Robert Stevenson & William George. – Tony Onslow

Coming from dissimilar parts of the Kingdom, and completely different backgrounds, the paths of these aforementioned individuals crossed while they were playing football in Liverpool. Robert Stevenson was one of several young Scotsmen tempted to try his luck by an agent who covered the area around the Ayrshire Coalfield. He was born on the 24th of May 1861 at 34 Ardeer Square in the coastal town of Stevenson where, along with his other siblings, he spent his childhood. His Father, George, was a Coalminer while Mother Margaret, had the maiden name of Strain. The 1881 census lets us know that the family have now moved to Kilmarnock where the head of the household is running at Tavern, at 52 Low Glencairn Street, and Robert is working as a Grocers Assistant. He has also started playing football, at full back, with Kilmarnock Athletic where he was partnered by his friend and neighbour, Sandy Dick. The club had previously won the Ayrshire knockout but were...
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John McPherson & The Kilmarnock Connection – Tony Onslow

The area around Glencairn Square, in the Scottish town of Kilmarnock, is today mostly given over to a modern retail park to which it lends its name. In the 1880s, however, it was surrounded by rows of tenement style housing that sheltered this working-class community - many of whom were employed at nearby G&SWR Locomotive Works, from the elements. Living in Glencairn Square was Alexander Dick and he would, unwitting, form a close connection between this community and Everton Football Club. Always known as Sandy, he began playing “Fitba” in Kilmarnock before joining the Merseyside club in 1886 where he his uncompromising style of play quickly made popular with the home crowd. Lodgings were found for him, in new property owned the club President John Houlding, on Thirlmere Road. Sandy was content here until February 1887 when reports began to circulate that, due to an attack of neuralgia, he had been given permission to return home in order to recover. He arrived...
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Bethel Robinson, a Man of Many Clubs. – Tony Onslow

Bethel Robinson, a Man of Many Clubs. When the inaugural Football Season ended on the 30th of March 1889, the Everton full back Nick Ross returned to his former club Preston North End while his partner Sandy Dick returned to the family home in Kilmarnock. The club however, had arranged fixtures that would take them in to the month of May so they invited several players to make a guest appearance. One of them was the “much travelled”, Bethel Robinson. Named after his Father, he was born April 1861, in the fishing port of Fleetwood and was the first child of his Preston born mother, Phebe. The 1871 census finds Bethel, who now has 2 younger brothers, staying at the home of his Grandmother in Poulton – le – Fylde because his parents are in the process of setting up a Cabinet Making business at 6 Lord Street in Preston where the family would later settle. When his education was...
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Sam Strettle. – Tony Onslow

Born at the family owned Foundry on the 2nd of February, 1886, Sammy Strettle was the 6th child of Thomas who - along with his Father -in - Law, manufactured Iron Files at 125 Knutsford Road in Warrington. The name of his Mother was Elizabeth. By 1901, with the Foundry now closed, the Strettle family have decamped to nearby Fothergill Street where Sammy has found employment in a Wire Works. Further records reveal that his Father later became a Works Manager and, at the time of the 1911 census, had moved the family home to Prescot on the outskirts of Liverpool. Sam Strettle had, in the meantime, obtained employment at a Soap Works in Liverpool for whom he was playing football. This particular factory, owned by J Hargreaves & Company Limited, produce a single item that they marketed under the brand name of Lively Polly after which their football team was named. They were members of the Liverpool &...
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