The division of Everton Football Club into hostile factions : the development of professional football organisation on Merseyside, 1878-1914
This study attempts to locate Everton Football Club's early development within the context of the social characteristics of its host community, and to compare and contrast the organisational structure of Everton Football Club and Liverpool Football Club from their formation as limited liability companies in 1892 to the outbreak of the First World War. The timescale of the study is from 1878, with the foundation of the St. Domingo football team - the forerunner to the original Everton Football Club — to 1914. The split of the original Everton Football Club in 1892 provides an obvious historical juncture for any research seeking to contextualise the broader role of the professional football organisation on Merseyside. This event allows us a unique vantage point in establishing the nature of the original organisation and those to which it gave rise. It is argued in this study that the split of 1892 was the culmination of a process whereby the original Everton club's communal identity was challenged by emerging competitive and commercial considerations facing the organisation. This was a challenge that produced two distinct strategies within the club, and gave rise to factionalism amongst the club membership. The split of 1892 resulted in the disengagement of oppositional forces within the original club and their coalescing into separate organisational forms: Everton Football Club Company Limited, and Liverpool Football Club and Athletic Grounds Company Limited. It will be demonstrated that in the immediate aftermath of the split, distinct patterns of organisational ownership and control were adopted at each of the new organisations. However, it will also be shown that towards the end of the period dealt with in this study, earlier organisational distinctions became much less pronounced, and the profiles of the two clubs become similar.