Unique Programmes: A Non-League Team Visits

It seems strange today with Southampton having been in the top flight of English football for so long, that when they first visited Anfield they were a non-league side. Even so, they demanded much respect thanks to their exploits in the F.A. Cup. They had reached the semi-finals in 1898, taking Nottingham Forest to a replay before losing. In 1900 they went one step further, losing to Bury in the Final, and in 1902 they lost at the same stage in a Cup Final replay to Sheffield United (having disposed of Liverpool by four goals to one in a second round tie at the Dell).

In the 1905-06 season they were drawn against Liverpool at Anfield in the quarter-final stage.  This was ultimately a successful season for Merseyside’s clubs as Liverpool went on to become League Champions and Everton won the cup. The match with the Saints took place on Saturday March 10th and a joint Everton and Liverpool match programme was produced. There must have been a large print run as it also covered Everton’s quarter-final game against Sheffield Wednesday which took place at the same time over at Goodison Park.

The programme is a typical issue of this historic season, consisting of 16 very large sized pages.  As it is a joint issue the contents are shared 50:50 between the two clubs. There is a page of “Everton Jottings” followed by “Anfield Happenings”. It is a superb record of the matches and of the time that they were played. There are full page photographs of both the visiting sides. If the cup had been decided on the number of players with moustaches and wearing caps then Southampton would have lifted the trophy. Both sets of quarter-final line ups appear in the centre pages (the matches had 3-30pm kick offs) surrounded by adverts. Two pages of the programmes are dedicated to, “Round the Theatres”, with reviews and listings of what was on locally. There is also extensive coverage of the local leagues and further notes on that days matches and the reserve sides.

The game against Southampton was one of the most attractive of that days cup games, especially on Merseyside as the Saints had been knocked out of the previous seasons competition at the same stage by Everton. It also meant that two sides with hopes of winning their respective championships would face each other (and at this time the Southern League, where Southampton competed, was regarded nearly as highly as the Football League – well, at least in many areas of the South!). 

The game ended with Liverpool gaining revenge for their defeat four years earlier, by winning 3-0 with Sam Raybould getting a hat-trick (he netted 128 goals in 226 first team games for the Reds). Unfortunately the semi-final draw saw both Merseyside teams paired together, with Everton winning 2-0 at Villa Park.

Southampton were elected to the Football League for the 1920-21 season. Then soon followed an extraordinary sequence of F.A. Cup draws against the Reds. In the 1923-24 season the teams met in the third round, with Liverpool winning 2-0 in a replayed match. In the next season in the forth round Southampton won 1-0 at the Dell. Then the following season completed a hat-trick of cup draws with a third round tie. Again it was a close match with an initial 0-0 draw at Anfield, before Liverpool won 1-0 in the replayed game at the Dell. Whereas just 18,391 paid to see the Anfield game, 41,902 were at the Dell.

The programme featured is now nearly a century old and, not surprisingly, it is very rare. Made more so because of the non-league connection and the fact that collectors of four clubs are after it. Value, around £250.

For more information on Liverpool programmes and memorabilia please send 2 x first class stamps for the latest bulletin of the Liverpool Programme Collectors Club. This contains many articles on past issues and news on current season programmes. The club has been established for over 17 years and exists to promote the enhancement of the hobby and the sharing of information on Liverpool memorabilia between collectors.

Write to: Keith Stanton, 4 Hillview Gardens, Woolton, Liverpool, L25 7XE  (0151 42 86 087).

© Robin Gowers,

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