Community Politics in Liverpool and the Governance of Professional Football in the Late 19th Century
As we count down to the 205th Merseyside Derby on Saturday this article focuses on the events that created the celebrated fixture: the split of Everton FC in 1892.
The split was a defining moment in the history of British football. Our knowledge of this event has been advanced by a handful of studies which have helped to establish an orthodox view of the dynamics that lay behind it. Essentially, the split has been portrayed as the bitter culmination of the faltering financial relationship between the Everton FC membership and their president and landlord, John Houlding.
Using a wealth of sources, this article [PDF] puts forward and supports an argument that the tussle for the club was as much a political struggle as one over matters of finance ? that Everton Football Club, an important social institution in the north end of Liverpool, was a treasured prize for political rivals operating within the club.
Extract © Cambridge University Press 2006; used by kind permission of the authors
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 25/09/2008 at 07:43:25
2 Posted 25/09/2008 at 09:38:04
I think David is referring to:
WMCA: Working mens conservative association which I believe was the political arm of the Liverpool protestant association. To put it in context it might sound amazing now but at the time Liverpool also had Irish Nationalist politicians and by far the biggest Irish population in Britain.... but basically it goes to show that LFC grew out of the Liverpool branch of the "Klan"...... ;)
3 Posted 25/09/2008 at 10:27:56
If you ( yer) know your history? and all that.
We have to stop living in the past, it is or has no relevance to today and has no value other than some form of comfort blanket to a minority of the support.
It does not make any one want to play for us, it does not make anyone play any better for us and it clearly does not attract any financial investment.
Why not open a museum in Liverpol for all of this and watch the crowds turn up , I dont think so, the only museum related to Everton if things carry on as they are will be Goodison Park .
This is not at all a negative post but some of us are more interested in tomorrow than why we gave a piece of field to Liverpool 100 years ago and the bitterness that the decision seems to have created ever since.
Why oh Why do we have suffer this bullshit, we are the second club in Liverpool on every front, history has dictated that and created that, it will only be what we do from now on both on and off the field that will dictate whether the future is any different, I am afraid Dixie, Alex Young the Holy trinity some old memorabelia and remembering the heady days of the eighties means nothing.
4 Posted 23/09/2008 at 23:52:04
I suppose the piece also rings with a certain resonance given the ’schisms’ Everton Football Club is faced with currently.
On a personal note, not only as an Evertonian but also as someone born and bred in the district of Everton, the details of the political and social landscape and their particular effect on Everton Football Club makes for fascinating reading.
5 Posted 24/09/2008 at 00:42:08
A piece that highlights once again our history and role in the heart of North Liverpool. As a born and bred Fazakerley resident and an Evertonian with a deep interest in our history I dearly hope that when we move to Kirkby (I’m one of the lucky so and so’s who will live just as near to our new ground as Goodison!) that the club acknowledges our great history in the museum to be built there.
A great piece of work and well done to its authors.
6 Posted 24/09/2008 at 09:59:34
7 Posted 24/09/2008 at 12:31:55
8 Posted 24/09/2008 at 13:34:58
[Ed's Note: WMCA? or YMCA... or YWCA???]
9 Posted 24/09/2008 at 14:47:39
Sounds like another interesting read. I have been researching the exploits of a few of my ancestors from that period 1880’s-1920’s..... all blues, and footy remained important to them throughout their lives, the last one, my grandad living long enough to see us win the league in 1970. With the political backdrop you describe and their backgrounds there has been some fascinating stuff, and some of your references to the politics of the era added to my perceptions of their lives. One day I’ll write a book about them!!! haha. Keep up the good work
10 Posted 24/09/2008 at 15:08:36
Many thanks for all the work.
11 Posted 24/09/2008 at 14:06:20
Utterly ironic to read of George Mahon?s vision of governance so soon after the current Everton board has reconfigured the rules regarding the calling of future EGMs. Even more ironic to read the whole piece knowing that currently EFC and LFC are both sponsored by (foreign) brewing companies.
David, Michael, one question: from reading the essay it wouldn?t seem that the League Championship win of 1891 ? and all the associated kudos ? had any effect, either directly or indirectly, in bringing matters to the fore (especially the fairly transparent spoiling motives of Mr Orrell). But I would be astounded if that first title of ours didn?t have any catalystic effect in bringing the simmering politics to the fore. Any views on this? For I?ve long been of the dark opinion that winning that title in 1891 might paradoxically have been one of the worst things the club has ever done!
12 Posted 24/09/2008 at 16:26:53
Moreover, the insight that ?locality can never be seen as a self-contained entity, but rather as being linked to regional and national developments?, really does comes home to roost in this paper and it should not be lost on Everton?s current predicaments either! An excellent thought-provoking paper offering huge insights into the past and the present and the ways in which football continues to be buttressed by moral crusades and corporate power!
13 Posted 24/09/2008 at 16:17:15
The split certainly had a long-burning fuse, though. The committee held annual meetings which were reported in the Liverpool Review from the late 1880’s. From those accounts you can see the embryonic form of the factions that eventually rally around leading members of the club to fight it out for control.
Looking at the flow of events, I think something had to give sometime. A two club city always looked on the cards given the schisms in the club.
14 Posted 24/09/2008 at 16:56:15
Yeah that’s pretty much how I’ve suspected things were. Of course, when I say it was probably one of the "worst" things the club has ever done, I should really have said one of the most "ill-timed".
But as you say, it looked like a two club city was always gonna happen anyway.
I’ve always said that if I was ever given a one-chance-only shot at travelling back in time it would be back to 1892 and the Anfield area. If only they knew...
15 Posted 25/09/2008 at 16:12:29
16 Posted 25/09/2008 at 17:19:16
Great line on the Chang Beer!
But Houlding didn?t build a bigger club than ours... the good old Moores family eventually did that!
Tom - the WMCA: you?re nearer than you think with that ?Klan? sideswipe. They continued into the 1930s in Liverpool. When local Tory socialite, Barbara Whitingham-Jones, attended one of their meetings in 1936 she described how by this stage they?d adopted the Nazi salute. Not a very nice bunch of lads!!
Paul Niklas - would that it could improve our current performance. ;-)
17 Posted 25/09/2008 at 17:49:47
Let?s say I had more than an inclin....... Funnily I have been all over the coastal southern states of the US, and have met my fair share of WASPS and hillbillies while sailing on a ship with a few Ulstermen with more than a few historic connections. I also went to school in Everton so remember the shenanigans there too.
18 Posted 25/09/2008 at 18:12:40
19 Posted 25/09/2008 at 18:36:49
You can understand and appreciate where you come from AND still live in the present and want success. Or am I still mising your point?
20 Posted 25/09/2008 at 18:59:17
"it will only be what we do from now on both on and off the field that will dictate whether the future is any different..."
so I guess you do believe history is important after all - nice one!
21 Posted 25/09/2008 at 22:32:42
At least the paper has some use.
22 Posted 27/09/2008 at 00:32:29
No one forced you to read the article; it was clearly of ’historic’ reference. If you weren’t interested, why did you read it - it wasn’t forced upon you - you chose to continue reading it! Personally, I found it a ’right riveting read’ and very salient given the present circumstances of the club. Despite your denial , it WAS a very negative initial post. Tell you what, let’s disregard the 1966 cup final - it’s only history after all; or the 1985 season? Or the 1995 cup final? Wipe the slate clean - history starts!
23 Posted 27/09/2008 at 18:02:08
Good article though.
24 Posted 27/09/2008 at 22:07:51
The Everton Committee wanted a more democratic institution with ownership more spread out and decision making more democratic.
LFC were instantly created with ownership concentrated with a few people who had most power.
The Everton model was proven to be superior as the club instantly had a superior ground and constantly improved the ground to the best in the country, while Liverpool’s remain archaic and outdated until 1962 when the Kemlyn Road stand was built. The few owners in LFC creamed off it appears.
25 Posted 28/04/2009 at 12:22:36
Or did I miss something?