Remembering W.E. Barclay

ImageThis article appears in the latest issue of Red All Over The Land

Just before Christmas Norwegian based Liverpool FC historian, Jonny Stokkeland and local man George Rowlands unveiled a headstone in memory of the man who suggested the name Liverpool FC to John Houlding. That man was W.E. Barclay. Barclay also had the unique distinction of managing both Everton and Liverpool. It was the end of a long journey for Stookeland and Rowlands to finally see the Dublin born Barclay’s name finally displayed in Anfield Cemetery, fittingly in the shadow of both the Anfield Road and Goodison Park stadiums. We at RAOTL wanted to get to know a bit more about Jonny and he kindly answered our questions below.

The Scandinavian support for Liverpool FC is legendary, who were your heroes in red growing up?

Kevin Keegan. No doubt about that!!  And I was so lucky to meet him in Academy in Kirkby, about 5 years ago. A meeting I will never forget!

Your first trip to Liverpool and memories?

August 1992. It was a dream come true to see Anfield – And it was in time to stand on The Kop as well. I was in Istanbul in 2005 and have visited Liverpool 41 times now. I try to visit Liverpool 3-4 times a year. I end up staying for up to two weeks as I continue my research. I will be back in April and May.

Your heavily involved with gathering information of past players/managers – what got you involved in this type of research and how much time do you spend researching?

I was born in 1968 and have been a LFC supporter as long as I can remember. I started collecting information about Liverpool FC and all ex-players in 1980 when the Norwegian Supporters Club was founded. It was not easy to find much information then. All I had was Brian Peads book the first Complete record book which came out in 1986 and then Doug Lammings Who`s Who in 1989. That was a revelation. Then I met Eric Doig, the grandson of the great Liverpool goalkeeper Ned Doig in early 90s and we have been friends since then. He took me to the central library in Liverpool. Nowadays I use most of my time in other libraries in England. Crosby, Birkenhead, Bolton, Stoke, Rochdale, Heywood, Bury, Nelson, Accrington, Burnley, Blackpool, Blackburn, Darwen, Preston, Huddersfield, Sheffield and Birmingham have all been visited. We have also used several weeks in The Football League Museum in Preston + visit Lancashire FA, Lancashire Record Office and Liverpool County FA.2 years ago I went to London and used 1 week in the Collindale Library for my research.

A headstone for W.E. Barclay in Anfield Cemetery has now come to pass; can you tell us the process you had to go through to bring this project to it’s conclusion?

After a lot of talk, me and George Rowlands got It put up when I last visit Liverpool in December. At last Liverpools first secretary (manager) got what he deserved. Very little had been written about him in history books. George found his birth details in Ireland and his sad demise in Liverpool.  He was the forgotten man in clubs history. Image

Have you any more LFC projects lined up in the future?

Well, Sveinung Egeland put together a fantastic PC programme some years ago. We have more than 4800 names and more than 12 000 matches in our archives. We try to find all match facts for all matches played by first team, reserves and junior teams – And we try to follow all players from birth to death, all their clubs and other work. We buy birth and death certificates to get everything as correct as possible.

I met George Rowlands five years ago, and he is an expert on ancestry. He has been of great help. So has Kjell Hanssen with his excellent newspaper archives. And we also have contacts in South Africa, USA, Norway and England.

We signed a long term contract with Liverpool FC a few years ago in which our collection is part of the LFC Official Archives. We get questions from ex-players, families of ex-players and supporters all the time. So I am always a busy man! I can be contacted at jstokkel@online.no if somebody needs any information or maybe can help us.

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LFC historians: Eric Doig, George Rowlands, Jonny Stookeland and Kjell Hannsen

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