John McKenna Grave Restored

Sarsfield Memorials have recently been honoured to undertake the memorial renovation of John, McKenna, the founding fathers of Liverpool Football Club.

The world famous club was formed in 1892 by John Houlding, when he was left with a football ground but no team to play there. The previous tenants, Everton FC had left for Goodison Park after a dispute over rent levels and Ulsterman John McKenna was one of the board members who remained loyal to Houlding.

McKenna became the new club’s first secretary-manager, sharing duties with William Barclay, a former Everton manager. He used his Scottish connections to bring in a number of players from north of the border. Known as the ‘Team of Macs’, Liverpool won the Lancashire League in their first season.

In the summer of 1893 McKenna made the brave decision to apply for Football League membership and the club were elected to the Second Division. In their first season Liverpool won promotion after a play off victory over Newton Heath, later to become their fierce rivals Manchester United.

Liverpool’s first top flight season ended in relegation, but they bounced back at the first attempt. Determined not to go down again, McKenna and Barclay (the headmaster of an industrial school) stepped aside and the club appointed Tom Watson, who had won the League Championship with Sunderland. The appointment was vindicated with Liverpool winning the title in 1901 and 1906.

McKenna remained at the club in aImage result for john mckenna wikin operational capacity, becoming chairman in 1906. In 1917 he was elected as president of the Football League, a position he held until he died aged 81 in 1936. Although physically ailing by then, his brain remained razor sharp and he never forgot a name and had an amazing memory for facts. Known as ‘Honest John’ he was a very humble man and always looking to help out those in the game who had fallen on hard times.

By the time McKenna died he was a widower and he was buried with his wife Charlotte at Toxteth Park Cemetery. Over the last few decades his grave, situated in a prominent spot next to a path near the chapel, has fallen into disrepair. However, at the request of Liverpool FC, it has now been restored by Sarsfield Memorials.

The decorative urn on top of the grave had either fallen off or been vandalised and on consulting with family members it was decided not to put this back. It has instead been kept by his great grandson for safekeeping. The rest of the memorial has been restored by giving it a through clean and re-gilding the lettering. The ground around it has been levelled and re-turfed.

The restoration of the memorial has been made possible in part thanks to the work of Kieran Smith from the Liverpool FC Graves Society. He has been drawing the club’s attention to the condition of some of their former players memorials and through their museum curator Stephen Done, has been able to secure funding for the project. Photographs of the restored memorial has been widely shared on social media and been well received by Reds fans around the world.

Sarsfield Memorials Customer Feedback

In the last couple of months Sarsfield Memorials has received some really positive customer feedback in various forms. When this happens, it is a lovely feeling to know that we have helped our customers in a very difficult time of their lives.

Last month a couple sent us a lovely handwritten note after we had completed a memorial. Describing it as “absolutely perfect”  it thanked us for helping with hard decisions and concluded by saying ‘I would recommend Sarfields to anyone who needed it without doubt’. Another card received in March said “Thankyou for all you have done for me, the stone is perfect and your kindness was lovely”.

Sarsfield Memorials Customer Feedback

Just as thoughtful was a simple email from another customer which said “We are very pleased with the headstone and would highly recommend you to anyone who needs a memorial”. A lady who lives abroad emailed us to say “Even though I live in Italy you made the procedure easy for me, the final work on my parents grave is fantastic”.

As well as getting in touch directly, we also received a couple of lovely online reviews last month. On Google, one from a customer whose family headstone had been cleaned up by us said “The stone was over thirty years old and I was amazed how it looked afterwards. Ursula came to my home and organised everything. Highly recommended”. Another review, this time on Facebook, said “My daughter’s memorial is perfect. It is one of  the hardest things I have ever had to do but you made it easier. Ursula listened to all our stories and helped pick the right stone for her. I could not recommend Sarsfields enough, they are thoughtful, helpful and sympathetic”.

At Sarsfield Memorials we feel it is so kind when customers take the trouble to contact us with messages of thanks and show their appreciation for our workmanship. We pride ourselves on what we do. Although we are a business, it is most important to us to provide exemplary service to customers at a very difficult time of their lives.

Receiving messages and feedback is why Liverpool’s oldest family run monumental mason continues as we do. If you are interested in a new memorial or renovation of an existing one, please contact us. We will be happy to discuss your requirements and provide a free no obligation quote.