Manager profile

David Ashworth

Birthdate: 2 June 1867
Birthplace: Poulton-le-Fylde
Other clubs as manager: Oldham Athletic (1906-14), Stockport County (1914-19), Oldham Athletic (2 / 1922-24), Manchester City (1924-25), Walsall (1926-27), Caernarfon, Llanelli
Arrived from: Stockport County
Signed for LFC: 17 December 1919
First game in charge: 20.12.1919
Contract Expiry: 20.12.1922
LFC league games as manager: 127
Total LFC games as manager: 139
Honours: League Championship 1921/22

Manager profile

Ashworth was born in Poulton-le-Fylde near Blackpool (not in Waterford, Ireland, as has been believed until now!) and was a well-known Football League referee before going into management. He was Assistant-Secretary at his local club, Rossendale, before his first managerial appointment with Oldham Athletic in 1906, shortly after the club had moved to Boundary Park. At that time the Latics were playing in the Lancashire Combination but they soon gained Football League status replacing Burslem Port Vale who resigned at the end of the 1906/07 season. Ashworth led Oldham to a creditable third place finish in their inaugural season as a League club and it took only a further two years before they achieved promotion to the top division as runners-up to Manchester City. Apart from narrowly escaping relegation in 1912, they were as high as fourth in the 1913/14 season, towards the end of which Ashworth left to join Stockport County.

Ashworth agreed to become Liverpool’s manager in December 1919. Results had been poor under manager George Patterson in the period before he was appointed. A run of 11 matches between the end of September and early December had brought just two victories, but the second half of the season was much more stable and the club eventually finished in fourth spot. Pipe-smoking Ashworth bought only one player of sufficient quality in Fred Hopkin but he had inherited classy footballers like Elisha Scott and Ephraim Longworth who had already been at Anfield for several years. Another fourth place finish followed in 1921 before the blend of old and new took Liverpool to their third League Championship a year later with a convincing six-point margin separating them from runners-up Tottenham. Liverpool were to retain the Championship a year later but surprisingly and controversially the man who had led them to their previous success was not there by the time the title was secured. Just five days before Liverpool were due to play Oldham, at home and away Ashworth astoundingly returned to Oldham for his second spell as manager there. Liverpool won both their games against Ashworth's Oldham Athletic on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, hardly lacking any impetus! Few could understand why on earth Ashworth had decided to leave a team in first place with almost twice as many points as Oldham in twenty-first position out of a League of 22 teams. Ashworth had evidently moved for family reasons as he wanted to live with his wife and daughter, who were both invalids, in their home in Stockport that was only 11 miles away from Oldham compared to 43 miles from Liverpool. For the record Oldham got relegated in the 1922/23 season.

Ashworth fared no better after leaving Oldham for a second time in July 1924. He lasted less than a year and a half at Manchester City before being dismissed and suffered the same fate after a similarly brief spell with Walsall. He then managed two Welsh clubs; Caernarfon and Llanelli, before returning to the English game as a scout for Blackpool, the town in which he died on 23 March 1947, aged 79. David Ashworth rightly takes his place in Liverpool Football Club’s Hall of Fame as a man who led them to the League Championship. We can only wonder what more he might have achieved at Anfield if it had not been for his return to Oldham.

Statistics

CompetitionTotalWonDrawLostGoals forGoals against
Grand totals139704029220118
League127653725203109
FA Cup11533178
League Cup000000
Europe000000
Other100101

Matches that are won or lost in a penalty shoot-out are counted as a win/loss not as a draw.

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Players bought

PlayerClubFeeDate
Chris Harrington South Liverpool Unknown 1920
Bill Cunningham Blyth Spartans £50 May 1920
Harry McNaughton Edinburgh St Bernard's Unknown 3 July 1920
Ted Parry Colwyn Bay United Unknown February 1921
Frank Mitchell Everton £1,250 3 February 1921
Fred Hopkin Manchester United £2,800 May 1921
Harry Beadles Grayson's Unknown 12 May 1921
Cyril Gilhespy Sunderland Unknown August 1921
Jimmy Walsh Stockport County Free 20 May 1922

Players sold

PlayerClubFeeDate
Sam Speakman South Liverpool Unknown 1920
Harry Lowe Nottingham Forest Unknown 8 March 1920
Ken Campbell Partick Thistle £1,750 April 1920
Bob Pursell Port Vale Unknown May 1920
Tom Armstrong Preston North End Unknown June 1920
Tom Miller Manchester United £2,000 23 September 1920
Harry McNaughton Peterlee Unknown 1921
Albert Pearson Port Vale Unknown 1921
Chris Harrington South Liverpool Unknown 1921
William Jenkinson Wigan Borough Unknown June 1921
John Miller Aberdeen Unknown 8 June 1921
Billy Matthews Bristol City £750 2 March 1922

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