Well, if you didn?t, last Tuesday night in the People's Club lounge in the Park End, you would know so much more now. That night, we learned more about our history, how it was formed and the people involved. It was a great insight. The Evertonian Further Education was courtesy of the Shareholders Association but in the main organized and researched lovingly by Paul Wharton, our new William Cuff.
Paul introduced his format of the night and event went as follows:
- A talk on how it all began by Peter Lupton
- Reverend Harry Corbett, the club's chaplain on his involvement with our club
- Steve Flanagan?s terrific piece on one of our forefathers, George Mahon, on the hundredth anniversary of his death. Three great-grandsons of Mahon where present on the night: Graham Murphy, Alan Bell and Mahon look-alike, James Garner.
- The educational night was ended by an update on the club?s present situation by acting CEO Robert Elstone.
Thank God for Football
First teacher to the class present was Peter Lupton, author of the best selling book ?Thank God for Football? ? a painstaking work on the origins of famous football clubs, much of which was previously unknown, even to the clubs themselves. Highly recommend for Xmas. Of the early 37 football clubs, 12 came from church origins. We, as we now know, came from St Domingo?s church team... but who really started our football voyage?
Peter told us that, in 1868, a decision was made to build St Domingo?s Methodist church, born from the need of an amalgamation of three other Methodist churches.
Local benefactor and newly appointed trustee of the church to be built, Joseph Wade laid the foundation stone on the 12th of September 1870; a year later, the first mass was held. The mounted silver trowel and mallet given to Joseph Wade at a later date can be seen in the main reception in Goodison Road. Joseph worked tirelessly to get the new church up and running, he was involved in the land deal and built a house in Queens Road for the minister of the church. He was well respected in the area although he came from Halifax and was not a local made good.
His youngest son Alfred went on to play for the first known Everton team though sadly his Dad never lived to see it. The Wades would become entwined with Everton at all levels at a later date. But how did the football team get started?
Well, this is where the new minister of St Domingo?s comes in. His name was Ben Swift Chambers who came from Stocksmoor near Huddersfield and took up his new post in 1877. He was described as a great preacher, a motivator of men, and was well respected and loved by his parish. He had great values and a particular concern for the wellbeing of the youth in his parish. He had a passion for cricket ? well, he was from Yorkshire, and took up the initiative to form a cricket team for the local lads in the summer. In order to keep them fit, Ben thought they should play football in the winter months.
So the St Domingo football team was born in 1878. The first step had been taken to lead our club to fame and glory.
As they played cricket in the nearby Stanley Park, it suited them to play their football games there as it was near where they lived. They started playing amongst themselves. As they played, passers by would stand and watch. One of them was Will Cuff, the son of one of the trustees of St Domingo.
Soon they organized games against local parishes and the rest you can guess. Peter's book gives so much more detail it would be unfair to give too much away but it is enthralling to read.
Ben believe in a kindred spirit for his team, instilling courage, fair play and self control. If young people could instill in themselves these traits, they would not go far wrong.
Such was the honesty brought into the game by these church teams, the Corinthians would not take penalties as they saw it as cheating. Someone tell Franny Lee and Gerrard. Not until the Royal Engineers broke the ice would penalty-taking become the accepted norm.
You know, Peter is the reason for a few new headstones befitting these past founders. The man who formed Spurs, John Ripsher, was laid to rest in an unmarked paupers grave in Dover. When the Spurs fans found this out from Peter, they jammed the switchboards offering help to rectify this sad end to the person they owed so much too. It was the same with Ben Swift Chambers. Peter also set out to find his grave in Shepply near Leeds. When he found his grave, it was overgrown and in disrepair. It was not right. Immediately, Peter sent letters out to Rick Parry and Bill Kenwright, for without this man's vision there would not be an Everton or a Liverpool Football Club. On the 2nd of July, a new headstone was installed and a service organised, performed by the Reverend Harry Corbett, plus three members of each club in attendance (including Graeme Sharp and Brian Hall), as was at John Goulding?s at the turn of the last century.
Looking into our past history, Peter could not believe the reading of the programme before the Arsenal game when Dixie became immortal. It just read "and Mr Dean is just two short of Mr Camsells record of 59 goals". Even the following programme after Dixie?s herculean deed of the magic 60, it read: "Mr Dean accomplished a new record of 60 goals in one season". Imagine what the great God Sky would make of that event these days, box office records.
Another Everton chaplain
Then into our classroom came our club's training ground chaplain, Rev Harry Corbett from St Peters, to give us a brief view on his works with Everton. Harry Ross is another man of the cloth for Everton with St Lukes (the corner church at Goodison), as his parish. Harry is the club's chaplain and does an awful lot of work for the Former Players Foundation. So we are well blessed it seems... except on match days. Also present on the night was the Bishop of Liverpool so maybe God is starting to move towards us again with the devil?s work so evident across the park.
Rev Harry Corbett
Harry told us that in the past he would watch Everton one week then Liverpool the next... well he is originally from Malta. His kids are firmly Evertonians. It was at his church of St Peters where George Mahon was married. Harry lists his five favourite Everton games over the years:
- The 3-2 Wimbledon game, about 32 thousand prayers worked there!
- The 1-1 Coventry game... again 40,000 prayers worked here.
- The 5-2 away at Sheff Wed, the Kanchelskis spiritual game
- The 2-0 Florentina home game when God was asleep or on holiday
- And the 4-1 Spurs FA Cup game where God and his family watched Everton in awe.
Harry met Howard Kendall at Bellfield years ago and offered his services. Howard said it was a great idea as troubled players would not always come to him. It would be a confidential chat with these young men in their workplace. Remembering the awful time when young YTS trainee John Marshall, fresh from Lilleshall, had a heart problem and died on the pitch, Harry was a great help not only to John's teammates but his family. This tragedy made Everton proactive in testing heart conditions of our players. The first club to do so.
In 1992 there was only one club with a chaplain; now over half the league has one. Maybe Leeds have a devil worshiper with their luck of late.
Harry?s parish is as I said St Peters who were also Everton?s first opponents, winning both games 6-0 and 4-0.
Just as your grey matter was starting to fill up with all the new information at hand, along comes fellow Blue Steve Flanagan to tell us about that remarkable corner stone of our club, George Mahon, on the 100th anniversary of his death.
The Life and Times of George Mahon
The following is a fuller version of the speech given at the Everton Shareholders? Forum on 9 December 2008.
Everton statistician and historian, Steve Flanagan
It seems ironic that we?re gathered here in the ?Grand Old Lady? of Goodison Park under the cloud of a public inquiry as the current board look to move to a new stadium, in the centennial anniversary of the death of the man who was instrumental in, probably, the most famous ground move in the history of football ? Mr George Mahon.
George was born in Liverpool in around 1854 (Note: After speaking to members of George?s family on the night, we have subsequently found out that George was born in Liverpool on 7 July 1853 and sadly passed away on 9 December 1908), but whilst he was still a child, his family moved over to Ireland. It was in the Emerald Isle that George was educated, however, he returned to his native Liverpool and became a senior partner in Roose, Mahon & Howard, a leading accountancy firm at the time, who were based in North John Street. In fact, such was George?s prowess with ledgers and balance sheets that he was often selected as the court?s accountant by various Liverpool courthouses to settle debts to creditors in numerous bankruptcy cases.
As well as being quite adept with figures, George was also a proud church-going man, and was a member of the congregation of the church, who?s Sunday School football team, which was originally started by Reverend Ben Swift Chambers, would eventually transform itself to become one of the most famous names in British, and World, football ? that church being, of course, St Domingo?s.
George Mahon was the church organist at St Domingo, and also a member of the Great Homer Street Wesleyan Choir. He often accompanied the choir at concerts given by them using an American organ ? which was a slightly unusual instrument to use at the time, with most accompanists preferring a standard piano or church organ.
However, it wasn?t just George?s accountancy and musical skills that were in demand. He often gave lectures to various Wesleyan groups around the region. One in particular was given to the Anfield Wesleyan Literary Society entitled ?An hour with nature?s little things? and dealt with the insects and such other life that could be seen around the ponds of the local parks. This lecture received very high praise in the local press, and also saw one of the earliest uses of a hydrogen microscope, which projected samples of the small creatures George was talking about, onto a screen for the benefit of the audience ? who must have stared in wonder at 10-foot long dragonflies and the like on the wall in front of them.
So, George Mahon was an accountant, an organist and a lecturer. And remember, this was before he even became interested in football. But George had another string to his bow, he was a leading member in local politics and this would see him cross paths with a man who would become an adversary in another matter later in his busy social life ? Mr John Houlding.
In the late 1800s, the political landscape in Liverpool was completely different to that of today as Liverpool was ruled by the Conservative party; however, things were starting to change as voters became more aware of the wide-scale drink problem throughout Britain at the time, and the Liberals were starting to make inroads into the core Tory vote ? George Mahon was one of those Liberals.
One of the main policies of the Liberal party at the time was a strong anti-drinking stance and they continually reinforced the close ties between the demon drink, via the brewing industry, and the Conservatives, as well as the links between alcohol, the levels of crime and the poor housing in the city at the time ? in fact, the level of crime in Liverpool accounted for one tenth of all crime reported in the country as a whole, whilst the population was only one fortieth of the country?s population.
This anti-social, and anti-drinking stance of the Liberals, sought to reinforce that the local Conservative party hierarchy included such brewers as Archibald Salvidge and John Houlding as well as one of the most famous of Liverpool?s brewers John Cain. And it seemed to work, as in 1892 Liverpool saw the end of the Conservative hold on the Council ? which had lasted for 34 years previously.
And it was these local politics that saw John Houlding and George Mahon sparring for the first time, and it didn?t make Houlding a happy man.
In 1887, George Mahon had stood as the Liberal candidate in the elections to the Walton Local Board, and had narrowly defeated the Tory councilor Dr John Utting, who was John Houlding?s protégé at the time. Two years later, in 1889, George Mahon was fulfilling the capacity of returning officer for the Walton division of the Lancashire County Council, and further enraged Houlding by rejecting the nomination of Sir David Radcliffe on a technicality. At the time, Houlding was Radcliffe?s election agent and made all kinds of accusations that Mahon and the Liberals had thwarted Radcliffe?s election drive ? all of them unsubstantiated.
But enough of local politics and back to what we know and love ? football. It is known that George was not a great fan of the hustle and bustle of Victorian football, but apparently that all changed on a bright and windy Monday in May 1886, when the up and coming Everton team played against a very strong side from Lancashire by the name of Preston North End. Whilst the Preston team ran out 2-1 winners that day, George had seen something that he liked ? maybe it was the way Everton kept plugging away after going 2-0 down in the first half, especially when Preston cleared several shots off the goal line or when other attempts by the Everton forwards just grazed the woodwork. In fact, Everton were unlucky not to come away with a draw or even an historic victory ? things never appear to change. Anyway, it seems that George Mahon had apparently felt the same thing that the Golden Vision had felt when he signed for Everton in 1960, and maybe he would echo Alex Young?s sentiments that ?Once Everton has touched you, things will never be the same?.
Whatever it was that touched George, he became one of Everton?s members?a move that would see him become one of the main players in the boardroom struggles of Everton and eventually to gain, what must be the highest honour for any member of the Everton staff?a place in the Gwladys Street Hall of Fame.
It all started with one of George Mahon?s earlier political adversaries ? John Houlding. As Evertonians, we?ve all read, or know about the story of the battle between Houlding and Mahon ? indeed it was top-billing not just within the sports sections of the local press at the time, but also in the news and politics sections ? in fact, looking at the split in more detail shows up that the two factions in the 1892 dispute were aligned very closely with the political landscape at the time. On one side we have John Houlding, Simon Jude and Edwin Berry ? all of whom had links to the Conservative party as well as the various committees and associations related to the drinks trade. The other side, led by George Mahon, were all members of various Liberal associations ? including Dr James Clement Baxter, William Clayton and a certain William C Cuff.
So, with the club being split from what appears to be a political standpoint, there appears to be some suggestion that Houlding and George Mahon were resuming the petty squabbles that had earlier dogged both of them in the political arena, and had now arrived at the doorstep of Everton.
To explain in full the feud between John Houlding and the other Everton members at the time would probably take a whole night in itself, but the basics are that, from 1892 onwards Everton were being asked by John Houlding and John Orrell, a fellow brewer, to pay a combined total of £370 per year in rent ? which was something the rebels, as they became known at the time, were not prepared to accept.
In 1891, on 12 October, at a meeting in the lecture hall of the College based in Shaw Street, John Houlding relayed the terms that John Orrell and himself were prepared to accept, which remained at £370 per year ? and let it be known that no deviation from this figure would be entertained.
At this point, things became more interesting as John Houlding and George Mahon both announced that the club should be set up as a Limited Company ? almost unheard of in those days. Football clubs were seen to be run under the guise of ?Sports Clubs? with members paying a fee each year; however, the plans of both George Mahon and John Houlding would see a change in the way football clubs were run in the future. Despite having similar radical ideas, both men differed wildly as to the manner in which the capital of the company would be allocated.
When he became manager in March 2002, David Moyes uttered a single three word phrase that has now become something of a second motto for Everton ? that phrase was, of course, ?The People?s Club?. However, if we delve into the history of Everton, and the move from Anfield to Goodison Park, we see that it was George Mahon who could claim to be the man who started the whole ?People?s Club? ethos.
John Houlding?s proposal was that each member of the company would get 1 share each, with the remainder being bought out by those who could afford it. Naturally, as with most things ? money could buy you power, especially as that the proposal also stated that no more than 500 members would be allowed to have any of the 12,000 shares. In other words, 11,500 shares would be ?up for grabs? to those who could afford to pay for them.
When this was first proposed to the membership, George Mahon was, seemingly, outraged and let the current president know of his displeasure, stating that each member should get ?7 or 8 shares each at least? with another member wryly noting that ?those with longest purses would hold the power?.
The counter proposal from George, clearly showing his ?People?s Club? ethic, stated that there would be only 500 shares in the club, with no member holding more than 10 shares each. To quote George Mahon himself, this was done on the basis that ?we would rather have a large number of individual applications so that there will be more supporters of the club.?
Figures show how wildly different the values of Mahon and Houlding apparently were. George Mahon?s proposal, which leaned more towards the shared power ethos, spread the power amongst the members as following the move to Goodison Park in 1892, the 10 original directors owned just 6% if the shares in the club, which rose to 7% in 1902. Contrast this with John Houlding?s Liverpool and his apparent power motive, where, in 1892, the original 8 directors owned 52% of the club, which rose to 54% during the same 10-year period.
But moving back to 1892, a special general meeting was convened in Shaw Street, and the articulate George Mahon let it be known that Houlding?s power-hungry proposal would not be entertained and, having worked tirelessly behind the scenes, he stated that if Houlding wasn?t prepared to negotiate then Everton would have to move to a new ground. One wag shouted out ?yer can?t find one?. George Mahon then retorted with the phrase, ?I?ve got one in my pocket?. What was in his pocket was an option to lease some land by the name of Mere Green Field. Less than 2 months later, in March 1892, John Houlding was expelled as President of Everton at another special general meeting, and George Mahon was installed as Chairman.
In actual fact, the rebels had caused reverberations in the local news, with Liverpool Review producing the famous ?kicking of King John? drawing, and the Liverpool Echo praising George Mahon and his followers for getting rid of Houlding who was described as ?essentially a one-man government at Everton Football Club?. However, things didn?t get easier for George, as he and the rest of Everton?s members then started on the unenviable task of converting the waste ground of Mere Green into a football stadium.
Mere Green was actually owned by Christopher Leyland, and Everton rented the land from him until they were in a position to buy it. However, the most pressing task was to turn Mere Green Field into a football stadium within 6 months! A local man by the name of Mr Barton agreed to clear the debris, install a basic drainage system and re-sod the field. Another local, Mr Prescott, was then approached to provide his services as an architect and surveyor, whilst the Walton builders, Kelly Brothers, were employed to build two enclosures at the end of the pitch and other building works on the site.
Thanks to an interest-free loan from his friend, Dr Baxter, George Mahon and his cohorts had managed to turn a desolate desert, as it was originally described, into one of the country?s top football stadium within the 6 months they had originally set themselves; and so, on 24 August 1892, George presided over a celebratory dinner at the Adelphi Hotel which preceded the official opening of the stadium at which 12,000 people were present ? and was conducted by the President of the Football Association, Lord Kinnaird.
?Behold Goodison Park! No single picture could take in the entire scene the ground presents. It is so magnificently large, that it rivals the greater American baseball pitches?. These were the opening words of a piece describing this great ground in the ?Out of Doors? publication in October 1892. However, 2 months earlier, the Liverpool Echo provided a rough sketch of how the ground looked, with the following words ? ?The place has been transformed from a morass into one of the best enclosures it is possible to clap eyes on? ? high praise indeed for George and his followers.
One of the questions us Evertonians are often asked is why the ground is called Goodison Park. Unfortunately, the club?s minute books ? which, thanks to Dr David France, have been saved for the future generations of Evertonians ? only give us the following:
"Resolved the Football Ground be called Goodison Park" ? that?s it! Just a single line detailing the naming of one of the most famous grounds in football. No mention is made as to why this name was chosen ? but we can glean the reason why by delving into local history.
As Goodison Road was already in place, there appears to be no mystery as to why we ended up with the name Goodison Park. However, there is some mystery as to how Goodison Road ended up with it?s title. Ken Rogers?s Centenary History on Goodison Park tells us that the most probable reason was that it was named after a Leeds born civil engineer, George Goodison, who provided a sewage report to the Walton Local Board in the mid 1800s, the same board who would later see George Mahon elected as one of its members.
George Mahon?s legacy, Goodison Park, was so far ahead of it?s time in those days, that it was chosen to host the 1894 FA Cup Final. This was the first time that the FA Cup Final had been held at a League ground, and also it was the first time that a Second Division club had won the trophy ? with Notts County beating Bolton Wanderers 4-1 thanks to a hat-trick from Jimmy Logan ? only the second ever hat-trick in a Cup Final after Bill Townley?s three goals in the 1890 Final ? and, since then, only matched by Stan Mortensen?s hat-trick in the ?Matthews Final? of 1953.
In fact, it remained as one of the country?s top football grounds for over 70 years, and was awarded one of the greatest accolades in football when it was chosen to host a World Cup Semi final ? an honour which had been bestowed on Viña del Mar, the home of our Chilean counterparts, CD Everton, 4 years previously.
On 22 March 1895, at a general meeting, George Mahon told the assembled shareholders that the club could finally buy Goodison Park. Relying on his accountancy skills and his articulate debating skills, George Mahon argued the case to buy the ground with the utmost professionalism, even referring to the fact that, at Goodison Park, the club would be purchasing a site which was 25% bigger, but at a lesser cost than Anfield was in 1892. In fact, Everton were buying Goodison Park at £650 less than Anfield was offered to them three years previously. The result was that the motion to purchase Goodison Park was passed ? unanimously.
However, the purchase of the ground and the subsequent improvements did cause some problems at Everton ? so much so, that in June 1895, George Mahon resigned as chairman of Everton, a post taken up by his friend Dr Clement James Baxter. The reason for his departure was cited as due to administrative problems. However, George was so highly thought of by the other officers, and the shareholders of the club that he was persuaded to remain on the Board of Directors.
Another problem that led to his departure as Chairman appeared to be that George?s busy social life had an adverse effect on his health. In fact in 1896, we know that Mahon tried to recuperate by taking a holiday in Tenerife. Despite a reduction in his busy schedules, just 12 years later, in 1908, George Mahon sadly passed away.
However, George Mahon?s final days at the club should be remembered with much fondness by Evertonians as one of the last things he did for Everton as Chairman was to promote to the Board of Directors one William C Cuff ? a fellow congregational member at St Domingo?s all those years ago.
In 1908, Everton and Liverpool got together to form a new senior League within the Liverpool area. Previously, most teams played in the various leagues that had sprung up in Lancashire, however, despite the North West being the primary source of these leagues, there were a number of clubs from the Midlands and the North East that also took part. As a result of this, a number of Liverpool?s more senior clubs were finding it difficult to fund their travels to these ?far-flung? destinations.
The new League was called the Liverpool County Football Combination, and the League championship trophy was kindly provided by Frederick Stanley, the 16th Earl of Derby, who, in 1892 presented a trophy to be presented annually to Canada?s Champion Hockey Club, and is still presented today to the winners of North America?s National Hockey League?but you may know it as The Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports award in North America.
Everton kindly provided a trophy for a knockout competition, and it was, appropriately, named after the man who had sadly passed away not long before the League was created. That trophy sits here tonight, the George Mahon Cup.
This trophy has been contested for since 1909, and has either been shared or awarded to the winners on 94 occasions. Perhaps fittingly, the first team to successfully defend the trophy was Everton?s A team who won the 1934 competition, emulating their success the previous season. In fact, Everton?s A team had won the trophy more times than anyone else until 1964, when Guinness Exports matched Everton?s total with their fifth cup victory. And it wasn?t until 1991 when Waterloo Dock won the competition for the sixth time that Everton?s record was finally eclipsed.
The George Mahon Cup and Joseph Wades Maul and Trowel
However, whilst the recent winners of the George Mahon Cup are a myriad of amateur teams based in the Liverpool area, the earlier winners boast more well-known non-League names, with the likes of Skelmersdale United, Marine, Burscough and South Liverpool proudly boasting of their achievements in this competition in their honours lists.
It is, perhaps, fittingly that in what many call Everton?s greatest ever season, 1984-85, the George Mahon Cup was won by Littlewoods Athletic ? a team drawn from the company founded by another great Everton chairman ? Sir John Moores.
A number of Everton historians, myself included, say that Will Cuff was the father of Everton, and if that is true then George Mahon can claim to be the grandfather. However, at times there are some people who say that if George Mahon and his cohorts had a little foresight when dealing with John Houlding in 1891, then maybe the world would be Kopite free ? usually uttered after a derby defeat. However, I like to think that George Mahon had a lot of foresight and saw the kind of glory hunters associated with our neighbours across the park, and decided to bail us out while he could ? no ?Badgeman? for Everton.
In short, George Mahon was an intellectual, an accountant of high standing, an accomplished organist, an active member of the local church, a political activist, maybe even a radical but perhaps most importantly of all ? like us ? he was an Evertonian.
Footnote; The secretary of the county FA Premier League, Pat Farrell, brought the George Mahon cup into the room and when asked said we could keep the cup in between Cup finals. He would love the century game next year to be played at Goodison, which Robert Elstone eagerly agreed too.
The bell went and we had a break; during the interval Peter Lupson and David France sold their new books. Peter said that David?s book is the best footballing book ever written. It's called ?Dr Everton?s Magnificent Obsession? ? what else could it be called? What a fantastic book for Evertonians... you won?t put it down. I had to laugh at the picture of the first Everton committee in 1881; they looked like gunslingers all with cigars and pipes in their mouths. The proceeds of David?s book sold on the night where going to a fund to paint new portraits of our founders, Dr Clement Baxter, William Cuff and of course George Mahon.
I also think that our ?new found? founder Ben Swift Chambers should be considered and Joseph Wade. The only original painting of George Mahon was at Goodison Park but has gone, no one knows where. Have you got it?
Everton in South America
Next up to the blackboard were Tony Heslop and John Shearon of the Everton Ruleteros Society. In the early ledgers found by David France, it was noted that, early in the 20th century, Everton would undertake trips abroad. It was at the time William Cuff was the chairman of Everton and renowned architect Archibald Leech had an office in Liverpool.
One summer, Everton where to undertake an end-of-season game in Haarlem, Holland but before they finalised it, they where approached by some South American business men to come to their part of the world, inviting Spurs also. They had smaller clubs like Southampton visit but never clubs as big as Everton and Spurs so there was much excitement from the locals in Argentina and Uruguay.
Now getting to South America was not an easy task in those days and the entire trip would take eight weeks, including six weeks of travel by boat each way. The players would have no money in the summer so they all decided to go to this football mad part of the world for a princely sum of four shillings a week.
There was a hitch just before they sailed, they could not get insurance. Lloyds of London stepped in at 14 schillings a man. This cost ate into their fee from the South Americans and the players had to downgrade to second class, the directors staying in first.
So, in May 1909, they set off, pioneers to South America followed by Spurs, they where welcomed to a tumultuous reception in Buenos Aires.
So prestigious where these games that the President of Argentina was in attendance, watched by huge crowds. Everton played Spurs twice, drawing one game 2-2 and winning the other 4-0. Local side Alumini where thrashed 4-0... interestingly every one of their players were called Brown! We went on to beat the team that went on to win the Olympics and later the World cup, Uruguay, 2-1.
As the tour to Argentina was drawing to a close, news of Everton?s successes had reached over the Andes to the Chilean port of Valparaiso. Valparaiso at the time was a busy, bustling port ? visited by all shipping between Europe and the west coat of the Americas (the Panama Canal wasn?t opened until 1914).
A group of Anglo-Chileans aged between 14-15 years old decided to establish their own club and they called it Everton Football Club. Although all were Chilean born there remained a firm link back to the Mother Country. The leader of the group was David Foxley, whose grandparents David & Anne had emigrated from Liverpool in 1859 to set up the first steam-driven flour mill in Valparaiso.
David?s father ? also David ? worked in the local import / export industry but in his spare time served a lay Baptist preacher and was a staunch teetotaller.
The boys, like their counterparts in Liverpool 31 years earlier, were influenced the principals of Muscular Christianity ? selflessness, courage, fair-play and self-control. These attributes were to form an integral part of Everton?s make-up and have, some have said, carried through to today.
The early days of the Club were spent playing friendly games against mainly British clubs in the winter and practising athletics in the summer. The latter element of the Club became so successful that in 1919 they changed their name to Club Deportes Everton, partly to reflect the Chilean nature of the Club but also to reflect the prominence that the athletic branch had achieved, not only in the region but also at national and international level ? several Everton athletes had been crowned South American athletics champions, Rodolfo Hammersley in 1910 and Harold Rosenqvist in 1918.
Since its foundation on the 24 June 1909, CD Everton had been considered, because of its British roots, somewhat elitist. Although open to anyone to join, the aspiring candidates not only had to be seconded but also had to find a considerable membership fee.
As the years went by, many of the older established clubs fell by the wayside, some folding as their players returned to Europe to fight for King & Country, never to return. This was the case of two founder-members of CD Everton, Frank Boundy & Malcolm Fraser, who were both killed in the Great War.
CD Everton began to attract fans from a wider area. In 1925, after years of being an athletics club with a football division, Everton relaxed their rules on membership, attracting keen and skillful players from all sectors of Valparaiso society. The impetus the football section needed was provided with a 2-1 victory over the visiting Uruguayan team, Bellavista of Montevideo, who boasted no less than 7 players who had taken part in that country?s Olympic victory in Paris in 1924.
The Club went through a number of highs and lows over the next few decades but in 1944 they were elected to the national professional league, along with city rivals Santiago Wanderers (from Valparaiso!). One of the conditions for their entry to the league was to transfer 5 miles up the coast to the town of Viña del Mar. The Ruleteros, as they became know because of the famous casino in this town, have remained there ever since.
In 1950 they became the first provincial club to win the league title ? repeated again in 1952, 1976 and this year, 2008, after coming back from a 0-2 deficit against Chilean giants, Colo Colo, to win 3-2 on aggregate.
David Foxley (left) and commemorative plaque to Frank Boundy who died at the Somme, two of the founders in 1909, then aged 14.
They have come a long way since a group of youths decided to form a Club bearing the name of Everton and, 100 years on, it would be nice to think that we, as Evertonians, might be able to help in the centenary celebrations.
A number of us will be travelling to South America to join in the celebrations in June 2009. Wouldn?t it be something if we could see a game between the two Clubs, either in Viña del Mar or Liverpool, or even both?
Tabacular, who are making the film on Dixie?s life, gave us an update on their quest. They said that a business plan was in place where at worst every investor in the film would get their money back. Also, the Alex Young documentary was well on its way, funded yet again by Dr David France ? but don?t tell his long suffering wife, Liz!
Everton?s acting CEO Robert Elstone
Towards the end of school, our new acting CEO (a very likable guy) Robert Elstone gave a brief talk on our club's present situation. Robert had listened intently to the night's education of our club?s history and I can?t help feeling he now knew more of why so many of us want to stay nearer our roots with the stadium issue. Robert quipped to go easy on him as he was a fellow Yorkshire man as was Joseph Wade and Ben Swift Chambers our new found original founders.
Everton Acting CEO, Robert Elstone (left), pictured with Dr David France
Robert Elstone told us: "The Kirkby enquiry is going well for the club."
The JJB deal ends in May which had an immediate effect on our finances from its original deal. Before JJB, we were losing £750k from a £5M turnover; now, we make a £2M profit. There is no ongoing investment talk.
In Robert?s opinion, if we don?t move now we will still be here in 2020. Last year we averaged 36,900 but this year we will struggle to get this. The Villa game, billed as the battle for fourth or fifth place this season, attracted only 32,000 due to various present negative factors, the credit crunch, Sunday afternoon and Sky TV. For the new stadium he expects an upturn of 12-13,000 fans on our present gates.
Despite two meetings with Joe Anderson and Warren Bradley since the EGM there has been no progress on the LCC front.
If Kirkby fails, we will do our best at Goodison Park. We are looking to the future generations to try and keep filling Goodison with budgets now being made for next season. Encouraging kids in schools, the other season against Reading we had 510 kids attend free through various initiatives but always in mind as not too upset the paying season ticket holder. Robert also pledged to work closer with supporters clubs.
The fact is David Moyes will have less money to spend than ten other managers in the Premier League... can he keep performing miracles on such a low team funding in comparison?
Questions and concerns rained from those that attended. ?Why do we not have a shop in the city centre ? it looks like we have already left the City? In this year of the City of Culture our club would have to be seeked out. We have hardly any input in our City?s special year. The other night at the Fact, a footballing programme was viewed and out of a panel of five football ?experts?, not one Evertonian was present, they were all reds bar one from Marseille?.
Robert replied ?You have to be realistic, the reds sell ten times the number of our shirts. Their kit manufacturers pay a lot for their profile upkeep. A shop in L1 would not be viable?. Maybe an enabling partner shop al a Kirkby?
One shareholder said he would not be going to Kirkby and many others are of the same ilk. We don?t want Kirkby, it will kill the club long term. ?There is a lot of healing to be done? Robert sincerely replied.
Another shareholder said he now understands why we must go but he was in the minority, like in every place I have been in a gathering of match going fellow Blues.
I do feel sorry for Robert at such times as these, he is a very approachable knowledgeable man but he is the acting CEO for our present Board, whose aim is to take us to Kirkby at all costs. He can hardly say yep the majority of match going fans are right now, and you have every right for your concerns for Kirkby as it does not stack up!
Everyone knows my views on the Kirkby move and tonight?s insight to our history reinforces them. One thing that comes across in our history is our unity and common bond for Everton, Kirkby will fracture this fan base more than any earthquake in the past that has registered on the Richter scale.
It would be a pity to leave this article about the impending doom and gloom of Kirkby, there was too much painstaking loving work imputed on educating and entertaining us about our past. We can?t live in the past but the past sets our values, hopes and traditions; we must never move away from these.
Thanks to everyone who was involved especially Paul Wharton who brought this night together. Our new William Cuff!
PS Put in your diaries 6 February 2009, when another Shareholders Association forum will be celebrating William Cuff and Dr Clement Baxter at a later date.
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1 Posted 17/12/2008 at 19:29:02
2 Posted 17/12/2008 at 20:02:27
3 Posted 17/12/2008 at 20:39:13
There is nothing more certain and where the fuck do these idiots think these extra 12,000 fans or so are gonna come from?? Totally fucking clueless.
4 Posted 17/12/2008 at 21:39:00
It is simply overwhelming reading pieces like this on the club's history. Simultaneously proud and blessed at being associated with such a heritage, and desperately depressed and disenfrachised at the apparent absence of any empathy with the power of this heritage from the current administration.
ps: How about a statue for David France? Sorry, I mean ?beatification?.
5 Posted 17/12/2008 at 21:48:25
I beg to differ; the ?opposition? especially Colin Fitzpatrick have been far more impressive than Tesco / EFC, they are hiding away from every difficult pot posed. By all accounts, Wendy Burden will not be fooled by this blatent flanneling.
Incidentally, I really enjoyed your article. It struck me that many events from our history are mirrored today .... eg "The People?s Club"?
6 Posted 17/12/2008 at 22:37:42
?Kirkby inquiry is going well for the club? came from Robert Elstone. I hope it goes well down the swanny!
When I look at what Spurs are proposing for their new stadium and I see our Ikea flatpack run-of-the-mill stadium proposed new home... I feel quite sad. I?m not mad any more, just hoping that we win the day and the Inspector at Kirkby sees through these shenanigans.
Will Kirkby have an aurora like Goodison? Will it last the duration of the Old Lady that is being mocked and kicked in her last years by the club's relentless PR to drag us away? Will the St Marys without corners be used for future World Cups, semi finals etc? We all know we have to address the stadium issue but at what long-term cost?
At the end of the day, if they get their ?new Everton?, then we will have to decide if you want to go along with it and endorse the way they want us to become ? a shadow of our past... when we were ambitious, visionary and envied. These attributes don?t belong to what they want in Kirkby.
And if you know your history indeed.
7 Posted 17/12/2008 at 23:24:07
I?ve long come to terms with the fact that for me personally, if this current board?s ludicrous plan ever sees the light of day, then the Everton Football Club my forefathers and I have known and loved will have gone forever.
I will not be forced by a desperate failed actor, his yes-man and two middle-aged Spurs fans, into cutting all ties with our heritage and tradition for the sake of their ?Nu Everton.?
Let?s all hope that natural justice is done at the inquiry because only the death of ?Destination Kirkby? will allow ALL Evertonians to once again begin pulling in the same direction.
NIL SATIS NISI OPTIMUM!!
8 Posted 18/12/2008 at 04:06:08
9 Posted 18/12/2008 at 07:41:35
The history and tradition of Everton Football Club is a very important aspect to being an Evertonian, maybe this has offered the current custodians an insight into why many are vehemently opposed to the direction the club is presently taking.
Those Evertonians visiting the public inquiry may have seen a large mural on the staircase of the Kirkby Suite. If you go again look closely at the face of the dog; does this remind you of someone? That however is not why I mention the mural, it contains the slogan: ?The past we inherit ? The future we build? perhaps it would be more accurate to say, in Everton?s case, ?The past we inherit on which we build the future?
In light of our predecessor?s actions, against the greed of a few individuals, in favour of a more inclusive ownership model, it is perhaps not surprising that modern day rebels, echoing the past, are to be found within every level of the club.
10 Posted 18/12/2008 at 07:45:51
11 Posted 18/12/2008 at 08:09:13
12 Posted 18/12/2008 at 08:25:30
So Interesting from start to finish.
Paul really put together a "Night to Remember"
I can’t wait for the next forum in February.
13 Posted 18/12/2008 at 09:55:18
I live a few miles away and there was a big piece last summer (I think) in the Huddersfield Examiner about it. The Examiner is part of Trinity Mirror, as is the Echo so it was probably in the Echo / Post too.
14 Posted 18/12/2008 at 09:59:22
Have to say I feel a little sorry for Robert Elstone; I am sure he is dying to scream out "Don?t shoot the messenger". Makes it even more heart-breaking when you read this article about so many people who have made this club what it is. I wonder how our chairman will be remembered in 15 years time? Maybe he should think about that before he drives us down the Kirkby path!!
And to make matters worse, I read today that there are 5 parties interested in buying West Ham!! How did they slip through your fingers again, Bill?
15 Posted 18/12/2008 at 13:18:33
16 Posted 18/12/2008 at 10:16:49
Surely any "yes to DK" man reading this article must surely think again. I accept that one day we may have to move, but we should and must stay in the city of Liverpool, if not we will just fade away. I have watched Everton since 1946, and wouldn?t be able to bring myself to go to Kirkby. It will be a sad, sad day for a team, who along with a few other teams put football on the map of England.
17 Posted 18/12/2008 at 14:14:05
For those who think DK is acceptable then why stop at Kirkby. Let's see if the club can get a better deal moving to wherever, Dublin, the Lake District. Supporters can come from wherever...
Everton belong in the City. Never forget if you don?t have a history you don?t have a future.
18 Posted 18/12/2008 at 15:38:03
Everton did indeed play and beat a strong representative Uruguayan League team, 8 of whom played regularly and for a long time for the national team. It may be the case that most were not present in the teams that won the Olympics in 1924 and 1928 and the World Cup in 1930, but the calibre and reputation of Everton?s opposition were always high. Everton also beat a representative Argentinian League 11 by 4-1, so, as they might have said, "días felices".
On a religious note, we?d better emphasise that the Reverend Henry Corbett is not the man who manipulated Sooty, Sweep and Sue for so many years... nor was he, along with Wilfred "you dirty old man" Brambell and Hercules, one of the stars of Steptoe and Son.
Likewise, reverend Tom Williams is the Catholic Bishop of Liverpool, a fervent Blue and former parish priest of St Anthony?s in Scottie Road as opposed to the diplomatically neutral Anglican Bishop, James Jones. All would, I?m sure, approve of a bit of muscular Christianity.
Thanks again to you Ian for your write-up and to Paul Wharton, a true unsung hero, for pulling it all together. Credit to Robert Elstone for being prepared to stand up and answer questions and I?m sure he learned a great deal about where we come from, as did we all. Two fascinating books as well by Peter Lupson and David France/David Prentice. Thank God for collectors, historians and the keepers of the tradition.
19 Posted 18/12/2008 at 15:42:57
Just on the history angle: I?m not sure I?d give the religious antecedents of clubs that great a prominence to be honest. It?s tempting, in trying to tie clubs down to community, to emphasise an obvious organisational source. They are products of local communities, but only after they throw off their association to a narrow sect, become inclusive, and draw support from across the social spectrum.
Sacrilege, I know. ;-)
20 Posted 19/12/2008 at 07:08:39
Once again you have captured the essence of the event and described what sounded like a great night in sufficient detail to make us feel that we were there. Hopefully I will make the next one.
I agree with other posters that Elstone appears a far more amiable person than his predecessor...... I only hope that he realises soon that he’s selling a dudd and desists in the hardsell tactics that soon dragged the aforementioned down, otherwise he will soon become the fallguy too. Which might be a shame!
21 Posted 19/12/2008 at 09:43:51
Q1. Who are the 12-13,000 extra punters that will go to Kirkby but don?t go to GP?
Q2. Is the 12-13,000 figure NET after allowing for those that currently go to GP but who won?t go to Kirkby? I?m sure there are many in this category.
22 Posted 19/12/2008 at 12:32:29
Good article nonetheless.
23 Posted 19/12/2008 at 18:14:12
A tremendous understanding and insight into the History of our beloved Club.
Keep up the good work - NY Blues.
24 Posted 19/12/2008 at 19:45:19
25 Posted 20/12/2008 at 10:22:53
26 Posted 20/12/2008 at 14:23:17
When they talk about an additional 12 to 15,000 supporters then it needs to be said that if we relocate within the city and the stadium is top class then we WOULD achieve this. An average stadium in Kirkby is going to lose us that amount.
27 Posted 20/12/2008 at 17:55:09
28 Posted 21/12/2008 at 14:47:43
"No matter where we end up, if EFC enjoy a future that we all want, they will have no trouble getting the extra 12 to 15 thousand."
Scary stuff that mate ? not as scary as it being based on the same assumptions made by the current board though:
?Returning to demonstrating future demand, have you conducted a survey of match going Evertonians as to what their requirements are??
"What evidence have you got that people will flock to the new corporate facilities at Kirkby, what research have you done, have you surveyed people??
Elstone: ?None, that I know of.?
The phrase ?on a wing and a prayer? comes quickly to mind.
29 Posted 22/12/2008 at 12:34:29
Then people like Jay Campbell have to spoil the mood with his usual bitching and moaning. Nothing is more certain... blah, blah, blah. In your opinion, you act like it?s fact. Can you see into the future? Everton, wherever they go, will still be strong, with or without you Jay.
Here?s looking forward to tonight?s game. COYB.
30 Posted 31/12/2008 at 15:44:20
Thanks to Ian, and also to Paul for an emotional event.
31 Posted 05/01/2009 at 23:55:28
My special greetings to Mr Elstone as well. He was extremely kind meeting with me last September at Goodison. Wishing the happiest 2009 to you... cheers!