Rocky Road Story - Andrew Kelvin

Broomy

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Lockdown Challenge

Right lads, with most of us still in lockdown due to the coronavirus, we all have a bit of spare time on our hands....

Which got me thinking, let’s tell the story of Liverpool Football Club in diary form starting from the very first game they ever played. I’ve never written a story/diary before in my life but let’s give it a go and see how far we get.... It could be epic, it could be shite!!!
  • Do you fancy writing one or two days into the diary?
  • You can keep each diary update as short and simple as possible. Do not exceed 500 words.
  • You can direct the fictional story/lives of young Tommy and Grandad Jim wherever you want. The next forum member who updates the diary must continue the story which should make things very interesting and provide a bit of a laugh!
  • If a few members participate we'll fly through the days!! Plus it's a great way of remembering the clubs early days...
  • Send me a private message if you are interested and i'll let ye know dates and matches etc

It’ll be a laugh so make sure and participate!!

If anybody is interested in taking part send me a private message to avoid duplication of that days diary updates and i’ll draw up a list of forum members/dates.
 
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Broomy

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The Rocky Road to Anfield

Wednesday - August 31, 1892

Tommy :
The unbraided wick flickered slowly into life as I lay in bed, negative thoughts flooded my consciousness. My father had always thought of me as an impertinent and ungrateful little tosser but this was taking it to the extreme, pushing the boundaries to its limits. It was the night before the match. Would I follow Grandpa Mike to Anfield or take the safer option and go to Goodison Road where my father Jim would be.

I still see the dad I remember, a fascinating man with a way with words, he was funny and had a knack for telling a story. That all changed when Mam passed away. My father would be at Goodison tomorrow, he was fully acquainted with Everton's origin, it's rise and fall, he'd been there during it's struggle for existence to its success in that 1890–91 season.

However, all summer there was an aura of heightened interest, an air of mystery surrounding this newly formed Liverpool club. Rotherham Town who were just crowned Champions of the Midland League were the opposition and I wanted to be at Anfield tomorrow but I knew i'd get a right bollocking off my father if he ever found out.
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Broomy

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Thursday - September 1, 1892

LIVERPOOL 7 - 1 ROTHERHAM TOWN
FRIENDLY
ANFIELD

Tommy : I arrived just before 5:30 pm, 'Are you going to stand there all day, la, give us your ticket' a young lad shouted from the turnstile. I arrived at the Anfield gates and waited for Grandpa. You couldn't miss him, he was always a man of fashion in his sack jacket and that black waistcoat worn beneath which would always hold his pocket-watch. “Alright boy, great to see you, I have something for you here, open it before you enter”. He handed me an envelope before walking past me and through the turnstiles. Inside the envelope contained the words “Subscription Ticket - to ground and covered stands 7s 6d.” I don’t believe it, he’s only gone and bought me a subscription ticket for the season...

Grandpa Mike : I walked past Tommy and into the Anfield Grounds, without a glance behind me. I knew he’d be chuffed, I worried about his old man though. A young lad handed me the matchday programme which contained the Liverpool line-up.

___________________________________
John Miller
Centre

A. Kelvin..M. McVean..J. Smith..T. Wyllie
Left Wing...........Right Wing

James McBride......Joe McQue......James Kelso
Half Backs

Duncan McLean...........Andrew Hannah
......Left Back.........................Right Back

Sydney Ross
Goalkeeper
___________________________________

It was our first time to ever see many of these young lads play and the excitement on grown men faces was evident. The first player who caught my eye was James Kelso, I could have sworn it was Bob Kelso - a legend of Everton and North End. James is Bob’s younger brother so it’ll be interesting to see how he’ll fare in the half back position. If he’s half as good as his brother we’ll have one hell of a good player on our hands.

I was expecting a lot more spectators considering some of the matches played here last season fetched more than 11,000 spectators. Liverpool in their striking blue and white shirts kicked off and quickly took the lead when Malcolm McVean scored from the left. I sense this goal will be celebrated for generations to come and I was here with my grandson to witness it. McVean had just signed from Third Lanark - a Scottish Football club based in Glascow, one of many men signed from Scotland during the summer.

It was a fine performance from this new group of players, what startled me was the pace of the game, the acceleration and shooting on some of these lads was fascinating to watch. Liverpool recorded their first ever victory beating a strong Rotherham Town side 7 goals to 1.

Andrew Kelvin, centre half Joe McQue, forward John Miller and right wing Thomas Wyllie bagged himself a hat trick. Football at its best and its only getting started. Off to the Sandon we strolled...

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Broomy

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Friday - September 2, 1892

Tommy :
I woke to the sound of John Roscoe, the local post man who delivered the daily news to the house every morning, he knew everybody in the area and everybody knew him. If you couldn't afford the daily post newspaper the post man basically delivered the daily news. "It finished 7 goals to 1 in Liverpool’s favor" Mr Roscoe announced presumptuously, "well you wouldn't find me setting foot in that Anfield ground anymore watching a team of Mac's or whatever they're calling themselves over there" my father Jim barked. "No point in raking up old grievances here Jim, there'll come a time when it'll have to be accepted." The door slammed shut. I waited till father left for work before getting out of bed.

It was a mighty good match yesterday evening, Grandpa Jim went on to the Sandon after the match but I scampered on home, I didn't want to be seen in the Sandon which was owned by John Houlding.

Looking back at the match, we never really got to see new goalkeeper Sydney Ross in action, Duncan McLean and Andrew Hannah basically swept up any attacking move, they looked like they’d be playing together for years from their calmness to their awareness of each other but it was James McBride who caught my eye, he’s way too good to be playing in the Lancashire League. He'd just signed from Renton and as a left half back he wasn't very tall but he tackled fearlessly and had a good turn of speed.

The forwards linked up well together as well, shame John Miller picked up an injury. We'll have to wait to see if he's fit enough to play in tomorrow evenings big Lancashire League opening match against Higher Walton.
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Broomy

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Saturday -September 3, 1892

LIVERPOOL 8 - 0 HIGHER WALTON
LANCASHIRE LEAGUE
ANFIELD

Grandpa Mike : It was the morning of the match, the first time this new Liverpool team would play a competitive match. Rumours are circulating that centre forward John Miller may miss the match due to injury so I assume Malcolm McVean will be taking that position.

I arrived at my tailor shop early this morning before young Tommy arrived. Tommy was my tailor apprentice and was quickly becoming an expert in the skills involved in cutting and tailoring bespoke jackets, coats and trousers. I felt like a master of the trade passing these skills down to the next generation, keeping the shop in the family name.


Tommy : Grandpa already had the tailor shop opened when I arrived "We'll be closing the shop early today, it's a 3:15 kick off at Anfield today son"

Cumuliform clouds gathered overhead with rain showers falling intermittently. We arrived at Anfield early, there were hardly any spectators, the seats and benches were empty, you could actually count the numbers. Only 300 spectators turned up for Liverpool's first ever competitive match.

The rumours were right, John Miller failed to make the starting team again through injury so Malcolm McVean would have to debutize in the centre forward position.

The game was due to start at 3:15 but we were approaching ten to 4 and there was still no sign of the Higher Walton team showing up? They finally arrived just after 4 - nearly three quarters of an hour later the match finally kicked off through Malcolm McVean.

The sheer determination and class of this Liverpool team shone through, Higher Walton were outplayed in every position which resulted in an 8-0 drubbing. Jonathan Cameron, Joe McQue and Jock Smith all scored 2 goals each with Jim McBride and Malcolm McVean securing the victory. It was an incredible victory considering the team had only been put together a few weeks ago...

Team (2-3-5): Sydney Ross, Andrew Hannah (C), Duncan McLean, Joe Pearson, Joe McQue, James McBride, Thomas Wyllie, Jock Smith, Malcolm McVean, John Cameron, Andrew Kelvin.
Secretary: William Barclay.
Goals: Jock Smith (2), James McBride, Malcolm McVean, John Cameron (2), Joe McQue (2).
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Broomy

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Sunday -September 4, 1892

Grandpa Mike :
The city was awash with news of Liverpool’s impressive victory over Higher Walton. We had just been treated to 15 goals in our opening two matches. The news was even more impressive when you consider our first choice forward, John Miller, missed the game yesterday!

However, the repercussions having attended the match on my business if rumours start circulating down at the local taverns were foremost on my mind as myself and my wife Elsie walked towards St. John's Church which stood against St. George's Hall.
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Monday - September 5, 1892

Tommy:
The games were coming thick and fast, this evening Liverpool play a friendly match against a strong Middlesbrough Ironopolis team at The Paradise Ground which is more than 173 km away. It’ll be my first match to miss meaning i’ll have to wait until tomorrow morning to read the Liverpool Mercury Newspaper's match report to hear the final score.

Just as I arrived to work, Mr Thompson, a feeble old man whose deep wrinkles seemed to carve a map of his life, a life of hardship and pain but who always had a smile that was not only vivacious but captivating. Mr Thompson would call into the shop every Monday morning, I don’t think i’ve ever seen him without his white clay pipe and keeping everybody in the tailor shop in suspense in the midst of one of his many stories.

“Morning Mr Thompson”, “ah Tommy, I actually saw you at Anfield on Saturday so I brought something that might be of interest to you.” He handed me a copy of the Field Sport Newspapaer which was dated August 29, 1892. “These’s a page in it son which previews the 1892/93 season”.

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SEASON PREVIEW 1892-93: LIVERPOOL F.C.

(FIELD SPORTS)​


"Goal-keeper:

Sydney Ross:
“The position of goal-keeper is perfectly safe in the hands of Sydney Ross. His display in the practice matches stamps him as one of the finest custodians who ever appeared in a team.

The Backs:

Andrew Hannah and Duncan McLean:
The backs are also a fine pair. The merits of Andrew Hannah are well known both as a skipper and also as a player, and his mature judgment, together with excellent defensive tactics, makes him most invaluable. Duncan McLean, the other back, has not the finish possessed by Hannah. Still he is a most enthusiastic player, and no doubt with a little tuition from his partner will eventually become equally safe.

The Half Backs:

The line of half-backs are a splendid trio.

James Kelso: Young James Kelso is as like his older brother, Bob, in play as he is in features, and great things are expected from him.

Joe McQue, the centre half, is a finely built young fellow, with superb tackling powers and excellent judgment in the manipulation of the ball, and it is certain that Celtic’s loss will prove a gain to Liverpool.

James McBride, who will be entrusted with the defence of the left wing, is a player of the first water. Although diminutive in stature, he possesses a wonderful amount of strength, and never knows when he is beaten.

The Forwards:

But it is the forwards who carry off the palm. Their attack is most formidable, and when fairly under way they will be difficult to stop.

Thomas Wyllie is as speedy as ever, and if kept in his own position will prove as effective as any player in the kingdom.

Jock Smith, the ex-Sunderland man, is a grand acquisition, possessing rare speed and good dribbling powers, and if he does not develop selfish tendencies he and Wyllie will make an excellent wing.

John Miller is an ideal centre, and no man has earned such high praise as Miller has done since he came to Liverpool. He is a most unselfish player, feeding his forwards with remarkable accuracy, and when a chance of scoring present itself his shots are sent with a velocity that gives the goalkeeper little chance.
The left wingers are both young players, with splendid speed, and combine well together, considering the limited opportunities they have had.

Malcolm McVean is a good shot and a rare dodger.

Andrew Kelvin, who will play outside, is a second Fred Geary, having the speed of a deer and a dogged persistancy to score.

With a team like this together, and with a strong reserve, it is to be hoped the defeats will be few and the victories many. There is also an excellent feeling between the committee and the players. The spirit of master and servant has no place here. All are united in one endeavor, viz., that of making the club a success."

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Broomy

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The 1892-93 squad photo

Click HERE for the 1892-93 squad photo

Back row: Joe McQue, John McCartney, Andrew Hannah, Sidney Ross, Matt McQueen, Duncan Mclean, Jim McBride, A. Dick (trainer).
Front row: Tom Wyllie, John Smith, John Miller, Malcolm McVean, Hugh McQueen.
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Tuesday - September 6, 1892

Tommy:
With father left for work, I waited patiently at the door for John Roscoe, the postman to arrive to hear how Liverpool Football Club fared in yesterday evening's friendly against Middlesbrough Ironopolis. He delivered the deflating news I wasn't expecting to hear...

"Unfortunately, after a long and tedious journey, Liverpool had a job before them which they were unequal to, they lost 5-0. MacArthur scored a first-half hat-trick for Middlesbrough.”
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John McKenna

Back in 1892, John McKenna initially shared the secretarial and managerial duties of Liverpool Football Club with William Barclay but John was very much the more influential partner in their relationship.

On April 12, 2020 Jeff Goulding over on the ThisIsAnfield.com website wrote The Men Who Made Liverpool: The story of ‘Honest’ John McKenna, the boy from Ireland who built an empire.

Here's an extract from that article....




John McKenna

"It’s 1870 and in County Monaghan, Ireland, a young 15-year-old boy called Seán Mac Cionnaoith is boarding a ship to Liverpool in search of work. It is a journey taken by many men, women and children that century. But, while Seán’s ancestors had been fleeing starvation—the Great Famine had ended 18 years earlier in 1852—the man who would become known as John McKenna was taking this trip in order to better himself.

As he stood on the side of that vessel, staring out across the Irish sea, the wind in his face and his head full of dreams and schemes, he would have had little clue that he was about to play a pivotal role in the creation of a great global institution, hugely successful and beloved by millions. For this young Irish lad was destined to become one of the founding fathers of Merseyside football, and manager of Liverpool Football Club.

As his boat slowed and docked at the Pier Head, there would have been no Liverbirds to greet him, and no ‘Three Graces’ to herald his arrival on the Mersey. They wouldn’t arrive until the early years of the new century. Still the sights that greeted him that day would have been both awe-inspiring and terrible in equal measure.

Liverpool wasn’t even officially a city in 1870. It wouldn’t be granted that status until a decade later in 1880. It was a town that juxtaposed incredible wealth with staggering poverty. Its diseased streets, home to its citizens poor and working class, were crammed and uncomfortable places, ripe for frequent outbreaks of cholera. Meanwhile, its merchants and traders, who had benefited from trade in slaves, cotton, tobacco and other products, were living the high life. These industries would serve as a source of jobs and income for the local population as well as the tens of thousands of immigrants journeying to what many had called ‘the New York of Europe’ and the ‘second city of the Empire’.

Though much smaller than today in terms of space, the town’s population was much larger than now. By the time McKenna arrived 600,000 people were crammed into the tight alleys and tenements. As as result, open spaces were at a premium. However, just 3.2 miles from the landing stage at the Pier Head, a new public park was about to open in the Walton area of the city. Stanley Park had been built to provide fresh air and recreational space to the populace of the suburb, who would have been members of Liverpool’s well-to-do elite at that time. And that piece of land was about to play a hugely significant role in young John’s future.

Liverpool today is a hotbed of football. It’s hard to find anyone who won’t engage in conversation about it, and who hasn’t developed strongly held allegiances for either the team dressed in red or the one sporting blue. However, in 1870, the beautiful game was in its infancy. The FA had been formed just seven years earlier in London, and like much of the country, Liverpudlians favoured rugby. John soon became an enthusiastic rugby player and helped form a regimental rugby club before joining the West Lancashire County Rugby Football Union as a professional.

Unable to earn a sufficient living from his sporting endeavours, John found work in the West Derby area of the city, as a vaccination officer.

Somewhere around 1884, McKenna established a friendship with a man that would change not only his life, but the lives of countless generations to come. That man was John Houlding, a local brewer and soon to be Conservative mayor of Liverpool. It is not known how the pair met. Perhaps it was at one of the Masonic Lodge meetings that Houlding frequented. It is known that both men were Freemasons. Whatever the origin of their ‘meet cute’, they became strong enough friends for Houlding to invite McKenna to watch his football team, Everton, play a match at Anfield.

Everton had been formed as the city’s first professional club in 1878 and they played their matches on Stanley Park. However, in 1882 a new FA rule meant that they would be forced to play on a pitch surrounded by an enclosure. Houlding owned some land on Anfield Road and after a board meeting in the Sandon Hotel, which also belonged to him, Everton agreed to rent the land from him. They played their first game at the new ground in 1884, and beat Earlestown 5-0.

McKenna would soon become a fixture on the Everton board. He would assist with the expansion of the club, which was growing in size and stature rapidly. Attendances had risen to 8,000 and the team that then played in orange shirts with blue shorts and socks would clinch the First Division championship in 1891. By now the pair, along with William Edward Barclay, had forged strong bonds and close working relationships.

Then, at least as far as EvertonFootball Club were concerned, disaster struck. In 1892, a dispute over the rent paid on the Anfield enclosure led to a fracture in the board. George Mahon, a local liberal politician and methodist, led something of a revolt and Houlding was removed as club president. Everton would up sticks and set up operations at nearby Goodison Park. Houlding was left with a football ground, some old kits (blue-and-white shirts) and his two loyal mates, McKenna and Barclay.

The pair became joint-secretaries of the new club in 1892. It is said that Barclay took on the role of secretary-manager, while McKenna focused on team affairs and on-the-pitch matters. However it was John who telegraphed the FA, asking them to admit the club to the Football League; a request that was promptly turned down. That refusal would provide McKenna with an opportunity to cement his reputation as one of the finest administrators in the early history of the game."

Written by Jeff Goulding of ThisIsAnfield.com

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Broomy

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Wednesday - September 7, 1892

Tommy:
The shop was surprisingly quiet today. Later that evening with Grandad going to one of his many meetings in the Liverpool Town Hall, I cycled over to see Grandma Elsie.

Elsie was like a mother to me, she was the most generous person that I've met with a heart of gold and a loving smile everytime she saw me. Grandad Jim and Grandma Elsie lived in a small house on Rossett Street, just a few minutes walk from Anfield Road. The kitchen was the hub of the home. It was the cooking, bakery, laundry and dining room. As well as being the largest room in the house, it was the only one heated by the open fire that stretched across one end of the wall. That open fire was the magnet that drew everybody into its embrace. I always saw that fire as the heart of the home that never went out, it was the engine room of the home cared for by the lady of the house, Grandma Elsie.

With gran's finest cup of tea in my hand, the conversation eventually turned to the new Liverpool Football Club founded by a friend of the family, Mr John Houlding....

"Did Grandad not tell you? Wasn't it lovely of Mr John Houlding to give us the two free season subscription tickets. Jim thought of you straight away when he received them"
"Nope, that's news to me..." I gasped; "Did you say he got them for free?!"
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Broomy

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The Coronavirus Lockdown Rocky Road to Anfield Challenge

That's the first 7 days of the story told, this is where the story begins from forum members.... You met the characters now it's time to develop them as they follow Liverpool Football Club from the very beginning...

If ye are following the story and would like the story to continue, make sure and take part in it....
  • Do you fancy writing one or two days into the diary?
  • You can keep it as short and simple as possible. Do not exceed 500 words.
  • You can direct the story/lives of young Tommy and Grandad Jim wherever you want. The next forum member who updates the diary must continue the story which should make things very interesting and provide a bit of a laugh!
  • If a few members participate we'll fly through the days!! Plus it's a great way of remembering the clubs early days...
  • Send me a private message if you are interested and i'll let ye know dates and matches etc
 
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Broomy

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Thursday - September 8, 1892

Grandpa Mike :
I still havn’t actually told Tommy how I got my hands on that season ticket.

Last week I received a letter from John Houlding to say my work and loyalty to both himself and the local community were appreciated and recognized, the envelope also contained two complimentary Anfield season tickets. In a way he was attempting to revive his languishing political career and also kick start the new football club. It was a gesture very much appreciated.

John Houlding was the man who officially formed Liverpool Football Club on June 3, 1892 following a dispute with Everton, who played at Anfield, the ground he owned. The short story is that Everton left and Holding stayed and recruited new players to make a team to play at his ground - Liverpool Football Club.

Mr Houlding was a regular in my store down through the years and a man I respected because of his achievements in his profession. It was perhaps one of the reasons why I refused to follow Everton to Goodison.

I knew I had to give the other ticket to young Tommy...



Tommy: Liverpool faced a strong Barrow Team in another friendly this evening. I organised to meet Grandpa under the 50ft flagpole at Anfield before the match.

"In 1891 an important addition was made to the look of the ground: a 50ft flagpole which had once been the top mast of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s ship the SS Great Eastern. Purchased by Everton FC from a shipyard in Rock Ferry, it was floated across the Mersey, hauled up to Anfield by a team of horses, and positioned at the corner of the ground where Walton Breck Road meets Kemlyn Road." (Source)

It was a tough game for Liverpool but they took the lead just after half time when Malcolm McVean scored just before Tom Wyllie scored one of the best goals i've seen in a long time. Grandpa called it "a fine screw shot" while behind me a lad belted out "what a scorcher son!"

The game ended 2-0 to Liverpool. Duncan McLean had another fine game at Left Back, he's forming a formidable partnership with Andrew Hannah at the back, long may it continue!

Side Note : A picture of what Anfield may have looked like in 1892 can be found on playupliverpool.com Here
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Friday - September 9, 1892

Tommy : I recognised him the minute he walked into the shop, it was the new Liverpool FC left half back James McBride, "Morning Mr McBride and welcome" Grandpa announced with a beaming smile, "Mr Houlding directed me tae your shop here which apperently has the finest suits in Liverpool", "Never has a truer word been e'er spoken, you've come to the right place!"

"Are you just finished training Mr McBride?"
I asked,
"actually would you believe i'm just auf on my way to Tai Chi."
"Tai Chi? Which country is that in?"
Grandpa asked inquisitively.
"Tis Chinese Tai Chi... I'm actually bringing goalkeeper Sydney Ross with me."
"Eh? China? Will you be back for our next competitive match?"
Grandpa asked worringly....
James McBride looked inquisitively at my Grandpa and then smirked to me saying "A nod's as guid as a wink tae a blind horse." We both started to laugh... Poor old Grandpa was still non the wiser!

I brought James into the back room to get him suited up and measured. Only 18, James was small in stature and sported a rather slim build so it should be easy enuf getting him suited. He spoke in length about his hometown and growing up in Scotland, "A wee little village called Renton", and how he's settling in at a city as big as Liverpool.

A photo of James McBride over on the lfchistory.net Here

"Aye, i'm actually off ta one of these dinners hosted by Mr Houlding tomorrow night and i've never worn a suit before in my life, do you think it might be ready by tomorrow?" "Aye it should be Mr McBride" I said while we made our way back into the main shop area where Grandpa and a customer by the name of Mr Duran were standing.

"I hear your off to China and your bringing Sydney Ross with you" snapped Mr Duran.
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Broomy

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Saturday - September 10, 1892

Grandpa Mike : Aye, with so many games and at my age it's tough to keep up with them all... So far we've only played one game in the Lancashire League (the 8-0 drubbing of Higher Walton), the rest have all been friendlies (the 7-1 victory over Rotherham Town, the 5-0 defeat to Middlesbrough Ironopolis followed by the 2-0 victory over Barrow Town.)

Today, we faced Stockton in yet another friendly at Anfield. Basking in a warm sunshine, what made Anfield even more special today was the attendance, there was surely more than 3,000 spectators today, even that spacious stand at the Oakfield Road end was beginning to fill up for the first time this season. It was beginning to feel like the Anfield i've always known and remembered.

I very much enjoyed the game today, John Miller’s place was again taken by Malcolm McVean.

Some great attacking play and constant pressing along with the pace from Malcolm McVean and Andrew Kelvin plus the heavy tackling of Andrew Hannah and James McBride made it a remarkable opening half.

In the end, Liverpool secured a 2-1 victory with the goals coming once again from Malcolm McVean and Tom Wyllie.

Malcolm McVean was my man of the match working tirelessly up front and notching another point to his goals tally.

I strolled up the Sandon following the game, you could feel the intense enthusiasm and excitement in the Sandon where the celebrations continued into the night.
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Broomy

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Wednesday - September 14, 1892

Tommy :
I had arranged to meet Joe Parr down at the Liverpool docks. Joe was the same age as me, he'd only just turned 18 last month. We grew up on the same street and been childhood friends ever since.

The quayside was thronged with people today waving away their loved ones as the ship White Star Liner, Germanic was casting off today.

Sidenote: The Germanic ship was built in 1874 at Belfast by Harland & Wolff. The ship was part of the fleet that would tragically overreach itself 20 years later with the Titanic.

Watching as the engines shuddered into action, the ship began to move away from the shore making its cross Atlantic voyage.

"Do you ever think we'll ever get to stand on a first class deck like that" Joe pondered. "No chance! It would be nice to visit New York some day tho..." I replied.

Liverpool docks in the 1890's

On our way back home came a question i wasnt expecting... "I hear you've been going to Anfield this season... Do you mind if i go to tomorrows match with you Tommy" Liverpool were set to play Grantham Rovers in one of our many friendly matches at Anfield tomorrow.

"No problem Joe, i can pop by your house and we can walk over to Anfield together".

"Have you told your father you've been following John Houlding's new Liverpool team?" Joe questioned unsettling. "Not yet Joe and i'd appreciate if he didn't find out either" "Ah lad, I wouldn't like to be in your shoes when he does find out" Joe smirked.

I laughed it off but deep down i knew he was right....
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Thursday - September 15, 1892

Tommy :
It was Joe's first time to see this new Liverpool team play, numbers were increasing at the gate with over 700 spectators present at Anfield today. Liverpool faced Lincolnshire's based Grantham Rovers in another friendly match.

With one glance at the teamsheet, Joe turned to me, "I'm devvoed.... Sure there's not one Liverpudlian in that starting line up lad..."

It's true.... Sydney Ross, Andrew Hannah, Sam Fairley, John Cameron, Joe McQue, James McBride, Thomas Wyllie, Jock Smith, Malcolm McVean, David Glen and Andrew Kelvin were all born in Scotland. It was a team of Scottish players assembled by John MCKenna. David Glen and full back Samuel Fairley (on trial from Kilmarnock Athletic) were two lads given a trial today in the Liverpool team so I was looking forward to seeing them in action in the blue and shite shirts for the first time.

Liverpool had most of the possession but struggled infront of goal. Malcolm McVean, who is in great goalscoring form scored two goals while the new lad on trial David Glen scored the final goal to record a 3-1 victory. John Miller, our first choice centre forward may struggle to regain his starting position when he returns from injury if Malcolm McVean keeps performing like this...

Without admitting it, Joe was mightly impressed with the performance of this new Liverpool team who were without three of their starting regulars. "Fancy a bevvy up in the Sandon before we go home Tommy" "Aye, sure why not."

I arrived home just before midnight... Father still wasn't home. Truth be told, he hadn't been home in the last three days...
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The story of Andrew Hannah
(Before he joined Liverpool)

Andrew Hannah was Liverpool's first ever captain. On December 09, 2017 Jeff Goulding over on the ThisIsAnfield.com website wrote 'The story of Andrew Hannah, the only player in history to captain both Liverpool and Everton.' The full article can be found here...


Here's an extract from that article....

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"Only one man in history has captained both Liverpool and Everton, and Andrew Hannah had played with distinction for both Merseyside rivals.

Renton
In 1888, in the small town of Renton, Dumbartonshire in Scotland, a footballing revolution took place. Led by their inspirational right-back, Andrew Hannah, a team representing a town with a population of just 50,000 won the Scottish Cup Final. They trounced Cambuslang 6-1 in the final, after scoring 42 goals in the previous seven rounds. The result sent shockwaves through British football, and set up a clash with the English cup winners, West Bromwich Albion. The contest was dubbed a battle for the ‘Championship of the United Kingdom and the World’.

West Bromwich Albion
Renton won 4-1, and Albion were so impressed with Hannah they promptly signed him. Before he left for England, the Renton captain pinned a sign to the pavilion of the club’s home ground, Tontine Park. It read ‘Renton FC Champions of the World’. Hannah never settled in Birmingham though and, after growing homesick, he would return to his hometown once more.

Everton
The call of professional football wouldn’t go away though, and before long he would return to England again, joining Everton in 1889. There, he would become captain and lead the then-Anfield outfit to their first League title in 1891. However, still struggling to adapt to life south of the border, Andrew immediately returned to Renton, with his English championship medal tucked into his suitcase. He would have no idea that a second revolution was about to erupt back on Merseyside. His old club was on the brink of a civil war, and after a disappointing and failed defence of their title the boardroom fractured.

Liverpool
Everton moved across Stanley Park to Goodison and a new club, that would play at Anfield for the next 125 years and counting, was born. That team was Liverpool Athletic Football Club. Hannah’s former manager at Everton, William Edward Barclay, had stayed at Anfield after Everton left, and he moved quickly to bring his former captain back to Merseyside. Liverpool paid him £150 signing on fee and a weekly wage of £5.

He would become the first and only player to captain both Everton and Liverpool, under a man who had managed both teams. Surely, these distinctions will never be repeated."

Written by Jeff Goulding of ThisIsAnfield.com

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Friday - September 16, 1892

Grandpa Mike : I couldn't wait till competitive matches returned to Anfield again. We had only played one game so far in The Lancashire League gaining the two points from our 8-0 landslide victory over Preston's Higher Walton. We all know if we do well in this season Lancashire League we'll have a good chance of gaining entry to the professional English Football League next season. That's the aim...

Side Note: The Lancashire League was formed in 1889 as a competition for clubs in the northwest of England who basically did not qualify or failed to gain entry into the professional English Football League which had just been established the previous year. The formation of the League became a stepping stone for these clubs to gain a place in the Football league.

We'll have to wait another few days for The Lancashire League matches to return though as tomorrow we play our first ever Lancashire Cup match. Southport Central Club is our opposition in the 1st Qualifying round and there’s rumors circulating that our first choice forward, John Miller, will return to the starting line up following his injury.
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Saturday - September 17, 1892

Liverpool 2-0 Southport Central
Lancashire Cup (1st Qualifying round)
Anfield

Tommy :

Today, I had another game to look forward to, this time against Southport Central. It was a special occasion in the sense that it was LFC's very first cup game. I couldn't wait for it. I went to Anfield with Grandpa and one of my newly acquainted friends, Tim MacLean. He's a fine lad, his Scottish family lives in Liverpool since a few years. He's a tough lad (you don't get into battle with him, I tell ya!) but still straightforward and friendly. Of course, he loves football just like me. Whenever we have a moment, we'll run to a green surface with a ball or anything else to kick into, and play until we are totally exhausted.

So, we went for the first time to the match together. Grandpa joined up with a few lads of his and let us enjoy the game on our own. Before that though, we all went to see the teams warm up. One of Tim's older cousins, Duncan, is 24, and part of the Liverpool team. He used to play for Everton before, but when they moved out of Anfield, he decided to stay and become a part of the new Liverpool team. He was very friendly with us and introduced us to a few of his team-mates, among which Liverpool's goalscorer Johnny Miller, who had just come back from an injury. I for one admired all the formidable moustaches within the team. What a time to be alive!

Along fellow 6'000 fans, we then gathered around the ground, and the match started. The magic of the cup, for the first time!... Southport gave a tough match to our players during the full first half, not much to chose between the two teams... both teams were up for it in an almighty fight for the ball, and no player held back in dealing out whatever he had on his opponents. The ref, Mr. Mitchell from Blackburn, let the game go ahead as it should, and the battle raged on until half time.

At the start of the second half, Southport had to suffer some serious pressure on their goal, our guys started to attack one wave of attack after the next. We shouted them on and on, but no goal to acclaim yet. Then, the goal finally came, very deservedly so: Jock Smith managed to dribble past a couple of defenders, and to scramble the ball over the line. We all erupted in joy!

Shortly after that, Tim's cousin Duncan yelled and broke down on the pitch. During a collision with a Southport player, he had dislocated his arm. He was in a lot of pain, but as it proved, a tough lad as well. He pluckily returned after a few minutes and continued playing, the injured limb being strapped across his breast. He was then taken aim at by two Southport fellas, Fleetwood and Jack Platt. They tried to hurt him further as much as they could, but he stood his ground and hit back, helped by his team-mates. Platt finished the game with a demolished elbow.

Tim and myself were in awe, what a game, what examples to look up to!

Southport threw themselves towards our goal to look for the equaliser. They squandered some great chances, we had our hearths in our mouths until it was almost the end. Then, an almighty, super-exciting scrimmage took place in the Southport box, and somehow, the ball crossed the line and sweetly went into the net, guaranteeing us a place in the next round. Two nil, hooray, we were through, our first cup game ended in victory!

We went back home a pair of proud lads, but before that, as so often, ended the day by kicking a ball (and the shit out of each other!) with a few other lads until the night came. It had been a day to remember, and we both felt that it had helped to cement a genuine friendship between us!

Liverpool (2-3-5): Sydney Ross, Andrew Hannah (C), Duncan McLean, John Cameron, Joe McQue, James McBride, Thomas Wyllie, Jock Smith, John Miller, Malcolm McVean, Andrew Kelvin.
 

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Sunday - September 18, 1892

Tommy: My father was hardly ever at home these days between work or spending his hard earned money every evening in the local taverns so Grandma Elsie invited me over for Sunday dinner today.

On entering the kitchen i was instantly transported back to childhood, and pictures of my mum in the old small kitchen, working hard to keep me and my father well fed. A massive pan of scouse did the job.

It been years since i've had Scouse. My mam would make it on the open fire in a big pan, usually with beef (not exactly sure what cut, but something cheaper, then cubed down and cooked slowly) potatoes, carrots and onion. It was a great dish and always my favourite.
 

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Monday - September 19, 1892

Tommy :
Feck it... It’s been confirmed Duncan McLean did actually suffer a dislocated shoulder on Saturday. He was having a superb start to his Liverpool career alongside Andrew Hannah at the back. That will definitely keep him out of action for a few weeks... I suppose he definitely redefined the boundaries of sporting bravery on Saturday as he showed the courage and spirit to continue playing the second half with that injured limb strapped across his breast for the remaining minutes of the match. If only there was some sort of way where you could replace an injured player during a match I thought....

I made it to work just before nine, me mate Ben O’Connor was already in the shop. He had just been made redundant down at the docks and with high unemployment in the city Grandad offered him a job as a cobbler in the shed out the back of the shop which had been previously occupied by Ben’s father before he passed away two years ago. As far as I was aware, Ben’s father’s hammer, awl, knife, shoe stand, cutters and all his collections of leather was still out in the shed.

Growing up, there was always myself, Joe Parr, and Ben O'Connor. Then Tim McLean joined our group when he moved to Liverpool and we've all remained friends ever since.

I knew Ben from my childhood days when they moved in and took refuge in Grandpa and Grandma’s house... He was a year older than me but we nicknamed Ben, ‘Bengal’, as we always said he had balls of steel just like a Bengali tiger... If ever we were picking teams for a game of football down on Stanley Park you would always pray Ben was on your team as you never wanted to be on the other end of one of his tough sliding tackles. But what we loved most about Ben was his accent, it was a mixture of a Liverpool and Irish accent combined into a 'Scouse accent'...

Ben’s grand-parents had moved to the shores of Liverpool from County Cork in Ireland during the years of the Great Famine having faced severe poverty and even starvation. Apparently when the Irish potato famine began, in 1845, it’s predicted that nearly 1.5 million desperate people crossed the Irish Sea in ‘coffin ships’ headed for Liverpool. Ben’s family were never well off and in the end Grandad took pity on Ben’s father over twenty years ago and offered him a job as a cobbler in his tailor shop and then provided accommodation and shelter in their house when Ben was born.

I have to admit when Ben accepted Grandad’s offer of work last week I was chuffed to bits...
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Tuesday - September 20, 1892

Tommy :
Another day, another friendly match. We faced the Middlesbrough Ironopolis team this evening again having already been trashed by them 5-0 at The Paradise Ground just two weeks ago. They're a strong side so it'll be interesting to see how they play at Anfield. Myself, Joe Parr, Ben O'Connor and Tim McLean decided we'd go over to Anfield together.

Having been made redundant, I was conscious that Ben mightn't have enough money for the match day ticket but he refused to let me buy his ticket for him. We stopped off for a pre-match bevvie in Murphy's Tavern where we learnt the news that with Duncan McLean out with the disclocated shoulder, Andrew Hannah is absent from the starting eleven aswell. Who will fill the back division for us now?

Arriving outside of Anfield, Ben picked up an empty cardboard box and threw his coat over the top of it. "what the hell are you up to now?" Joe questioned. "You'll find out in a minute, just let me go through the turnstiles first before ye." We watched as Ben walked up to the turnstiles "Have ya got a ticket lad?"

"Nah, i'm actually not stayin' for de match, i've a delivery here of a loaf of sandwiches to be hand delivered to a Mr John McKenna and a Mr William Edward Barclay."


"Aye, it must be the half time meal; your late lad, in you go as quick as you can."

I still can't believe it... Ben picks up the empty box and strolls through the turnstiles, past the ticketman and into the Anfield grounds. Tim shouted out "Balls o' steel, he's called Ben-gal for a reason lads" to the amusement of us all!

With the Matchday Programme (Source: lfchistory) in my hand which I bought for one penny, i quickly discovered that with McLean and Hannah absent, two local lads by the names of McNally and Stevenson will take their place in the team. The match kicked off on time, Jock Smith opened the scoring in the opening few minutes but Liverpool were under severe pressure throughout the game after that. Jock Smith retiring from the game through injury didn't help matters either. In the end Middlesbrough recorded a 2 goals to 1 victory against a weakened ten man Liverpool.

It was the first time i'd seen a Liverpool defeat at Anfield, but all these friendly matches were building up the players fitness in preparation for our second Lancashire League match of the season against Bury this Saturday.
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Friday - September 23, 1892

Grandpa Mike :
"I'm telling you now, you'll live to regret it" was my wife Elsie's reaction when she heard i'd employed Ben O'Connor as a cobbler in the shed out the back of my shop. Ya see, Ben was one of those young lads who behaves badly but in an amusingly mischievous rather than harmful way. It's got him into trouble on many an occasion. "A rascal, that's all he is, a little rascal" Elsie said before turning over in bed and falling asleep. I reached over and turned the wick down into the burner on the oil lamp and waited until the flame diminished.

I decided to get an early night with tomorrow being the big day. It was our second match in the Lancashire League where we'll face Bury at Anfield. Bury are a strong formidable team, a team who have remained undefeated all season. The backs will have to be at their very best tomorrow but it's great to have John 'Johnny' Miller, our centre forward back from injury where he'll make his first competitive match for Liverpool.

It's looking like we have a real player on our hands with John Miller, he was signed from Dumbarton but what makes him so special in my eyes is his turn of speed, his great eye for goal, his blessed right foot, and that skilful intelligence to time his runs to perfection. He'll definitely prove himself to be a clinical finisher come the end of the season.
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Saturday - September 24, 1892

LIVERPOOL 4 - 0 BURY
LANCASHIRE LEAGUE
ANFIELD

Tommy :
Today felt like no ordinary day, it was a cup final day in my eyes, the sun was shining and the desire to win today was an agonised one, ya see Bury were coming to Anfield.

Bury were a well established team and were one of the founding members of the Lancashire League in 1889. They've been crowned champions these past two seasons and they also won the Lancashire Cup last season. Sure they even reached the third qualifying round of the FA Cup last season aswel. With Bury undefeated this season, it will be our first proper test to see how good we really are!

I strolled past the turnstiles with Grandad, before we made it over to the exposed bank of wodden terraces at the Anfield Road end, our boy Ben O'Connor was sitting by a bin, Grandad shouted over to him "good to see you've been converted to the Liverpool side". I walked over to him "I thought you were skint", "I am, but there was no way I was missing this match!", I laughed and asked "You didn't pay in did ya?", Ben smiled and in that irritatingly smug smile whispered "Nope, where there's a will there's a way."

In fairness, there were quiet allot of away supporters today, most of them in their top hats and frock coats. Liverpool had a strong line-up, Sydney Ross was in goal, Andrew Hannah and the returning Duncan McLean made up the backs, James Kelso, Joe McQue and James McBride made up the half back line while Thomas Wyllie, Malcolm McVean, John Miller, John Cameron, Andrew Kelvin made up the forwards.

Thomas Wyllie was in fine form from the start with a number of shots on goal, while Hannah and McLean were unbeatable and Joe McQue was involved in some hefty challenges. There were only a few minutes on the clock when Johnny Miller opened the scoring for us following great play by Wyllie. Minutes later, John Cameron scored a second before Malcolm McVean scored a brace just before half time. It was the moment of belief that this team can compete with anybody. Liverpool held on for a resounding 4-0 victory. Ben remarked "now that's a performance that will be talked about for quite a while lad", I agreed, "from doubters to believers"

Liverpool (2-3-5): Sydney Ross, Andrew Hannah (C), Duncan McLean, James Kelso, Joe McQue, James McBride, Thomas Wyllie, Malcolm McVean, John Miller, John Cameron, Andrew Kelvin.



Lancashire Table
(September 24, 1892)

PlayedWonDrawnLostPoints
Bury43016
Fleetwood Rangers33006
Liverpool22004
Blackpool21103
Fairfield31113
South Shore11002
Heywood Central11002
Liverpool Caledonian21012
Nelson31022
Southport Central20020
Rossendale20020
West Manchester20020
Higher Walton40040
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Hope in your heart

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Sunday - September 25, 1892

Tommy:
"Today, Father couldn't get up, as he was still recovering from a long drinking night and a hard fight afterwards, in front of the closing pub. When I tried to wake him up this morning, he was covered with bruises and stank rum to the high heavens. So I let him alone and went to Grandpa's home. From there, we went together to the Liverpool Parish church, alongside Grandma.

I like the Sunday ceremonies in this church, the unassuming, yet warm atmosphere inside, the colored stained glasses, the packed benches. Actually, the city needs a larger church, many people had to stand. The priest, a staunch supporter of our newly formed club, thanked God for the great win and these beautiful four goals against Bury.

After the ceremony, we went to Grandpa's home and had a great dinner, after which Bob, Tim (they met for the first time) and myself went to Stanley Park, and kicked the ball there, alongside a lot of other lads."

Grandpa Mike, to himself: ( "Elsie has told me that, and she's right, I need to talk with Jim about his life, where he wants to go next. He'll bury himself into the ground if he continues drinking like that. Nothing against a good drink here and then, but this is really too much. He should find himself a new wife and some joy again, he's still young enough for that. I'll talk to him soon, hopefully he'll listen." )
 

Broomy

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Tuesday - September 27, 1892

Ben O'Connor:
"Your eager mate, ya dont start working here till Monday" was Tommy's reaction when i walked into Callaghan's Tailor shop this morning, "It's a bit like this Tommy, the second mouse always get's the cheese!! Hey did you hear the result from the match yesterday?"

"Aye Ben, i know it's only a friendly match but i'm gutted to hear we lost 2-1 to Stoke yesterday evening up at The Victoria Ground"

Many people think of me as an awl Jack the Lad, but behind this smile i'm still wandering through the grief of my father who sadly took his own life just over two years ago. I've been through every single emotion a lad can go through since, the shock, the anger, the sadness, the guilt, and, eventually, the acceptance. Just as I felt i was getting my feet back on the ground i was made redundant from my job last week where i had a full time position down at the docks working as a lumper.

Luckily i've been given a second chance, Mr Mike Callaghan who owns Callaghan's Tailor shop has offered me the position of cobbler out the back of his shop (a position my father had held for the past number of years). I start the job on Monday, it will be a tough first day as that shed holds all my childhood memories of my father but i need the money to be able to provide for my mother for rent and bills.

Tommy's Grandad, Mr Mike Callaghan is a well respected, well educated and a well travelled man. He was always a well dressed man too from his short and lush hair with it's salt and pepper tint to that moustache and beard which has become an essential accoutrement to the visage of all gentlemen.

The Callaghan's have always been good to my family, i'm determined to make this venture a success to repay the faith Mr and Mrs Callaghan have shown in me...
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Wesnesday - September 28, 1892

Grandpa Mike :
Having beaten Southport Central 2-0 in the first qualifying round of the Lancashire Cup last week, this morning's newspaper informed us that the second round draw took place last night in Blackburn.

Here's the fixtures for the second Round of the Senior Lancashire Cup...
  • Fleetwood Rangers v Higher Walton
  • Witton v Rossendale
  • Liverpool Caledonians v South Shore
  • West Manchester v Liverpool
Now that'll be a tough match, i'm bitterly disappointed we'll be playing away from home.
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Broomy

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Thursday - September 29, 1892

Tommy :
It actually felt like the longest match ever... I was wet and bloody freezing, i'd no coat standing on that exposed bank of wodden terraces in the freezing rain. At one stage Ben O'Connor looked over at us and shouted "Ah lads, it's so cold I actually saw Joe Parr for once with his hands in his own pockets". Joe took the comment with a mixture of bemusement and resentment!

It was another friendly match but the opposition was different today. This evening we played a Scottish team, Queen of the South Wanderers. It was a tough stern test for us as they had won the Scottish Southern Counties Charity Cup five times in the past eight years.

As the lads ran out on the field, Joe remarked "Jaysus, is that Alex Dick playing for Liverpool". He was right, former Everton full back Alex Dick was in the blue and white Liverpool colours today replacing Duncan McLean. James Kelso was also out of the team with a new trialist by the name of Mr McLauchlan taking his half back position. A new lad by the name of Phil Kelly also started today.

My feet were actually numb by the time the match kicked off, the first half was a blurr to me, them moments you try to keep concentration but continually finding yourself zoning out, the oohs, the aahs, the clapping, the groans but the excitement when Johnny Miller stuck the ball in the back of the net with minutes remaining is them moments you live for...

The game ended 1-0 in Liverpool's favour but there were no celebratory drinks tonight, I legged it home with the showers becoming stronger. I stumbled in the door when a candle flickered in the corner of the kitchen. "Where the hell have you been lad, yer bloody drownded". It was father, he was actually home for once, apparently he'd been barred from his local tavern for his public disorder offence last Saturday night.
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Rocky Road to Anfield

That's the diary from September 1892 complete... There's been quite alot of friendly matches there to get through but if your following Grandpa Mike and Tommy's fictional story so far, join our 'behind the scenes' Rocky Road to Anfield discussions....
  • When will Tommy's father find out he's been going to Anfield?
  • Will Tommy, Phil, Ben or Tim fight in the Battle of Spion Kop?
  • What will Grandpa Mike's reaction be when he hears a Liverpool player walked into a lion’s den at Wombwell’s Royal Menagerie Zoo in order to win a bet!
  • Will Tommy still support the 4 Liverpool players who were found guilty during the 1915 Betting Scandal?
  • Will they be able to afford the trip to Wembley for our first ever FA Cup Final?
The Behind the Scenes discussion have been a right laugh so far, if you'd like to be part of the group like this post and we'll add you to the group....
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