Houlding was a successful brewer in Liverpool. He was elected to
the Liverpool City Council as a Conservative. Houlding also
owned the Sandon Hotel in the city.
In 1884 Houlding arranged for Everton to play on land owned by
fellow brewer John Orrell, in Anfield. Stands were erected and
attendance figures reached 8,000 per game.
The first season of the Football League began in September,
1888. Preston North End won the first championship without
losing a single match and acquired the name the "invincibles".
Everton finished in 8th place. They did much better the
following season finishing in second, only two points behind
Preston, who was once again champions.
In 1891 Houlding purchased Anfield Stadium outright and proposed
increasing the rent from £100 to £250 per year. Everton, who had
played at Anfield for seven years, refused to meet his demands
and moved to Goodison Park.
Houlding, now established a new club called Everton Athletic to
play at the Anfield Stadium. The Football Association refused to
accept the name Everton Athletic and so it was changed to
Liverpool Football Club.
Liverpool immediately applied to join the Football League. This
was rejected and so Liverpool joined the Lancashire League
instead. John McKenna, became manager of the club and he
recruited several players from Scotland including Tom Wylie,
Andrew Hannah, Duncan McLean and John McBride.
In their first season Liverpool won the Lancashire League, and
were elected to the Football League Second Division for the
1893–94 season. Liverpool had a great first season going
unbeaten and winning the championship by eight points.