A chat with... Jimmy Halliwell
The names of the Junior clubs with which "Jimmy" Halliwell was associated before he joined Wigan and succeeded Pilkington, will recall many a stern battle which was waged between local organisations in the eighties and early nineties. He began his football career with a well-known club called Wigan Adelphi, and he afterwards assisted in turn St. Thomas's, Poolstock, Silverwell Hornets and Standish South End. He played full-back, and after he was "kidnapped" by Wigan - to use his own words - he figured in that position with only a few exceptions, until he retired. It was whilst playing one of his few games at centre that he sustained a broken collar bone when operating against Oldham.
It was about season 1889 that he joined the premier club, and his first match was at Valley Parade, where that fine team, Manningham, were opposed. "Lorrimer was the greatest full-back I ever saw," said Mr. Halliwell, "I thought I had a pretty good kick, but Lorrimer had a marvellous kick, and he was a fine big chap. Tom Coop, of Leigh, was also a great full-back/ I oce had a trial for the county, but there was no chance with Coop on the other side, an I did not get any honours. I, however, possess two or three medals which I won whilst playing for Wigan. We won the Wigan Charity Cup and the West Lancashire and Border Towns championship in one season. In addition to the medals for the latter championship we also were awarded badges."
"Did you ever go on tour with Wigan?" asked the interviewer.
"Yes," replied Mr. Halliwell, "I went on tour down South Wales with them. I think we played Cardiff, Neath, and Penygraig. Gwyn Nicholls, of Cardiff, was a great player. I think the South Wales clubs played four three-quarters in those days, and as we only played three we had to bring "Ned" Bullough out of the forwards. That reminds me, I played full-back in the game against Salford when "Ned" scored the try referred to in his interview, and it was one of the finest tries I ever saw. It was marvellous how he beat Mainwaring and frank Miles. Wigan also went on tour to the Isle of Man. We, however, only played one match, and while the home team were mustering their players together we were enjoying ourselves rowing at Bell View. We beat the Manxmen very easily. I think I ran in about three tries from full-back. We got a barrowful of points."
"Any incidents? _ Yes, I remember on one occasion, when playing against Widnes, a pair of new boot which I was wearing began to cut my feet, and I took the boots off. I played in my stocking eet for about twenty minutes, until Dicky Seddon noticed me. He shouted, 'There's a fellow here playing beawt boots.' They then brought me another pair from the pavilion.
' In a match at Brighouse one of our forwards was cautioned for rough tackling, and the referee asked him for his name, as he had given the official some cheek. The player at first refused, but after some persuasion he gave the name of the Wigan man who was acting as touch judge, whereupon that gentleman ran on the field of play and shouted, 'Heigh, my name's ------,' giving his name. During this time the player was holding the referee's beard, and saying 'I'd like to pull your whiskers."
"The stiffest match I ever played in was at Swinton, on New Year's Day. Daff Hulme, whom we had borrowed for that game, scored a clever try. Jim Valentine, who was one of the finest three-quarters Lancashire ever produced was playing in the match, along with Dr. Marsh, Bumby, and Joe Mills. Dicky Seddon was about the trickiest three-quarter Wigan had; he was as 'fause' as any two player I knew. 'Dicky Love,' as they used to call him, never said anything while he was playing."
"I did not pay again in the season I was injured," added Mr. Halliwell, "but the following season, when Wigan were without a full-back, temporarily, I turned out in two or three games, and a year or two later I assisted Aspull in a match or two. I began refereeing after I gave over playing for Wigan, and in the match between Pemberton Recs. and Standish South End I noticed that Arthur Trow was showing very good form, so I recommended him to the Wigan Committee and they signed him on."
Recalling the days on the Dicconson-street ground, Mr. Halliwell said he helped to put the canvas up round the enclosure. He was working for Mr. Baldwin, the tarpaulin manufacturer, at the time. He afterwards changed his employment, and when he concluded his apprenticeship he had 84 hours to bring up through time lost in getting off for football. He prefers the lineout to the scrum when the ball is kicked into touch from the field of play, though he would have the ball brought back and scrummaged when it is kicked direct into touch. He agrees with other old footballers that the game has been improved by the reduction in the number of players. He also said that the art of goal dropping is sadly neglected nowadays. Albert Goldthorpe, Shaw (of Tyldesley), and Tommy Barnes (of Warrington) were adept at dropping goals. A reference to the match for the benefit of Billy Atkinson, a few years ago, in which Mr. Halliwell took part, led the interviewer to ask, "What position did you play in?" "Anywhere for safety," he replied, with a smile.
The subject of our sketch, whose promising career was cut short at an early age through the accident alluded to, was for many years a well-known local bandsman, He was first in the National School Fife Band, afterwards in the St. Catharine's Reed Band, and later was a member of the Wigan Old Borough Reed Band. He was a flute and piccolo player, and occasionally he acted as drummer for the Borough Band.
With utmost thanks of course to Mike Latham for the source material from the Wigan Examiner