John Houlding, Anfield and the vote that birthed Liverpool FC

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Liverpool FC will mark its 128th year on June 3, but March 15 marks the anniversary of the vote that ultimately birthed the club we know and love today.

March 15, 1892 saw John Houlding deemed unfit to run Everton Football Club, with a general meeting ushering in the reign of George Mahon, formerly a director, as new chairman.

Everton had moved into the Anfield stadium in 1884, but a disagreement between Houlding and the club’s board of directors over the long-term tenancy saw them move out just eight years later.

A meeting was called to inform that Houlding had “lost the confidence of the members of the club” after his attempt to form a new company with the Everton name was dismissed by the FA.

With 500 attending the meeting, only 18 voted in Houlding’s favour, which left the former chairman with an empty stadium and without a team.

This led to the formation of a new club, Liverpool FC, on June 3, 1892, with two of those who also split from Everton at the time, William Barclay and John McKenna, going on to serve as manager.

Barclay—vice-chairman and, for a short spell, manager at Everton—won the Second Division with the club twice, in 1893/94 and 1895/96, while McKenna still technically boasts the club’s best-ever winning percentage.

McKenna did only lead the Reds into 36 games, winning 25 of those, but his 69.44 percent rate of victories ensures he remains above Jurgen Klopp (61.33%), who has recorded the second-best so far.

Houlding was defiant that day on Royal Street, with his entrance timed dramatically as Mahon attempted to began proceedings, and though he was not successful in the vote, the decision paid off in the long term.

With Everton moving to Goodison Park, a short walk across Stanley Park, a long-running rivalry was established between the Blues and Liverpool.

Everton had won the First Division title in 1890/91, but their next of nine in total would come in 1914/15, with Liverpool winning it twice in between, in 1900/01 and 1905/06.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Friday, November 9, 2018: A newly installed bust of Liverpool Football Club's founder John Houlding, a sculpture by artist Tom Murphy, to celebrate the club's 125th anniversary, outside Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool have now lifted the top-tier trophy 18 times in their history, with another likely to land at Houlding’s old stadium in 2019/20.

Today, his bust is on display outside Anfield, having been installed in 2018, with CEO Peter Moore explaining that it “looks proudly upon our Main Stand.”

While the Everton board may have lost confidence in Houlding and his cohort, his confidence in the club he formed in 1892 and the stadium he owned on Anfield Road has built a legacy for Liverpool Football Club to this day.

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