Coming from dissimilar parts of the Kingdom, and completely different backgrounds, the paths of these aforementioned individuals crossed while they were playing football in Liverpool.
Robert Stevenson was one of several young Scotsmen tempted to try his luck by an agent who covered the area around the Ayrshire Coalfield. He was born on the 24th of May 1861 at 34 Ardeer Square in the coastal town of Stevenson where, along with his other siblings, he spent his childhood. His Father, George, was a Coalminer while Mother Margaret, had the maiden name of Strain.
The 1881 census lets us know that the family have now moved to Kilmarnock where the head of the household is running at Tavern, at 52 Low Glencairn Street, and Robert is working as a Grocers Assistant. He has also started playing football, at full back, with Kilmarnock Athletic where he was partnered by his friend and neighbour, Sandy Dick.
The club had previously won the Ayrshire knockout but were now in precarious position owing to the exodus of their best players to Lancashire. Their fixture list was still impressive with such clubs as Glasgow Rangers and Partick Thistle booked to visit them on their ground at Holm Quarry. However, following several heavy defeats, the home gates quickly dropped and Kilmarnock Athletic were forced to fold at the end of the season. Rob Stephenson and Sandy Dick then accepted the offer to join Stanley in Liverpool.
The Stanley footballers were an offshoot of the clubs well established cricket section and several of them came from Scotland. Their headquarters was at the Spellow Hall Hotel and their home enclosure was at nearby Walton Stiles where a match with Everton – played on the 10th of October 1885 – produced a crowd of around 2,000 people. Rob Stephenson took part in the game that was won by the visitors. He also took part in the Liverpool Cup semi-final, played at Bootle, were the Anfield side were again victorious. Next season, along with Sandy Dick, he accepted the offer to join Everton.
Rob Stevenson at first found it difficult to maintain a place in the Anfield set up where he was switched to the half back line. He made his Everton debut, in October 1885, against Bury at Anfield and scored in 4-1 win. On the 13th of November he was back at Walton Stiles to face a Stanley side which included, from Kilmarnock, their new signing Archie Goodall. It was rumoured that his famous brother John, who played for Preston North End, was to accompany him but it was team mate Jimmy Ross who appeared instead. Stevenson made regular appearances for Everton which included drawn games with 3 times FA Cup winners Blackburn Rovers and the present holders, Aston Villa. He remained with club for another season and represented the Liverpool FA, 24th of April 1887, against Cheshire in a 4-2 defeat at Walton Stiles. The Scot had now decided to make his home on Merseyside where he acquired employment with the Liverpool Constabulary.
Stevenson had now began playing amateur football with Liverpool Police Athletic who had an enclosed ground, off Kensington, on Balmoral Road. He nevertheless maintained a connection with Everton and played for them against an Ulster touring side during the festive season. On the 25th of January 1889, following an injury to John Weir, Robert Stephenson made his only Football League appearance for Everton against Wolverhampton Wanderers, on the Molyneux Grounds, where they were beaten 5-0. He then concentrated his sporting activates with the Police team where he was joined by former Everton team mate, William Herbert George.
The son of John and Lydia, he had been, April 1863, at Foleshill near Coventry where the head of the household was employed as a Silk Weaver. He later became an Agent with the Prudential Insurance Company and moved his family to the Kirkdale area of Liverpool. The 1881 censes finds the them living at 79 Tetlow Street where William has joined his Father as an Insurance Agent and has started playing football for his parish church of St Mary. They play their matches on Stanley Park and are captained by their Curate, Charles Anthony Carter.
William George is first seen to good effect when he represents his parish in a selected charity game that was played on Stanley Park, during Whitsuntide 1882, for the benefit of Stanley Hospital. Stanley Park was again the venue when a similar event was held in 1885 but this time he represented St Marys, against Everton, in a team that had been selected by the committee of the Liverpool & District FA.
The proceeding was overseen by Reverend Carter when, on the 9th of September 1885, William George married Margaret Burns at his parish church. He continued playing with his church till March and then starts to appear in the Everton line up. William George made several first X1 appearances before joining the Liverpool Police Athletic where he lined up alongside Robert Stevenson.
On the 14th of April 1888 both players were in the side when they took on Stanley at Walton Stiles. They were trailing 2-1 when foul on their goalkeeper, the former Everton player Charles Lindley, caused an altercation in the dying minutes of play. In the melee that followed, William George was struck several times by the Stanley umpire, Robert McCallum, who had entered the field of play.
The visitors promptly left the enclosure and the Stanley official was, following a report by the referee, summonsed to appear before Liverpool Magistrate’s where, after showing remorse, he was fined the sum of 20 shilling with costs. The man from the Pru, accepted his apology and ended his football career with the Liverpool Police.
The George family later lived at Macclesfield and Newcastle-under- Lyme before returning to Merseyside where they settled at 7, Mather Road in Birkenhead. They were living at this address when the head of the household died on 13th of October 1927.
Robert Stevenson continued as a member of the Liverpool City Police and rose through the ranks. The 1901 census records that he is unmarried and lodging with the Liddell family at 37 Roxburgh Street, Walton. He has now acquired the rank of Detective Sergeant. His death and last resting place have yet to be discovered.