John Crelley, an FA Cup Winner with Everton – Tony Onslow

When Everton reached the FA Cup final in 1906 their opponents, Newcastle United, had previously done “league double” over them and were favourites to lift the trophy. The Merseyside club had reached this stage of the contest twice before and had been beaten on each occasion. This time however, it was to be “third time lucky” as the trophy found its way to Goodison Park. Playing for Everton that day, at left back, was a man who, in many ways, epitomised the type of individual who shaped the development of Victorian Liverpool. His name was John Crelley and he was descended from a family of Seafarers. His Grandfather, also named John, had moved to Liverpool from Wigtownshire in Scotland where he married Kilmarnock born Margaret Clerk at the church of St John the Baptist in Toxteth. The year was 1846. The couple first “set up” home in nearby Grafton Street before moving to 5 Pluto Street in Kirkdale. They were living...
Read More

Jack Brearley, a Prisoner at Ruhleben – Tony onslow

Jack Brearley, a Prisoner at Ruhleben. Located beneath the dark smoking chimneys of the gigantic Spandau Munitions Factory on the out skirts of Berlin, the harnessed horse racing track at Ruhleben was hurried turned in to an internment camp for the 5,000 or so British civilians who found themselves trapped inside Germany due to the outbreak of World War 1. The game of association football was still in its infant stages and several of the men held captive, former Professional Football Players, had answered an advertisement to come, as Trainers, and help improve the standard of the game on Mainland Europe. Liverpool born Jack Brearley was 1 of 4 former Everton players detained by the German Authorities but he had played for several other clubs before arriving at Goodison Park. Records show that he was baptised,13th of February 1876, at the church dedicated to St Nathaniel at Edge Hill in Liverpool and was the 2nd child born in to the family home...
Read More

The Eventful Life of Billy Kirsopp – Tony Onslow

The Eventful Life of Billy Kirsopp. William Henry James Kirsopp was a Liverpool born inside forward who, like many of his generation, was to have his football career interrupted in order to serve his country in World War One. Having first worked on the Mersey Docks he volunteered for the armed forces and, after seeing action in Europe, returned to the family home having been wounded. Kirsopp was born, 21st of April 1892, the 2nd son of Charles, a Landscape Gardener, and his Scottish born Wife Elizabeth. The family first resided at Drysdale Street, in the Southend of the City, and by 1911 they are living off Kingsley Road at 4, Solway Street. Kirsopp was working for Cunard Shipping Company, as a Dock Labourer, when his scoring ability attracted the attention of the Everton Talent Scouts while wearing the colours a team who played under the name of the Borough of Wallasey. Based at Mill Lane in Liscard, they were members of...
Read More

In Search of the First Everton Stalwart

Rain was falling heavily as I left the train at New Brighton Railway Station in search of a former Everton captain who, I had discovered, was buried in Wallasey at Rake Lane cemetery. The person, whose last resting place I was searching for, was George Dobson. I knew he had died in 1941 but, as I had no grave number, I searched for over an hour without success before, wet through, I started to head for home. However, as I passed through the main gate, I noticed the resident stonemasons’ office and knocked at the door. My luck was in. I was greeted by a man whose name, I later learned, was Alan and he turned out to be an Everton season ticket holder. I told him why I was here, what I was looking for, and he did all in his power to assist. Having found the information I required he then took me, by car, to area where George...
Read More