Even though William Edward Barclay, the former Secretary and Vice-Chairman of Everton, had the title Secretary, that was essentially the team manager at the time, the first eleven were chosen by the board. Irishman John McKenna, who was the most prominent of boardmembers, had more influence over who played than the secretary. Liverpool’s application to join the Football League in their first season was rejected. Field Sports claimed someone at Liverpool had made an administrative blunder, only applying for the First Division, but in case they were not elected did not make themselves eligible for the Second Division. Most likely this was a mistake on Barclay’s behalf as his job entailed taking care of such documentation.
Barclay was so described at the time: “A great enthusiast in football management. Is a most successful organiser, a fine judge of the great game, and knows everybody in the football world. Few men have travelled so much to football matches as he. One of Mr John Houlding’s staunchest supporters. He is the successful Head Master of the Industrial Schools, Everton Crescent, and is, further, widely known and everywhere esteemed. An able man all-round.” Barclay was responsible for all kinds of paperwork relating to the running of the team; signing contracts and keeping deadlines. When John Houlding gave his board £500 to bring in new players Barclay went on a number of scouting missions to Scotland.
In Liverpool's inaugural season the club competed in the Lancashire League, winning that championship following a tight contest with Blackpool. McKenna was pulling the strings, even though he was just a regular board member. He was a man of great influence and the club’s outward face. Barclay apparently knew nothing of the club’s successful application for membership of the Second Division in 1893 until he received a telegram instructing him to travel to London to arrange the fixtures for Liverpool’s debut season as a member of the league. McKenna, not Barclay, went to the capital as Liverpool’s representative. That single incident indicates how much more involved McKenna was really with policy and key decisions. Or maybe he was just making sure Barclay wouldn't make the same mistake twice.
Liverpool joined the Second Division of the Football League in 1893 following the demise of their then more well-known neighbours Bootle. The aspiring club was also victorious in the Second Division, but finished bottom of the First Division in the 1894/95 season. Barclay quit as secretary, whether that was due to reasons other than the team’s capitulation is difficult to establish. McKenna took over as Secretary, winning the Second Division for a second time.
|Competition||Total||Won||Draw||Lost||Goals for||Goals against|
It's pretty obvious that a website called LFChistory has to, sooner or later, tell the historic details of how the club was formed.
We trace the beginnings of Liverpool FC, focusing now on the club's very first season in 1892-1893.
After winning the Lancashire league Liverpool's climb up the league ladder started in 2nd division. A real fairytale season was ahead and the club's biggest game to date against the most famous club in England in the FA Cup.
When the director entered the Liverpool boardroom vehemently declaring that City had been robbed of the game, McKenna immediately called for quiet using his well-known phrase 'A moment, please, a moment'. He then proceeded to ask the director if he knew what the word "robbed" meant. Did he believe the referee was a thief? He promptly proceeded to insist on the director making an apology in the presence of everyone in the room.
Honest John didn't suffer fools lightly and his 'military bearing and staccato voice' got him far as the Liverpool Echo reported when he clashed with a Manchester City director
|Jock Smith||Sunderland||Unknown||May 1892|
|Tom Wyllie||Everton||Unknown||May 1892|
|Andrew Hannah||Renton||Unknown||19 May 1892|
|Jim McBride||Renton||Unknown||June 1892|
|John Miller||Dumbarton||Unknown||June 1892|
|Sydney Ross||Cambuslang||Unknown||June 1892|
|Duncan McLean||Everton||Unknown||July 1892|
|Malcolm McVean||Third Lanark||Unknown||July 1892|
|Billy McOwen||Darwen||Unknown||25 July 1892|
|Joe McQue||Celtic||Unknown||August 1892|
|John McCartney||St. Mirren||Unknown||October 1892|
|Matt McQueen||Leith Athletic||Unknown||23 October 1892|
|Hugh McQueen||Leith Athletic||Unknown||23 October 1892|
|Patrick Gordon||Everton||Free||30 June 1893|
|Jimmy Stott||Middlesbrough||Unknown||6 August 1893|
|James Henderson||Annbank||Unknown||22 August 1893|
|David Henderson||King's Park||Unknown||15 September 1893|
|William Hughes||Bootle||Free||16 September 1893|
|Harry Bradshaw||Northwich Vict.||Unknown||13 October 1893|
|Douglas Dick||Third Lanark||Unknown||16 October 1893|
|John Givens||Dalry||Unknown||28 February 1894|
|John Whitehead||Everton||Unknown||28 March 1894|
|James Cameron||Rangers||Unknown||8 May 1894|
|Bill McCann||Abercorn||Unknown||25 May 1894|
|Neil Kerr||Rangers||Unknown||4 June 1894|
|Jimmy Ross||Preston North End||£75||19 August 1894|
|John Drummond||Sheffield United||Unknown||20 August 1894|
|John McLean||Greenock Volunteers||Unknown||10 October 1894|
|Billy Dunlop||Abercorn||£35||11 October 1894|
|John Curran||Celtic||Unknown||12 October 1894|
|Hugh Henderson||Third Lanark||Unknown||19 October 1894|
|David Hannah||Sunderland||Unknown||2 November 1894|
|Tom Wilkie||Hearts||Unknown||18 January 1895|
|Frank Becton||Preston North End||£100||18 March 1895|
|James Cleland||St Bernard's||On Loan||24 April 1895|
|Robert Neill||Hibernian||On Loan||24 April 1895|
|Willie Donnelly||Clyde||Unknown||May 1896|
|Robert Neill||Hibernian||Unknown||2 May 1896|
|James Kelso||Renton||Unknown||1 January 1893|
|John Miller||Sheffield Wednesday||Unknown||June 1893|
|Jock Smith||Sheffield Wednesday||Unknown||2 August 1893|
|James Henderson||Broxburn Athletic||Unknown||1894|
|Douglas Dick||Third Lanark||Unknown||1894|
|David Henderson||Rob Roy||Unknown||August 1894|
|Patrick Gordon||Blackburn Rovers||Unknown||October 1894|
|John Givens||Paisley Abercorn||Unknown||1895|
|Bill McCann||Paisley Celtic||Unknown||March 1895|
|James Cleland||St Bernard's||Returns from loan||30 April 1895|
|Robert Neill||Hibernian||Returns from loan||30 April 1895|
|Jim McBride||Manchester City||Unknown||December 1895|
|Barney Battles||Celtic||Returns from loan||April 1896|
|Gerard Powys Dewhurst||1||90||0|