Nat, King of Goals…and Bowls by Rob Sawyer 29/08/2016

As with many players at Goodison in the 1930s, Jimmy “Nat” Cunliffe’s achievements are overshadowed by the Everton giant that is W.R. Dean. Yet his life in sport was a remarkable one. Plucked from non-league football Jimmy went on to win international honours. Not content with this, he subsequently embarked on enjoy a highly successful career in another sporting arena. Born James Cunliffe on 5 July 1912 to Mary and Peter (a coal miner), Jimmy grew up in Blackrod – a small settlement close to the current location of Bolton Wanderers’ stadium. Upon leaving school he started an apprenticeship as a plater in the boiler-making section of the nearby Horwich Locomotive Works.  The young man excelled at cricket, football and crown green bowls, confiding, years later, to the journalist Stork that most of his friends rated him as a better cricketer than footballer. In one season he had a bowling average of seven but preferred to pursue a career in football,...
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Neville Southall – The Winding Road from Winsford to Goodison   by Rob sawyer

A version of this article was previously published in When Skies Are Grey, the digital Everton Fanzine. The WSAG team are offering a discounted subscription rate to ToffeeWeb readers for a limited period via this link.  George Rooney was a boyhood Blue, growing up off Mere Lane and, later on, in Knowsley. The full-back represented Liverpool Schoolboys and joined Everton as an apprentice in 1962. Coming through the ranks with him at Goodison had been the likes of Gerry Glover, John Hurst, Tommy Wright, Jimmy Husband and Aiden Maher.Released by Everton after two years George joined Coventry City under Jimmy Hill but promptly suffered a broken leg. Laid up back home on Merseyside, George was lent Jimmy Husband’s extensive Buddy Holly record collection to listen to during his convalescence. George recalls what a great prospect Husband had been as a teenager: ‘Jimmy was a lovely lad and a hell of a player. He made such an impact when he got in the...
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Charlie Leyfield – Everton, Wales and England by Rob Sawyer 

Charlie Leyfield had a long association with Everton as a player and trainer. He also can claim the unique distinction of being trainer to both the England and Wales national teams. Charlie was born on 30 October 1911 just south of the River Dee in Chester, the eldest of seven children. Attending Handbridge's St Mary's School, he excelled at football — initially as a centre-half and inside-forward but later as a fast, direct winger capable of going down the outside or cutting in. This led to selection for Chester Schoolboys representative team at the age of 13. Promoted to captain the following season, he was signed by leading local amateur side, Brickfield Athletic. Three appearances for, then, non league Chester FC followed, including in an FA Cup victory over Rhyl. Gifted with his hands, Charlie was a capable artist and, away from football, as apprenticed as a joiner to Cartmel Brothers in Willaston. On the pitch he became the first junior player...
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The Lost Professional of Everton FC By Tony Onslow

It has now been a long accepted fact that both George Dobson and George Farmer were the first two players to be employed as professional footballers by Everton Football Club. However, it is quite possible to believe that the same gratuities offered to these two players might well have extended to reach a third man. His name was Job Wilding and he came from Wrexham. Both Dobson and Farmer first came to Liverpool during the Easter of 1885 and, having had a trail period with Everton, were invited to return to the club next season. Dobson returned alone and took up residence, but Farmer, who did likewise, almost certainly arrived back on Merseyside accompanied by Job Wilding. Both men, in course of the previous season, had played international football for Wales. Wilding and Farmer had made their international debut, 14 March 1885, against England in a match that was played on the Leamington Ground in Blackburn. The visitors proved a match for...
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The Good Doctor of Everton – Tony Onslow

When William Baxter moved to Liverpool from Clitheroe, he opened his own business, as a Chemist and Druggist, at 259 Great Homer Street in Liverpool. Some years later he married a local girl with whom he began to raise a family. James Clement Baxter, the second child to bless this union, was born in 1857. He attended his local school, dedicated to St Frances Xavier, where he proved to be a bright pupil. He quickly moved on to the school's college, run by the Jesuit Order, from where he won a place to study medicine at the King and Queens University in Dublin and qualified on 6 February 1879, to practice medicine. James Baxter, having returned to his native town, set up a consulting room, along with his cousin Austin Hughes, at 102 Robson Street in Everton. Six months later, he married the daughter of an Irish born Merchant who was now established as Liverpool Cotton Dealer. The lady of his choice...
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The First Everton Scot By Tony Onslow

The Life and Times of an Everton Goalkeeper It was the winter of 1880 and the football players of Everton were trouping off their pitch on Stanley Park having just been soundly beaten by the parishioners of St John's Church in Bootle. Later that year they were approached by a young Scotsman who, having just moved in to the area, asked them if he might be allowed to join them in their “kick about” matches on the park. The Everton players agreed and welcomed him in to the fold. The new arrival then commenced to demonstrate his considerable football skills to the Everton players who quickly offered him the role of both club captain and coach. The newcomer's name was Jack McGill. The newspapers of the time state that McGill was an ex-Rangers player while John Keats, the famous Everton historian, tell us he was born in Ayrshire.  This however, is not correct. John McGill first saw the light of day, 25...
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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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