International Football arrives on Merseyside

International Football arrives on Merseyside

The first international football match to take place on Merseyside occurred on 24 February 1883, when England took on an Irish side who were making their first excursion to mainland Britain. The match was arranged under the guidance of the FA secretary Charles Alcock, who decided to stage the game on the new home of Liverpool Cricket Club at Aigburth. He had attended Harrow Public School and would have been acquainted, through the 'Old Boy' network, with other Old Harrovians who lived on Merseyside. One such person was Percy Bateson. Born locally in 1862, Percy was the son of a…
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John Dewar

John Dewar

Thanks to the British Newspaper Archive website, the mystery of John Dewar, who made a single appearance for Everton, can be revealed. He was born in September 1867, in the Renfrewshire village of Strathbungo (today part of the City of Glasgow), and was the second child of Andrew, a Stonemason, and his wife Janet. The family had relocated to the Kinning Park area of Glasgow where John became an apprentice to his father and played junior football with Well Park, with whom he won the Glasgow Junior Cup. Around 1882 he progressed to senior football with Thistle FC (once a…
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John Roach, a Striker from Shropshire

John Roach, a Striker from Shropshire

The main engineering works of The Cambrian Railway Company - today a grade two listed building - once employed many of the people who lived in the Welsh Marches town of Oswestry, and provided the local football team with several players. One such person, who also represented Everton, was John Roach. John Roach's home in LorneSt (left) and the Railway Works (far right) Born April 1863, he was the third child of Martin, a labourer, and his wife Bridget, who together had moved to Shropshire from their birthplace in the County Mayo across the Irish Sea. John had begun to work as a blacksmiths striker, in the foundry of the Cambrian Company, when he started playing football for the Oswestry White Stars, who shared a ground with the local cricket club. On 29 December 1883, the little Shropshire club found themselves in the limelight, having received a home FA Cup draw with the famous Queens Park club from Glasgow, who were renowned for playing quality football with…
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Only Once a Blue; Humphrey Jones

Only Once a Blue; Humphrey Jones

Once a major force in Scottish football, the Vale of Leven club are based in the small Dunbartonshire town of Alexandria. Originally formed in 1872, they were the first team to take away the Scottish FA Cup from the famous Queens Park club of Glasgow, when they won the trophy three times on the run, between 1877 and 1879. In 1890, then founder members of the Scottish League, the Scots made their first visit to Liverpool where a certain Humphrey Jones made his only appearance for Everton. He was born on 17 December 1863, at Summerhill Terrace in the North Wales town of Bangor and was the fifth child born to Humphrey, a successful builder, and his wife Jane. Privately educated, he first attended the local Friars School…
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Herbert Rigsby & Alex Wall, the Zingari Blues

Herbert Rigsby was born on 22 July 1894, in the model village built by philanthropist William Hartley, to house the employees who worked in his fruit preservative factory at Fazakerley. His Surrey born father, Allen, worked at this location, as a foreman, while his mother Frances, looked after the villa that had been allotted to them. The 1911 census revealed that Herbert was living with his parents at that location and was working as a railway clerk. He was playing amateur football with Zingari League side Marine when he joined the army, at the Old Haymarket in Liverpool on 22…
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Only Once a Blue (10) Charles McGoldrick

Charles McGoldrick was born on 30 November 1865 at 38 York Terrace in Everton and baptised at the church of Our Lady Immaculate. This being the case, his birth might well have been attended by the future director of Everton Football Club, Doctor James Baxter. He was the first child of Denis, an Irish born warehouse man, and his Preston born wife, Mary. McGoldrick was first reported to be playing football on Walton Stiles, for the Stanley club, but by September 1886 had signed for Oakfield Rovers. Formed by members of a Wesleyan Methodist community they had, that year, opened…
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James McMillan, the Lad from Leven Vale

When the Scottish FA Cup was inaugurated in 1874, Glasgow based Queens Park won it no fewer than six times during the first ten years. Their run of success however, was interrupted for three years running, by a side from the small town of Alexandria. They played under the name of Vale of Leven. This Dunbartonshire town, on 11 April 1869, was the birthplace of James McMillan. Born to George, a dye works labourer, and his wife Martha at Bryson’s Land, in the parish of Bonhill, he first arrested the attention of the local football agents while playing for Vale…
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Mick Higgins – the Original True Blue

Mick Higgins – the Original True Blue

Mike Higgins No other player can claim a tighter bond with the early development of Everton Football Club than 'good old' Mike Higgins who can surely lay claim to the title of 'Original True Blue'. From the start of club records, he can be found representing them when they first appeared on Stanley Park. Higgins was with the club during their one-year tenure at Priory Road and took part in the first game Everton played at Anfield. He was the longest serving member of the playing staff, when they became founder members of the Football League in 1888. His Irish born father,…
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Jack Brearley, a Prisoner at Ruhleben

Jack Brearley, a Prisoner at Ruhleben. Located beneath the dark smoking chimneys of the gigantic Spandau Munitions Factory on the outskirts of Berlin, the harnessed horse racing track at Ruhleben was hurriedly turned in to an internment camp for the 5,000 or so British civilians who found themselves trapped inside Germany due to the outbreak of World War 1. The game of association football was still in its infant stages, and several of the men held captive, former professional football players, had answered an advertisement to come as trainers and help improve the standard of the game on mainland Europe.…
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The Eventful Life of Billy Kirsopp

The Eventful Life of Billy Kirsopp. William Henry James Kirsopp was a Liverpool born inside forward who, like many of his generation, was to have his football career interrupted in order to serve his country in World War One. Having first worked on the Mersey Docks he volunteered for the armed forces and, after seeing action in Europe, returned to the family home having been wounded. Kirsopp was born on 21 April 1892, the second son of Charles, a landscape gardener, and his Scottish born wife Elizabeth. The family first resided at Drysdale Street, in the southend of the city,…
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