February 6, 1904
I have always a great deal of admiration for a man who is conspicuously whole-souled in his play, and consequently I start these references to John T. Hunter, the North End centre half, predisposed in his favour, for the great central factor in his football is an all-consuming energy, which has rightly won him recognition as one of the hardest workers in the League.
Many a man, equally anxious perhaps, would fail to keep going through game after game and expending the same amount of energy as Hunter; the spirit might be ever so willing, but the flesh, alas, weak-weak, that is to say, compared with Hunter’s, North End’s centre-half has not only the will, but, in a very special degree, the stamina.
Standing 5ft. 8in. – you might fancy him smaller – he weighs 12st. 6lb, and has a magnificent chest and muscular limbs. A powerful, stiffy-built player he looks, and when in training his stamina is in keeping with his strong frame.
With a short, thick neck, and a visage which bears the impress, in capital letters, of determination, he presents a fierce appearance, particularly in his war paint when he has indulged in a few embraces with Mother Earth and his face is more or less spattered with mud. See for yourselves – minus the mud: –
His play accords well with his cast of countenance, for he is absolutely fearless and gives again to nobody – qualities which go far to make him a sound tackler and to instil a due sense of respect in the minds of his opponents.
Similarly they help to make him a fine breaker-up, and in this department of half-back work he excels, whilst he has all that extra energy which enables him to lend a hand to his wing halves – an essential point in a centre half.
In supporting his own forwards, he feeds ever so fairly, but there is one thing he cannot do, viz., shoot straight, which is rather surprising when you reflect that he originally came to England as a centre forward and played for Liverpool in the League in that position.
With his head Hunter is decidedly effective, and I should say without hesitation that he is the best centre half North End have had since the days of Moses Sanders.
Born at Beith, in Ayrshire 23 years ago, Hunter came south four years back, having been recommended to Tom Watson by the celebrated Sunderland player Jimmy Miller.
Signed as a centre forward, he played a couple of First Division matches in that berth, but he was chiefly engaged with the Combination team. Subsequently he became a centre half, and had there been a less formidable rival than Raisbeck he might often have figured in the League eleven.
After three seasons at Liverpool, he was recommended to North End by John Cox, the crack left winger.
Here at Preston he has proved a great success, and in his second season he is more than confirming the good impression made last year. With due discretion and becoming modesty, Hunter should have a bright future.
By the by, Chalmers, the old North End forward, was a fellow villager of Hunter’s both being Beith men.
(Source: Lancashire Evening Post: February 6, 1904)