April 23, 1914
It was a dull sort of morning, a cold wind prevailed, and everything pointed to rain. The players were out and about early, and all appeared to be in the best of health and spirits. After yesterday’s “go-as-you-please” sort of training, there was more serious programme today, and the players were called upon to go through some real “work” in the way of exercise.
Lowe a certain starter
But before I start out to deal with the operations in the gymnasium and on the training ground I must point out that practically all doubt as to the captain’s fitness has been set at rest. Mr. Tom Watson tells me he considers Harry Lowe a certain starter.
After the captain’s visit to the specialist he was very much improved and later in the day paid another visit to the city to undergo massage treatment, and, to use the masseur’s words, “It is a hundred to one on Lowe playing.”
After the doctor’s favourable report Lowe is delighted, and he did not disguise the fact that it would be a great disappointment to him if he were unable to take part in the forthcoming encounter. The fact the King is going to witness the game has, of course, increased Lowe’s keenness to captain the winning side, and his Majesty’s decision will undoubtedly add considerably to the attractiveness of the match.
I have not the slightest doubt that if matters do not take an unexpected turn that Lowe will be at the Palace to do his level best for his side.
Clean bill of health
With regard to the other players, Trainer William Connell and his worthy assistant, George Fleming, report a clean bill of health. The boys were a little tired last evening after their efforts on the links, and Sam Speakman did not feel too well, but they were all up betimes this morning and ready to put in a good deal of exercise as a semi-windup to their preparations at Chingford, for it is their intentions to take it easy again tomorrow. In fact, it is to be a day of rest and solitude.
A busy time
Today it is strictly business, and my friends the trainers are having a busy time. In the first place Harry Lowe is in for something and the captain is, to speak in modern terms, “going through it,”
The captain undoubtedly looks much better, and when I saw him this morning said he was feeling greatly improved in health.
Tom Watson’s popularity
It is wonderful how popular the Liverpool club has become. Mr. Tom Watson is receiving good wishes from every side, and there is no doubt that hundreds of football friends, all over England and Scotland are hoping for a Red victory, if it is only for Tom’s sake.
I may go so far as to say that there is not a more popular man in football today than the Liverpool manager, and if the Reds wins on Saturday, as I devotedly hope, then an ambition of 30 years standing will be realised.
Lord Mayor of London’s invitation
The Lord Mayor of London, who is a Manchester man, has invited both teams to lunch with him.
On the links
Yesterday there was but little evidence of the big event, and, to watch the players on the links and at the billiard table one would never dream that they are practically on the eve of what is likely to prove one of the greatest days of their lives.
They do not betray the least sign of excitement nor, in fact, the slightest concern. During the whole of yesterday I mixed with the players, and one once did I hear a remark in connection with the final, and that was when, at lunch, amidst a buzz of general conversation, Tommy Fairfoull observed, “Never mind, there will be some fun if we win the Cup on Saturday.”
And I have no doubt there will be some great doings. The prospects of a keen and exciting game are of the best, and the little rain that has fallen will do the ground a vast amount of good.
I am sure the players will welcome a bit of “give” in the turf.
The period of waiting is being passed in an extremely pleasing way, and I am sure the men have never had so much golf as they have had during the past day or two.
Fairfoull star golfer
As I have previously pointed out Tommy Fairfoull is the crack man with the clubs, and James Nicholl is quite good, and Longworth and one or two others are coming on wonderfully.
Fairfoull won a match yesterday, and there were a number of “foursomes” running during the afternoon, despite a rather nasty drizzle.
I tried my luck just prior to lunch, and Willie Lacey and Speakman took me around and gave me a few tips – gold tips, of course. The Irishman is only a novice at the game, but he shapes extremely well.
His drives, like his shots at goal, being marked by much power.
Lacey in fine trim
Lacey is in grand trim, and it will not be his fault if the Cup does not come to Liverpool. In the afternoon Kenney Campbell, George Fleming, Arthur Metcalf, and myself participated in a very enjoyable foursome game. Metcalf can drive “some,” and Campbell, too, shaped exceedingly well.
The boys, in their quiet was, certainly enjoyed themselves to the full, and, though they were a trifle tired towards evening, they were nevertheless in the pink.
A happy spirit prevailed throughout the camp, and the team generally were highly pleased when they heard that their captain was making such favourable progress.
While sprint the players general appearance was very impressive, and I certainly believe that they will turn out fit to fight for their lives.
Donald Mackinlay, the handy man of the team, is to the fore in everything, and if his services are required he will be there. Speakman was not too well last evening, but perhaps he was rather tired after the afternoon on the links.
Model set of players
The gentlemen in charge of the team are delighted with the way the players are enjoying themselves, and the people of Chingford look upon them as a made set of professionals. Both Mr. Tom Watson and Mr. Edward Askew Bainbridge are anxious about the captain, but as I have already told you, they are leaving no stone unturned to get Lowe thoroughly fit.
After tea the boys strolled around the avenues until bedtime. When they must have felt glad that they were at any rate a day nearer the Palace.
To return on Monday
The arrangements for the week-end will be completed when the remainder of the directors come up to town, but I understand that a drive to Windsor on Sunday is arranged, and the return home will be made on Monday in good time for the Sheffield United League match.
(Evening Express: April 23, 1914)