The start of September 1906 saw England sweltering in a heatwave – the most intense temperatures recorded in the 20th century.
It was weather for sunbathing, not sport, as the temperatures topped 32 degrees for four successive days throughout most of the country. No surprise, then, that the Liverpool Daily Post & Mercury’s headline for Monday 3 September read:
Football Hot O!
A Warm Kick- Off And Enormous Crowds.
While the editorial began:
“The Glorious First, which duly celebrates the commencement of two distinct classes of sport – football and partridge shooting – will long be remembered for its overpowering heat.”
Maybe the heat helped explain the events at Goodison Park on the Monday evening of 3 September, where the Toffees trounced Manchester City 9-1 in a scoreline which remains the Club’s record league victory.
The 1906/07 league season had kicked off on the Saturday, Everton drawing 2-2 at Middlesbrough and City slumping 4-1 at home to Woolwich Arsenal. Just 48 hours later, City had barely recovered. The Liverpool Courier reported:
“Sympathy was extended to the City by the misfortune which befell them on Saturday, when five of their players were rendered hors de combat by the terrific heat.”
Legendary goalscorer Alex ‘Sandy’ Young (pictured) had kicked off the season with a goal on Teesside – and he plundered four in the rout of City. That flying start helped him end the season as the division’s top scorer with 30 goals in 33 games. He followed strike partner Jimmy Settle, who won the Golden Boot in 1901/02 and was also on target against City in that 9-1 rout, and Jack Southworth in 1893/94.
Everton, the team which has played more seasons of top-flight football, played more matches and scored more goals, has also celebrated more golden boots than any other club.
Of course, a Golden Boot only became a prize for the country’s leading scorer in more modern times. But Everton strikers have topped the scoring charts 12 times since the Football League began in 1888, with Dixie Dean and Tommy Lawton achieving the feat twice.
In that record-breaking afternoon against City, Young “did the hat-trick by scoring the seventh goal with a rattling good shot”, according to the Daily Post & Mercury.
He headed in one more, but the newspaper report seemed more concerned with City’s deficiencies than Everton’s expertise.
“To have 13 goals scored against them in two matches discloses a deplorable state of affairs in the City ranks and unless there is an amazing transformation in the near future nothing can save them from the Second Division,” they reported.
Everton – and Alex ‘Sandy’ Young – really were hot stuff in the early years of the twentieth century.