The Umpire- Football Competition 1904

On 13.03.04 The Umpire, a Manchester based sports paper, published the result of its Football Competition, in which readers were asked to vote for their favourite player of the season. 
The number of votes cast is impressive, and it is revealing that 2 Northern Union (Rugby League) players make it into the top 10. In this era the words football and footballer were just as likely to be used in connection with rugby players. One can assume that the readers were predominantly northern working class men. 

Of the 10 association players in the 12 named, some will need no introduction to studentds of football history. Let's see:

Billy Meredith
Manchester City
The Wizard of Dribble was in his 10th season with Manchester City, The following month he scored the winning goal in the FA Cup final.

Steve Bloomer
Derby County
One of the most prolific goalscorers in football history. He finished the 1903-04 season as the Division one top scorer for the 5th time in his career.

Bob Crompton
Blackburn Rovers
A full back who represented England a remarkable 41 times, captain on 21 occasions. At the time of the prize Crompton was England captain and had just won his 7th cap.

Ernest Needham
Sheffield United
Nudger represented England 16 times and won both the League and FA Cup with United. He was a half back who struck a balance between attacking and defensive play.

Tom  Baddeley
Wolverhampton Wanderers
The goalkeeper won his 5 England caps in 1903-04.

William Foulke
Sheffield United
The big man was always a popular figure with the public.

Sammy  Frost
Manchester City
Frost played half back for City.

Jack Sharp
Sharp was a double international (cricket and football). He signed for Everton in 1899 and was in the national team in 1904. He was an inside forward.

Jimmy  Settle
Notoriously fast, represented England 6 times between 1899 and 1903.

George  Ross
Won 2 FA Cups with Bury.