Everton v Newcastle United 1902
by Mike Royden
There had been high expectations for the Everton side in the summer of 1902, following their runners-up spot to Sunderland in the previous season – their highest placing since a second-place finish, again to Sunderland, in 1894/95. However, the Blues had a dismal start to the 1902/03 season. The first three games were lost, with the first point coming with a 1-1 draw away to Wolves. Thankfully, the season improved the following week, with a satisfying 3-1 defeat of the Reds in front of 40,000 fans.
The third game of the season, a 0-1 home defeat to Newcastle, was actually captured for posterity on film by those great artists of the Edwardian Age, film-makers Sagar Mitchell and James Kenyon (as was the derby match that followed).
Eight precious minutes survives, with tantalising glimpses of one of the leading football stadiums of the period, the style of turn-of-the-century game play, reactions of the crowd filmed during half time, and a ghostly image of St Luke’s looming in the grainy distance. (The construction of St Luke’s had only commenced in 1899 and was consecrated in 1901).
The film commences with the emergence of the Newcastle side in their recognisable black and white stripes, followed out by Everton, walking onto the pitch from a door in the lower Bullens Road stand (Park End corner) which led from the dressing rooms. The referee joins them, unmistakable in his tweed jacket, breeches, and flat cap.
Leading out the Everton side was captain Jack Taylor, with Jimmy Settle behind him, then Jack Sharp followed by the towering goalkeeper George Kitchen in the flat cap, and then the rest – Bill Henderson, William Balmer, Walter Abbott, John Brearley, Tom Booth, Alex ‘Sandy’ Young, and lastly Scottish international Jack Bell turning back, seemingly reacting to a comment from the crowd.
The camera position was at pitch level, close to the dugouts, so more typical of a fan view at the front of the Goodison Road terraces. The stadium looks magnificent on all sides considering the year, and it’s no surprise it was later chosen for the cup final replay between Newcastle United and Barnsley in 1910.
However, as the game got underway Everton found themselves under pressure and they were picking the ball out of the net after only sixteen minutes,
The solitary goal which decided the game was obtained after sixteen minutes’ play. The ball came from the left wing to the centre, and across to the outside right, during which time the “blues shirts” seemed to be taking little interest in the proceedings. Stewart was certainly tackled, but he was enabled to centre right from the touchline apparently, and to the amazement of the crowd the ball curled into the net. Kitchen appeared dumbfounded, and I am not inclined to put too much blame on him, for I for one, certainly never expected the ball sailing into the net from the position of Stewart. However, it did so, and though it, in my opinion, ought never to have reached that stage, the fact remains that it was the cause of Everton’s downfall. Apart from the merits of demerits of the goals, and from the point of view of Stewart, it was a brilliant effort, there is no doubting the superiority of the Novocastrians.
‘Harricus’ – Everton’s Third Defeat, Athletic News, 15 September 1902
The Liverpool Courier correspondent was similarly unimpressed,
The attacking line, so deadly last season, and now strengthened by the addition of Brearley, utterly failed to justify its reputation, and when we consider that this quintet has played in three League games and scored a solitary goal, it is quite evident where the weakness lies. Compared with the Novocastrians they were mere paste brilliants, whereas their opponents were scintillating gems of the first water, and they will not only have to display more combined effort, but will need to add increased speed to their movements if they wish to check their run of ill-luck. It was difficult to imagine in the lifeless attempts of Young, Sharp and Bell that here was the nucleus of an exhilarating forward line only a few months ago, and it is pretty evident that the trainer’s presence is sadly needed in this department of the team.
There’s more of course, but just too painful to read. Several matchday reports appear in the end section below if you can stand it.
Ah yes, the ‘trainer’s presence’. This was no slight dig frequently heard on the terraces. The following week the Lancashire Evening Post reported, under the banner ‘Unfortunate Everton’,
Everton have started the League tourney badly by losing their first three matches – two away, one at home – to teams which only Newcastle United can be said to be above an average. Apart from any natural inferiority of the Toffees their rivals, their failure, says ‘Tom Tiddler,’ is due the suspension of Secretary Cuff and Trainer Elliott during the off season for “poaching.” Mr. Horace Wright is the acting scribe protem, and Toman is the provisional trainer until October 1st; but, as may be easily imagined, these changes paralysed the attempts to get new blood, with the result that the stables contain far too large proportion of “old crooks,” while the absence of the regular trainer has not allowed even the “old crocks” to be patched up for work again. In other words. Everton are deplorably short of being fit.” and by the time they have got into trim they may have lost their chance.
Lancashire Evening Post, Saturday, 20 September 1902
Another conspiracy against Everton of course, a vendetta of VAR and FFP proportions. They always had it in for us!
In fact, following a complaint by Crewe Alexandra over an illegal approach to one of their players – a Scot named Robertson – Everton were summoned to appear before a Football Association Commission convened at the Grand Hotel in Manchester on Wednesday 4 May 1902.
The representative from Crewe informed the tribunal that the Everton director, Dr Whiteford, Secretary William Cuff, and Trainer Mr Elliott had assured their club committee that they were attending the game at Crewe to watch Robertson. However, unknown to the Crewe board, the Everton contingent spoke to the player directly, effectively an illegal approach. Later, Cuff strongly denied any suggestion he’d been tapping up Robertson.
So, it could be argued that such mitigating circumstances regarding the suspensions were behind the disruption to preparation and the poor start to the season. However, on their return, the lacklustre season continued, especially during March and April, when they won only three of the last ten games and finished a disappointing 12th out of eighteen teams in the First Division.
As evident above, at the meeting on 10 June 1902 there was quite a discussion between the Everton board of directors regarding the tribunal. The general consensus was one of great sympathy for Mr Cuff and Mr Elliot. Then as now, tapping up was commonplace, the trick was not to get caught red-handed.
It was officially minuted that ‘The Secretary (Mr Cuff) and the Trainer (Mr Elliott) having been suspended by the Football Association from 9 June to 1 October 1902 for having approached a player (Robertson of Crewe Alexandra) contrary to Rule.’ Initially this suspension was without pay but Elliott was eventually permitted by the FA to receive half-pay. Both Cuff and Elliott resumed their duties for Everton Football Club on expiry of the suspension.
This was a lesson learned for Cuff and a blip on what would otherwise be a very successful career for one of the most respected figures in the game during the first half of the twentieth century.
It is regrettable therefore, that Mitchell and Kenyon visited Goodison at a low point during 1902, nevertheless they were enthused enough to return for the next home game to capture the convincing 3-1 defeat of Liverpool, a precious film which also survives in the archives and can be viewed online today.
Billy Smith (Blue Correspondent – Everton Chronicles)
Everton Collection (board minutes)
Thomas Keates, History of the Everton Football Club 1878-1928 (1928)
Find My Past – Newspaper research
Everton v Newcastle Match Reports
EVERTON’S THIRD DEFEAT
Athletic News – Monday 15 September 1902
For a team figured as runners-up to Sunderland last season, Everton have indeed got off their mark badly, and though their defeat at the hands of two promoted clubs may have been minimized somewhat by the fact that they were both played on foreign territory, yet a like result was attained in the very first home game, so that the Evertonians have lost all three matches played so far. This is ominous, but after all the season is young. The results of the past two years prepared the pessimists somewhat, for last season Newcastle United shared the points, and in the previous campaign they won outright, so that the Novcastrians will be of the opinion that Goodison Park is a happy hunting-ground. Judging by the scene on the Pier Head, one was prepared for a big crowd, for car after car left the starting point unable to take up passengers, enthusiasts knowing the ropes, having paid an extra penny for a journey in from 20 to 100 yards. Therefore, it was not surprising that the attendance should reach 24,000 or over, – figures supplied to me officially. They did not all stay to the finish, however, as their team was well beaten long before, the end, even though there was only one goal scored against them, and that might have been prevented had the Everton defenders displayed any smartness at all.
ONE GOAL; TWO POINTS.
The solitary goal which decided the game was obtained after sixteen minutes’ play. The ball came from the left wing to the centre, and across to the outside right, during which time the “blues shirts” seemed to be taking little interest in the proceedings. Stewart was certainly tackled, but he was enabled to centre right from the touchline apparently, and to the amazement of the crowd the ball curled into the net. Kitchen appeared dumbfounded, and I am not inclined to put too much blame on him, for I for one, certainly never expected the ball sailing into the net from the position of Stewart.. However, it did so, and though it, in my opinion, ought never to have reached that stage, the fact remains that it was the cause of Everton’s downfall. Apart from the merits of demerits of the goals, and from the point of view of Stewart it was a brilliant effort, there is no doubting the superiority of the Novocastrians. They did not show it to a great extent in the first half, albeit they gave the best exhibition of football, but in the second half they were clearly the better side, and had they not shown a tendency to play to the gallery more goals might have accrued, and thus, with the assistance of the 5-0 victory over Stoke, laid the foundation for a good goal average. Yet, for all that their victory might easily have been turned, as many chances came the way of the Evertonians, and it was only the smartness of Kingsley which prevented them getting through. Of course, on the other hand, Kitchen had many times to clear his lines, so that perhaps after all, the winners will be well satisfied as matters stand.
What Newcastle may do later on, or what they may not do, on Saturday’s form I do not think there is a team in the League which can display the same high-class football. I believe I said something of the same kind once last season, but I should think they were at their best on Saturday. Perhaps the disappointed supporters of the Everton club may not agree with me, but they did not gain their victory over a weak eleven, but over a pretty good one, and therefore the win is all the more deserved. Such forward and half-back play combined as they showed was most admirable, though to put in a little jarring note, the forwards were inclined to over-do the trickling business when the game was won in their estimation, and once Tom Booth, who does not like to be fooled as well as beaten, was so engaged that he fairly went for smashing Stewart into the earth, but had only a free kick given against him for his pains. Really such forward play should have been rewarded by more than one goal.
McCOLL THE ARTIST
Rob McColl, the ex-Queen’s Park Scottish International, had a great reputation before he came to England, but I should imagine that he has played very few better games than he did at Everton. He showed ideal football, and were charging not allowed I believe he would score goals at will. He is a marked man, but I trust for the sake of football he will enjoy better luck than last season. One cannot but admire his pretty touches and his unselfishness. If I mistake not, young Rutherford will develop into a like artist, the pair playing a fine game together- perhaps a little to the detriment of Rutherford’s partner, Roberts. The other ex-Queen’s Park man, Stewart, at outside right, is also an artist who is never ruffled, rather is it his opponents who feel ruffled at the apparent easy manner in which they are baffled. Orr, his partner, makes headway by downright honest work rather than by the neatness of Stewart and McColl, and as a line of forwards will want some beating. A little more of Orr’s fire, perhaps is desirable if the championship is to be attained. The half-backs are really part of the forwards, and this is one reason why the forwards worked so smoothly. Alex Gardner was continually pushing the ball out to Stewart. Carr was a sturdy tackler, and a judicious placer, while Andy Aitken, as usual, played with a level head. If the back was beaten he fell back and played his part. If the wing men were beaten he turned across to their assistance. It is, perhaps, not desirable to have too many of the “dandy” type in the team, and least of all the backs should attempt no artistic play. Both Rennie and Agnew are of the sturdy type, and kick the ball as though they meant it, further from the goal the backs. The Kilmarnock man may be concerned an acquisition. Kingsley is getting like the smaller edition of Foukle and must be has heavier than he was last year. I take him as a stripping playing for a team when he was but a shadow of his present self. He still bears the hall-marks however.
SOME PRAISE FOR THE LOSERS
Henderson the new back from Southampton, though he has previously seen service with Everton, is not a bad defender, but Brearley, a Liverpudlian, last with Middlesbrough, did not play the game I know he can. The forwards generally started well, but Young did not maintain early impressions, his passing being rather unfortunate. Abbott was the pick of the half-backs and Kitchen kept a good goal.
Everton; Kitchen; Henderson, and Balmer; Taylor, Booth, and Abbott; Sharp, Brearley, Young, Settle, and Bell.
Newcastle United;– Kingsley; Bennie, and Agnew; Gardner, Aitken, and Carr; Stewart, Orr, McColl, Rutherford, and Roberts. Referee; J. Adams, Birmingham.
EVERTON’S THIRD REVERSE
Athletic News – Monday 15 September 1902
Three games played and not a victory to boast is Everton’s record up to date, a state of affairs so different from that of last season that one is bound to pause and seriously consider the situation. The two defeats on foreign territory can to some extent be explained away, but to be trounced at home is an entirely different matter. Although the forward line was considered to be the strongest part of the team, it would appear as if this early anticipation was to be discovered an entirely erroneous on. Looking squarely at the facts of the case, it seems clear to me that is in the front ranks where the blame of defeat is to be attributed, and if the exposition given against Newcastle be any criterion of what was accomplished at West Bromwich and Middlesbrough, then the supposition become an indisputable reality.
The attacking line, so deadly last season, and now strengthened by the addition of Brearley, utterly failed to justify its reputation, and when we consider that this quintet has played in three League games and scored a solitary goal, it is quite evident where the weakness lies. Compared with the Novocastrians they were mere paste brilliants, whereas their opponents were scintillating gems of the first water, and they will not only have to display more combined effort, but will need to add increased speed to their movements if they wish to check their run of ill-luck. It was difficult to imagine in the lifeless attempts of Young, Sharp and Bell that here was the nucleus of an exhilarating forward line only a few months ago, and it is pretty evident that the trainers’s presence is sadly needed in this department of the team. Then at half-back Wolstenholme’s absence is keenly felt, despite the good intentions of Taylor and further behind the want of a partner for Balmer is even more to be deplored. Booth worked manfully, but could not get his men going, and Balmer played a splendid game, but taking the team all round, there was a lack of dash and “vim” that practically courted disaster.
The Tynesiders played most attractive football, their forwards being decidedly bewildering in their maneuvers, but, none too proficient near goal. Their great strength was at half-back, and this line worked in admirable harmony with the forward division. They are a well-balanced side, and will want some beating but they had the good fortune to meet Everton in one of their most dilatory moods. At full back Henderson did not impress me at all forcibly, his clearances being feeble and the constant kicking back to the goal-keeper being the least pleasing part of his display. Everton want rousing and the sooner the operation is performed the better it will be for the club.
EVERTON 0 NEWCASTLE UNITED 1
The Liverpool Courier, September 15, 1902.
The first League match of the season was played at Goodison Park, Owing to Lee’s injury, Balmer took the left back position in the Everton team, Henderson partnering him. The teams were: –
Everton: – Kitchen goal, Henderson, and Balmer, backs Taylor, Booth (captain), and Abbott half-backs; Sharp, Brearley, Young Settle, and Bell forwards. Newcastle United: – Kingsley, goal, Agnew, and Rennie, backs Carr, Aitken, and Gardiner (a), half-backs Roberts, Rutherland McColl, Orr, and Stewart, forwards.
There would be quite 20,000 spectators present when Young started for Everton. Settle was early on prominent for the home side, after which Sharp and Brearley put in good work. Everton got well down, and after some exciting play in front of the Newcastle goal. Brearley put in a good shot, which was cleared. The next minute Kingsley had again to clear. From a throw-in in the United half, Brearley ran down and made an ineffectual shy at goal, after which McColl, the visitors centre, dribbled nicely, but his progress was stopped. Sharp was next conspicuous, and shot at long range, but it was short, and then the United got away in promising style, but play settled in midfield for a time. Agnew, who got the ball away, after which, the visitors’ lefts showed up well, and were making, spoiled nice work by Brearley, who got the ball away, after which, the visitors’ left showed up well, and were making tracks for the home goal when Balmer put in a fine kick. Taylor put in good work, and Everton getting in a good position, Sharp took aim from long range, but the shot lacked direction. The next minute Bell sent in a dangerous shot, but the ball curled outside-rather hard lines on the left winger.
Up to now there was little to choose between the teams, although Everton had bad luck with their shots. McColl next initiated a splendid move, which was not checked. Orr and Stewart assisted and the latter, who was playing a smart game, ran nearly up to the goalline, and shot right across, the ball passing through the uprights. It was a shot which Kitchen had no chance with whatever, although he tried hard to keep it out. The Blues were again on the aggressive, Sharp and Brearley putting in good work. A foul against the United gave Everton a good opportunity, which Bell attempted to utilise to advantage by taking aim from short range. The ball, however struck Bennie in transit, otherwise it must have been a certain goal. The Newcastle forwards exhibited a fine combined move, and Roberts got near and shot in, but the referee ruled him offside. The pressure on the home goal was maintained, and Rutherford, next attempted to lower the colours of Everton, but he was unsuccessful. The United looked like giving trouble again, but Abbott stepped in the nick of time. This was followed up immediately with a smart attempt at goal, by Orr, the inside right Kitchen however, cleverly fisted it out. How it missed being a goal was a marvel.
For a time the home men had to defend, but at length Booth put in a kick which opened out an opportunity, and Sharp Brearley, and Young made an incursion into the United territory. The next minute the Novcastrians were hovering in front of the Everton citadel, and Stewart got in a pass to McColl, who, however, failed with a shot. A clever run by Bell next occupied attention, but when only a short distance from goal Bennie spoiled his opportunity. Kitchen next had an anxious time, and the visitors were doing their finest to increase their lead. From a throw-in, in the Everton half Taylor got possession and kicked, placing his side in a favorable position, and the United had to concede a corner. This brought about half time, the score then being Newcastle United 1, Everton nil.
Immediately after restarting, the home right wing pair were busy, but the ball went out, Brearley was working hard for Everton, and dribbled well down, and a couple of corners were forced. Sharp gave Kingsley a handful, the ball, however, being fisted out after which Settle ran down, but was charged off the ball when he had a clear opening. There was no mistaking the earnestness of Orr and Stewart on the right, this pair understanding each other well, and they often tested both Abbott and Balmer. A dangerous corner was given against the visitors, and the ball dropped in an ominous position, but it was safely piloted away, when Taylor shot in without success. Another corner followed, but nothing accured, and then fine play by Abbott, who had the best of the argument with Orr, and Stewart, was noticeable and came on for applause. Settle was prominent but was dispossessed, and then McColl showed brilliant play in midfield, after which Young tried his luck at goal, but Kingsley was not found wanting. There was another effective spell on the part of the visitors, who were undoubtedly cleverer than their opponents and Rutherford sent in at lighting speed, the ball striking the upright. Everton had a free kick, but this brought no assistance. Settle shot at Kingsley, who fisted out, and immediately after Bell, had a shy, the custodian again fisting out. His effort deserved better success. Abbott next tried his luck, but his shot went wide, Everton seemed to be out of luck, and Sharp made a brilliant effort, and Kingsley only saved by throwing himself on the ball-an equally brilliant save. Though trying desperately hard to the finish, Everton were beaten.
Final results, Everton nil, Newcastle United 1.
The Liverpool Mercury, September 15 1902.
Everton opened their League campaign in more disastrous fashion than their most pessimistic supporter could have anticipated, and through the two defeats sustained at West Bromwich and Middlesbrough respectively may to some extent be accounted for, it is a more difficult matter to explain their non success at Goodison park against the Newcastle eleven. In their most recent display there were deservedly beaten by a team which was better balanced in every department than themselves, and the simple matter of fact remains that the visitors proved themselves vastly superior in combination, cleverness, and speed, and gave full valve for the two points they carried away. Only one goal was scored, this coming from an unexpected quarter, fully favoured with a considerable sprice of luck. Stewart the visitors outside right who proved the most dangerous forward on the field, received near the half-way line and running along touch sent in a high dropping shot when about 30 yards from the corner flag. This was evidently with the intention of giving his left wing comrades a chance of reaching the leather, but the ball pursued a most deceptive fight, and completely baffling Kitchen managed to drop into the net via the top right hand corner of the goal space. The shot was a capital one, but that Stewart expected it to vanquish the Everton custodian can scarcely be credited, and the Novocastrians must have been a more surprised witness of his success than anyone else on the field. However, the point decided the match and though the efforts was a fortunate one it certainly does no more than demonstrate the superiority of the visitors.
Whilst the latter could boast an evenness of movement-which at times be came really bewildering in its rapid exchanges- a solid sturdy defence and three irrepressible half backs, the whole working together in excellent harmony, Everton displayed raggedness of methods that was simply that was simply as founding forwards, where so much had been expected drew blank, and though there were occasional periods when they appeared to be moving in more concerted fashion, the efforts were only spasmodic and unsustained. Yet here were the men who had worked so intelligently together only a few mouths ago, and despite the granite like barrier of halves, which they had to face, they should have made better use of their opportunities. Commencing in pleasing style they flattered for a little while, but during the greater part of the contest they were terribly disappointing. Combination vanished, the men were comparatively extremely slow on the ball, and, with the exception of about half a dozen decent shots they shaped very feeble near goal. Young has rarely been seen to such disadvantage in the centre; here as in other parts of the forward line, there was wanting that life and dash that keen desire to gain possession, and rapidity of exchange to the men on either side which is so essential to the outwitting of an opponent. The usually speedy extreme wingmen in just the same humour. Sharp making repeated blunders and being dispossessed almost at will by Carr, whilst Bell was not one whit more effective. Sythematic endeavor seemed beyond them, and the whole line sadly needs bracing up.
One goal in the three matches is their record up to date, and after the exhibition given against Newcastle there need be no surprise felt, at this result. At half-back Booth gave a capital display, though he could not get his forwards going smoothly, but Abbott and Taylor were by no means so effective. The former had more than he could manage in Stewart and Orr, the outside winger in particular getting away with comparative ease from the half back’s attentions, whilst the presence of Wolstenholme would have strengthened the weakness on the right wing. Further behind, Balmer bore off the honours and it was just as well that the left back was in rare form, for Henderson cleared in very hesitating fashion, and does not inspire one with much confidence. Kitchen was fairly deceived by the ball that beat him, and taking the team all round with the exception already referred to, it must be reluctantly admitted that their performance was decidedly feeble, and deserving of defeat. The Newcastle eleven is a strong combination in ever department. The forwards showed splendid passing and were excellently backed up by their halves, but they were none too deadly near goal. They also overdid the finishing at times and a reliable set of backs would have shown to advantage against them. Stewart was the most conspicuous forwards, but McColl displayed fine footwork though it was not so much the individual efforts as the fact that each player knew he was only one unit in the team, that led to such excellent combined movements. The halves were in brilliant form, the backs kicked and tackled grandly and Kingsley kept a capital goal, for the shots which came were the result of intermittent efforts which might have trapped a custodian inclined to take matters easily. Everton will need to brace themselves to greater deeds if they mean to registered a victory during the present month.
Lancashire Evening Post – Saturday 20 September 1902
Everton have started the League tourney badly by losing their first three matches – two away, one at home – to teams which only Newcastle United can be said to be above an average. Apart from any natural inferiority of the Toffees their rivals, their failure, says “Tom Tiddler,” is due the suspension of Secretary Cuff and Trainer Elliott during the off season for poaching.” Mr. Horace Wright is the acting scribe protem, and Toman is the provisional trainer until October Ist; but, as may be easily imagined, these changes paralysed the attempts to get new blood, with the result that the stables contain far too large proportion of “old crooks,” while the absence of the regular trainer has not allowed even the “ old crocks ” to be patched up for work again. In other words. Everton are deplorably short of being fit.” and by the time they have got into trim they may have lost their chance.
Transcriptions of Match Reports by Billy Smith (Blue Correspondent – Everton Chronicles)