April 22, 1914
Up with the cuckoo this morning – the spring herald is in great form. It is simply delightful, and I can quite understand the fondness of Dick Turpin for this salubrious neighbourhood.
The daring horseman we read about in our boyhood days was very much attached to the Epping Forest highway, and I must say I admire his taste – atmospherically speaking, of course.
It is no wonder than Chingford is noted for training Cup winning teams, and Tom Watson could not have hit on a more charming spot to coach his men into a winning mood. The promise of the early morning was hardly fulfilled for as the day advanced the sky became clouded, and it seemed that a change was in store; in fact the rain drops as I write are beginning to descend.
Lowe medically examined
With the exception that Harry Lowe has gone to consult a doctor, a clean bill of health is reported. The captain, I may say, was none too well at the beginning of the week, but he has improved wonderfully, and he is decidedly better this morning. However, in order to satisfy themselves Mr. Edward Askew Bainbridge and Mr. Tom Watson decided to seek medical advice.
Happy as schoolboys
A footballer’s life may not always be a happy one, but I am sure that there are many who envy the players who are at the present time fortunate enough to be concerned in the final of the most wonderful competition in the British Isles.
Just now the Liverpool players are proud men. They have cause to be proud too, I can tell you, but they will be even greater rivals to the peacock if all goes well on Saturday, and they bring the Cup to Liverpool. But, as I was saying, this is one of the periods when the soccer professionals is a much envied man.
He is greatly in demand, and to tell you the truth – for this week, at any rate – he is far more important than a Cabinet minister. Kenneth Campbell and his colleagues are delighted with their surroundings, and when I greeted them this morning they were as happy as schoolboys.
Lowe anxious to play
They are doing their level best to forget that there is such a thing as a Cup final in the immediate future – admittedly a difficult task. A holiday spirit undoubtedly prevails. Since I joined the special “training party” I may say at once that I feel like scoring a few goals myself. But I am here to keep “Express” readers fully informed as to the charges, not to dilate on the possibilities or your humble as a centre forward.
The men who guides the players tells me that his boys are going on famously. As I have already indicated, Harry Lowe is improving every minute, and he is undoubtedly anxious that he should be able to take part in the great game.
If anything should happen that he is not fit to turn out, Donald Mackinlay, the handy man of the team, will be called on once more.
There are several red letter days in the course of a man’s life, and I am sure the few days the boys are spending here prior to the Crystal Palace event are among the most lurid, while the glare of the final day will be intensified if the Reds should prevail.
Tribute to trainer
Yesterday afternoon I had an opportunity of a chat with Will Connell, the trainer. Connell, who has been in Liverpool for 11 seasons appears to just the man that can turn a team out in a fit condition to fight through the hardest of games.
He does his work quietly, but it is obvious he is possessed of a keen brain, and one can read determination behind his words. Added to this he is undoubtedly popular with the players. An early tea was taken yesterday in order that a visit could be made to the first performance of the Walthamstow Palace of Varieties, which is situated about four miles from the training quarters.
Today the general order is “Take matters easy,” and following the sprinting and golf yesterday, a similar programme is being run through today. There are some buoding Vardons, Quimets, and Braids in the ranks of the Reds, and they are trying their hand at the Royal game.
Personally, I am stymied as far as this game is concerned, and Thomas Fairfoull may rest on his laurels.
It is a case of “Go as you please,” and, as Mr. Bainbridge says, “We are not up here for training in the strict sense of the word. We are taking a rest. In fact it is purely a holiday.”
The men are certainly making the most of it, and I may say that up to now they have not seen a football except on the pictures at the variety theatre, which they visited last evening. The party attended the early performance and were early to rest.
As I have already indicated, football is barred for the time being, and the topic must not drift to the great event. It is a case of do anything you like, but don’t play football, but forget it.
The cuckoo has already established himself here, and his welcome note seems to say “Play up the Reds!” There I am again. It is no good, Mr. Watson, I can’t get away from the Cup final.
Now, gentlemen, I must go and see what the boys are doing. By the way, Mr. Watson, despite the army of London pressmen and photographers, who seem to be as humorous as the trees, as ornery as ever, and though both he and Mr. Bainbridge are only anxious about the match, their idea is that they have just as good a chance in Burnley, and they are quite content to leave it at that, and I agree with them.
No matter what happens on Saturday, the team return by the ten o’clock train on Monday morning.
(Evening Express, 22-04-1914)