M. Ernest Bevin’s tribute to sport

Monday, November 6 – 1944
“Sport, football and racing in particular, proved just the tonic the working man wanted during the dark days of 1940,” said Mr. Ernest Bevin, Minister of Labour and National Service, after the match at Anfield on Saturday, where he saw Liverpool overcome Manchester United 3-2.

Mr. Ernest Bevin, Minister of Labour.

This was a nice and deserving tribute to the sports-folk who have overcome innumerable difficulties to keep the flag flying during the difficult war years, and it will silence those “Dismal Jimmies” who have tried deprive the war workers and members of the Services their week-end relaxation.

Mr. Bevis emphasised, in replying to a nice speech re-Welcomc—it was the Minister’s second visit Anfield inside a year—by Chairman Mr. William McConnell, that sport was vital part of our national life, and that it should be given every encouragement. To listen to Mr. Bevin made all us who operate in sport feel that we are doing a great job—and a national job. It should inspire everyone to on and even better.

Mr. Bevin must be a Liverpool mascot, for he saw the Reds win last time, and Saturday witnessed what was only their second home win of the season. The Reds sprang up the table as a result, but with only seven games to go before the conclusion of championship number one their title hopes are slender indeed, for they are seven points behind the joint leaders, Sunderland and Huddersfield Town, who head Everton by a single point.

Our Merseyside hopes are vested in the Blues, who scored smashing 3-l win over Manchester City at Maine Road on Saturday, and in Wrexham, who are only a point behind Everton. Had Liverpool not changed their forward formation in the second-half against the United I doubt whether they would have won. I say this while admitting that once Welsh had given them the lead from a penalty I thought they would walk away with it. Yet the side which had promised so much simply could not get together and stay together.

They were too individualistic, and had too many square pegs in round holes At half-time the players and officials “went Into a huddle.” and the reshuffled forward line at once settled down emulate to the United some of the cohesive arts of football. Maybe the Reds did not have the combined skill of the United at any stage, but they had more initiative and attacked for fully three-parts exciting if not exactly outstanding match.

As a matter of fact, premier honours went to the United defence where Joe Walton, Roughton and Briggs gave such perfect cover that young goalkeeper, Jack Crompton, had not a moment’s worry. A contributory factor this was Liverpool’s penchant for shooting from outside the penalty area and then not with customary accuracy.

Manchester did not exactly have the kindest run of the ball for after having drawn level through Woodcock they went in arrear again when Liddell’s centre struck Houghton’s head and went into the net. Then Mycock—budding star this—crashed home a beauty for another equaliser before Don Welsh, the game’s most-dangerous forward, flew through the air to a Liddell cross to flash home the winner.

Welsh worked at top pace all through moving to the wings enterprisingly to try and disjoin that steady United rear-guard in which young Walton gave a peerless display under George Roughton’s able guidance.

Apart from a grand exhibition by Harley I was satisfied Phil Taylor’s earnest endeavours at right-half as much as anything. Taylor was always doing good work quietly in the background. Jimmy Mclnnes, too, soon settled to much purposeful football particularly in a constructive sense. Berry Nieuwenhuys was much happier on the wing than at inside, and Liddell and Horace Cumner more potent when the switch was made. Jack Balmer was not at his brightest, but Laurie Hughes and Jeff Gulliver were sound in front of a Alf Hobson not unduly bothered. There was never a lot it, but the balance laid with the Reds in all things dove-tailing
(Evening Express, 06-11-1944)


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