August 14, 1923
It was a big of luck I had at Anfield last night. I got there just in time to size up the gate as £349, and being only two pounds out of actually I gained the sweep-stake that had been organised for the nearest approach to receipt. It was a striking crowd, considering the summer eve, the cricket and tennis interest, and the fact that football has not long since bidden is goodbye. It all shows the enormous enthusiasm for the big ball in this city.
If you could have been with me you would have seen a toddler climbing back to the outer ring of the ground, all unconscious that a policeman was waiting his descent. Boys around gave him news of what might be and the boy scampered back and was caught in the barbed wire entanglements. Now this boy was three foot nothing in height, and he had got up to a height of probably 16 feet.
How is it done?
I would not give publicity to the secret, but for the intense danger these lads risk for the sake of getting into the ground without payment. It is a duty to state that the boys get into the ground through closing the main outer door against the wall. Boys on guard keep this door closed while the boy at the back of the door mounts the door, and then, heigh presto, when he places his head over the top of the door is swung away and he scales the wall. It is funny, but it is too dangerous for words. I am sorry, boy, to let the ct out of the bg, but broken scheme is better than a broken leg.
The new Press seats were duly tested and found most suitable, and then the forwards began to test the goalkeepers with some of the most stinging drives I can remember. Algy Wilkinson an Elisha Scott did wonders in goal, and Elisha’s greatest save was when a ball cannoned from Donald Mackinlay’s head! Scott has a keen pair of hands, and keener eyes; while Wilkinson certainly revelled in hefty punches with one hand, catches, and the like. He went down a trifle too late to Harry Chambers’ opening goal, and he had no chance with Dick Johnson’s fine scoring efforts, first with a distinct type of solo and shot, the second a gift from Fred Hopkin’s centring facility.
In reply, Billy McDevitt, the Irishman, scored a capital point. He had opened the game with a nice touch and with target practice, and his goal was a beauty. McDevitt is tall and slim, and he seemed to me to tire a lot towards the finish. However, many cried “bellows to mend” before the game had run its course. Naturally the men did not take the game over-seriously, and it seemed that the first team could win at any moment – which is as it should be with the first team meeting the reserves. However, it was plain to see that the reserve side this season would have some people who would knock hard at the door marked “promotion.”
A view of McDevitt suggests that he will come on, and the Scottish boy Willie Chalmers made a very deep impression on my mind.
Chalmers has not the feet of a football – he is spray-footed and rarely does one see such a pedal effect come to the forefront. Chalmers can because he is fast, strong, resolute and keen, and hits a ball very hard when he sees half an opening. He was well-provided by Harry Lewis, who shone he hs not done for a year.
Lewis looks bulkier and now that he seems to have got “in toe” with peace and enjoyment I imagine he will bring back his war-time pattern. Certainly he pleased the crowd by his dribbles, his flicks and his attempted goals last night. If he keeps the ball lower he will be certain to have a goal-crop. It was not the real Lewis we saw last season.
William Lacey was unable to play owing to a cold gathered when playing cricket in Ireland “in the summer.” He and Elisha Scott’s brother from Robson Street watched the proceeding from the rear of the stand.
Cyril Gilhespy, taking Lacey’s place, was ineffective early on, and only late on when John Lillie tired, did he get his swift-moving strides into working order. Gilhespy can go like a hare. He must be more consistent with the ball, however.
Bill Rogers showed that he had come on a lot from last season at centre half. Griff Owen worked hard and to no great purpose, because he could not “time” the heavy patches of turf – here let me drop a word for Groundsman Bert Riley, who had prepared a lovely pitch once again. Owen will pay for patience.
The old school
Naturally many wanted to see how the old school shaped and whether the side can break the world’s best by winning the League for a third year in succession. The outlook is bright, but he would be a fool who take glibly of the hat-trick being performed. The strain will be big and long, and it is good to know that such stalwarts as David Pratt, John Bamber, Algy Wilkinson and co. can be dropped in ad lib. If the call is heard from the first team souding the S.O.S.
Certainly last night’s play suggested that in goal, at full back, at half-back and nearly everywhere in the attack Liverpool would be just as strong and sure as last season. May their good work go on. No one objected to Referee Jack Cahill’s handling of the game – everyone was satisfied.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: August 14, 1923)