I came across a nice feature article about the top goalkeepers of 1908 in the Cricket and Football Field newspaper recently. It is quite interesting reading when the journalist of the time (known as “Richard Samuel”) digs deep into these players perwsonalities. The whole articles can be read here.
On print in The Cricket and Football Field, Saturday, September 5 – 1908.
“Where football specialists differ who shall decide? The writer was told of an interesting discussion recently between a trio of newspaper editors on the subject as to who was England’s finest goalkeeper of the present time. Curiously enough all three experts differed in their selection. The trio of keepers honoured were L.R. Roose, of Sunderland, William Scott, of Everton, and Liverpool’s Sam Hardy.
The keen critic and follower of football, however, must admit that there is scarcely more than the proverbial pin’s difference in general ability and merit between these guardians; but probably the most remarkable phase of the situation is that each “selection” is of different nationality. Personal opinion is that each of the three “tenters” named has attributes absent in the other.
Playing to gallery.
For instance, Roose savours more of Scotland*s Rennie in that the unconventional largely enters into his play. He is as much an “actor” almost as he is a goalkeeper when on duty, and, whilst one would not go so far as say that Roose plays to the gallery, there is no doubt that his cat-pawing, his gigantic leaps through space, and his mighty “thuds” against the ball’s outer case, hugely delight the average crowd, o’en though they frequently go to discomfit his opponents. Still, it has often been remarked that Roose is a custodian prone to saving the seemingly impossible, and yet allowing so-called “soft shots” to beat him; therefore one is justified in summing up the ex-Potter as being a brilliant keeper of parts rather than a sound custodian.
Leigh Roose, Sunderland.
The Liverpool custodian.
Liverpool’s Hardy, in a quieter way than Roose, usually succeeds during a match, in touching, and, if necessary, retaining brilliancy point. When idle you find Hardy busy – busy treading up and down his goal line, like some caged thing, but directly danger is scented he turns instanter at right angles, and – without any flourish of trumpets, as though he would interpret to the crowd, “I am England’s keeper” – one finds Liverpool’s guardian quietly ready to meet the foe. As the attack closes in there is no dancing about on the keeper’s part as though he were either in a state of alarm or else anxious to throw the opposing raiders off their balance. Hardy merely silently dodges his backs, if that be necessary, to retain his wonderful sight upon the “slidery ba’,” and it is only when that ball finally leaves the foot or head of an opponent that he, with dexterous move, brilliantly succeeds in coping with the most pressing situation – as was evidenced only three short days ago. His fielding, gathering, and clearing feats, too, are all of the hall-marked order.
Sam Hardy, Liverpool.
The thirsty Scott.
Everton’s Scott, this prince of Irish custodians, possesses much in common with his friend in the enemy’s red shirt out Anfield way. There is a delightful ease about Scott which is absent in most of his contemporaries. To the writer’s mind Scott is an ideally built man for his task, possessing capital reach; not burdened with superfluous ounces, nor bemoaning any real lack of inches. Gifted with marked confidence, Scott never allows this to lead him into the dangerous path of rashness. Like the wise man he is, Everton’s keeper never uses an encased foot where two free hands are available. But there is an ease, a finish, and a grace about Scott’s goalkeeping which is somewhat missing even in Roose and Hardy, whilst above all things, when he is beaten it is invariably a goal well won by the enemy so far as Scott is concerned. Roose, Hardy, and Scott – who is the finest of the trip? I will merely ask “F.F.” readers to pay their money and take their choice”
William Scott, Everton (and brother of Liverpool’s famous custodian Elisha Scott).