Alfred John Schofield

Following in the footsteps of Edgar Chadwick, Alf Schofield first saw the light of day through the mill chimneys of Blackburn in Lancashire.  He was born on 16 July 1876 at 39 Alexandra Street, the fourth child of David, a machine maker, and his wife, Betsy. However, following the early death of her husband, Betsy moved Alfred and his siblings to the comfortable surroundings at 48 Brighton Road in Birkdale where on the 1881 census she is reported to be ‘living by own means’.

Alfred Schofield joined Everton as an amateur in December 1895, and was first seen by the Goodison spectators on Boxing Day, when he replaced Alf Millward for the visit of Celtic, where he scored the deciding goal in a 3-2 victory. He made his Football League debut on 7 March in a 3-2 home win over Preston North End, and during the final game of the season he scored in a 2-1 Everton victory at Stoke.

Everton FC Minutes 28 December 1895; Alfred Schofield is recorded for the first time (bottom right), in the team to play Macclesfield (he wasn’t recorded for his first game the previous week as he was a late replacement). [The Everton Collection]

Schofield then signed professional forms and was paid a wage of £2 per week, and had a ‘suitable position’ of employment that had been found by the club. Nevertheless, he failed to make the decisive breakthrough, and had made just thirteen Football League appearances when he left Everton in April 1900, to sign for Division Two side, Newton Heath.

On 1 September 1900, he made his debut in 1-0 defeat at Glossop and quickly settled down to life with the Manchester club. Schofield had previously played cricket for Bootle, but now transferred his services to the East Lancashire club in Blackburn, where he remained for several seasons.

He was on the Newton Heath playing staff when they survived a winding-up order, and he assisted the new club, now playing as Manchester United, to regained their First Division status in 1906. Schofield retired from playing football in 1907 and returned to his home in Liverpool having made 137 Football League appearances, scoring fifteen goals. He was granted a benefit match from which he received the sum of £50.

During his time at Goodison Park, Alfred Schofield married Florence Fayer at West Derby Registry Office in 1899. She was the younger sister of former Everton player Thomas H Fayer, and had been born in America. According to the census of 1911 the couple were living with their four Liverpool-born children at Rosedale Road in the Walton area of Liverpool, by which time Alfred was working as a coal merchant employing several people.

During World War One he enlisted in the Kings Liverpool Regiment and was wounded in action while serving with the 3rd City Battalion (19th Battalion Liverpool Pals). After hospital treatment, he was discharged to the safety of his family.

After the war, he became a turf commission agent with an office in 59 South Castle Street, and moved home to 9 Woburn Hill in Old Swan. After World War Two he purchased a fine house at Dry Grange off Allerton Road, but he was now in failing health. After a long illness, Alfred John Schofield died on 24 February 1953, and was cremated at Anfield Crematorium.

Acknowledgements

Mark Wylie

Manchester United FC.

By Tony Onslow

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