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 November 1915. He was assigned to the Royal Garrison Artillery and was stationed at Gosport.

He appeared at Goodison Park in March 1915 while assisting Southport Central, and is first reported to be playing for Everton on 4 April 1916, in a North West Regional League game against Manchester United at Old Trafford. When the conflict ended, he signed a professional form with Everton and scored on his debut on 3 September 1919, in a 2-0 away win at Bradford Park Avenue. Rigsby went on to make another thirteen appearances for Everton, scoring five goals in the process, but was not retained when the season came to an end. When his former club, then known simply as Southport, discovered that Rigsby was available, they signed him to play in the Central League.

Next season the Haig Avenue club became founder members of Football League Division Three (North.) He played for Southport until 1925 and then ended his career playing non-league football with Burscough Rangers. In 1932 he married Emily Clerk at Ormskirk. The couple later took over a newsagent shop at 20 Lark Lane in Aigburth where they lived until the death of Bert on 8 December 1972.

Alexander Wall, was another product of the Zingari Amateur League, who signed for Everton during the summer of 1919 from Bootle Albion. He was named after his father when his mother, Josephine, gave birth to him on 31 October 1899 at 31 Crete Street in Kirkdale.

The family later moved to 34 Arkles Lane where they began operating a scrap metal and machinery business, in which young Alex was employed after completing his education. Wall began playing in the reserve pool and signed a professional form on the evening before he made his Football League debut on 18 February 1920 in a 2-0 home defeat by Oldham Athletic.

He remained at Goodison Park for four seasons, but failed to command a regular place in the senior side and was transferred to Football League Division Three (South) club Swindon Town for a collective fee of around £500. Alex Wall had made seventeen League and FA Cup appearances for Everton and scored three goals.

He made his debut for the Wiltshire club on 5 September 1925, in a 2-0 win over Charlton Athletic at the County Ground. Alex Wall went on to make sixty two appearances for his new club, scoring twenty three goals in the process, before returning to the family scrap metal business at 34 Arkles Lane.

He resided at that address until his death on 10 October 1978, and was buried in the cemetery belonging to All Saints RC church on Oakfield Road.

By Tony Onslow

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