Chapter 28. Mr Football retires
1892 saw the retirement of the two founders of the club, J.C. Lomax in October and George Deacon in April. His last game was in the semi final of the Luton Charity Cup against the 1st Scots Guards on the 2nd April 1892.
In local football Montrose first team beat Hatfield away one nil. Their team was as follows:- A. Tearle, goal; G. Roe and A. Colling, backs; W. Goodliffe, W. Bird and G. King, half-backs; W. Brown and F. Hoy (right), R. Fuller (centre), C. Colling and W. Miller (left), forwards.
The Montrose reserves beat St. Matthews by four goals to three on the Montrose ground. The teams were as follows:- Montrose: A. Bailey, goal; W. Saunders and E. Davis, backs; D.G. Pearse, R. Saunders and C. Gilbert, half-backs; A. Hill and W. Byfield (right), H. Hurcombe (centre), W. Deacon and E. Fuller (left), forwards. St. Matthews: J. Groom, goal; A. Wood and Plummer, backs; C. Abbot, R. Fox and Perkins, half-backs; T. Barford and Mayers (right), F. Allen (centre), H. wood and C. Crawley (left), forwards.
7th March 1892 committee meeting –
“Mr Evans gave his report of Grantham match the expenses of same £2 15s 6d”.
“Hon Sec gave report of League meeting which was as follows, that Marlow, Chatham, Reading, Chiswick Park and Crouch End had withdrawn and Chesham admitted. It was resolved to ask Mr C. Walcock to become President, Mr Oliver Treasurer and Mr Butler Secretary. An executive was also appointed consisting of representatives of London clubs. A number of rules were drawn up a draft of which would be sent to all clubs in the league”.
The Luton News of 10th March contained the following letters.
“Spectators at football matches
Sir,- Next Saturday we expect a very big crowd down the Dunstable-road, to see the Kettering men tussle with the Millwall Dockers, and won’t it be a fight! Won’t the Kettering followers cheer their lads on to victory, while we Lutonians look on to see whom we shall meet; the latter I hope, for the sake of the gate at the final. But, sir, I should like to whisper in the ear of certain gentlemen a very, very mild hint. Into the ears I mean, of policemen, committee men (both of the Charity and Town Club), pressmen, linesmen, and all those who manage to get between the play and the ropes and so ever and anon prevent the spectators having a fair view of the contest. It is not only necessary in many cases, it is unpleasant, and I remember last year was often annoying. To them my advise is “Please don’t” – for charity’s sake. Don’t let us see on Saturday a score or two of fellows – in groups, perchance – spoiling everybody’s enjoyment , especially that of the small boys (not to be despised, mind you), who cannot see through or over these “opaque committee men” – In hope thereof, I am etc ROPEMAN
P.S. I daresay next year our club will afford a press box for such necessities as reporters, and for so for the present we must pardon you, Sir, for we “cannot do without you.” R”
The second letter is as follows;
“The Kettering trip
Sirs, – Taking advantage of the trip to Kettering last Saturday, I parted with my 2s, and journeyed to the Holy City to see Luton Town and Grantham Rovers in the semi-final of the Kettering Charity Cup. En route, we had a talk about the chances of each team, the majority saying Luton would give them a Clifton dose, when suddenly a small boy remarked “What; Luton win. Do you know Harry Whitby, Paul and Wright are nothing but old crocks to-day; they are ill and can’t play. Then look at Frank Whitby and Deacon; you might as well have me and my little brother, we can play as well as them.” We all had a hearty laugh at the boy’s remarks, but we soon found that he was in the know, for after a few minutes play one could see that Harry Whitby and Paul were of very little service to the team. Oclee, Cheshire, Hoy and Taylor played well, especially Taylor, who played a grand game. The right wing, as usual, was bad. Sanders was quite off song, and Burley very tame. The team being so easily defeated no doubt will lower them in the estimation of southern football teams, and their own supporters, I think, have cause to be dissatisfied at the result of the match. If any one is to blame it is the committee for playing men that were unfit and not in a proper state, especially in a cup tie. Next season we are promised better games but to get better football the present committee must be given to understand that they will not be required after this season, and that at the general meeting progressive candidates only will be supported. I see Luton Town are elected to the Southern League. If they are going to make anything of a show and get a good position in the league they must strengthen the weak part of the team. Unless they do so it will be ridiculous to expect great things from them.
Luton, March 5th 1892. TERRIER”
12th March 1892. From the Luton Reporter of 19th March 1892. Luton Town had no game this weekend. the ground being turned over to the Luton Charity Cup semi-final.
Luton Charity Cup – Semi-Final Tie.
3,000 spectators turned out including “upwards of a thousand from Kettering by excursion trains.” Kettering, the holders had improved form and many, while expecting a close game, thought they might win. The Athletic Ground had been cleared of snow. “The Kettering men were the first to emerge from the pavilion and they were lavishly cheered when their scarlet jerseys were observed, while the Millwall players were also well received on their striped uniforms becoming visible. It was considerable later than the hour announced when the teams faced each other in the following order:- Millwall Athletic: Goal, O. Caygill; backs, M.H. McFie and T. Willing; half-backs, H. Thompson, H. Butler (captain), and F. Withington; forwards, F. McCulloch and E. Jones (right), P. Banks (centre), E. Duncan and D. Gloak (left). Kettering: Goal, Lily; backs, Davies and McBirnie; half-backs, Panter, Bates and Mableston; forwards, Evans, Starr (right), Mabbott (centre), Freeman and Dixon (left). The referee was Mr R.E.A. Maynard (reading) and the linesmen were Messrs F.W. Hill and E.A. Barford.” Kettering won the toss and defended the pavilion end.
I will not go into all the details of the game, suffice to say that Millwall won. The game was, however, affected by crowd trouble. “With Bat, Ball and Bicycle” takes up the story.
“ The game was one of the roughest I have ever witnessed. It had been anticipated that the Londoners would be the first to introduce this element, but they played a quiet, gentlemanly game until several of their men were badly fouled, and then they retaliated. The tactics pursued by the Kettering men are indefensible; they imported an unnecessary display of brute force, and in the second half this became intensified.
The matter culminated in one of the “reds” forwards being ordered off the field, after two warnings by the referee, whose decisions had been characterised by the utmost fairness. The player had been guilty of foul play and the use of bad language, and refused to obey Mr Maynard when requested to go off. The captain was appealed to, but he also declined to bow to the referee’s ruling until a threat of suspension was held before his eyes. The game was suspended during the argument and the referee was freely hooted by the malcontent portion of the crowd.
The disorder reached its heights after the whistle blew, when a blackguardly scene took place. Some hundred of the worse types of roughs made for Mr Maynard with the evident intention of assaulting him. A strong body-guard of police and officials succeeded in preserving him from the fury of the mob, but it was only by dint of using considerable force. As it was, Mr Maynard sustained several bruises, and I dare hardly think what might have happened had the police not been present. The outrage was the most dastardly and unwarrantable that I ever saw committed on a football field.
Mr Maynard, in his letter to the “Sportsman,” makes it very clear that the local spectators are not in any way responsible for what occurred, but that, on the contrary, every assistance was rendered to him. The referee is, i am glad to know, reporting the whole of the facts to the Association, and though it is difficult to determine where the punishment shall fall, I am persuaded that it will be awarded. Such outrageous behaviour as that referred to can never be tolerated for a moment, and I trust that the severest penalties will be meted out to those concerned.
The attitude of the Kettering team has since been unfavourably commented upon. They were asked to come out and assist in defending the referee, but they declined to comply with the request, although members of the Millwall eleven were to be seen in the body-guard. Their action is regarded with general disfavour.”
We have a copy of Mr Maynard’s letter to the “Sportsman.”
“Sir. – With reference to the Millwall Athletic and Kettering Town match, in which I was referee, played at Luton, in the competition for the Luton Charity Cup, on Saturday, your local correspondent has referred to the unseemly attack which was made on me by several hundreds of the riff-raff of Kettering at the conclusion of the game. Briefly, the wrath of these people was aroused by the fact of my acting in accordance with the rules of the game i.e., after having twice cautioned one of the Kettering players for foul language and foul play he committed a like offence for the third time, whereupon I asked him to leave the field. This he refused to do. I then appealed to his captain to ask him to leave, but this he would not do until I threatened to report his conduct to the Football Association and to suspend play. This action of mine so incensed the several hundred roughs of Kettering that it was with the greatest difficulty they were prevented from taking to the field there and then. The Luton Charity Cup committee at once whipped up a strong body-guard, at whose head was the superintendent of the local police. He was supported by several constables, the whole of the Luton Cup committee, the committee of the Luton Football Club, a number of independent gentlemen, and the members of the Millwall Athletic Club, but even then I was rather severely handled at the finish of the game, as a number of bruises on my body go to testify. Once in the pavilion, there I had to remain for a considerable time till the Kettering roughs thought fit to leave the ground. I would heartily thank Captain Carruthers and the Luton Club officials for their kindness. The unseemly disturbance, though it took place on their ground, reflects no blame on them or the locals. The sole blame must be attached to the roughs who follow the Kettering Club, though even the respectable portion of their supporters who expressed themselves deeply grieved at what occurred. As I am fully reporting the circumstances to the Football Association, I will forbear making any further comment, and beg to subscribe myself, yours faithfully, R.E.A. Maynard.”
The column goes on to report on the Southern League.
“Ilford and Old St. Mark’s have both withdrawn from the Southern League. The London Caledonians have declined and Clapton, Chiswick Park and Chatham have not replied to the invitation to join. There are at present only five clubs adhering to their promise – Millwall Athletic, West Herts, Swindon, Luton and Chesham.”
14th March 1892 committee meeting –
“Hon Sec write Mr Deacon asking him to continue to play until the end of the season”.
“The Hon Sec read the draft of Rules of Southern League and the same were passed as read”.
The 17th March 1892 edition of the Luton News contained two replies to “Terriers” letter of the previous week.
Sir, – Seeing a letter in your last week’s issue from an individual who signs himself “Terrier,” I would like, with your permission, to write a few lines in answer to his letter. First of all he states that he parted with his two shillings and according to the strain in which he writes I should think it was the last two shillings he possessed. Then the way he writes about three of our players, if he thinks that talk like that, more especially writing to a paper that has the circulation that yours has, will discourage players to play again, i do not. Also as regards the right-wing men, is “terrier” a right-wing player? Would he like to see one of them turned out so as to make room for himself? Then he goes on to remark about the committee being to blame for the bad display. Now sir, do you think that it would have been right the players he names out? No, certainly not. Why, because they are men who played in the preliminary rounds and helped to get the team as far as it was in the competition. There he begins to talk about the football of next season, and about the present committee having to resign; does “Terrier” think the committee can make football up to any standard they like. Perhaps “Terrier” is one of those individuals who can make football players. I think, sir, that he must be a man who is trying very hard to get on the committee. Anyhow, why didn’t he sign his name – or was he frightened to do so – that the members may know who to vote for at the next general meeting. Yours etc George Tenneb, Stanley-street, Luton, March 11th, 1892.”
The second letter went as follows:
“The Kettering Trip
Sir, – I quite agree with “Terrier” that the form shown by the Luton players at Kettering was very disappointing, but I am surprised at the audacity of a “Terrier” above all others, publicly making such sweeping assertions as he does. Why, during this season has done so much to spoil the Luton team as the little tin-pot elevens whom they have had to meet in the cup matches, and the Terriers without the slightest doubt , were the worst of the lot. “Terrier” talks rather big about what the committee of the Town Club must be given to understand, but one thing that must be understood by them if they wish to uphold the reputation of the club, is that they must have absolutely nothing to do with playing such small fry as the Terriers, and others of the same kidney. -Yours truly A Supporter of the Town Club, Luton, March 15th.”
19th March, there was no Luton Town match. The Luton Reporter of the 26th March 1892.
“The Town Club – Owing to the fact that West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa were fighting at the Oval for possession of the English Cup no match was played by the Town Club on Saturday. A large number of enthusiasts journeyed to London, and witnessed the defeat of the favourites by three to nil. It is said that the West Bromwich men showed their superiority at every point. To-morrow’s match on the Town ground is with Tottenham Hotspur.”
“The Southern league. It was with a great flourish of trumpets that an association of Southern clubs with this title was formed some weeks since, but owing to the withdrawal of several of the principal clubs it seems likely to be dissolved. The Alliance, which is composed of less important clubs, still survives, and the teams which have adhered to their promise to join the League are to be invited to join it. It does not speak well for the future of Southern football that such an excellent chance of improving the game should have been allowed to pass.”
21st March 1892 committee meeting –
“Team selected against Tottenham for Sat 26th. J. Dimmock to take the place of H. Whitby and G. King take the place of Paul.
Resolved that Hon Sec make Home and Home matches with Wolverton L.N.W.R. and Reserves”.
L.N.W.R. = Wolverton London and North West Railway.
26th March 1892. From the Luton Reporter of the 2nd April 1892.
“Luton Town v Tottenham Hotspur.
This match was played on the Town ground on Saturday, and ended in a victory for the Town Club by three goals to one. About 700 spectators were present, and the weather was suitable. The Hotspurs brought a fairly representative side; but Paul, H. Whitby, and Burley were missing from the home eleven, and their places were filled by home men. The teams were as follows:- Luton: Goal, A. Tearle; backs, A. Sanders and A. Hoy; half-backs, A.H. Taylor (capt), J. Wright and G. Boston; forwards. H.W. Oclee (centre), F.K. Whitby, G. Deacon (right), W. Chesher and W. Dimmock (left). Tottenham Hotspur: Goal, C.V. Monk; backs, W. Coulson and J.C. Ball (capt),; half-backs, H.D. Casey, S. Briggs and H. Bull; forwards, L. Sykes, W. Harstile (right), C. Tyler (centre), A. Hepburn and H. Williams (left). The visitors won the toss, and for the first few minutes had somewhat the best of matters, but Hoy and Boston thereafter transferred the fray to the other end, and Monk’s charge had a narrow escape, the ball going behind. Oclee next rushed to the assault and looked like scoring, when one of the backs kicked into touch. The Tottenham men pressed a trifle during the ensuing portion, but play was very slow and uninteresting. At length the monotony was dissipated by the Luton account being opened. The ball was brought up in capital style by Chesher and Oclee, and being passed across the goal to F. Whitby, the latter banged it through. It was considered by many that the point was an off-side goal, the player standing just by one of the posts. Luton missed a grand chance directly afterwards, but after a quarter of an hour they atoned for this. Chesher and Dimmock ran up the left wing in good style, and the latter sent the leather skimming through just out of reach. It was an excellent shot, and the player was loudly applauded. Wright next sent a shot into the goalkeeper’s hands, and the Hotspurs experienced hard luck, the ball being steered over the bar from a “corner.” Deacon headed out once when Dimmock had centred splendidly. When half-time arrived the Town men were leading to two to none. In the second portion both teams pressed at times, but it was not until the game was well advanced that any advantage was obtained. Some scrambling play took place in front of the Luton goal, and the ball went through off one of the home players, this giving the visitors their first notch. After this reverse the homesters exhibited smarter form and they repeatedly assailed their opponents’ citadel, Oclee and Dimmock being particularly unfortunately failing to score. At length Chesher added a third from a pass from Oclee, but he was palpably off-side. The point was disputed, but the referee (Mr J. Bennett) adhered to his decision. No further score was made, and the game ended as stated. Hoy, Taylor, Wright, and Oclee showed best style for the winners, while for the vanquished Monk, Coulson, J.C. Ball, Sykes and Williams played well. The linesmen were Messrs Dagley (Hotspur) and F. Evans (Luton).”
With Bat Ball and Bicycle reported as follows;
“It cannot be said that the local spectators were provided with anything very high class last Saturday after the fortnight’s vacation by the Town Club. The fixtures was with the Tottenham Hotspur and, seeing that the team figured fairly well in the Luton Cup contest, it had been expected that some good play would be witnessed. The Lutonians, however, had three of their best men missing from the ranks, and though substitutes engaged in their stead were fairly capable it must be confessed that there was a distinct weakness in the team. The visitors, following the example set by Edmonton a few weeks since, donned scarlet jerseys, and the onlookers witnessed the unfamiliar spectacle of several of the locals wearing white, though other members of the eleven adhered to the familiar cardinal.
At the outset the Lutonians were all at sixes and sevens, and it was not until a considerable period had elapsed that they settled down. In the meantime the visitors were having the best of some scrambling exchanges, and more than once they threatened danger. The home defence, however, was impenetrable. The Town men at length aroused themselves and some passable play took place. The ball was brought down in good style, but chances in front of goal were not taken advantage of. The first point obtained by the Lutonians was exceedingly doubtful, but no protest was lodged. About the second goal there could be “no possible, probable shadow of a doubt,” for Dimmock was some yards from the uprights when he scored. The notch was splendidly obtained and the player deserved the round of applause which he was awarded.
The “Spurs,” as Tottenham men are dubbed, did not manage to open their account until well on in the second half, and then only through a mistake by one of their opponents. The Town retaliated a few minutes afterwards, but again considerable doubt was expressed with regard to the genuineness of the score. The visitors entered a strong protest, but was, of course, ineffectual, the referee’s decision being final. It seemed to many present, however, that “some one had blundered,” an opinion which I must confess to having fully coincided. The Hotspur made some every warm remarks afterwards regarding the official and expressed themselves desirous of again meeting Luton under different circumstances.
Of the homesters Hoy exhibited grand defence, and his comrade was in better form than he ha been of late, though he is not yet the same brilliant back that he was once considered. Taylor and Wright were reliable in the second line and Boston acquitted himself well. Amongst the forwards Oclee was most admired; he played with as much dash as ever, and was always where he was required. He made one or two mistakes near goal, but these were atoned for by his general pluckiness. Deacon was not by any means faultless, but he showed a refreshing disposition to recognise the existence of a centre forward, a remark which applies equally well to his wing fellow. I am glad to see a departure from the selfishness which has hitherto characterised the right wing; it is a good sign, and I trust it will be continued. Cheshire and Dimmock played fairly well together and the latter justified his selection.
On the Tottenham side Monk behaved splendidly in goal, and the backs did a vast amount of work. The centre half-back, too, exerted himself strenuously , and more than one of the Lutonians fell before him in a charge. Sykes was the cleverest of the forwards, but he was closely pursued in the honours direction by the outside left. The team as a whole were heavy and powerful, and they exhibited passable style, but they would not stand much chance against the full eleven of the “reds.”
To-morrow will decide whether the Town representatives are to have the honour of meeting Millwall in the Luton Cup final a fortnight hence, and I am free to confess that if they do not play an infinitely better game game than last Saturday’s I would not give much for their chances. It is generally considered here, I know, that the 1st Scots Guards are no match for the locals, but their form this season entitles them to respect, and if they lose tomorrow it will not be for the lack of trying. The “reds” on the other hand, are certain to exert themselves to the utmost, and with decent luck they may win. Let us hope it may be so.
A protest was lodged by Kettering against the first semi-final being awarded to Millwall Athletic. The ground alleged were the ineligibility of two players, and the stopping of the game five minutes before time by the referee (Mr Maynard). The cup committee have dismissed the protest.
By the way the record of the Town Club to date is an excellent one. They have played 27 matches, including cup ties, and have won 18, seven having been lost and the remaining two drawn. The goals scored for them number 92 and the total against them stand at 41.
I learn that a numerously signed memorial has been forwarded to the executive asking that a meeting of subscribers should be summoned to consider the reorganisation of the team. Some unnecessary heart burning seems to have been caused by this. There is no doubt there is still room for improvement in the team and until the weak spots have been strengthened the club cannot progress much further. With a slightly better eleven the Lutonians would be entitled to rank amongst the best teams of the South. It is not for me to suggest where the weakness lies, for it is patent, and the sooner it is remedied the better.
The meeting of the Kettering and Grantham Rovers in the Kettering Cup final on Saturday produced a draw of one goal each, after a game not entirely devoid of roughness. I am told that towards the close the Rovers experienced execrable luck, and should have won. However, the result is a good thing for the charity. On Saturday the takings exceeded £120 and there is certain to be a large crowd present when the antagonist do battle again.”
28th March 1892 committee meeting –
“Team selected against 1st Scots Guards for Semi Final of Luton Charity Cup.
Gate Money for Saturday March 26th, £4 5s 6d.
2nd April 1892. From the Luton Reporter of 9th April 1892.
“The Luton Cup, semi-final
Luton Town v 1st Scots Guards. The second of the semi-finals in the contest for possession of the Luton Charity Cup was played on the Athletic Grounds on Saturday in delightfully sunny weather and before a goodly number of onlookers. It will be remembered that the first of the semi-finals was decided a few weeks since, when Millwall Athletic defeated last year’s winners (Kettering) by the narrow margin of one goal to nil. The contestants on the present occasion were Luton Town, who had been somewhat fortunate in being drawn against weak teams in the preliminary rounds, and the 1st Scots Guards, who came with a brilliant reputation. They had not only performed well in the cup competition, but had run into the finals of several other cup contests. Despite these considerations many persons in Luton thought highly of the local eleven’s chances. When the teams took the field it was seen that so far as physique was concerned the Guards were immeasurably superior to their adversaries. The were tall, splendidly proportioned men and appeared to be in capital condition. The elevens ranged up in the following order:- Luton Town: Goal, J. Burley; backs, A. Sanders and A. Hoy; half-backs, H. Paul, A.H. Taylor (Capt.), and J. Wright; forwards, H.W. Oclee (centre), F.K. Whitby, G. Deacon (right), H. Whitby and W. Chesher (left). Scots Guards: Goal, Corpl. Cannon; backs, Pte. Gorman and Pte. Dawson; half-backs, Pte. Harrison, Pte. Calder and Corpl. Davies; forwards, Pte. Ogden (centre), Piper Calderwood (capt.), Pte. Twaddell (right), Pte. Thompson and Pte. Rennie (right). The Guards won the toss and elected to defend the goal at the pavilion end, which gave their opponents the benefit of the wind but carried with it the disadvantage of having the sun shining full in their faces. From the kick-off by Oclee the soldiers secured possession, and by means of good combination succeeded in getting the ball into the Luton confines. “Hands” against the homesters resulted in the fray being carried dangerously near to the home fortress, but Paul relieved twice in rapid succession by some fine heading. Taylor exerted himself when when the opposing forwards threatened mischief, and the Lutonians thereafter visited the neighbourhood of Cannon’s charge, but the ball was forced over the goal-line. Taylor and Sanders next distinguished themselves, and after the leather had gone behind the Luton line “hands” was given against the Scots. Immediately afterwards F. Whitby passed well to Oclee and the latter sent in a grand shot, which Cannon had difficulty in steering round the post. F. Whitby, who was playing better than usual, next tested the goal-keeper’s ability with a good attempt, but it was unavailing. The leather travelled from end to end very rapidly and some very even play was witnessed, but the Lutonians did not avail themselves of the chances presented to them. H. Whitby missed two capital opportunities of scoring, one of these being from a fine pass by Oclee. Paul was still playing admirably and was frequently applauded. A scrimmage took place in front of the home citadel after a free kick for “hands” against Oclee, but the Guards were unable to score. An extremely good centre by Chesher almost enabled Oclee to obtain the opening notch, but the ball went about foot outside the post. Deacon, Taylor, and Hoy all exhibited defensive ability within the next few minutes, and first-named by a badly-judged kick threw away an easy opening from a pass by his companion on the right-wing. Paul and Taylor were rendering themselves conspicuous, the former depriving the Guards’ forwards time after time. It had by this time become apparent the the visitors’ front rank were a very capable set, but the Luton defence was too strong to allow their breaking away. Some excellent heading by three or four Lutonians carried the ball down the left wing and “hands” against the Guards was given 30 yards from the uprights. Hoy sent the leather in splendidly, but H. Whitby failed to stop it and it went behind. Oclee made a clever dodging run and Deacon next sent the ball into the goalkeeper’s hands from a pass by F. Whitby, Oclee rushing up just too late. The “reds” were now pressing and the fact that they did not score was due to their neglecting chances. The Guards next attacked, and while the homesters were appealing for off-side very nearly scored, the sphere going over the cross-bar. Oclee was ubiquitous and Wright and Paul were exerting themselves well on the home side, while Rennie was most noticeable for the Scots. A tremendous fast low shot was sent in by the Guards after a mistake by Sanders and it almost took effect, Burley only disposing of it by tumbling down and meeting it. Twaddell next called upon the home custodian to fist out, and directly afterwards the ball was kicked over the goal. Some good passing by Oclee and Chesher ended in the latter kicking over the line, and the same player was similarly unfortunate with one of his “daisycutters.” When the midway stage was reached neither side had scored. After the resumption the visitors played with greater vigour and seemed determined to obtain the advantage. Within five minutes the ball was kicked or headed over the bar four or five times, and just afterwards the soldiers opened their account from a scrimmage following a corner kick. The pressure was kept up and in very little time a second point was obtained by Calderwood from another corner. The leaders played with great dash and brilliancy after this success, while the the Town men seemed to collapse utterly, their showing being as disappointing as it had previously been pleasing. Once or twice they roused themselves but opportunities were neglected, the forwards being very weak in front of goal. Ogden increased his side’s lead with a grand shot, and when Wright kicked the ball through his own goal some time later it became apparent that the homesters were to lose. The Guards continued to have the best of matters to the close, when they had qualified to meet Millwall Athletic in the final next week, by four to nil. The referee was Mr R.E.A. Maynard (Reading), and the linesmen were Messrs J.B. Jones (Bedford) and Payne (St. Albans).”
“With Bat, ball and Bicycle. My first and most difficult task this week is to endeavour to account for the dreadfully disappointing show which the Town Club eleven made against the Scots Guards on Saturday. To me it is well nigh inexplicable. The visitors came with a high reputation, and their prowess has been severely tested more than once this season. The fact that they are runners up in three or four cup competitions is, perhaps, their strongest recommendation to respect; it is a record which falls to the lot of few clubs, be they amateur or professional. The most amusing point in connection with the affair is that numerous supporters of the locals announced very openly their belief in the ability of the Town men to pass through the ordeal successfully. I have to confess that when I became acquainted with the form which the Guards have been displaying lately I felt pronounced dubiety.
Two or three gentlemen have been solemnly assuring me this week that bills were posted in London announcing the final as between Millwall and Luton, and I saw a hand-bill which also awarded the unearned honour to Luton. This is one of the best cases on record of “counting your chickens before they are hatched,” and the chagrin of those responsible for the miscalculation must have been painful. The joke is a splendid one for the Guards, and it will probably teach those concerned not to prophesy before they know.
Some of my football friends have been dinning it into me that the winners were not the better team, but i do not think this is an opinion which will commend itself to the judgment of many who saw the match. The homesters were completely outplayed, and the winners abundantly showed their superiority at all points of the game. It is certain that the Scots did not exert all their powers in the first half, but when they started the second portion it soon became apparent that they meant winning. They literally shone in comparison with their foemen.
It is rapidly becoming apparent to me that the Lutonians cannot play a losing game. I have noticed this on several occasions, but it was never so palpable as on Saturday. Directly after the first goal was scored against them most of them seemed to lose heart, and they utterly collapsed. It would be difficult to imagine a more striking contrast than the two halves of the encounter. As the “reds” relaxed their efforts the soldiers increased theirs, and when goal after goal was piled on they played a very hard game and completely outdistanced the home eleven. The latter had two or three chances, but the balance was in favour of the Guards, who throughout payed very finely.
It is not easy to say where the great strength of the victors lay. The team as a whole was very strong, and as individuals the men played brilliantly without exception. The forwards passed extremely well, and rarely missed an opportunity of kicking to centre when near goal. Ogden, Rennie and Calderwood were, perhaps, the most noticeable. The half-backs were irreproachable, their kicking being true and their tackling sure. The backs were also reliable, and it was seldom that the home forwards managed to pass them. One of the best points about the winners was that they did not kick in half-hearted fashion; they used plenty of power, and all of them kicked straight at the uprights when within reasonable distance. To use a football expression, they were “well on the ball” throughout, and it was this that won them the game.
Of the Lutonians Oclee was the only forward deserving of praise. He did all that mortal could to retrieve the fortunes of his side, and his pluckiness was frequently deservedly cheered by the spectators. Several times he exhibited brilliant style, and had he been better supported by his companions the result might have been different. F. Whitby was not so faint-hearted as usual, but his efforts were merely spasmodic. Deacon tried hard, but threw away some easy chances, and the left wing men were unwontedly slow. Paul was excellent as ever in the first portion, but later on he fell off, and pretty much the same remark will apply to his fellows. Hoy exhibited considerable dash and brilliancy, and Sanders made few mistakes. Burley’s capabilities were severely tested, but he acquitted himself remarkably well.
The referee (Mr Maynard) was spared and experience similar to that of the Kettering-Millwall match. He was lavishly applauded on making his appearance, and though some of his decisions did not appear to give unqualified satisfaction to many of the onlookers there was no hostile demonstration.
The day’s takings amounted to upwards of £30, and of the authorities are favoured with good weather a week hence there will doubtless be a further large sum to swell the total. The amount available for distribution this season promises to be a good one.
So the Town Club committee have decided to ignore the memorial to which I referred last week! Surely a better fate might have been allotted to and expression of the wishes of 100 subscribers to the organisation. It is wrong, perhaps, to blame the present office -bearers, and it seems to me that the gentlemen who desire a reorganisation of the team should so arrange their representation on the committee that their desires will be met. Whatever may be said, on the other side, it is certain that there does exist a necessity for home better men than at present have places in the team, and until these are obtained we cannot expect the club’s present performances to be much improved upon; In fact, the tendency in the future must naturally be towards retrogression rather than to progress, because we cannot expect football players to last for ever. The subject is very important as affecting the future welfare of the institution, and it will have to be faced some day.”
4th April 1892 committee meeting –
“Letters included a “requisition signed by a number of gentlemen”.
“It was proposed by Mr Evans and seconded by Mr Woodbridge that as it had already been decided to hold the annual meeting as soon as the season closed which was very near and the funds of the club were getting low, no meeting be called until the Annual General meeting. Mr Hinson moved that as an amendment Mr Hughes seconded that a meeting be called for Wednesday week viz. April 13th in the place which would be most convenient. Both proposition and amendment were fully discussed and on being put to the meeting, 6 voted for the amendment and 6 for the proposition which the Chairman declared as carried”.
Interlude – Two tramps were arrested in Brook Street for begging. William Gough and Charles Edwards asked a passerby, Councillor S.W. Smith, for money. When the Councillor refused Edwards used “insulting language.” He was sent to prison for 14 days. The case against Gough was dismissed.
Interlude – “A teachers’ party, organised by Mr T.B. Ellery of Queen-square school, who had obtained special advantages, paid a visit to the Lyceum Theatre in London on Friday evening last to see Henry VIII., now running there. The party numbered 53. They travelled in reserved carriages by the 5 4 train, and were conveyed from St. Pancras to the Strand by buses which were awaiting them, returning home by the Pullman train at midnight.”
9th April 1892. From the Luton Reporter of 16th April 1892.
“Luton Town v City Ramblers. This match was played on the Town ground on Saturday in brilliantly fine weather and before several hundreds of spectators. The encounter was rendered additionally interesting by the fact that the Ramblers badly defeated the Town men early in the season. The visitors were without the services of their usual backs, and the Luton forwards were re-arranged, J. Dimmock playing on the left wing with Chesher, and the brother Whitby taking the right. The teams were as follows:- City Ramblers: Goal, J.W. Morton; backs, G. Richie and W. Boase; half-backs, H. Corbidge, C. Williams and W. Mordin; forwards F. Wells, J. Meggs (right), A. Collis (centre), J. Brownleigh and E. Whitehouse (left). Luton Town: Goal, J. Burley; backs, A. Sanders and A. Hoy; half-backs, H. Paul, A.H. Taylor and J. Wright; forwards, F.K. Whitby, H. Whitby (right), H.W. Oclee (centre), W. Chesher and J. Dimmock (left). Luton won the toss, and elected to take advantage of a strong breeze, though the sun was shining full in their eyes. Luton pressed a trifle at the outset, and should have scored, but they afterwards fell off in unaccountable fashion and allowed their opponents to have the best of matters. Play was very slow until the half-way stage was reached, when neither side had scored. Two minutes after the re-start Dimmock, who had not shown very good form, rushed up and scored, Oclee having taken the ball up the field in fine style. This was the only point obtained, both sides escaping narrowly scoring on several occasions. The visitors were particularly unfortunate in this respect, the ball going just over the bar several times. Altogether the game did not reflect very much credit on either team. Of the losers Wells, Collis and Brownleigh exhibited best style among the forwards, the last-named sending in some capital attempts. Williams was good at half-back and the backs were both excellent. On the Luton side Oclee was again most prominent in the forward ranks and little can be said for the others, the new combination being apparently the reverse of successful. The half-backs played well on the whole, and the backs exhibited brilliant defence. Mr I. Smith was referee, and the linesmen were Messrs C. Meggs (City Ramblers) and F. Evans (Luton).
“With Bat, Ball and Bicycle. The Town Club just managed to win on Saturday, and to be frank it was more by good luck than deserved by good play. For the most part their exhibition was shockingly bad, and the wonder is that they won at all. During the first few minutes passable form was shown, but afterwards until the second half opened the team seemed to fall to pieces, and they did not in the slightest degree approach the style which we at one time expected from the “reds.” It is certain that if a great improvement does not take place next season the club will lose the high position which it has reached in the football world.
The changes in the front rank of the eleven can scarcely be said to have been successful. Harry Whitby did not shine in company with his brother as he has been accustomed to do on the opposite wing, and Dimmock proved a poor substitute. He repeatedly missed the ball or placed it badly, and making every allowance for inexperience I cannot say that I am greatly enamoured of his style. He certainly scored the only goal, but it was more by accident than design, and it was only achieved when Oclee had dribbled the ball well into goal.
It is becoming somewhat monotonous to have to talk of the lack of form displayed by the home forwards, but the necessity still exists for plain-speaking. Oclee was again the only one who showed anything like consistent effort; indeed it is becoming the subject of general remark that his style during the season has been uniformly good. Chesher was not brilliant, and though the brother Whitby occasionally infused some life into the game it was patent to most of the onlookers that the experiment of putting them together was not a success.
Paul got hurt in the second portion of the game, but he had already done enough for one man, his heading and tackling being as superb as ever. Taylor, too, played well, and Wright occasionally showed up prominently. Hoy, as usual, exhibited sterling defence, and Sanders was not quite so disappointing as he has been lately. Burley in goal was exceedingly smart, and he saved very finely two or three shots which threatened danger.
The visitors, despite a chorus of disapproval from local partisans, played a good game, and it was only execrable luck that prevented their scoring. Their forwards were very smart, and in the second half especially some grand attempts were made on the home fortress. The outside left was particularly noticeable in this direction. Wells and the centre man were both excellent, and of the half-backs Williams showed best style. The backs were a very capable pair.
There was some talk at the end of the week of a meeting being held at which the views of the malcontents would be expressed against the present constitution of the Town Club eleven, but a conference of the leading spirits resulted in the affair being postponed. It is understood that we have not heard the last of the matter, and that a meeting will probably be called shortly before the annual meeting of the club is held. If any argument is needed in support of the protesters’ case it is surely to be had in last Saturday’s exhibition. When I witnessed that game I was thankful that the Southern League had been strangled in its birth, for I have no desire to see the locals made examples of, as they surely would be if the best teams in the South were met on present form. It was difficult to believe that the team which showed such bad style on Saturday was that which had won the Swindon and Reading matches.
On Saturday the long-expected final for the Luton Cup will be decided, and judging from the recent form the encounter ought to be particularly well fought. A line may be drawn from the recent matches which the 2nd Scots have played. On Saturday week they drew with Millwall and after an hour and a half’s play on Saturday with the 1st Scots the score was level, the 2nd Guards only winning after another half hour’s play. Judging by this it would seem that the ability of next Saturday’s contestants is fairly even, and it is certain that a capital struggle will be witnessed. I confess to a trifling fancy for the “dockers” chances, but I cannot disguise myself that the Guards will play a hard game.
The local enthusiasts will have plenty of opportunity of witnessing matches during the coming holidays. there are to be two matches on Good Friday, the final on Saturday, and I understand that the Guards will meet the Town Club on Monday. The final match of the season is fixed for the following Saturday, Crouch End being the visitors.”
In local football, Luton Montrose lost one nil away to Leighton. The Montrose team was:- Goal, E. Roe; backs, F. Hoy and G. King; half-backs, A. Tearle, F. Rudd and W. Bird; forwards, A. Burnett, C. Colling, R. Fuller, H. Hurcombe and R. Brown.
11th April 1892 committee meeting –
“Teams selected for Good Friday morning against City Ramblers reserves. Afternoon v City Ramblers. Easter Monday morning v Stratford and afternoon v 1st Scots Guards. Referee and linesmen all chosen too.
Gate money for Sat April 9th £3 18s 9d.
“Also that a match be played on Tuesday the 18th if possible to arrange with a team”.
Interlude – Besides the wealth of football over the Easter holidays, there were other attractions. On the Monday, the local M.P. Mr Flowers would open the Congregational Church bazaar held at the Town Hall. All profits were going towards the erection of a mission church. Mr Flower would them proceed to lay the foundation stone of the new Sunday Schools at the Union Chapel. He would then attend at the Medical Institute in Waller Street.
At St Matthews School a sale of work was taking place to raise funds for hydraulic engines used for blowing the organ in the church.
Mr Keith’s circus had “arranged a specially attractive list of items for Friday, Saturday and Monday.”
Finally, “An excursion to Bedford is advertised by the Midland Railway for Easter Monday, and cheap trains will run on both lines to London on the same day, while any one who wishes to take a trip to Scotland, or to Paris and various parts of the continent will find that Messrs. Thomas Cook and Son offer unusual facilities for making such a journey.”
15th April 1892, Good Friday. From the Luton Reporter of 23rd April 1892.
Luton Town v City Ramblers. On Good Friday the Town Club played two matches with teams representing the City Ramblers. That in the early part of the day was between the reserve elevens, when the Lutonians had a very easy win by six goals to one.
In the afternoon the first elevens met before 1,000 spectators and some splendid play was witnessed. The sides were as follows:- City Ramblers: Goal, J.W. Morton; backs, G. Ritchie and Turnbull; half-backs, W. Mordin, C. Brady and T. Penney; forwards, J. Brownleigh (centre), G. and J. Meggs (right), E. Whitehouse and A. Milton (left). Luton: Goal, J. Burley; backs, A. Hoy and G. Rowe; half-backs, A.H. Taylor (captain), , J. Wright and W. Boston; forwards, H.W. Oclee (centre), F.K. Whitby, R. Brown (right), H. Whitby and W. Chesher (left). The game was very fast in the first half, and both sides had several narrow escapes of scoring. It was not until the match had been in progress for a considerable period that F. Whitby opened his side’s account, and five minutes later G. Meggs equalised in fine style from a splendid pass by Whitehouse. In the second period Chesher put on a point for the homesters after a free kick for hands, but the Ramblers retaliated and the result threatened to be a draw. Towards the close, however, Brown scored for the Town in dashing style, and this proved to be the winning notch, the score at the finish reading: Luton 3, Ramblers 2. Of the new importations into the home eleven Brown showed by far the best style; he was fast and passed well to his companion and invariably centred at the proper moment. Of the ordinary members Oclee, Hoy, and Taylor were most conspicuous. Ritchie, Brownleigh, Whitehouse and the two Meggs were most noticeable on the visitors’ side.”
16th April 1892. Saw the final of the Luton Charity Cup between Millwall Athletic and 1st Scots Guards. The attendance was about 3,000. “Several hundred of these were conveyed from London by a cheap excursion train, Millwall being well represented round the ropes.” 15 minutes before kick off a heavy snowstorm swept across the ground making it difficult for the players. Jones scored for Millwall in the first half but the Guards equalised from a scrimmage. A long shot, deflected into his own net by Dawson, one of the backs of the Guards, won a tight game for the Dockers.
“The cup and medals were presented after the match by Captain Carruthers He said they were extremely pleased to have such a good match and on behalf of the local charities he thanked the members of the teams. He hoped they would get as good an entry for the cup next year and, if possible, some better teams than they had this season – (a voice “What price Kettering.”) – for they were only anxious to give everybody a fair field and no favour. They were ambitious to be considered good sportsmen, and were proud to see the best team win.
MR BUTLER, who was loudly cheered on coming forward to receive the cup on behalf of his comrades, thanked the spectators for attending and expressed satisfaction that his side had won.
The medals were thereafter presented to members of both teams. The captain of the losers declined for some time to emerge from the dressing-room, but he at length came out and was lavishly applauded. Cheers for the vanquished team concluded the proceedings. Selections were played before the match and at half-time by the Red Cross Band.”
18th April 1892.
“Luton Town v Stratford. Played on Easter Monday morning, and a good game resulted in a victory for the Town reserves by three goals to one.”
18th April 1892.
”Luton Town v 1st Scots Guards. So far as the Town Club was concerned this was the principal match during the holidays. Considerable interest was taken in the contest from the fact that the soldiers easily eliminated the Town men from the penultimate stage of the Charity Cup competition, and that the latter were thus afforded an opportunity of retrieving their lost colours. This they succeeded in doing, and the result of one of the most stubbornly contested games of the season was an unexpected victory for the homesters by four goals to two. The Guards, who played with one exception the same team that was engaged on Saturday, were represented by the following:- Goal, Phillips; backs, Gorman and Dawson; half-backs, Harrison, Calder and Davis; forwards, Ogden (centre), Calderwood (captain), Twaddle (right), Thomson and Rennie (left). The Lutonians, three of whom were substitutes for the ordinary members of the eleven, were: Goal, J. Burley; backs, A. Hoy and P. Coles; half-backs, A.H. Taylor (captain), J. Wright, and W. Boston; forwards, H.W. Oclee (centre), F. Whitby, R. Brown (right), H. Whitby and W. Chesher (left). The “reds” won the toss and pressed at the commencement but the leather was soon returned and the Guards steered it behind the home line. Oclee exerted himself particularly well and was well supported by his fellow-forwards, but little progress was made. After hands had fallen to the Lutonians the Scots obtained possession and rushed up the field. Burley succeeded in clearing once, but the ball was sent in again immediately and this time it was out of the custodian’s reach. After this reverse the locals played with greater dash than ever and obtained a corner, the first in the game. The soldiers threatened mischief hereabouts, but good play by Hoy and Coles relieved the pressure. Both goals were visited in turn, and capital shots were poured in from the Guard’s left. H. Whitby emulated this example and struck the bar, the ball bounding over. A free kick for hands fell to Luton 20 yards from the enemies’ citadel, but it was resultless, the visitors’ backs proving too strong. A corner against the “reds” having followed, F. Whitby neglected a capital chance of equalising matters and a scrimmage near Phillips’ charge did not have the desired result. The Lutonians subsequently had somewhat the worst of the play for a space, the operations almost entirely confined to their territory. They made occasional breaks away, however, Oclee, brothers Whitby, and Brown, being instrumental in outwitting the opposing half-backs. At length the leaders managed to add to their score, and it seemed to the onlookers that the home eleven would inevitably be defeated. They played in extremely plucky fashion, however, and seemed determined to atone for the bad show which they made against the Scots on the former occasion. Coles at one period sent in a attempt which looked like taking effect, and danger was only averted by a corner being conceded. The leaders experienced hard luck, a try from the left wing striking the post. After a magnificent rush, Oclee sent the ball in at a great pace and struck the uprights and F. Whitby running up sent it through. From now until the interval the soldiers had the best of the game, the ball going out several times. They failed to improve their position, and at half time they were a goal to the good. Luton played with great determination in the first few minutes after the resumption and it was very bad luck that prevented them scoring. Some excellent combination on the part of the home forwards gave Oclee an opening but he shot over. The game proceeded with varying fortunes, but the home representatives had much the best of the exchanges. From a corner Taylor headed through and thus equalised the totals, a result which was hailed with enthusiastic shouts from all parts of the ground. Both elevens made strenuous efforts to obtain the lead, but it was not for some time that any further advantage was obtained. Luton, who were exhibiting fine style, worked the ball up and obtained hands in rapid succession and on the second occasion Taylor secured a further notch for his side. The delight of the onlookers knew no bounds and the Lutonians, stimulated by encouraging cheers, gave a grand exhibition. The Guards seemed to fall off somewhat, and just before time was called F. Whitby put the issue beyond doubt by scoring a fourth goal. At the end the Town had won a hard fought battle by four to two, and the men thoroughly deserved the applause which was lavished upon them when they returned to the pavilion. Boston was the weak spot in the team in the first half but he improved afterwards. Coles played a splendid game and Brown fully justified his selection, his pluckiness being very pleasing. Of the other Hoy, Taylor, Oclee, and the brothers Whitby were most noticeable. The referee was Mr Jones (Bedford).”
With Bat, Ball and Bicycle commented on Easter as follows;
“Those whose ideas of enjoyment lie in the direction of witnessing football matches were afforded ample opportunity of indulging to the full at Eastertide, and not only was there a larger quantity than usual but the games were distinctly of a higher class. The most important, of course, was the encounter between Millwall Athletic and 1st Scots Guards in the final round of the local charity cup contest. It was witnessed by a large crowd, and that a goodly proportion of them hailed from the East End was rendered painfully evident to those who stood anywhere near the spots where they congregated. Their criticisms on the display were truly “dockese” and unfortunately were very boldly expressed.
To say that the game was splendidly contested would possibly be superfluous, for it was well-known that both clubs desired the honour of bearing back the trophy. From start to finish the fight was a tough one , and although I am free to confess that the Millwall men struck me as exhibiting slightly more smartness than the soldiers, I at the same time feel that the latter experienced terribly hard luck. It is comparatively easy to explain away a defeat and possibly not a very desirable task to undertake, but it must be conceded that the “dockers’” second goal was obtained more by luck than judgment.
Then what is to be said about the point which the Guards claimed towards the close, and the refusal of which led to a protest? It was urged by the Scots that McFie fisted out the ball when standing behind Caygill, the goalkeeper, and if that is correct it would seem very unfortunate for the Guards. I have conversed with at least a dozen of onlookers regarding the matter, and all save one state that the version given by the Scots is the correct one. Of course it is now too late to think of altering the referee’s ruling; the cup has been presented and there the matter must end, but it is all the same extremely regrettable that any suspicion of unfairness should exist.
The “gates” have yielded the goodly sum of £144. This is made up as follows: 1st semi-final, £60; 2nd semi, £33; final, £52. It is anticipated that after expenses have been paid there will remain an amount sufficient to pay £25 to each of the three institutions to be benefitted.
The most important of the Town Club’s fixtures was that with the Scots Guards on Monday afternoon, and it brought about one of the greatest surprises of the season. After the dreadful thrashing which the soldiers administered to the local pets some weeks since nobody was sanguine enough to expect a reversal of the verdict, but the unexpected happened and the Lutonians scored as brilliant a victory as any that has had to be placed to their credit this season. The fact that I have been compelled to comment adversely on their play for the last month renders it all the more gratifying to me to be in a position to praise them, and I hasten to take advantage of the opportunity. The match was splendidly won, and as the homesters amply atoned for the sorry show which they made when the teams met previously they are entitled to the utmost credit.
It is difficult to determine what led to so acceptable a result. The Guards played pretty much the same game as formerly, but the locals did not collapse; they infused considerably brilliancy into their display and did not at any period relax their efforts. When the score stood two goals to their none they exerted themselves strenuously, and when by sterling football they had brought the totals level there was no holding them. Time after time the Guards spurted gamely, but the Lutonians successfully resisted all their endeavours. The play was not altogether as faultless as might have been wished, but lest I should be accused of being a carping critic I will content myself with observing “well-done, reds.”
The whole of the team played capitally, and it is difficult to determine to whom to award the palm for superiority. Oclee in the centre was brilliant and he was well backed up by his fellows, the brothers Whitby showing more dash than of late, while Brown is a distinct acquisition to the eleven, his passing and centreing being admirable. Taylor struggled hard enough for two men; he never missed the ball, and it is not often we are treated to such a fine exhibition of half-back play. Both backs were stonewallers, and Coles afforded great satisfaction to the spectators by his sure tackling and capital kicking. Of the Guards Calderwood, Ogden, Thomson, and German were most noticeable, while Phillips behaved uncommonly well in goal.
On Good Friday the City Ramblers sustained another reverse from the Town men, whose form was on the whole good. The game was fast and well contested. The Reserves had in the morning beaten the Ramblers’ Reserves somewhat easily, and they followed this up on Monday by defeating Stratford. Altogether the Easter display of the Lutonians, coming as it does at the end of the season, is one calling for commendation, and their four victories will considerably improve the appearance of their list of results.
By the way the Town Club conclude their season tomorrow (Saturday) when they meet Wolverhampton Wanderers, the League team. On Monday’s form they should make a good game of it. As the other clubs must now have reached the end of their fixture cards, I shall be glad to receive from secretaries lists of results for publication. The information supplied should include the usual particulars as to matches won, lost, or drawn, with the number of goals scored for and against.”
The column then turns its attention to the cricket and cycling season.
INTERLUDE – “Wheeling seems to become a more popular pastime year by year. It is not to be wondered at, for it is a magnificent recreation. The eagerness with which almost every youth takes to it in the summer, as he now does to football in the winter, augurs well for the robustness of the race for the future. The perfection to which the construction of the bicycle has now been brought has had a great influence in inducing this widespread taste for moving on wheels.
Those whose cycling experience goes back to the days of the old velocipede (or “boneshaker” as it was irreverently and not altogether untruthfully termed) can recall a curious history in the development of the machine. Improvement has followed improvement so that the “light roadster, 40lbs all on” of the present day bears no resemblance whatever to the original contraption.”
18th April 1892 committee meeting –
“Team selected against Wolverhampton Wanderers for Saturday Apr 23rd.
Good Friday morning £1 8s 11d City Ramblers reserves £1 8s 11d
Good Friday afternoon £9 12s 9d, Pav 8/5 City Ramblers £10 1s 2d
Easter Monday morning £2 4s 8d Stratford £2 4s 8d
Easter Monday afternoon £14 3s 2d, Pav 14/1 First Scots £14 17s 3d
Total £28 12s 0d
Resolved that Mr C Squires be asked to referee on Sat Apr 23rd and in the event of his already being engaged he be asked to send a qualified man to act in his place.
Hon Sec make the presentation to Deacon after the match on Saturday 23rd.
“That 10/- be charged to the Terriers and Montrose for the use of the ground on Tuesday April 19th.
“That the tea be left over to be decided at our next meeting.
23rd April 1892. From the Luton Reporter of 30th April 1892.
“Luton Town v Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Town Club concluded the season on Saturday with a match with the Wolverhampton Wanderers, the well-known League players. There were about 1,000 spectators present and the weather was fine. The Lutonians had their full team, but there is some dubiety as to whether the names furnished to our representatives are those of Wolverhampton men who really played. The team was said to be composed as follows: Goal, Hassal; backs, Baugh and Swift; half-backs, Malpas, Davis and Kinsey; forwards, Baker, Johnson (right), Heath (centre), Wood and Wilson (left). The Luton eleven was: Goal, J. Burley; backs, A. Sanders and A. Hoy; half-backs, H. Paul, A.H. Taylor (capt.) and J. Wright; forwards, F.K. Whitby, R. Brown (right), H.W. Oclee (centre), H. Whitby and W. Chesher (left). Referee, Mr C. Squires (London; linesmen, Messrs Dallard (Wolverhampton) and F. Evans (Luton). The visitors won the toss and Oclee kicked off against a strong wind and with the sun in his eyes. The ball was brought down by good passing, but it was as quickly returned. In the first few minutes the homesters repeatedly visited their opponents’s end, the right wing and centre play being good, but they were unable to score. Burley was next called upon, and after fisting out once he was again attacked with the result that Baker scored a somewhat soft goal ten minutes from the start. Immediately afterwards the “Wolves” sent the leather over the bar, and after Harry Whitby had sent in a grand centre, the Luton end was visited again and a scrimmage took place in front of goal. Oclee next made a good run, but Brown failed when passed to and the opportunity was lost. Wood headed over and directly afterwards Chesher neglected a good chance of equalising. A minute or two later a very regrettable incident happened. Johnson sent in a shot which seemed to most of the spectators to go over the bar. The referee decided in favour of the visitors and though a protest was made by the home captain the goal had to be scored. It is to some extent unsatisfactory to know that Mr Squires subsequently frankly acknowledged that he had doubtless made a mistake. After this reverse the home representatives struggled hard. Brown brought the sphere down his wing in first-rate style and ended by centreing capitally, while Oclee made a brilliant run just afterwards just afterwards. F. Whitby and Chesher missed, and after a successful appeal for off-side against the Wanderers hands fell to the latter. A goal was obtained from the scrimmage, this making the total three to none in favour of the leaders. The League men kept up a hot attack upon the Luton fortress, but the siege was raised by Brown, who made a couple of very fine dribbles. Taylor was badly winded, but was enabled to resume. When half-time arrived no addition had been made to the score. The Lutonians started with great dash in the second portion, and from a pass by Brown, who was playing remarkably well, Oclee forced the visitors’ custodian to defend his charge. After Paul had been hurt, Chesher sent in a good shot which was only negotiated with difficulty. The Lutonians made strenuous efforts to score but were unable, the visitors’ defence being very good. Wood notched a fourth for his side, and a little later Chesher scored for Luton from a corner. Wilson put on a fifth for the Wanderers, and Oclee missed when the goal seemed at his mercy. The “reds” tried hard to retrieve their fortune, but vainly and when the end came the visitors had won a well-contested game by five goal to one. The home forwards all showed up prominently at times, but the match was lost through bad shooting, several grand openings being allowed to pass. Taylor was the best of the half-backs, the backs were strong. Several of the visitors showed good style.
With Bat, Ball and Bicycle.
“The Luton footballers concluded their season on Saturday, when they received a thrashing from a team representing the Wolverhampton Wanderers. The locals played in fairly good style, but their opponents were much too tricky for them, and the “reds” will require several more lessons before they will be able to cope successfully with a strong Northern professional side. The old story has to be repeated – the home forwards ran the ball down exceedingly well time after time, but failed at the crucial point. Several splendid chances were absolutely thrown away by bad shooting, and perhaps the worst offenders in this respect were Oclee and F. Whitby, who broke down when the goal was undefended except by the goal-keeper.
I am not at all certain that the list of names supplied by the Wanderers’ official is a correct one. Another team of the “wolves” was antagonising Notts. County on the same day, and curiously enough, the names of five of the men are given as appearing in both elevens. Of course it was impossible that this could have been the case, and it remains to be shown whether they played at Luton or not; if not, the defeat inflicted on the Lutonians is rendered all the more ignominious.
The unfortunate mistake which was evidently made by Mr Squires possibly had something to do with the result. That the ball did not go through was fairly evident from the unanimity with which the decision was condemned, and even the referee seems to have been doubtful, for immediately after giving the goal he regretted the decision. He stated to me after the match that he felt he had committed an error in judgment, and expressed his sorrow. The mistake was certainly very unfortunate but “accidents will happen in the best-regulated families.”
Now that the season has closed I desire to congratulate the Town men on the highly successful season in point of play which they have had. They have done considerably better than might have been expected, and have worked their way to a prominent position amongst the Southern teams. With some reorganisation of the eleven next season we may hope for yet better results.
The sentence of the Association on the members of the Kettering team for their conduct in the fiasco which disgraced their meeting with Millwall at Luton some weeks ago has been announced. The whole eleven are suspended from September 1 to 14 inclusive. Considering the gravity of the offence this seems to me to be an utterly inadequate penalty, and seeing that the players will at the time named only be preparing for the season it is little punishment. However, it is satisfactory to find that the Association have in some degree marked their displeasure at the conduct of the men. The affair was very disreputable, and the course which the Kettering players thought fit to adopt lowered them considerably in the estimation of the genuine sportsmen. It did not need the suspension to do this, but it will possibly act as a warning to them as their behaviour in the future.”