Memories of a great comeback


Tuesday, January 23 – 1917
Today my (BEE) memory goes back to the Liverpool – Newcastle game at Anfield. The reason is not hard to find. Saturday’s sensational finish revived memories.

It brought back memories of another Anfield meeting – on a filthy turf, and in the torrents of rain, Manchester and Liverpool fought, and the result was 7-4 – a crop of goals to both sides, and a rare novelty.

But let us get back to the much-discussed Novos – Liver match.

The half-time score favoured Newcastle 5-2, and Shepherd chided a Liverpool player at half-time with the idea that they (Liverpool) would make a very useful second division side! No wonder the Liverpool players were spurred on.

How the League President, Mr. John McKenna, received the news is worth the telling.

He was at that dreary hole, Plumstead, which was then the home of the Arsenal. The Gunners were not going strong, and Liverpool were heading for the Second Division.

Naturally Mr. McKenna was keen to know the half-time score, and in the South the score-board does not show our League scores till well on in the second half.

When 5-2 for Newcastle was shown the Tottenham directors (they were happy because they were beating Arsenal) turned round to look at Mr. McKenna’s expression!

They even chuckled.

At the finish of the game there were the customary social pleasantries, and when about to leave the ground one director had got wind of the Liverpool result. He asked Mr. McKenna what he imagined the final of Liverpool – Newcastle was.

“How should I be able to answer a question like that?” asked the President.
“I suppose Newcastle have heaped up the goals, and we have been swamped by their avalanche. What else can one expect when they are three “up” on us at the interval?”

“Suppose I said you had won,” queried the home director.
“You are a good joker, sir,” replied Mr. McKenna, who when the told the order was 6-5 could not believe his own ears or the accuracy of the statement.

A taxi to town and a furious rush on the paper boy led to confirmation of the score, and – – the President wore a smile that lit up London.
(Liverpool Echo, 23-01-1917)

John McKenna

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