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

August 8, 1908
Liverpool’s changes
Contrary to rule, Liverpool wound up the last League season that ever was in an average position – eight  instead of being found located at one of two extremes, whilst the third stage in the ever-popular Cup Competition was reached. For 1908-09 expectancy runs fairly high in the besoms of the Liverpool directors, so ably presided over by Mr. Edwin Berry.

The Liverpool management has experienced a burdensome busy, and harassing time on the whole since the club’s location at New Anfield. It has been a period of expense coupled with hard work for all parties concerned. The equipment of an increased ground has proved no mere child’s play, and that the labourers have been worthy of their hire the many thousands of enthusiasts whi will soon swarm on and around Spion Kop will, I feel certain, readily admit.

New Anfield just about fills the eye as a model ground at the present time, spite of the fact that the Liverpool Secretary hangs on to his cabin as a limpet would to a rock. The Reds’ great and glorious grandstand is complete, and the accommodation all round will surely put the grumblers to confusion and rout. The playing area, too, is such that the grassy plot must vie with that of Goodison Park by virtue of its wealth of pile.

But what of the club’s players, with whom it lies as to whether or not the management succeed in wiping off a big lump of their necessary heavy liabilities?

Several former players have sought fresh homes since last April. Thus, William Macpherson has gone to Glasgow Rangers, James Gorman to Leicester Fosse, Charles Hewitt to West Bromwich Albion, Ned Doig to St. Helens Recreation, and Harry Griffiths and Harry Fitzpatrick to Chesterfield. As a set off, eight new men have been signed, each of whom is marked with an asterisk in the following list: –

Sam Hardy, 5ft. 9½in., 12st. 2lb.;
* Donald Sloan, 6ft. 0½in., 15st.

Alf West, 5ft. 8in., 11st. 11lb.;
Percy Saul, 5ft. 10in., 12st. 3lb.;
Billy Dunlop, 5ft. 9½in., 12st. 7lb.;
* Ted Hughes, 5ft. 8½in., 12st. 7lb.;
Tom Rogers, 5ft. 9½in., 11st. 9lb.

Maurice Parry, 5ft. 11in., 12st. 10lb.;
Alex Raisbeck, 5ft. 9½in., 12st. 10lb.;
James Bradley, 5ft. 9½in., 12st.;
Tom Chorlton, 5ft. 9in., 12st.;
James Hughes, 5ft. 9in., 12st. 1lb.;
Jim Harrop, 5ft. 10in., 11st. 2lb.;
Sam Hignett, 5ft. 8in., 10st. 8lb.;
George Latham, 5ft. 8in., 12st. 6lb.;
* Ernest Peake, 5ft. 9in., 11st. 7lb.

Arthur Goddard, 5ft. 9½in., 11st. 7lb.;
Jack Parkinson, 5ft. 8½in., 12st.;
Robert Robinson, 5ft. 9½in., 12st. 7lb.;
Joe Hewitt, 5ft. 9½in., 11st. 7lb.;
Ronald Orr, 5ft. 5½in., 11st. 7lb.;
John Cox, 5ft. 9in., 12st. 2lb.;
Sam Bowyer, 5ft. 7lb., 10st. 7lb.;
Mike Griffin, 5ft. 9in., 12st.;
* Fred Smith, 5ft. 6in., 11st. 11lb.;
* Bertram Goode, 5ft. 6in., 11st.;
* Walter Smith, 5ft. 6½in., 10st.;
* Harry Grantham, 5ft. 10in., 11st.;
* Messina Allman, 5ft. 8½in., 11st. 6lb.;
Harold Uren, 5ft. 10in., 12st.

This gives a total of two goalkeepers, five full-backs, nine half-backs, and 14 forwards – 30 signatories in all. Enumerating some of the men and positions, Liverpool, like Everton, is fortunate in the possession of a great keeper, Sam Hardy to wit. It is curious that his understudy will be the heavily-timbered Sloan, late of Everton. I may here mention that Edward Husbands, the Wrexham man, has not been retained nor has he been signed elsewhere. It will be necessary, I fear, for Liverpool to have a third keeper to Hardy and Sloan in case of emergencies.

Regarding the full-backs, West and Saul did so admirably last season that the immediate future should possess no qualms for the Liverpool Club, especially as Rogers, of Rossendale, trained on so appreciably during 1907-08. It is with pleasure that I note Dunlop’s name on the retained list. He looked very fit when I visited the ground on Wednesday. There is also a new face to record at full-back in the person of E. Hughes, of African Royal, a strong local junior club. The newcomer is brother to the half-back of the same name, and is considered a powerful defender.

Regarding the half-back department – which gave so much cause for concern at an early stage last season – it is to be hoped that Raisbeck and Parry will get off the mark more favourably this time round, and thus go with Bradley to make up into a powerful intermediate division. Of course, Harrop, J. Hughes, and Chorlton constitute a splendid second string. The only half-back recruit is E. Peake, a Welsh Internationalist from Aberystwyth, who is at home anywhere in this line, but especially so at centre-half.

In attack the early favourites will probably be taken from the old stock of Goddard, Robinson, Parkinson, Hewitt, Orr and Cox, but each will need to look to his laurels, as the following bring along promising qualifications, viz., Goode (an inside right who was Chester’s best forward last season); M. Allman (of Reading and Burslem repute), who can operate in any inside position; H. Grantham (an ex-amateur outside right from the Sheffield Midland Athletic F.C.); also F. Smith (a centre forward from North Shields Athletic); and W. Smith (a centre from Bootle Celtic). Added to these there are Bowyer, Griffin, and the popular local amateur, Harold Uren, all eager to adopt the higher walk of League life. No player can hope to retain his position on a past-tense reputation, I am assured.

The trainers William Connell and George Fleming, have been busy with the players during the past 10 days, so that the Reds promise to turn out very fit indeed three weeks hence. The equipment under the new stand for the players’ creature comforts is all that could be desired. I noticed on Wednesday that they particularly enjoyed the fine plunge bath which has been installed in the dressing rooms.

As I write the captains and “subs” for 1908-09 have not been selected. Two public rehearsals will be given – August 22nd and 26th – when we shall have a better peep at the new faces and possibly gain some little idea of the recruits’ power of attack and defence. At the present the prospects are generally good, as is the health of the players, for whose amusement a billiard table is now being set up adjoining the dressing-rooms, so is also a gymnasium.

Raisbeck and Cox will qualify for a second benefit each in the coming season, another pending beneficiary being Jack Parkinson.
(Cricket and Football Field: August 8, 1908)

Liverpool 1908-09, from

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