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The Earliest Days

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Editor's Note: Below is a response to some of the points discussed in the comments posted to Kevin's article last month, Everton History Part 1: John Houlding.

Dear Editor, .... and Frank, Paul and Denis, and all the other respondents. Firstly, though, hope things get better, and soon.....

Now on to the contributions. Yes, I have been kindly sent a copy of Mr Murphy's article by the nice people in the Lord Mayor's Office. The trouble is that which I indicated, i.e. webs have been woven with weft which cannot bear the weight placed upon them. Without getting too boring here are just a few points.

1. S R Graves died suddenly in 1873; he was only 55 and on the brink of a stellar political career. As a historian I place great weight on the first draft of history as it emerges at the time; to wit, in this case, the obituaries of the day. The Mercury carried myriad column inches in the weeks following the event replete with eulogies, tributes, etc. The motto "De mortuis nil bonum" which as we all know counsels not speaking ill of the dead, was observed meticulously in all quarters. However not ONE ? as far as I could detect ? mentioned the ground-breaking initiative relating to the football field.

2. S R Graves was in Liverpool well before 1860, because in 1857 he was elected as Tory councillor (probably unopposed) for Pitt Street Ward. Which leads neatly to the last point I'll make.

3. He did not have a 'popularity' to soar in 1860, as it has been put, when he was elected as Mayor. In fact the most visible, and probably the most weighty, written comment on SRG was made by an obviously pained, and outflanked, supporter of the defeated candidate. That person went on at length about SRG's lack of experience and being too 'new' to be burdened with the great responsibilities of the role. The 'dig' about his Irish origins was quite constrained because, of course, SRG was not only a Protestant, but an Orangeman, a Conservative and a Shipowner ? so luckily evading having the biggest bricks being hurled at him.

I'll leave it there for now. Perhaps these, if slight, quibbles underline my need to delay making definitive statements.

As for what is happening on the field: I fear, (putting on my left-tilting hat) the quite imminent collapse of big-time football ? in which Liverpool, as a city, has played a glorious role for many years ? in the relatively 'isolated' areas of this country. By 'isolated' I don't mean geographically: I refer to certain areas being marginalised financially in 'globalised' terms. It just looks so like a rehearsal for the kind of 'franchising' reorganisation so clearly established ? and absolutely 'unbudgeable' (to coin a phrase) ? in major sport in the USA. So coming to us all soon: no problem in watching top class football. Problem is it will be limited to maybe six or seven really huge metropolitan sites. And it will all be available...... on television.

Slight difference though; it will all be hung on a European League. Sorry, but there are a growing number of warning signs for us to heed. Perhaps the speculation about BK's possible sharedealing initiative is another straw in the wind?

I leave you there, with thanks for your patience. I will most certainly link up with Paul Wharton.

Again, best wishes to all in the fair city of Liverpool. Thanks.
Kevin McCarthy, London     Posted 02/01/2011 at 18:03:57

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