Everton FC Graves

Everton are the older of Merseyside’s two professional football clubs, so it is not surprising there are a number of graves of former players and managers in local cemeteries. However there are also plenty of others buried in cemeteries and churchyards both in Britain and abroad.

Although Everton were formed in 1878, initially as St Domingos FC, it was not until ten years later that they appointed a manager. William E. Barclay was also the headmaster of an industrial school and he took charge of team affairs for one year. When the club moved from Anfield to Goodison Park in 1892 Barclay stayed loyal to the ground’s owner John Houlding and managed the newly formed Liverpool FC until 1896. He remains the only manager to take charge of both clubs but died in poverty in 1891 and his grave in Anfield cemetery remained unmarked for decades until a simple memorial stone was placed there in 2013.

Everton George Mahon Grave Anfield Cemetery

George Mahon was an Everton board member who was instrumental in securing the club’s move to Goodison Park. A solicitor, he arranged the purchase of the land and became the club’s chairman for the first three years in the new ground. He lived at 86 Anfield Road and was buried in Anfield Cemetery when he died in 1908.

Also buried in Anfield Cemetery is William Sawyer, Everton’s secretary towards the end of the First World War. During the 1920s he chaired the club’s finance committee and played a part in the purchase of the legendary Dixie Dean from Tranmere Rovers. He went on to score an incredible sixty league goals for Everton in the 1927-28 season. He died of a heart attack whilst watching a derby match at home to Liverpool in 1980 and after being cremated his ashes were scattered on the Goodison Park pitch.

Another Everton legend who died of a heart attack at Goodison was Harry Catterick, during an FA Cup tie with Ipswich in 1985. The former Sheffield Wednesday manager had led the club to two league titles, in 1963 and 1970, as well as the FA Cup in 1966. His gravestone at the Parish Church of St Annes in Lancashire is inscribed with the club’s motto ‘Nil Satis Nisi Optimum’.

An Everton player killed whilst serving his country was Lance Corporal Wilf Toman, who was killed in 1917 in the Battle of the Somme. He had played for Everton between 1899 and 1901 and is buried in the village of Erquinghem-Lys. When the club played a Europa League match ten miles away in Lille in 2014, a delegation from the club attended a special ceremony at his grave.

The Everton Heritage Society, which was set up in 2008 by Dr David France OBE, is a group of authors, researchers and memorabilia collectors who are passionate about the club. They are working on a number of projects, one of which is to locate as many graves of former Everton players as possible, helping to restore them wherever appropriate.

Graves that were re-dedicated with new headstones thanks to the work of the Everton Heritage Society in 2016 were those of 1915 title winner George Harrison, who is buried in York Road Cemetery in Gresley, and Alec Brady, a member of the team that won the league in 1891 when the club played at Anfield. A Scot who also played for Celtic, his grave was located in Millburn Cemetery in Renton.

Providing family members can be traced, there will hopefully be be more re-dedications of former Everton players’ graves in the coming months and years.







Muslim Burials

Liverpool City Council announced on 15th March 2017 that within a year there will be no more room for Muslim burials in the city’s cemeteries. As such, a new section in Allerton Cemetery is to be developed specifically for those of the Islamic faith.

Once the work is complete, there will be 500 more grave spaces for Muslim burials in the city where the United Kingdom’s first mosque which opened in Brougham Terrace in 1889. It means that Liverpool will have enough cemetery capacity to accommodate Muslim burials for the next twenty years.

Sharia Law calls for the deceased to be buried as soon as possible so when a Muslim dies the preparations begin almost immediately. The body is washed three times and if possible the hands are placed in a position of prayer. It is then wrapped in a shroud, as no viewings are allowed to take place. The funeral service takes place at the mosque, with mourners facing Mecca as they pray. The closest male relatives are at the front, then other men, children and finally women.

Muslim burials

After prayers the body is taken to the cemetery where usually the only mourners to witness the interment are men. The body is on its right side as it is lowered into the grave facing Mecca. There is then a reciting of of “Bismilllah wa ala millati rasulilllah” which translates as “In the name of Allah and in the faith of the Messenger of Allah”.

The body is first covered with wood or stones so that it doesn’t come into direct contact with the soil. Then all mourners present each deposit three handfuls of earth into the grave. Muslim graves traditionally do not have large elaborate headstones and are much more likely to be have simple markers which are sometimes made of wood. That is not always the case however, and modest granite and stone memorials are not uncommon.

In Allerton Cemetery, there is an area of Muslim woodland where eco-friendly burials take place and where no headstones are allowed. However, at Allerton and other Liverpool cemeteries there are also graves where traditional memorials are present. Sarsfield Memorials prides itself on providing memorials for all denominations and if you are considering a memorial for a Muslim grave, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your requirements.





Liverpool FC Graves

Over the past year, the Liverpool FC Graves Society has been formed and is trying to locate as many graves of former Liverpool FC players and managers as possible. The whereabouts of many was already known but a number of others have been uncovered. Many of those are in Anfield Cemetery, in the shadow of the club’s famous stadium.

Liverpool weLiverpool FC Gravesre founded in 1892 by John Houlding, following Everton FC’s decision to move out of Anfield to Goodison Park over a rent dispute. He is buried at Everton Cemetery, his resting place marked by a striking monument. Houlding appointed John McKenna as secretary-manager, responsible for organising fixtures and player recruitment amongst others. His grave is in Toxteth Cemetery, but has sadly been damaged.

McKenna ran the Liverpool team alongside William E Barclay, the headmaster of an industrial school in Everton. He had previously managed Everton FC and remains the only man to manage both Merseyside clubs. He died in poverty in 1917 and was buried at Anfield Cemetery in an unmarked grave, which has now had a memorial plaque stone paced on it.

In 1896 Tom Watson took over team affairs at Liverpool, guiding the club to two league titles. He died in 1915 and is also buried in Anfield Cemetery. For many years there was no headstone but after his great grandson was located and funds were donated by both Liverpool and his former club Sunderland, a new one was erected in 2015.

Liverpool FC Graves

Watson’s captain when he won the 1st Division title in 1901 and 1906 was Alex Raisbeck, a Scot who was also employed as a bill inspector by the club to get around maximum wage rules. Raisbeck died in 1949 and when his gravestone was located in Anfield Cemetery by the Liverpool FC Graves Society it was in a sorry state. The letters were hardly legible and the material was crumbling. After locating his grandson however, a new headstone has been placed there which also refers to his footballing achievements.

Another of Watson’s players was Scottish keeper Ned Doig, who was at Liverpool from 1904 to 1908 and remains the club’s oldest debutant at 37 years and 307 days. he died from Spanish flu in 1919 and was buried in an unmarked grave which has now been located and a memorial stone added.

The Liverpool FC Graves Society is continuing to work with researchers around the world and has found graves of players from the inaugural 1892-93 season as far apart as Scotland and Australia. So far six have been located, including that of the club’s first captain, Andrew Hannah.

Given the proximity to the stadium, it is natural that efforts have focused on Anfield Cemetery when it comes to other players graves. Further discoveries over the last few months are the graves of  George Patterson, manager from 1928 to 1936 and Bobby Robinson, a member of the 1906 title winning side. Both graves have now been marked with a simple plaque and it is hoped a more permanent memorial can be added at a later date of relatives can be traced. There are sure to be many more discoveries in the months and years ahead.