Can you help solve one of the city’s football mysteries by pinpointing the location of a stadium which once rivalled Anfield and Goodson Park?
Woodcroft Park, a 30,000 capacity stadium, was the home of Liverpool Caledonians FC, one of the leading clubs in the city during the late Victorian times and while it is known it was in Wavertree its exact location is unclear.
Now an appeal is being made for any information about the ground, the club and its history.
Local Councillor Tim Beaumont explained: “The story of Liverpool Caledonians is part of our heritage but there does not appear to be a great deal known about them or where they played.
“The Wavertree Society has been researching where this ground might have been and the most likely location is a site occupied by terraced housing next to the main London railway line in Wavertree between Picton Road and Smithdown Road. But the truth is that we don’t know for sure. So we need the help of anyone out there who may know something about Liverpool Caledonians or Woodcroft Park.
“There may be stories in families about an ancestor who played for them or there could be medals or other memorabilia which have been gathering dust in a loft but which could provide valuable information – we would like to hear from anybody who may help.”
Liverpool Caledonians were one of the four leading football clubs in the city in the 1890s, along with Liverpool , Everton and Bootle. As their name suggests their players were mainly Scottish.
Newspapers reports of the time give some clues about their stadium: “The grounds are in an excellent position, close to Wavertree Station, and are easily reached; and while suitable for football and cricket, the fast cinder track of a quarter of a mile fits them for cycling and athletic purposes. The covered grand stand holds 1,000 persons, and the uncovered grand stand 2,000, while altogether 30,000 spectators can be accommodated”(Liverpool Mercury, 10 June 1892)
“The accommodation for spectators is excellent, there being two stands (one covered), about 40 yards long each, with ample press conveniences. There is also a good racing track, and the ground is very suitable for race meetings. The situation is most central, being only a minute`s walk from Wavertree Station, and within easy distance of Sefton Park, Wavertree, and Fairfield. The turf is perfectly level and well drained.” (Liverpool Mercury, January 7 1893)
“The story of Liverpool Caledonians is one of the great “what -ifs” of the city’s football history,” said Councillor Beaumont. “They were formed with the ambition of gaining league status and applied to join the first division in 1892 – a full year before Liverpool FC attempted. Sadly they were unsuccessful.
“Later in 1892 they got as far as the fourth qualifying round of the FA cup -one round further than Liverpool FC- before losing to Northwich Victoria. They joined the Lancashire League but were disbanded in1893.
“Who knows how history would’ve turned out had they been admitted to the football league? One side that was successful that day was a certain Newton Heath – better known these days as Manchester United.
“And who knows – Woodcroft Park may have become a Premier League ground, so it would be very interesting to find out exactly where it was situated.”