Thomas Keates (1849–1928) was an Everton director and the club’s first historian. His jubilee history of the club, published posthumously in 1929, is a crucial document full of insights and anecdotes into the way the club was run in its early years. Although its narrative is somewhat old-fashioned and prone to flowery digressions, Keates’s work is an unparalleled first-hand account of Everton’s rise from church team to football giant.
ACCORDING TO the 1901 census, Keates was a Liverpool coal merchant who originally hailed from Cheadleton, near Leek in Staffordshire. A resident of Anfield, Keates was a director of Everton between 1897 and 1900. The board paid him 100 guineas for his history, but he never lived to see it published. A foreword, inserted into the book, records the ‘deep regret’ of the Everton directors and ‘thousands of followers of football in the city’ at his passing. The directors ‘feel that this book, so full of information and reminiscence, will tend to keep his memory green among the army of supporters of the 50 years old Everton club.’
KEATES, THOMAS, History of the Everton Football Club 1878–1928: A Jubilee History