It has now been a long accepted fact that both George Dobson and George Farmer were the first two players to be employed as professional footballers by Everton Football Club. However, it is quite possible to believe that the same gratuities offered to these two players might well have extended to reach a third man. His name was Job Wilding and he came from Wrexham.

Both Dobson and Farmer first came to Liverpool during the Easter of 1885 and, having had a trail period with Everton, were invited to return to the club next season. Dobson returned alone and took up residence, but Farmer, who did likewise, almost certainly arrived back on Merseyside accompanied by Job Wilding. Both men, in course of the previous season, had played international football for Wales.

Wilding and Farmer had made their international debut, 14 March 1885, against England in a match that was played on the Leamington Ground in Blackburn. The visitors proved a match for the home side and earned a creditable 1-1 draw with a goal that was scored by Job Wilding. One week later, both players again represented Wales, against Scotland, on the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham. The Scots won the game by 8 goals to 2. Farmer, following this disastrous defeat, was dropped from the Welsh side but Wilding retained his place for the forthcoming game with Ireland that took place, 11 April 1885, in Belfast. The visitors won the game by 8 games to 2. It is certain that both players were watched by a representative from Everton Football Club and it is almost impossible to imagine that the same professional terms, offered to George Farmer, were not also extended to include the man from Wrexham.

Job Wilding had been born, 1862, in the North Wales coalfield where, after leaving school, he began serving an apprenticeship in a local foundry. It was during these formative years that he began playing football for the local Crown FC before moving on to his home towns leading side, Wrexham Olympic. It was from here, when his apprenticeship was complete, that Wilding accepted an offer to play for football Everton. He acquired a job with the Liverpool Corporation and moved to Merseyside.

Wilding, playing alongside Dobson and Farmer, made his Everton debut against Darwen at Anfield at the beginning of the new season. All three players quickly became a regular feature on the Everton team sheet but, as records reveal, it was Wilding and not Farmer who kept favour with the Welsh selectors.

On 27 February 1886 he became the first Everton player to win an international cap when he was selected to represent Wales against Ireland at Wrexham and scored one of the goals in 5-0 victory. Wilding then won his fourth Welsh cap when he played against England, 29 March 1886, at Wrexham. The visitors won the game by 3 goals to 1.He continued to play his part with Everton and scored the single goal that gave them victory, against Bootle, in the 1886 Liverpool Senior Cup final that was played at Walton Stiles.

All three players, it would appear, were then asked if they would like to return to Everton next season and they accepted. Dobson and Farmer continued as normal but something, clearly, was about to unsettled Wilding. Whether or not the club executive stopped paying him is not clear but he was certainly in the Everton side when the opened the season, in earnest, with a home game against Bolton Wanderers. He played several more games for the club but then, having been selected, failed to turn up for an Everton home game against Astley Bridge. His actions caused a Lancashire Sports paper to remark that

Everton started the game with nine men Fleming and Wilding being absent the absence of the latter was much commented on, it being known that he intended to assist Oakfield Rovers against the second eleven of Blackburn Rovers. (Football Field, 11 September 1886.)

These observations are a clear indication that all was not well between Everton and the Welshman, who had clearly left the football club in the lurch Nevertheless he reappeared, next Saturday, in the Everton line up against Derby County and then represented them against both Rossendale and South Shore. Job Wilding then never played football for Everton again. The news of his whereabouts later appeared in a local newspaper

Fayer, late of Everton, assisted Stanley against Oakfield Rovers who were assisted by Wilding, late of Everton and now a Bootle player. (Liverpool Mercury, 18 October 1886.)

It is difficult to ascertain the exact movements of Wilding because no official records of Bootle Football Club still exist. He must have signed amateur forms with the Hawthorne Road outfit because he also appeared, that season, in the ranks of Oakfield Rovers. This club had been formed by members of a local Sunday school and they played their matches on Breck Park. Wilding, in the meantime, "settled in at Bootle where he scored on a regular basis. His form did not go amiss with the selectors who again chose him to represent Wales, against England, in a match that was played, 26 February 1887 at the Oval Cricket Ground in London. The home side won the game, 4-0. Wilding had however, chosen to represent Oakfield Rovers, and not Bootle, in the Liverpool knockout and helped them to reach the final tie against his former teammates at Everton. The junior side, hopelessly outclassed, were beaten by 5 goals to 0. Next season Wilding again signed for Bootle.

It is quite safe to assume that he was now getting a regular income from a Bootle club who were now about to have one of their most successful seasons. They were stronger than they had ever been and were in position to challenge Everton for membership of the new Football League that was about to formed by the leading professional clubs of England. Wilding took part in the notoriously rough Liverpool Cup tie, which was played at Anfield, against Everton. The game, won by Everton, almost certainly secured their inclusion, instead of Bootle, in the new venture.

The 1888 Bootle side with the Liverpool Senior Cup

The Welshman later took part in the first FA Cup tie to be played, by a Merseyside club, in London where Bootle, playing at The Oval, were beaten 2-0 by the Old Carthusians. He was again selected to represent Wales against Scotland in a game that was played, 3 March 1888, at Easter Road in Edinburgh. Scotland won the game, 5-1. One week later Wilding again played for his country and scored twice as they routed Ireland, 11-0, at Wrexham. The Welshman next won a second gold medal when he was part of the Bootle side that won the 1889 Liverpool Senior Cup in what turned out to be his last match of the campaign. Next season he returned to his native Wrexham.

Wilding immediately started playing football again for Wrexham but left them after one season to join a team of local coal miners with the name of Westminster Rovers. He left the colliers after one season and signed again for Wrexham. He then won his ninth and final international cap when he was selected to represent Wales, 26 March 1892, against Scotland at Tynecastle Park in Edinburgh. The home side won by 6 goals to 1.

Wilding remained active following his retirement from game by becoming a football referee and keeping wicket for his local cricket club. He later moved, with his wife and family, to Chester where he ended his working days in a local foundry. Job Wilding, who almost certainly played professional football for Everton, passed away, 15 March 1947, while living in the Hoole area of Chester.

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Reader Comments (13)

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Paul Wharton
1 Posted 09/10/2013 at 06:33:24
A really good article.
Bob McEvoy
2 Posted 09/10/2013 at 09:39:55
Tony... marvellous stuff. Keep em coming on...
Richard Tarleton
4 Posted 10/10/2013 at 10:55:58
Brilliant , a great read.
Eugene Ruane
5 Posted 10/10/2013 at 11:19:11
Fantastic piece Tony, love these posts - as Bob says, keep em coming.

By the way, I read somewhere recently (probably in Back Pass) that our very first Football league fixture (1888) kicked off an hour late - I think coz the opposition turned up late.

Oh and we had the biggest crowd of the day with 10,000.

Danny Kewley
6 Posted 12/10/2013 at 11:49:51
"If you know your history"...........Nice one, Tony!

Cracking read and for some reason I was minded of "The Monacled Mutineer!"..........Someone should make a movie of Bootle F.C (1879)
What a character Job Wilding was.

I read up a bit on Bootle FC and was surprised to see they applied to be founders of the Football League in 1888 and whereas Everton were accepted, Bootle were turned down!

A year later they were founder members of the Football Alliance but were dissolved in 1893 becoming the first team ever to resign from the Football League! Which makes me wonder that, if history had dealt us a different hand, there would be no RS and our rivals would be Bootle!!

Tony Onslow
7 Posted 12/10/2013 at 18:51:30
Thank you all for your kind comments and Danny, you are near to the truth with your remarks concerning Bootle FC who were, at their outset, a much wealthier club than Everton. The reason was that, in their ranks, were all the ex-public school men of Liverpool who preferred playing football under the rules of the FA as opposed to those of Rugby School. However, in 1882, they chose to break away from Bootle and form their own club which they called Liverpool Ramblers.

I have, until recently, been doing research to help this club write their long over due history which was published some weeks ago. The author, Jo Russell, informed me that their combined wealth, in today's money, was about 700 million, so had they stayed and helped to develop Bootle FC a certain other team, who were formed after the demise of Bootle, might never have come into being.

Nick Veitch
8 Posted 19/10/2013 at 05:50:05
Tony, I very much appreciate you posting this article. My father spotted this earlier today.
The T.Veitch (captain), in the middle of the back row with fantastic mustache is my Great Great Great Uncle (my father's, father's, father's, father's brother). He also played a few games for Everton which through the lineage we have always supported. My father grew up in Liverpool but moved away after school and has lived in Australia since 1972.

Back in '04 when I went to watch us take on Bolton at Goodison, I stopped by the main library and managed to dig out an old match report which mentioned both Tom Veitch and William Veitch back 1886 playing for Bootle, and a match report mentioning Tom playing for Everton.
Appreciate the effort in posting this up here.

Tony Onslow
9 Posted 19/10/2013 at 17:13:28
Nick, your distant relative Tam Vietch, joined Bootle from Dumbarton and made two guest appearances for Everton the first of which was, 29-08-1885 against Bolton Wanderers. The second, against Preston NE , was played on 28-4-1887.He played many games for Bootle most of them as club captain, before ending his playing career with Heywood Central. He later settled in Bootle, at 110 Gloucester Rd with his wife and obtained employment on the Liverpool Docks. An honest and temperate man he later became a lay preacher at his local Methodist chapel.
Mike Veitch
10 Posted 20/10/2013 at 10:10:36
Tony, many,many thanks for your article and the wonderful photo of Bootle FC, and thanks for responding so quickly to my son Nick's post.

I grew up in Liverpool in the 1960s and early 70s before emigrating to Australia, and my dad took me to many games in the Alex Young, Brian Labone, Alan Ball, Colin Harvey, Howard Kendall, Jimmy Gabriel, Derek Temple and Alex Parker era what a time that was. My dad told me a long time ago (before he died) that our ancestors had played for Everton and that was why we supported them. However, it is only since I started trying to document my family history that the details are starting to fall into place.

Thomas Veitch (my great grandfather's brother), who played for both Everton and Bootle, came down from Dumbarton, Scotland around 1885 with his younger brother William (my great grandfather). The two boys were orphaned when only 5 or 6 years old and were brought up in Dumbarton by an uncle and aunt who never married.

I have a copy of a match program that has Thomas Veitch (as captain of Bootle) at full back playing against Everton. The interesting thing is my great grandfather (William Veitch) was the other full back for Bootle. Without wanting to load you up, do you have access to anything that might shed any light on William's football career or where I might go looking for it. I suspect that the records for Bootle FC will be hard to trace.

Thanks again for your great efforts in supporting Everton FC.

Nick Veitch
11 Posted 20/10/2013 at 13:28:36
Tony, that was a great read. It actually confirms some of the notes my father managed to dig up regarding Tom during this period (my father's into genealogy). William, Tom's younger brother is our direct relative and we have a program showing the two brothers playing for Bootle against Everton. I'm still unsure why Tom only made 'guest' appearances during this time at Everton, but it has certainly caught my interest.

Thank you!

Tony Onslow
12 Posted 20/10/2013 at 19:49:51
Nick, I have checked the Dumbarton records and a Vietch, fore name not given, plays twice for the clubs first eleven namely v Kings Park, 30-9-1882 and Jamestown 21-10-1882. The brothers were first seen on Merseyside 2-1-1885 playing for the Dumbarton second eleven against Bootle, the game ended in 1-1 draw. Tam and Willie joined Bootle next season but it was Tam who became the clubs most faithfully servant. His full back partner, eventually, became Andrew Watson who is know acknowledged to be the worlds first black footballer. Both men were in the Bootle side when, against the Old Carthusians, they became the first Merseyside football team to play an FA Cup tie in London. The game took place at the Oval cricket ground.
Anne Burton
13 Posted 11/05/2014 at 05:18:25
Tom Veitch is my great grandfather, his son (also Tom) had one child, a daughter, my mother who moved to Australia with her family in 1965. It is so nice to see that we have distant cousins here.
Mike Veitch
14 Posted 01/07/2014 at 04:37:15
Gday Anne Burton, it looks like we are distant cousins. We probably share the same great great grandparents - Robert Veitch and Agnes Ewing who married in Dumbarton, Scotland on 23rd June 1862. They had two sons - your great grandfather Thomas and my great grandfather William (the footballing brothers).

I have been researching my family history and have found out that the footballing brother were orphaned very early when their parents died young. Their father (Robert Veitch) was a shipwright and died in Calcutta on 27th May 1866. Their mother (Agnes Ewing) died soon after on 21st April 1870. The brothers were brought up their aunt and uncle (Peter and Mary Ewing).

I have our joint Veitch family history going back about five generations further to the late 1600s.

If you are interested I can send you what I have. By the way cousin, I also live in Australia (Brisbane). My email address is

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