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#ThrowbackThursday - Everton v Liverpool: Part One - 1894 to 1915

When you look at a map of Liverpool, one of the first things you'll notice is how much closer Anfield Road is to the Everton district of Liverpool than Goodison Park.  The fact of the matter is that the original tenants of Anfield were actually Everton and not Liverpool.  Everton were the original Merseyside club, founder members of the Football League and the first Merseyside league champions in 1891 whilst playing their home games at Anfield.  The foundation of Liverpool F.C. is directly linked to a dispute between Everton and their landlord at Anfield - John Houlding - a prominent member of Everton FC, as well as Conservative member of Liverpool City Council and later Lord Mayor of Liverpool, who earned his fortune in the brewery business.

Houlding had wanted Everton to purchase Anfield from him by floating the club, which would have led to it being owned by a small number of large shareholders. As a result, Everton left Anfield for a new Stadium to the north of Liverpool’s Stanley Park, meaning that Houlding was the owner of an empty stadium and so decided to found a club to fill it. The original colours of Houlding's new club were the same as Everton's traditional blue and white and the intended name of the new club was to be Everton Athletic, however objections raised by the FA to this brazen attempt of identity theft by Houlding meant that he had to make do with calling his new Anfield-based club Liverpool FC.

Liverpool’s new boss John McKenna therefore was required to build a new side from scratch.  With this being the era of the ‘Scotch Professors’, following on from the Scots early domination in the England v Scotland fixture and migrant early professionals which filled northern sides, such as the ‘invincibles’ of Preston North End, McKenna went north of the border to sign thirteen Scottish players (and hence, starting a tradition of Scots influence at the club which with Bill Shankly, Graeme Souness and Kenny Dalglish would last well into the next Century).  As a result, Liverpool became popularly known as the ‘Team of all the Macs’.


The newly-founded Liverpool FC enjoyed immediate success, winning the Lancashire League in their inaugural season of 1892/93. By the time of their second season Liverpool were accepted into the Football League to replace fellow Merseysiders Bootle, who resigned from the League due to financial difficulties.  Liverpool FC finished their first season as unbeaten Second Division champions (one of only three English sides to go unbeaten all season - the other two being Preston North End in 1888/89 and Arsenal in 2003/04).  Despite this, at the time the Second Division Champions needed to win a test match against the bottom placed side in the First Division. Liverpool went on to beat Newton Heath (later renamed Manchester United) 2-0 at Blackburn's Ewood Park, to take their place in the top flight. 

On achieving promotion to the old First Division, Liverpool came to meet Everton for the first time in Mid-October 1894 at Everton’s new home of Goodison Park.  The Toffees had topped the old First Division with seven straight wins, while Liverpool languished in thirteenth - in a Division of then sixteen sides – without a win, having drawn four and lost four of their eight matches played.  Ironically, in this first Merseyside Derby it was Liverpool who turned out in blue, while Everton’s first colours at the time had changed to red.  According to Everton’s official board minutes, the players were offered a winning incentive: ‘each player shall have a silk hat bonus, value 20 shillings, in addition to their bonus’.  In front of a crowd of 44,000, Everton ran out 3-0 winners.


Everton’s return to Anfield for the first time since their eviction in 1892 came a month later.  The Toffees’ winning run had ended in the interim with a defeat and two draws, but still topped the table by a two point margin.  Liverpool however picked up their first top flight win with a 2-1 win over Stoke at Anfield, though suffered two further defeats.  Everton took the lead on the half hour with a goal from Bob Kelso.  Liverpool equalised ten minutes into the second half, however Everton restored the lead with five minutes left to play before a last minute penalty from James Ross secured a point for Liverpool with a 2-2 draw.

By the end of the 1894/95 season, Everton remained in the title race until a 2-3 home defeat to Derby.  The following week came a head to head with League leaders Sunderland at Roker Park, where a 1-2 defeat ended Everton’s title run.  At the other end of the table, a failure to win their last three games saw Liverpool finish rock bottom and relegated back to the second tier.  They were promoted back to the top flight as Champions in 1895/96; however their fortunes changed in 1896 when they poached Sunderland manager Tom Watson, who had won three league titles in four seasons with the North East side.

Under Watson’s stewardship Liverpool secured their first win over Everton in late September 1897 with a 3-1 win at Anfield.  Watson changed Liverpool’s fortunes, bringing their first sustained title challenge in 1898/99.  That season, Liverpool bagged a 2-1 win at Goodison in late September to give them three wins out of four.  They met again the following January at Anfield, with Everton in second place while Liverpool stood in third and just two points separating the two sides.  A 2-0 win for Liverpool meant that the Reds overtook Everton on goal average.


Liverpool topped the table at the start of April, when Aston Villa in second place came to Goodison Park to play Everton.  The press on Merseyside mooted the idea that Everton would throw the game to unhinge the title challenge of their nearest rivals, the game however ended 1-1.  After Liverpool won four games on the trot they topped the table with one game left to play - the final game of the season being a League title head to head at Villa Park against Aston Villa.  Liverpool however found themselves five goals down by half time.  There was no further scoring in the second half, however a 0-5 hammering saw the title head to Villa Park, with Liverpool having to make do with the runners up spot.  Everton meanwhile finished five points behind in fourth.

The last Merseyside Derby of the nineteenth century took place in late September 1899.  Everton left Anfield with a 2-1 win.  The first Derby of the twentieth century came in late January 1900, with Everton winning 3-1 at Goodison Park.  By 1900/01, Liverpool were in the running for the title race again.  The Reds had won their first three games of the season, before visiting Goodison Park.  The two sides played out a 1-1 draw.  By the following January when Everton came to Anfield, Liverpool stood in seventh place while Everton were a point behind in eighth.  Two goals for Scottish centre half Jack Taylor gave Everton a 2-1 win, which saw the two clubs swap places in the table.

Liverpool were to lose one further game against Bolton in mid-February, before an unbeaten run of twelve games.  League leaders Sunderland lost pole position after a 0-1 away defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.  Liverpool went into their final game of the season against, needing only a draw to win the Championship.  A 1-0 away win over West Brom gave Left Liverpool their first ever title, while Everton sunk to seventh.  By January 1902 however, Liverpool’s first season as defending Champions saw them sink to twelfth place.  In contrast, Everton were four points off of the top of the table with a game in hand, in third place.

A 4-0 Everton hammering pushed the Toffees up to second place, where Liverpool would lay just three points off of the relegation zone in fourteenth.  Two weeks later, the two sides faced each other in the first round of the FA Cup at Anfield – the first Cup meeting between the two sides.  A 2-2 draw meant a replay back at Goodison Park five days later.  Liverpool progressed to the next round with a 2-0 win.  The two sides met five games into the 1902/03 season in Late September, with Everton sitting second bottom of the table, with just one point from their first four games.  This fixture would be the first Merseyside Derby captured for posterity, recorded by Blackburn based early filmmaking pioneers Mitchell and Kenyon.  Everton ran out 3-1 winners










On the scoresheet that day for the Toffees would be Sandy Young, who four years later would reach notoriety through scoring Everton’s winning goal in the 1906 FA Cup Final. Sandy would later emigrate to Australia, where he killed his own brother by shooting him after an argument. It’s also said that Young turned the gun on himself afterwards but miraculously survived the blast. Had Young been found guilty of murder he would have faced the death penalty, however the former Everton star was saved after an intervention from Goodison Park.

After a plea from members of Young’s immediate family, Everton sent written evidence to Australia from two doctors who were Everton board members, which stated that Young had received help for mental health issues during his time at Goodison Park, which saw his charge reduced from murder to manslaughter.  This Guardian article, which tells the story of Sandy Young, explains that he spent his jail time at Australia’s own version of Alcatraz, which is now Kylie Minogue’s £1 million holiday home. Ten months after release, Young returned to Britain and later died in a mental home in 1959 and was buried in an unmarked grave.


When the two sides met at Anfield in October 1903, Liverpool were sitting second from bottom having lost their first five games.  Everton in contrast were sixth, having won four of their six games played.  The two sides played out a 2-2 draw.  By the following April, with four games left to play Liverpool were one point from the bottom of the table.  Four goals from Sandy Young gave Everton a 5-2 win on Good Friday.  Twenty four hours on, Liverpool travelled to Middlesbrough and suffered a 0-1 defeat at Ayresome Park, which left them a point from safety having played one extra game than Stoke City one place above them.

Stoke then travelled to Goodison Park to play Everton away one week later and came away with a 1-0 win.  A 2-1 win also for West Brom left Liverpool rock bottom of the table with just two games left to play.  After a 3-0 home win over Bury, Liverpool need to win their final game of the season away at Blackburn, while reliant on fifteenth Derby County to beat Stoke even though a point for each side would ensure safety from the drop.  Liverpool went three goals up by half time, though Blackburn pulled one back with fifteen minutes to go, and after the home side converted a penalty on eighty five minutes, Liverpool hung on for a nervy five minutes for a 3-2 win.  A 1-1 draw between Derby and Stoke however saw Liverpool relegated back to the second tier.  Everton meanwhile finished third, four points behind League Champions Sheffield Wednesday.

In 1904/05, Everton and Liverpool were drawn together in the first round of the FA Cup in February.  Liverpool stood third in the second tier.  Everton in contrast topped the old First Division on goal average with a game in hand.  The two sides played out a 1-1 draw at Anfield, Four days later, the replay was played out at Goodison Park, with a 2-1 win for Everton.  The Toffees got to the Semi Final of the FA Cup, with hopes of an elusive double, before losing to Aston Villa in a replay at the City Ground.  Everton remained at the top of the table until mid-April before losing back to back games in two days, away to Manchester City on Good Friday and Woolwich Arsenal on Easter Saturday.

Everton won their final game on Easter Monday, however Man City and Newcastle stood within one point of them with one game to play on the final day Saturday of the season.  Man City suffered a 2-3 defeat away to Aston Villa, while a comprehensive 3-0 win for Newcastle over Middlesbrough meant that Everton missed out on the title by one point.  Liverpool meanwhile rode back to the top flight on the back of five straight wins, securing promotion with a 4-0 win over third place Man United on Easter Saturday and winning the second tier title with a victory in their last fixture.  On their return to the top flight, Liverpool lost their first three games, though when the Reds came to Goodison Park at the end of September, they were one place above the Toffees in fourteenth.  Everton ran out 4-2 winners.

By the end of March, Liverpool were four points clear at the top of the table while Everton languished mid-table in twelfth.  Liverpool had hopes of a League and Cup double, before meeting Everton in the FA Cup Semi Final at Villa Park.  The Toffees ran out 2-0 winners to progress to their third FA Cup Final, having previously lost their last two.  Before then came a visit to Anfield on Good Friday to face a Liverpool side which topped the League by four points with four games left to go.  The two sides played out a 1-1 draw, which edged Liverpool closer to the title.  Twenty four hours on, a 2-0 win away to Wolves for Liverpool, as well as second place Preston North End losing 0-3 at Stoke had meant that Liverpool needed just one more point to be League Champions on Easter Monday.

The Reds lost 2-3 to Bolton, however a 0-2 away defeat for Preston against Sunderland meant that Liverpool could not be caught and became the first side to win the Second and First Division titles in successive seasons.  Tom Watson also became the first manager to win the League title with two different club.  Everton meanwhile won the FA Cup at Crystal Palace with a 1-0 win over Newcastle, meaning that Merseyside collectively took both major prizes in the same season.  By 1908/09, Liverpool fell from a high of fifth place in mid-February and five points beneath Everton in second, to a run of one point from six games which saw a tumble to fourteenth place before their trip to Goodison Park on Good Friday. 

Everton in contrast stood second, but eight points behind Newcastle at the top of the table, with five games left to play.  Everton needed a victory to keep their title hopes alive and pulled off a 5-0 victory over the Reds at Goodison Park, which furthered Liverpool’s misery.  The run spread to one point from eight games, before finally picking up a win against Sunderland on Easter Monday, but ending up finishing two points off of relegation by the season’s close.  For Everton, their title hopes ended with a 2-2 draw with Man United on Easter Saturday.  For Liverpool, the polar opposite occurred the following season, when the Reds finished 1909/10 as runners up, but five points behind Champions Aston Villa.


During the 1910s however, this was the only season in which Liverpool managed a top half finish before the outbreak of the First World War.  For Everton in contrast, they would finish 1911/12 as runners up, as well as winning the last League title in 1914/15 before football halted for the remainder of the conflict.  On the way to the title, the Toffees picked up a 5-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield in October.  The following February however, Liverpool picked up a 3-1 win over Everton at Goodison, leaving Everton four points off of the top of the table.  Four straight wins for Everton during the month of April pushed Everton to the top of the table on goal average over Oldham, before a 0-2 home defeat for the Latics to Liverpool handed the title to the blue half of Merseyside for the first time in twenty four years.


The Everton players were due to play Chelsea on the final day of the season, but they were otherwise engaged playing in that year’s FA Cup Final at Old Trafford.  The Everton players took in the game in Manchester on the Saturday.  A reporter for Liverpool’s Evening Express stated in print that after the FA Cup Final he had imparted to the Everton players the good news, in that: ‘I came across (Everton trainer) Jack Elliott and the Everton players in the vicinity of the Old Trafford ground. They were waiting for taxi-cabs to take them to town, and the popular trainer was rather irritated over the delay, and he was saying things about taxis in general. However, I got hold of his arm and asked him if he had heard anything about Liverpool. He said he had heard nothing at all. When I told him that Liverpool had beaten Oldham the taxi-cabs were forgotten and the players crowded round to make sure that they had won the championship’.


Liverpool players that season however were in the habit of doing their rivals a favour and on Good Friday were involved in a betting scandal that enabled a 2-0 win for Man United in their fight to avoid relegation.  A more immediate concern for Liverpool however would be the death of their successful manager of nineteen years, Tom Watson who passed away after a short battle with Pneumonia.   Everton would hold the League Championship for the next four years and, though Liverpool and Everton however would play each other sixteen times throughout the First World War, the competitive game would cease for the rest of the duration of the First World War.


As will be seen tomorrow, though the War would disrupt the momentum of this title winning Everton side, Everton would rise up again during the interwar period on the back of greats such as Dixie Dean and Tommy Lawton.  Liverpool would also enjoy title winning success in the first few years following both wars.  The Merseyside Derby also would still remain a marquee event in the English football season.