Berry Clarence Image 1 Everton 1909

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Berry Clarence Image 1 Everton 1909

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Description

Macclesfield, Cheshire born goalkeeper Clarence Berry was the first man to sign for Everton having previously played Rugby League football at senior level. Berry began his football career, playing under association rules, for local amateur team Warrington Albion. He then switched codes and signed for Warrington Rugby League F.C. and made his debut on 25th February 1905 in a home game against Swinton at Wilderspool where his second half penalty kick won the game for his side. He made another 6 appearances but was not selected to face Hull Kingston Rovers in Rugby League Cup final at Leeds. Warrington lifted the trophy, for the first time, with 6-0 victory. During the next two seasons Berry made over 40 first team appearances but once again failed to appear in 1907 Cup Final as Warrington beat Oldham, 17-3, on the Wheaters Field home of Broughton Rangers in Salford.

He then decided to switch codes and approach Everton. It is most likely that Berry was granted a trail with the development XI and then given a chance to display his talents on 25th February 1908 when he kept goal, at Goodison Park, in a Lancashire Combination game against St Helens Town. His side won 5-1. When the club executive met, on the 18th March, the following words appeared in the club minute book…The Secretary was instructed to offer Berry an engagement on the best possible terms. Berry was at first reluctant “take up” lodging in Liverpool – as demanded in his contract – but agreed to do on the 23rd September 1908 and signed for a wage of £3 per week.

Understudy to Irishman Billy Scott, Berry had to wait until Scott was called up for international duty to make his Football League debut which came in 2-2 draw with Bury at Gigg Lane on 13th February 1909. He again deputised for Scott on the 20th of March when Chelsea visited Goodison Park. Everton beat the Londoners, for the first time, by 3-2. Berry remained at Everton until 1912 during which time he made one more Football League appearance in 3-2 home win over Sheffield United 10th February 1912 and the following week was put on the transfer list for an asking price £300.

The Everton minute book records that the club were about to sign William Hodge from Kilwinning Rangers along with John Caldwell, who was at present under contract with Tottenham Hotspur. Clarence Berry remained in to reserve pool of players but, as the season reached its conclusion, the price of his transfer had dropped to £150. He did, however, represent the senior XI on one further occasion. Early on the 30th of March the Everton party assembled at Fleetwood in order to catch the ferry to play a match against Linfield in Belfast. Berry, despite being selected to play against Northern Nomads, was ordered post haste to join the party when it became known that Billy Scott would not be sailing (the reason given was Ptomaine poisoning) The game, which took place at Windsor Park, ended in 0-0 draw.

When his contract expired, Berry returned home and signed for Lancashire Combination side St Helens Town. He remained there for one season before ending his career playing the rugby code for Warrington.

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