#FlashbackFriday Everton v Liverpool: Part Two - 1919 to 1955
The first Merseyside Derby between the two sides after the hostilities came five days ahead of Christmas 1919. Everton stood ninth, while Liverpool were only four points off of the relegation zone in eighteenth. After a gap of nearly five years between competitive matches between the two sides, the two sides played out a 0-0 draw. Lining up for Everton at outside left meanwhile was Beatle namesake George Harrison, who turned out for the Toffees for a decade as well as two appearances for England during the 1920s. In a further link to the 1960s Beat era, on retirement Harrison ran a pub called the Rising Sun (number one for the Animals in 1964). Sadly, after suffering a long illness, Harrison took his own life in 1939. It’s doubted whether George was related to the famed Beatle, who himself said on Football: ‘There are three teams in Liverpool and I prefer the other one’.
One week later at Anfield, Liverpool bagged the first post-WW1 Merseyside Derby victory with a 3-1 win. Liverpool finished the 1919/20 season in fourth. Reigning Champions Everton meanwhile finished in sixteenth place, but only two points above the relegation zone. When the two sides played each other at Anfield the following October, Everton topped the table with Liverpool just two points behind in fourth. In front of a crowd of 50,000, Liverpool ran out 1-0 winners. One week later back at Goodison Park, Liverpool bagged a 3-0 victory which saw them overhaul their neighbours in second place and only kept off the top by goal average. Everton meanwhile slipped to fourth.
Liverpool finished 1920/21 in fourth place, while Everton came seventh. In 1921/22, two sides met over the course of a week once again in November. In early November, Liverpool were one point behind leaders Burnley. Everton meanwhile sat in mid-table. The two sides played out back to back 1-1 draws at Goodison Park on the day of Guy Fawkes night and then at Anfield a week later, by the end of which Liverpool were only kept off the top of the table on goal average. By Easter Monday, a 2-1 win for Liverpool at Anfield bagged the Reds their first title for sixteen years, after second place Tottenham suffered a 0-1 away defeat to Oldham Athletic. Everton meanwhile only ensured survival in the top tier with a 2-0 win over third placed Burnley at Goodison Park.
Everton visited the reigning Champions at Anfield in early October 1922, with the Reds topping the old First Division on goal average. In front of 54,386 spectators, a Harry Chambers hat-trick aided a 5-1 win for the Reds. One week later at Goodison Park, Liverpool made it back to back wins with a 1-0 victory. By the following April, Liverpool also made it back to back League titles – the first team to do so for nineteen years – while Everton finished eighth. Among high scoring Merseyside Derbies during the Mid-1920s included a 5-1 win for Liverpool at Anfield in late September and a hat-trick for Dick Forshaw, which had been the first Derby in which Dixie Dean turned out for Everton. Dean’s first goal against Liverpool came in a 3-3 draw at Goodison Park the following February.
Everton finished the 1926/27 season in twentieth position, therefore hopes were not too great ahead of the 1927/28 season. Liverpool came to Goodison Park in Mid-October in ninth place, while Everton stood third having won just four games of the nine already played. Footage of the game was captured by a Movietone silent News bulletin, which told of a ‘crowd packed to suffocation’ (and the footage shows that very nearly to be the case!). In front of a crowd of 65,729, the two sides played out a 1-1 draw.
What kick started Everton’s season into overdrive however was their fixture the following week against a West Ham side which had topped the table after winning six of their first eight games. In Dixie Dean’s absence, Everton hammered West Ham 7-0, leading to a run of four straight wins.
By the time of Everton’s visit to Anfield that season the following February, the Toffees topped the table and had already scored seventy three goals (forty alone from Dixie Dean), however had only picked up four points from a possible ten since the turn of the year with back to back defeats that included a 1-4 loss at Huddersfield and 2-5 home defeat to Spurs. Liverpool meanwhile stood in thirteenth place. At Anfield, the Reds took the lead on five minutes, before an equaliser from Dixie Dean. Dean grabbed a second five minutes before half time to give Everton the lead and grabbed a hat-trick on the hour to put Everton 3-1 up.
The Toffees held their two goal margin until the last seventeen minutes when goals from Tom Bromilow and an equaliser from South African Gordon Hodgson – playing his first game since coming down with Pneumonia in December – earned the Reds a point with a 3-3 draw. With regard to the rest of the season, by mid-March, after back to back defeats Everton found themselves four points behind Huddersfield Town having played one game more, with just nine games left to play. The Toffees went unbeaten for the remainder of the season, including four straight wins before a 0-3 defeat for Huddersfield to Aston Villa handed Everton the title.
Everton met Arsenal on the final day of the season, with Dixie Dean now standing two goals behind the football league record set the previous season by Middlesbrough’s George Camsell. With seven minutes left to play, Dean bagged his hat-trick in a 3-3 draw which set a new record of sixty goals which still stands to this day, and is highly unlikely to be bettered any time soon. Dixie led Everton to an FA Cup win the following season, but the Toffees had sunk to eighteenth after losing eight of their last nine games. Three games into the 1929/30 season, Everton headed to Anfield to meet Liverpool on the back of two draws. With two goals for Dixie Dean and another for George Martin (namesake of the late Beatles producer) gave Everton a 3-0 win and their first League victory since the previous March.
It wasn’t however a sign of things to come for the Toffees, as by the time of Liverpool’s visit to Goodison Park the following January, Everton stood second from bottom after four straight losses over the Christmas period, while Liverpool in contrast had won four of their last five games and stood in seventh place. By five minutes into the second half, Everton held a two goal lead, before Liverpool pulled one back. A minute later, Dixie Dean bagged his second to restore Everton’s two goal cushion. In the last two minutes however, two goals for Liverpool earned the Reds a 3-3 draw.
After a run of six straight defeats and a 2-4 home loss to second bottom Grimsby Town, Everton found themselves four points adrift of safety with just five games left to play. The Toffees staged a mini revival going into their final fixture with three wins out of four and one point from safety. Ahead of their final fixture with ninth placed Sunderland at Goodison Park, The Liverpool Post reported on an anonymous letter suggesting that the game had been ‘squared’ beforehand. The Everton board in a statement dismissed this stating: ‘we would rather go into the fourth division…it is plain the anonymous man has a diseased mind’. Despite a 4-1 win over, all of the other bottom five sides with a chance of dropping out of the top tier also won their fixtures, consigning Football League founder members Everton to their first ever relegation.
Everton returned as Second tier champions in 1930/31 by a seven point margin. The first Merseyside Derby on Everton’s return came in September 1931 at Anfield after losing two of their first three games, as had Liverpool. A hat-trick for Dixie Dean in just over twenty minutes gave Everton a 3-1 win. Everton stood atop of the old First Division, when they were drawn at home to Liverpool in the third round of the FA Cup. Despite Dixie Dean giving Everton a first minute lead, the Reds ran out 2-1 winners, leaving Everton to concentrate on their League title push.
Two weeks later, two sides met again at Goodison in the League, where this time Everton ran out 2-1 winners. By the end of April, Everton held off a late challenge from reigning Champions Arsenal to win the League title in their first season back up.
For the remainder of the 1930s, it was a rarity for either Merseyside team to be placed within the top end of the old First Division. Games of note include an extraordinary meeting between the two sides in February 1933 which resulted in the highest scoring Merseyside Derby. Dixie Dean opened the scoring on eight minutes. Nine minutes before half time however the Toffees found themselves 1-3 down, before Tommy Johnson pulled one back for Everton before the break. By the last quarter of an hour of the game, Liverpool had extended their lead to 5-2, before Dixie Dean grabbed his second. A minute later, Harold Barton made it 6-3 to Liverpool and with five minutes to go Harold Barton added a seventh. Jimmy Stein grabbed a consolation goal for Everton with three minutes left, but couldn’t prevent an incredible 7-4 win for Liverpool.
In September 1935, for the third game into the 1935/36 season Everton visited Anfield. Four goals for Fred Howe and two for Gordon Hodgson gave Liverpool a 6-0 win. It was the Reds first win of the season, however the following week they themselves suffered a 0-6 battering away to Man City, the week after that however was a 7-2 win for Liverpool over Grimsby Town at Anfield – an incredible twenty one goals in three games! Turning out for Liverpool around this period at full back was a player called Tommy Cooper. Like his comedian namesake, the Liverpool full back also died in action, though in this instance in his role with the Military Police in June 1940 at the age of just thirty six. The tragic Cooper was involved in a head on collision with a double decker bus. An enquiry took place into his death brought the outcome of an order that despatch riders were no longer allowed to ride motorcycles without wearing a crash helmet.
Twelve months on, a 2-0 win for Everton over Liverpool at Goodison Park saw the last goal for Dixie Dean in a Merseyside side Derby, taking his tally to nineteen – a record which stood until surpassed by Liverpool’s Ian Rush during the 1989 FA Cup Final. Lining up for Liverpool at Right Half and Captain that afternoon was future Man United managerial legend Matt Busby (name checked on the Beatles’ track ‘Dig it’ on the ‘Let it Be’ album). Dixie Dean was dropped from the Everton team and sold to Notts County in 1937. His replacement would be the equally prolific Tommy Lawton, who bagged his first goal in a Merseyside Derby in October 1937, in a 2-1 away win for Everton at Anfield.
On the back of Lawton’s form, Everton hatched a title challenge in 1938/39. That season they met Liverpool at Goodison in early October. The Toffees topped the table with six wins in their first seven games. Liverpool however also won five of their first seven games. Goals for the excellently named Wally Boyes and Stan Betham gave Everton a 2-1 win. Lining up for Everton at Centre Half had been a Welsh player called Tom Jones. In 1946, AS Roma had successfully bid for Jones. As seen in the post-war era with players such as Ian Rush and John Charles, a Welsh man playing in Serie A was not unusual, though back then foreign exchange regulations stopped the transfer dead in its tracks.
By now, Liverpool had three South Africans turning out for them in the first team – Arthur Riley, Harman Van Den Berg, Berry Nieuwenhuys. The long history of trading links with the Boer regime led to Liverpool employing a scout whom Liverpool recruited several players of South African origin on the advice of. Other Boers in the Liverpool set up between the wars include their then record goal scorer Gordon Hodgson, as well as Charlie Thompson, Lance Carr, Dirk Kemp and Bob Priday. By the following February ahead of Everton’s visit to Anfield, the Toffees were one point behind League leaders Derby County with a game in hand. Liverpool meanwhile were six points behind in fourth.
Two goals for Tommy Lawton aided a 3-0 win for Everton which took them back to the top of the table. By April, despite a 1-2 away defeat to Charlton Everton secured the League title after second place Wolves drew away at Bolton. Unfortunately, the Toffees were not able to capitalise on their triumph due to the outbreak of the Second World War just four months later, with competitive football halted for seven years. The two sides played each other in war time friendlies in the interim on thirty six occasions. Football resumed in 1946/47, with the first post-war Merseyside Derby taking place in late September 1946, which ended in a 0-0 draw.
By Mid-January, Liverpool had suffered three straight defeats which saw them tumble from second place to fifth. Defending Champions Everton meanwhile were languishing in sixteenth. A 1-0 win for Everton made it four defeats on the bounce. A cold winter and the non-permitting of floodlight fixtures meant that the season stretched into June. On May 26th, Man United – now managed by former Liverpool star Matt Busby - finished their fixtures with a thumping 6-2 win over Sheffield United which meant that they stood in second place by 0.04 of a goal on goal average behind Wolves. By this point as many as four teams were still able to win the title, including fourth placed Liverpool who were one point behind.
On May 31st, Liverpool travelled to Molineux for a championship head to head with League leaders Wolves in eighty degree heat. Liverpool took a two goal first half lead with goals from Jack Balmer and the USA-raised Albert Stubbins (who twenty years later appeared on the front cover of the Beatles’ famed ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club’ album). In the second half, Wolves pulled a goal back from Jimmy Dunne mid-way through the half. Liverpool however held on for a 2-1 win which took them to the top of the table. The title however was still not resolved, with Stanley Matthews and Stoke City still able to catch Liverpool at the top of the table and, with a better goal average, needed only to win on their final fixture away to Sheffield United two weeks later, to seize the title.
A 1-2 defeat for Stoke City however confirmed Liverpool as Champions for the first time in twenty three years. That same day, Liverpool participated in the Final of the Liverpool Senior Cup Final against Everton at Anfield. The title was decided at Bramall Lane while this match took place. The Reds secured a unique double of winning two trophies simultaneously, securing the Liverpool Senior Cup with a 2-1 win. Liverpool’s title defence in 1947/48 saw an underwhelming eleventh place finish, however scored an aggregate of seven goals over Everton – a 3-0 win at Goodison in late September in front of a 66,776 crowd and a 4-0 win at Anfield in Late April.
After three straight draws – which included a record crowd of 78,299 for a Merseyside Derby in September 1948, who witnessed a 1-1 draw – Liverpool met Everton on Christmas Eve of 1949, where the Reds ran out 3-1 winners. The following March, the two sides met again for the first all-Merseyside Semi Final for forty four years at Manchester’s Maine Road Stadium. Goals for Billy Liddle and future boot room legend Bob Paisley secured a 2-0 win for the Reds and their passage to meet Arsenal in the 1950 FA Cup Final (Liverpool however would go on to lose 0-2 to the North London side).
Football on Merseyside however during the 1950s would go into some form of a decline (most probably why none of the Beatles actually formed any form of affinity with the game during their youth to avidly follow either the Red or Blue half of Merseyside). Everton suffered two eighteenth place finishes in 1948/49 and 1949/50, before becoming embroiled in a fully-fledged relegation battle in 1950/51. By September 1950, Everton won just two of their first eight league games, while Liverpool with four wins out of seven stood sixth. In front of a crowd of 71,150, Everton crashed to a 1-3 defeat. By the following January, Everton stood in seventeenth ahead of their visit to Anfield.
Two goals for Jimmy McIntosh gave Everton a 2-0 win, which gave them a three point cushion from the relegation zone. Unbeknown to Evertonians however, this would be their final League fixture with their Merseyside neighbours for the next eleven and a half years. Ahead of their final game of the 1950/51 season, Everton had a two point cushion from the relegation zone and needed just a point over bottom placed Sheffield Wednesday to ensure safety. According to the Evening Express Newspaper: ‘Liverpool were among the many who sent telegrams of good wishes to the Blues who had thousands of Evertonians present to cheer on their favourities in a great “Life and death battle’ Incredibly, Everton crashed to a 0-6 defeat at Hillsborough which consigned them to the drop.
Also, despite winning by such an astronomical score, Chelsea’s fourth straight win – a 4-0 home win over Bolton Wanderers – meant that both participating teams would be relegated. Everton have spent more seasons in the top flight of English football than any other side, however during the early 1950s they would suffer their longest spell outside of the top tier. In 1952/53, the Toffees suffered their lowest ever finish as their former pre-war title winning star Joe Mercer led Arsenal to the First Division title, their lowest ebb being an 2-8 thrashing to Huddersfield Town over Easter.
Merseyside has also had a team in the top tier of English football for every season since the inception of the Football League in 1888. However, when Everton secured their passage back to the top flight in May 1954 with a 4-0 away win over Oldham at Boundary Park, passing them on the way down would be Liverpool, who – similar to Everton’s relegation in 1951 – would be involved in a http://www.lfchistory.net/Articles/Article/1265 4-1 victory at Anfield over Middlesbrough, though a 2-2 draw between nineteenth and twentieth placed Sheffield United and Sunderland at Bramall Lane mean that both sides faced relegation. There would be no quick return for Liverpool to the top flight, though would meet top flight Everton again when the two sides were drawn together in the fourth round of the FA Cup in 1955 at Goodison Park.
At the time, Everton stood in seventh place in the top flight, while Liverpool languished in fourth place in the second tier. It’s hard to imagine any Liverpool fan considering a victory over Everton to be a ‘giant-killing’, however in this strange incidence it certainly was. In front of a crowd of 72,000, goals for Billy Liddle, Alan A’Court and two for John Evans meant a 4-0 hammering for Everton.
The result however would be a false dawn for Liverpool, who remained in the second tier for as long as eight years, before returning as Second tier Champions under Bill Shankly in 1962.
As will be seen in Part Three, which will follow when the two sides meet again next April, Liverpool’s rise back to the top tier would also coincide with a rise back to prominence for Everton after spending much of the late 1950s in the bottom half of the old First Division.
Off the pitch, there would also be the involvement of the Moores’ Family fortune – attained through their Littlewoods Football Pools Empire – who actually held sway at both clubs. The rise of the two Mersey clubs back to prominence would also coincide with the growth of the television era and caught for posterity on the BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’ and Granada’s ‘Kick off Match’