The Rocky Road to Anfield Story

Broomy

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Saturday - October 01, 1892

LIVERPOOL 3 - 1 WEST MANCHESTER
LANCASHIRE LEAGUE
ANFIELD

Tommy : Originally scheduled to be played in Manchester, the fixture was reversed back to Anfield and boy were we happy! We'd get to see another league match. Having endured the harsh weather last Thursday, I came prepared today for the wet conditions. I needn't have worried as the rain got so heavy we were all invited to stand in the covered stand!

Liverpool grinded out a 3-1 victory in the end winning their third consecutive League match. Overhearing myself, Phil, Ben and Tim sitting in the stands following the match discussing the match, a lad behind us who worked with the Liverpool Mercury Newspaper asked us if we'd have a minute to spare. With his shiny typewriter in one hand and a sheet of paper in the other, he asked us if he could read out his match report to see if we agreed with it...

Source: The Liverpool Mercury Newspaper: October 3, 1892

"We can hardly class the game as a great one, for, considering the state of the weather and the soft condition of the ground, a good passing game could not be expected. Nevertheless, although it did not lack interest, and in fact in the last ten minutes it became quite exciting.

To have a goal against them 20 minutes from the finish, and then by sheer pluck put on the equalising point and add two more, was indeed a smart performance, and this was what Liverpool accomplished on Saturday.

The first half was decidedly in favour of Manchester, and it is hard to understand how they failed to score, as they had no less than eight corner kicks in their favour. Liverpool had also many chances thrown in their way, but the leather invariably struck the wrong side of the net.

The second portion opened fast, Entwistle was first in trouble, but then venue was changed to Sydney Ross’s quarters, after a fine sprint by Bogie, which enabled Walsh to get through. Both sides went at it with might and main, and Thomas Wyllie drew level. Manchester seemed to collapse when Jock Smith got a second past, and near the call of time John Miller notched a third.

Neither Ross nor Entwistle had very much to do in goal, so good was the defence of the back divisions. The Liverpool trio of half-backs were much more effective in their tackling than the same string of their opponents.

Wyllie was the best in the Liverpool van, although the whole five at times showed accurate combination."


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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Broomy

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Sunday - October 02, 1892

Tommy :
"Go on, who was your Liverpool player of the month for September" Joe Parr asked as we sat in the corner of Murphy's Tavern. "Jeez Joe, that's a tough one... I'm finding it hard to look past Andrew Hannah and Duncan McLean, then there's the forwards like Jonathan Cameron who scored three goals in two league matches. I suppose for his goals and performances in the League and Cup alone, it's got to be Malcolm McVean, he was brought in as a left wing forward from the Scottish club, Third Lanark, but with Johnny Miller out injured he stepped up to the forward position and his performances deserve the respect and approval." We stayed till nearly midnight downing the pints, but with work in the morning I was conscious to get home.

The rain was still falling as I stumbled home. On entering the house, I found father still awake, sitting at the kitchen table with half a glass of whiskey. "Where the hell do you think your going lad? Ya think I don't know, don't ya? I know you've been going to support his team. Ya bloody traitor..." There was a sudden crash and tinkle of broken glass. He had smashed the whiskey glass to smithereens with the whole weight of his fist before standing to face me...


Grandma Elsie : In the darkness, the wind and rain grew louder... The knocking was loud and insistent, a knock on the door in the wee hours is rarely good news. "Oh my poor boy, what has he done to you this time.... Come in quick and i'll get you a damp cloth to wipe that blood off your face."
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Broomy

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Monday - October 03, 1892

Ben O'Connor :
Even his old wooden seat was still here in the shed, the seat where Dad would sit with a cape round his shoulders and a hobbing foot between his legs doing the repair work on the shoes.

I started my first day's work as a cobbler today. There was an eerie atmosphere in the shed, actually there was an uneasy atmosphere in Callaghan's Tailor shop aswel. Surprisingly, Mr Callaghan was late opening the shop this morning and was fairly reserved and distant with me all day. Tommy hasn't even turned up for work today.... I know he was out with Joe Parr last night, the fecker, he's probably hungover...
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Broomy

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Tuesday - October 04, 1892

Ben O'Connor :
Tommy still hasn't made it into work today while Mr Callaghan was still acting quite oddly. Mr Connolly was my first customer today. "If ya could just re-stitch that broken seam on the left boot - that's all that's needed." Mr Callaghan invited us both into the room at the back of the shop for a cup of tea. Callaghan's shop had a small back room with a fireplace, another side-room then led to the backyard where my shed was located.

The conversation quickly led to a discussion on the new Liverpool team and their backroom team.
"As far as i know John McKenna has the day to day managerial duties of the team but then apparently he's sharing secretarial and managerial duties with William Barclay" Mr Connolly claimed.
"Aye, and an Irishman as well from a place called County Monaghan" Mr Callaghan responded.
It was impossible to get a word in edge-ways but I managed to get in on the conversation with a question... "So who is actually on the board at the new Club?"

Mr Connolly not only knew the names but actually knew each in person...
"Well obviously the President is Mr John Houlding
Vice President's: Mr Bailey, Dr. Edis and Mr. Walker
Chairman: is Mr Berry
Then the committee contains Mr Evans, Mr Everitt, Mr Gunning, Mr W. Houlding, Mr Howarth, Mr Lindsay, Mr J. McKenna and Mr Nesbitt.
Treasurer is Mr R Webster
While the Secretary is Mr W. E. Barclay"


Mr Callaghan turned to me "Young lad, in years to come they are the lads you should be thanking, the men who made Liverpool Football Club.... I'm sure we'll see a few of them fine men in our shop over the next few months."

The mood of the conversation turned quickly when Mr Connolly asked "No sign of young Tommy today, has he the day off?" I knew by Mr Callaghan's reaction something is amiss.
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Broomy

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Wednesday - October 05, 1892

Doctor Edwards:
"We'll keep you in overnight again 'till the swelling goes down. There is a small possibility you might have a condition known as Epidural hematoma which is a serious form of bleeding that happens when one of the blood vessels under the skull is torn during an injury. As the injured vessel bleeds, blood collects in the space between the skull and the dura, the outermost of the three membranes that cover the brain.

However, your skull hasn't been fractured so that's good news. Luckily for you, you'll be one of the first patients to have a ct-scan done in this hospital, this will allow us to see the soft tissues inside the body. It's amazing how medical science is progressing these days. However, we'll know a lot more in the morning so rest and call the nurse if you need anything...."
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Broomy

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Friday - October 07, 1892

Tommy :
I laughed as Ben walked gingerly into the bedroom. "I'm surprised Grandma even allowed you set foot back into this house again lad with the grief you caused her years ago".

With a cautious smile, Ben quietly remarked, "So it is true then... A head injury can really open your mind, eh...."

Ben sat on the edge of the dainty bed without taking his eyes off my face... "Cheers for calling over Ben"

"Your Grandpa told me you were mugged on the way home from the pub at the weekend... You alrite Tommy?"

"Yeah, just a bit of bruising and swelling... The doctor said i was very lucky"

"Well I wouldn't call that luck Tommy..."

"Anyway, I should be back in work by Monday..."


Ben smirked "No chance Mr Callaghan will let you set foot in the shop with the shiner on that eye... It's so swelled i'm not entirely sure if you can even see me properly mate!"

I laughed, "Well I suppose with you having started work in Callaghan's Tailor shop aswel, standards can't really fall any lower...!"

"Jesus Tommy, you actually took quite a beating..." After an awkard silence, Ben exclaimed "We've been childhood friends and I hope you can trust and talk to me truthfully when your ready...."

Ben knew me better than anyone, that one friend who is always there for you...

"Tommy.... all i'll say is, your father's a self-centered, competitive, arrogant drunken man, no matter what you do you'll never measure up, never enough to garner his approval.... I hope you stay in Mike and Elsie's house here till your better mate...."

There was a moment of silence before Ben jumped to his feet "Right i'm off to see if Elsie has any of her hot cross buns cooked! Before I go, did you hear Liverpool lost heavily against Glasgow Rangers yesterday evening in the friendly match up at Ibrox Park. It ended 6 goals to 1. I hear Jock Smith missed the match aswel with an ankle injury; hopefully he'll be fit for the big Lancashire Cup match tomorrow...
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Sunday - October 09, 1892

Ben had got to the Sandon first and sheepishly counted out nearly all the money he had left to buy his one drink he could afford.

He sat there nursing and sipping it, he wasn't really in a celebratory mood despite the Liverpool win. He was waiting for Tim McLean and he knew Tim was going to be bouncing up and down with glee as he told how the team had won.

Being the cousin of Duncan McLean had somehow seen Tim being lucky enough to get to go to the away game. Ben just wasn't in the right frame of mind he kept thinking of Tommy.

He owed Tommy and his family so much. He was almost like a brother. He looked dead when he'd seen him after his "mugging", yeah right they must have thought Ben was a naive little kid to believe such tripe!

Tim came bounding in like an excited puppy to break Bens moody thoughts at that stage. Ben tried to keep a fake smile plastered on his face throughout as Tim unloaded story after story, apparently there was a lot of tension in the air at the game between the two sets of fans, the home crowd not liking some insulting opinions about their the state of it. Liverpool had tried to lodge some form of complaint that the locals didn't take kindly. Ben fought through a fog of fast stories told by the excitable Tim, Miller was fantastic, the team amazing, Tim was so proud of his cousin Duncan, the lad seemed to go on none stop for hours.

Ben had tried to sneak off after the drink he'd bought but Tim kept buying him more to make him stay. Ben was usually brilliant fun for a drink and even now, faking it, Tim didn't want to let him go home. Tim had a great night, Ben tried, but he was still worried about Tommy and what would happen next with his "mugger"!

By the time Ben managed to stop Tim buying them drinks they couldn't walk without staggering. Ben was having to help Tim stay upright as they left the public house and Ben tried his best to keep Tim as quiet as was respectable on the way home.
 

Broomy

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Monday - October 10, 1892

Grandpa Mike :
"Such tragic news Mike" I woke to the sound of Elsie rustling the mornings newspaper... "The entire Hong Kong national cricket team have died in a shipwreck off Taiwan".

I walked to the shop with thoughts of Saturday afternoons victory fresh in my mind. What a glorious win it was to secure a 3-1 victory over West Manchester in the Lancashire Cup, second qualifying round. The goals came from forwards Andrew Kelvin and a brace from John Miller.

I'd only just opened the shop when a familiar face strolled in...



Ben O'Connor : I literally froze in the middle of the shed when Mr Callaghan introduced me to one of my new footballing heroes... Malcolm McVean.

"Alrighttt Ben, I damaged the sole on the front of my football boot here in training and I was wondering if you could fix it"

"Aye Mr McVean, I can fix it right away if you wana wait?"


It was one of those new boots with studs... It was only last year in 1891 that the Football Association allowed boots to be fitted with studs. As far as I know the boots must be made of leather and must not project more than half an inch, and all must have their fastenings driven in flush with the leather.

Here I was basically over a week in me new job and i'm fixing the boot of a man who'll be remembered forever as the player who scored Liverpool's first ever goal.

Friendly and astute, Malcolm nearly gave me his full life story as he waited for his boot to be fixed... "Sure i'm still only 21. I was only born in 1871 in a town in Scotland called Alexandria. Its a small town on the River Leven, a bit different to this city life here in Liverpool."

"I'm fairly lucky so far, my parents probably weren't very happy with me when I gave up an apprenticeship as a boilermaker to pursue a footballing career with the Glascow based Scottish club, Third Lanark FC."

"My footballing career was progressing well for Third Lanark, I married Margaret Miller and when we heard Liverpool were interested in signing me I couldn't refuse so we moved here just over three months ago..."


We spent over an hour in the shed talking. Before leaving, Malcolm handed me a ticket to our next Lancashire League home match. Wait till the boys hear about this in the pub...
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Broomy

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Friday - October 14, 1892

Tommy :
Joe Parr was home alone and only just in from work when I visited his house.

"Jeez Tommy, good to see you". Joe's house was next door to ours. I kept an eye out for father but he didn't seem to be home. I havn't actually seen him since that night...

As i sat at the kitchen table Joe asked "Did you hear there's a new book launched today by George Newnes Ltd called The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It seems to be getting great reviews... Apparently it's a collection of twelve stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. Something to do with a consulting detective. We could have done with him these past two weeks to see where you disappeared to mate!"

"Ah i've just been busy Joe... Yeah Grandpa was talking bout that book alright, it sounds interesting, might stick it on the Christmas list!""

"Your hardly going to the FA Cup match tomorrow are you?" Joe asked as he sat opposite me at the table.

"You can feel the excitement building around the city centre today, the match is only over in Nantwich but i'm still not sure if I can afford that train ticket"

"It would be good to go to Liverpool's first ever FA Cup match though, wouldn't it..."
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Broomy

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* The Rocky Road Player Profiles *

James Kelso

Born :
8 January 1869
Birthplace : Cardross, Scotland
Signed : 1892 from Renton
Total LFC Games : 1
Total LFC Goals : 0

Mike: "I had high hopes for James Kelso.... He was a younger brother of Bob Kelso - a legend of Everton and North End. Great things were expected of him in the right half back position when he first signed for Liverpool.

He had a good game in our first ever match - our friendly match against Rotherham Town where we recorded a 7-1 victory. He followed this up with his one and only Liverpool league appearance in our 4-0 victory over Bury in the Lancashire League.

He proved himself to be a fine athlete but unfortunately he only stayed at Liverpool for just the one season (1892-93 season) featuring in a number of friendlies throughout the season before returning to Renton in Scotland. Later, I believe he became a fitter in the engineering works in Dumbarton.

James was a popular, talented player, loved by his many friends and family members, however, just 7 years later after leaving Liverpool, in 1900, the devastating news rings in my memory as if it were delivered just yesterday when I heard James committed suicide in Renton aged just 31 years old."
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Hope in your heart

Loyalty and patience, two undervalued concepts.
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NANTWICH 0 - 4 LIVERPOOL 0-4
FA CUP
(1st Qualifying Round)
Tommy :

Finally, after some hesitation, I cracked up... I wasn't going to miss this club's first ever FA Cup game! Also, Nantwich wasn't that far away after all, so we took the train with Tim and Joe. Having arrived at the train station in Crewe, we walked the two miles or so to Nantwich. It was a wet walk for us through the fields before we reached the little town. It was raining heavily indeed, but hey, who complains about rain anyway?

People started gathering around the pitch, but we first went to the pub 'The Leopard' because the players used the building as changing room, and we wanted to say hello to a few players.

After some friendly chatting, we went to the ground, payed our shilling to go inside and watched a nice succession of goals for our side. Nantwich had no chance. They fighted as well as they could, especially during the first half, as the wind was with them and as they had that famous, almost legendary goalkeeper Champion between the sticks. But during the second half, even he had to concede four goals. John Miller scored three for us, he was the day's hero!

After the game, we went back to 'The Leopard' and spent the end of the day there, enjoying our ales with all kinds of people. I don't remember how we came back to Liverpool after that!


Liverpool : Sydney Ross, Andrew Hannah (c), Duncan McLean, John McCartney, Joe McQue, James McBride, Thomas Wyllie, Malcolm McVean, John Miller, John Cameron, Andrew Kelvin.
 

Broomy

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Sunday - October 16, 1892

Tommy : "Hurry up Tommy, we'll miss the start of it" There was no getting out of church duties this morning now that i'm living with Grandma Elsie...

After just three hours of broken sleep, I woke to the feeling of self pity, the feeling of regret, but most of all I feel sick, I still don't even know how I managed to get home last night!

I walked down to the Liverpool Parish Church this morning with Grandpa Mike and Grandma Elsie with the smell of alcohol seeping from my skin. The Liverpool Parish Church stands at the heart of the business centre of the city, looking across the River Mersey, and adjacent to the Liverpool Waterfront.

In the church pew infront of us sat Joe and the Parr family. Just as we were seated, Joe turns around to me and whispered "I didn't think i'd see you out of the bed this early Tommy! Hey wait till you hear this, Alfred's only just gone and got himself a trial with Liverpool"

"Ah that's boss mate, congrats Alfred". Alfred Parr was Joe's younger brother and he seemed pretty happy with himself, "Thanks Tommy, John McKenna called over to our house yesterday evening after the match selling the idea and vision of Liverpool to me. I go for a trial with the Liverpool Reserves next week but i've been training with Rossendale Football Club these past few weeks so i'll have to ask for their permission first."

Alfred was a year younger than us but he was a bloody good player, strong and a complete athlete, the boy could flat-out run with a rare combination of pace and balance and good dribbling powers in the left wing position. He was impossible to defend against. Only 17, i'm sure he'll have a bright footballing career.

Grandpa Mike overhearing the conversation chirped in "I'm sure Joe will keep us updated how it all goes for you Alfred but best of luck with it all, hopefully we'll see you running down the left wing at Anfield soon enough."

"Oh and another thing Tommy" Joe whispered, "I hear Ben O'Connor has himself a first date this week, any idea who she is?!"
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Broomy

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Wednesday - October 19, 1892

Tommy :
Twas a quiet night with just a low whistling noise coming through the frame of the window. I sat at the kitchen table with the candle flickering beside me playing a card game called solitare or 'patience' as Grandma called it.

Grandpa returned home late from his city council meeting with the news that the draw for the FA Cup Second Qualifying round took place at the Victoria Hotel in Wolverhampton tonight.

"You won't believe it boy, Liverpool have just been drawn in Round 7 where we'll play Newtown."

"That'll be a tough game Grandpa, havn't they 5 internationals in that team"

"Aye, but we've home advantage, the tie will be played at Anfield and the way we're playing at the moment we can beat anyone", Grandpa said with a beaming smile.

"Even more good news Tommy... John Houdling was telling me at the meeting he could be signing two new players for Liverpool next week... Their two brothers, Matt and Hugh McQueen but we'll have to wait till next week to see if the transfer goes through..."
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Saturday - October 22, 1892

HIGHER WALTON 0 - 5 LIVERPOOL
LANCASHIRE LEAGUE
Moon’s Hill

Grandpa Mike : Mr Connolly called into the house this evening on his way home from the match. It would have been a long journey for a man his age. Higher Walton is a village in South Ribble in Lancashire basically located on the road between Blackburn and Preston where it crosses the River Darwen.

"With Jock Smith still out with that ankle injury our new half-back John McCartney, of St. Mirren started again" Mr Connolly said as he sat by the fireplace with his old vintage Wooden Enchase Smoking Pipe.

Neither myself or Tommy made it over to the match at Higher Walton and Tommy was sitting at the table waiting patiently for Mr Connolly to announce the final score.... "Ah boys, wait till i tell ye's, we completely outplayed them today in every department, even throughout the first half when we were up against a strong wind".

"Goalkeeper Sydney Ross only had one meaningfully save to make, while John McCartney, Joe McQue, and James McBride were rather impressive, even Andrew Hannah and Duncan McLean had little to do..."


"The game finished 5 goals to nil in Liverpool's favor. Mike, your man, John Miller got on the scoresheet again. He's only gone and grabbed himself another hat-trick, that's six goals in his last two games now, he's on fire at the moment! Tom Wyllie scored the other two goals for Liverpool."

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

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Monday - October 24, 1892

Grandpa Mike :
Just three months into our inaugral season, John McKenna and William Barclay have just announced the signing of Hugh and Matt McQueen from Scottish club, Leith Athletic. Big things are expected from the brothers especially Matt who is a Scottish international and plays as a winger predominantly.

Sidenote: Matt McQueen went on to become one of the most influential men in Liverpool's history - a man who may have been forgotten over the years but offered more to Liverpool than many other legends of the club. From a player who excelled in all eleven positions on the pitch to his transition from board member to club manager to possibly having a leg amputated because of his love for Liverpool Football Club.
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Broomy

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Tuesday - October 25, 1892

Tommy :
Grandpa handed me a copy of yesterday's Liverpool Mercury Newspaper which published the Lancashire League Table. I was eagerly waiting to see the Table and it didn't disappoint, to my surprise it made for great viewing... Top of the League after just four games!


Lancashire League Table (25/10/1892)

PlayedWonDrawLostPoints
Liverpool4400
8​
Bury64028
Blackpool44008
Fleetwood Rangers43107
Liverpool Caledonians42115
Southshore41305
Fairfield41214
Heywood Central31022
Southport Central41032
Rossendale41032
Nelson41032
Higher Walton60151
West Manchester30030
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Wednesday - October 26, 1892

Tommy :
Joe Parr had arranged to meet me down at Stanley Park after work. He arrived late guiding the bike with one hand while the other held his old football. "You must have forgotten your watch Joe!" I laughed as he walked towards me.

"I've been meaning to ask you, did your brother Alfred go down to Liverpool for that trial after?"


"Aye, he did but it didn't go very well for him. He arrived at Anfield and met John McKenna."


John McKenna

"Following a few warm up exercises he was put straight into a short practice match where the first team competed against the Reserve team. Alfred started and had Joe McQue marking him."

"Feck, he's a very formidable and imposing figure to have marking you when your trying to impress John McKenna" I said.

"Yeah.... According to Alfred, Joe McQue is a tough, no-nonsense player and Alfred just couldn't compete against him, McQue won every ball".

"Jeez, I can only imagine, sure all season not many opposing players have got the better of Joe McQue. And when they did, they knew that McQue would only be a step or two behind, waiting to crunch them."

Joe looked at me laughing, "to make matters worse, they went and announced the signings of a Scottish international in Matt McQueen and also signed his brother Hugh aswel, sure young Alfred had no chance"

I picked up the football and turned to Joe "At least he'll have the experience of playing at Anfield and sure he still has Rossendale Football Club..."

Joe turned to me "Before I forget, how did Ben O'Connor's get on on his first date and did you get a name yet?!"

"No name yet, all I know is he's meeting her tomorrow evening!"
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Thursday - October 27, 1892

Ben O'Connor :
So it twas my first ever proper date... I was set up on a blind date, well sort of... Mr Connolly organised for me to meet his granddaughter Charolette Connolly for lunch in The Lathom Hotel, located close to Lime Street Station.

It was bang on as I didn't need to gain her father's permission to take her on a date, her grandfather basically organised everything. Mr Connolly knew I wouldn't be able to afford it and slipped me some extra money last week when I was repairing his boot.

Apparently Charolette had only started working in one of those new optical stores in Church Street... I arrived early just to pull off the right impression while she ended up been twenty fecking minutes late...

“Oh my gawd... I got a flat tyre on my bike, you don’t know know how long it took me to get here”... Everything she was saying to me went in one ear and out the other, she looked fantastic in fairness to her but all I could see was that pink flower crown on top of her head. "Are you sure you work in an optical store?" I asked...

I’m not sure if she heard me as she continued talking, now this girl could talk, she basically never shut up, I couldn’t get a word in edge-ways... I was actually relieved when the server came over asking do we need to order - I was just grateful from all her chatter.... I knew what I was ordering ten minutes ago but I decided to let her order first...

“To be honest the conversation is flowing here, I havn’t even had a chance to look at the menu, can you give us another five minutes...” she said smiling to the waiter. I check my watch... Twenty past one, i'm suppose to be back in work for two...

“Anyways as I was saying I just bought this dress up there in Julie's boutique shop yesterday and quess what - I even managed to match my new outfit with a stand-out pair of shoes from Lewis's Department Store just over in Ranelagh Street, do you like them....”

Before I could even muster up an answer she stares at me “Oh my Gawd you must come shopping with me after this... It would be the perfect first date... We could go shopping for you", as she's looking me up and down; "Lewis's Department Store is an absolute must... I can just imagine you now in a small floral print cotton shirt and a pashion jacquard jacket - It would sooo provide a lavish luxurious look for you...”. I assume she's knows I work as a cobbler.

At this stage i’m trying to figure out if she’s taking the piss out of me and i'm seriously trying to get the waiters attention and believe it or not, there’s actually silence for about ten seconds before she looks up from the menu and goes, "You don’t ask many questions do you?”

“That’s because I don’t need to...”
I whispered, but before I got the words out, up she stands, exclaiming to nearly the whole restaurant, "I’m bursting to use the ladies room.... Now don’t go ordering anything without me..."

We were sitting there nearly twenty minutes and I swear another five minutes sitting infront of her and my brain was literally ready to explode from information overload. How the hell am I going to get out of this. I couldn’t take any more of this... I got up and legged it to the door... Before I reached it all I could hear, "Oi xcuse me, sorry..." Oh Lord, no...

I turn around to see this young waiter "is this your wallet"... I had left my wallet on the table, in fairness to the waiter he actually knew I was legging it out the door, I rushed back to him to grab my wallet but in my haste I tripped over the doormat and basically rugby tackled the guy to the floor.

There was absolute commotion at the nearby tables at this stage, another waitress came running over and helped me to me feet, where in the corner of my eye I see Charolette standing at our table shouting "oh my gawd... What is happening"

I look down, the waiter was still lying on the ground, he looked unconscious, I think he was but I'll never know as I escaped with my wallet through the door with whatever dignity I had remaining...

How will I explain this to Mr Connolly....
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Saturday - October 29, 1892

LIVERPOOL 9 - 0 NEWTOWN
FA CUP
Second Qualifying Round

ANFIELD
Tommy: I've no doubt about it, football - our beautiful game - will form bonds that will last a lifetime. Myself, Ben, Tim and Paul all met outside Anfield at the turnstiles. Today was the second round of the greatest national competition ever - The FA Cup. The atmosphere was building outside tbe ground, the magic of the FA Cup, the tension, the nerves, the dream of lifting the cup..

It was the second round and today Newtown came to Anfield. News filtered through to us that our two new signings, the McQueen brothers, will make their Liverpool debut. Hugh McQueen will start in the outside left forward position in place of Andrew Kelvin while Matt McQueen replaces Joe McQue at centre half.

A huge crowd arrived at the grounds today, surely there were more than 4,000 spectators but what unfolded before our eyes was one of the greatest home team performances ever played at Anfield.

Newtown came with quite a strong reputation but they could not contain the wave after wave of Liverpool attack, their goal was under siege for the duration of the match. At one stage even we were beginning to feel sorry for their goalkeeper Edwards.

What a fine debut performance Matt McQueen had but all the Liverpool backs and halves were in great form, much too good for the Newtown attack.

Liverpool secured an impressive 9-0 victory. There's been much talk about John Miller's goalscoring exploits this month but today it was the turn of Tom Wylie who grabbed a hat trick for himself.

A chorus of cheers erupted at the full time whistle as the players were applauded off the pitch, football at it's finest...

Liverpool: Sydney Ross, Andrew Hannah, Duncan McLean, John McCartney, Matt McQueen, James McBride, Thomas Wyllie, John Cameron, John Miller, Malcolm McVean, Hugh McQueen.

Goals : McCartney, Wyllie (3), Townsend OG, McVean, H. McQueen, Cameron.
 
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Broomy

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Sunday - October 30, 1892

Grandpa Mike:
I picked up a copy of today's Liverpool Mercury Newspaper just to read the match report from our historic 9-0 victory over Newtown yesterday afternoon...

_________

The Liverpool Mercury Match Report
(Source: playupliverpool.com)

At Anfield, in presence of 4,000 spectators. The Liverpool team was further strengthened by Matt McQueen and Hugh McQueen, late of Leith Athletic, and the elevens lined up as follows:

Liverpool: Sydney Ross, Andrew Hannah, Duncan McLean, John McCartney, Matt McQueen, James McBride, Thomas Wyllie, John Cameron, John Miller, Malcolm McVean, Hugh McQueen.

Newtown: A. Edwards, Oliver Taylor, Alfred Townsend, Henry Tucker, Tom Chapman, E. Rees, William Pryce-Jones, E. Evans, Tom Worthington, J. Thomas, W. Morgan..

Worthington opened the play, and for a few minutes the Welshmen put on a bold front. The Liverpool team, however, soon settled down, and subjected the Newtown defence to some severe pressure, and after a stubborn resistance Edwards was rather easily beaten by a lobbing shot from John McCartney.

Once or twice the Reds made strenuous efforts to get down, but were never dangerous, and after a bit confined themselves strictly to defence. It availed little, however, as Thomas Wyllie put on No. 2. Townsend placed one through his own goal, and Malcolm McVean wound up the first half by scoring No 4.

Change of ends brought no relief to the visitors, and Liverpool were always attacking. Malcolm McVean notched a fifth point, and Thomas Wyllie got a sixth with a flying shot, Hugh McQueen making the score into seven goals during the next minute.

Newtown played up desperately under these reverses, and Morganand Pryce-Jones initiated raids to the other end, only to find the defence far too strong for them. Thomas Wylliegot the eight, and John Cameron piled on the ninth goal, at which total the score stood when the whistle blew, and Liverpool were loudly cheered on leaving the field.
 

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Rocky Road to Anfield
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If your following Grandpa Mike, Tommy and Ben's fictional story so far, join our Rocky Road to Anfield Twitter page @RockyAnfield

  • How will the lads react when they hear goalkeeper Sydney Ross may never play football again following an injury...
  • 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?
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Broomy

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Monday - October 31, 1892

Tommy: "
Ah lads, do you not think we're a bit old for this kind of stuff now" was my response on entering Grandma Elsie's kitchen.

"Yer never too old for a bit of fun Tommy, come on and give it a go..." was Ben O'Connors response.

Grandma Elsie loved having me staying with her, according to her i've brought a new lease of life into the house. With it being Halloween night Grandma has set up a game for us to play called Apple bobbing on the kitchen table. It's years since I did this...

She had filled a large basin with water which contained five apples in the water. With the apples less dense than water, they floated at the surface. It was then up to whoever was playing to try catch one with their teeth.

"Right Tommy, whoever loses this has to buy drinks for the night this weekend"

"Ha, your on Ben, quickest person to get the apple takes the prize...."

Grandma Elsie replied "You do know the superstition lads, whoever bites their apple first will be the first to marry"

"Well that won't be Ben anyway" I quickly responded, "sure he's too good at the rugby tackling".

Ben's eyes quickly darted towards me, "How the hell did you find out about that Tommy"
.
 
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Broomy

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Tuesday - November 01, 1892

Grandpa Mike:
We've beaten Nantwich 4-0 in the 1st qualifying round and then humiliated Newtown 9 goals to nil in the 2nd qualifying round meaning the magic of the FA Cup continues for Liverpool. 13 goals in just our first two ever FA Cup games, incredible...

The draw for the 3rd qualifying round has just been revealed. Liverpool have been drawn away to Northwich Victoria with the match to be played on November 19th at The Drill Field.

"Where on earth is Northwich Victoria" Ben O'Connor questioned.

"It's a team outside Chesire." I noted. "Just two years ago Nortwich amalgamated with nearby Hartford and Davenham United hence their new name Northwich Victoria. Only this year they became one of the founding members of the English Second Division which as far as I know saw the team turn professional so it'll be a tough test for John McKenna and William Barclay's Liverpool side."
.
 
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Commando

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Wednesday November 2nd 1892



Ben O'Connor


It was getting on a bit now and I keep looking over to see if Tommy is goin to ask his Grandpa whether we can nip off early. The streets have been full of talk that the new electric cars will finally be in place today on the dockside overhead railway and we’d like to go down there and see them. I’ve seen the railway a couple of times while it’s been getting built, but I can’t believe that they’ll get a car to run along the rails that high up. I’m sure that if I’m to ride in an electric car then I’d want it on the ground and not sixteen feet in the air. There goes Tommy, fingers crossed.

Tommy:

Grandpa Mike is the best. He made a show of wondering whether the shop would manage without Ben and me on a quiet Wednesday afternoon, but was quite happy to let us nip off early to see the new cars on the elevated railway. Tommy and my self pulled up our jackets at the neck, pulled our caps down and wrapped our scarves tightly. There was a cold November nip in the air and down near the Mersey it would be twice as bad. We shouted “tara” to Grandpa and were making our way out of the shop as a customer came in. I held the door open for her and looked up at her. I looked at the most beautiful girl that I had ever seen. She had clear white smooth skin like the statues that I’d seen in the museum when Ma and Da had taken me when I was a nipper. The lightest of brown eyes and flaming red hair. I couldn’t stop looking at her and felt a sort of weird feeling like I’d never felt before. She said “Thank you Thomas” and walked by me into the shop. I stood looking in at her and would probably have still been there now if Ben hadn’t asked “who’s that”?

I didn’t have a clue and although Ben quizzed me all of the way down to the waterfront I couldn’t tell him who she was or why she knew my name.

Our trip turned out to be a waste of time. All of the cars were out of site in the stations and the shed at the end of the line. But to tell the truth I was so puzzled about the mystery girl that even had I seen them it probably wouldn’t have registered.

Tea was ready for me when I got back home to Rossett Street. I sat at the table and tucked into my scouse and wondered how I could ask Grandpa who the customer had been?

I decided to come straight out with it.

“Do you know the girl was who came in to the shop today grandpa? The one when me and Ben were leaving”?

“No. Why”?

“She called me Thomas but I don’t know her”.

There was a pause for a few seconds or it could have been minutes. I was trying to think of something to say. Then Grandpa Mike spoke again.

“Well, she obviously knows you”.

Another pause then he added, “A very pretty girl she was Else”.

“Was she now"? Grandma replied. !And calling Our Tommy Thomas”?

They gave each other a funny look and grinned at each other. I could feel my face getting warm and decided to concentrate on my tea. I’d just have to put the mystery girl to the back of my mind. But those eyes just wouldn’t let me.
 
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Broomy

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Friday - November 04, 1892

Grandpa Mike :
It was the night before our Lancashire League Match against Blackpool which will be played at Raikes Hall Gardens tomorrow afternoon.

Myself and Tommy were sitting at the kitchen table trying to remember the team sheets and who scored each goal these past few weeks. After much analysis, following our 4 Lancashire League games and our 2 FA Cup games so far this season, we concluded John Miller is currently Liverpool's top goalscorer with 9 goals followed closely by Tommy Wyllie who has scored 7.


Mike & Tommy's Appearances and Goals Table
(as of November 04, 1892)

Appearances
(League + FA Cup only)
League GoalsFA Cup GoalsTotal Goals
John Miller
5​
6​
3​
9​
Tom Wylie
6​
3​
4​
7​
Jonathan Cameron
6​
3​
1​
4​
Malcolm McVean
6​
2​
2​
4​
Jock Smith
2​
3​
-​
3​
Joe McQue
5​
2​
-​
2​
Hugh McQueen
1​
-​
1​
1​
John McCartney
3​
-​
1​
1​
Jim McBride
6​
1​
-​
1​
Duncan McLean
6​
-​
-​
-​
Andrew Hannah
6​
-​
-​
-​
Sydney Ross
6​
-​
-​
-​
Andrew Kelvin
5​
-​
-​
-​
Joe Pearson
1​
-​
-​
-​
James Kelso
1​
-​
-​
-​
Matt McQueen
1​
-​
-​
-​
 

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Saturday - November 05, 1892

BLACKPOOL 3 - 0 LIVERPOOL
Lancashire League
Raikes Hall Gardens


Tommy : With Tim and Ben, we discussed going to Blackpool for the league match against our major opponents so far in the league. Just like us, they had won all their games so far, and it promised to be an exciting match, and a nice little trip northwards. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it, as Grandpa Mike had a lot of work in his shop and this time, I had to help him. Also, going there would have been too expensive for me. I had to work and earn a bit of money first, before making expensive trips like this one!

Tim McLean on the other hand went to Blackpool with the team, and with 40 supporters who wanted to see the lads play and extend their winning run. During the day, while I worked, I found myself wondering a few times how our lads were doing. We had agreed with Tim that we'd meet when he'd come back during the evening.

When he finally emerged from the Railway station and we shook hands, I saw that something had gone seriously wrong up there. No smile, no word, nothing.

We went to the nearest pub. It's only after the ale was in front of him that he began talking: "Our lads have been trashed, mate, three nil. Blackpool looked as if they were made out of tough nails, and really gave it to our lads during the first half. We couldn't put up with their pace, and two goals came then within two minutes to destroy our team morale, and then a defensive error from Hannah of all people allowed the third to go in... it was horrible, Blackpool are a really good team. Also, the atmosphere was crushing: a massive 4'000 supporters cheering them on. Our 40 voices went under like a small boat in the midst of an angry ocean.

After the tea, Liverpool played far better and had much of the ball, but Blackpool defended well to be fair, and there was simply no going through. The long trip back wasn't the best to be fair. Oh well, at least it was a bright, clear weather up there, and I'm glad that I'm now back."

We had a few more ales and went then to bed quite early. Tomorrow was church time, and I didn't want to disappoint Grandma...



Liverpool : Sydney Ross, Andrew Hannah (c), Duncan McLean, John McCartney, Joe McQue, Matt McQueen, Thomas Wyllie, John Cameron, John Miller, Malcolm McVean, Hugh McQueen.
 

Commando

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Sunday – November 06, 1892

Tommy:
Walking down to the parish church (St Nick’s) I couldn’t shake off the feeling of disappointment that had hung over me since I’d heard of our boys’ defeat at the hand of Blackpool. I was in a little world of my own as Me, Grandma and Grandpa made our way down. I was startled to hear “Hello Thomas”. I spun round to see Joe Parr coming towards me with a broad grin on his face. “Hello Thomas” had become the lads’ favoured form of greeting since Ben had told Joe and Tim how the girl going into Grandpa’s shop had spoken to me. It still puzzled me how she knew my name and I wondered what put the sparkle in her eye as she had spoken to me.

I sat through the service and went through the motions of standing, sitting and kneeling along with everyone else. I couldn’t make head nor tail of what the vicar was talking about during his sermon. One minute we were going to hell and the next we were gonna be saved. I think it came out in favour of being saved if we didn’t sin. Or if we did sin, we had to be really sorry about it.

On the way out I was just about to answer Joe who’d asked whether I’d be going over to Stanley park for a kick about after our dinner? When I was startled to hear “Hello Thomas”.

I looked to my left directly into the brown eyes that had taken up so many of my thoughts throughout the last few days.



Ruth O’Neill: Haha, there it is again. That look that says he doesn’t have a clue who you are. “Are you not going to say “Hello” then?



Tommy: “Erm Hello” What should I say now?



Joe: “He doesn’t know who you are”.



Ruth: “What? You don’t know the girl who’s hair you pulled a thousand times in Mrs Dougherty’s class when we were at school”



Tommy: It couldn’t be? The red hair was a dead giveaway but everything else about her had changed. “Are you Ruth? Patrick O’Neill’s sister”?



Ruth: “You do remember me then”?



Tommy: “Yes, but I never pulled your hair that much”. What am I saying? I sound like an idiot. “How’s your Patrick”?



Ruth: “He’s fine thanks. He’s working down at the docks with me Dad and our Brendan”.



Tommy: Tell him I said Hiya, Hello”. She giggled at my attempt to sound posh, or less common at least.



Joe: “Do you remember me? A puzzled look from Tommy’s (no longer) mystery woman. “Joe Parr”.



Ruth: “No. Well I’d better get home and help Mum make dinner. I’ll see you”.



Tommy: And in a second she was walking away down the steps. I hoped that we would see each other again. I’ll have to make sure that I’m in church every week from now on.



Joe: “How come she never remembered me? I was in Mrs Dougherty’s class”.



Tommy
: Well you should have pulled her hair like I did then. And yeah,



Joe: “Yeah? Yeah what”?



Tommy: “We’ll have a kick around in the park after our dinners".
 

Broomy

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Monday - November 07, 1892

Grandma Elsie :
Mike and Tommy had just grabbed their packed lunch and left the house when the outside front door opened. There stood my eldest son Jim - Tommy's father.

"I waited for the men to leave Elsie before letting myself in." Jim said as he took off his coat.

"Sit down Jim and i'll boil the teapot. But before I do... We need to talk" The silence must have lasted minutes as I looked into my sons eyes "All these years i've watched from afar, i'd worry that i'll say the wrong thing, then you'd just get angry and defensive so I go quiet to prevent our relationship deteriorating further.... Sure, I couldn't risk it, not with your son, I had to keep an eye on young Tommy. But I can't stay silent any more, not after seeing what you did to my Tommy..."

"That's why i'm here Elsie. I've no more excuses anymore... Since my wife died, I turned to drink, morning, noon and night whenever I wasn't working. It got me through life..."

"Alcohol... It's the curse of all Jim... According to your father 'Grandpa Mike' it's wrong to castigate a man in a tavern at the end of the day having a drink who had been down the pits working all day but... but you didn't know when to stop drinking Jim..."

"I was in denial Elsie, damn it, sure I kept my emotions hidden... She left me when I needed her most, I didn't know how to bring up a kid... I needed Philomena and she was no longer here. I hit rock bottom and these past few days since Tommy moved out have been the hardest... Else, i've finally come to my senses."


I couldn't believe what I was hearing, he was like a different man before my eyes, he continued speaking "I've decided to go and spend a few weeks away staying down at my brothers Frank's house, it'll be good to see him again. He's secured me a few weeks work at St. Helen's Alexandra Colliery. If anybody can sort me, he will. It's up to me and i'm finally going to take responsibility for my own recovery from alcohol. There's only one problem.... I leave today..."

"That's a bit sudden Jim, I assume your going to tell Tommy all this"
I asked hesitating.

"No I can't even look at Tommy yet, not after that night... I want you to tell Tommy how truly sorry I am and here's a key for him to the house... I'll write him letters while i'm away, it's up to him if he wants to read them..."
.
 
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