Liverpool celebrates its twenty-first birthday

The year was 1913, seven years had passed since any kind of silverware and Liverpool FC had suffered unbelievable ups and downs under Tom Watson, who had been in charge since 1896. As usual the club enjoyed the hospitality of the Sandon, which had once been owned by John Houlding, founder of the club. Spirits were high this February evening. The Liverpool Echo reports:

A strong, juicy smell smote me as I climbed the Sandon steps. The Liverpool Football Club had forestalled me by an hour and had enjoyed a hot pot supper. The club was in a happy mood for it was their twenty-first birthday. Liverpool and Mr. John McKenna (chairman) had made its mark in that course, having won the Lancashire League, the League Division 2 thrice, the League Division 1 twice, and had appeared in the F.A. Cup semi-finals twice. That was a splendid record for a young club, and one that they were proud of. The club had always striven to give good football and what a Lancashire paper had stated recently was quite correct namely, that referees were agreed that the Liverpool players were not the least trouble to referees. They did not argue points, they took decisions like sportsmen, and honoured the rulings of the official.

Mr. McKenna paid a warm tribute to the players who had served the club in the past and to those at present in the employ of the club. He pointed out that the club had a black October, but the brighter days had followed, and since November 2 they had only lost four matches – once a month, strange to say – and, as those defeats were to Oldham, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Sunderland, clubs that were high up in the League ladder they felt that their League performances since the opening of November had been remarkably good. There had never been a better feeling among the players of the club, and he wished them every good fortune in their meeting on Saturday. He was delighted with the draw, because they were always pleased to play Newcastle United. He knew the players would strive to beat this great team, but if they lost, they would accept the defeat in a sportsmanlike way. Mr.McKenna might have carried the once-a-month-defeat factor a trifle further and said that, as Oldham have beaten Liverpool this month, Newcastle have no possible grounds for the uniformity of the Reds.

All the directors were present, and while Mr.Tom Watson had charge of the arrangements, Mr. George Platt held the reins of the music, which included one Kelly at the piano – Kelly formerly “played” for the Reds, Mr.Kenyon’s physique suggested a meek tenor voice, instead of which he had a rich-toned bass, that is used effectively. We had an-fashioned type of comedian in Jack Clark; and Fred Wilkie, whom I say first at a West Cheshire gathering, a “got there” in the parody of “Little Brown Jug.”

At the recent Y.M.C.A. billiard match with the footballers I was advised to keep “a igh” on Alec Chrystal. He’s good, very good, and his very “breath” makes one laugh. He pulled the legs of directors, players and taunted us with our nationality. Well, ‘tis true we were cosmopolitan lot. Scots prevailed, but Peake stood for Wales, Lowe for Gainsboro’, Tosswill for the South, Lacey for Ireland, Longworth for Lancashire, Goddard for Cheshire, and Parkinson for “Liverypool.” Mr.McKenna presented the prizes won at the billiard handicaps as follow: – First handicap: 1, S.Gilligan; 2, G.Fleming; 3, E.Scott; 4, G.Patterson. Second handicap: – 1, A.Goddard; 2, J.Stewart; 3, E.Longworth; 4, J.Tosswill.

The Liverpool team in the backyard of the Sandon in 1893.

When Longworth and Goddard were presented with their medals for the English League – Southern League match, the assembly gave them a specially hearty reception. The team to represent the Reds will be “the usual” one unless Lacey is unable to turn out. McKinaly and Gracie are the reserves selected.

Copyright Liverpool Echo - 19.02.1913

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