CHAPTER 20. A BUSY SUMMER
The Luton Reporter of the 3rd May 1890 contained two letters about the game. George Humphrey himself wrote the following
“Sir, Kindly allow me a space in your column to correct an error that appeared in your last issue in the report of the match, vis., that through the Luton Town Club insuring the team against accidents I am “amply provided for” during my enforced retirement. Such, unfortunately, is not the case. The “ample” provision made through the insurance of the team is an allowance of £1 per week from the Insurance Society, and whilst grateful for such a provision having been made, the amount is quite inadequate to supply the necessaries consequent upon an accident similar to that which befell me in the above match, without saying one word about the loss of time, etc.
I am progressing as favourably as can be expected, and hope to leave my bed for the first time since the accident in the course of a few days. Yours faithfully, George Humphrey, Luton, 30th April 1890.”
The second letter was headed
“Proposed Charity Football Cup.” It reads as follows: “Sir, I must ask you to excuse my agin troubling you, but not hearing anything was being done towards getting up a “Cup” for Luton I thought perhaps another reminder would not be out of place. My idea is that now is the time to get the subscribers. Just at the close of a very enjoyable and successful season people have more sympathy, and will give more freely now than in three months’ time. I would suggest that the amount to be raised should not be less than £100 in subscriptions of 10s and 20s., and a committee be formed for the subscribers. Let it be thoroughly understood that only those that give will have any voice in the management and arrangement of this “Cup,” so as to prevent any packed meeting electing a committee to have control and perhaps not a man amongst them gave a shilling.
I am surprised that the committee of the Hospital have not taken any interest in this suggested “Charity Cup”, seeing they would be so largely interested. Perhaps they do not require the monetary assistance, or object to the means by which it is procured. Any way I don’t suppose the Children’s Home will have any of this feeling, and would suggest if not handing all the proceeds over to them, giving them a good part and securing the co-operation. To carry this to a successful issue a committee should be formed at once to see about raising the money and getting all in working order before the next football fixtures are arranged.
Before concluding, I should like to make one remark respecting the public meeting that will be called to elect the committee for next season’s football. I think, sir, it should either be a meeting of those persons that are subscribers, or if a public meeting only subscribers should be allowed to vote. One hears a lot of talk about these meetings being packed by friends or special players, who never take season tickets, and outvote those who are the support of the club. Of course this is unfair, and uncivil of the managers to allow it to exist when they have had it brought before their notice. I am, sir, yours, LUTONIAN”.
The Luton Times of 9th May 1890 joined in by covering the proposed Luton Charity Cup. The editorial of the 10th May Luton Reporter took up the campaign.
“A proposal to establish a Football Challenge Cup for the benefit of local charities, which a correspondent ventured to make through the medium of our columns, has been taken up by a number of gentlemen interested in the game, and we hope soon to be able to say that there is a prospect of the idea being carried out with the success it deserves. The suggestion is to offer a cup to be played for annually by clubs within a certain radius of Luton, the gate-money collected at the final matches, which would take place in the town, being devoted to the funds of the Cottage Hospital, the Children’s Home, or other public institutions. The idea, in short, is but to copy a system which is being practiced very successfully in some other parts of the country, and there is no reason to doubt that the result would be any less satisfactory here.”
The news column added more details.
“The proposed football charity cup. The letters which appeared in our columns during the last few weeks in the direction of forming a Charity Cup Association in aid of the Bute Hospital and Children’s Home was discussed at a meeting at the Town Hall last (Thursday) night in furtherance of the object. The Mayor (Alderman Alexander) occupied the chair, and there was a fair attendance of those interested in football, while the Cottage Hospital was represented by Dr. Sworder and Mr F.W. Back. The Mayor, in opening the meeting, wished the project success, and trusted that the necessary money would be raised. Mr G. Fryson said that owing to the success of the Luton team in their recent engagements in the Kettering Cup competition a number of inquiries were made in the town “Cannot we have a Football Charity Cup in Luton?” They had been informed that last year £50 was handed over by Kettering authorities to the charities, and it was anticipated that about £120 would be realised this year. It had been thought that what could be done at Kettering could be done at Luton and he would add that the two institutions which had been mentioned were very deserving of support. Mr H. Beecroft suggested that a committee should be formed to make the preliminary inquiries and to collect subscriptions. He though they would need quit £70 to provide a good cup and to cover the original expense. Mr F. Scott intimated that the value of the Kettering Cup was stated at £50, and one to represent that value could be obtained for about £35. Mr H. Beecroft proposed that there should be such a competition, and that the two charities should be the Cottage Hospital and the Children’s Home. Dr. Sworder seconded. Mr I. Smith (Secretary to the Town Football Club) proposed as an amendment that the profits should be divided equally between the two charities already named and the Friendly Societies Dispensary. Mr H. Wilkins seconded, but on the suggestion of Mr F. Beecroft both propositions were withdrawn and substituted by one to the effect that such a competition should take place. This was unanimously carried. A lengthy discussion followed, in the course of which it was intimated that the probable expense of starting the scheme would be upwards of £50. It was agreed that subscriptions of 2 Guineas and upwards should be collected, and a committee was formed to make the necessary preliminary arrangements”.
The Luton Reporter set out a summary of the season in their 17th May 1890 edition.
“as usual at this period of the year we present a summary of the results of the football season, which closed a week or two ago. One or two of the local teams have been more ambitious than they were want to be, and the results of their ventures have been, on the whole, good. The following are the returns of the various clubs:- Luton Town:- This club has had a more than usually successful season. Not only have the eleven matches been of a high-class character, but the team entered for the English cup competition and for the cup presented by the Kettering Charity Association, and in both contests they were attended with a fair measure of success. It may be remarked that the cup matches, which seems to be becoming quite a rage throughout the country, have played havoc with the ordinary fixture-card. 46 was the number of matches originally arranged, and of these no less than 20 were scratched, owing in most instances to the club being engaged in cup competitions. The first eleven have played 28 matches of which they have won 18, lost 4, and drawn 6; 68 goals being scored for them and 26 against. It will be remembered that in the English Cup competition they defeated Maidenhead in the first round by 2 goals to 1, and were subsequently knocked out by Old St. Pauls by 4 goals to 0. Two of the drawn games were played in connection with the struggle for the Kettering Cup. The first of them was at Hitchin, where neither side scored, but on the match being replayed at Luton, the local men administered an unmistakeable beating to their opponents by 5 goals to 0. Having defeated Irthingborough by 5 to nil and Kettering by 2 to 1, the Lutonians were drawn against the Grantham Rovers in the final round. After a game struggle the home representatives succeeded in making a draw, which on being replayed resulted in favour of the adversaries by 3 to nil. The reserves have played 11 fixtures of which they have won 7, lost 3 and drawn 1, 44 goals being scored for the them, and 14 against. It may be mentioned that the annual meeting of the club has been fixed to take place at the end of August. The results are as follows; 1st eleven: St. Luke’s, won 8 goals to 0’ Old St. Paul’s won 1 0; ditto lost 0-4; Millwall won 2-1; ditto won 4-1; Wolverton, drawn 2-2; ditto won 2-0; Maidenhead, won 2-1; Marlow, lost 0-1; ditto lost 0-3; Hitchin, drew 0-0; ditto, won 5-0; St. Albans, drew 1-1; Tottenham Hotspurs, won 3-0; ditto won 2-1; Woodville, drawn 0-0; ditto, won 2-1; Spartan Rovers, drawn 3-3; Bedford, won 4-0, ditto won 1-0; Mr Lomax’s eleven, won 4-0; Irthlingborough, won 5-0; Kettering, won 2-1; Grantham Rovers, drawn 1-1; ditto, lost 0-3; St. Mary’s, London, won 5-2; Crouch End, won 6-2,; Upton Rovers, won 2-1. Reserves: St. John’s, Stratford, won 13-0; Old St. Paul’s, won 4-1; ditto, won 4-1; Alexandra, won 4-1; ditto, won 8-0; Star, won 6-1; Dreadnought, lost 0-2; Edmonton, lost 1-3; Waverley, won 3-2; Luton Montrose, drawn 2-2, Clapton Pilgrims, lost 0-1.”
The report went on to say that Luton Montrose had taken second place to the Town, with several other clubs having died out in the last two or three years. We have not seen Luton Albany, Luton Rovers or Park Rovers for some time. Football was not however, dying out in Luton, quite the opposite.
The following week there was an update on the proposed charity cup.
“The adjourned public meeting in connection with the proposal to establish a football Charity Cup competition, took place in the Town Hall on Friday night, and there was a good attendance of those interested in the movement, the Mayor (Alderman Alexander) again presiding. The secretary pro tem (Mr I. Smith secretary of the Town Club) presented a code of rules which had been adopted by the committee, and these were adopted without amendment, though there was a discussion on the proviso that only subscribers of 3s. should be allowed to vote on matters concerning the competition, it being thought that 2s 6d., should be the qualifying sum. Officers were elected as follows: Presidents, The Mayor; vice-presidents, Messrs A. Carruthers, and F. Beecroft: treasurer Mr G. Ordish; secretary Mr G. Fryson; committee, Messrs H. Beecroft, F. Hucklesby, A. Wilkinson, J. Squires, F.W. Hill, C. Dillingham, G. Squires, C. Plummer and A.F. Booth.”
The population of Luton was confirmed in the 6th June Luton Times as being 32,000.
16th June 1890 committee meeting –
“The Hon sec stated this meeting was the outcome of a meeting of the Cricket, Athletic and Football Clubs when it was resolved that the clubs should take the ground on the conditions arranged by Mr Cumberland therefore this meeting had to appoint a trustee for the club for the 7 years. Also a representative to watch the interests of the club to be appointed annually. The Hon sec (Mr Isaac Smith) was then unanimously appointed as trustee and Mr F Pitkin as representative.
It was then discussed as the agreement of the ground, when it was the general opinion of the committee that on Mr Cumberland wanting the ground, the 3 months notice should be tendered on June 24th terminating September 25 this being the most convenient time for anything of the sort to take place. It was also thought that the 7 years was hardly long enough but these matters were left to our representatives to meet as best they could.
On Hon Sec going over his fixtures he found he had 3 vacant dates viz. March 14, 28 and April 18 when it was thought that in the event of the Charity committee applying for our ground for the cup matches the above dates be offered as the best suited for both the club and charity committee as well”.
In other news –
H.G. Spratley became secretary of the Athletics Club.
Luton Times of 4th July 1890. Familiar names in the Luton Town cricket team who travelled to Rushden. J. Long opened with E. Gilder. H. Wilkinson went in at 3, C. Brown at 4. E Wright and A. Martin also played. J.C. Lomax failed to turn up.
That summer the Great Northern railway organised excursions from their Luton station. 67 people booked or special excursion fares to London, 58 for Liverpool and Manchester, 119 to Bournemouth. The Bedford regatta also attracted many Lutonians.
The Luton Cottage Hospital report for the week ending 28th July 1890 showed that they “admitted 5, discharged 2, remaining 14, dead 1”. The hospital received charitable donations from the public and these are listed as follows: “Presents – Mrs Tydeman, pudding, flowers and eggs; Mrs. J.H. Brown, fruit; Horticultural Society, vegetables; Mrs Ward and Mrs Gurney, vegetables; Park-street Primitive Methodist Chapel, flowers; Friends, papers; Mrs Carruthers, papers; Mrs Venus, flowers; House Committee present – Messrs Smart, Ewen, Williams, Lye and Phillips”. The Medical Officer for the ensuing week was Mr Sworder.
4th August commitee meeting –
Recommended that “instead of the usual 2/6 for members season tickets the charge should be 3/6 also that all gentlemen subscribing 10/6 or more be admitted free to all club matches also to the enclosure and grandstand, their names also to appear on the match card as patrons”.
The Luton Reporter gave an account of the Annual General meeting of the Town in their 30th August 1890 edition.
“The annual meeting of the above club was held in the Council Chambers at the Town Hall on Monday evening. There was a very large attendance, the room being quite crowded. Mr J.C. Lomax, the President, was in the chair. The minutes of the last meeting having been read by the Assistant-Secretary (Mr W. Wheeler). The report for the past season was submitted by the Secretary Mr I. Smith), who on rising was given a warm greeting in recognition of his active services and enthusiastic interest in the pastime. Mr Smith, after a reference to the vast assemblage, which he said showed that there was some interest after all taken in football, proceeded to observe that he thought they had good reason to congratulate themselves upon the success they had achieved in their matches during their past season. They had not won the English Cup or the Kettering and District Cup, yet they managed to get within measurable distance of the latter, which was not decided until the “second time of asking,” and his opinion was that but for the unfortunate accident that befell their back player, Humphrey, the honour of holding that cup this year would have fallen to Luton. But though beaten this time they must not be discouraged; they must keep sticking at it [or rather “passing the ball” – as the Luton Times added] until not only the Kettering Cup, but the newly-formed Luton District Cup was held by them. He wished to thank the players who had worked so well for the pleasure of all the others and the public. The result of last season’s play was as follows:- The first team played 30 games of which they won 17, lost 6 and drew 7; 75 goals were scored for and 32 against; the second eleven played 9 games, winning 7, losing 2; the goals scored for being 33, and those against 11. So that altogether the club played 39 games, of which they won 24, lost 8, and drew 7, while 107 goals were scored for and 43 against (applause). As the reserves did so well last year it was hoped to arrange more matches for them next season. the cash amount, notwithstanding that a large amount had been taken at the gates, had gone against them this year. This had been caused not by reckless expenditure, but by the ballot being so persistently against the Club. The whole of the seven cup matches were drawn on their opponents’ ground, the cost to the Club being £20 7s 0d, and receipts £10 17s 5d., so that on this head alone they lost £9 17s 7d. Perhaps they would have better luck next time. Another large item was the purchase of club colours, which cost the Club £5 8s 0d., and a rather large sum for getting the ground into suitable condition, new ropes etc, and there was also the insurance of both teams, although of this their worthy President contributed the major part (applause). These three items more than accounted for the deficiency. Of course the expense of ropes and colours would not occur again for a considerable time. The insurance effected upon the players, he was sorry to say, had been called into requisition upon two occasions, namely, in the first instance, in the case of their friend known as “Old Paul,” and the second time in the more serious case of G. Humphrey, but he trusted that both of these sterling players would again be in the field next season, and that no such mishap might occur. Referring to the attendances of the members composing the committees, he said these had been quite up to the mark. As to the future he had two or three words to say. He trusted that all players who assisted so ably last year would again join the ranks, and that as a long list of matches had been arranged, and three cup competitions entered – namely the English, the Luton and the Kettering – no one, from the President down, would allow his name to stand for office unless he meant to do his share of the work – and as one who knew something about it he could assure them that a club of this standing could not be run without a good deal of trouble. They wanted neither ornament nor grumblers (hear, hear and laughter). As a ground had been taken in and fenced, and a pavilion was to be erected, and a permanent ground was appointed more money would require to be raised to meet the increased expenditure. How this was to be done was for the present meeting to decide. The committee recommended that in future ordinary members’ tickets to admit to the ground should be 3s 6d instead of 2s 6d. as hitherto and that any one subscribing 10s 6d should be entitled to admission to both ground and pavilion, and that to the best matches 3d admission should be charged to non-members and that ordinary members and visitors be charged 2d or 3d extra for the use of the pavilion on each occasion. The committee believed that of these figures were accepted enough money would be raised to meet the increased expenditure, without charging members for special matches such as cup ties, etc. Of course, of Charity semi-finals and finals were to be played on the Club’s ground, which was likely, neither the 3s 6d or 10s 6d. tickets, would be available, these being special conditions.
The PRESIDENT then rose to say a few words and was heartily applauded. At the outset he took the opportunity to offer a personal explanation. Most of those present were doubtless at Kettering on occasion of the cup match. There, he said, he made a mistake and a rather serious one. When he had to receive the silver medal he said he wished he had not to appear as the Luton captain. He did not mean that at all. He intended to imply that he regretted that he had to accept the silver medal instead of the gold one (hear hear). He did not feel at all ashamed; indeed he was perhaps as proud as the winning captain. With regard to the report, he believed they had a very successful season, and he thought that thanks were due to all the players, because most of them had played regularly, and it was no use unless a team did play regularly (hear hear). There was one thing he was very sorry about in connection with the Charity Cup matches, and that was the accident to Humphrey, because he played remarkably well in both of them (applause). Respecting the coming season, he hoped that whatever new talent might be in Luton would be brought forward and not remain hid, for he was getting old for one – (laughter) – and some of the others too, but he would play, at any rate, until he was told not to do so. Still he thought that all new players should be tried first in some trial matches and not and not put into the first or second teams until it was seen what he could do (hear hear). Luton was a growing place, and there were sure to be many good football players in it. Referring to the past season’s average he thought it was not quite so good as the year before; but they had had very hard luck. He hoped that the Club, and in fact all clubs, would again have the assistance of the football loving public during the coming year (applause).
The balance sheet for the past year was next read. It showed that the club began the year with a balance in hand of £7 16s 6. that the takings at the gate during the season had amounted to £75 17s., while the half gate on the occasion of cup ties had come to £10 10s 5d.; Mr J.C. Lomax had sent a donation of £5, the President had given a subscription of £2 2s, and the subscription from patrons £7 17s 6d., the tickets to members came to £15 2s 6d. – making a total of £120 5s 11d. On the expenditure side of the account appeared the following items :- Subscription to Association 10s 6d., ditto the cup competition10s., ditto to Kettering Cup competition 7s 6d; travelling expenses of teams £39 12s 2d., printing postage and telegrams £13 11s 9d., footballs, repairs, etc £4 10s 8d., ground, material and man £23 18s 11d., flannels £5 8s., insurance of 22 men £8 0s 3d., dressing and committee rooms £6 2s 6d., after paying all of which there was a balance over of £2 13s 8d. The accounts had been accounted for and certified to be correct by Mr A.J. Steabben and Mr Fred Evans auditors.
Mr Steabben complimented the Secretary upon the businessmanlike character of his actions as well as upon the report he had presented, observing that it would be impossible to find another to do the work so efficiently. He thought they must try so see their way to raise the sum of £150 in the coming season. They had heard the proposals the Secretary had put forward for raising this amount. Suppose they could get, say, 40 subscriptions at 10s 6d that would given them £21, and if they could get the same number of ticket-holders as they had last year at 3s 6d. each they would get about another £21. Then he supposed there were many ticket-holders who would like to avail themselves of the shelter of the pavilion when it was erected – he hoped it would not be long – (hear hear) – and they might put that at £8. There were sundry subscriptions, which might amount perhaps to something like £5. But even that, to his mind, would not be enough unless they swelled the gate-money. Last year was £75. That would be no use. At least they must have £20 more, no that the takings at the gate should come to not less than £95, and this, with other sums he had mentioned, would give them an income of something like £150. Three-and-sixpence for a ticket for the season would only come to about 2d a match, and the half guinea pavilion tickets would be about 6d.
Mr Henry Beecroft referred to the £15 2s 6d received last year from members’ tickets. That, he said, meant that there were about 120 members. Now, if anyone had asked him how many members there were in the Luton Town Football club, he should have answered about 400. He did not think this was an adequate number, considering the attendance at the meeting that evening. He considered that this fact was a reflection upon those who were not members.
The PRESIDENT assured Mr Beecroft that it not for want of trying to get members.
The report and balance sheet were then passed.
The meeting proceeded to consider the committee’s proposals as to the price of tickets.
Mr Beecroft said considering that the gate-money realised more than three fourths of the whole income, and that the members’ ticket only came to the paltry sum of £15, they ought to see where the weak point lay. It seemed to him that the weak point was not in the gate-money, but in the members’ subscriptions (hear, hear). It was these latter that ought to be seen to put the Club in a sound financial condition. The question was whether it would be advisable to make the price of the tickets 3s 6d or 2s. If they had 400 members at 2s each it would realise a sum of £40, and that was what they should look upon as the backbone of the Club. On the other hand, if they raised it to 3s 6d, the membership might possibly decrease. Even if it remained stationary that would only mean £6 15s more. That did not appear to be the way to put the Club on a good financial basis. They should rather let the subscription remain as it was, and offer inducements to persons to take tickets. He added that he thought that no-one ought to be allowed to vote at the present meeting unless he was a member (hear, hear).
Mr J. Long suggested that before the voting took place the names of those in the room should be taken. He believed that half of those who came to the meeting last year never joined the Club (hear, hear). Mr Long said he believed in keeping the subscription at 2s 6d. He did not believe in “lumping” it up so high; he thought the more the merrier. There ought to be a higher motive to take tickets among those who attended the meeting, and that was the welfare of football. Even although they did not go to one half of the matches they would be helping it on. He proposed that they have 2s 6d tickets as before (hear, hear).
Mr. F. Pitkin seconded. He believed that they would get three or four times as many at 2s 6d as at 3s 6d. Half-a-crown came within the reach of working men, and it was them they had to look to. The support they got from the so-called aristocracy of Luton was very little (laughter).
Here there was a buzz of general conversation throughout the room upon this point.
Mr Long wished to know whether a person holding a half-guinea ticket for the pavilion would have to pay for his wife and boys. The Secretary, in reply, thought that a man could not expect a half-guinea to admit the whole family. [The Luton Times “The Secretary replied that a £10 6s subscriber could take an ordinary member. He could not be allowed to take his grandmother (laughter). Mr Long said he did not mention grandmother. The Secretary amid renewed laughter, said perhaps Mr. Long intended to. However, a subscriber holding a £10 6s ticket would be able to take his wife and a friend or two in the pavilion.”]. They never objected to admit ladies free to their matches, unless on Bank Holidays.
Some difference of opinion also took place as to who should vote. It was contended that only those who were members had a right to do so, and Mr Long appealed to gentlemen who did not intend to join to abstain from taking part in the vote, while the President pointed out that those who voted must take members’ tickets or be guilty of a dishonourable action.
The motion to retain the subscription at 2s 6d was put and agreed to.
[The Luton Times – “it was also resolved that subscribers of 10s 6d per year be entitled to free entry to the ground and pavilion. It was decided that the admission to the ground be at the uniform charge of 3d’].
Election of officers.
On this part of the business being reached the PRESIDENT thanked the members of the Club for electing him last year. He had not been able to attend many meetings, as he had a long way to come, but he had done his best in playing (applause). But next year he hoped to play in every match – (applause) – and he added, I may as well tell you now – I meant to have told you for a month or two, but – I am married (great laughter and loud applause). The reason I tell you is that most men’s wives object to their husbands playing football. She won’t let me play cricket, but she will let me play football, so I can play football all through next year (laughter and applause). Mr. Lomax then proposed that Mr Cyril Flower M.P., be President for the ensuing year.
Mr I. Smith, the Secretary, said he had an amendment to that proposal. Mr. Lomax had done very well in the past and he did not think they should change their President. He had pleasure in proposing that their worthy President be re-elected (applause).
Mr. Steabben seconded, saying it would be difficult to find a better man for the office.
The motion was put and agreed amid cheers, “one clap more” being given for Mrs Lomax.
The PRESIDENT said he was very much obliged to them for re-electing him, and he assured them that he try to do all he could for the Club.
On the motion of the President, seconded by Mr. Beecroft, Mr Cyril Flower was re-elected Vice-President.
The SECRETARY mentioned that the following gentlemen had expressed their willingness to become patrons:- His Worship the Mayor, Councillor Dillingham, Mr A. Pilgrim, Mr H. Beecroft, Mr F. Beecroft, Mr F.W. Ewen, Mr H.T. Shackleton, Mr S. Mayles, Mr A. Sworder, Mr A. Carruthers, Mr E.H. Lomax, Mr C. Plummer, Mr G. Ordish, Mr O. Small, Mr G.H. Small, Mr A. Harden, Mr G. Worboys, Mr G.F. Fryson, Mr H. Cumberland, Mr W. Butcher.
On the motion of Mr F. Scott, seconded by Mr Beecroft, Mr J.G. Hunt was confirmed in his old position as Treasurer.
The next post was perhaps the most important of all, namely that of Secretary – a purely honorary office, it may be as well to mention, and one which Mr I. Smith has filled with the greatest acceptance for many years.
Mr BEECROFT formally proposed that Mr Smith be re-elected. He should have liked to make half an hour’s speech, he said, but in view of how time was passing he would refrain. They could not find a better Secretary, of that he was perfectly sure.
Mr Pitkin seconded, and desired to couple with the proposition the motion that Mr W. Wheeler be re-elected Assistant Secretary. Than Mr Smith and Mr Wheeler he was certain no two gentlemen could work better together.
Mr SMITH rose at this stage and said: I have heard a good many complaints lately. If anyone has anything to say, let him say it now before this motion is put to the meeting. This I can say with a free heart – if any one thinks he can do the work better, there is good situation open (laughter and applause).
Everybody appeared to be perfectly satisfied with Mr Smith, however, for no remark was forthcoming; with the consent of the mover of the motion the name of Mr Wheeler was associated with it, and both were duly and unanimously replaced in their respective positions.
Then came the selection of 13 gentlemen to form the committee. Mr W. Carter thought it was desirable that no playing member – that was, say anyone who played regularly – should be on the committee, because it was sometimes rather awkward. Mr Pitkin was of the same opinion, and seconded a motion to the effect which Mr Carter submitted. The Secretary suggested that one exception should be made to this rule, namely in the case of Mr George Deacon. The meeting, however, appreciating the soundness of the suggestion which Mr Carter had thrown out, did not seem disposed to make an exception in the case of anybody, and on the proposition being put it was agreed to with general consent.
A number of names were then proposed and seconded of gentlemen whom it was thought would be suitable for serving on the committee. While this was in progress the question arose, and caused a rather lengthy discussion, whether any gentlemen should be placed on the committee who were already connected with the Luton Charity Cup Committee. Mr Hill, assistant-secretary to, and a member of, that committee, was proposed, and he declared his intention of standing, but a very strong feeling was manifested against anyone connected with the Cup scheme having also a voice in the management of the Town Club. A motion to this effect was after some discussion moved. It was suggested by Mr Fryson and others that the motion should not be insisted upon, but the pint was left to the honourable understanding of gentleman. However, as Mr Hill persisted in his purpose to offer himself for election, Mr Frank Pitkin insisted upon the motion being put, and it was carried by a large majority.
Immediately thereafter, the President had to leave in order to catch a train, and Mr Hugh Cumberland was called upon to take his place.
The nomination having been closed, the vote was taken by ballot, slips of paper being supplied to all who wanted them. On these being collected eight gentlemen were appointed to count the votes, a proceeding that occupied fully half-an-hour. The result of “the poll” was as follows: – Messrs F. Evans 71, F. Pitkin 66, F. Scott 65, A. Steabben 64, J. Long 63, T.N. Hughes 61, T. Small 59, H. Wilkinson 58, A. Jaquest 58, E. Browning 50, J. Newham 46, W. Smith 44, S. Pakes 43 – elected. The following were not elected :- Messrs W. Carter 41, G. Hinson 40, F. Pugh 39, H. Wilkins 39.
This was all the business, and the meeting then ended”.
The Luton Times carried almost the same report.
Note this indicates that there had not been a regular pitch played on in Scarborough Meadow. Maybe they had a preferred spot but it was not always used.
J.C. Lomax reveals he is married months after the event. Which indicates that he did not invite anyone from the club to his wedding. And perhaps that he did not socialise with the other players, or it just meant he was a very private person. There was a reference to passing the ball by Isaac Smith in his report, a clear reference to combination play. But also J.C. Lomax talks about local talent not getting a chance to shine.
Minute book entry for 25th August 1890 –
“Annual general meeting of L.T.F.C. held at council chambers (Town Hall) J.C. Lomax Esq in the chair
Hon sec then gave report of the seasons work showing results of matches played, the attendance of committee, and the work of the club in general. The match list it was thought compared favourably with past years and although we had won neither the English or Kettering cups, we had found ourselves within measurable distance of the latter”. Out of 39 matches played, 24 were won, 8 lost and 7 drawn, 107 goals were scored for 43 against after which
Balance sheet, hon sec read the balance sheet which showed a loss on the season of £5 2s 10d. This was accounted for in several ways viz. all the cup ties having to be played on opponents grounds, this alone entailed a loss of £10. The purchasing of club colours which added another £5 also the insuring of the team although the major part of this was covered by the generosity of our President. The takings at the gate were slightly in advance of last year. The total receipts from all sources was £125 12s 3d whilst the expenditure reached £122 12s 3d leaving a balance in hand of £2 13s 8d. Having enough about the past the hon sec said with regard to the future seeing the extra expenses that would fall to the club this year with regard to the ground, the committee recommended to the annual meeting that the ordinary members tickets should be 3/6 instead of 2/6 as of old. Also that all gentlemen subscribing 10/6 and upwards should be admitted to all club matches also to enclosure and grandstand.
Mr Steabben as one of the auditors gave his account of the audit stating that everything was kept in a satisfactory and businesslike manner.
It was proposed by Mr Beecroft, seconded by Mr Humphrey and carried unanimously that the report and balance sheet be accepted as read.
The chairman then asked for any further comment upon report or balance sheet.
Mr Beecroft said he understood the club to have a membership of 120 which he considered very small. Seeing this he hardly knew whether it would be wise to raise the subscription to 3/6 or to lower it to 2/-. He had an opinion that the latter would produce the greater amount of interest in the club.
Proposed by Mr Long seconded by Mr Pitkin that the subscription should be 2/6 as formerly carried unanimously
Proposed by Mr Beecroft seconded by Mr Pitkin that all gentlemen subscribing 10/6 and upwards be allowed use of the enclosure and grand stand without extra charge carried unanimously.
The meeting then proceeded to elect its officers for the ensuing season 1890 91, which are as follows
President Mr J.C. Lomax Esq
Vice C. Flower Esq
Treasurer J.G. Hunt Esq
Hon sec Mr I Smith
Assistant Mr W.G. Wheeler
Here Mr Carter stated that before selecting the committee he should like to propose that no active playing member be allowed to sit on committee, this being seconded it was carried unanimously.
The Chairman having to leave by the 10 train a vote of thanks was accorded to him for presiding over the meeting and on vacating the chair Mr Hugh Cumberland was voted to take charge of the meeting.
The committee was then selected as follows;
Messrs F. Evans 71 F. Pitkin 66
F. Scott 65 A. Steabben 64
J. Long 63 N. Hughes 61
T. Small 59 N. Wilkinson 58
A. Jacquest 58 E. Browning 55
J. Newham 46 W. Smith 44
S. Pakes 43
The unsuccessful nominees were Messrs Carter 41, Pugh 39, Hinson 40, Wilkins 39”.
Thus George Deacon and Herbert Spratley were voted off the committee. The former had hardly missed a committee meeting since the first in April 1885. Herbert Spratley had his issues early on but became a dedicated member of the committee having a good attendance record and serving as gateman and umpire on numerous occasions.
The effect of being drawn away in all the cup matches severely affected the clubs finances as the share of the gate clearly did not cover their travelling expenses in every game. The committee will come up with a unique solution to this problem.
8th September 1890 committee meeting –
“letter was read from Mr A.F. Cox offering 15/- for the sole right of selling fruit etc at our matches and Mr Newham tendering his resignation as a committee man. Mr Hinson was voted to replace Mr Newham. Midland Hotel be retained as head quarters and enquiries be made as to their charge for a committee room. Resolved “that the providing of goal posts and bars be left in the hands of the Hon sec”.
“resolved that as we are drawn to play on our opponents ground in the E.F.A. Cup tie, Hon sec offer £7 10s 0d for the match to be played at Luton”.
The hon sec obtain “10,000 cheque tickets as a check on the gate”.
“it was suggested by the Hon sec that a few rules for the guidance of the committee might be a benefit in the working of the same. The Rules suggested were as follows and carried after a lengthy discussion
1st that in all ordinary matches 3 committee men be appointed, 2 for gate and 1 for pavilion
2nd Any committee man absenting himself from 4 consecutive committee meetings without reasonable excuse forfeit his seat and another man be appointed in his place.
3rd that every committee man take his gate or find a substitute”
“Resolved that Hon Sec obtain 200 ordinary club tickets and 30 patrons”
it is interesting to note that the committee realised the vulnerability of the gate money to theft. There were no turnstile to click as a check on the number of spectators. This was another tightening of the rules to bring the club to a more professional footing.
The use of the term pavilion is now adopted as in the annual general meeting there was talk of a grandstand for the free use of patrons. It was a pavilion rather than Grandsatnd which could be used for cricket and other sports too. Every season to date there has been negotiations about where to change and last season three different pub landlords were approached. This season there is no such talk so the pavilion provided dressing rooms for the participants of football, cricket and athletics.
The Luton Times of 29th August 1890 stated that
“the entries for the Luton Charity Football Cup Competition are numerous, already over a dozen. The trophy is an excellent piece of workmanship, worth nearly £70.”