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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