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The Invincibles
1888/89 Season
League:
  • Played 22 
  • Won 18
  • Drew 4
  • Lost 0
  • Goals For 74
  • Goals Against 15
Only failed to score in one match (versus Accrington)
League Statistics:
  • Won  82%
  • Drew 18%
  • Lost   0%
FA Cup:
  • Played 5 Won 5
Opponents:
  • Bootle,
  • Grimsby,
  • Birmingham St George’s,
  • West Bromwich Albion,
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers. (Beat Wolves 3 – 0 in the final at The Oval.)

Team

James Trainer
Regular North End keeper. Played in 20 of the 22 league games but was ineligible for the FA Cup. A Welsh International, he was an all-round athlete, excelling at billiards, cycling, bowls and boxing. He later became a publican in Preston at the Black-a-Moor’s Head and also at the Lamb Hotel.
 
Dr Robert Mills-Roberts
James Trainer’s rival in the Wales team. Impressed North End when playing against them and was recruited  to stand-in for Trainer for cup matches. Worked as a house surgeon at Birmingham hospital and had to travel from his home in Stroud on match days. This entailed a 12 mile journey by horse and carriage to Gloucester followed by a train journey north and often meant leaving as early as 5am. He served in the First World War and invented a prosthetic device to help one-armed quarry workers.
 
Bob Howarth
Preston born right-back, aged 22 in the 1888/89 season. He was also a keen cricket and rugby player. Left North End after a row over wages and joined Everton (was earning £3 per week at the time). Trained as a solicitor and set up a practice in Preston. Died in 1938 on the eve of the FA Cup final.
 
George Drummond
The most versatile and possibly the most gifted player in the team, being able to play in any position including goal. He also represented Preston at cricket and won prizes as a sprinter. He was a master of the short passing game. Drummond once threatened a Lancashire Evening Post reporter who had criticised him in the newspaper after a poor performance.
 
Alex Robertson
One of a number of Scottish players to come to Deepdale in the 1880’s. He was aged 28 in the 1888/89 season. Played in all league matches that season but was left out of the cup-winning team. Wounded in the First World War at the age of 53.
 
Bob Holmes
Left-back, 21 years old that season, played in all games. Often played for North End straight from working a 24 hour shift on the railway. Reported to have requested that he was photographed with the FA Cup before the final so that he would look his best in clean kit! He remained with Preston throughout a 21 year playing career. After finishing as a player he moved on to Blackburn as a trainer and coach, later he became a referee. In the 1888/89 season he was earning 10 shillings a week from football. He became a leading figure in the fight to establish a players’ union.
 
Johnny Graham
The veteran of the side at 32, he was ever present for North End throughout that season. A quarryman by trade and described as “having a burly physique”, Graham was another player who came from Scotland. Nicknamed by the other players “Safety Valve”, he was rarely injured and a model of consistency. When he broke his collar bone in one match he insisted on playing on. After leaving football he worked as a coalminer and died on his 70th birthday in 1927.
 
Jack Gordon
Again from north of the border, Gordon played in all but two games on the right wing. He worked as a joiner in Leyland to supplement his pay. He crossed so accurately from the wing that he was said to have brought heading into play as an attack option.
 
Sam Thompson
His most effective position was left wing but he was played in three different positions throughout that season. A 26 year old ex-Glasgow Rangers player, he also represented Scotland. After he quit playing he, like team mate Trainer, became a licensee in Preston. (Totally irrelevant piece of information - He held the Preston skipping record for a number of years with 3,500).
 
Jimmy Ross
Played in all but one game that season and was the second top scorer. He bagged a total of 21, with 10 of them coming in the first six matches. Ross was the smallest member of the team and was younger brother of a former North End hero, Nick Ross. He once had to flee from a lynch mob at Hampden Park after a vicious tackle on a Queens Park player. He scored seven times in Preston’s 26 – 0 FA Cup win over Hyde United a year earlier. During the Invincibles year he was switched from inside right to inside left for a game against Everton to avoid him having to play directly against his brother.
 
Fred Dewhurst
Scorer of the first ever goal for Preston in the Football League after just two minutes of the opening game against Burnley. It did not, however, go down as the first in history because North End’s game kicked off 50 minutes later than the other matches on that opening day! Dewhurst, a Fulwood man, was well educated and was a master at Preston’s Catholic College. Known as the “Wizard of the Dribble”, he was also the club secretary as well as being a player. He met a premature death in 1895.
 
John Goodall
Top scorer that season with a tally of 22 goals. He was a centre forward who played in all but one match. London born (of Scottish parents) he was an outstanding tactician of the early professional game and was credited with being the founder of scientific football. Goodall became the first manager of Watford in the early 1900’s and continued playing into his 50th year. He was known for keeping a pet fox which he would take for a walk on a lead.
 
William Graham
Turned out for North End on four occasions at centre half during the 1888/89 season.
 
Richard Whittle
Made only one appearance during that historic season. He played at right back and scored a goal in the 7 – 0 thrashing of Stoke.
 
Jack Edwards
Another fringe player who only made four appearances that season. He did, however, manage to score four goals!
 
Jock Inglis
Deputised for Jimmy Ross in the only game he missed. This was the 5 – 0 win over Derby County at Deepdale. A game in which Inglis scored one goal.
 
Archie Goodall
Made only two appearances in the 88/89 season, both at inside left, scoring once.
[All material paraphrased from an article in the Lancashire Evening Post, Friday, May 14th, 2004]
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