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The Man Who Created Merseyside Football: John Houlding, Founding Father of Liverpool and Everton

David Kennedy

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From the publisher:

Football supporters the world over are aware of the great rivalry that exists between the two giants of Merseyside football, Everton and Liverpool. This rivalry was created out of a split within Everton FC that gave rise, in 1892, to Liverpool FC. The two clubs subsequently went on to dominate the English game, amassing twenty-seven English top flight titles between them, more than any other city in the country.

What isn’t as well known is that one man was responsible for the rise of both clubs: former Lord Mayor of Liverpool, John Houlding. In The Man Who Created Merseyside Football: John Houlding, Founding Father of Liverpool and Everton, David Kennedy recounts the sporting legacy of Houlding. A brewer and Conservative politician, Houlding was a polarising yet fascinating figure. His financial input, first at Everton Football Club and then at Liverpool Football Club, provided the launch pad for the establishment of two nationally and internationally known sporting organizations. By the time of his death in 1902, both clubs had reached the pinnacle of the English game and Houlding’s place as the founding father of professional football in Merseyside was assured.

More than just a football biography, The Man Who Created Merseyside Football also details the many other aspects of Houlding’s life—a family man, businessman, and local politician with parliamentary aspirations. His business and political life, in fact, became entangled in dramatic fashion with the Liverpool football scene on more than one occasion. The complete story of this captivating and influential individual is finally told for the first time in this book, in full and wonderful detail.

The author:

David Kennedy, PhD, is a researcher and author whose focus is on football club governance. He has written multiple articles on the subject and is the author of A Social and Political History of Everton and Liverpool Football Clubs: The Split, 1878-1914 (2017). He is also the author of Football Supporters and the Commercialisation of Football: Comparative Responses Across Europe (2012), Fan Culture in European Football and the Influence of Left Wing Ideology (2013), Football in Neo-Liberal Times (2016), and DIY Football: The Cultural Politics of Community Based Football Clubs (2017).


Rowman & Littlefield
23 x 16 cm
180 pages
November 2020