George Fleming: The Goalscoring Bank Clerk from Arbroath By Tony Onslow 04/01/2016

It is the summer of 1887 and the Everton team pose, at the Sandon, with the trophy they had just won after beating Oakfield Rovers by five goals to nothing. Two of these goals had been scored by a man, sitting left of the centre row, who had recently moved to Merseyside from Scotland. His name was George Spink Fleming and he was destined to etch his name in to the record books of Everton Football Club. Fleming, along with his twin sister Jemima, was born on the 4th of November 1859 in the Forfarshire town of Arbroath. His father was the owner of a grocery store that was situated at 72 Marketgate.  The 1881 census tells us that the family had moved to number 80 Marketgate and George, then age 22, listed his occupation as that of a Bank Clerk. He was also playing football for the leading club in the area. The above photograph, taken in 1882, shows the Arbroath...
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“Our Tam” McInnes, an Everton First By Tony Onslow 23/02/2016

When the Football Clubs of Everton and Liverpool run out to meet each other in the forthcoming Merseyside derby game, it will be for the 194th time in the League. No other city in England can claim to have staged more local derby games at the top level of English football than Liverpool. The game will take place on the former home of the Everton Club at Anfield before a capacity and fiercely partisan, crowd and the atmosphere will be electric.  Yet, when these two deadly rivals first locked horns with each other it was not at one of their present day homes but on a cricket ground before a crowd of 10,000 people at Hawthorne Road in Bootle. The date was April 1893 and the occasion was the final of Liverpool Senior Cup. There was much local speculation as the match approached whether the team from Goodison Park would include any of its Football League players, because the season was now...
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In Search of John Houlding

This article is not intended to either praise or condemn John Houlding for the role he played in the decision made by Everton Football Club to move away from Anfield. It is merely an effort to try and throw some light on this "larger than life" character who played a big part in the establishing the game of Association Football in his home town of Liverpool. Local records reveal that John Houlding was baptised on 4th August 1833, at St Martin-in the-Field church and that he was the second of three sons born to Thomas Houlding, a cow keeper, and his wife Alice.  The family resided at 19 Tenderden Street where the income from Thomas Houlding's occupation enabled him to provide his children with a good standard of education and a comfortable home in which to live. The 1851 census revealed that John Houlding was still living in Tenderden Street where, along with his younger brother William, he listed his occupation as...
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The Life of a Former Everton Captain By Tony Onslow 05/05/2015

Nicholas John Ross, the Victorian version of the present-day soccer superstar, was a man who captained both Preston North End and Everton. He was the most feared defender of his generation who was described by the leading Victorian sports journalist, J A H Catton, as being… "the most brilliant back of his day, if not of all time. The best I ever saw." Nick Ross, born in Edinburgh on 6 December 1862, was the second child of Stonemason Thomas Ross and his wife Anne who was a shopkeeper. The 1871 census reveals that the Ross family were living at 47 Potters Row, George Street Shops, in the old town area of “Auld Reekie”. There were six children in the family, namely: Mary (12), Nicholas (8), James (6), Elizabeth, (4) and twin boys named George and John who were three months old. By 1881, Thomas Ross had passed away and Anne, then 61, had moved her family to 43 West Richmond Street where...
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Joseph Davies, the Welsh International from Shropshire

The picture above shows the last resting of Joseph Davies who played for Everton during the season that they became founder members of the Football League. He had been born on 27th June, 1869, at St Martins in North West Shropshire and baptised at Preesgwyn Methodist Chapel. Records reveal that he was the son of Stephen Davies, a blacksmith at the local Coal Mine, and his wife Harriet. Both of them had been born in St Martins. The 1881 census finds the family living Chirk Bank Row in Weston Rhyn where Joseph, along with his two brothers, is listed as a Scholar. On leaving school he began working at the local colliery and was playing for Chirk AAA from when he joined Everton in November 1888. It is reasonable to assume that he lived, during his time with Everton, at the family home because he could catch a train from the tiny local Railway Station (now closed) to Chester and change...
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International Football arrives on Merseyside – Tony Onslow  

The first international football match to take place on Merseyside occurred on the 24th of February 1883 where England took on an Irish side who were making their first excursion to mainland Britain. The match was arranged under the guidance of the FA secretary Charles Alcock who decided to stage the game on the new home of Liverpool Cricket Club at Aigburth. He had attended Harrow Public School and would have been acquainted, through the “Old Boy” network, with other Old Harrovians who lived on Merseyside. One such person was Percy Bateson. Born locally in 1862, Percy was the son of wealthy cotton broker who had, on leaving Harrow School, become acquainted with the association game while attending Edinburgh University. On returning home he played firstly for Bootle before becoming the secretary of the present day football club on its formation in 1882 which played under the name of Liverpool Ramblers. Alcock was based in London and would have certainly needed...
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On Tour in London with Everton – Tony Onslow

This week's clash with Arsenal, the 195th in total, will in no way resemble the occasion when the two sides first met 125 years ago, in what is today The Royal Borough of Greenwich. It was the first time that the Anfield club had visited the capital and their understrength party, which consisted of fifteen players, left Liverpool without their leading goal scorer Fred Geary who was suddenly recalled to Nottingham because of a family bereavement. Club captain Andrew Hannah, along with Alec Brady, were also absent when the train left Lime Street Railway Station in good time for the party to spend a comfortable Friday evening in London by attending a show at the Convent Garden Theatre. Everton were the present Football League champions and had been invited to tour London where a pre-arranged programme of three fixtures awaited them. The opening game was to be at the Oval Cricket Ground against a Corinthian side, which it was reported, contained...
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Keys and Warmby — The Duo from Derby by Tony Onslow

In preparation for life in the Football League, Everton Football Club made several new signings during the summer of 1888. Two of them, Keys and Warmby, had joined them from Derby County. Despite the fact that the local newspapers make no reference to their background, they were in fact related by marriage and had reached the Mersey Seaport by two slightly different routes. William Henry Warmby was born, 1863, in South Yorkshire where he began his football career with his local team, Rotherham Town. Sometime around 1883 he moved to Derby where he took up a job as an engine fitter (Midland Railway?) and played his football with a team made up of players from the congregation at the church of St Luke. They were one of the lesser known teams in the town and played on a small ground at Peat Street. On November 8th, 1884 they travelled to face Wolverhampton Wanderers in an FA Cup tie, on their home...
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With Everton at Great Lever – Tony Onslow

There has long been some confusion concerning the outcome of the first competitive game played by Everton that was won, eventually, by their opponents, Great Lever. Early local historians state that Everton drew the tie, 1-1 and then were decisively beaten in the replay by 8 goals to 1 on Stanley Park. However, the record books of the Lancashire FA, held in Leyland, prove that Great Lever did indeed venture into next round of the competition but the replay, which was rather acrimonious, took place in their home town of Bolton. The parishioners of St Bartholomew’s church had formed a football club in 1877 before making their headquarters one year later at a local tavern that was called the Old Robin Hood. Here they changed their name to Great Lever and set about constructing a simple enclosure that was adjacent to a notorious local landmark called Wellington Yard, which by its description appeared to be a tannery. The club officials then...
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The Oxford Blues of Everton Football Club

The young football fan who today watches the highly paid Premier League stars of the modern era will find it difficult to visualise the generation of footballers who, long ago, earned a good living outside of the game and played football without reward because they loved to do so. Confined mostly to the South of England, many of them had first become acquainted with the association game at public school and then expanded their knowledge and skills at universities such as Oxford. Here, if noted by the selectors, they could be chosen to represent their University and be awarded an honour that was referred to as a “blue”. Two of these noble amateurs, who earned this distinction, later found themselves wearing the blue jersey of Everton Football Club. The first of them was William Charles Jordan. The Reverend William Charles Jordan The son of a brewery owner, he was born on 9th December, 1885 at Oldbury in Warwickshire and attended Kind Edward College...
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