September 17, 1910
Many cases are there in connection with the history of our two premier league clubs, where a player engaged for one particular position, and proved a comparatively failure, has developed into a brilliant success in another department of the team.
In like manner many a footballer has started his career in a certain part only to find subsequently that his ability better fitted him to fill another. Such are the vagaries of fortune and in this respect luck enters largely into the possibilities of a footballer’s career.
He may discover his natural place in an eleven straight away; on the other hand there may be months of unsatisfactory endeavour expended ‘ere such a desirable consummation is attained. These introductory remarks are applicable in some degree to the case of the player whose lineaments we portray above.
Joseph Brough was born at Burslem, and while at school, developed a liking for football which eventually led him to adopt it as a means of obtaining a livelihood. With the North End, and later with Park Road school teams he figured at centre half-back in their matches, and did well in that onerous post.
Several of these youngsters who had attended he Park Road institution, banded themselves together and formed the Burslem Park Boys team, becoming attached to the Burslem and District League. For nearly one season, Brough assisted this club as a centre forward, so that he was certainly varying his experience even in these early days.
Towards the close of this first campaign he migrated to one of the North Staffordshire and District League clubs – Smallthorne – and finished the season with them as a right full back. So capably did he shape in the position, that the following winter he came under the notice of the Port Vale people, who persuaded him to join their
Thus it came about that in the year 1905 he played with the Vale Reserves, and after a couple of games as an amateur, was prevailed upon to sign a professional form for the Second League club. He remained with them as a right half-back for more than one season, when as the consequence of consistency clever work with the second team, he was promoted to the premier ranks.
Right half-back was now his recognised place, and until he came to Liverpool he occupied no other position on the field. He signed on for Port Vale, only to find that the directors could not carry on the organisation, which therefore, disbanded. Brough, thereupon transferred his services to Stoke, who were then in the Second Division of the League, and remained with them one season.
By a strange coincidence, he underwent the same experience here as had happened twelve months before at Burslem, the consequence being that he and Bentley were secured by Tottenham Hotspur. The latter is still with the Londoners. Brough spent a year in the South and gave many creditable displays in the intermediate line, but he did not enjoy god health in the metropolis, and this compelled him to look elsewhere.
He returned to Burslem, where the newly constituted team in the Potteries had gained admission to the North Staffordshire and District League. Here in remained for a season, and was then brought to the notice of the Anfield authorities who had an idea he would prove a useful inside forward for them. In the preliminary trial games he showed capital form as a partner to another newcomer, Herbert Leavey, and last week made his debut in the First Division ranks at Ewood Park where he operated on the right wing with Arthur Goddard.
In addition to football, Brough has indulged in cycling as a sport, and when an amateur proved very successful on the racing track. Over sixteen prizes have been secured by him, and remain a tangible token of his prowess on the wheel. At the Marton and North Staffordshire Harriers’ Sports he carried off double firsts, while at Burslem festival he enriched himself with further awards. When he became a professional he gained fame at Nantwich and Penkridge, and there can be no questioning his ability as a cyclist of more than ordinary merit.
Standing 5ft. 7in. and weighing 11st 2lb. Brough is well adapted physically for an inside forward, and he possesses an intelligent appreciation of the requirements of his position, that must in the near future be advantageous to his welfare.
There are possibilities about Brough, and he has only to preserve with his present ideas of placing the ball forward to his extreme wing partner to become a really first class performer. He is not so dangerous near goal as we could wish, but he understands the necessity of combining with his comrades, and with further experience, this latter weakness will, we think, quickly vanish.
His style of play is distinctly appetising, and we shall watch his subsequent career with more than ordinary feelings of interest.
(Joint Everton and Liverpool Match Programme: September 17, 1910)