Tag Archives: Manchester City

Match-fixing (2)

I have always wondered exactly what happened to Leeds City, a team that apparently just disappeared, after playing first class football for ten years or more. Of course, we have all heard of Leeds United, famous for its few triumphs and many near misses in the late 1960s and early 1970s. But what about Leeds City? How does a big football club just disappear?
Well, they were founded at the Griffin Hotel in 1904.  Here is the Griffin Hotel nowadays. It doesn’t seem to be doing much better than Leeds City:

griff

Leeds City were slated to be the primary football team in the city, somebody who could bring the delights of a relatively new sport to a rugby mad area.This allowed them to adapt the council’s coat of arms as their own and to wear the city’s colours of gold and blue for their shirts:

leeds city top row

Luckily for them, a local rugby club folded around this time, and Leeds City moved straight into their old stadium in Elland Road.
A decent ground enabled them to arrange friendly games against local league clubs, and after making powerful friends in this way they became members of the Second Division for the 1905-1906 season, when they finished sixth. Years ago, it was the club secretary who did what would nowadays be the job of team coach and club manager. City started with Gilbert Gillies (1904-1908) and then Frank Scott-Walford (1909-1912). The club’s record was fairly average until they appointed Herbert Chapman, the legendary manager of Huddersfield and Arsenal, who took City to fourth place in the Second Division, their highest position so far. Here is the great man. His ghost was said for many years to haunt Arsenal’s old ground at Highbury:

gun__1357732038_chapman_herbert1

Until the First World War, Leeds City continued to wear blue and gold as their colours, except for the 1910-1911 season. Research by David Tomlinson has revealed that their kit changed at this point, when they signed five young, inexperienced, but hopefully talented, Irishmen for the team. The Leeds Mercury, in their match report, said

“It must be remembered that these Irishmen are very young men, who have been brought into a higher class of football than that to which they have been accustomed, and that they were playing their first match amid unfamiliar surroundings. Mr Scott-Walford evidently had an eye to making his new men feel at home as well as to stage effect when he attired the team in green jerseys and supplied green flags to mark the centre line, and he apparently realised that their first match might go wrong when he  addressed them in his official programme: “Should your efforts deserve success, and it is denied you, we shall extend our sympathy, when you do badly we shall still think you have done your best.”

It certainly looks very strange for a team from Leeds:

leeds city row. two

During the 1913-1914 season they adapted a kit which they would wear for the rest of their short history:

leeds city row three

The Football Association has always been very adept at thinking up rules and regulations. It was strictly forbidden, for example, for a club to pay their players over the course of the Great War. No matter how dangerous it was fighting for King and Country, it was down to you to look after the wife and kids, rather than allow your rich erstwhile employer to help you out, even if that arrangement suited both sides. And woe betide, of course, anybody caught breaking the rules, even though many clubs did. It was a blind date with a bunch of Germans for you. Hopefully, you won’t get the one whose hat doesn’t fit:

a23_world_war_1_german_machine_gun_1

Leeds City were grassed up to the FA by a former player who told journalists that the club’s guest players for friendly games were being paid to turn out and play. The FA considered this to be an extremely serious offence, and began an investigation.
City, being both arrogant and stupid, did not help themselves by their poor choice of reaction to the FA’s questions. Instead of rolling over with a loud cry of:

“I am guilty, guilty, guilty but O how I regret my wrongdoing”

they basically told the Football Association:

“Get stuffed. You can’t look at the books”.

The FA’s reaction was to make a huge example of the wrong doers.  Immediate expulsion from the League sine die as they say, and the disbandment of the entire club.

They had played only eight games of the 1919-1920 season and delighted Port Vale took over the rest of City’s fixtures. I bet the man with the rip across his face was the first one to die. I saw it in a horror film once:

port

Herbert Chapman, the club secretary, and a good few others, were also banned sine die. All the club’s assets were to be sold off. Not just the tables and chairs, but the players too.
At ten o’clock on October 17th 1919, therefore, an auction was held at the Metropole Hotel, where sixteen footballers were all sold to the highest bidder. They were bought by nine various clubs for a total of £9,250.
Billy McLeod £1,250 to Notts County
Harry Millership to Rotherham County (who??) and John Hampson to Aston Villa, both for £1,000.
Willis Walker to South Shields (who??) and John Edmondson to Sheffield Wednesday, both for £800
Other clubs who coughed up either £600 or less were Grimsby Town, Manchester City, Aston  Villa, Lincoln City and Hartlepool United.

Poor old Francis Chipperfield, worth only £100 to Lincoln City. I wonder if he just packed up football and went to join the circus?

During the afternoon, after the auction, a number of other local officials, or at least, all the ones who were as pure as the driven snow, founded a new club, Leeds United, which could play in the now deserted Elland Road ground. United initially took over the fixtures of City’s reserves in the Midland League, but for the next season of 1920-1921, the club was promoted into the Second Division:

pasted-graphic-1

As I have done before in other posts, I would like to thank the website who supplied all of the illustrations of the old football kits from days of yore.

It is the best ever website for the soccer nerd and all those little boys who had more than twenty different Subbuteo teams.

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Match-fixing (1)

Corruption in football is nothing new. More than a century ago, in 1900, Burnley goalkeeper Jack Hillman attempted to corrupt the Nottingham Forest goalkeeper and the other players by giving them £2 each to let Burnley win on the last day of the season and perhaps thereby escape relegation. It didn’t work. Burnley went down with 27 points from 34 games, along with Glossop North End who managed only 18. Here’s Hillman, apparently twenty minutes after the invention of angora sweaters::

jack-hillman-264x300

Had the bribe succeeded, Burnley would have overtaken and relegated Preston North End (28 points) who would have taken their place in Division Two. Hillman was called to account by the authorities, but amazingly, they didn’t accept his explanation of “I was only having a laugh!” He got a rather lenient twelve month ban, although this meant no pay for that period and the loss of a benefit match which would have netted him around £300. Even worse for him, though, was the fact that he never played international football for England again, having just broken into the team
In 1905, at the opposite end of the table, Manchester City were trying to win the League title. Billy Meredith, their star winger, decided to make the task a little bit easier by offering the Aston Villa players £10 to let them win. Like Hillman, Meredith received a year long ban, but rocked the footballing boat by alleging that he had been ordered to bribe the Aston Villa player, Alex Leake, by his Manchester City manager, Tom Maley. Bribery, said Meredith, was common practice at Manchester City who finished the 1904-1905 season in third place behind champions Newcastle United and Everton. A whole selection of players were suspended, as were members of the club staff and directors from the boardroom. Here’s Meredith. He looks like he’s wearing in a new moustache for his shy, and rather strange, German penfriend:

meredith

Meredith actually wrote an open letter to the Athletic News:

“You approve of the severe punishment administered by the Commission AGAINST ME and state that the offence I committed at Aston Villa should have wiped me out of football forever. Why ME ALONE? when I was only the spokesman of others equally guilty.”

In 1915, Liverpool played so poorly as they lost 2-0 to relegation-threatened Manchester United that one of the many bookmakers who had taken bets on the game refused to pay out, at odds of 7-1.  He had probably heard of the clandestine meetings of players in the pubs of Manchester and Liverpool. And the poor old bookmaker was completely right. In the United team, Sandy Turnbull, Enoch West and Arthur Whalley were the guilty men and in the Liverpool team it was the fault of Tom Miller, Bob Purcell, Jackie Sheldon and the rather appropriately named Thomas Fairfoul. Can you spot the guilty players in this old picture of Manchester United?

wh turn wets

Would you like a second go?

betting-scandal-600x312

It looks like Liverpool are not quite so helpful towards the local detectives:

liverpool 1915

And no, the man with the cap is the trainer.

Jackie Sheldon as an ex-United man was the mastermind behind the coup but not everybody in the two teams was happy to cheat in this way. Both Fred Pagnam (Liverpool) and George Anderson (United) refused to participate. Indeed, when Pagnam shot and hit the opposing crossbar his teammates all showed their anger with him. It was perhaps his own fault, as before the match he had threatened to score a goal to spoil their nasty little plan. By now, whiter-than-white Billy Meredith was a United player, but everybody had taken great care not to tell him about what was happening and nobody passed to him throughout the game…something which, of course, aroused his suspicions as to what exactly was going on.  A penalty was missed by such a distance that the ball only just failed to hit the corner flag.  The crowd, feeling they had wasted their penny entrance money, grew increasingly angry with the proceedings.

Overall though, things were getting very much out of hand with match fixing. As an example, all seven of the Liverpool-Manchester United match fixers, along with an eighth player, Lawrence Cook of Stockport County, were banned from football sine die. (that effectively means “for life”)
Cynics might say that that was a fairly limp punishment as professional football had already been suspended because of the war. The even more cynical would point out that the Naughty Eight were given hints about a possible return to football, but only if they signed up for the Army and survived the carnage of the Western Front:

somme

A succession of away games on the Somme and at Passchendaele gave seven of the Naughty Eight their promised lifting of the ban. Fairfoul in fact turned away from football but the other six went back to their previous employment. For some reason “Lucky Enoch” West did not have his ban rescinded until 1945 when he was 59 years of age.

The_Battle_of_the_Somme_film_image1

Poor Sandy Turnbull had to be contented with a posthumous permission to resume his footballing career. He joined the 23rd Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment before a free transfer to the 8th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment. He became Lance-Sergeant Turnbull and was killed on May 3rd in the Battle of Arras at the age of 33.  Sandy was the son of James and Jessie Turnbull, of I, Gibson St., Kilmarnock, Ayrshire and the husband of Florence Amy Turnbull, of 17, Portland Rd., Gorse Hill, Stretford, Manchester. He had won FA Cup medals with both Manchester City and Manchester United:

Deadgerman

The Grim Reaper has no favourites though. Sandy has no known grave and his death is commemorated along with that of almost 35,000 others from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in this fairly pointless battle and whose bodies have never been identified. Overall, the Battle of Arras was quite a slaughter. Nearly 160,000 British lads and about 125,000 young Germans renounced their right ever to play football again. In a mere five weeks. Here is Polygon Wood where Sandy had tried to mark out a football pitch for himself and his pals:

polygonwood

Alas, they didn’t realise that a Great War average of one ton of explosives per yard of trench was going to be a really, really big problem with that.

 

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Staff v Prefects Football Match Christmas 1980 (3)

These are the last four of the ten photographs I found recently of the Teachers v School Prefects football match.  This keenly fought fixture took place probably just before Christmas in 1980, give or take a year either way. My beautiful new wife was watching the game, armed with my camera, if I remember correctly.
This first photograph shows myself and Ron Gilbert, the ex-Chemistry teacher who retired recently. We look as if we are holding a quick debate about who is going to chase after the ball:

PHOTO A

The second photograph shows the then Head of Music, Stephen Fairlie, and the red shirted referee, Richard Willan. Red Fourteen is a Prefect playing in a staff shirt to make up the numbers. Incidentally, the staff are playing in the shirts normally worn by the school Second Eleven Football Team. These, in their turn, were, for reasons that must surely remain unknown now for ever, the second, change, strip of Sunderland A.F.C.

PHOTO B

The third photograph shows three members of staff. Number Three on the right with his back to the camera is Paul Morris, the now retired Physics teacher. I myself am Number Two in the middle and Number One is Andrew Ayres, a native of Hartlepool if I remember correctly, a young teacher of Chemistry and a colleague of Ron Gilbert. Andrew moved on to Wisbech Grammar School in Cambridgeshire, where he became the senior tutor and examinations officer as well as continuing as a chemistry teacher. He retired in July, 2014. Once again, the Prefects will have to remain nameless:

PHOTO C

The final picture shows Stephen Fairlie, the then Head of Music, as Number One on the left, and Bob Howard, Geography teacher and Best Man at our wedding, as Number Three on the right. In the centre is Number Two, Phil Eastwood, who was the then Head of Chemistry. Phil is a very keen supporter of Manchester City and that is where, I would imagine, his socks came from:

PHOTO D

I would like to finish these three blog posts with a piece of medieval poetry. Medieval French poetry, no less. Well, from 1533. It was written by François   Villon. (You can click on both names)
The days when I knew about such things are very distant, but ironically, that is the whole point of the poem:

Dictes moy où, n’en quel pays,

Tell me where, in which country

Est Flora, la belle Romaine ;

Is Flora, the beautiful Roman;

Archipiada, né Thaïs,

Archipiada, born Thaïs,

Qui fut sa cousine germaine;

Who was her first cousin;
Echo, parlant quand bruyt on maine

Echo, speaking when one makes noise

Dessus rivière ou sus estan,

Over river or on pond,

Qui beauté eut trop plus qu’humaine?

Who had a beauty too much more than  human ?

.

Mais où sont les neiges d’antan!    

Oh, where are the snows of yesteryear!

 

Où est la très sage Heloïs,

Where is the very wise Heloise,

Pour qui fut chastré et puis moyne

For whom was castrated, and then made a monk

Pierre Esbaillart à Sainct-Denys?

Pierre Abelard in Saint-Denis ?

Pour son amour eut cest essoyne.

For his love he suffered this sentence.

Semblablement, où est la royne

Similarly, where is the Queen

Qui commanda que Buridan

Who ordered that Buridan

Fust jetté en ung sac en Seine?

Be thrown in a sack into the Seine?

 

Mais où sont les neiges d’antan!    

Oh, where are the snows of yesteryear!

 

La royne Blanche comme ung lys,

The queen Blanche, white, as a lily

Qui chantoit à voix de sereine;

Who sang with a Siren’s voice;

Berthe au grand pied, Bietris, Allys;

Bertha of the Big Foot, Beatrix, Aelis;

Harembourges qui tint le Mayne,

Erembourge who ruled over the Maine,

Et Jehanne, la bonne Lorraine,

And Joan of Arc the good woman from Lorraine

Qu’Anglois bruslerent à Rouen;

Whom the English burned in Rouen ;
Où sont-ilz, Vierge souveraine ?

Where are they, oh sovereign Virgin?

.

Mais où sont les neiges d’antan!         

Oh, where are the snows of yesteryear!

 

Prince, n’enquerez de sepmaine

Prince, do not ask me in the whole week

Où elles sont, ne de cest an,

Where they are – neither in this whole year,

Qu’à ce refrain ne vous remaine:

Lest I bring you back to this refrain:

Mais où sont les neiges d’antan!         

Oh, where are the snows of yesteryear!

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