Hail Liverpool! Football Champions.

May 5, 1923
There were some enthusiastic scenes at Anfield this afternoon, when Liverpool F.C. received the English Football League Cup for the second year in succession. Mr. John McKenna, the president of the League, made the presentation to Mr. William Robert Williams, chairman of the Anfield club, and remarked that it was a wonderful performance to win the League two years in succession, as there was an evenness these days that did not show up in the old days. He congratulated players, officials, and all concerned with the wonderful feat.

Mr. William Robert Williams, chairman of the Anfield club, received the trophy amid scenes of enthusiasm that prove the popularity of the side. Players and directors received a rallying shout of praise.

Undoubtedly the feat is an unusual one in that the League, though won twice in succession before, has not been won in successive years when there was the severe competition that obtains today. The Anfield side has won through by its all-round skill, and through its determined, as well as good class standard of play. Every man deserves praise, and the club realises, as well as anyone, that much of the success of the side has been due to immunity from accident. Only nineteen players have been called into service.

Liverpool: Elisha Scott, Ephraim Longworth, Donald Mackinlay, John McNab, Walter Wadsworth, Tom Bromilow, William Lacey, Dick Forshaw, Dick Johnson, Harry Chambers, Fred Hopkin.
Stoke: Kenneth Campbell, Bob McGrory, Tom Brittleton, Harry Brough, Joe Kasher, Valentine Rouse, Bert Ralphs, Harry Davies, Frank Richardson, Arthur Watkins, Dai Nicholas.

Liverpool win 1-0.
The final act was rather interesting in many ways for Liverpool. Stoke were their visitors, and we do no forget their history, their fishy match, with Dick Roose in goal, and their present-day goalkeeper, Kenneth Campbell, the ex-Liver custodian. Kenny got a warm reception, just as did the Anfield conquerors The day was fortunately not as hot as yesterday – which was all the better for the players.

Parade of the cup.
The Cup was paraded round the ground, and created as much applause as when Forshaw, close in, hit a high ball, and Campbell, jumping up, found the ball travelling over his head, but by a remarkable overhand sweep he prevented it crossing the line.

This pleased the crowd, and put the players on good terms with themselves. Old man Brittleton is slower than when he started at Stockport, but is still very sure. However, when Lacey, moved off many thought he had missed his pass to Forshaw whereas the truth it was only a plan of campaign which Forshaw tumbled to instantly. His shot was a winner even though Campbell threw himself full length to try and save. The ball dropped at the eft hand post and thus Stoke escaped. Liverpool shot as they had not shot before for two months. Johnson nearly headed through and then put a fast ball to hand, while Lacey was just out, and Chambers sent a screamer over the bar.

Bromilow’s engagement.
Bromilow, who, I believe, has just made an important engagement with “Miss Studmark,” was having a royal time, but Wadsworth, as a fortnight ago, was playing splendidly and adopting a good pattern of play. Stoke, in spite of all the shooting that was going on, were not out of the hunt, and Nicholas in particular showed some admirable touches, one a back-heeler against Longworth, which was done with rare effectiveness.

Rouse, too, was shaping well, while Stoke’s right flank in defence was big and strong. Ralph, however, was not certain in his centres. Davies was a trifle light. Considering it was the last match of the season, the football was excellent, and clean into the bargain.

Vagaries of a free-kick.
Liverpool went near scoring again when Forshaw was tripped by Kasher, Longworth planted the free-kick to the left, and Chambers elected to let it pass to his partner. Hopkin’s centre was of nice length and strength, and Forshaw’s header was placed to the left hand of the goal, where Campbell by timing his stretch out of the right hand was able to divert the ball sufficiently to prevent a goal. This was a good save and was followed by just such another when Ralphs, in a breakaway, closed in and hit a powerful drive, which Scott petted down as though it were a ping-pong ball.

Wadsworth, the entertainer.
Wadsworth created some amusement by a tackle made with his left foot behind his right, the right foot having failed in its mission. There was some luck attaching to this clearance, but there was no luck about the way Wadsworth made his passes to the wings. It was good pointed football. Just before half-time, Scott was laid out through a pass back by McNab being too tender. He hurt his thigh in collision and the ball caught him awkwardly.

Scott injured and carried off.
Scott was carried off the field on the back of one of the ground assistants, and was apparently very bad. Lacey went into goal. However, half-time came with the score: Liverpool, nil; Stoke, nil. When the teams turned out it was found that Lacey was still keeping goal, and that Forshaw was working on his own on the right. Lacey had a big encouragement at the back of the goal, and for a long time he was not called into action, thanks to the ever-sure feet of Mackinlay, Longworth, and Co.

Offside annoys the crowd.
Forshaw thought attack the best means of defence, and he went away on his own and got in a maze, after which the spectators roundly told Stoke what they thought of the offside tactics, forgetting that the one-back game is quite legal. For some time Stoke naturally had the major portion of the attack.

Chambers scores.
The time came when Johnson and a Stoke man miskicked in front of goal after which Chambers scored the first being 52 minutes, the goal-scorer most appropriate, and the point itself being of a scrambling character. The actual scoring was in direct contrast to the neatness of the opening phase by which the goal was made. Chambers got away and dragged more than one defender on to him before he made an inviting pass to Hopkin. Hopkin’s centre was delayed till he had delivered a strong charge on the massive McGrory. Both players felt the blow and stumbled. Hopkin recovered near goal, and without getting in a perfect centre enabled Chambers to score and hurt himself at the same time.

“As to the manner born.”
Lacey saved the equaliser by punching out a corner kick in a way that suggested he had been born between the goal posts. But an even better save was that which he made from Richardson when Lacey was on the ground. To my mind Forshaw was the most dangerous forward on the field, and he confirmed this when he made a dive to the corner of the goal, Campbell covering cleverly, and later when he headed to Land. Chambers now challenged my statement by a splendid drawing effort which went near, whereas Hopkin did not get the ball across in his usual style, and Forshaw screwed round one flash run and was yards out of his reckoning.

A tribute to Lacey’s genius.
The referee, Mr. I. Josephs, of Durham, handled the game with hardly a fault. Richardson, at centre, became a live wire in dribble and shot, yet could not master Lacey whose goalkeeping was quite one of the best features of the day. Hammer and tongs was the order, as if it were a Cup final, and when Chambers mulled through to the right wing, and then went upwards to shoot, everyone saw a goal coming – except Campbell, who “baled” out the ball, and then pushed it away from danger. This was Chambers at is hardest and strongest, and it is noteworthy that he beat three men by sheer body work without touching the ball. Unfortunately, rain fell eight minutes from the finish, and threatened to damp the ardour of the concluding scheme. Stoke were awarded a free-kick outside the penalty line, but the Livers formed a human barrier in front of Lacey and the only thing the shooter had to do was to fire high over the bar.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: May 5, 1923)

Liverpool F.C. League champions, 1922-23.


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