The Leas School,  Hoylake

Joe Mercer

contributed by Adrian Stevenson

from Liverpool Echo 11 Feb 1959

Aston Villa Train At Hoylake School

Boys Watch Everton's Cup Opponents On Playing Fields

By Leslie Edwards

Boys of the Leas Preparatory School, at Hoylake, finished their usual Wednesday break for games this morning with a close-up view of Aston Villa footballers in training.

Everton's Cup opponents of Saturday, who are staying at West Kirby, were given all facilities at the school and used several pitches, all in splendid order.

Led by their manager, Mr. Joe Mercer, who did a good deal of his training at the school in his playing days at Arsenal, the men who face Everton, wearing claret and blue track suits, have relished the "going", and demonstrated to the boys some of the techniques of the professional game.

It was a wise precaution by the headmasters, Mr. A. F. Fetherstonhaugh and Mr. H. F. C. Silcock, to line the boys up a safe distance behind Nigel Sims as that goalkeeper took a barrage of stinging close-range shots.

Sims was scarcely ever beaten. No doubt he would like to have at Goodison Park on Saturday a bar as low overhead as the one under which he stood to-day!

When it was time for lessons again, the schoolboys hared off indoors apparently quite content at having seen some of the great men of Soccer doing their training chores.

The light-heartedness of it, the necessity for not making training a grim, serious business cannot have been lost on the little fellows.

Thus, while schoolboys wrestled indoors with geometric problems, Mr. Mercer and his team wrestled, in a two-touch, seven-a-side game on a Rugby pitch, with the equally pressing problem of the shortest, most direct line from A (the Goodison Park centre-spot) to B (the back of the Everton net) in a Cup-tie which everyone on Merseyside wishes to see. Never have tickets been sought so eagerly.

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