Everton’s previous homes

Stanley Park

The club’s humble beginnings in the pioneering days of St. Domingo’s FC began at Stanley Park. The first game was played against St. Peter’s on the 20 December 1879, which St. Domingo’s won 6-0. The local newspapers only reported the score – no players names were mentioned. However, St. Domingo’s second match (also against St. Peter’s) is better documented. Once again the side triumphed over St. Peter’s – this time winning 4-0 with the side: Jones, Evans, Douglas, Chiles, Chalk, Morris, White, Brettle, Wade, Smith, Williams.

By 1882, crowds of over 2,000 began to watch ‘Everton’ on Stanley Park, which created problems for the club. It was then decided to rent a field off Priory Road from Mr. J. Cruitt of Coney Green.

The NSNO team play on Stanley Park over 100 years after their Everton idols

Players carried the goalposts themselves from the park lodge in Mill Lane and had to erect them themselves before marking the boundries of the pitch. There were no dressing rooms and fans simply lined the pitch.

Priory Road

Everton constructed a small stand and a dressing room at Priory Road, but the first game played there was a disappointment to the club. It was played between a Liverpool representative team and Walsall and yielded gate receipts of just 14 shillings (70p).

The club’s first success came on Priory Road when Everton defeated Earlestown in the final of the Liverpool Cup in 1884.

However, Everton’s cup win had repercussions for the club. Mr. Cruitt became fed up of the noise and unruly supporters on his land and told the club to find another ground.

Everton moved to Anfield, where they won their first ever championship.

Anfield

Once again, Everton did not own Anfield. The land was owned by local brewers, the Orrell brothers, who leased it to the club for an annual donation to Stanley Hospital. However, on arrival at Anfield, the ground had to be prepared.

Everton officials and players, helped by the fans, took up spades, hammers, nails and barrows and turned what was a pasture on Anfield Road into a football ground.

The first game to be played on Anfield was between Everton and Earlestown on 27 September 1884, six years before Liverpool Football Club was formed!

Not surprisingly, Everton won – this time 5-0!

The team for this occasion was Joliffe, McGill, Pickering, Preston, Parry, Berry, Richards, Whittle, Finlay, Higgins, Gibson.

Everton became a professional football club whilst at Anfield and played their first league fixture against Accrington Stanley at the ground on 8 September 1888.

The Blues wearing salmon pink shirts and navy shorts won 2-1 with the following players: Smalley, Dick, Ross, Holt, Jones, Dobson, Fleming (who scored both Everton’s goals), Waugh, Lewis, Chadwick and Farmer.

On 18 January 1890, Everton beat Derby County 11-2 in the FA Cup, the club’s record victory which was achieved at Anfield and just over a year later, in the 1890/91 season, Everton won their first championship – at the same ground in front of crowds up to 20,000!

Everton’s success soon brought trouble. The club’s president, John Houlding, had bought the ground and was now eager to extract more rent from the club and did so, by 150% in view of the larger crowds the club was attracting.

On 25 January, 1892, George Mahon who had grown tired of Houlding’s demands told members of the club that he had an option to buy Mere Green Field, situated on the north side of Stanley Park.

It was described as having ‘degenerated from a nursery into a howling desert.’ It was to become Everton’s home. It was to become Goodison Park.

However, Liverpool are still playing on Everton’s old ground. The current Anfield pitch is still on the same location as when Everton were crowned league champions in 1891!

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