45 incredible Liverpool FC photos of Reds in the early 20th century

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Liverpool Football Club was founded in 1892 and in the early 20th-century life as a Red was starkly different to that of present-day, as these amazing images show.

Unlike the all-conquering machine it is today, in the early 20th-century football offered little in the way of paid opportunities and two World Wars saw the game suspended.

Life outside of the sport presented its own unique set of challenges, but football, as it remains, was a form of escapism and an integral pillar of the local community.

Liverpool was home to an abundance of talented players from all walks of life, ones who helped shape and mould the club into what it is now.

This Is Anfield’s Jeff Goulding has done a wonderful job shining a light on some of ‘The Men Who Made Liverpool’ and, here, we take a trip back in time to the early 20th-century thanks to an incredible collection of images.

Liverpool 1900/01: The club secured their maiden First Division title, with manager Tom Watson and captain Alex Raisbeck leading the way.

Liverpool team group: (back row, l-r) Dick Johnson, Tom Miller, Willie Cunningham, Jim Penman, Peter McKinney, Billy Lacey (third row, l-r) Trainer W Connell, Dick Forshaw, Harry Chambers, Elisha Scott, Harold McNaughton, Jock McNab, Billy Matthews, George Patterson (second row, l-r) Manager David Ashworth, Jackie Sheldon, Jack Bamber, Tommy Lucas, Ephraim Longworth, Donald McKinlay, Tom Bromilow, Bert Pearson, Secretary (front row, l-r) Jones, Bill Jenkinson, Lancashire Cup, Liverpool Cup, Harry Lewis, Walter Wadsworth

Liverpool 1920/21: Pictured with the Lancashire Cup and Liverpool Cup. A side managed by David Ashworth and with Harry Chambers leading the line, the Reds’ ninth all-time leading goalscorer (151).

(Please credit within piece: The Bromilow family) A young Tom Bromilow

A young Tom Bromilow who would go on to be Liverpool’s half-back for 11 years.

This is the first of the subsequent 24 photos courtesy of the Bromilow family.

(Please credit within piece: The Bromilow family) Tom Bromilow playing for the Unity Presbyterian team

Bromilow played for the Unity Presbyterian team as a youngster, he joined Liverpool at the end of the war in 1919.

(Please credit within piece: The Bromilow family) Liverpool defender Tom Bromilow advertising Phosferine, 1920

(Please credit within piece: The Bromilow family)

(Please credit within piece: The Bromilow family)

Bromilow was a keen cricketer and enjoyed crown green bowling, as you can see from these amazing photos.

(Please credit within piece: The Bromilow family) Tom Bromilow in action for Liverpool

(Please credit within piece: The Bromilow family) Tom Bromilow in action for Liverpool

But football was his true love. And he was a member of Liverpool’s first team to win back-to-back league titles in 1921/22 and 1922/23.

(Please credit within piece: The Bromilow family) Liverpool squad photo, including Jock McNab, Elisha Scott, Walter Wadsworth, Tom Bromilow, Dick Forshaw, manager David Ashworth, Ephraim Longworth and the First Division trophy, 1922

(Please credit within piece: The Bromilow family) Liverpool squad photo 1922/23

And the manager of the Reds at the time of the first triumph was David Ashworth, he led the club from 1919 to 1923.

David Ashworth, Liverpool manager 1919-1923 (Credit: The Bromilow family)

David Ashworth, Liverpool manager 1919-1923 (Credit: The Bromilow family)

Here, Bromilow is pictured alongside teammates Jock McNab, Walter Wadsworth and Jack Bamber in the 1920s.

(Please credit within piece: The Bromilow family) Jock McNab, Walter Wadsworth and Tom Bromilow, Liverpool 1920s

(Please credit within piece: The Bromilow family) Jock McNab, Walter Wadsworth and Tom Bromilow, Liverpool 1920s

Italy is the backdrop for an incredible photo of a pre-season tour in the 1920s, followed by the Liverpool squad taking a trip to the beach.

Jock McNab, Elisha Scott and Bromilow are all present.

(Please credit within piece: The Bromilow family) Liverpool's pre-season tour of Italy, 1920s

(Please credit within piece: The Bromilow family) Liverpool squad on the beach, including Jock McNab, Elisha Scott and Tom Bromilow

A moment captured in time in front of the Kop in the same decade, with Ashworth, Elisha Scott, Bromilow, Wadsworth and Dick Forshaw all posing for a picture alongside their teammates.

(Please credit within piece: The Bromilow family) The Liverpool squad, including manager David Ashworth, Elisha Scott, Tom Bromilow, Walter Wadsworth and Dick Forshaw sit in front of the Kop, 1920s

An annual squad picture has been taken since time immemorial and they hold a special place in every club’s history.

And the following images are from the 1928/29, 1929/30 and 1930/31 seasons respectively.

(Please credit within piece: The Bromilow family) Gordon Hodgson, Elisha Scott and Tom Bromilow, Liverpool squad photo 1928/29

(Please credit within piece: The Bromilow family) Gordon Hodgson, Elisha Scott and Tom Bromilow, Liverpool squad photo 1929/30

(Please credit within piece: The Bromilow family) Elisha Scott and Gordon Hodgson, Liverpool squad photo 1930/31

And here is Gordon Hodgson, the third name in Liverpool’s all-time top goalscoring charts with 241.

The prolific striker was with Liverpool from 1925 to 1936, playing 377 games in that time, and is pictured alongside Bromilow and a cat.

(Please credit within piece: The Bromilow family) Liverpool striker Gordon Hodgson

(Please credit within piece: The Bromilow family) Liverpool's Gordon Hodgson, Tom Bromilow and a cat

The following images are certainly special and give a glimpse into Bromilow’s life away from Liverpool.

The first two are as hundreds gather for his wedding, followed by a lovely image of him with his children.

(Please credit within piece: The Bromilow family) Hundreds gather for Liverpool defender Tom Bromilow's wedding, 1923

(Please credit within piece: The Bromilow family) Hundreds gather for Liverpool defender Tom Bromilow's wedding, 1923

(Please credit within piece: The Bromilow family) Tom Bromilow and children

After his playing career with the Reds ended in 1930, Bromilow turned to management, where this incredible image was snapped.

It was whilst managing at Burnley, where he was captured crowded around a tactics board with his team.

(Please credit within piece: The Bromilow family) Former Liverpool defender Tom Bromilow using a tactics board while manager of Burnley

Here is Elisha Scott in action for Northern Ireland, he played 468 games for Liverpool over a spell of 22 years. A fierce goalkeeper who was nicknamed ‘the Cat’ by supporters.

Liverpool goalkeeper Elisha Scott, playing for Northern Ireland, 1933

The next squad picture is from 1931/32, George Patterson was at the helm.

Liverpool team group: (back row, l-r) Gordon Hodgson, Tom Morrison, Willie Steel, Elisha Scott, Arthur Riley, Archie McPherson, Dave Wright, Gordon Gunson (front row, l-r) Manager George Patterson, Harold Barton, James Jackson, Tom Bradshaw, Jimmy McDougal, Ted Crawford, trainer C Wilson

Next up is Jack Balmer, a Red who has cemented his name into the club’s and English football’s record books having scored a hat-trick of hat-tricks in 1946.

Liverpool's Jack Balmer runs out before the match

The following are portraits of some of Liverpool’s players in the early years.

Billy Liddell

Billy Liddell, one of Liverpool’s finest players. A former club captain and a prolific goalscorer who remains fourth in the club’s all-time goalscoring charts (228).

Berry Nieuwenhuys, Liverpool - Barratts/S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport

One of a handful of South African’s in Liverpool’s squad, Berry Nieuwenhuys signed for the Reds in 1933 and went on to play 257 games before he departed in 1947.

Albert Stubbins, Liverpool

A popular and legendary figure and one who was also an ever-present in front of goal, Albert Stubbins scored 83 times in 178 games. A member of the club’s title-winning side in 1946/47.

Ronnie Moran, Liverpool ( Barratts/S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport)

Ronnie Moran, a loyal servant to Liverpool for 49 years, first as a youth player, then a first-team member, a captain, Boot Room member and caretaker manager. A club legend.

Roger Hunt, England and Liverpool (S&G/S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport)

No one has scored more goals in league competition for Liverpool than Roger Hunt (244), a popular and key figure of Liverpool’s side who sits second in the all-time goalscoring charts behind only Ian Rush.

Bob Paisley, Liverpool (S&G/S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport)

A humble genius who started life at Anfield in 1939, Bob Paisley would start life off the field as a physiotherapist before becoming reserve team coach and subsequently first-team trainer and manager, dedicating 44 years of his life to the Reds.

Laurie Hughes, Liverpool, 1949 (C. Arno/S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport)

Laurie Hughes in 1949, a centre-half for Liverpool who was on the books for over 16 years.

Johnny Wheeler, Liverpool (Image: Barratts/S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport)

Johnny Wheeler was an experienced head when he arrived at Liverpool in 1956 as a 28-year-old, a former club captain who played 177 games over a seven-year spell.

The final collection of images come courtesy of the Wadsworth family.

Walter Wadsworth was a ‘tough-tackling half-back’ in Liverpool’s famous 1920s side, he played 242 games for the Reds.

(Please credit within piece: The Wadsworth family) Walter Wadsworth playing for Liverpool

He’s seen here outside Hotel Moderne and with McNab and Bromilow.

(Please credit within piece: The Wadsworth family) Walter Wadsworth poses for a photo outside Hotel Moderne

(Please credit within piece: The Wadsworth family) Jock McNab, Walter Wadsworth and Tom Bromilow

Another cracking image of Elisha Scott in between the sticks for Liverpool, notably without gloves – which did not come into play until the late 1940s.

(Please credit within piece: The Wadsworth family) Elisha Scott in action for Liverpool

Finally, Wadsworth and the Liverpool team is seen here greeting King George in March 1920 ahead of the clash against Man City.

Where a couple of years later the Reds were celebrating their second successive league title in 1923, the fourth in the club’s history.

(Please credit within piece: The Wadsworth family) Walter Wadsworth greets King George, Liverpool vs. Manchester City, March 1920

(Please credit within piece: The Wadsworth family) Liverpool's 'Untouchables', back-to-back First Division winners, 1921/22 and 1922/23; Walter Wadsworth in centre, with trophy


*Photos courtesy of the Bromilow and Wadsworth families. Images are provided exclusively to This Is Anfield, not to be republished.

 

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