Problems, due to injured players, forced the Everton selectors to “look elsewhere” in order to strengthen the team for an away fixture against Northwich Victoria. They enlisted the help of Frederick G Heaton.
He had been born, 1858, near the Staffordshire town of Leek where his Father Edwin was a Land Agent. Frederick, the 5th children born to his wife Elizabeth, appears on the 1861 census living at Basford Villa, Chaddesden and first appears playing football, under the rules of Staffordshire FA, at Lichfield in 1879. Around this time, he moved to Liverpool where he became a Cotton Dealer and took rooms, in property owned by Mrs Hale, at 168 Bedford Street.
Frederick Heaton was almost certainly acquainted with Robert E Lythgoe, an experienced footballer, who was a committee member of the North Wales FA. Now residing in Wirral, he was the architect behind the formation of the Birkenhead Football Association in 1879. Heaton was in the side when they faced Everton, at home, early in 1880. The match took place on the field next to the church of St Anne, located on Beckwith Street, where the 2 unopposed goals, scored by Heaton, won the game. Next season, along with Bob Lythgoe, he transferred his services to Bootle and was made club captain.
The Bootle club, due to the influence of their former University players, were the leading exponents of the association game on Merseyside. Their ranks also included Robert M Sloane who had previously played football in his native Glasgow. Bob Lythgoe, who took over the secretarial duties, entered the club for the FA knockout and were granted a home tie with Blackburn Law Society. Bootle won the game 2-1 but were beaten, in the next round, 4-0 at Turton.
It was now obvious that the standard of football, played on Merseyside, was lacking behind other areas of the Kingdom so the Bootle club arranged for a visit from Queens Park, who agreed to send their second X1. They hoped that the Scots would demonstrate the finer aspects of the association game and thus encourage its development on Merseyside. Fred Heaton, in the meantime, made an appearance for Everton.
The game with Northwich Victoria took place, on New Year’s Eve, at the Drill Field in front of a good number of spectators. The place of George Badgery had been taken, in goal, by Richardson (previously unknown)
while Mike Higgins had been moved forward to allow Fred Heaton in to the half back line. The Cheshire FA Cup holders, earlier in the season, had been surprisingly beaten, 2-0 by Everton, on Stanley Park and were “out for revenge”. They pressed the visitors from the start and led 4-1 at the break. The home side continued to dominate in the second half and this caused a journalist to make draw the following conclusion… they proved themselves superior to the Evertonians (“alias” Liverpool Invincible Black Watch) who, not withstanding the assistance they received from FG Heaton, the well-known Bootle half back, had to submit to a 6-2 defeat. (Athletic News) Fred Heaton, none the worse for his ordeal, now awaited the arrival of the Glaswegians.
The game with Queens Park took place, 21st January 1882, on the local cricket ground where a playing area had been temporary enclosed, by sheets of canvas, to allow an entrance fee to be charged. Bootle strengthened their side by including Tom Evans of Everton while Fred Heaton handed over the captaincy to local Oxonian, Fred Henstock. Around 1,000 spectators attended the game that was won, 2-0, by the Scots.
The enclosure was still in place next Saturday when the visit of Everton attracted 600 people who watched Jack McGill score all the goals in a 4-1 defeat for Bootle. Next season Fred Heaton left the club to become a founder member of Liverpool Ramblers where he “played out” the remainder of his career.
The 1891 census lets us known that he has returned to Staffordshire and is assisting the family firm of Land Agents. They are living at Endon which is described as being… a pleasant village and township on the road between Leek and Stoke. (Kelly’s Index.)
Fred Heaton had become the captain of Leek Cricket Club and was selected to play, on several occasions, for Staffordshire. On the 31st of July 1891, he married Amy Meakin at the parish church of St Luke and the couple settled, in Endon, at a house named “The Grange”. Their only child Edwin, was born here 2 years later.
Frederick Heaton continued with the family business who conducted the affairs of such famous people as race horse owner Sir George Chetwynd. In December 1903, while visiting Lichfield, he was involved in carriage accident which badly damaged his left leg. His injury gradually deteriorated until, following the inset of gangrene, Frederick Heaton died,
17th of August 1904, and was buried in the village churchyard at Endon. He was just 46 year sold.