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A Derby Day Trilogy by Wooltonian

10: Generations : A Derby Day Trilogy - WOOLTONIAN

Karl Brodrick's [Wooltonian] story of some of The Greatest Derbies and their effects on the Brodrick household of the day.

Part I: Grandfather Peter’s Story

Peter, following in his father’s footsteps, was a Liverpool docker working on Garston Docks. Known as “Little Yanna” due to his elder brother Frank being known as “Big Yanna”, I can only assume it was their relative waistlines or beer intake that inspired their nicknames as Peter was an imposing figure. His girlfriend Rose Houghton (the 1st Wooltonian in our family), had first seen the wirey youth plying his trade for Garston Gasworks XI on Camp Hill (Woolton Woods). The left wing Adonis caught the eye of many a passing girl with his trickery up and down the touchline but it was to be Rose that stole Peter’s heart.

Peter’s only other loves were playing and watching football. He was one of the old school who liked watching the Blues and Reds on alternate weekends. I don’t think anyone ever drew him on the question as to which was his favourite of the two, so I hope he forgives me for assuming he was the first Red in our family. Either way his first Derby game was on the 7th October 1922 at Anfield.

Liverpool: Scott, Longworth, McKinlay, McNab, Wandsworth, Bromilow, Lacey, Forshaw, Johnson, Chambers and Hopkin.

Everton: Fern, Raitt, McDonald, Peacock, Fleetwood, Hart, Chedgzoy, Irvine, Chadwick, Williams and Harrison.

Liverpool playing their third game in 8 days due to a midweek cup replay, were not the favourites for this encounter, but they started the game stronger than the boys from across the park. 45,000 had packed into the ground that day and the first action of note saw a looping header by Johnson land on top of the net. Hopkin was having all his own way with Raitt and it was his cross that had led to the first chance. Again Hopkin skinned Raitt minutes later and Chambers brought a magnificent save out of Fern. But soon after there were signs this would not be a one sided affair, when Fleetwood’s long range effort warmed Lisha’s hands.

Lacey and Forshaw were combining well on Liverpool’s right, when a one-two put Forshaw clear, he skipped over a wild tackle by McDonald, before sending in a great cross which Fern dropped at Johnson’s feet and an almost certain goal. Fleetwood somehow volleyed the goal bound effort clear off the goal line, leaving the crowd agog. The ball broke free and the ensuing Everton breakaway saw Williams put the blues in front 1-0.

As the game went from end to end, a poor back pass by McKinlay put Forbes through, but a great diving save from Scott kept the Reds from going even further behind. Harrison, for once got the better of our Ephraim and only another agile save from Scott denied Chedgzoy.

Unless Liverpool picked the tempo up this was looking like becoming a very one sided affair, as wave after wave of Everton attacks breached our defensive line. Scott kept Liverpool in the game with an array of amazing saves. After one save from Irvine Elisha released McKinlay down the left, his forward pass to Hopkin drew calls from the Paddock Blues for offside, but luckily the linesman was dreaming of his half time orange. Only a great tackle by Raitt stopped Hopkin from going through on goal, with Liverpool rewarded with the consolation of a corner.

The mighty Kop roar echoed around the ground as Hopkin curled in the corner. The noise was doubled when Chambers bullet header hit the net. This was a significant turning point in the game as shortly after McNab’s fierce drive, put Liverpool ahead for the first time in the game. Half time was celebrated with copious amounts of Brown Ale, by the assembled Kopites. Some enjoyed the boozy break so much they missed the third Liverpool goal of the game which was scored by Chambers. After a delightful one-two by Lacey and Chambers the latter drove home from just outside the box.

Harry Chambers Liverpool's hat-trickman - former shipyard worker

Former shipyard worker Harry Chambers was having a field day, and it was only two minutes later when he completed his hat-trick with a curling shot, again from outside the box. 4-1. Lacey was involved once more when he “nutmegged” McDonald and sent in a powerful cross which Fern couldn’t hold. Birthday Boy Bromilow, tapped in Liverpool’s fifth from close range. A crunching tackle late in the game saw Bromilow and Hart finish the game as observers. The whistle went for full time when Scott had made yet another wonderful save from Williams. A great win for the Reds.

Grandad Peter began his long walk to Smithdown Road, to catch his tram home. Today you can comfortably get home to Garston in 30-40 minutes by car. In the days of horse drawn trams the same journey was over 2-3 hours. That’s if you had the ha’penny fare. But it wasn’t all bad news, with beer at a penny a pint you could get slaughtered for a shilling. And so the night in the Mona Castle began. Whether Peter was actually a red or a blue, I’m unsure. But I bet he spent the night celebrating as a RED. He was like that, he loved a bloody good excuse to get ‘happy’. Liverpool would build on the victory and go on to win the league by six points. The manager at the end of the season Matt McQueen would take all the bows for the league title win, but it was David Ashworth who was in charge and who earned victory at Anfield that day.

In 1932 Peter married his beloved Woolton ROSE. And after a Christmas frolic, young William John was born the following September. It must be a family thing in our house. I too was the result of my father playing Santa with me Mam. Anyway, with William still wetting the bed and squawking all night (sorry Brod), Peter decided it was time to take in the latest Derby.

He had missed the Liverpool 7, Everton 4 game due to his work commitments. Liverpool dockers were working short time and only a select few were chosen to work daily. Peter although notorious as one of the most laborious of workers, had only worked 3 days that week and if it wasn’t for the odd crate being dropped, many a scouse family would have gone hungry that week.

But by September 1935, his industrious working nature, had caught the eye of the top gang hand. Ergo Peter, was bringing a few bob home more regularly. As I said earlier, it’s hard to know, where my Grandad's true allegiance lay, but I do know he was a great admirer of the legend that was Dixie Dean. Anyone who tells you Dixie was otherwise, either doesn’t know or has a convenient memory. But if Evertonians had Dixie, we had Gordon Hodgson. Our hat-trick king’s goals-per-game ratio is still the best in our history.

So Peter headed from the docks, straight to Anfield. The talk walking up Wally Hill was would Dixie do us again? Or would Hoddo do the business? No one was talking about the new kid on the block, inside left Howe, after all, it was his first Derby. The good news for all Liverpudlians was that Sagar (he who picked the ball out of the net 7 times) was still the Everton number one.

Homosexual relationships in those days were still locked firmly in the closet, but I can't help thinking the blue boys singing “I wish I was in Dixie” were doing so tongue in cheek. After a few pints of black stuff in the Sandon, Peter and a few of his mates from the docks headed to the turnstiles along with 48,000 others.

Liverpool: Riley, Cooper, Blenkinsop, Savage (Lily’s Dad?), Bradshaw, McDougall, Nivvy, Hodgson, Wright, Howe and Carr.

Everton: Sagar, Williams, Cresswell, Britton, White, Thomson, Geldard, Miller, Dean, Stevenson and Leyfield.

Everton started the game looking like they were going to wipe the floor with the Reds. Dixie in particular looked at the top of his game coming close twice early in the game, but after 15 minutes Liverpool took command of the game. Carr skinned Williams on the outside with pace and sent in a powerful cross which Howe glanced inside the far post. The deft header was followed 15 minutes later by Hoddo placing one just inside the opposite post. The Reds were already two up.

Only 5 minutes later Gordon got his second, this time with a powerful shot that left Sagar flat footed. Sagar was having a nightmare of Elm Street proportions when Howe also scored his second just before half time. Once again it was Brown Ale time for the Kopites and Bovril for the Gwladys Street boys.

Fred Howe scored four vs Everton!Liverpool were playing exhibition football, while the so called ‘School of Science‘ were trying to discover oxygen. As the teams came out for the second half any hope of a Blue comeback was gone. Everton fans watched as Dixie limped onto the ‘Hallowed Turf’ of Anfield. To his credit, Dean ran round the pitch for the rest of the game giving it his all.  Only later did fans find out he had broken his toe in the first half.

Howe and Hodgson though, were on a mission. Who would get the hat-trick? Money would have said Hodgson was favourite. Although Gordon came close on two occasions it was Howe who scored a brace from his two chances in the second half, finishing with four. The Anny Road was half empty by the time the ref put Everton out of their misery.
Thus went into the record books, The Largest Ever Margin in Derby History. Liverpool 6 Everton 0.

The Mona Castle was going to be the place to be again tonight, but the journey might be a bit quicker now, the trams having converted to electric. Some fans (mainly the nobs from Mossley Hill) even had cars. God only knows what we’re gonna use on our roses from now on if these motor car thingies catch on.

Was Howe a flash in the pan? Hardly, he scored another hat-trick seven days later in a 7-2 victory against Grimsby Town. But history would definitely say he played second fiddle,to the goal machine that was Gordon Hodgson. Dixie? Well for all the codswallop yer Grandad may tell yer, he went down in folklore on Merseyside as a total legend of the game and RIGHTLY SO.

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