The Stanley Park Three – Tony Onslow

The names of Marriott, Morris, and Pickering might not instantly come to mind – when mentioning former members of Everton Football Club – but they played a major defensive role during their formative years on Stanley Park. The first of this trio to appear there was Thomas Marriott.

He was born on the 4 February 1861 and was the third son of Mary and her husband John who worked as a Cotton Porter. The family were, at that time, living at 2 Duke Street but by 1881 they are living in better surroundings at Gray Rock Street where Thomas is working as a Clerk. He first played at full back alongside Tom Evans, from whose experience all 3 were to benefit, during the season of 1880-81 after which he was partnered by a man from the North East of England.

Richard William Morris – born 1862 – was the son of John, a Sergeant Major with the South Durham Militia, and his Wife Harriet. They were then living at Scar Cottage, Bernard Castle in County Durham. Richard is residing at this address, and working as a Gardener, when the censes was taken, 3rd of April 1881 but on the 13th of the same month is recorded as attending the Everton AGM at the Queens Head Tavern in Liverpool.

Marriott and Morris first appear to gather, against Chester, in the opening game of the season on Stanley Park. The Everton side, which changed week by week, are eliminated from the Lancashire FA knock out at Turton, but it is the game with Bootle that attracts the largest number of spectators. Next season sees the formation of the Liverpool & District FA while Richard Morris is promoted to the role of Everton captain. On the 11th of November 1882, the Everton team travel to Wrexham where John Pickering makes his debut.

The fourth child of Yorkshire born parents Richard and Louisa, he first saw the light of day, 21 October 1865, when the family lived on Netherfield Road in Everton. The 1881 census discovers that they havenow settled on Roxburgh Street in Walton and John is serving an apprenticeship to become a Plummer. He first played for the Everton 2nd X1 before taking part in the game at Wrexham where the visitorslost 5-3.

Elsewhere on Merseyside Bootle – thanks to the introduction of guest players – were now the strongest team as they beat Everton at home and on Stanley Park before eliminating them – on the enclosed ground belonging to Liverpool College – in the inaugural Liverpool FA knockout.Nevertheless, the game played on Stanley Park, had been overwhelmedby the size of the crowd so Everton began next season on an enclosed ground on Lower Arkles Lane. 

Merriott, Morris and Pickering were to form the backbone of the Everton defence during the one season they played at this location that saw them reach the final of the local knockout. All 3 players took part in the game with Earlestown, at Bootle, which saw Everton win their first piece of Silverware with a 1-0 victory. Next season they moved to a new enclosure on Walton Breck Road.

John Pickering was the only player to take part in the inaugural game, which saw Everton beat Earlestown 5-0, but the trio were soon to-gather as the season progressed. The Stanley Park 3 again took part in the final of the Liverpool knockout, played a Bootle, where Everton surrendered the trophy to Earlestown when they lost 1-0. Nevertheless,the quality of the fixture list had now improved which led to the club executive engaging the professional services of Welsh Internationalplayers Job Wilding and George Farmer. They also offered the same terms to George Dobson. 

The former Bolton Wanderers man was immediately made club Captain and took the place of Richard Morris at full back. Tom Marriott accompanied him throughout the season and both players were present when Everton retained the Liverpool Cup with a 1-0 victory over Bootle.

John Pickering – who had made spasmodic appearances throughout the season – left the club to join Oakfield Rovers and was in the side that lost to Everton in the 1887 Liverpool Cup final. The 3 former Stanley Park players, following their retirement from the game, spent the rest of their days living in Liverpool.

Richard Morris is still workingas a Gardener when, 27th of December 1885, he married Hannah Mason at Holy Trinity church in Wavertree and both parties list this area as their place of residence. At the time of the 1901 census the family, who have 5 children, are living at 12 Rose Lane in Mossley Hill where the head of household is working as a Coachman. He later moved to 28 Rose Lane where he became a Goods Trader as was employing the younger members of his familywhen he died in April 1936.

According to the 1891 census, John Pickering is still living in Walton when he marries Hannah Harper at the parish church of St Mary on the 18th of September 1892. The couple then “set up” home at nearbyChepstow Street where they raised a family. John Pickering had become a successful Coal Dealer at the time of his death in January 1928.

John Marriott – who always guarded his amateur status – was leading the Everton appearances index when he played his last senior game, against Burnley, in April 1887. His regular place had by then been takenby Sandy Dick a professional player who originated from Kilmarnock.Marriott was living at 24 Tyne Street when he married Jeanie Hughes, 16th of July 1889, at Holy Trinity church on Breck Road. The 1901 census finds the family, which contains 2 children, living at Handfield Road in Waterloo where they employ a Domestic Servant. Thomas Marriott had obtained the rank of Office Manager at the time of his death in July 1909.

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By Tony Onslow

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