LIVERPOOL SPRING A SURPRISE
April 1, 1940. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 1, Liverpool 3.
Everton Lack Finish And Lose
Liverpool sprang a surprise when they defeated Everton 3-1 at Goodison Park, and the victory was all the more creditable because they were much below their full strength, several of their soldier players being unable to obtain leave. They had six changes, and the switching over from the left to the right of Liddell. It was a truly experimental side. Liverpool, however, have always was a law unto themselves. They won this game because there was more spirit in the team. Everton were the football artists, and for twenty minutes ruled the roost by their intricate combination, but they were weak in front of goal. Liverpool were ever the more dangerous lot in front of goal, and Sagar had several great shots to deal with before he was beaten at 28 minutes. Catterick scored an offside goal just beforehand, and I am not in entire agreement that he was offside, for Boyes pulled the ball back to Catterick which proved that he was behind the ball. That may have affected Everton to some extent, but does execuse them. They lost their bearness and were two goals behind, the points having been gained at the 28th and 29 minute. Everton’s defence was out of position when Niewenhuys slipped the ball forward to Liddell, and instead of someone rushing in to cover Sagar, the Everton goalkeeper was left to handle the affair himself. He ran out, but Liddell was there before him and the ball was in the net. The same pair linked up to score a second. Liddell providing the centre from which Nieuwenhuys headed home. The confidence with which Everton started was thenceforth transferred to Liverpool, who but into Everton’s dainty methods with speed and security. Taylor hit the crossbar and the ball bounded down for Jackson to kick clear. Some say the ball bounced over the line, it was a near squeak. Everton had many chances, but there was no sting in their attack, and Liverpool, by their speed and daring, were ever dangerous close in. The miss of the match came near the interval, when Stevenson left with an open goal, screwed the ball wide. The Irishman has gone completely off his game as a scorer of goals, and so for that matter has Lawton, who is right out of touch with his game. Everton were yards slower than Liverpool. In the second half Everton suffered another blow when a first time shot by Niuwenhuys, who wasted no time in attempting to “kill” Liddell’s pass, sent the ball hard into the net.
Fine play is all very well if there is some finish to it, but that was where Everton perished. Seventy five per cent of the play, if not more of the second half was spent in Liverpool’s territory, but Riley had not a great deal to do. Shooting was not one of Everton’s strong points. Stevenson missed yet another “sitter” and the referee disallowed a goal by Lawton because he considered Lawton had charged Riley, who was not in possession of the ball. Then at long last Lawton snapped up a Wyles centre and cracked it into the net, at 82 minutes. Catterick twice tested Riley afterwards, but Liverpool had won through by their straightforward methods, their enthusiasm, and their definitely better shooting. Busby was the star artist of the match, with Boyes a close second. Nieuwenhuys did his work well as a centre forward, and Taylor and Liddell were live forwards. Everton’s attack produced many nice rounds of passing, but too many of them produced no finish. Lindley was the best Everton half back, and Jackson a dour and solid full back; but it was not Everton’s day. Everton: Sagar (captain), goal; Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Lindley, Jones (TG) and Watson, half-backs; Wyles, Catterick, Lawton, Stevenson, and Boyes, forwards. Liverpool: - Riley, goal; Harley, and Tennant, backs; Busby (captain), Bush, and Paisley, half-backs; Liddell, Taylor, Nieuwenhuys, Carney, and Van Den Berg, forwards. Referee. Mr. G. Salmon (Stoke). Attendance 12,896. The Everton team to face Stockport County in the Regional League match at Goodison Park on Wednesday will be the same that was beaten by Liverpool with the exception that Mercer returns to right half in place of Lindley.
EVERTON’S TEAM FOR GOODISON MID-WEEK GAME.
April 1, 1940. The Evening Express.
Merseyside clubs have always been football pioneers and they are carrying it on in war-time. Why, the first of the Red Cross Fund matches was played in the home of soccer. On Wednesday Everton claim the distinction of staging the first war-time midweek game so far as the provinces are concerned. They play Stockport County at Goodison Park in a Western Regional match. This on top of the Blues and Liverpool, being the first clubs in the country to arrange provisional friendly fixtures for open dates as soon as the Regional fixtures were published. They had everything all set as far back as October. What Merseyside thinks today. No sooner had the Everton and Liverpool players walked off the field at Goodison Park on Saturday, after the Reds had triumphed 3-1, than secretary Mr. Theo Kelly, of the Blues was fixing up his team for Wednesday. It was duly approved by Chairman Mr. Ernest Green, and yesterday I roused Mr. Kelly from the comforts of bed and a book for the news. This shows that Joe Mercer, the international half-back will return to right half-back. He takes the place of Maurice Lindley. Stan Bentham is still not available, so Catterick continues at inside-right, and the remainder of the team is unchanged. Everton; Sagar; Jackson, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones (Tom), Watson; Wyles, Catterick, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes.
Incidentally Catterick will be playing for his own club against the club to which, for the most part of the season he has been on loan.
Lesson For Blues.
Saturday’s “Derby” game was another satisfying contribution to the long line of wartime clashes between the two big rivals. It was the sixth meeting and Liverpool deservedly went towards levelling up the “account.” And in winning they gave the Champions, a real lesson in directness. Liverpool left the frills to Everton and by employing direct tactics ran to a convincing win. Everton pressed for about 75 minutes of the 90 and had one goal to show for it. Liverpool attacked for the other 15 minutes and bagged three goals. That, in itself, is sufficient to show where Everton took the wrong turning. For the opening passages it looked as if Everton were certain to win. They played some excellent football in midfield, and then broke down when they reached the Liverpool penalty area. And the longer they played the easier were the raids broken up by fine defensive work. Everton rarely looked dangerous, but every time the Liverpool lads went away in possession they gave one the impression that they were going to score. Sagar had much more work to do than Riley. For the major portion, it was a grand duel, productive of much artistry and thrills galore. The Liverpool win was a big surprise. Remember that they had to make six actually and one positional changes in their team, and when I spoke to one of their officials a quarter of an hour before the kick-off he did not know actually what the team would be. Call it a “make-shift” team if you like, but they did not operate in a makeshift manner, and their quick-raiding forwards certainly made the Everton defenders shift.
During the match I was reminded of the fact that a few seasons ago Liverpool played an outside right Harold Barton, centre forward against Everton and he scored four goals. And in a flash Berry Nieuwenhuys, the Reds’ right winger now leading the forwards, cracked in a right foot shot taken on the half volley, the speed of which beat Ted Sagar although he got his fingers to it. That was Liverpool’s third goal –and a beauty. Before the interval, young Liddell had opened the account and right from the kick-off provided the centre from which Nieuwenhuys headed the second Taylor should have been credited with a goal, for I am certain Jackson was inside the goal when he headed clear a real winner from the inside-right. The Everton folk are convinced, too, that the two goals disallowed should have been labelled “correct” I thought Catterick’s was offside, but Lawton’s effort when he bundled Riley and the ball into the net, as Dixie Dean did with Langford in the 1933 Wembley final, looked legitimate to me. Riley had contacted the ball all right. Still Everton could not grumble at these two hosses, seeing that at least three gilt-edged chances were fritted away. Each time it was Alex Stevenson who erred. Yet Alex was the one forager of the Everton line for Catterick, though willing enough, was one of his element in the inside position. Catterick played in his natural centre-forward style, and Wyles was neglected until late on. He made his one pass into a neat centre and Lawton did the rest. Everton rallied finely near the end, but it was too late. Almost throughout their forwards were mastered by a grand Liverpool defence in which Tom Bush was outstanding. He gave no rope to Lawton. Harley and Tennant were sound and I again liked young Paisley. What a dour player he is.
Immaculate sums up the play of Busby, and in attack Liddell, getting better and better, and Niuwenhuys were the stars of a quick alert, agile line. Riley was grand. Everton adopted the wrong tactics, and for once their wing half-backs, Lindley and Watson did not touch real form, Jones, as a consequence was often drawn to a wrong position –and “Nivvy” revelled in it. Greenhalgh was rather the better of the backs, and in attack Boyes was easily the pick. He was one of the stars of this game watched by 12,896 people. Here is an interesting sidelight on Matt Busby. Mr. Ernest Green said to me after the game that his players had told him what a grand sportsman Matt is on the field. “Whenever anyone beat Matt by a good piece of work,” and Mr. Green “Matt would say well played.” What a fine example he must be to young players.” Agreed. It was fine to see Liverpool’s oldest director. Mr. John Astbury, at the game. He has just completed 40 years continuous services on the directorate. Messrs, Will Harrop (chairman), W. Harvey, Webb and George Richards, were other directors present from Anfield, and chief host, Mr. Green, was supported by Mr. Will Gibbins, Dr. Cecil Baxter, and Lieu Tom Perry who had dashed up from the south overnight to see the game. Mr. Green made a special point of going to the Liverpool dressing room to congratulate Skipper Busby on the fine play of the team.
EVERTON’S CHANCE TO RE-ENTER REGIONAL TITLE RACE.
April 2, 1940. Evening Express.
Everton have a fine chance to re-enter the race for the leadership of the Western Region tomorrow, when they stage the first provincial mid-week game of the war. The Blues face Stockport County, and it will be the first visit of the County to either of our big grounds since they were beaten 5-1 at Anfield in the F.A. Cup fourth round tie in January 1939. Recently the Blues after knowing the heels to Western rivals for long periods have dropped back. They have now lost two regional games in succession –at Crewe and against Liverpool on Saturday. This has enabled three clubs to pass them on the road to the title. Stoke City have a five point lead, Manchester United a four points’ lead and Liverpool are two points head. Stoke have played two matches more than the other three clubs. Everton can get back in the race if they will make up their minds to learn the lesson of the Liverpool defeat and apply more directness to their work. No one wishes to see the Blues scrap their traditional scientific style for anything approaching kick-and-rush tactics, but both against Crewe ad Liverpool they played into the hands of tenacious defenders by keeping the ball far too close.
I saw Stockport in their first Regional game, when they put up a sterling fight against Liverpool at Edgeley Park only to go down 3-0. The County rely on speedy developed and terrier-like interventions. They refuse to allow any opponent to settle on the ball. They have plenty of notable players in their ranks, including Reid, the tall half-back or forward. Reid, last season, was one of the most sought-after players in the country. Big offers were made for his transfer. McDonough, the goalkeeper, is the former Blackpool player and as nimble as a cat, and in attack will be found Freddie Howe, the former Liverpool centre-forward, who went to Grimsby Town via Manchester City and who remains on the books of the “Mariners” Howe will be certain of a warm welcome back to Merseyside. The County have several other “guest Artists” of repute, and altogether are a good side. On Saturday they were unfortunate not to beat Manchester City. Everton will be strengthened by the return of international Joe Mercer, but Bentham has not yet recovered from the slight groin injury. Everton have had to make a change in their side. Catterick is not available, and the experiment will be made of playing Lindley at inside-right. He has filled all three half-back places and a full-back position this season. The match will serve as an indication to the soccer world whether evening mid-week games can draw more people than the Saturday matches. I think Everton should have one of their best gates apart from the local “Derby” games and holiday attractions. Everton; Sagar; Jackson, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones (Tom), Watson; Wyles, Lindley, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes. Stockport; McDonough; Topping, Owen; Nelson, Tillerington, Chappell; Toseland, Woodcock, Reed, Bagley, Howe.
“Much ado about nothing “might well be quoted about the action of Everton in writing to the Football Association stating that Joe Mercer will not be available to play for England against Wales at Wembley on April 13. Everton merely answered a direct question from the F.A. As I pointed out a week ago the F.A. letter to clubs ask if the player “is available.” Everton merely replied that they regretted Mercer was not available owing to the importance of their Lancashire Cup semi-final against Liverpool at Goodison Park. And the F.A. of Wales have been similarly notified that Tom Jones is not available to play for Wales. There is not the slightest suggestion of a defiance of the F.A. or a placing of a ban on players.
Much disappointment is felt in Welsh soccer circles that the Everton club cannot release Tommy Jones, the Welsh International captain and centre half-back, to assist Wales against England in the international encounter at Wembley on Saturday, April 13. Mr. Ted Robbins, the Welsh F.A. secretary said: “Of course, the Everton club are quite within their rights in refusing to release Jones, but still, it is a great setback and disappointment to Wales.
To Play For Chester Against Army X1
Everton have given permission for Tommy Jones their Welsh international centre half-back to play for Chester against the Bristish Army X1, at Sealand-road Stadium, Chester, on Wednesday, April 10. The match is in aid of an Army Comforts Fund.
EVERTON, MERCER AND THE F.A
April 2, 1940. The Liverpool Echo.
What Will Be The Next Move?
Blues’ Stage a Midweek Evening Match With Stockport Tomorrow.
The football world is awaiting with interest the next move in the passage-at-arms between Everton and the Football Association. So far the business has been conducted with velvet gloves on both sides. The F.A. made a polite request to Everton; Everton replied to it just as politely. The next question is whether the F.A. will take off the gloves and demand the services of Mercer. So far, Everton have been at pains to emphasise that their reply must be contrived as tantamount to defying the F.A. Even with word “refusal,” while it may look like a distinction without a difference they maintain they have not actually refused Mercer’s services. “We were asked “they say,” whether Mercer was available. We replied that he was not, and that is the end of it so far as we are concerned.” The difference, finely drawn though it may be lies in the fact that in normal peace-time conditions the F.A. do not ask.” “Will So-and-so be available for us?” They write and say “We want him.” And if he is fit, that is all there is to it. Neither club nor player has any option. The next move now lies with the Football Association, if they contend that their pre-war rules still give them the right to command, as Mr. W.C. Cuff, vice-president of the F.A. contends they do, and if they feel like making this a test case and insist on having the player, such a demand would place the onus on Everton of either agreeing to it or coming out with a definite unequivocal refusal. There is a difference of opinion in more circles than the Everton Board, as to just where the F.A. stands in war-time jurisdiction. Some folk are of the opinion that the parent body no longer has the right to command. There are others with the opposite view.
Weak Link In F.A. Case.
Personally, I could make out almost as good a case for one side as the other. The weakness of the F.A.’s contention, assuming they still maintain their right in that they are seeking to adhere to certain pre-war rules which suit them and ignoring others. When war broke out players’ contracts were everywhere cancelled –in some cases with almost indecent haste. Today the players is a comparatively free agent within certain limits. Having cancelled his contract, the F.A. cannot in fairness expect to still retain power over his movements and force him to play for them if he prefers to play for his own club. We shall now have to wait and see what action, if any, the F.A. take. If they feel the principle involved is worth fighting for the repercussions may be far-reaching. There were all the elements of a flare-up in the Doherty business, but Mr. Stanley Rous’s diplomatic handling of the business poured oil, on troubled waters. Should the F.A. concede the point in this case, it means they have tacitly acknowledge their inability to demand players for war-time internationals. The position is decidedly interesting.
Enter Mid-Week Games.
The first senior mid-week game to be staged in the City since the war started takes place at Goodison Park tomorrow evening when Everton are opposed to Stockport County (kick-off 6.30) in a rearranged Regional match, postponed through inclement weather last January. This is only the forerunner of what may prove to be a fairly regular sequence to mid-week games at either Goodison or Anfield. Everything depends on how Liverpool and Everton progress in the League’s Cup tourney. If they get through the first few rounds all right a number of Regional fixtures will have to be held over. It will depend on the length of their stay in the Cup whether these will be fitted in on Saturday during the summer extension or whether they will be worked off on Wednesday evenings. Everton have slipped badly in the Regional table this last few weeks having gathered only three points out of the last eight played for but they ought to find little difficulty in accounting for Stockport, even though the latter recently have been doing better than in the early part of the season. They will need to take to heart the lesson of Saturday’s game with Liverpool, cutting out the fancy work and tripperies and going for goals, which are all that count in the final reckoning. Apart from mercer’s return, the side will be the same as that which lost to Anfield’s more or less scratch eleven.
Stockport’s visit will give us another view of Fred Howe, ex-Liverpool, now operating in an unusual sphere at outside left where he has totted up quite a respectable total of goals this season. With the return of Catterick to Everton the Cheshire club has latterly played Reid at centre forward. Originally a half back in which position he was sought last season by many senior clubs, Reid for some time this season played inside right or left as Catterick’s partner, and did so well that Stockport had no hesitation about transferring him to the middle when the need arose. From all accounts he is playing just as well there. The Stockport side includes two former Manchester City players in Toseland, transferred to Sheffield Wednesday last season, and Neilson, and two local products of war-time football in Chappell and Woodcock. While Everton ought to win, they cannot afford to take liberties if they are to retain any hope of pulling off the Western section championship. As it is, they have still a big amount of leeway to make up to overtake Manchester United, and only six games left in which to do it. To-morrow’s teams are as follows: - Everton; Sagar; Jackson, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones, Watson; Wyles, Catterick, Lawton, Stevenson, and Boyes. Stockport –McDonough; Topping, Owens, Neilson; Titterington, Chappell, Toseland, Woodcock, Reid, Bagley, and Howe.
STEVENSON SCORES FOUR GOALS
April 4, 1940. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 7, Stockport County 0
Everton Too Good For Stockport
Everton were much too clever for Stockport County in their Regional game at Goodison Park last night. They scored seven goals without reply from their opponents. It might have been double that figure had Everton pressed their cause. In recent matches Stevenson has been missing the simplest of chances, but last night he scored four goals and had several shots saved. Admitting that a number of his goals were grit offerings from his colleagues it was good to see that he had at last found his shooting form. Stockport were classed and I think that Sagar had but one really difficult shot to save during, the whole match, and this came from Toseland, who smacked in a hard drive, Sagar close to the upright. Lawton too, was noteworthy with two shots, one from a penalty. In the majority of cases each goal was made as a result of praiseworthy combination to which the Stockport County defence had little answer. Wyles opened the scoring at 10 minutes, Lawton got one at 20 minutes, Stevenson his first at 25, another at 39, Lawton (Penalty) at 55, and Stevenson at 73 and 88 minutes. Lindley, in the uncommon role at inside right, did well Stockport tried hard to emulate their rivals smart combination, and while it served them up to a point it never really brought them beyond the Everton penalty area. The Everton defence was too strong for them, Reid, the County centre forward, got little chance to show his worth in the game, though he put out some nice passes. Everton; Sagar, goal (captain), goal; Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Mercer, Jones and Watson, half-backs; Wyles, Lindley, Lawton, Stevenson, and Boyes, forwards. Stockport County: - McDonough, goal; Topping, and Owens, backs; Titterington, Neilson and Chappell, half-backs; Toseland, Woodcock, Reid, Bagley, and Howe, forwards. Referee Mr. W. Precott (Southport).
BENTHAM RESUMES FOR EVERTON RIGHT WING EXPERIMENT.
April 4, 1940. The Evening Express.
Stan Bentham returns in the Everton team to visit Port Vale on Saturday, in the Western Regional match. Stan, one of the hardest-working forwards playing today, has missed two matches owing, to a slight groin injury. He will displace Lindley. There will also be a chance at outside-right. Cecil Wyles has a swollen ankle –he has, as a matter of fact, played through two games with it, and right well at that –and so the experiment will be made of playing Harry Catterick, the centre-forward, on the wing. It is an experiment I like, for Catterick has excellent ball control, speed and a shot. He and Bentham should link up well. Of course, Everton have brought Catterick back from Stockport County where he was on loan for two or three months. But the County are not going to suffer through the loss of Catterick’s services. Everton have given their permission for Bobbie Bell to sign for Stockport for the War Cup, which begins on April 13 when the County visit Wrexham. Bell would have been allowed to play for his old club, Tranmere Rovers in the Cup, but the Rovers did not enter, so Bob will wear the County colours, and the County pass a vote of thanks to Everton –and Bell. Everton have also allowed Cardiff City to sign Cliff Britton for Cup duty, Bolton Wanderers Jimmy Cunliffe and of course Wrexham Billy Cook. Everton; Sagar; Jackson, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones, Watson; Catterick, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes.
Seven Goals Margin.
Everton at Goodison Park last night re-entered the Western Regional championship race per a 7-0 win over Stockport County. It might have been more, Stockport showing so many inaccuracies. I except 23-year-old Topping, the right back. Here is a fine young player to whom I took a fancy when I was at Edgeley Park last October. He is keen defender. Everton were far too good, and so the spectacle of a keen tussle was missing. One could, however, appreciate the clean Everton approach work and their deadliness in front of goal. It was as if their misses against Liverpool had stirred them. Well, Alex Stevenson missed three “sitters” on Saturday yet bagged four of the five last evening. Lawton got two –one from a penalty –and Wyles opened the score and had a wonder shot disallowed. I was pleased to see Tommy Lawton come right back to his real form, and the left wing pair were astuteness personified. Maurice Lindley did well at inside-right and gave the willing Wyles plenty of attention. It was, however, the strength of the Blues’ half-back line which made the game so easy. No fault could be found with Mercer, Jones or Watson, and behind them Sagar; Jackson, and Greenhalgh stood firm. At least, Ted Sagar had only two shots to stop so you can appreciate how the game went. I was disappointed at the attendance-1,657, with receipts £61. It was not Everton’s worst gate of the season, but there was not much in it. Maybe things will buck up when the cup-ties come along. No one could grumble at the fare served up in this game.
“DIXIE” DEAN’S INCOME TAX
April 4, 1940. The Evening Express.
Famous Player Summond.
William Ralph (“Dixie”) Dean, the former Everton and England footballer, was summoned at Liverpool Police Court today for alleged non-payment of income tax, covering the years 1936-37-38 and totalling £22 1s 5d. An Inland Revenue Department officials stated that Dean, who lived at Grayling-road, New Ferry, was proprietor of a sport outfitting shop in Birkenhead. The department had difficulty in trancing Dean. When he left Everton he went to Notts County, but on inquiry at Nottingham it was found he had gone to Sligo. He was traced to Hurst in Cheshire through the sporting columns of the Press, and then to a munitions factory, where he was working as a labourer. Dean, said the official, was now out of work. He had a wife and three children. He was the proprietor of a sports outfitting shop in Birkenhead, in which he had sunk all his capital. He hoped, however, to dispose of it and then would pay the money. He was trying meanwhile to secure a position as fifth engineer with a steamship company. While asking for an order for payment of the £22 1s 5d, forthwith, they would hold it in abeyance to see if Dean decided to sell his business. The Bench made the order.
EVERTON TWO CHANCES.
April 4, 1940. The Liverpool Echo.
Everton make two changes for their side to visit Port Vale on Saturday compared with that which scored such a runaway victory over Stockport County last night. Bentham, recovered from his recent muscle injury comes back in place of Lindley at right inside and Catterick figures in his third different forward position in four games by going to outside right in place of Wyles. The team reads; - Sagar; Jackson, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones, Watson; Catterick, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson, and Boyes. In view of the fact that Catterick may be wanted by Everton for the League Cup-tie, Stockport County last night approached the Goodison club for the loan in these games of Bunny Bell, which was granted. Other Everton players who have been given permission to play for outside clubs in the Cup-ties are Cook (Wrexham), Britton (Cardiff City), and Cunliffe (Bolton Wanderers).
Youngsters’ Needle Match.
Everton “C” have an attractive game at Goodison Park on Saturday with Lydiate (k.o.3.15) Lydiate lead the Bootle J.O.C. League, with Everton close on their heels, with a few games in hand. If the latter win on Saturday they are virtually assured of the championship. The Everton side is: - Canavan; Dugdale, Sharrett; Beardswood, Atkins, Sumner; Simmons, Cobham, Lyon, Bailey.
Scoring Made Easy.
Goal-scoring was made to look easy in the Everton-Stockport County Regional game at Goodison Park, last night, and had Everton pressed their case I think they could have added to their seven goals. They were much too clever a side for the County, who, however, never let off their idea of playing Everton at their own game without being able to finish it off with a shot as Everton did. My notebook shows their forwards as having only two shots at Sagar, one by Howe and the other, their best by Toseland. They were outclassed by a side which carried too many guns for them and too many tracks up their sleeves and certainly too many shots. Stevenson has had such a bad spell with his shooting in recent times that one began to wonder what had happened. He could not understand it himself, so let us hope his four goals in last nights game are the forerunner of many more to come. True they were made simple for him, but he had been missing simple ones of late. On the other hand Boyes who has been hitting then home fairly regularly, failed to bag a gaol, the other scorers being Lawton (one from a penalty spot) and Wyles. Lawton has been worried by the non-success. Well, you should have seen the penalty go in –McDonough didn’t. But Lawton did more than score, he made openings for several of the other goals, but it was a combined Everton which produced this handsome Everton which produced this handsome victory. Had there not been a regular flow of goals the match would have petered out, for Stockport were a poor sort of opponents. For 70 per cent, if not more, of the game they were on the defensive with Everton doing almost as they liked.
April 5, 1940. The Evening Express.
Everton go to Port Vale –a fast, rugged and purposeful combination –hoping to record their second “double” of the season. The Blues so far have taken full points from New Brighton. When they met Port Vale at Goodison Park they won 3-1. It will be interesting to see how Harry Catterick, the Young centre-forward, shapes at outside-right. He is as a matter of fact, the sixth player the Blues have played in this position this season. The others have been Gillick, Sweeney, Barber, Wyles and Simmons. Personally, I think Catterick will fit into the role well, because he has excellent control over the ball, has cute ideas about beating a man, and possession a fine burst of speed. He will not lack for support, for Stan Bentham returns after missing two games. I must warn the Everton defence against the quick raiding tactics of the Vale. The Hanley boys can developed attacks, with remarkable aptitude, and rely chiefly on shock tactics. It was good to see Everton regaining their goal sense against Stockport County and I think the Blues are fully capable of recording their third away win of the season. Everton; Sagar; Jackson, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones, Watson; Catterick, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes.
April 5, 1940. The Liverpool Echo.
Everton are at Port Vale tomorrow and will take with them a strong side, including Bentham who has missed a couple of games through an injury, and Catterick who will make a new right wing. Everton were much too good a side for Stockport County and although the game is at Hanley. Everton should have no great difficulty in adding another two more points to their tally. They must, however, not “fiddle” about as they have done in some of their games against the Third Leaguers, only to find that when they tried to be up and doing that they could not do as they wanted. Better that they started well, take a lead if possible and then, if they so desire treat the onlookers to some highclass football. They certainly set about Stockport in determined style, and I hope they will do the same against Port Vale; then I sure they will take the points. It was good to see Stevenson scoring four goals against the County, for he has been uncommonly out of luck in the shooting department and could not explain the reason. Now that he has broken the spell, it is quite possible that he will add to that figure in future games. Lawton, too should have regained some confidence following his two goals, for apart from those successes, he hit some fine drives which just misses their mark. The Vale are not a strong side by any means but they will fight, and fight hard, for they liked all the other “we fellows,” are out to take down the champions. This will be Catterick’s third position since he came into the senior side, and I fancy the position will suit him, for he can use his bursts to better effect than as an inside forward. Now that Everton have got, the goal swing. Think they will take a big win at Hanley. Everton; Sagar; Jackson, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones, Watson; Catterick, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes.
TOP SPEED DUEL AT PORT VALE.
April 6, 1940. The Evening Express.
Everton Face Strong Defence.
Greenhalgh and Watson registered with the “25’s” before travelling with Everton to Port Vale for the Western Regional game, today. Everton were seeking a “double.” Port Vale; - Jepson, goal; Pursell and Oakes, backs; Smith, Grififths (H.), and Cumberlidge, half-backs; Griffiths (P.), Higgins, Roberts, Ware, and Tuncliffe, forwards. Everton: - Sagar, (captain), Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Mercer, Jones and Watson, half-backs; Catterick, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson and Boyes, forwards. Referee Mr. E. V. Gough (Stoke). Both Griffiths are former Everton players, and Phil had a hand in the first major move, to the delight of 3,000 spectators. He and Higgins worked the ball through neatly for Roberts to place outside. Lawton gave a shrewd through pass to Stevenson, who sped past Oakes, but did not get hold of the ball properly in his attempted shot. A bouncing ball eluded Sagar’s grasp but Sagar was able to turn round and make a recovery. Fine defence work by Oaks prevented Lawton and Stevenson getting in shots. Jepson ran out to kick off Stevenson’s toes. Lawton let go a fine left foot shot which Jepson turned aside at full length. Catterick slipped the ball back astutely for Bentham to crash it inches wide of the far post, before Sagar fisted away a dangerous curling free-kick from Oakes. Everton were playing much more direct football. It was quick, entertaining football, with Oakes an inspiration to a purposeful Vale. Watson damaged a leg in a heavy fall and had to be carried off. Boyes went to left half. Another Oakes free kick brought danger to the Blues and Sagar held Phil Grififths’ shot and quickly eluded three dashing raiders. Watson returned after five minutes with his knee bandaged. Jackson kicked off the goal-line, just as the whistle sounded for a foul on Sagar. Boyes contributed a thrilling run half the length of the field before Cattrerick’s angle shot was turned aside for a corner. It was good football, played at top speed.
PORT VALE MEET A CHALLENGE.
April 6, 1940. The Liverpool Echo.
Defence Holds Nippy Everton Forwards.
Port Vale; - Jepson, goal; Pursell and Oakes, backs; Smith, Grififths (H.), and Cumberlidge, half-backs; Griffiths (P.), Higgins, Roberts, Ware, and Tunncliffe, forwards. Everton: - Sagar, (captain), Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Mercer, Jones and Watson, half-backs; Catterick, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson and Boyes, forwards. Referee Mr. E. V. Gough (Stoke). Two of Everton’s players, Greenhalgh and Watson, registered this morning. Port Vale started on a strong note, and fired the first shot of the game in the first minute, but the shooter was just out in his direction, so that Sagar was not called upon. There was no doubt that the Vale were all out to beat this strong Everton side, just as are all small clubs in the Western section. Everton showed a glimpse of their true form, and the Vale defence had cause for some anxiety, which was relieved, however, when Jepson saved from Lawton and later saw a fast shot by Bentham pass outside his upright. There was a gasp of surprise when Sagar misjudged the bounce of a ball and lost his grip of it, but he was so far out of goal that he was able to turn round and make a recovery. Watson was injured and had to retire Tunnicliffe was hurt, and shortly after the Sagar had to punch clear from a free kick. Up to this point the Vale had met Everton’s challenge with a challenge of their own. The Vale defence, which included Oakes of Charlton was very nippy in getting to grips with the Everton forwards, who produced some excellent ideas and were quick to seize an opening when given the slightest chance. Sagar had to save a neat shot from Phil Griffiths and Greenhalgh to get his defence out of a difficulty, nonchalantly put the ball into the crowd behind the goal.
Bentham In Luck
Watson returned with his right leg bandaged. The Vale defence defied every effort of the Everton forwards to go through until the half hour. Then it was sheer misfortunate that Everton should score a goal in the manner they did for Jepson had saved Bentham’s shot by throwing himself at the ball, but as e rose with the ball in his hands it slipped out of his grasp over his shoulder and into the net. Jepson had done everything so well that this bit of bad luck was really tragic.
EVERTON LACK FIRE.
April 8, 1940. The Liverpool Daily Post.
Port Vale 2, Everton 1
Port Vale Finish Strongly To Win.
Everton are experiencing a bad spell and once again they fell to a Third Division side in Port Vale, who beat the champions at Hanley 2-1, and were full value for their victory. It is not a happy position to be in for a team which should, by all football reckoning, be good enough to beat the smaller clubs whether the game be at home or away. Everton have taken to missing simple chances in recent weeks. On Wednesday they struck a goal scoring day which promised well, but they fell into their old way in the Potteries, and after having missed several gilt-edged opportunities found Port Vale fighting gallantry and well when they really should have no chance whatever. Port Vale were able to hit back particularly in the second half, and snatch a win simply because they put more heart into the game. They met Everton’s more elaborate football with swinging football, by which I mean that they kept the ball moving at all times and went into their game with more zest. Everton’s goal was a streaky one. Bentham had shot and Jepson had saved by throwing himself full length to gather the ball and having done so there should have been little danger, but Jepson, in his anxiety to clear quickly sprang in his feet with the ball in his hands, but it slipped from his grasp, passed over his shoulder and went over the line, It was a heart breaking affair for the Vale, who had played really well, giving Everton plenty to think about by their progressive football and determined tackling.
Pulling The Game Round.
They got over it, however, and fifteen minutes from the end of the game P. Grififths a former Everton player scored an equaliser. Heartened by this success they obtained another goal by Higgins near the end and so pulled the game out of the fire. The Everton defence was not immune from blame when there goals were scored. In fact; the impress upon Everton the need for more “fire” when they are meeting Third Division sides. Dainty methods will not pay in such games. Against First Division members it would probably carry the day but the smaller clubs set their teenth and play the game as though their very life depended on the result. Port Vale offset Everton endeavour to play, the short passing game by swinging the ball about being first into the tackle and putting more zip into their game. Nevertheless, Everton had their chances but as they did not take them they must not quibble. Stevenson hit the post and Lawton missed a sitter and tale rate does not look kindly upon such misses. Watson was a passenger for more than half the game owing to a twisted knee. This of course disorganised the side a shade. Port Vale; - Jepson, goal; Pursell and Oakes, backs; Smith, Grififths (H.), and Cumberlidge, half-backs; Griffiths (P.), Higgins, Roberts, Ware, and Tuncliffe, forwards. Everton: - Sagar, (captain), Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Mercer, Jones and Watson, half-backs; Catterick, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson and Boyes, forwards. Referee Mr. E. V. Gough (Stoke).
FOTBALL V GREYHOUNDS.
April 8, 1940. The Evening Express.
Mr. Tom Flint the Port Vale director, who never misses a match either home or away, said to me at Hanley on Saturday, “One of the chief reasons why attendances have dropped is competition from other sport –and greyhound racing in particular. Well, Mr. Flint may be right so far as Hanley is concerned. I still hold the opinion that the public wants more of the competitive spirit in soccer. The cup competition should provide just the tonic people want. Against Port Vale, Everton were beaten because of the pace and determination of the Vale. Their defence wilted in surprising manner to concede two late goals and the points. They were left stone cold by the virile rally of the spirited Vale, who went to a well-earned win-and one which delighted the 4,099 spectators who paid to see the game. This was only 28 short of the Vale’s best gate of the season. The Vale never approached Everton’s standard as a scientific football force but they stayed the pace better and simply refused to allow themselves to be shaken by Bentham’s goal in 30 minutes. The Blues’ defence rarely had the balanced of that the Vale, knit together so brilliantly by Jimmy Oakes, and with Harry Griffiths and young Pursel –nephew of the former Liverpool player –so consistently effective. Harry, like Phil Griffiths, is an ex-Evertonians and they were delighted at the win. It was good to have a word with them again and to congratulate them on their vital parts in the win, I liked Higgins and Tunnicliff, while Jack Roberts was always a danger. For the Blues, Stevenson and Boyes were outstanding, while Watson was excellent up to the time he injured his knee. Subsequently he was a passenger on the wing. Few of the others played up to their usual standard, although bringing delight with much of the collaborative efforts.
Mercer and Lawton –Pivots.
Joe Mercer and Tommy Lawton, of Everton, are to be the respective captains and centre half backs in a match on the Ellesmere Port Town ground tomorrow night. The proceeds go to war charities and Joe Mercer will captain a team of local trades people against an eleven, employees of Messrs, Bowaters and led by Tom Lawton. Lawton will, like, Mercer be at centre half. Moreover, they will be the youngest players on view, for each of the other 20 will be more than 45 years of age.
A WORD TO EVERTON.
April 8, 1940. The Liverpool Echo.
Everton’s bid for the leadership of the Western Section is gradually slipping through their fingers and the strange point about it is that the cause of their descent in the table is due to the Third Division teams, such as Crewe, Chester and Port Vale, who by all football reasoning should not beat Everton no matter where the games are played. I don’t want to keep harping on the matter, but it is a fact that Everton are not meeting these “thirds” with the right spirit. They must take the gloves off in future games for they must know by this that it is no use treating these fellows with dainty methods. They must put more ginger in their play. Naturally they are better craftsman man for man, but individuality does not pay against a team which is all strung up to haul down the flag of the champions. At Hanley, against Port Vale, Everton produced some clever movements, yet they would not have scored had it not been for a tragic mistake by goalkeeper Jepson, the Notts fast bowler. They were tender against a side which tackled swiftly and persistently; kept the ball moving with long passes, and met Everton’s advances with solid defensive measures. Everton’s goal reminded me of one I saw in the Cup final, when Cardiff’s goalkeeper, Lewis had saved from Ferguson, and then in his anxiety threw the ball over his shoulder and into the net. It was not gratifying that Everton’s prospect of victory should rest on such a lucky goal, but if they will miss such chances as were offered to them at Hanley, then they must not grumble if their opponents sneak up on the rails, as they say in racing parlance, and take the points. I felt sorry for Jepson, for there was no danger when he saved Bentham’s drive, and it came as a staggering blow to the 4,000 spectators when he lost his grip of the ball, and allowed it to pass over his shoulder and over the lines. Four days prior to this game the Everton forwards struck a goal scoring vain which beded well for the future, but they seen returned to their “erring” ways, for against the Vale they had sufficient chances to have clinched matters long before the Port had scored. Their forward lines has lost its “grand awing,” and the defence was slow against the quick-footed Vale forwards. When Phil Griffiths, and Higgins scored their goals the defence was not free from criticism, in fact there was a looseness about it which has been seen for some considerable time. The winners played really well in their own way; the right way to meet a better class combination. They intended to be first and invariably were, and the defence of Jim Oakes proved that experience will triumphed over youth. Oakes was two thoughts ahead of Catterick and his positional play too sound for the young Everton winners. Then H. Griffths, one time Everton, played well against Lawton, and Phil Griffiths, another ex-Goodison Parker, had the joy of a goal against his comrades. It was a happy day for the Vale people and officials and is bad one for Everton, who must treat these Third Leaguers with greater respect in the future.
April 9, 1940. The Evening Express.
Neither Everton, nor Liverpool are yet able to announce their teams for Saturday’s Lancashire Cup semi-final at Goodison Park, but the Blues will be able to do so tomorrow. Everton announce the inclusion of three newcomers in their “C” team to face Bootle St. James’s at Goodison Park tomorrow night, when the Blues hope to follow up their 4-0 success over the Bootle J.O.C. League leaders Lydiate, with another win. They are Quinn, a young centre-half from Rock Ferry; Mousley, an inside-right who is a friend of Maurice Lindley, the Everton half-back, and who has come from Keighley to live in Liverpool; and Hampton, a local outside-right recommenced by young Dickie Ireland, Everton’s junior full back. Everton “C”; Morris; Harvey, Kevan; Miller, Quinn, Finnis (capt); Hampton, Mousley, Cobham, Disley, Bailey.
OLD EVERTONIAN PASSES.
April 9, 1940. The Liverpool Echo.
The dealt has taken place at his home in Beacon-Lane, Everton, at the age of 76, of Mr. R.W. Kenworthy, who played as a full back for Everton in their earliest days. I am afraid there will not be many left who remember him, for his association with the club was away back in the – early eighties when they played in Stanley Park and were known locally as the “Moonlight Dribblers” a nick-name which was later changed to the “Black Watch” when, to save expense one season, they had a collect of jerseys dyed black. These were the days when the committee meetings –the more grandlequest title of “board” was not then in vogue were held at the Queen’s Head in Village Street.
BLUES AND REDS READY
April 10, 1940. The Evening Express.
Everton and Liverpool are all set for their Lancashire Senior Cup semi-final tie at Goodison Park on Saturday –their seventh meeting of the season. Everton make one change in the team beaten at Port Vale, Barber being at outside right in place of Catterick. Liverpool will have the assistance of nine of their Army players. Everton; Sagar; Jackson, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones (Tom), Watson; Barber, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes. Liverpool; Kemp; Cooper, Ramsden; Eastham, Bush, McInnes; Niuwenhuys, Taylor, Fagan, Balmer, Liddell.
Followers of Everton will be delighted to know that Mr. Andrew Coffey, the Everton director and former Chairman is making excellent progress following two operations. He is home again now.
ANOTHER “LIVERTON” CLASH.
April 10, 1940. The Liverpool Echo.
Everton and Liverpool meet again, on Saturday, for the seventh time this season, when they clash at Goodison Park in the semi-final of the Lancashire Senior Cup. Each club will have its strongest possible side in the field, and in both cases the elevens will be very little below normal pre-war strength. Though Mercer appears in the Everton team-sheet, so far the F.A. have not deleted him from their side for Wembley, and have announced no alternative selection. When the two met a week last Saturday at Goodison the crowd was 12,980, a figure which may be exceeded this time, for a semi-final even for a localised trophy is always an attraction, and Everton-Liverpool meetings are never likely to lose their appeal, no matter how often they come along. Everton’s only change from the side which lost at Port Vale last week is that Barber comes in at outside right as partner to Bentham the team thus reading:- Everton; Sagar; Jackson, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones (Tom), Watson; Barber, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes. Liverpool have Kemp, Bush and Taylor back in their side, but Busby who is now down south, is not able to resume. The Anfield side is a strong eleven –certainly it is stronger on paper at any rate, than the one which won at Goodison recently. It reads: - Liverpool; Kemp; Cooper, Ramsden; Eastham, Bush, McInnes; Niuwenhuys, Taylor, Fagan, Balmer, Liddell.
WELL-KNOWN PRODUCE BROKER
Liverpool Daily Post - Thursday 11 April 1940
DEATH OF MR. J. RAWLINSON
Mr. James Rawlinson, of 34 Walmer Road, Birkdale, Southport, a prominent figure in the cattle food trade, died yesterday morning at the age of seventy-seven. He was a member of the Liverpool Exchange News Room for about fifty years. He had long association with the Liverpool Cake and General Produce Association, and later with the City Oil and Cake Trade Association, was the founder of Messrs. J. Rawlinson and Co., Ltd., Liverpool, general produce brokers. Mr. Rawlinson Mr. J. Rawlinson, was an original member of Richmond Bowling Club, and an original shareholder of Everton Football Club. He was also an old member of Stanley Cricket Club and a member of Southport and Birkdale Cricket Club. He leaves four daughters. His son was killed in the last war.
April 11, 1940. Evening Express.
We found Joe Mercer, of Everton, still wondering which team he would be playing for on Saturday –Everton or England at Wembley. The point is that Everton informed the Football Association that Mercer was not available for the Wembley game. Mr. Theo Kelly, the Blues secretary, assured me that the club has since received no word, and so far as Everton are concerned, Mercer appears at Goodison Park against Liverpool. There is mention of an F.A. meeting on Friday, at which the subject under discussion may be brought up.
April 12, 1940. The Evening Express.
Everton and Liverpool get to grips for the seventh time this season when they fight at Goodison for the right to meet Bury in the Lancashire Senior Cup final. Each game between the clubs so far has provided football of the best grade. The sides are evenly matched and the players seem able to recapture the real old traditional Merseyside, “Derby” spirit. Spotting the winners is just about as difficult as finding the Grand National winner. When I tipped Liverpool to beat the Blues, Everton won 4-1. Them last time I gave Everton to win. They lost 3-1. I am going rather against current form again tomorrow by taking Everton to succeed. To do that, however, they must learn the lesson of the March 30 defeat. Then they did 75 per cent of the attacking, yet only occasionally looking dangerous, while the dashing Blues did the remainder of the pressing and looked like scoring every time they raider. The Blues will have out their best available team –Barber is back on leave from the Army –and Liverpool are hoping to have nine of their Army players in the side. I think it will again be a case of the craft of the Blues oppose to the quick fire, unbeaten tactics of the Reds, but if Everton can just tighten up in defence –it was not up to standard at Port Vale-and follow Liverpool’s sharp-shooting ideas, they must just pull through. There should be a fine attendance at the 3 p.m. kick off, and I know that we shall have a grand sporting game. Everton; Sagar; Jackson, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones (Tom), Watson; Barber, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes. Liverpool; Kemp; Cooper, Ramsden; Eastham, Bush, McInnes; Niuwenhuys, Taylor, Fagan, Balmer, Liddell.
FIVE DERBY GAMES.
April 12, 1940. The Liverpool Echo
Just think of it folk. Everton and Liverpool relied upon. They are to meet again at Goodison Park tomorrow. This will be their seventh meeting of the season, and one of the most important, for it is a cup semi-final, a postponed match as a matter of fact. Everton still hold a slight balance over their rivals. A few weeks ago they were expected to viden the margin, for Liverpool turned up with a greatly reorganised team and they had little hope that they would win, but Liverpool can never be relied upon. They upset the couponeers by winning at Goodison when the dice was heavily loaded against them. Everton have been twitted about that fall, and are not keen to suffer a similar fate. They have chosen a strong side and it is to be hoped that Liverpool will be able to turn out their originally selected eleven. It is difficult these days to chosen a team, for there is no telling how it will have to be altered before the “off.” Do you know that Liverpool had no twelfth man for their last game? Yet they created a rare surprises by beating their neighbours good and well. Matt Busby who had been moved to the south, will be an important absentee tomorrow, but in Stan Eastham they have a worthy deputy. The remainder of the side is almost a pre-war eleven, and Everton is not far removed from the team which won them the Championship. Everton; Sagar; Jackson, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones (Tom), Watson; Barber, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes. Liverpool; Kemp; Cooper, Ramsden; Eastham, Bush, McInnes; Niuwenhuys, Taylor, Fagan, Balmer, Liddell.
F.A. Debate Everton Action To-Night
Willingham the Huddersfield Town’s half back, has been called by the F.A. to London to stand by in case he is wanted for the England team against Wales at Wembley tomorrow, in place of Mercer, whom Everton intend to play at Goodison Park against Liverpool. The emergency committee of the F.A. will consider Everton’s action at their meeting this evening.
April 13, 1940. The Evening Express.
Everton are set the ball rolling so far as evening midweek matches were concerned this season, but the support at the Goodison Park match last week against Stockport County did not indicate that the supporters were falling over themselves to have the midweek diversion. Fewer than 2,000 people paid to see the Blues and the County in action, while at Bolton on Wednesday only £19 was taken in gate receipts for the North West Regional game between the Wanderers and Burnley. I wonder what will happen next Wednesday when we have a Merseyside “Derby” game on the schedule at Goodison Park. Everton will play Tranmere Rovers in a Western Regional match. The kick-off is at 6.45 and this will enable workers to get to the game in plenty of time. The teams have put up some fine shows this season, for the Rovers drew 4-4 at Goodison in the Liverpool Cup, and in the replay at Prenton Park stood 3-3 after 90 minutes. Everton won in extra time. The Blues will have out all their international stars, so the football is certain to be on a high plane.
EVERTON BRILLIANT AGAINST LIVERPOOL
April 15, 1940. The Evening Express.
Great First half Goals By Bentham and Lawton.
Joe Mercer, the subject of all the controversy during the past fortnight over the Wembley International, turned out for Everton against Liverpool in the Lancashire Cup semi-final, at Goodison Park today. Mercer had been ordered by the F.A. to play for England against Wales, despite Everton’s notification that the player was not available. Mercer, receiving normal Army leave, travelled from his camp today. Consequently, both teams had out their best available strengths. Everton: - Sagar (captain), goal; Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Mercer, Jones (Tom), and Watson, half-backs; Barber, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson, and Boyes, forwards. Liverpool: - Kemp, goal; Cooper and Ramsden, backs; Eastham (s.), Bush, McInnes, half-backs; Niewenhuys, Taylor, Fagan, Balmer, and Liddell, forward. Referee Mr. John Williams (Bolton). Everton should have taken the lead within two minutes, when young Barber, who did so well for the Army, at Anfield, recently failed with a comparatively easy chance which was created by the roving Boyes, who had linked up with Stevenson and Bentham. When Bentham passed straight across goal, Barber was left with only Kemp to beat, but he blazed high over.
The value of Mercer’s service was appreciated when he dribbed through cleverly and Bush had to jump high to outwit Lawton. Next Sagar cut out a short centre from Taylor, and when Taylor was going through again he was fouled. This produced a brilliant effort by Fagan, who jumped around two players to produce a rocket-like header, which Sagar pulled down from under the bar. Everton were playing with greater directness than the teams met here a fortnight ago, and Stevenson made two brilliant efforts, on the second occasion hooking the ball just over the top as Hunt advanced. A perfect tackle by Jones saved Everton when Fagan was shaping for a shooting shot. Lawton deceived the entire Liverpool defence when he allowed the ball to run through to Stevenson who, however, was tackled by Cooper at the last minute.
In 14 minutes, however, Everton took the lead –and deservedly so –with a Bentham goal. Watson and Greenhalgh progressed by short passing before Watson slipped a long pass to Lawton. Lawton flicked the ball through for Bentham to burst and score with an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net. Lawton might have made it two when Boyes drove across a centre, had the centre-forward anticipated that Bush would miss with his clearance header. Everton were playing excellent football their speed on the ball and accuracy in combination keeping Liverpool completely subdued. This was Everton of the pre-war standard. Ramsden and Jones were in the forefront with some fine defensive play, Ramsden just taking the ball of Stevenson’s toe as the Irishman was about to shoot. So far it had been practically all Everton. A free kick to Liverpool just outside the penalty area saw Balmer jump over the ball and Eastham drive wide. Then Liddell dribbled three men excellently only to fail by trying to beat another.
Liverpool Miss Chance.
Liverpool had the chance of a lifetime after half an hour, when Fagan drew the Everton defence and enabled Liddell to place straight across the Everton goal. Without opposition, Taylor missed the ball, and Sagar was able to dash out and baulk Nieuwenhuys. Liverpool were gradually getting into their stride, and the Everton defence had to be on the alert to repel well engineered raids. Sagar came out to clear from the head of Nieuwenhuys, while Sagar had to fist away a swerving corner-kick from Liddell, which was passing under the bar. Four minutes before the interval Mercer began the move which led to Lawton increasing Everton’s lead. He fed Barber perfectly and when the ball came over Bush and Eastham misjudged its fight, and Lawton, cleverly headed through. Stevenson made it three for Everton right on the interval, when he went through from Lawton’s pass to score from close range.
Half-Time; Everton 3, Liverpool 0.
BENTHAM NOT TO BE BAULKED
April 13, 1940. The Liverpool Echo.
A Crashing Goal For Everton.
Lawton And Stevenson Increase Lead.
The Mercer mystery was solved at Goodison Park today when he turned out not for England against Wales at Wembley, but for Everton against Liverpool, who were meeting for the seventh time this season. This game was perhaps the most important of the series to date, for it was the semi-final of the Lancashire Senior Cup. Everton: - Sagar (captain), goal; Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Mercer, Jones (Tom), and Watson, half-backs; Barber, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson, and Boyes, forwards. Liverpool: - Kemp, goal; Cooper and Ramsden, backs; Eastham (s.), Bush, McInnes, half-backs; Niewenhuys, Taylor, Fagan, Balmer, and Liddell, forward. Referee Mr. John Williams (Bolton). Everton should have had a goal in three minutes, when Barber took up a pass from the left wing and looked all over a scorer, but he got under the ball which want flying over the crossbar and into the crowd. Barber had another half-chance, but failed to judge the flight of the ball which sped beyond him. Lawton made excellent passes to colleagues on either side, and when he slipped one over to Bentham’s it opened a way to a goal. It looked as though Bentham would miss his chance, as Lawton appeared to get in the way, but the inside right with a left foot shot, crashed the ball into the net at lightning speed. Kemp having no chance whatever. Liverpool replied immediately, and the Everton defence had to work solidly to keep Fagan and company at bay. Lawton surprised the crowd when he ignored a pass from Boyes in the belief that there was somebody standing alongside him better placed to take the chance. He had only to jump a foot from the ground to have nodded this ball into the net. Everton’s football at this stage was clever and effective, and Stevenson went close with a fast-rising shot which sped. Boyes showed a clean pair of heels to Cooper, to finish off with a nice-length centre, which Stevenson stopped but could not collect before Ramsden took possession. A free kick against Mercer brought Eastham forward as the taker. He hit the ball hard, but not true, and Sagar was not called upon. Liddle beat Jackson and Mercer in turn, to put the ball away.
A corkscrew run by Fagan and a pass close into the Everton goal brought trouble to the home defence. It came when Sagar had to rush out of goal to stop Nivvy. The goalkeeper connected a corner in doing, but was only two glad to get out of the difficulty at so small a cost. A free kick taken by Cooper caused such a bunching of the Everton defence that Sagar was impeded when he went out to make a save with the result that the ball was only got away for a corner. This was so perfectly placed by Liddle that Sagar had to turn the ball out from under his bar direct from the winger. The play went to the other end and Balmer shot right across the Liverpool goal. Mercer was having a grand innings, and it was he who made Everton’s second goal possible. He scooped a ball up to Balmer, whose centre was deflected by Tennant, the ball going up in the air, and before Kemp could make contact Lawton had headed a beautiful goal, and got a punch in the face for his success. Just on the interval Stevenson scored a third for Everton, following good play by Lawton and Balmer.
Half-Time; Everton 3, Liverpool 0.
EVERTON SECRETARY’S RESOURCE
April 18, 1940. The Liverpool Echo.
As most of you know, newspapers these days are not permitted to talk about the weather, at any rate until so long after that nobody’s is interested, it is a very vital and necessary national precaution, but it sometimes has awkward repercussions, such as when Everton and Liverpool were due to play their Lancashire Senior Cup semi-final last February, which actually was played this afternoon. Everton had been hoping all week that the snow would have cleared in time to permit the game to take place, but on Friday morning Mr. Theo Kelly rang me up to say the match was definitely off, and could I tell the public so. Naturally I couldn’t. Even to give a list of the matches which were on would have been tantamount to saying the others were off, so the only thing I could do was to leave out all reference to the game in my Friday’s notes, knowing that these who read them would put two and two together and make it pan out correctly. Mr. Kelly, however, who is always anxious to consider the convenience of supporters and wanted to make sure that nobody had a waste journey if he could help it, went one better. On the Saturday morning he hired a loud speaker van, and sent it all round Everton and Anfield announcing the postponement. Not content with that he arranged for several shopkeepers in the neighbourhood to display the same statement in their windows. If he operated in America I reckon they would soon have him tabbed as “Service” Kelly, for considerable service seems to come as second nature to him.
EVERTON IN COUNTY FINAL.
April 15, 1940. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 4, Liverpool 1
Liverpool Below Form.
Liverpool failed to produce the fighting quality for which they are framed in their Lancashire Senior Cup semi-final match with Everton at Goodison Park, and were well beaten 4-1. Two weeks ago Liverpool went to Goodison in a Regional game with a sadly depleted team and brought off the surprise of the day by defeating the champions. It was their ability to hit back after they had been made to look a moderate side for twenty minutes. In this, their seventh meeting with Everton this season, they showed little fight against a vastly superior force. They seemed to have no spirit, although they fielded a side reminiscent of the League days. It was the poorest “Derby” game I have seen of the series, because Everton were always masters of the situation. Liverpool had no satisfactory answer to Everton’s high-class football. It was folly to exploit big kicking; against the ground football of Everton, yet these were the methods employed by Liverpool; methods which never had any hope of succeeding. It was undoubtedly a strange Liverpool, who are renowned for the ability to meet every challenge with a challenge of their own, a determination which has often enabled them to bring off surprises all over the country. They had no “fire” about them to cohesion, and no shots of any account.
A Simple Goal.
Even the goal they scored was made, possible by a hesitant defender, who stood still and allowed Nieuwenhuys to stroll up and nod a goal in a simple sort of way, I would wager Nieuwenhuys himself was amazing that no one came up to challenge him. That goal was the only answer to the four which Everton had already market up; three in the first half, when they played football which had everything –combination footcraft, individuality, and the ability to round off their movements with goals. Liverpool could not match Everton’s smash football with anything of a similar nature, so that Everton walked through to the final, which will be played against Bury either at Goodison Park or Gigg Lane. The scoring started in the 14 minute, when Bentham crashed in a terrific left-foot shot which Kemp could not contact. Lawton took the second through his quick action, when a Barber centre was turned into the air. Lawton got his head to the ball and steered it into the net, receiving a fist in his face, for Kemp had attempted to punch clear. One minute from the interval Stevenson was put through and made no mistake for once in a way. Each goal was the result of superlative football, served up in attractive fashion. Three minutes after the interval Lawton, whose passing had been a feature all though, offered Bentham the opportunity to score a fourth goal. Faced with such a deficit, one could hardly expect Liverpool to feel hearty about matters, but they have often made a better effort to reduce the arrears. Niuwenhuys tried his luck with a strong shot, and Fagan saw Sagar half save a wonder effort. Greenhalgh getting his head to Sagar’s punch away to nod it back to his goalkeeper. Then came Nieuwenhuys’s goal at the hour, but they had not troubled Sagar half enough. Liverpool, except in defence had a poor match. One must pay tribute to Cooper’s work. He tricked strongly intervened smarty, but it was all to no purpose. Everton were much too good a side for Liverpool who only occasionally mastered the defence, Mercer was in great form. His ball control and passing were features of a rather one-sided game. Everton: - Sagar (captain), goal; Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Mercer, Jones (Tom), and Watson, half-backs; Barber, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson, and Boyes, forwards. Liverpool: - Kemp, goal; Cooper and Ramsden, backs; Eastham (s.), Bush, McInnes, half-backs; Niewenhuys, Taylor, Fagan, Balmer, and Liddell, forward. Referee Mr. John Williams (Bolton). Attendance 13,563, receipts £663.
THE MERCER CASE.
April 15, 1940. The Liverpool Daily Post.
Everton’s Chairman’s View
Sergeant Instructor Joe Mercer the Everton and international half-back, put to rest the doubt whether he would play for England against Wales at Wembley, or for Everton at Goodison Park. On Friday night the Emergency Committee of the Football Association at their meeting in London wired the Everton club to this effect; Mercer must play for England at Wembley and not for your club. A telegram was also sent to mercer at his Army depot that he must play for England. It was only natural therefore, that speculation was rife as to at which game Mercer would be seen. After the match I interviewed Mr. Ernest Green, the chairman of the Everton club. Mr. Green said, “The situation is clear. The Football Association, wrote to my club asking if Mercer was available and willing to play for England against Wales at Wembley on April 13. Our reply was, “We regret that Mercer is not available as we have an important Cup match on that date. “A few days later the F.A. replied to that letter and said the matter was under consideration, but nothing further was heard until they received a telegram on Friday night, the eve of the match saying that Mercer must play at Wembley and not for Everton. Mercer himself had a wire from the F.A. informing him that he must play for England. Mercer immediately got into telephonic communication with Mr. Green, who asked him had he obtained leave to play at Wembley. “No” came the reply, “But surely your commanding officer must have had word from the Football Association,” said Mr. Green. You had better have a word with him about it, Mercer did so, but his Army chief had no word whatever from the F.A. and informed Mercer that the original leave granted to him to play for Everton must stand.” Mercer was on duty until midday on Saturday, Everton’s refusal to grant permission to Mercer to play for England was not done as an act of defiance as some would have us believe. They answered the F.A. question as to the availability of Mercer for the representative game in the only way they thought possible in view of their important game with Liverpool. In recent years Everton have supplied the respective countries with players without any hesitation. At times as many as four have been released, even when they had an important match themselves. But calls have been so heavy in this war-time football that they thought it time to make a half. Mr. F.S. Rous, secretary of the Football Association, stated at Wembley on Saturday –“The matter will be dealt with by the committee as soon as we have all the facts. Mr. W. C. Cuff a member of the F.A. War Emergency Committee, who is also a director of Everton, said –“Nationally I have nothing to do with the matter, bearing in mind my position with the Everton club.
April 15, 1940. The Evening Express.
The main topic in football circles at the moment is the case of Joe Mercer, the Everton international half-back. Mr. Ernest Green, chairman of Everton made a statement to me after Mercer had helped Everton to beat Liverpool 4-1 in the Lancashire Senior Cup semi-final at Goodison Park on Saturday, although the F.A. Cup had instructed Mercer to play for England at Wembley. A lot has been said about Everton “defiance” of the F.A. There never has been defiance. It is a description used by some who obviously know only one side of a question, and to whom the real facts must be really enlightening. This is the truth. F.A. law 41 which, in peacetime, gaves them the right to demand the services if a player is not in operation. That is proved by the letter sent out regarding Mercer’s selection. The F.A. did not ask that Mercer should be given leave to play at Wembley. Mercer was given leave to play only at Goodison Park and in fact, did not end his Saturday Army duties until noon. Regarding the letters, I am assured by Mr. Green that it was stated regarding Mercer, that the F.A. wanted him “if available” and “if the player is willing.” Everton replied with regret that Mercer was not available. Back came a reply stating that the matter was receiving consideration, but since that letter there was complete silence for ten days. Then Everton, on Friday night received a telegram stating “Mercer must play at Wembley and cannot play at Goodison Park.” Mercer also received a wire stating “You must play at Wembley tomorrow.”
Mr. Green said “Mercer was given leave to play for us against Liverpool, a week ago, and when he received his telegram on Friday, he rang me from his camp, I asked him if his Commanding Officer had received any communication from the F.A. Mercer said he would find out. Then he rang again to say his Commanding Officer had received no word from the F.A and that the only leave he had was to play at Goodison Park and not for England at Wembley. “We have never defied anyone in this matter.” Why, at Easter the F.A. wrote asking if Mercer, Jones and Sagar were available for a match at Sheffield. We replied that they were not available as we had an engagement at Wolverhampton. The F.A. then wrote asking us if we could see our way clear to release Mercer. There wrote to Jones and Sagar saying that their names had been omitted from the Sheffield team at the request of your club. “That also proves that Rule 41 cannot be in operation, and so we said Mercer was not available for the Wembley game. We felt Mercer was a star attraction for out match, and everyone knows that Everton have given full support to the Red Cross games this season. We have supplied more players than any other club. “The Everton club has not, at any time, opposed the authority of the F.A. or adopted a defiant attitude. “ Mercer himself points out that even had this unfortunate controversy never arisen, he could not have been at Wembley, as he had no “leave” to go there. There is the Everton position.
To Meet Bury
Everton did not have great difficulty in beating Liverpool on Saturday and so qualifying to face Bury in the Lancashire Cup Final. Do not be surprised if my early suggestion that the final should be played at Anfield meets with favourable consideration from the County F.A. Liverpool never once struck their real form and the 4-1 in Everton’s favour by no means exaggerated their superiority. The Reds’ half-backs were below par and there is no doubt that they sorely missed skipper Matt Busby. Liverpool forwards, a fortnight ago, gave the Blues a lesson in directness, but in this game it was the Reds turn to play second fiddle, while Everton got on with the job in a manner befitting League champions. Everton in the first half, were delightful in the precision of their cohesive effort, masterly of the ball, and cleverness in going to and finding the open spaces. Yes, it was great stuff with an accurate attack receiving fine support from three brilliant half-backs, and a defence standing as firm as a rock. Afterwards the Blues eased up somewhat but throughout it was pleasing fare for the 13,563 people who paid £663. Liverpool were dangerous on occasions, but they lacked their usual aptitude for opening-taking. From goal to centre forward Everton were a good side, revealing greater pace on the ball and in development than for some week’s past. Liverpool were unable to knit together, and only Kemp, Ramsden, Nieuwenhuys and Liddell took my eye, Ramsden was grand. Bentham (2), Lawton and Stevenson got the goals for the Blues and Nieuwenhuys reduced provided the only consolation for Liverpool, who lost for the fourth time against Everton this season.
F.A. COMMISSION TO INQUIRE INTO MERCER BUSINESS?
April 15, 1940. The Liverpool Echo
The next move in the Mercer business is likely to take the form of a full-dress inquiry before a special commission, possibly at Chester. A statement by the F.A. may be expected shortly. Everton can put up a good case, and one which will be all the stronger if extraneous matters, which have no bearing on the fact of this case, are left severely alone. The strongest point of all is that Mercer’s leave only started at noon on Saturday, and Everton will no doubt justify claim that it was up to them to approach the Army authorities requesting additional leave to enable the players to make the journey to Wembley. That was up to the F.A. and on this point there seems some confusion. While Mercer’s commanding officer apparently was not approached, it is stated on behalf of the F.A. that Army permission was sought. Presumably that means by way of a formal request to the Army F.A. Had it been made to Mercer’s immediate superior maybe all this trouble would have been avoided, but it was certainly not Everton’s duty to do this.
Might Have Been Avoided.
In view of the governing body’s contention that they still have the right to command players for international games, it is rather a pity their first letter was couched in language which appeared to throw doubt on the point. Maybe it was only a courteous method of phraseology, but it certainly seemed tantamount to admitting the right option. It would also have been better had the F.A advised both players and club of their ultimatum earlier than Friday evening. The F.A. of course, had a meeting on Friday afternoon, but ten days had elapsed, before that since Everton have stated they wanted to play Mercer themselves. If a move had come from headquarters a little earlier, perhaps only 24 hours, maybe all this rumpus would have been avoided. It would at any rate, have given Mercer himself more time to ascertain his position, and he is the one I am most sorry for in this business. The club is well able to take care of itself, and Mr. Ernest Green, the chairman, who feels that they have done nothing wrong, is prepared for whatever the next move may be. From what I hear it will not be long in coming. The F.A. are bound to carry it further. Everton realise just as much as anybody also that there must be a controlling body and throughout all this business they have made it clear they are not defying the properly constituted authority. It is purely on the facts of an individual case that their opinions differ.
April 15, 1940. The Liverpool Echo
Everton had a much more easy passage to the final of the Lancashire Senior Cup than we had anticipated, for they defeated Liverpool at Goodison Park without any great difficulty, and were even more superior than the score -4-1 –denotes. This game promised a titanic struggle for had not Liverpool, with a greatly weakened team, beaten the champions at the same venue only a fortnight previously, but they never suggested a victory in the Cup game. They did not get a grip of the game at any point and Everton were always sailing to a clear cut victory.
Everton played beautiful football in the first half to which Liverpool had no answer so that by half-time Everton held a three goals lead, a happy position for them; an unhappy one for the Anfielders. Would the second half see Liverpool framing one of their strong rallies? It would have been typical of Liverpool –had it been so, but their rallying power was missing in fact they appeared to accept defeat as a foregone conclusion. At any rate they did not trouble the Everton defence as they had done in each and every one of the other six games in which the pair have meet. Everton strolled into the final by high class football, to which Liverpool replied with big kicking, aimless passes with the ball too much in the air to be of any use to the Liverpool forwards, I fear they missed the presence of matt Busby. Eastham was a strong defender, but those grand openings which Busby makes with one flick of the toe were missing. Busby placed the ball in the open spaces there was no one to do that on Saturday, therefore Liverpool’s play was a straggling and without combination. It was a new Liverpool; a Liverpool without fight and to say that is to say something uncommon, for that is one of the Anfieders qualities.
Mercer was not affected by a controversy surrounding him. He gave a brilliant exhibition of half back play in both defence and attack, and Jones and Watson were almost his equal. Liverpool never seriously sounded the depth of the Everton defence, which was all too powerful for the Liverpool forwards, who never reached their full fighting force. True, they had no great support from those behind, who incessantly banged, the ball forward without any thought as where it would land.
BLUES-ROVERS GOODISON DUEL.
April 16, 1940. The Evening Express.
Sumner’s Senior Debut Tomorrow
Everton are not allowing any accumulation of Regional fixtures in view of their cup commitments and tomorrow night at Goodison Park, will stage their second midweek League game. This is the match against Cheshire rivals, Tranmere Rovers, which was postponed from last Saturday because of the Lancashire Senior Cup semi-final with Liverpool. After this game the Blues will have only three Regional fixtures –Wrexham at home and Manchester United and Stockport County away. Consequently the champions will have everything all set for the cup-ties. They are concerned in three trophies. First there is the League War Cup, which occupies their attention for two Saturdays, and they also have to play the finals of the Lancashire Cup and Liverpool Cup. The fact that the Blues are preparing for cup-ties does not mean that they have lost interest in the Western Region. They still have a chance of carrying off the championship. The Blues’ chances, however, depend chiefly on how the other three present rivals for the title fare in their remaining games.
Everton will be opposing the Rovers for the fourth time this season, and while the balance of success is with the Goodison club the Rovers have performed better against the Blues than against any other side. True they lost 9-2 in the Regional game at Prenton Park, but they held Everton to a 4-4 draw in the Liverpool Cup game at Goodison Park, and in the replay actually gained a lead of 3-1, Everton managed to force extra time during which the Blues won 6-3. The Rovers have secured only five regional points this season, but their position is not worrying the management. From the outset they have concentrated on holding up a team of local youngsters with an eye on the future, I admire them for their attitude, and congratulate them on discovering so many good amateurs. Players like Ashcroft, the Flint postal official, and as small as Jimmy Caskie, Price, the ball centre half, and others have been given every opportunity to make the grade, and while they may be lacking in experience they have jusfied the confidence placed in them. The Rovers’ side also has the leavening of good professionals, and one who always takes my eye is Bridges, the fair haired centre forward. Everton should win, but rest assured the Rovers will put up a good fight.
12th Outside Right.
Everton will have out one of their junior players. This is amateur Billy Sumner, the outside-right from the “C” team who will be making his debut. I saw Sumner in action against Preston Juniors recently and he was the outstanding player in the Blues’ side. He is a lad with ideas and what impressed me was his aim always to do the right thing. He did not succeed every time, but the right ideas and there. He comes from Bickerstaffe and is 17 years of age. He joined Everton last season. Sumner, who takes the place of Barber as compared with the side which defeated Liverpool will be the 12th outside-right Everton have played this season. The others have been Gillick, Sweeney, Simmons, Merritt, Barber, Wyles, Sharp, Johnson, Davies (J), Catterick and Bailey. One other change is made, Lindley plays as left half for Watson, who is suffering from a slight injury to a knee. The kick-off is at 6.45 p.m. Everton: Sagar; Jackson, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones (Tom), Lindley; W. Sumner, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes.
Caskie For Cup-Ties.
Jimmy Caskie, Everton’s Scottish international outside-left, has notified Mr. Theo Kelly, that he will be available to play for Everton if the Blues survive to the Second round of The League War Cup or for matches in May.
EVERTON’S MIDWEEK MATCH.
April 16, 1940. The Liverpool Echo.
The Western Regional match between Everton and Tranmere Rovers, postponed from last Saturday on account of the Lancashire Cup semi-final, takes place at Goodison Park tomorrow evening (Kick-off 6.45) Everton make two changes from the side which was successful against Liverpool. W. Sumner coming in at outside right in place of Barber, and Lindley at left half-back, the team reading; Sagar; Jackson, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones, Lindley; W. Sumner, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes. Sumner is a seventeen years-old lad who has been doing well of late with the “C” team. He played in the match against Preston Juniors recently. Caskie has written to Everton saying that he may be on holiday in the second or third week of May, and it so will be available for them in the Cup-ties if required.
EVERTON BOARD PUBLISHES F.A CORRESPONDENCE
April 17, 1940. The Liverpool Echo.
Following a special meeting of Everton F.C. board yesterday, the club today, issued a printed statement giving the whole history of the Mercer business from A to Z. It is signed by eight of the nine directors. Mr. W.C. Cuff by reason of his official connection with both the League and the F.A has naturally held himself aloof from the controversy. The statement Reads:-
“During the controversy over the match at Wembley the standpoint of Everton has been entirely missed or misconstrued. “Our sole objection is and has been to the frequency with which our players have been called upon to play in what were known as “Red Cross” matches. “All League clubs will understand and sympathise with our position. This has been financially the most difficult season ever experienced, and the depletion of our team caused by the calls on our players for these matches has resulted in considerably reduced gates in our games. “There came at time when we considered in advisable to call a halt. It will surprise those who, quite unauthorised, have talked about ‘Everton defying the Football Association, to know that the first occasion upon which we did not release our players was for a match organised by the Football League and not the Football Association. “Later we were asked by the F.A. whether Sagar, Cook, Jones and Mercer were available and willing to play at Sheffield for the F.A X1 v Yorkshire X1. We replied as follows:- I am sorry to inform you that Sagar, Jones and Mercer will not be available, but Cook may, I spent some hours yesterday trying to contract him, without success and I think it would be as well if you wrote direct to his military headquarters (then followed the address of the headquarters). It is possible that he knowns by now, as I left a note at his home and asked them to forward it, I will wire you if I get any message from him –Your Faithfully Theo Kelly.
“We received a further communication which reads:-
Your letter of the 18th last, notifying that Sagar, Jones, Mercer are not available for the Red Cross match, has been received. We will appoint substitutes for Sagar and Jones and hope you will agree to release Mercer, so that he may assist the F.A. X1. We have heard from Cook that he will be pleased to play. Your faithfully S.F. Rous.
Further to any telegram of to-day, and in reply to your letter of the 19th last, I herewith confirm that our player, Mercer, is not available for the about match. We have no spare half-back to substitute for him at Wolverhampton on Easter Monday, Jones being unable to make the journey and for personal reasons Mercer himself desires to go to Wolverhampton –Yours faithfully Theo Kelly.
Mr. Livingstone of Bury and Johnston of Blackpool have been very good half backs when playing against us this season.
“Now came the letter asking if Mercer was available and willing to play at Wembley. It may again surprise those who talk of Everton defying the F.A. to know that we write as follows:-
My board regrets that owing to the fact that we are playing Liverpool in the semi-final of the Lancashire Cup on Saturday, the 13th inst, our player mercer, will not be available for the Wembley game. We would also like to state our deprecation of the reference that have appeared in today’s newspapers, with regard to the selection of the above named player for the match and of the misconstruction of our reply to you, and would assure the F.A. that three references were entirely unauthorised by this club. Yours faithfully Theo Kelly.
This last paragraph refers to the statement published in certain newspapers that Everton defy the Association.
The Football Association replied; Your letter of the 1st inst, intimating that your player, Mercer will not be available for the above-named match at Wembley on April 13 has been received and will received attention.
“This letter was dated April 2, and was received no further communication from the F.A. until the evening of April 12 when we received a telegram from them stating that Mercer must play at Wembley and not for his club. The matter was decided by Seargent Mercer’s commanding officer, who granted him leave to play at Goodison Park. “During the nine days prior to the receipt of the telegram from the F.A, we were subjected to some very unfair criticism by a certain section of the Press, and it is to uphold the good name of our club that we feel bound to state our case.”
Tranmere include Hawthorn (New Brighton) and Bell (Everton) in their side to play Everton tonight, at Goodison. Bridges has joined up, there is a blank at inside left. Team: - Tranmere; Hawthorn; Anderson, Owens; Davies, W.J. Cartwright, R. Hodgson, L. Ashcroft, Grififths, Bell, A.N. Other, Mitton.
EVERTON LEAVE IT LATE
April 18, 1940. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 5, Tranmere Rovers 3
Tranmere Beaten In last Fifteen Minutes.
Everton did not win their game with Tranmere Rovers quite so easily as the score 5-3 would denote. The Rovers actually led Everton for almost an hour and had played football in holding their rivals. Everton eventually got the upper hand, however. The Rovers had been worn down and it was during the last fifteen minutes that Everton got on top and had it not been for some good work by hawthorn, in the Rovers goal, Everton’s victory might have been much greater. Tranmere have always played well against Everton in the series of meetings this season, and they did so once again last night. There was some good football schemes in their play, and Everton, who seemed to take things rather early on, found that they could not treat the Birkenhead side with impunity. The Rovers opened the scoring, Malam heading in from a free kick at 32 minutes. Stevenson replied for Everton in 40 minutes, but most of the scoring came in the second half. Bentham, with a long shot at 55 minutes defeated Hawthorns, who thought the ball was going outside Lindley scored against his own side when one of his many back passes to his goalkeeper landed in the net. At 60 minutes Mitton once again put the Rovers ahead, and a penalty for a trip on Bentham enabled Lawton to level the score at 3-3. The Rovers at this point were kept pretty much on the defensive and Mercer ran through to score a great goal, and near the end Boyes from near the corner flag, completely deceived Hawthorn to bring his side’s total in five goals. Everton; Sagar (captain), goal; Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Mercer, Lindley, and Watson, half-backs; W. Sumner, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson, and Boyes, forwards. Tranmere Rovers: - Hawthorn, goal; Anderson and Owen, backs; Davies, W.J. Cartwright, and R. Hodgson, half-backs; L. Ashcroft, Malam, Bell (Everton), Griffiths, and Mitton, forwards. Referee Mr. C.E. Taylor. Attendance, 1,142.
THE MERCER CASE.
April 18, 1940. The Liverpool Daily Post
F.A. Inquiry On Monday
The Football Association has called an inquiry into the case of Mercer, the Everton wing half, to take place at Crewe on Monday. Mercer played for Everton last Saturday after the F.A. had advised him and the club on the Friday night that he must play for England at Wembley. Mercer and the Everton club have been notified to attend the commission, and they will, of course, be there.
Everton Directors’ Circular.
Everton F.C. have issed a circular giving the viewpoint on the Mercer’s controversy. The circular contains the correspondence and the directors state it is issued to uphold the good name of the Everton club. Eight of the nine directors have signed the circular. It states that the standpoint of Everton has been entirely missed or misconstrued. The club’s sole subjection has been to the frequency with which players have been called upon to play in Red cross matches. The number of players supplied by the club has been absurdly out of proportion. This has been financially the most difficult season experiment and the depletion has resulted in considerably reduced gates. There came a tame when Everton considered it advisable to call a half. The correspondence deals with the Football Association’s application for players for the match at Sheffield for the Red Cross on Easter Monday, when Everton released Cook but retained Mercer and Sagar, and the international match at Wembley last Saturday. When Everton received a letter from the Football Association asking if Mercer was available and willing to play at Wembley, they replied that he was not available. Ten days elapsed before the club heard again from the Football Association, and then, on the night before the match a telegram was received stating that Mercer must play at Wembley, and not for his club. Everton assert that the matter was decided by Mercer’s commanding officer, who granted him leave to play at Goodison Park.
MERCER CASE; F.A INQUIRY
April 18, 1940. The Evening Express.
The Football Association have acted with surprising promptness over the Joe Mercer case. They have called an inquiry for Crewe On Monday. Their latest move looks as if the authorities are determined to get the entire controversy over and done with. At least, I gather that from the fact that although the F.A. asked Everton for the Club’s statement on the matter, they had not received Everton’s reply when they summoned the Crewe inquiry. Everton have done nothing wrong. They will welcome full investigation into the matter, although it has been explained simply and straightforwardly –and strictly to the letter in the comprehensive vigour which went out to the clubs yesterday. Everton will have representatives at the inquiry of course, and Mercer has been asked to be present.
Rovers’ Great Fight.
For fighting spirit give me Tranmere Rovers. I have seen them play Everton three times out of the four this season, and twice have they given the champions a rare fight. At Goodison Park last night before 1,142 spectators they lost the return Regional game, 5-3, but it was not until the last quarter that the Blues finally took command; I still think that a point to the Rovers would not have been more than they deserved. Why, at the end of an hour they had Malam and Hawthorn of New Brighton and Bell of Everton, to help them, and they were excellent, while I like Griffths and the sound work of Mitten. Price, too gave a display, which must have pleased Messrs R.S. Trueman and Gordon Hughes, who take so much pride in the injuries. Alderman Fletcher was also present from Prenton, and could feel satisfied with a fine display. Everton had stars in Stevenson, Bentham, Mercer, Greenhalgh, and Boyes. Mr. Ernest Green and Mr. Will Gibbins were the Everton directors present, while Messers George Kay and George Patterson were there from Liverpool. One word about youngster Billy Sumner making his debut for the Blues. He showed good ideas. This 17-years-old lad is going to be a good one.
EVERTON WIN, BUT-
April 18, 1940, The Liverpool Echo
Everton did not win son comfortably as the score (5-3) would denote in the game with Tranmere Rovers at Goodison Park last night. In fact, the Rovers actually held the lead up to the hour, and had shown form which did not suggest that they are wooden spoonists in their section. Tranmere tried to match the play of Everton, and at times showed smart round of passing movements and cleverness in ball control. It was a bit of a shock for Everton when Malam on loan from New Brighton, nodded home a simple-looking goal from a free kick, but it was negative by Stevenson. There was still no great bite about the Everton side, even though they were next to score, when Lindley back-passed to his goalkeeper and the ball sped into the net. Mitton, who along with Grififths had made up an effective left wing pair, ran through to give the Rovers the lead, and it took a penalty, successfully taken by Lawton, to bring the scores level once again. Hawthorn, also New Brighton made some rattling saves, but could not keep out whig-bang shot by Mercer. The Rovers had by this time been worn down, and near the end Boyes’s centre from a yard or so off the touch line and the flight of the ball deceived Hawthorn and curled under the bar.
April 19, 1940. Evening Express.
Everton stage a big Merseyside match at Goodison Park, where they will face Preston North End, another of the 12 original members of the Football League for the fifth time in cup-ties. North End are heading strongly for the North-West Regional championship, and Everton are bang among the leaders in the Western Section. It will be a classic struggle. In my opinion, Everton can win mainly because of the strength of their half-backs line –one of the finest in the land at the moment. The biggest “gate” of the season should be at the Park (kick-off 3.15 p.m) -40,000 people will be permitted –and I shall be surprised if the Blues do not go a long way towards making sure of cup progress. Preston North End will be strongly represented, Andrew Beattie, now a Segreant Instructor, has leave from the Army to play, and Hunter, who has been playing with Notts Forest, returns to the side for the first time since September 23. Mutch too, is back after a month’s absence. Everton; Sagar; Jackson, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones (Tom), Watson; Barber, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes. Preston; Holdscroft; Gallimore, Beattie (A.); Shankly, Smith, Batey; Hunter, Mutch, Dougal, Beattie (R.), Wharton.
April 19, 1940. The Liverpool Echo
Everton have Preston North End as visitors. Had this been the old cup there would have been a scurry round for tickets, for it looks a grand tie. Everton had done well against the big sides this season, and fallen o the little men, so I am glad they are pitted against the North End an attractive team made up of practically their pre-war strength. Everton are also happy in having most of their championship men available so the clash should produce some great football. It is one of the most attractive ties of the round, and I expect to see a grim battle. The North End have upset calculations at Goodison in the Cup in former years, and unless Everton get down to work in quick they may find themselves in the later stages. Both teams play a similar type of game so there is every indication of a feast of high class football. Preston when at their height were the switch experts, but they will find Everton a difficult nut to crack. When I was at Preston the news concerning Smith was not encouraging, but here he is back in the North End side, serving up football which made him one of the best pivots in the game a few years ago. Everton have Barber at outside right and that is the only change. Preston make one alteration from the side first announced, Hunter coming in place of White. Everton; Sagar; Jackson, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones (Tom), Watson; Barber, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes. Preston; Holdscroft; Gallimore, Beattie (A.); Shankly, Smith, Batey; Hunter, Mutch, Dougal, Beattie (R.), Wharton.
PRESTON SHOW EVERTON WAY
April 20, 1940. The Evening Express
Opportunist Goal After 15 Minutes
Everton’s tussle with Preston North End provided one of the tit-bits of the first round of the Football League War Cup. Both teams were at full strength. The only changes in the Everton team from the regular championship side of last year were Jackson and Barber in place of Cook and Gillick respectively. The team were: - Everton; Sagar (captain), goal; Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Mercer, Jones and Watson, half-backs; Barber, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson, and Boyes, forwards. Preston North End; Holdscroft, goal; Gallimore and Beattie, backs; Shankley, Smith, and Batey, half-backs; Hunter, Mutch, Dougal, Beattie (R.), and Wharton, forwards. Referee Mr. E.W. Baker of Manchester. There was an excellent attendance to see Everton early on the offensive, all five forwards taking part in an attack which the Preston defence only repulsed with difficulty. Then Preston raced away to the other end and Hunter shot into the side netting when favourably placed. A free kick to Everton saw Tom Jones shoot yards wide with one of his cannon-ball drives. The attendance by now was probably not far short of 15,000 and they were given a thrill when from the second of two corners to Everton, Holdscroft was only just in time to prevent Lawton heading into the net. Everton had done most of the attacking up to now, but when the Preston forwards did get away the progressed by speedy, high-class football, with the ball always on the ground. For a time the expectative defences held the upper hand. Everton continued to have more of the attack, but they found the Preston defenders strong, tenacious tacklers, who did not allow the Everton forwards any time to settle down.
A foul on Hunter, just outside the penalty area, put the Everton goal in danger, and when Jackson missed his clearance kick, it looked as if this might prove fatal. Stevenson, however, nipped in, and cleared a troublesome situation. When Mercer sent Boyes away the winger joined neatly with Lawton, but they were beaten by force of numbers. After 15 minutes slackness on the part of the Everton defence enabled Dougal to give Preston the lead, the Preston leader lobbing a stray ball over Sagar’s had into the far corner of then net. The Preston forwards were exceptionally quick on the ball and they were giving the Everton defence a trying time. The Everton forwards, on the other hand, were prone to work the ball too closely. Hesitancy on the part of the Everton defence nearly cost them another goal, Greenhalgh saved the situation. Preston were now well on top, Mercer was working hard in an effort to set the Everton forwards moving, but they still persisted in close passing, a failing which the Preston defenders were quick to take advantage. Dougal placed the ball in the net a second time for Preston, following a brilliant run by Wharton, but the referee adjudged him offside.
DOUGAL LOBS OVER SAGAR.
April 20, 1940. The Liverpool Echo.
Preston’s Pretty Goal At Goodison
A league Cup-Tie
Everton; Sagar (captain), goal; Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Mercer, Jones and Watson, half-backs; Barber, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson, and Boyes, forwards. Preston North End; Holdscroft, goal; Gallimore and Beattie, backs; Shankley, Smith, and Batey, half-backs; Hunter, Mutch, Dougal, Beattie (R.), and Wharton, forwards. Referee Mr. E.W. Baker of Manchester. Preston’s visit to Goodison Park formed one of the most important first round League cup games, and about 15,000 people at the start saw some good football. Hunter shot against the Everton side netting, and Everton made a beautiful movements which often carried them into the Preston goal area though Holdscroft had not the work to do he should have had. Jones was off the mark with a free kick, and Lawton just failed to get in touch with the ball, after the North End defence had faltered rather badly to allow him to go through. Preston started the home people by scoring the first goal of the day when at 17 minutes, Dougal lobbed the ball over the advancing Sagar’s head. It was a nice goal because of it’s simplicity. The movement started with a throw-in. Wharton flinging the ball to Mutch who found an open space and landed the ball in it. Dougal, however, had divined his colleague’s intention and ran into position. It became a duel between the scorer and Sagar, Dougal proving successful. Greenhalgh headed out a corner kick by Wharton, but this was not the end of Everton’s trouble, for the North End were playing brilliant football. They made Everton look moderate for a while –and Wharton actually netted the ball again, but was obviously offside. North End provided most of the thrills and good football.
EVERTON WIN IN SECOND-HALF
April 22, 1940. The Liverpool Daily Post.
Everton 3, Preston North End 1
Preston’s Plans Broken Down
Everton won the first “leg” of their double with Preston North End in the first round of the new war-time cup competition. But not until the second half did they break down the North End’s clever football plans. I have seen Preston in similar vain before, full of football craft without the necessary punch to round it off. That they were beaten 3-1 was due to their own folly, for such football as they produced in the first “45” should have assured them of a goodly number of goals. But Preston have suffered from the phrase for some seasons. They made Everton look a moderate side by their benny rounds of passing, which were made with confidence and accuracy. And when Dougal scored, just after 15 minutes, it appeared that they would run up a convincing victory, for Everton were not working smoothly. Where Preston’s passing was made surely and swiftly, Everton’s went all wrong. The crowd appreciated Preston’s cleverness, but were mighty glad when Jones headed Barber’s corner into the net just before the interval.
Stevenson’s “Cheeky” Goal.
It was when Everton’s turn and Preston were made to look just as poor as they had made Everton appear. Within four minutes of the second half Stevenson scored a goal which will be talked on for months. It was a cheeky goal. Stevenson stood stock still with the ball at his feet, with Batey standing in front of him. One would not move without the other, and when Stevenson did move he worked his way past Batey and slipped the ball to Barber. Back it came to Stevenson, who moved in to score with a grand shot. It caused great amusement. Boyes and Stevenson played ducks and drakes with the opposition afterwards with Lawton keeping two and sometimes three Preston men engaged. It was Lawton who made the pass that enabled Boyes to rattle in a tremendous shot which Holdscroft pushed out, but the winger had followed up and tapped the ball back into the net. Greenhalgh had headed out a corner from Wharton, and R. Beattie kicked out a Boye’s shot. Bentham picking up the clearance and smashing the ball back on to the upright. Preston will now have to win the return game by 3-0 or 4-1 or more to remain in the new League Cup competition, and unless they realise that all the smart football without the necessary finish will not bring them reward they will not accomplish that. They were grand to watch; just as Everton were in the second half. There was a curious incidents when Bentham scored a goal. The rule says that play must not be stopped for an injury until the ball had gone “dead.” Holdcroft was hurt in a tackle by Lawton, and as he was on the ground Bentham shot for goal, which was empty, and the ball went to the back of the net. The referee had whistled a halt and disallowed the goal. Surely that is hardly correct. The attendance was 13,030; receipts £692. - Everton; Sagar (captain), goal; Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Mercer, Jones and Watson, half-backs; Barber, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson, and Boyes, forwards. Preston North End; Holdscroft, goal; Gallimore and Beattie, backs; Shankley, Smith, and Batey, half-backs; Hunter, Mutch, Dougal, Beattie (R.), and Wharton, forwards. Referee Mr. E.W. Baker of Manchester.
GAME OF TWO HALVES
April 22, 1940. The Evening Express.
If the fare which Everton and Preston North End served up in the first “leg” of their first round Cup encounter is anything to go by, then the new competition is an assured success. Tom Jones earned himself an ovation for his brilliantly headed goal just on half-time to neutralise Dougal’s lobbed goal after 15 minutes. Then came a remarkable change of fortunes, and it was the turn of the Preston defence to undergo a gruelling. Alex Stevenson obtained Everton’s second goal after 48 minutes. Boyes added a third in 61 minutes. Jones and Stevenson were the stars in an Everton team which staged a great second half revival, while Smith, Wharton and Hunter impressed in the Preston ranks.
WHERE PRESTON FAILED.
April 22, 1940. The Liverpool Echo.
Unless Preston North End mend their ways, I don’t think they will have any further interest in the war-time Cup competition after their return meeting with Everton at Deepdale, next Saturday. They must realise the need for more shooting, and think a little less of intricate football, which is good as a spectacle, but of little advantage against a side which can shoot the ball into the net. For some time now the North End have been one of the best footballing teams in the country, but they have ever been frail in front of goal. Goals are the essence of football, yet how they can hope to win games without shots I cannot imagine. They gave a delightful exhibition of classical soccer in their first half against Everton, but they don’t seem to realise the wisdom of shooting when they have made openings. As defences are constituted these days it is crass folly to attempt to walk the ball through but this is what they tried to do against Everton. They will not attempt a shot unless they are a few yards from goal. They did not try one against Everton, and that was the main reason why they lost, for in football craft they were superior to their opponents. Their early promise of a victory did not materialise; in fact they had the tables completely turned on them in the second half, and were lucky to have only three goals registered against them. It was an amazing change about. The polish had been knocked of them, and Dougal’s goal counted for nought, for Jones, Stevenson, and Boyes all found the net for Everton. Stevenson’s goal was the cheekiest of them all; but Batey takes the blame. When “Stevie” was dancing about with the ball at his feet, Batey should have tackled him; instead of standing still in front of him.
April 23, 1940. The Evening Express.
Everton hope to field their best available team in the “second leg” of their League War Cup first round tie against Preston North End at Deepdale on Saturday. The only doubt concerns Arthur Barber, the young outside-right, who is in the Army. Mr. Theo Kelly, the Blues secretary has applied for Barber’s release for Saturday, and if this is granted then the champions will field the team which beat Preston at Goodison Park on Saturday 3-1
• The British Army team travels to Tynecastle, Edinburgh, home of the Hearts of Midlothian Club tomorrow, to face Scotland in a Red Fund Match. Cook and Mercer of Everton will be playing for the Army, and Jimmy Caskie for Scotland.
April 23, 1940. The Liverpool Echo
For the return first-round League Cup-tie at Preston, on Saturday, Everton hope to field the same eleven as last week. Sagar; Jackson, Greenhalgh, Mercer, Jones, Watson; Barber, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes. The only doubt relates to barber, for whom leave has not yet been obtained. Everton “C” have a home match at Goodison Park tomorrow (7 pm.) against Nor-West in the Bootle J.O.C. subsidiary competition. Everton team: - Merewith; Ireland, Dugdale; Miller, Beardwood, Hankin; Jones, Lindeman, Cubham, Owen, Bailey.
April 25, 1940. The Evening Express.
Some weeks ago, I advocated that friendly matches should be arranged between the Colts’ teams of the local clubs. This followed success of the games at Deepdale between the youngsters of Everton and Preston North End. Now it is probable that several games will be arranged before the curtain is rung down on this soccer season. Everton colts are engaged on Saturday, when they face the Chester Colts at Goodison Park; kick-off 3.15 p.m. Everton include the 15-year0old centre forward from Northwich, Powell, who in the few games he has had with the side has always scored. Powell will be making his debut at Goodison. He is the son of the chairman of the Witton Albion club. Everton; Reed; Ireland, Dugdale; Sherratt, Beardwood, Atkins; Sumner, Simmons, Powell, Lyon, Bailey.
DEFENCE TO DECIDE?
April 26, 1940. The Evening Express.
Is there any team capable of giving Everton, the League champions, two goals start? I doubt it. That is why I feel confident Everton will withstand the Presto North End challenge at Deepdale, where they open out leading 3-1. Preston showed excellent ideas for half the game last week without having the necessary punch. With all their pressure they could muster only one goal. It makes me believe that the Blues defence can defy the North End efforts to wipe out the margin. What a grand game it will be, for both teams are capable of rising to great heights. Everton with their unchanged team should win. Preston; Fairbrother; Gallimore, Beattie (A.); Shankly, Smith, Batey; Hunter, Mutch, Dougal, Beattie (R.), Wharton. Everton; Sagar; Jackson, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones (Tom), Watson; Barber, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes.
BAN ON CHAIRMAN AND DIRECTOR
April 26, 1940, The Liverpool Daily Post
The Football Association announced yesterday, following the inquiry into the Mercer case that the chairman of Everton F.C. (Mr. E. Green) and Mr. W.C. Gibbons, another director are to be suspended and the club “severely censured for bringing the game into disrepute. “Mercer is absolved from any blame. The inquiry followed the appearance of Sergeant J. Mercer, the Everton wing-half for his club on April 13 after the F.A. had decide that he must appear for England against Wales.
The findings of the Commission, which sat at Crewe last Monday are:-
(1) Mr. Green (chairman) be suspended from Monday, April 29, 1940, to the end of the season 1940-41, from all football and football management, including attendance at matches played on grounds belonging to clubs atiliated to the F.A.
(2.) Mr. W. C. Gibbins (director) be suspended from Monday, April 29, 1940, to the end of the season 1939-40 (June 8) from all football and football management including attendance at matches played on grounds belonging to clubs aliliated to the F.A.
(3.) Everton F.C, ordered to pay the cost of the inquiry.
(4.) Mr. T. Kelly (secretary, Everton F.C), be censured for his part in the proceedings and for failing to keep his directors informed of official decisions to the F.A.
(5.) Acting Sergeant Instructor J. Mercer be absolved from any blame.
(6.) Thanks be conveyed to the Army F.A. for appointing a representative to attend the inquiry and to Mercer’s commanding officer for permitting him to attend.
The Commission in their report state:- “The evidence adduced satisfied the Commission that a breach of Rule 41, had been committee by Mr. Green and Mr. Gibbins and in disciplinary action to be taken depreciated the unsporting spirit shown by certain of the Everton F.C, directors in structing Mercer to play for his club rather than for his country.
Censure On Club.
“The Commission decided that the Everton club be severely censured for bringing the game into disrepute and for lack of courtesy in circulating to members of the council of the F.A. members of the Football League Management Committee Football league clubs. Army F.A. and the Press, copies of letters referring to different aspects of the case before any official action had been taken. “That although the Everton F.C directors denied that pressure had been brought to bear on Mercer to play for Everton,, the following extract from a letter written by Mercer to the F.A appeared to the Commission to suggest to the contrary; “I assure you that it would be a great pleasure for me to take part in the game, only the attitude which my club have adopted makes it very awkward for me to decide. The officer commanding Mercer’s unit wrote to the F.A. – “This matter is, therefore, left between Everton and yourselves, and since Mercer probably feels in honour bound to Everton by long service, he would not under instructions of Everton. The commission found that a complaint made by Everton that between April 2 and 12 the F.A failed to take the necessary action in the matter was inaccurate as during the period frequent telegraphs, postal and telephonic communications passed between the F.A. and the Army F.A., the Army F.A and Mercer’s C.O, the F.A and Mercer’s C.O.
Army Call Attention to Rule 41.
It was also disclosed that Everton were informed by the Army authorities that, in their opinion, Rule 41 of the F.A. still obtained. The report gives the test of the telegrams sent by the F.A. War Emergency Committee requesting that Mercer play for England, and states that; “Mr. Green said he took sole responsibility for telling Mercer to act counter to the office instruction, and in fact that he had informed him of the full contents of the telegram sent by the F
A. to the club.” This telegram read: “Decided Mercer must play for England, Wembley tomorrow, not your club. Player ordered to report to London in accordance with instructions already sent him.” “The Commission consisted of Messrs A. Brook Hirst (chairman), C. Wreford Brown, E. Case, and S.F. Rous (secretary). The following attended the inquiry; Messrs E. Green, W.C. Gibbins, G. Evans (directors) and T. Kelly (secretary), of Everton, Lieut Cox represented the Army F.A. and the officer commanding an infantry training centre, Acting Sergeant instructor J. Mercer. Mr. W. C. Cuff, Football league president, F.A vice-president, and also a director of Everton, was not asked to attended on account of his connection with the Football Association. It is revealed that Mr. Cuff had pointed out to the club that the action in not releasing Mercer was contrary to Rule 41. The rule stipulates that the F.A. has first call on any player for an international or other match arranged by the association, and that any player failing to attend such match and nay club or official deemed to have encouraged a player to break the rule, shall be considered guilty of misconduct. Mr. E. Green the Everton F.C. chairman when interview yesterday on the finding of the F.A commission said; “Everton have no chance, whatever to make.”
Twenty Seven Years ‘ Service.
Mr. Ernest Green has been a member of the Everton board for twenty-seven years. He was vice chairman for sixteen years, being appointed chairman –in succession to Mr. W. C. Cuff –two years ago. He is a member of the Lancashire F.A and holds honorary positions on several amateur league organisations. He has had a lifetime’s connection with sport, and as a young man achieved reputation as athletes. A former school-master at Walton Lane School, Liverpool, and Mr. Green has always taken a great interest in the organisation of sporting activities ‘the younger generation. He resigned his scholastic appointment on being appointed to the Everton chairmanship through by doing so he had to sacrifice a proportion of his retiring allowance. During his chairmanship Mr. Green always accompanied the team on special training, and altogether his travelled well over 100,000 miles on behalf of the club. He has kept a log book of his journeys from the beginning. Mr. W. C. Gibbons was elected to the Everton board in 1920, and since that date has been one of the most regular of all directors at board and committee meetings. For many years he has been chairman of the Stores Committee and a member of the Finance Committee and throughout his twenty years has done loyal and valuable work for the club, as well as for the Liverpool County F.A. and other organisations connected with the game.
Matter To Be Raised In Parliament.
The F.A. decision is to be raised in Parliament by Alderman, W.A. Robinson M.P for St. Helens. Alderman Robinson told a reporter yesterday that he intends to ask a question in the House at the earliest opportunity regarding the decision and that he will deal with the whole matter on the grounds of public interest and public policy.
WHAT P.N.E MAY DO.
April 26, 1940. The Liverpool Echo.
Everton will start their return game with Preston North end at Deepdale tomorrow, in a happy frame of mind, for the North End have got to win by a margin of three clear goals if they are to remain in the Cup competition. They are a grand football side, capable of producing ever known move in the book and some not in the book. But their one big failing is shooting power. In every other way they are soccer artists. They undoubtedly made Everton look an ordinary side for half the game at Goodison Park, and should have scored more than one goal. Everton completely reversed the order of things afterwards, when the North End had to work on the collar. Maybe the North End will throw everything into attack in the return to rub off the adverse balance of goals. Clubs beaten into the first game have everything to gain and nothing to lose by such tactics, so I expect Preston to put forward a special effort in this direction. The Everton defence will be fully aware of this and make their plans accordingly. There is therefore, every indication of a great and determined struggle I expect to see Everton’s defence triumph and the greater thrust of their attack prove too much for the North End. Preston; Fairbrother; Gallimore, Beattie (A.); Shankly, Smith, Batey; Hunter, Mutch, Dougal, Beattie (R.), Wharton. Everton; Sagar; Jackson, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones (Tom), Watson; Barber, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes.
F.A.AND EVERTON F.C.
April 27, 1940. Evening Express.
The Football Association dropped one of the biggest bombshells in the history of the game when announcing the decisions of the commission which sat in connection with the Everton and Joe Mercer case. The surprise was in the severity of the “sentence.” Without going into the rights and wrongs of the actual case, I do think the decision is out of proportion to any alleged offence. I have made inquires in many quarters seeking opinions on a ruling which places Everton’s chairman, Mr. Ernest Green, out of the game until May 1941, and another director Mr. Will Gibbins, out of the game until June 8 this year, and not a single expression have I heard in favour of the decisions. Players who have been ordered from the field for foul tactics have been fined, say, £10 and suspended for a week. Everton and its officials on that reckoning, have to suffer what in my opinion can only be described as an unnecessarily severe verdict. My own opinion is that, but for unfortunate misunderstandings at the outset there would have been no such things as “the Mercer case.”
CLEVER PLAY BY EVERTON
April 27, 1940. The Evening Express.
Strong Preston Defence
Preston brought in Fairbrother in place of Holdscroft in the League War Cup round with Everton, at Deepdale, today. Everton began with an advantage of 3-1. Fairbrother has been playing for Blackburn Rovers on loan from Preston. Mr. Ernest Green, the Everton chairman, and Mr. W.C. Gibbons his co-director, were present at the game for the last time before the suspension periods begin, following the F.A. decision in the Mercer case. Preston N.E:- Fairbrother, goal; Gallimore and Rookes, backs; Shankley, Batey and Beattie (A.), half-backs; Hunter, Mutch, Dougal, Beattie (R.), and Wharton, forwards. Everton: - Sagar (captain), goal; Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Mercer, Jones (Tom) and Watson, half-backs; Barber, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson and Boyes, forwards. Referee Mr. E.W. Baker (Manchester). Everton were more impressive at the outset, which produced some excellent combination by both sets of forwards. Twice Boyes and Lawton linked up well before Hunter allowed the ball to run out of play when perfectly positioned. Stevenson snatched up a long pass from Boyes to shoot cross the face of the goal before Lawton headed just wide from Mercer’s centre. This was fast entertaining football, Hunter was brought down on the edge of the penalty area by Greenhalgh and Jones was right on the spot to headway the centre. Watson, Stevenson, and Boyes participated in an excellent triangular move which ended with Stevenson landing on to the roof of the net. Then Barber cut in, but Fairbrother was perfectly positioned to take the shot. Everton continued to have rather more of the game, but Batey was magnificent in defence, several times cutting out Lawton at the last moment.
Jones was equally effective in the Everton defence; Watson received a rap on the leg, and when he lost possession it led to Preston’s most menacing raid of the day. Wharton dribbled through cleverly to the edge of the goal area, and his quick inside pass left Beattie (R.) with only Sagar to beat. Beattie hooked the ball in first time but Sagar effected a magnificent save, catching the ball in mid-air as it was going away from him. Preston kept up the pressure and Dougal from perfect position, cracked a terrific shot against the far post. Sagar made a fine save from Shankley before Mercer began and ended an Everton attack with neat dribbling and a shot went outside.
HOUSE OF COMMONS QUESTION OF THE MERCER CASE.
April 27, 1940. The Liverpool Echo.
Everton’s Board Emergency Meeting Tonight.
The Football Association’s decision in the Mercer case has been a bombshell. It is no exaggeration to say that the Commission’s sentence stunned not only the majority of the football officials, but the ordinary man-in-the-street follower of the game. Club officials with whom I spoke yesterday –and I chatted with nearly a dozen –could scarcely credit the news. Apart altogether from individual views on the issues at stake, from conversations I have had with prominent officials there is a very deep and genuine feeling of sympathy with the Everton chairman, and an equally firm feeling that the sentence is unnecessarily and harsh. Taking even the worst possible view of Everton’s action, assuming they were totally on all points, and completely ignoring any extenuation that might be put forward in their defence, the punishment still seems out of all proportion to the offence, particularly in view of present conditions. I should be the last person on earth to advocate defiance of constituted authority. There must always be a governing body for every sport, and that body must preserve its authority. In the case of Everton, the utmost I visualised was a severe censure, a heavy monetary fine, and possibly a very short period of suspension. The F.A. has put its foot down with elephantine weight. It has brought the full extent of the authority to bear in punitive fashion upon those who have dared to question its might and right. Whether it has been wise is another matter, and one which time alone will decide. There are occasions when justice tempered with mercy, serve its ends better than harshness and severity. The commission’s decision will not allay the feeling of restiveness which has been growing among the big League clubs of late. Obedience could have been assured without going to the length they have and using the big lengths they have and using the big stick so drastically.
Few players have done so consistently well this season as George Jackson, Everton’s right full back, who has filled the breach admirably ever since Willie Cook joined the Army. Born within a stone’s throw of the Goodison Park ground, Jackson has proved himself a most valuable servant to the club since he was signed by them from a local church team in 1932, but hitherto most of the time has been spent with the reserve side, though he totted up the useful total of 57 League appreances prior to the outbreak of the war. Though not boasting anything out-standing in the way of physical development he is a strong as a horse and has a most powerful kick, while his speed in recovery is something amazing. So well has he played this season, that Cook’s absence has hardly been felt.
THE PRESTON GAME
April 27, 1940. The Liverpool Echo.
Everton And North End In Clever Moves.
Preston N.E:- Fairbrother, goal; Gallimore and Rookes, backs; Shankley, Batey and Beattie (A.), half-backs; Hunter, Mutch, Dougal, Beattie (R.), and Wharton, forwards. Everton: - Sagar (captain), goal; Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Mercer, Jones (Tom) and Watson, half-backs; Barber, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson and Boyes, forwards. Referee Mr. E.W. Baker (Manchester). There was quite a good crowd to see Preston try to give Everton a three-goals start in the return Cup-tie at Deepdale today. The Everton party was made up of Messrs Ernest Green, W. Gibbins, and George Evans, with the Secretary Theo Kelly. The game opened as I thought it would, with Everton on the attack and not defence, as some people thought they would be. North End played their usual good football, but Hunter was rather wasteful on the wing. Stevenson was the first to make a shot of any note, when he cracked the ball wide of the target. With twenty minutes passed there was still no sign of a goal by either side, but the football was of top class. Everton were the most direct side, and were responsible for most of the shooting which took place, for as against a shot by Mutch. Stevenson, Barber, and Bentham each had a go at the North End goal without finding the bull’s eye. Watson was doing strong work for Everton, his passing being a feature of the game thus far. R. Beattie was put through for what should have been a certain goal, but he shot straight at Sagar. A few minutes after an equally simple chance was offered to Dougal, who in his anxiety to burst the back of the net, put immense power behind his shot, but not direction, the ball crashing against the upright with Sagar well beaten. With two such chances the North End should have been two good, but if they will miss such opportunities they have only themselves to blame. Dougal scored for Preston 31 minutes and scored a second 35 minutes.
EVERTON IN THE SECOND ROUND.
April 29, 1940. The Liverpool Daily Post
Preston North End 2, Everton 2.
Preston Go Out Owing To Poor Shooting.
Preston North End made a valiant effort to overcome their handicap of three goals deficit in the return game with Everton in the League Cup competition, and actually got on level terms with their rivals at Deepdale, but, as in the first meeting, they failed to maintain their sparkling form of the first half, and Everton were able to score two goals which gave them an aggregate on the two games of five goals to three. It was a game very similar in every respect to the one at Goodison Park when North End gave an entrancing display of football in the first half, only to fail in the last “forty-five.” Preston scored two goals before the interval, the first rather flucky one, the second a bonny goal, but prior to that two of the simplest chances were missed by Beattie (R.) and Dougal. Everton played smart football and had several shots saved by Fairbrother before Preston got in their first shot at twenty-five minutes, despite all the spectacular football.
Two By Dougal.
There was, however, no denying that Preston were testing Everton’s defensive lines with great severity and at the half-hour Dougal snapped up the ball which curled up Jones’s toe, put him on side, and he cleverly flicked the ball into the net. Five minutes later the same player had again beaten Sagar, but this time the goal came as a result of a lovely movement between Mutch and Dougal, which left the latter lying in front of Sagar, who had one course open to him –to run out and try and angle Dougal. He did this, but the centre forward neat flicked the ball away from him into the net. Batey had held Lawton very firmly up to the interval, then he made his first slip and Lawton seized on it, ran round Batey, and crashed in a terrific drive which Fairbrother was powerless to save. It had been grand football, and Preston strove to again rub out the deficit, but they erred in that they relied upon Dougal too much. Dougal, using his great speed, often crashed his way through, but was forced to the right, so that his shooting had to be done from any angle, always a chancy business. Preston pressure on the Everton defence, which was weakened by an injury to Watson, but they could not break it down. Dougal should have scored again, for he was only a few yards from Sagar, who saved. Near the end from a free kick taken by Boyes, Bentham headed through, and Preston’s interest in the cup had gone. They had fought a galliant fight and Fairbrother saved some good shots, one in particular from Lawton. The North End are out of the cup because of their poor marksmanship and the great rallying powers of Everton. Preston N.E:- Fairbrother, goal; Gallimore and Rookes, backs; Shankley, Batey and Beattie (A.), half-backs; Hunter, Mutch, Dougal, Beattie (R.), and Wharton, forwards. Everton: - Sagar (captain), goal; Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Mercer, Jones (Tom) and Watson, half-backs; Barber, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson and Boyes, forwards. Referee Mr. E.W. Baker (Manchester).
NEW EVERTON CHAIRMAN.
April 29, 1940. The Liverpool Daily Post
At a meeting of the Everton Football Club directors on Saturday night, Mr. A. Coffey, was appointed chairman in place of Mr. E. Green, who has been suspended by the F.A, following the Mercer case. directors chair. Prior to the game at Deepdale the Everton players requested the presence of Mr. Ernest enton behalf of the players, sympathising with the directors on their suspension. Mr. Green replied and thanked the players for their token of loyalty.
EVERTON’S NEW CHAIRMAN.
April 29, 1940. The Evening Express.
Mr. Andrew Coffey, who has just completed 28 years on the board of directors has been appointed chairman of Everton F.C. He was elected –it was a unanimous vote by the six directors present –at a special meeting on Saturday night to succeed Mr. Ernest Green who, today, begins his 16 months isolation from football –the outcome of the decision of the Football Association in the Joe Mercer case. Mr. Will Gibbins also begins his suspension for the remainder of the season. We shall miss them both at the game. There was no statement issued on the controversy after Saturday’s meeting, in fact the gathering did not last a quarter of an hour. I liked the gesture of Mr. Green when he spoke a few words to Joe Mercer, who was upset at the F.A. decisions. He impressed on Joe that the player was in no way to blame. And I liked the thought of the Everton players, who asked Messrs Green and Gibbons to go into the dressing room, at Deepdale before Saturday’s game with Preston, so that Ted Sagar could express their regret at the temporary loss of two popular officials through what Ted described as “unjust sentences,” Mr. Green thanked the players for their expression of loyalty. I wish Mr. Coffey a happy time. He is an out-and-out Blue, who was chairman in 1920, and 1921 being succeeded by Mr. W.C. Cuff. For many years “Uncle Andy” has been chairman of the Finance Committee. The club is in good hands under the guidance. The three absence directors on Saturday were Mr. Cuff who was presiding over the League meeting in Manchester, Lieut Tom Percy, away on military duty, and Alderman, A. Gates, who was out of town. A word of congratulation to Mr. Green for the splendid way he has presided over Everton’s destinies. He inspired a wonderful team spirit among the players
Had Saturday’s game between the Blues and Preston North End been the Cup final it would have been described as one of the best-ever. The Blues opened out splendidly, but gradually Preston got a grip on the game. They hit a post before Dougal scored a couple of excellent goals with gliding shots –the first after Tommy Jones had made his only mistake. And did these Preston folk let themselves g when Dougal wiped out Everton’s lead? Why, it was like pre-war days. The Everton dressing-room was the quietest place on the ground during half time, but the lads rolled up their sleeves and went out to “show em” to some purpose. Lawton had the ball in the net within four minutes and while Dougal did miss one gilt-edged chance, Bentham got one of his sensational headed goals near the end from Boyes’ free kick and the players were on half bonus. Once Lawton had scored Everton never looked back. Everton’s best player was Gordon Watson. He was brilliant. Lawton was inspiring and Boyes and Stevenson gave Gallimore a gruelling time, Bentham put in much honest work, but Barber was not much in the game. Jones must have enjoyed his duels with the lightning-like Dougal, but Mercer and Jackson took a long time to master the Wharton. Bob Beattie wing. They found their feet at the right moment. Greenhalgh was the best back in the game, and Sagar was fine, one save early on being masterly. Yes, a happy day, with no grumbles from the Preston people, headed by Mr. Jim Taylor, the chairman and Mr. Nat Buck, It was good to see Mr. John Proctor, of Grimsby, at the match with Mr. Frank Womack, the former Grimsby and Leicester manager. Mr. Willie Maley, for 50 years “boss” of Glasgow Celtic was there –maybe helping Scotland by watching the Scots with a view to the England match on May 11 –and also had chats with Mr. Bob Kelly, former England international and manager of Stockport County, and Mr. Jasper Kerr, the former Everton and North End player now an England representative of Hearts. In addition to Messrs Green and Gibbons, Mr, George Evans, another Everton director made the journey, while Theo Kelly was there as organiser-in-chief. Altogether it was a pleasing trip with Mr. Jim Taylor giving everyone a real Lancashire welcome. But ....pity that one of these fine teams should have to go out.
April 29, 1940. The Liverpool Echo.
Mr. Andrew Coffey, elected chairman of Everton at the Board’s week-end emergency meeting completes next month 28 years service as a director of the club. For a long time he has guided the work of the Finance Committee probably the most important branch of a club’s executive and the healthy state of Everton’s balance-sheet year after year is sufficient tribute to the excellence of his work and the soundness of his judgement. His knowledge of the game from the playing angle is commensurate with his business acumen, and though he has not been in the best of health of late, it is good to know he has sufficiently recovered to take on the arduous duties which will now devolve on him. He has had previous experience of the chair, having occupied it for a while some years ago. In business he is one of the best-known provision merchants in the North, and a popular judge at produce exhibitions.
It’s goals that count. The sooner Preston North End realise that fact the better. They gave a brilliant exhibition of football in the first half of their return Cup-tie with Everton at Deepdale, but were prone to miss chances. They did the same thing in the first game, but those two misses in the first half before they had scored cost them dearly. It was a grand football throughout, probably the keenest game seen at Deepdale this season. It was one of the most fluctuating displays I have witnessed for some time, which only goes to prove that the addition of a bonus and the added incentive of a cup has brought more “sting” into the game. Preston faced with a two goal deficit, scored two goals in quick sticks, to which Everton had no reply up to the interval. Everton had shot many times but there was no denying that Preston had got them well in hand, and there was great satisfaction among the local folk at the interval. Watson had been injured and this slightly impaired Everton usually powerful defence, and Mercer played as though he was troubled in mind by recent events in which he was concerned. This consequently, threw heavy work on Greenhalgh, Jones and Jackson, but where Preston failed was their slavery to the ball down the middle to Dougal. Batey had played Lawton confidently, yet it was his first slip which proved his undoing, and Lawton went on to score a fine goal. The game was still pulsating and full of grand football, but Everton had made a great recovery, and near the end Bentham headed another goal from Boyes’s free kick, and Preston had ceased to have any further interest in the Cup. They had fought a galliant battle against odds, but one must pay tribute to Everton for their fine rallying power.
Everton “C” At Home.
Everton “C” have a match at Goodison park tomorrow evening (7 o’clock) when they play Litherland Boys’ Club in the Bootle J.O.C League, Everton team;- Meredith; Harvey, Kieran; Miller, Finnis, Hankin, Highton, Lindleman, Cobham, Owen, Bailey.
April 30, 1940. The Evening Express.
Everton Football Club, it is felt in many quarters, should give a detailed public statement on the Joe Mercer case, which resulted in the suspension of two directors, Mr, Ernest Green and Mr. Will Bibbons. Naturally, Everton are hesitant about taking any action, but there are many football officials who want to know the full Everton viewpoint, in addition to the general public. Incidentally, one statement in the F.A. report was incorrect. It stated that the Everton decision to release Mercer for the England –Wales match first appeared in the Liverpool newspapers. It did not. There is a distinct possibility of the clubs of the Football League calling a meeting of discuss the Everton-Mercer business. It has been suggested by one First Division club, and may take place as a pre-annual meeting talk. The annual meeting is fixed for Monday, June 10. The meeting would be strictly a club affair, and not sponsored by the League Management Committee. Other matters usually discussed at the annual pre-cup final gathering could also be brought up.
EVERTON “B” AT HOLLY PARK.
April 30, 1940. The Liverpool Echo
Garston spectators have recently seen Everton “C” team in action, and tomorrow (Wednesday) 7 p.m, they will have the opportunity of seeing Everton “B.” This team has met most of the junior teams, and is making quite a reputation for itself. On this occasion the match is a Bootle J.O.C one, and is against the local South-Villa side. Everton; Kearns; Ireland, Kieman; Parry, Finnis, Atkins; Jones, Simmons, Cobham, Wilson, and Bailey.