The history of Liverpool F.C.

35,668 – our number – our history

Two documents are vital for this article.
1) The foundation of Everton Football Club and Athletic Ground Company, on January 26 – 1892 (Everton Jan 1892); and,
2) The change of name from the above to Liverpool Football Club and Athletic Ground Company, on June 3 – 1892 (Liverpool June 1892-1).

Most supporters know that Liverpool F.C. were founded in 1892, and most supporters do not need to know more than just that simple fact. But, if you are mad about football history, like myself, the search for the exact day of the foundation is, and has always been, an journey into the mystique and unknown part of our club!

For years two dates has always been around in books and on websites. These dates are: MARCH 15 – 1892 and JUNE 3 – 1892. With this article I add another date to the list: JANUARY 26 – 1892.

These webpages you are on at this moment in time are a collection of newspaper articles since the dawn of the Reds. Recently I came across a small note in Daily Mirror, for 2 June, 1979. A reader asked “the expert” – what exact date was L.F.C. founded? The answer given was this: –

Liverpool were founded in 1892 – but even the club is unsure of the exact date.

Based on this I strongly feel that March 15 and June 3 is knowledge given to media of newer date without too much diving into the archives.

We know that L.F.C. was founded after a long spell of disagreement over the future of Everton Football Club. This disagreement reached fever pitch during the autumn of 1891 and the winter of 1891/92. On one side, E.F.C.’s president and the owner of Anfield football ground, John Houlding. On the other side a group of E.F.C. directors, led by Messrs. Mahon and Clayton, who claimed Houlding made too much money on his engagement with the club, Houlding renting the ground he owned to E.F.C. and so on. I will not write more about this since it has been documented many times before.

So what about the dates?

26 JANUARY, 1892
On Monday 25 January, 1892, there was a meeting of the directors of Everton F.C. at the College Hall in Shaw Street. On this meeting the opponents to Houlding made a presentation about the possibility of the club leaving Anfield and moving across Stanley Park to a new ground in Goodison Road. This was of course convenient for them since John Houlding himself, for unknown reason, did not attend the meeting.
The last point discussed and agreed upon was the following: –
Mr. Clayton then moved that the club be formed into a limited company, with a capital of £500, in £1 shares, each member to be allocated one share. This resolution was also carried.
William Barclay, a vice-president of the club, and in the chair for this meeting ended the proceedings by declaring “he resigned his position as vice-president in protest.

The next day, on 26 January, 1892 – media reported that: “Mr John Houlding threw a bombshell into the camp of his opponents when he followed up their actions at the general meeting by promptly forming a new company, and registering it under the name of ‘Everton Football Club and Athletic Ground Company, Limited’, with a capital of £15.000 in £1 shares.

What is even more interesting is that this new club, when registering with Companies House, received a Company Reg. number – 35668.

Now, if you may – please visit (http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/toolsToHelp/findCompanyInfo.shtml) – then click on the top alternative that says (Webcheck) and the click (Access webcheck) – in the field that says “Company number” type in 35668, and enjoy the result: Date of Incorporation 26/01/1892.

Now, if you may – please visit Liverpool F.C.’s official website
(http://www.liverpoolfc.com/corporate/lfc-credit-card) – have a look at the last chapter, and you will see: – “Registered Office: Anfield Road, Liverpool L4 0TH, Registered in England and Wales (registered no. 35668).

For me this is very clear that our club was formed on January 26 – 1892 under the name of ”Everton Football Club and Athletic Ground Company, Limited.”

15 MARCH, 1892
On this Tuesday in 1892 it was a general annual meeting for members of the Everton Football Club. It was on this meeting that John Houlding was removed from the presidency of the club by voting. It was also another immense important point on the agenda, a point no one has remembered the importance of: –
“That the Everton Football Club do now amalgamate with the Everton Football Club and Athletic Grounds Company, Limited.” This resolution was not carried by the members.

Now, there are claims that what happened next this evening was that John Houlding with some close football friends went back to Houlding’s home, Stanley House, in Anfield Road, and here, William Barclay suggested that “their club” should be known as “Liverpool.”

I must admit I have looked for, but not found any evidence of this happening, but it has actually no influence on the end result of this article whether or not it happened. The reason for this is revealed under the next date.

3 JUNE, 1892
This takes us to the last date on the list, 3 June 1892. Here we find a certificate with the following wording: –

«Sir,
With reference to your application of the 24th instant, I am directed by the Board of Trade to inform you that they approve of the of the Everton Football Club and Athletic Grounds Company, Limited, being changed to the Liverpool Football Club and Athletic Grounds Company, Limited.

This communication should be tendered to the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies, Somerset House, W.C., as his authority for entering the new name on the Register, and for issuing his Certificate under Section 13 of the Companies’ Act, 1862. »

The certificate can be seen here: (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/b6/Certificate_of_change_of_name_to_liverpool_fc.jpg)

So, my opinion is that we have forever celebrated the wrong foundation date. 3 June 1892 is simply the day we changed the name from Everton to Liverpool, as mentioned above.

But why? how can you or how dare you suggest? No – it cannot be true! We are not Evertonians!!!! I hear some of you say. You should know that in 1892 “Everton” was not part of the “City of Liverpool.” That did not happen until late 1895. So back in 1892 it was a huge battle for the right to wear the name of “Everton.” We, our forefathers, lost that fight. It is a defeat noone today is sad about – but “to know who you are, you have to know where you came from.”

But, let us go back virtually to March 1892 sometime after the meeting on the 15th. I think it is clear that John Houlding, William Barclay and their comrades on March 15 knew that they had lost the battle to represent Everton on the football field. I do suspect, but I cannot prove it, that to save time and not register a completely new club in Companies House – they just changed the name of what they started 49 days earlier. In other words they kept the registration number.

Kjell Hanssen, 6 October 2012 – 44,084 days after our foundation.

The history starts with the article you find by clicking here. Then follow the arrows under the articles to take you through to the next newspaper note, or article.

Anfield, home of Liverpool Football Club since 1892.
Anfield 1892

Main stand towards top left corner, The Kop towards bottom left corner, Kemlyn Road Pavilion towards bottom right corner. The Kemlyn Road Pavilions were taken removed and the Main stand moved across to replace it.

10 replies »

  1. In January 1892 a non-trading company was established named ‘Everton Football Club and Athletic Ground Company, Limited’. This company only began trading when Everton FC left Anfield in April 1892. I can be said that Liverpool AFC as we know it started in April 1892 as fully active trading company with assets and a site to trade from. The name was changed from ‘Everton Football Club and Athletic Ground Company, Limited’ to ‘Liverpool Football Club and Athletic Ground Company, Limited’ in June 1892. Liverpool FCs first name was Everton. The club has had two names.

    Either way, beginning in January or April 1892, Liverpool AFCs first name was Everton.

    • Hi Michael,

      Yes, on paper LFC have had two names, starting with the Everton version.

      But I think establishing the LFC name was just a formality since the potential directors and shareholders already had a company number. The Everton named from January 1892 was meant to be the new Everton FC as a limited company. I doubt any meetings were ever hold by the Everton company under Houlding’s leadership.

      So after Houlding was removed from the EFC board in March 1892 that the formalities of a completely new club was put in motion. So they just changed the name of the old club they had registered two months earlier.

      Kjell

  2. Houdling was president of Everton FC. The way it worked was that the Committee could meet without him and mostly did. There was great distrust towards Houlding especially as they thought he was in league with Orrell. The flashpoint was the road Orrell wanted to run through the new main stand at Anfield and had the right to do so. Everton FC rented from Houlding and the committee said they knew nothing of the covenant in the contract. They distrusted Houlding who they thought was using measures of leverage to get more and more.

  3. Just to add. Everton initially rented from Orrell. Then Houlding bought the land of Anfield with a covenant in the contract with Orrell that he could run a road through Anfield to access the far end of his land next door. Everton then were renting from Houlding. The Everton Committee said Houlding did not inform them of the covenant in the negotiation with Orrell in buying of the land. If they knew it was in they would have looked hard at the prospect of staying at Anfield there and then with such restrictions imposed on the expansion of the rapidly growing club.

    I find it hard to accept that Houding did not know of the covenant being such a shrewd businessman. The Everton Committee must have concluded the same and deep distrust set in. Houlding and Orrell did offer an inflated combined rent to Everton FC so there was collusion on that point, so why would there not be collusion on the land deal? As it turned out Orrell pulled the same stunt on LFC in wanting to run then road through the main stand. Was there still collusion to force LFC to buy the land off the pair of them. I am sure LFC paid more than what Everton considered paying the pair of them for the land.

    • Hi Michael,

      It is a little complicated to understand the process. There was two Everton clubs at the same time, but the second one was meant to be the Limited Company of the first one, which the quotes below explains.

      On January 23 – 1892, Liverpool Echo reported:
      The sub-committee, at the request of the special committee, had an interview with Mr. Houlding, who after consideration, has replied as follows: –

      “With regard to the rent I am willing to accept, I believe that the land in Walton Breck-road will always be wanted for when we consider that 10,000 people leave the ground at that end in about ten minutes, you must have room for them to spread out.

      “I therefore think I ought to have 4 per cent, my outlay –viz £250 per annum.

      “But if I should sell the land outside the boundary, of any portion thereof, at any time during tenancy, the rent will be lowered proportionately. I also reserve the right to nominate one member on the committee. I am also willing a lease, with the usual landlord’s condition’s inserted, so the portion required for enclosure for that period of ten years.

      “Rent to be paid quarterly in advance. The tenants to have the option of purchase of the land that is used at present and enclosed at 7s 6d yard, such purchase to be arranged between now and the 30th of April, 1894.

      “The purchase to include all fast and loose fixtures, boundaries &c, that may be on the ground sold at that time. I am also willing that a company be formed (on conditions as per enclosure prospectus). Of course the notice to quit holds good.” signed – John Houlding.

      On January 30 – 1892, Liverpool Echo reported:
      A special general meeting of the Everton Football Club was held on Monday night in the College Hall, Shaw Street for the purpose of hearing the repute of the sub-committee as to new ground, rental, tenancy, &c, and to obtain the direction of the members thereon. The meeting was also convened to consider the desirability of forming the club into a Limited liability company, to purchase Mr. Houlding‘s and Mr. Orrrell’s grounds on the basis of such a company on similar capital and to lease the present or any other ground.
      There was a good attendance of members and Mr. W.E. Barclay presided. The Secretary (Mr. R. Molyneux) read the minutes of the last general meeting. The members were provided with copies of the propose prospectus for a Limited liability company, as drawn up by Mr. Houlding, and the report of the sub-committee upon grounds at Goodison-road and Walton Breck-road. Particulars of both these documents have appeared in our columns.

      Based on this John Houlding formed a Limited Company the same evening and registered it with the Company House the next day.

      On February 1 – 1892, the Field Sports reported:
      Mr Jno. Houlding threw a bombshell into the camp of his opponents last week when he followed up their actions at the general meeting by promptly forming a new company, and registering it under the name of ”Everton Football Club and Athletic Ground Company, Limited.”.

      The party led by Messrs. Clayton and Mahon had hoped to prevent the formation of a club with the Everton name by registering that title, but early on Tuesday last they learned that they had been completely forestalled, and that Mr. Houlding had already taken legal possession of the name, which, combined with the fact that the club, is still to be carried on at the old headquarters, will doubtless have due weight with the English Association and the football League when the question of official recognition comes to be fought.

      Unlike the £500 company of Messrs. Clayton and Mahon, the basis of Mr. Houlding’s venture is to be a capital of £15,000 in £1 shares, and every member of the present club will be presented with a share in the company provided that he first takes four other shares.

      Mr. Houlding will naturally retain possession of the stands and other erections at Anfield-road, and this will enormously increase the cost involved in putting the Goodison-road site in fit condition for football – a project which may possibly not be undertaken after all now that events have taken an extraordinary turn.

      How do we read this last action?
      (1) Did John Houlding start a new Everton team to compete with the original one?
      (2) Did Houlding try to coupe the name by registering it with the Companies House and making sure his opponents at EFC were not on the directors’ list?

      I am a firm believer that the correct answer is option (2).

      The reason for this was that Houlding wanted the Everton name. We have to remember that Anfield and Everton in 1892 were outside the city borders of Liverpool. They were added in the autumn of 1896 or 1897. Houlding, who was known as ‘King John of Everton’ – he wanted to have the right to use the Everton name.

      But when his opponents within EFC – Clayton, Mahon and more managed to get the special AGM Meeting in March and boot Houlding out o fthe club they also got the support of the FA and the Football League that only one club could be called Everton. Therefore Houlding had to either kill his project or change the name of his project. He chose the latter.

      Kjell

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