Victorian Football

A Meeting of CaptainsNewspaper report, 1863

On Monday evening, Oct. 26, a meeting of captains and other representatives of several of the metropolitan and suburban football clubs was held at the Freemason’s Tavern, Great Queen-street, Lincoln’s Inn-fields, for the purpose of forming an association with the object of establishing a definite code of rules for the regulation of the game of football.

The meeting was numerous and influential, lacking, however, it will be observed, the presence of “The Schools”, with the exception of the Charterhouse. That school was represented by My B. F. Hartshorne, captain, and the other clubs and their officers present were: Perceval House, Blackheath, Mr. G. Shillingford, secretary; Kensington School, Mr. W. Mackintosh, captain; Crystal Palace, Mr. F. Day, secretary; Barnes, Mr. E. C. Morley, captain, and Mr. P. D. Gregory, secretary; Blackheath, Mr. F. H. Moore, captain, and Mr. F. W. Campbell, secretary; Blackheath Proprietary School, Mr. W. H. Gordon, captain; the Crusaders (old public schools men); Forest, Leytonstone, Mr. J. F. Alcock, captain, and Mr. A. W. Mackenzie, secretary; N. N., Kilburn, Mr. A. Pember, captain; W. O. War Office, Mr. G. T. Wawn; and Charterhouse School, Mr. B. F. Hartshorne, captain. There were several other gentlemen present interested in the subject, who, although players, did not definitively represent any club.

Mr. PEMBER (N. N., Kilburn) was requested to take the chair, and in doing so said that it had been felt to be desirable to form some set of rules which the metropolitan clubs should adopt among themselves, as there were so many different ways of playing, in order that, when they met in friendly rivalry on other grounds the existing exceeding difficulty of “getting a goal” would be more easily overcome. It had been proposed to form an association, which should meet once a year and correct anything that was wrong if it should be necessary to do so.

Mr. E. C. MORLEY (Barnes) had hoped to have seen some of the schools represented, but their absence was attributable in all probability to the want of publicity of the fact that the meeting would take place. They were, however, sufficiently strong as football players to carry out the objects in view. He, therefore, proposed “That it advisable that a football association should be formed for the purpose of settling a code of rules for the regulation of the game of football.”

Mr. A. W. MACKENZIE (Forest, Leytonstone) seconded the resolution, and hoped that the gentlemen present would form themselves into a committee to affect the purpose of the association.

Mr. B. F. HARTSHORNE (Charterhouse) could not consent at present to put his name down as a member of the association, as he thought it desirable that the public schools should be adequately represented, and take a prominent part in the movement. It was certainly most desirable that some definite set of rules for football should be generally adopted, yet, as a representative of the Charterhouse School, the only public school represented, he could not pledge himself to any course of action until he saw more clearly what the other schools did in the matter. Speaking on behalf of the Charterhouse School, he would be willing to coalesce if the other public schools would do the same, and probably at a more advanced stage of the association the opinion of the generality of the other great schools would be obtained. It certainly would be advisable, if possible, to obtain the cooperation of Rugby, Harrow, Winchester, Eton, Marlborough, Cheltenham, and other public schools.

The CHAIRMAN thought their silence probably arose from no one in particular liking to take the initiative, and put himself prominently forward. The object of the meeting was to form an association to adopt and carry out a set of rules, in doing which of course the aid of the opinion and counsel of the public schools would materially benefit them.

The resolution was then put and carried.

Mr. MACKENZIE observed that the association having been formed, it became necessary to appoint officers, and thereupon the following gentlemen were nominated and appointed:— Mr. A. Pember, president; Mr. E. C. Morley, hon sec; Mr. F. M. Campbell (Blackheath), treasurer.

It was then agreed that the subscription should be £1 1s per annum, and that the annual general meeting should take place in the month of September on a day to be named. All clubs of one year’s standing to be eligible to join the association, and to send two members as representatives.

The majority of the gentlemen present put down their names to form the committee, but Mr. Hartshorne declined to do so for the reasons he had assigned. The hon secretary was then requested to communicate with the captains and secretaries of the different public schools, to ask them if they would co-operate with the association, and also to give publicity to the time of the next meeting by advertisement in the sporting journals. A cordial vote of thanks to the chairman brought the proceedings to an end.

This is an edited extract from Goal-Post, the Victorian football anthology.

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