Liverpool’s failure to beat Nottingham Forest on Saturday was put down by many to the exclusion of James Ross, the team captain. When one comes to inquire into the reasons for Ross’s absence a good deal of mystification is encountered.
Ross told a friend of mine on Saturday that he had not only been excluded from the team, but he had not been invited to keep up his training. From another source I hear that a member of the Liverpool committee has declared that Ross will not be played again this season. Ross professes complete ignorance of any offence, and the story that he has quarrelled with the vigorous training introduced by Tom Dodds, the ex-Sunderland coach, is not credited.
Personally, I believe that the failure of Liverpool to beat what was virtually a second team of the Bolton Wanderers in the Lancashire Cup tie the other week is at the bottom of the affair. There were rumours at the time that the Liverpudlians did not exert themselves because they had not received a promised bonus.
Copyright - London Football Evening News 06-03-1897 - Transcribed by Kjell Hanssen
NOTE: Two weeks later Ross moved to Burnley. Whether this dispute led to the move or Liverpool simply left him out because they knew he was on his way is not clear.