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The Forgotten Rivals: 

A History of Bootle Football Club, 1880-1893

Tony Onslow

In the early days of football, local derby games in Liverpool were not Everton v Liverpool, but Everton v Bootle.   Bootle, based at the Hawthorne Road ground in Liverpool, were founded by the Reverend Alfred Keely, who had developed a passion for the new game at Cambridge University.  The first derby game against Everton took place in 1880 with Bootle running out convincing winners.  Tony Onslow has reconstructed this fascinating period of football history through extensive research into the archives and long forgotten newspaper accounts. It brings to life an earlier, more innocent era of football.  On 5 March 1881, for example, Bootle, arrived for a game at Stanley Park against Everton with only eight men.  Three of the spectators kindly agreed to play for the visitors.  Everton won by a single goal.  Bootle would struggle financially to survive and finally succumbed to the inevitable in 1893 when its gates were closed for the last time - they were replaced in the League by Liverpool.  Anyone interested in the early days of the Football League will enjoy this well written and entertaining book.  And just think how different the history of football would have been had Bootle found a rich sponsor in 1893!

The Forgotten Rivals can be purchased by contacting soccerhistory.org.uk at