Liverpool Cricket Club in Aigburth hosts occasional County Championship matches for Lancashire and has the oldest pavilion at a first class cricket ground. It also hosted the first international football match in Liverpool in 1883, giving the city a unique place in terms of the English national team.
Founded in 1807, Liverpool Cricket Club is the oldest amateur sports club in Merseyside, although their ground did not host a first class match until 1881, when Lancashire played a game there against Cambridge University. That was a year after the pavilion was built and in 1883 the ground was selected to stage a football match between England and Ireland, only the second time the two countries had met. It was the most suitable venue in the area at the time, as Everton’s ground on Priory Road was little more than a fenced off field and Liverpool had not even been formed. In the north of the city, Bootle FC would shortly be moving into a new ground at Hawthorne Road that could hold 10,000 but it wasn’t ready yet.
An advert on the front page of the Liverpool Mercury on 24th February 1883 advertised that on ‘this day’ there was a GRAND FOOTBALL MATCH kicking off at 3pm at Liverpool Cricket Club, and that special trains were running from Central Station to Mersey Road. Admission was one shilling, with extra for anybody wanting to take a seat in the Enclosure.
In a one sided match England won 7-0, but it was something of an improvement for the Irish side as the previous year they had been thrashed 13-0 in Belfast. There was a decent crowd of 2,500 despite there being no local players in any of the sides. Neville Cobold, scorer of two of England’s first half goals, played for Old Carthusians while Arthur Dunn, who got a goal in each half, was an Old Etonian.
The next time England played in Liverpool was in 1889, when they beat Ireland 6-1 at Anfield, which was then the home of Everton FC. In 1895 Goodison Park was the venue for a match between England and Scotland. There have been numerous other England matches at Anfield and Goodison, but no more played at Aigburth. The fact that Aigburth is still in existence though means that the city of Liverpool is the only place outside London where three venues are still in existence where England have played home games. Although they have played at three grounds in Manchester one of those, Maine Road, is no longer there.
The Aigburth ground has since been used solely for cricket, with the West Indies playing Lancashire in a one day game there in 1984 and in 2011 it was Lancashire’s main base due to Old Trafford being redeveloped in a year when they became champions for the first time since 1950.