The Stanley Park Three

Thomas Marriott, Richard Morris and John Pickering played together at Everton in the 1880s

Tony Onslow 29/01/2021 3comments  |  Jump to last

The names of Marriott, Morris, and Pickering might not instantly come to mind when mentioning former members of Everton Football Club but they played a major defensive role during their formative years on Stanley Park. The first of this trio to appear there was Thomas Marriott.

He was born on 4 February 1861 and was the third son of Mary and her husband, John, who worked as a cotton porter. The family were, at that time, living at 2 Duke Street but, by 1881, they were living in better surroundings at Gray Rock Street where Thomas was working as a clerk. He first played at full-back alongside Tom Evans, from whose experience all three were to benefit during the season of 1880-81, after which he was partnered by a man from the North-East of England.

Richard William Morris, born in 1862, was the son of John, a sergeant major with the South Durham Militia, and his wife, Harriet. They were then living at Scar Cottage, Bernard Castle in County Durham. Richard was residing at this address and working as a gardener when the census was taken on 3 April 1881 but on, the 13th of the same month, he was recorded as attending the Everton AGM at the Queen's Head Tavern in Liverpool.

Marriott and Morris first appear to gather against Chester in the opening game of the season on Stanley Park. The Everton side, which changed week by week, were eliminated from the Lancashire FA knockout at Turton, but it is the game with Bootle that attracted the largest number of spectators. Next season saw the formation of the Liverpool & District FA while Richard Morris was promoted to the role of Everton captain.

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On 11 November 1882, the Everton team travel to Wrexham where John Pickering made his debut. The fourth child of Yorkshire-born parents, Richard and Louisa, he first saw the light of day on 21 October 1865 when the family lived on Netherfield Road in Everton. The 1881 census shows that they had moved to Roxburgh Street in Walton and John was serving an apprenticeship to become a plumber. He first played for the Everton 2nd XI before taking part in the game at Wrexham where the visitors lost 5-3.

Elsewhere on Merseyside, Bootle – thanks to the introduction of guest players –became the strongest team as they beat Everton at home and on Stanley Park before eliminating them on the enclosed ground belonging to Liverpool College in the inaugural Liverpool FA knockout. Nevertheless, the game played on Stanley Park had been overwhelmed by the size of the crowd, so Everton began next season on an enclosed ground on Lower Arkles Lane.

Merriott, Morris and Pickering were to form the backbone of the Everton defence during the one season they played at this location that saw them reach the final of the local knockout. All three players took part in the game with Earlestown at Bootle which saw Everton win their first piece of silverware with a 1-0 victory. Next season, they moved to a new enclosure on Walton Breck Road.

John Pickering was the only player to take part in the inaugural game, which saw Everton beat Earlestown 5-0, but the trio were soon to gather as the season progressed. The Stanley Park Three again took part in the final of the Liverpool knockout, played at Bootle, where Everton surrendered the trophy to Earlestown when they lost 1-0. Nevertheless, the quality of the fixture list had now improved, which led to the club executive to engage the professional services of Welsh International players, Job Wilding and George Farmer. They also offered the same terms to George Dobson.

The former Bolton Wanderers man was immediately made club captain and took the place of Richard Morris at full-back. Tom Marriott accompanied him throughout the season and both players were present when Everton retained the Liverpool Cup with a 1-0 victory over Bootle.

John Pickering, who had made spasmodic appearances throughout the season, left the club to join Oakfield Rovers and was in the side that lost to Everton in the 1887 Liverpool Cup final. The three former Stanley Park players, following their retirement from the game, spent the rest of their days living in Liverpool.

Everton team 1883-84

Richard Morris was still working as a gardener when. on 27 December 1885, he married Hannah Mason at Holy Trinity church in Wavertree and both parties listed this area as their place of residence. At the time of the 1901 census, the family, who had five children, were living at 12 Rose Lane in Mossley Hill where the head of household was working as a coachman. He later moved to 28 Rose Lane where he became a goods trader and was employing the younger members of his family when he died in April 1936.

According to the 1891 census, John Pickering was still living in Walton when he married Hannah Harper at the parish church of St Mary on 18 September 1892. The couple then set up home at nearby Chepstow Street where they raised a family. John had become a successful coal dealer at the time of his death in January 1928.

John Marriott, who always guarded his amateur status, was leading the Everton appearances index when he played his last senior game against Burnley in April 1887. His regular place had by then been taken by Sandy Dick, a professional player who originated from Kilmarnock. Marriott was living at 24 Tyne Street when he married Jeanie Hughes on 16 July 1889 at Holy Trinity church on Breck Road. The 1901 census lists the family, which contained two children, living at Handfield Road in Waterloo where they employed a domestic servant. Thomas Marriott had obtained the rank of office manager at the time of his death in July 1909.

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Reader Comments (3)

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Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
1 Posted 30/01/2021 at 10:47:36
Interesting historical material, as ever, Tony.

I assume the Liverpool FA knockout is what we know now as the Liverpool Senior Cup? Any idea when it was given that name?

I don't recall how much of this very early period in our history is described by Thomas Keates... maybe it's mentioned in there?
Tony Onslow
2 Posted 30/01/2021 at 21:15:04
Junior Cup was first put up for competition in 1886.
Brian Murray
3 Posted 31/01/2021 at 18:23:51
The Liverpool denier cup was a proper competition and added a bit to dixies derby match record Oh and by the way he still holds the record not Rush. The monster they created ( screen sport super cup ) was a sort of substitute for us being banned in Europe. In other words null and void because rush scored four in it v us.

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