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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The Footballing Anderson Brothers of Liverpool

When asked recently who was the first Liverpool-born man to play Association Football for England or score a goal in an FA Cup final, I was not able to answer the question. I then commenced to trawl through the FA records and, after much deliberation, appeared to have found the two most likely candidates to fill these roles. I was surprised to discover that they both belong to the same family. Robert Darnley Anderson was born on 29th April, 1859 and baptised the following June at St Pauls church in the Princes Park area of Liverpool. He was the fifth child and second son of a wealthy Scottish cotton merchant who had settled at Liverpool in a large house known simply as “West Dingle”. His Mother, Dorothy nee Horsfall, was born on Netherfield Lane in Everton and her father was also a rich cotton merchant. The 1861 census reveals that the family had moved to Marine Terrace in Great Crosby and the...
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The Hope of Everton – Tony Onslow

In November 1890, the Everton executive dispatched their club captain, Andrew Hannah, back to his native Scotland and instructed him to find a player who would strengthen the side and help them clinch the Football League Championship. They informed him he could offer a signing on fee of £50 plus a weekly wage of £3 and 10s a week. Hannah later returned with Hope Ramsey Robertson who had agreed to join the Anfield club from Partick Thistle. He had been born 17th January, 1868, in the Govan area of Glasgow and was the third child born to Assurance Agent John Robertson and wife Catherine. The 1881 census finds the family now living in the Whiteinch area of the City where the young Hope, now 13, working as a rivet heater in a local shipyard. He began his football career with a team who played under the name of Minerva before joining a Partick Thistle club who, at the time, played on...
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Alex Lochhead, the Everton Wing Half from Neilston – Tony Onslow

Many Everton players over the years have been asked to make their debut in some tough “must win” situations but the first of these must surely be a young Scotsman who arrived in Liverpool during the November of 1891 at a time when his new club were challenging to take the football league championship away from Preston North End. Alexander Lochhead had been born on 27th June, 1865 in the rural community of Neilson in Renfrewshire where he began his football career playing for the village team. His style of play soon caught the eye of a talent Scout who invited the young half back to join the football players from the Third Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers who were based in Glasgow. The club, following their formation in 1874, had first played their home matches on the parade ground before moving to the first Cathkin Park in 1875. In September 1888, the Volunteers began a long and arduous cup run that was...
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