This is a fascinating, stimulating and much needed biography of the most important—and most controversial—figure in the early histories of Liverpool and Everton football clubs. David Kennedy breathes fresh life into the complex story of John Houlding not only from a football perspective, but also his humble beginnings, his rise up the social ladder through his brewing business to his wider role in the city of Liverpool and its civic culture.
The early history of Everton and Liverpool, and Everton’s famous split from Anfield, are some of the most remarkable and fascinating events in the foundations of English football. It is immensely valuable to have such a thorough and comprehensive telling of that history by David Kennedy, through the life of John Houlding, the dominant and controversial Victorian magnate who founded Liverpool after Everton’s bitter exit
A riveting story, beautifully researched, about a man at the very heart of the nineteenth century nexus of politics, drink, religion and football in Liverpool, that helped to shape its contemporary form, but also impacted on the future of the ‘people's game’ and its clubs in one of the sport’s greatest northern strongholds.
David Kennedy has produced a biography of Everton and Liverpool’s founding father John Houlding that breaks new ground by addressing the important role of football club ownership in the early history of the game. This book will be of interest to football fans, social historians and readers interested in how the connections between sport, business and politics played out in one of the hubs of the English game.