Church heads at big match

January 31, 1944
Impressions at Goodison Park.
Americans’ interest.
At Saturday’s Everton v Liverpool match at Goodison Park, in the crowd of nearly 46,000 people, there were three outstanding personalities. The Lord Mayor of Liverpool (Alderman Austin Harford) was present, and one saw, for the first time in the history of football in this city, the Bishop of Liverpool (Dr. David), with Dr. Downey (Archbishop of Liverpool) as his nearest companion.

The Lord Mayor was in his happiest mood when, conversing in the boardroom after the match with the American soldiers, who had been the guests of Everton F.C., he declared that he in his day was a centre forward, to which Dr. Downey, “towering” over his friend by a matter of 4 inches, responded with: “In my day, and, of course, in vastly a different standard of football, I was always a centre half back.”

Dr. Downey told the American party of his visit to Chicago, which he described as a wonderfully beautiful city. The Lord Mayor invited the party to visit him at a future date at the Town Hall.

American Thanks.
Lieutenant Ryan, who is in charge of the new “Soccer pilgrims,” after thanking the British Council for this effort to link the two great races together in sport, and in life and in thought, thanked Mr. Bill Gibbins, Everton F.C. chairman, Mr. Secretary Theo Kelly, and also the chairman of Liverpool F.C., Mr. Richard Lawson Martindale; and Mr. George Kay, and all who had made this an outstanding feature in their experience of England.

He, like the rest of his party, marvelled at the marshalling of the crowd and its control, and the extraordinary pace the players kept up at the end; but their greatest surprise was that these players could head “this heavy ball” without suffering broken necks.

Mr. Ernest Edwards, in charge of the party, says that the American have taken to our sport with avidity. They are keen to know more about it and to play it. But there is a kink in the link between the two races because of the shortage of footballs.

The Americans are quick to realise the rules, and, considering they had never before seen a game, they are quite adept at picking up the finer points of play. For instance, on Saturday they were entranced by Matt Busby’s “carpet passes.” They still wonder how another 30,000 spectators could have been put on the ground.

Before the match they have a meal, and the game’s main points and the rules are surveyed, and after the game, at tea, they are the keenest of commentators.

The British Council proposes to take further parties of Americans to Manchester, Birmingham, &c., in the course of the season.
(Source: Liverpool Daily Post: January 31, 1944; via © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited

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