 8, 1908
Everton’s youthful team
It must be conceded that Everton’s performances, taking 1907-8 season as a whole, failed to genuinely satisfy even those most easily pleased partisans of the richest club in the land. True, the Goodison Park representatives succeeded in scrambling their way – as much by good luck as good management – into fourth stage of the FA Cup Competition, but at what a cost? It needed three points out of the Blues’ closing two League matches to render them safe from expulsion.

Think what an undignified position for the League’s only representative that had never previously required to beg or steal their way back into the premier fold. Last April, too, witnessed a somewhat sad leave-taking on the part of several of Everton’s “old brigade.” The parting of the ways is unquestionably regretted in the case of such stalwarts as Tom Booth, Walter Abbott, and Jimmy Settle, but may good luck attend them, say I, in their pending spheres. Other lesser lights to depart from the Everton arena include Thomas Chadwick, Arthur Winterhalder, and Donald Sloan, the two former having joined Preston North End, whilst Sloan has crossed the park to Liverpool’s camp, thereto understudy the valiant Sam Hardy.

It is with sincere regret, however, one can pretty definitely state it is extremely improbable that Harold Hardman will be found on Everton’s left wing at all during 1908-09. Between the added calls of business and a natural desire to indulge in less strenuous fare than League football. Hardman’s decision must be deemed a sensible one. But the cost to Everton may be heavy. Should he never kick another ball for the Blues, Hardman’s name will ever claim a warm corner in the hearts of loyal Evertonians, than whom there never was a greater loyalist than Hardman himself. Why the FA in its great wisdom has though fit to blunder stupidly in denying Hardman a well-won testimonial will for long remain a puzzle.

Thus it is that the prospective Everton will need a big lump of building up, or packing, as the tailors say.

Let us glance briefly then at the material to hand. Here is the list, as personally sought this week and officially supplied: –

Goalkeepers.
William Scott, 5ft. 10½in., 11st. 7lb.;
* Clarence Berry, 6ft. 0in., 12st. 4lb.

Backs.
William Balmer, 5ft. 9½ in., 12st.;
Bob Balmer, 5ft. 8½ in., 10st. 8lb.;
Jock Maconnachie, 5ft. 9½ in., 11st. 5½lb.;
William Stevenson, 5ft. 7½in., 10st. 10½lb.;
Samuel Strettle, 5ft. 11½in., 11st.;
James B. Meunier, 5ft. 7½in., 12st. 8½lb.

Half-backs.
Harry Makepeace, 5ft. 7½in., 10st. 7lb.;
Jack Taylor, 5ft. 9½in., 11st. 1lb.;
Hugh Adamson, 5ft. 6½in., 9st. 9lb.;
* John Borthwick, 5ft. 10½in., 11st. 3½lb.;
Daniel Rafferty, 5ft. 6¾in., 10st. 10lb.;
* Charles Pratt, 5ft. 8in., 11st. 1lb.

Forwards.
Jack Sharp, 5ft. 6½in., 11st. 4lb.;
Tim Coleman, 5ft. 6½in., 11st. 6lb.;
Alex Young, 5ft. 8½in., 11st. 2lb.;
Hugh Bolton, 5ft. 5½in., 10st. 3lb.;
Joe Donnachie, 5ft. 7in., 10st.;
Val Harris, 5ft. 8in., 11st. 4lb.;
* William Lacey, 5ft. 7½in., 10st. 5lb.;
George Couper, 5ft. 8in., 12st. 13in.;
Tom Jones, 5ft. 5½in., 9st. 3lb.;
Harry Mountford, 5ft. 6in., 10st. 4½lb.;
Leo Woods, 5ft. 7in., 10st. 12lb.;
Bert Chetwood, 5ft. 4½in., 11st.;
* Richard Morris Evans, 5ft. 10½in., 11st. 7lb.;
Thomas Crews, 5ft. 8in., 10st. 9lb.;
Bert Freeman, 5ft. 8½in., 12st.;
* Harry Buck, 5ft. 7in., 11st. 1lb.;
* Harold Dawson, 5ft. 7in., 10st. 7lb.

* New players.

It will be seen therefore that Everton have a total of 31 players, made up of two goalkeepers, six full backs, six half-backs, and 17 forwards. Of these 31, seven may be written down as new faces, although two or three figured in an odd game or two last April. Fit and well no club need wish a finer keeper than William Scott, whose understudy will be C.H. Berry, a tall, well-built recruit – age 22 – from Warrington. It is clear, however, that Everton will require a third keeper in reserve.

There are half-a-dozen full-backs, but, strange to say, not a new face in the lot. Maconnachie has bit to reproduce last April’s form to secure a ready permanency, and for a start one expects to find him partnered by W. or R. Balmer, more probably the younger of the twain. Nor are Stevenson (Combination team captain) or Strettle defenders to be despised, Meunier, ex-Southport Central back, going to make up the half dozen.

Everton have only a like number of middlemen available, although Val Harris can always be commandeered. Still a couple more half-backs would be received with open arms – men of the Ben Warren type for choice. Makepeace, Taylor, and Adamson will probably receive first call. The new half-backs are Borthwick, a lanky centre half from Edinburgh Hibs – age 21 – who was tried v. Sheffield Wednesday in the closing match last April; also C. Pratt, a right or centre half from Barrow – age 22. Personally I should like to have seen Walter Abbott retained.

Forward the list is numerous in all conscience, and one trusts that a satisfactory blend will be made early on. Captain Sharp should find a congenial partner in Tim Coleman, whilst Young will have for centre forward rivals such as Freeman, Couper, and Jones. Bolton will probably be the club’s opening choice for inside left, and surely the present is an opportune moment to request that this player may be spared the barracking process which so upset his work last season. Give the man who recorced four goals against Oldham Athletic a fair and reasonable hearing.

Mountford (sub-captain of the reserve) may prove the second best inside left available. Of the new forwards, W. Lacey (age 19 and the youngest man on the club’s books), hails from the Shelbourne F.C., Dublin, and is said to be at home either at inside or outside left. R.M. Evans is a 20-years-old outside right from Denbigh, whilst Dawson’s and Buck’s former clubs were Rossendale United and Tranmere Rovers, respectively. Buck is an outside right, and Dawson an outside left.

Val Harris is sure to play hard for a position in the Everton’s League team, as are Freeman and Woods, provided the latter is sound again. In some instances the weights of the players as here recorded will witness a considerable reduction ere the season opens, for they went to scale on Wednesday last – the opening training day.

Trainers Elliott and Lofthouse intended putting the men into serious preparation work yesterday, when the directors were due to meet and arrange for practice game dates.

Goodison’s playing area looks all the better for its close season, and all connected with the club await the opening of another campaign with equanimity.

In the main it will be “young Everton” in 1908-9 in preference to the “old brigade.” Eight months hence – or less – we shall be able to tell to what extent youth has been served.
(Cricket and Football Field: August 8, 1908)

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