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John McFarlane Snr
1 Posted 05/01/2021 at 19:06:43
Hi all, I somehow omitted the original 1954/55 season and submitted details of the 1955/56 campaign, I'll submit the correct details in part two. To tell the truth I flung my papers into the air when I learned that Danny Ings had scored for Southampton, and it appears that's the reason for the confusion, I will be more diligent in future.
Tony Shelby
2 Posted 05/01/2021 at 19:11:51
“Sky TV Confirms: No Evidence of Top-Flight Football Pre-1992”


John McFarlane Snr
3 Posted 05/01/2021 at 19:31:54
Hi Tony, earth shattering news to me, to think that for all these years the formation of the Football League consisting of 12 clubs rising to 92, and producing some famous players, was a second class organisation. We live and learn.

It's nice to know that Sky have moved in to rescue football when some, like myself, think that they've played a major role in doing the complete opposite. God bless Sky.

Will Mabon
4 Posted 05/01/2021 at 19:46:05
Thanks, John - very interesting. Some previously unheard facts too.
Will Mabon
5 Posted 05/01/2021 at 19:47:51
That Sky link not working for me. I'll find it another way.
John McFarlane Snr
6 Posted 05/01/2021 at 20:02:45
Hi Will, [4] it's just a sample of the football world as it was in my boyhood days, leading up to the formation of the Premier League. I don't doubt that the fans of today who decry the nostalgia expressed by my generation, will indulge in the same manner when they reach the 'Senior Citizen' stage.
Alan McGuffog
7 Posted 05/01/2021 at 20:10:20
There was, John... and when a student at Manchester University, I would often go to Maine Road and watch a player called Colin Bell. RIP.
Will Mabon
8 Posted 05/01/2021 at 20:10:30
You might be right, John. Gradually though, I think many younger people are realizing that some things in life probably were a little better in the past. Change does not always equate to progress today.
Dave Abrahams
9 Posted 05/01/2021 at 21:52:38
John, re Jimmy Glazzard scoring 5 for Huddersfield in that 8-2 game, now I know how good you are with the facts of games but I've always thought he scored 4; I remember Jimmy O'Neill was our goalie in that game.

Glazzard was a very good centre-forward, well past his best when we signed him for ٣,000, and he didn't last very long with the Blues. He had the distinction of scoring the winning goal in an FA Cup game versus Preston North End and saving a penalty by Tom Finney in the same game after he went in goal after the Huddersfield shot-stopper went off injured; no subs in those days.

I hope the younger fans on here get loads more great memories from the next few years than they've had up to now!!

John McFarlane Snr
10 Posted 05/01/2021 at 22:15:28
Hi again Dave [9],

Like yourself, I always believed that Glazzard scored four against us but, when I read it, I doubted myself. What I do know is that it was an Easter fixture and we won 2-1 at Goodison and the following day they beat us 8-2 at Leeds Road. I should have trusted my memory.

Dave Abrahams
11 Posted 05/01/2021 at 22:44:28
John (10),

Either way. it was a very good achievement, four or five goals in one game, all headers, Vic Metcalfe was an English international left-winger, I remember him well.

That Arsenal v Norwich cup game, no recollection of it in 1953-54 but I wouldn't mind betting Terry Bly scored one of the goals for Norwich. I think he holds the record for the most league goals in one season since the Second World War: 52, in the Third Division South; nevertheless, still some feat.

By the way, we, The Blues scored 20 goals in three games that season, vs Plymouth, Derby County and Brentford. I'm not sure if they were three successive games, possibly two of them were away games.

Tony Heron
12 Posted 06/01/2021 at 17:43:57
Fascinating read as always John. Being born in 1950 my football memories don't go back as far as yours.

The first game I can recall attending would have been probably mid to late '50s when my brother took me on the crossbar of his bike to Anfield. He was a Red and we went to watch a Liverpool Senior Cup game v Everton, which, as Liverpool were in the old 2nd Division, was the only way there could be a derby game.

My brother sat me on the wall by the goal at the kop end where I was hit by the ball and knocked off during an attack but I don't know which team was responsible.

It wasn't till 1961, I think, that a friend took me to Goodison and I was hooked. The game was against Arsenal with Jack Kelsey in goal for the visitors.

We had Bobby Collins at inside left with Alex Young and Roy Vernon up front. Albert Dunlop was our custodian, Alex Parker and Mick Meaghan full-backs. Labone, Jimmy Harris and Jimmy Gabriel were also involved I think.

So, unless I've dreamt all this, football definitely did exist before 1992, only not as we now know it. Before, it was actually entertaining!

John McFarlane Snr
13 Posted 06/01/2021 at 19:15:11
Hi Tony [12],

I don't know if you were able to access the link that Tony Shelby [2] posted, it would appear to be a sarcastic windup to me. I could put it up as a post if you require, and you could then decide what you make of it.

Andy Crooks
14 Posted 06/01/2021 at 19:47:18
John, it seems to me that Tony's post @2 was an excellent and clever endorsement of your original article. Hope you are well, by the way and that we will be meeting up soon.
John McFarlane Snr
15 Posted 06/01/2021 at 21:01:24
Hi Andy [14],

It annoys me when I hear "That's an all-time record for the Premier League" – technically they're correct, but I think to disregard the achievements of clubs from 1888-89 to 1991-92 is disrespectful. I particularly dislike the comments, "It's fair to say then, that the First Division was just an amateur League that, although entertaining, could not be considered a proper English top-flight League like the Premiership." I still believe that it was a windup, if not it's arrogance of the highest order. I'm quite well Andy and I too look forward to another get-together.

Tony Heron
16 Posted 06/01/2021 at 21:36:54
Hi John. Yes I read that link. I've taken it as a wind up, if it isn't then I don't believe it's worth spending a second commenting on it. I honestly believe that the way the game is going and the way it prostitutes itself with TV that it will eventually suffer to the point of killing itself.
Ron Marr
17 Posted 07/01/2021 at 01:27:54
Great stuff, John. Good to see you back. I was surprised to read that Brian Close played football.
Ian Jones
18 Posted 07/01/2021 at 08:02:00
The link is to a satirical website publishing spoof articles. Sometimes these are actually well written and funny!

There was one sometime ago that a friend who supports Liverpool sent through to me. The ward was:

TV Pundits Vote Liverpool FC “Greatest Football Club Of All Time”

He was taken in by it and refused to believe it wasn't a true award. I did point out that all the pundits voting were ex Reds. :)

Back to the original article, great read. Not my era but really interesting. Look forward to the next part.

John McFarlane Snr
19 Posted 07/01/2021 at 13:39:52
Hi Tony [16] and Ian [18],

My first instinct was that it was a windup, but in the crazy world of the modern media one can never be certain.

Hi Ron [17],

There have been many cricketing footballers but, like yourself, I was unaware of Brian Close being one of them. The most notable were Willie Watson (Huddersfield Town) and Denis Compton and Arthur Milton (both of Arsenal). All three were capped by England at both sports.

I take a chance in submitting my articles because I know that fans are, quite naturally, immersed in the topics and problems of today. I just feel that my posts can remind older fans of bygone days, and can give younger fans an insight into the game as we knew it.

Ian Jones
20 Posted 07/01/2021 at 14:21:12
John, Jim Cumbes was the only cricketer / footballer I can remember... and now I come to think of it, perhaps Ian Botham gets an honorary mention, both from eras later than the years of your post.
Alan McGuffog
21 Posted 07/01/2021 at 14:46:54
Ian... didn't Man Utd have someone, in the sixties / seventies who played for Lancs?
Chris Williams
22 Posted 07/01/2021 at 14:48:02
Ian and John,

I think Jim Standen of West Ham was another who played both. Another goalkeeper.

Never capped, but a decent player at both.

Terry White
23 Posted 07/01/2021 at 15:09:20
John and Dave, #s 9-11, according to Steve Johnson's excellent site, Everton Results, Glazzard's 4 goals in Huddersfield's 8-2 defeat of us did come the day after we beat them 2--1 at Goodison with Ted Buckle scoring 2 for us and one of John McF.'s favourites, Jock Lindsay, putting the ball past Jimmy O'Neill to open the scoring.

I find it interesting that there were over 48,000 in attendance at Goodison and that our opponents were actually in 2nd place in the old First Division while we were toiling around 14th and 15th.

Ed Fitzgerald
24 Posted 07/01/2021 at 15:13:02
Hi Alan

I think you are recalling the wonderfully named Arnold Sidebottom who played for Man Utd and cricket for Yorkshire. I think he may have a cap for England too and I have a feeling he was born in Scotland.

Ed Fitzgerald
25 Posted 07/01/2021 at 15:16:38
Bit of research reveals Arnie Sidebottom was born in god's own county/country – Yorkshire.
Chris Williams
26 Posted 07/01/2021 at 15:32:44

Well remembered. Arnie played one Test for England I think, and his lad Ryan, played a lot for England in all formats.

A few decent cricketers played for Everton once upon a time. See the recent George Sharples article and I remember there was an annual fixture between Everton FC and Bootle CC back in the 60s. I think Brian Harris was pretty useful.

Alan McGuffog
27 Posted 07/01/2021 at 15:32:46
Sidebottom... that's the fella, Ed. I imagine he just wished he played for Lancs, wouldn't you agree?
Don Alexander
28 Posted 07/01/2021 at 15:41:29
Harry Makepeace played over 300 games for Everton and won four England caps. He played cricket for Lancashire for over 20 years too, again winning four England caps.

More recently Chris Balderstone played cricket for Leicester and England and football for Carlisle United when they were in the first division.

Good article John, thanks.

John McFarlane Snr
29 Posted 07/01/2021 at 15:48:00
Hi all, I've done a little research and there are multiple footballers/cricketers, too many to give career details, but they include Raich Carter, and Ray Swallow [Derbyshire] and Jack Dyson [Lancashire], along with the players already mentioned.

There are so many that it would be possible to construct an article on the subject, if anyone had the inclination.

Ed Fitzgerald
30 Posted 07/01/2021 at 15:55:08
I've just remembered another Jimmy Cumbes thinks that how you spell his name – goalie at Villa, Tranmere and played for Lancashire and perhaps Warwickshire?
John McFarlane Snr
31 Posted 07/01/2021 at 15:58:01
Hi again [all], I meant to add as a footnote, the annual match between Bootle CC and Everton FC, held Wadham Road, older fans will recall those fixtures.
Tony Heron
32 Posted 07/01/2021 at 16:18:58
Hi Don @28, I remember Chris Balderstone well. He was, I think, a midfielder with Carlisle. He played cricket for England and later became an umpire, can't remember if he did a Test Match but certainly an ODI.
Derek Taylor
33 Posted 07/01/2021 at 16:46:12
In 1975, Balderstone became the first (and only?) man to play both County Championship cricket and League football on the same day.

He was 51 not out for Leicestershire at the end of a day's play and then travelled to Doncaster to play soccer against Brentford. Returning to Leicestershire the following day, he continued his innings to complete a century and went on to take three wickets!

Later that season, he gained an England cap for cricket and later completed his sporting career as a First Class Umpire.

Andy Crooks
34 Posted 07/01/2021 at 16:48:31
Tony, I recall Chris Balderstone playing for England. He was of the Chris Tavare school of run getting; scoring, I believe, 11 runs in an afternoon of scintillating bat throwing.
John McFarlane Snr
35 Posted 08/01/2021 at 16:02:36
Hi Tony [32] Derek [33] Andy [34]

As I stated in an earlier post, there have been many who have played both cricket and football, but the most famous in the Merseyside area is the ex-Everton player Jack Sharp, who played for England at both sports. When he retired he opened a sports shop on Whitechapel, and his logo featured a sportsman dressed in football gear down one side, and cricket gear on the other, with the words "Jack O' Both Sides"

I have no doubt that a lot of fans who played street football will be familiar with the frustration experienced, if you wanted join in and you couldn't, because the sides were equally matched. You had to wait for someone to come along when you could both go 'Pudding or Beef'.

Those of my generation could go 'Jack O' Bo' but that had it's drawbacks, because you could pass the ball to 'Jack O Bo' inadvertently, and he would punish you by scoring against your side. Happy Days!

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