The Story Behind The Evergreen

What happened to Rabbi Howell, Romany footballing pioneer, intrigued me for over 20 years before I was able to write The Evergreen. Sheffield United’s official history hints at a scandal of match fixing as the reason he left just before winning the title in 1898 and says that when he was transferred to Liverpool he simply hitched his caravan to his horse and crossed the Pennines. It didn’t make any sense: why would the club’s most loyal servant betray them just as he was about to achieve glory and the pinnacle of his career? There was no evidence to support match fixing. Then my research revealed he left behind a wife and 4 children, one of whom a newborn - for another woman. Something that would have been a huge scandal at the time. A bit of genealogy later and a lot of research at the local studies library and the story started to form.

 

"The Evergreen" was one of Rab's nicknames.





 

The Evergreen in red and white -a novel about Rab Howell by Steven Kay

Rab in 1894 in his England kit.

The Evergreen in red and white a novel about Rab Howell by Steven Kay

This badge from Rab's England Shirt was shown me by Rab's great grandson, when I met him and his mother, Rab's granddaughter, in Preston.

A rare photo of Rab from 1899  from when he represented England against Scotland.

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