The census was taken on the night of Sunday 2 April 1911, which just happened to be the day after England drew 1-1 with Scotland at Goodison Park, in front of 38,000 fans. Jimmy Stewart gave England the lead in the 18th minute, while Scotland equalised a few minutes from the end through Alex Higgins, who had hit the post in the first half (and claimed the ball crossed the line).
Both of the goalscorers were Newcastle United players, and instead of returning to the north-east they spent the weekend in Southport, where they were joined by Scotland players Wilfrid Low and Jimmy Lawrence, as well as Newcastle coach James Q McPherson, who was training the Scotland team for the game. Each of the guests in the Queen's Hotel was asked to complete the census return themselves, so an added bonus for historians is that the entries have the players' signatures.
The obvious question is, why did the Newcastle contingent not return home after the match? The answer lies in the fixture schedule. On Saturday 1 April, their club missed them badly as Woolwich Arsenal came away from Tyneside with a 1-0 win. Then on Monday 3 April, Newcastle had a match at Sheffield United, so rather than taking two long journeys, the players simply enjoyed a weekend by the sea and travelled on Monday morning to Sheffield, where they took part in a 0-0 draw. In fact, they may have stayed away from home all week, as Newcastle also fulfilled league fixtures on Wednesday at Nottingham and Saturday at Bradford.
It seems extraordinary from a modern perspective that a top division club could be asked to play a league match without four key players. And it does seem to have had a seriously negative effect on Newcastle United: the previous week they won an FA Cup semi-final, yet the loss to Arsenal kicked off a disastrous month of April in which they won just once and saw them lose the cup final. Arsenal, however, benefited from playing weakened opposition as their surprise victory at St James' Park was part of an 11-game unbeaten end-of-season run that took them well clear of relegation.