CHAPTER 41. UPROARIOUS LUTONIANS
The improvement in the Straw Plaiters was confirmed by a tremendous victory over Millwall. It was not well received by the London press nor by correspondents who whinged in letter after letter. With the Southern League due to begin in the Autumn, the Dockers took the defeat badly and even reported the referee – something almost unheard of at this time. The Secretary of Millwall, Mr Henderson was elected the secretary of the newly formed Southern League. Luton had no one on the committee. Henderson would resign before the start of the season as concern about Millwall’s dominance of the League grew over the Summer. Henderson’s replacement as Secretary of the Southern League would be Natt Whittaker….a regular referee of Millwall matches. Whittaker would be the referee in the first Southern League match, Luton v Millwall – for more see Ham Chewers
The newspaper reports include wonderful descriptions of the crowd at Dallow Lane and the first song, “Little Lot” is mentioned – see full details HERE
Other interesting points in this chapter include the request for an independent referee for the game at West Herts. The referee on previous visits, a West Herts man, had been the reverse of satisfactory and caused some unpleasantness with his blatantly biased decisions. Another point is the booking of Liddle’s Temperance Hotel in Middlesbrough for the Ironopolis F.A. Cup tie. One of the possible explanations for the 8 pointed star on the club shirt is that it represents the Temperance Star.
13th January 1894. Taken from the Luton Reporter of the 20th January 1894.
“LUTON TOWN v. MILLWALL ATHLETIC.
Last Saturday’s match on the Town Club ground was one of the most important of the season. It has for some considerable time past been argued that the “reds” are quite as formidable a combination as their fellow-professionals from the East End of London, and since the retirement of “the Dockers” from their amateur standing it has been gradually dawning upon students of football form that the struggle would be exceedingly keen. Some overtures had been made to the local executive with a view to securing the abandonment of the fixture in order to enable Millwall to engage in friendly rivalry with the Royal Arsenal, but inasmuch as the club have already experienced bad fortune in the loss of gates this season it was felt undesirable to undertake a course which would entail a loss upon the Luton organisation and at the same time confer a favour upon a combination which has always regarded its fellow-club in Bedfordshire with feelings the reverse of amicable. Naturally this refusal by the home executive evoked some charges of unsportsmanlike conduct, but, these did not deter those responsible, and it is freely conceded by residents in this locality that the committee acted well. It will be remembered that on October 28 the Lutonians were beaten after a hard game at Millwall by two goals to nil, but the fact that the Bedfordshire contingent have not since then undergone defeat gave their admirers good cause to anticipate a stubborn contest. In view of this position of affairs it was only reasonable to expect a large crowd, and the authorities were not disappointed in this direction. The stand was very freely patronised, and around the ropes were gathered a goodly muster, these including numerous visitors from London. The ground had been well attended to since the recent frosts, and on the morning of the all-important encounter it was in extremely good condition. But a drizzling rain fell during the forenoon, and continued until the time announced for the commencement of the operations. This necessarily had the effect of rendering the turf slippery ; yet the ground was not unsuitable for play. Both sides had out their best elevens, the Millwallians including in their ranks the old Blackburn Rover player (Almond) who had performed so creditably in the previous week. The homesters were first to make their appearance, and they were accorded a gratifying reception, while the Athletics were warmly cheered on emerging from the pavilion in their blue and white uniform. A quarter of an hour after the advertised time the elevens took up their positions, and it was then seen that Luton had loss the toss. The sides were as follows:—Luton Town: Goal, E. Bee ; backs, J. Wilson and W. Chesher ; half backs, A. H. Taylor, J. W. Julian (captain), and J. Watkins ; forwards, J. Dimmock and F. Allen (left), H. Galbraith (centre), J. Finlayson and W. Brown (right). Millwall Athletic : Goal, O. Caygill ; backs, J. Graham and W. Davies ; half-backs, G. Aiken, W. Almond, and T. Robertson : forwards, A. Wilson and E. Jones (right), W. Jones (centre), J. Lindsay and F. Hollands (left). The referee was Mr. S. R. Morris (of the Referees’ Association), and the linesmen Messrs. F. B. Kidd (Millwall) and J. Bennett (Luton).
Galbraith kicked off, and by means of first-rate combination he and his companions worked their way into the visitors’ quarters. A corner fell to Luton in a couple of minutes off Davies, but Dimmock sent behind. Almond passed on to Hollands, who ran down the left wing in very good style, but the ball was forced out over the Luton line. A fast low shot from the Athletic’s right wing gave Bee some trouble, but he acquitted himself exceedingly well. The game was fairly evenly contested for a space, and then the home representatives again obtained the upper hand and exhibited far better style than their competitors. The fray thereafter continued to be carried on in mid-field, and the most noticeable feature hereabouts was a tremendous kick by Graham. The Luton men went away again immediately, and so furious was their rush that Brown found himself in possession in close proximity to the goal, but instead of kicking into the net he preferred to steer over the corner line. Millwall broke through soon afterwards, but were almost immediately pulled up for infringing the off-side rule. They again swarmed to the attack and Lindsay, in attempting to score, headed over the line. Julian gave Caygill a handful which he found great trouble in disposing of, and a little later Galbraith missed what was apparently a fairly easy chance after a corner. A second corner was obtained by the Bedfordshire men, and this was not turned to account. It should be said that the Lutonians were having the best of matters, although in point of ability there was little to choose between the teams. It was noticeable at this stage, however, that the home forwards were vastly smarter than their adversaries, their passing being particularly effective. The game had up to this stage been characterised by great pace. When Chesher had kept out a hot attempt in fine style Brown barely missed with a beauty. The Millwall goal had another narrow escape, and to the astonishment of the spectators Galbraith was pulled up for an alleged foul, which appeared to most people present to have been a fair charge. One of the “dockers’” half-backs fouled Finlayson in extremely bad fashion and was duly punished. The “reds” next conceded a corner, and from this Millwall had a narrow escape of scoring. Subsequently Brown obtained possession and carried the leather up his wing, Dimmock striking the post from a well-judged pass. What appeared to be an excellent opportunity was neglected by Millwall, and then Luton bore down in force upon Caygill’s charge. A furious scrimmage took place in front of the uprights, in the course of which Galbraith sent the ball through, but the referee disallowed the point on the ground that hands had been given just previously. This verdict was received with considerable displeasure by the crowd, who it must be admitted were not particularly choice either in their language or behaviour. The Lutonians, nothing daunted by their bad stroke of luck, continued to play in splendid fashion, and they just afterwards forced a corner, though this was nugatory. The Londoners visited the Luton end and shot over the top. Having obtained a corner the Luton players appeared to have an easy opportunity of scoring presented to them but they were stopped for breaking the off-side rule in front of goal. At length the “reds” succeeded in breaking the spell of ill-luck which had attended their progress, and when Finlayson had struck the bar Allen headed past Caygill amidst intense enthusiasm. The cheers which greeted this advantage had barely subsided when the wearers of the blue and white made a descent upon Bee’s citadel, and from a corner conceded by Julian, Almond headed through and thus equalised the scores. The onlookers were not slow to evince their appreciation of the good play which produced this result, and indeed the exhibition was fully worthy of the applause with which it was greeted. A somewhat bad kick by Wilson threatened danger, but this was staved off by the leather being kicked out. Bee capitally saved a shot from the Millwall right, and the locals shortly afterwards shaved the post. A foul was at length awarded against Millwall, whose method had at times not been entirely devoid of suspicion, two or three members of the team displaying an unwelcome tendency to unduly use their weight. Hands against Luton was succeeded by a corner against their opponents, but no further alteration in the score took place, and when the interval arrived the position as follows :—Luton, one ; Millwall, one.
The change of ends did not afford any appreciable benefit to either side ; for the wind which had been blowing during the afternoon was a cross one and therefore did not favour either team. The “dockers” went off in determined fashion in the second half—so fiercely, in fact, that they were pulled up in less than a minute with a bad foul against Galbraith. The same player was badly knocked over just afterwards, and the referee was compelled to suspend the game for a minute. A corner to Luton was unproductive, and another shared the same fate. The fact that these points were obtained will sufficiently indicate the nature of the play hereabouts. Julian, who had been playing in a magnificent game, was penalised for fouling, and Millwall was once more punished for a like offence. The visitors brought about a great drop in the spirits of the spectators by shooting past Bee, but to their great delight the notch was disallowed on the plea of the off-side rule having been broken. The most noticeable features in the next few minutes’ play were the foul tactics adopted by the strangers, Robertson being one of the worst offenders in this respect. It seemed as though the visitors had made up their minds to win at whatever cost, and the occupants of the grand stand frequently enjoined them to “play the game.” This advice was certainly greatly needed, but there was no necessity for a great deal of abusive and foul language which accompanied it. As time went on the visitors improved greatly, and it must be confessed that for a space they had the best of the exchanges. After missing what was apparently an extremely easy chance they attacked once or twice splendidly but failed to break through the strong defence. At length their forward, E. Jones, succeeded in putting his side ahead, and this for a lengthy period sufficed to take the sting out of the Luton attack. The East End players profited by this laxity and aroused themselves, but despite their utmost endeavours they failed to further improve their position. In response to repeated enjoinders the Lutonians at length woke up and the game subsequently became exceedingly fast. When Brown had struck the side of the net after a very fine attempt Robertson was cautioned by the referee for repeating his foul play. The home side forced a corner off Davies, and another followed in half a minute. From the latter Brown had hard luck in failing, Caygill saving grandly. After a tremendous struggle in front of the Athletic’s goal Luton equalised, Dimmock putting on the finishing touch. This result was received with an extraordinary outburst of enthusiasm by the onlookers, the occupants of the grandstand rising and shouting vociferously. The sight at this stage was the most extraordinary which has been witnessed on the ground for some considerable period. The excitement was intensified, however, a minute later when Galbraith broke through and scored again, the shouting and waving of hats and sticks being of the wildest possible description. There was a good deal of excuse for this display, for the home side had pulled out of the fire a game which had been apparently lost. In the gathering darkness the exchanges were vastly in favour of Luton, and the visitors were fortunate in staving off a further score. Just before the finish Galbraith was fouled in execrable style near the Millwall goal, but the referee did not apparently notice this behaviour or a further notch would inevitably have been added to the homesters’ total. In the end the “reds” were returned the winners of a grandly fought game by three goals to two. This victory is undoubtedly their best achievement since the defeat of the Old Westminsters, and it forms a worthy accompaniment to the fact that they have not experienced defeat for considerably upwards of two months. It may fairly be said that the whole of the victorious eleven exerted themselves strenuously and well, but the palm must be awarded to Julian, who has rarely displayed better style. The backs were fairly safe, and while Bee was noticeable for coolness and promptitude the forwards showed to great advantage, their short passing completely baffling the defence of the Athletics.
The most noticeable feature of the “dockers” play was the stubborn defence of their pair of backs, while Almond maintained his old Blackburn Rovers reputation at centre half-back. The forwards were a fairly passable lot, but they were by no means so good as the Luton string. It should be said that some of the decisions of the referee were by no means agreeable to the crowd,. And in this connection it is necessary to remark that the conduct of a section of those present was distinctly to be deprecated. Bad language and abuse of visiting teams cannot be too strongly condemned, and the sooner the officials of the home club determinedly set their foot on such unwelcome displays the better for the credit of the town. It would be idle to suggest that there was no remedy on Saturday, for a good deal of the abuse proceeded from the grand stand, and it would have been extremely easy to eject the offender here. All that remains to be done is to very heartily congratulate the members of the team on their magnificent victory and to express a hope that their excellent record will be yet further improved.
Writing with regard to the match in the Morning Leader a correspondent, who signs himself “Ghost,” gives utterance to the following grotesquely inaccurate apology for Millwall :—I found myself at Luton on Saturday, a humble unit in a crowd of the noisiest spectators it has ever been my lot to mingle with. The rain did its best to keep off, but the awful vibrations caused by the deafening shouts of the straw-plaiters left it no alternative, and it had to come down. Their “little lot,” when trotted out, is a very blood-curdling affair. Early in the game Galbraith and Julian introduced some of their celebrated hugging and tripping tactics, which proved the means of causing a considerable amount of ill-feeling. The referee seemed totally incapable of nipping these tricks in the bud. Had he cautioned these men from the beginning instead of meekly giving numerous fouls against them, it would have put an end to such practices. As it was, his weakness provide a strong inducement for some of the Millwall men to return “tit for tat.” Thus matters were not improved. Galbraith is the individual most to blame, and some of his fouls against Almond were so glaringly wicked that a group of the Luton spectators near where I was standing gave vent to the exclamation, “at his old tricks again.” And, mind you, this is saying a great deal, considering the usual one-eyed view taken by the uproarious Lutonians. Luton drew first blood, after scoring a point which was disallowed. Millwall had a similar misfortune in the second half, so that the one counterbalances the other. The scene when Luton got their first goal beggars description. Shortly afterwards, from a beautifully-placed corner by Hollands, Almond headed through for Millwall amidst a silence which was absolutely painful in its intensity. Thus, at half-time, honours were even. For a few minutes in the second half Luton pressed, but danger being averted the visiting forwards broke away, and Taff Jones received a pass from the left, which he drove into the net with a fast high shot, of which Bee only heard the buzz. He never saw it. The Luton men slackened off somewhat, and with inexcusable stupidity the visitors did not see their opportunity, and also allowed their pace to slow down. Then Julian told his men to “gird up their loins,” and Galbraith received special instructions to look out for Caygill. This he did repeatedly, as if the rule anent playing the goalkeeper, unless ”he be in the act of playing the ball or is obstructing an opponent,” had no existence. When the Lutonians scored their second goal Caygill was fast locked in Galbraith’s arms, and never got a chance to defend his charge. The referee refused to listen to the appeal that there was an infringement of Rule 10, although I cannot say how he failed to see it. Altogether, the referee was a sad commentary on these days of examination, and if the Referees’ Association cannot find the duffers, then most clubs must do so for themselves, and refuse to accept their services at any price. The Millwall forwards were the weak spot in the team, and if we except Hollands, they played vastly below form. Almond did not realised my expectations at half-back, and I am convinced Robertson would have done better against Galbraith than Almond did. Graham suffered from an injured leg, and was, therefore, handicapped. Davies was the best back on the field, while Caygill did his work well in goal, and he only lost the second point through the referee allowing Galbraith to infringe Rule 10. Of the half-backs I liked Aitken and Robertson best. For Luton, Bee was safe in goal, while the backs were good, and at times brilliant. Julian, if we except his shady tricks, was the best of three good half-backs. If the shady tricks count he was the worst. Dimmock and Brown were the pick of the forwards, who, with the exception of Galbraith, played a good honest game. The twelfth man did yeoman service for his side, not so much from intention, perhaps, as ignorance and lack of experience combined. The Millwall linesman had to do his duty on the line while standing a running fire of insults from two Lutonians wearing a red badge, which, I am told, is the distinguishing mark of the committee men. A few months at some institution to learn manners is what I would recommend to such officials. The result—3 goals to 2—against Millwall lends new zest to any future meeting of the clubs, but not until the feat is repeated will I admit that Luton is the better team.
Replying to this “Lutonian” says : —Happily, “ghosts” do not often put in an appearance at football matches, but still quite often enough, judging by the one who unburdened himself in your columns on Tuesday re the Luton v. Millwall match. The “ghost” in question has apparently been absent from this everyday world of ours for so long a period that he has forgotten the manners and courtesies which grace the average man. His description of the match at Luton is couched in very bitter language, is marked by inconceivably bad taste, and what is more, the extreme partisanship of your ghostly correspondent vitiates his account in other respects and renders it unreliable from beginning to end. If anyone had reason to complain of the referee it was certainly not Millwall, and anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting the Dockers on the football-field will know that they are not the lot likely to be taken at a disadvantage by rough play. Another thing, your correspondent tries to impose upon the credulity of your readers when he dubs himself “Ghost.” I would counsel them not to believe it for a moment ; it’s all “kidd.”
“An old football player” writes : —I, like your correspondent (who is evidently a supporter of Millwall), found myself at Luton last Saturday, so thought I would go and see the game. Now, sir, for any unbiassed person’s opinion I suppose you will pay the same amount of attention as to the ravings of one who is filled with his own club’s capabilities, so as to be thoroughly unable to appreciate play when performed by an opponent. I most emphatically state that the Luton players did not play a rough or foul game, and, on the contrary, Millwall did. They had fully made up their minds to win by fair means if possible, and if not, well, by foul. I quite agree with the writer that the referee should have been firmer at the commencement of the game and stopped the first appearance of fouling. If so, his first caution would have been given in favour of Luton. For anyone that was present and could see the match to write such an account only proves how far partisanship will warp one’s judgment. It would take too much space to enumerate the frequent fouls the Millwall players indulged in ; Luton deserved a penalty kick. Galbraith had got quite clear, and just about to shoot at goal. Almond rushed up and deliberately pushed him in the back with his hands. This the referee did not observe, and many present thought if he favoured either side it was not Luton. On the day’s play Millwall found a little more than their match, and this, I suppose, is not pleasant for their supporters ; but anyway let them act as sportsmen and admit the fact that the better team won, and not act like a parcel of babies and try to make a lot of stupid excuses and blame those that do not deserve it. All I can say is, having seen all the best South of England teams and most of the North of England Leagues, on Saturday’s form Luton would not disgrace any field. Millwall’s gentle play and gentlemanly manners and choice language are too well known to need any comment.
In yesterday’s (Thursday’s) Morning Leader “Honesty” writes in the same strain as “Lutonian.”
“Battersea” says :—Dear Rover,—I was disappointed at not having the pleasure of reading your notes Luton v. Millwall. Were you there: I suppose not, or we should have had something interesting. I was there, and witnessed a very good game. Both teams played up well and did their utmost to win. I may here say I am a Londoner, and in no way connected with Luton Town, and in my opinion the best team on the day’s play won, and Luton are to be congratulated. As Londoners we all feel proud of Millwall and their record this year. The team to beat them must indeed be a good one. Luton are also a good team, as their record can show. Personally, I consider there is very little difference between the two, and it would be a toss-up who would win if they were to play to-morrow. As Southerners I think we ought to feel proud to know Luton as one of us, and not run them down because they have beaten one of our best London teams. We are still proud of Millwall, therefore let us as sportsmen say “Good old Luton,” “Good old Millwall,” we wish you both success in your future competitions. As regards the fouling, I think there was as much on one side as the other. The worst one was Robertson’s when he lost his temper and badly fouled Finlayson. I did not see Galbraith clasp hold of Caygill when Luton scored their second goal, as I was in the grand stand.
“Ghost” replies as follows :—“Lutonian” expresses the opinion that my disembodied personality has been absent from the every-day world for so long a period that, to use his own words, “he has forgotten the manners and courtesies which grace the average man.” If this is so I can assure him that ages of wandering in the shadowy realms of “Spooks” will never cause me to forget the “manners and courtesies” which grace the average Lutonians. Further, it may interest this correspondent to know that the “Ghost” is not all “kidd,” whatever that may mean ; and if he only would allow what little reason he possesses to have a “ghost” of a chance he would discover the wisdom of keeping his counsel, on the sound economic principle that he cannot afford to give it away. “An Old Football Player,” who was also a visitor to Luton on the day in question—and, mark you, the old one is unbiassed—states that the “Ghost’s” communication is a proof of how far one’s partisanship may warp his judgment. I will take the trouble to reiterate, that had the referee been a man of firmness, and had he taken pains to keep the men in hand by giving a timely caution, not only would the players have shown better football all round ; but Millwall would have won. Why ? Because rule 10 was glaringly infringed when Luton scored their last two goals. In justice to the referee it should be said that during the earlier stages of the game he had to penalise Galbraith so frequently, that the spectators said very uncomplimentary things to him when on the way to the dressing-room at half-time. Indeed, several vulgar threats were uttered, and there can be no doubt that these threats were heard by many besides my ghostly self. What effect this had upon the referee I do not pretend to say ; but it would require a man with very strong nerves and a fearless contempt for threats to hear them uttered by an excited mob and not be somewhat affected by them. With reference to “An Old Football Player’s” vast array of experience in the North and Midlands, I may tell him that there is one who wishes he knew as little about the game as “An Old Player,” and before dissolving into invisibility I will whisper his name. He is known as the “Ghost.”
RESERVES v. MILLWALL RESERVES.
LUTON GOAL KEEPER INJURED.
The fixture for the Luton Reserve on Saturday was with Millwall Athletic Reserves, and the match was played at Millwall. The teams were as follows :—Luton Reserves : Goal, A. Tearle ; backs, R. Vickers and A. Colling ; half-backs, H. Whitby, J. Simpkins and C. Reed ; forwards, J. Reed and G. Conquest (right), G. Groom (centre), W. Catling and P. Harden (left). Millwall Reserves : Goal, Walker ; backs, H. Jones and T. Lockwood ; half-backs, Harvey, A. Burlin and A. Broadis ; forwards, B. Wiggins and T. Willing (left), P Church (centre), T. McCulloch and E. Stuart (right). Linesmen : Messrs. Thompson (Luton) and W. Dickenson (Millwall). The referee was Mr. Clarke. Luton lost the toss and started the game with a strong wind against them. The homesters came away at once and scored within the first few minutes, three other goals being added to this total before half-time. The game was of a rough description, the homesters being accused of fouling on several occasions. When the third goal was scored against the Luton team the goal-keeper was injured by being knocked against the goal post. Tearle, however, continued to play, and nothing serious was apprehended until the following Monday. On that day he appeared to be in pain, and Dr. Pauli was called in. The doctor, after an examination, at once ordered Tearle to bed, it being understood that he had sustained contusion of the ribs and a slight internal injury. It is expected that he will have to keep his bed for some two or three weeks. In the second part of the game Luton played very smartly, and put on three goals, Harding and Simpkins being responsible for two, whilst Willing, in trying to save, gave the third goal. The final score was Millwall 5, Luton 3.
THE LUTON TOWN PLAYERS.
The Morning Leader on Monday had an estimate of the calibre of the Southern teams and the most prominent players connected therewith. The allusion to Luton Town is the following :—“Since Luton turned professional they have in a quiet way done excellently well. On this season’s form they should run Millwall a hard race for honours in the Southern League.” In the classification of clubs the Arsenal is put alone in the first class, and Luton Town comes after Millwall in class two. In the third class of backs appear Gorman and Wilson, while Julian and George are included in the second class of half-backs. Galbraith is done the honour of being mentioned in the first class of forwards, Dimmock is put in the second class, while Allen and Finlayson make their appearance in the third class—a curious arrangement this, as it will strike most people. Bee is relegated to the third class, and the other members of the eleven do not appear to have caught the eye of the critic.
15th January 1894 committee meeting –
“Letter received from Mr J.G. Beckton of Middlesboro, Ordnance factories, 2nd Scots Guards, Luton Charity and Editor of Morning Leader.
“Team selected against West Herts Sat 20th. Bee, Wilson, Cheshire, Taylor Julian, Watkins, Dimmock, Allen, Galbraith, Finlayson and Brown”.
Gate money for Sat 13th £31 17s 3d. Pav £5 0s 10d.
Expenses re Millwall (reserve) £3 9s 5d.
“It was resolved that Secretary write for particulars from the places mentioned by Mr Beckton with regard to putting up at Middlesboro”.
“Write West Herts with regard to appointing an independent referee”.
“Mr Austin reported that at the meeting nothing definite was done (Except that Caledonian would not join the league and no reply received from Crouch End). It was therefore left to Mr Henderson to write to other clubs and adjourn the meeting until Friday 19th. Resolved that Messrs Arnold and Shane represent the club at the adjourned meeting. In the event of Mr Arnold being unable to go, Mr Smith to fill the vacancy, failing Mr Smith, Mr Hinson”.
Mr Hackett volunteered to meet the 2nd Scots Guards reserves.
“Resolved that Mr Pakes should speak to Finlayson with regard to keeping himself in condition”.
20th January 1894. Taken from the Luton Reporter of the 27th January 1894.
LUTON TOWN v. WEST HERTS.
The encounter between these elevens at Watford on Saturday should have formed the return game, but the fact that West Herts were engaged in a cup-tie earlier in the season necessitated the postponement of the opening fixture, and it has now been arranged that it shall be played a month hence. The weather in the early part of the day was brilliantly fine, and this served to induce a large number of admirers of the “reds” to make the trip with them into the neighbouring county. It was soon ascertained that the West Herts. side was not likely to be very formidable, several prominent men being missing. The Luton front string was considerably weakened by the absence of Finlayson through indisposition. The match was witnessed by a goodly crowd. It was about 3 o’clock when the teams placed themselves under the control of the referee (Mr. J. R. Gregory, Referees’ Association) as follows :—West Herts : Goal, S. King ; backs, H. M. Harford and J. R. Paull ; half-backs, J. Penny, F. C. Robins and A. Heath ; forwards, R. Slaughter and S. Taylor (right), C. Harrison (centre), W. S. Coles and C. Wheeler (left). Luton Town : Goal, E. Bee ; backs, J. Wilson and W. Chester ; half backs J. W. Julian (captain), A. H. Taylor and J. Watkins ; forwards, W. Brown and W. Conquest, (right) H. Galbraith (centre), F. Allen and J. Dimmock (left). The linesmen were Messrs. H. Wilkins (Luton) and Russell (West Herts.). The homesters won choice of positions, and Galbraith started play. In the opening exchanges Wheeler became prominent, but he did not succeed in doing much that was noteworthy. Hands was awarded against West Herts and from a well judged pass by Galbraith Allen shaved the post. The home right wing men managed to get down well, but Taylor prevented evil results. Galbraith secured and passed well, but Conquest failed miserably, and the Luton section of the spectators were chagrined to find the play transferred to their quarters. It must be conceded that the West Herts. contingent were displaying very good style ; in fact, they were agreeably surprising their sympathisers. Brown next got through but he failed to pass Paull, who was defending magnificently. Luton made another opening, but Dimmock disappointed his admirers by sending the leather spinning over the cross-bar. A mis-kick by one of the home back division threatened danger, but Paull came to the rescue with an admirably judged overhead kick. An amusing incident occurred shortly afterwards. Wheeler put in one of his lightning runs and attacked Bee, but the Luton custodian secured the ball and eluded his beleaguers, Wheeler turning a somersault into the net instead of the ball. This achievement by the visitors; keeper was generously applauded. West Herts. maintained the pressure for a space, but at length Brown forced a corner and a succession of minor points to the Lutonians enabled them to persistently besiege King’s charge. That custodian, however, proved invulnerable, and the Herts. pack renewed their attack, Wheeler becoming again conspicuous by some exceedingly tricky play. The home fortress experienced a narrow escape from being captured, Dimmock sending the ball across the mouth of the goal. Some even play followed, and then hands against Watkins once more removed the fray into the territory of the Town men, who were not any means playing up to form. A heavy rainstorm had in the meantime swept over the ground and rendered both ball and turf slippery, and this may in some measure account for the poor show made by the Lutonians. Dimmock lodged the ball in King’s hands and a little later Brown narrowly missed scoring. West Herts. made no such mistake, for Slaughter broke away from Chesher and opened the score with a very fine long shot. Naturally this success was hailed with lavish applause, and it must be confessed that the performance thoroughly merited this recognition. Luton subsequently improved somewhat and the West Herts. backs were given plenty of work, Paull performing his portion with that excellence which had been distinguishing his performance all through. After hands had been awarded against the visiting side, Wheeler struck the side of the net with a shot that deserved to score. The same player shortly afterwards sent the ball across the Luton goal, and Slaughter badly missed the easiest of easy chances. The “reds” woke up after another corner had been registered against them, but even then the display was not what we have been accustomed to recently. Penny was hurt slightly, and then Paull conceded a corner off Dimmock. Galbraith experienced hard luck, an excellent attempt of his striking the bar. From a free kick for hands Julian turned the ball over to Dimmock, who sent it past King and thus equalised the totals before the West Herts. men realised what was being done. When Brown had failed to profit by an admirable opportunity, Allen scored with a fast long shot, the keeper dropping the ball under the bar. Half a minute later the midway stage arrived with the Lutonians hands against the visitors was given, and then Bee saved grandly from three wearers of the stripes. Corners off Wilson and Taylor were unproductive, and a lame tale has to be told of a free kick. Harrison having lifted the leather on to the net, Julian experienced hard luck in failing to score. The West Herts. front rank got through and Taylor sent the ball into the net, Bee making no effort to stop it owing to the fact that three opponents were in front of him and not a single Lutonian. To the utter amazement of those possessing a knowledge of the rules the referee—a great many of whose decisions had been by no means free from suspicion — awarded a goal, and although the Lutonians were evidently disgusted they were obliged to accept the inevitable and acknowledge that the scores had been equalised. The Luton men had a great deal the best of the subsequent play, and from a corner Galbraith headed through, and thus notched the third point. Having once more obtained the lead the “reds” did not appear to exert themselves unduly, and they eventually won a poor game by three goals to two. It should be stated that the absence of Finlayson greatly weakened the attack, Conquest being worse than useless. Julian was lame and palpably unfit in the second half, but no excuse can be offered for some of the remainder. Of the West Herts. men Wheeler and Paull were most noticeable. The referee did not give satisfaction to either side. This victory counts as the thirteenth consecutive win by the Luton representatives, their unbeaten record dating from October 28.
To-day (Friday) the Town Club players journey North to try conclusions with Middlesborough Ironopolis in the first round of the English Cup competition proper. They have a hard task before them, but many in the neighbourhood are confident that they stand a good chance of winning. If they exert themselves in Old Westminsters or Millwall form they have little to fear, and the fact that they now boast of a three months’ unbeaten record should form an additional stimulus. All Luton footballers wish them the best of luck. By the way, a writer in the Athletic News says of the match and the prospects of the Ironopolis :—“Looking back upon the work done by the straw bonnet makers during the past three months I venture to say their task will not be of that easy character some people are anticipating. Luton are a very fair team, and capable of rendering a good account of themselves. Therefore it will be well for the home lads to put their best foot first, and go in with a will at the opening of hostilities. If they do this I see no reason why the should not easily account for the Southern team.”—The Town Club have arranged with the Midland Railway to stop the 12.25 train from St. Pancras, running through Luton on Friday, at 1 o’clock. A saloon will be attached, and the party arrive at Middlesborough at 7.50. The return journey will be made at 7.28 on Saturday night, arriving home at 4.43 on Sunday morning. Intending travellers must be on the platform at 12.50. The full Cup Team are to travel with H. Whitby as extra man.
RESERVES v. 2ND SCOTS RESERVES.
The 2nd Scots Guards Reserves met the Town Reserves on Saturday on the latter’s ground, and a very one-sided game resulted. The weather was fine during the greater part of the afternoon, but three or four showers came on during the course of the match. There were some 500 or 600 persons present, and the grand stand was nearly full. The game was started about 3 o’clock, when the teams ranged up in the following order : 2nd Scots Guards : Goal, Pte. Hanaine backs, Ptes. Knock and Stewart ; half-backs, Ptes. Madden, Williams and Ingham ; forwards, Corpl. Grevey and Sergt. Turney (right), Col.-Sergt. Affleck (centre), Sergt. Wright and Pte. Conray (left) Luton Reserves : Goal, J. Burley, sub. ; backs, H. Whitby and A. Colling ; half-backs, R. Vickers, J. Simpkins and C. Reed ; forwards, J. Read and W. Catlin (right), G. Groom (centre), F. Hoy and W. Deacon (left). Referee, Mr. W. Wheeler ; linesmen, Messrs. C. Clarke (Guards) and F. Horn (Luton). The visitors won the toss, and Luton kicked off against the wind, defending the town end goal. The wind, which blew across the ground, was very strong, and a long kick against it was almost impossible. Luton pressed from the commencement and took the ball down to their opponents’ end, but it was afterwards returned, and Luck put the ball through for his side. The shot was not a fast one, but the goalkeeper’s efforts were rather amateurish. Luton then ran down and a shot, which went over the bar, was put in by Catlin. Hands was given against Luton not far from their citadel, but the ball went behind. A free kick for hands was given against the visitors, and soon after the home team obtained their first goal, equalising about 10 minutes from the start. Simpkins was credited with the notch, and very shortly afterwards he obtained another. Colling missed his kick near the Guards’ goal. The Luton forwards ran down in fine style against the wind, and Groom put in a successful shot for his side not long afterwards. The game was fought for the most part on the visitors’ territory notwithstanding the wind, but about this time the latter’s forwards obtained the ball and brought it into dangerous proximity to the home goal. No serious shots, however, were made, and soon after the play returned to the other end of the field. Read centred well, and a scrimmage took place in front of the Guards’ uprights. Several unsuccessful shots were made, until the ball passed out of play from a wide shot by Catlin. The Luton forwards failed to take advantage of an opportunity for scoring, and their opponents obtained the ball and took it down the field, when the home goalkeeper saved a shot from Affleck. Hands was given against the Lutonians not far from their goal, and in saving a shot Burley was knocked over. Later on, the home forwards had a try for a goal, and when there was some change of scoring Hoy sent behind. A free kick for a foul was awarded to Luton near their opponents’ fortress, a corner resulting. This was followed by a second, but no score was obtained. Just before half-time hands was given against Luton, the score at this juncture standing at three to one in favour of that team. After changing over, the Bedfordshire men had the wind at their backs and the game in their favour. It had been apparent during the first portion of the game that the home team were considerably superior to their opponents, but after the interval this superiority became infinitely more marked. The game was carried on almost entirely in front of the visitors’ goal, around which the spectators grouped themselves. Indeed, the game resolved itself into little better than a succession of shots at the solders’ goal, and what had not been an exciting game at the outset now became extremely uninteresting. The first point of any importance was a corner for Luton, and this was followed soon afterwards by a free kick for hands. It was 10 minutes from the re-start before the score was added to, Simpkins sending home a good shot. Corners and shots followed one another pretty rapidly, but a break in the monotony was caused by a burst on the part of the Guards’ forwards, which resulted in the ball going through Luton’s sticks. The referee, however, disallowed the goal on the score of one of the players being off-side. Luton a little later obtained their fifth goal, a corner following. Hanaine saved well, and soon after Hoy scored for his side. Luton was awarded a foul, and them Simpkins put in a successful shot. Three other goals were obtained by Luton before the close of the game, which resulted as follows : Luton Reserves, 10 goals ; Scots Guards Reserves, one goal.
LUTON AND THE SOUTHERN LEAGUE.
At length the long-talked of Southern League is an accomplished fact, and next season residents in the South may expect to see a great impetus given to the game. The decision to form a League was arrived at on Friday at a meeting in London, when the Luton Town Club was represented by Messrs. H. Arnold and G. Hinson. The following report of the proceedings is extracted from the Evening News :—After the minutes of the last meeting had been read by Mr. W. Henderson (hon. Sec. Pro. Tem.), Mr. Rennie Rogers (Reading) proposed and Mr. W. H. Lawson (Swindon Town) seconded that a Southern League, consisting of nine clubs (Millwall Athletic, Swindon Town, Reading, Royal Ordnance Factories, Luton Town, 2nd Scots Guards, Ilford, Clapton, and Chatham) be formed. Mr Clark having given a pledge that Clapton would throw its lot with the League and similar pledge having been given by Messrs. Davies (Ilford) and Harman (Chatham), the resolution was carried unanimously. Mr. W. H. Lawson (Swindon Town) proposed and Mr. Colin Gordon (Millwall Athletic) seconded a resolution to the effect that the affairs of the League be managed by a council consisting of an hon. President, hon. Secretary, hon. treasurer, chairman, and a council consisting of one representative for each affiliated club. After some discussion as to the advisability of having an honorary president, the resolution was carried unanimously. Neither the chairman , treasurer, secretary, nor president will have a vote at the meetings of the executive council, but in case of equality in voting in any matter the chairman will have a casting vote. On the motion of Mr. A. J. Davies (Ilford), seconded by Mr. Rennie Rogers (Reading), Mr. R. Hl. Clark (Clapton) was elected the first chairman of the League. Mr. Colin Gordon (Millwall Athletic) was appointed hon. treasurer of the League on the proposal of Mr. A. J. Davies (Ilford), seconded by Mr. H. Arnold (Luton Town). Mr. W. Henderson (Millwall Athletic) was elected hon. sec. on the proposition of Mr. Colin Gordon (Millwall Athletic), seconded by Mr. J. Dowsett (Ilford). The question of an honorary president was thoroughly thrashed out, and after a long discussion it was resolved by a majority of one to ask Sir Reginald Hanson, Bart., M.P., to accept the position. On the proposition of Mr. Rennie Rogers, seconded by Mr. Colin Gordon, a proposed set of rules was read by the chairman, and it was resolved to recommend to the next meeting that the entrance fee should be five guineas, with an annual subscription of two guineas ; that a £10 penalty should be inflicted in the case of breaches of the rules ; that all players should be registered, and that they only be eligible to play for one club in each season ; that urgent matters should be dealt with by an emergency committee ; that in the case of a tie for the championship a deciding match should be played ; and that a trophy and medals should be presented to the winners. Mr. Rennie Rogers announced that in all probability Mr. J. Oliver (Old St. Stephen’s and London and Middlesex Associations), the president of the late Southern Alliance, would present a challenge trophy to the league. A vote of thanks to the chairman concluded the business of the meeting.
The Evening News says :—We have strong faith in the future of the League, which is likely to be managed upon lines that are both popular and generous. Let the clubs but live together in amity, avoid personal and petty jealousies, and there is not the slightest doubt but that, as regards the League, the Press and the public will do their duty.
The Morning Leader, commenting on the fact that several other teams were invited, writes :—It is well that these clubs have been asked, because they cannot turn round at some future time and say, “You did not give us an opportunity of entering the League when it was formed.” If any of the clubs who declined the honour wish to join the League later on they will of course have to make application and take their chance of being elected. It seems to me a pity that one or two other Southern clubs were not invited. Such clubs as St. Mary (Southampton), who are known to be in sympathy with a league movement, might, I think, have very well been included. Perhaps they will be asked to do so before the opening of next season, when the League will begin operations. In regard to the Arsenal, it appeared to be the general desire to include them, provided they could see their way clear to play their full first team. Of course it is not easy to anticipate what the Arsenal may or may not do before next season, but there can be no doubt that their presence would immensely strengthen the Southern League. The writer subsequently observes :—Here, then, we have a League—in our midst at last. So far as harmony of opinion went, it could not have a better chance. It will start next season, each club playing home and home fixtures, which means that every club will play 16 matches. These League fixtures will, of course, not interfere with Cup-ties, while they are few enough in number to allow of many of the old friendly fixtures being played. So far as I can see, the Southern League has every prospect of success. Apart from any pains and penalties which may be imposed, every one of the nine clubs should, and doubtless will, be loyal to the League, and do everything possible to promote concord amongst its top position, it is sincerely to be hoped that to the added interest which the League will undoubtedly bring, there will be no added bitterness, but rather that the freer intercourse will lead to greater friendliness, especially amongst the players.
The Athletic News says :—So a Southern League is formed at last. The clubs composing it are nine in number—Clapton, 2nd Scots, Reading, Swindon, Millwall, Royal Ordnance, Chatham, Ilford, and Luton—which, with the exception of the first-named, are all run chiefly on business lines. Consequently, their leading players may be available whenever required. I should have expected that both Millwall and Luton would have flown at higher game than this, which appears to have been floated in rather a hole-and-corner sort of a manner. From what I can learn, there was some thought of including the Arsenal, but the wire-pullers positively refused to amidst the Plumstead club unless they would always guarantee that they would play their first team. I can’t understand the bitter feeling that exists against the Arsenal Reserves. It strikes me they could lick quite half the teams in the new league. Some people think I am opposed to the league. It is a matter of perfect indifference to me whether it succeeds or fails. It can do the game no harm, but I certainly am at a loss to perceive in what manner it can raise any of the clubs engaged beyond certain level. The Southern Alliance, which was to do such great things, soon fizzled out. London Caledonians and Crouch End were asked to join, but they were not taking any.
THE LUTON v. MILLWALL MATCH.
The correspondence with regard to this match was continued in the Morning Leader of Friday by “Home-ward” whose vituperation is amusing.
Mr. W. Henderson contributed the following choice production on Saturday :—I regret that so much bitter feeling has been shown in the letters appearing each morning on our match v. Luton. In replying to “Free Critic” and also “Lutonian,” who I take by the notes to be the same person, also that of a “Old Player,” they have both forgot to mention the circumstances of the fouling. I will not here mention the number of fouls given against Galbraith and Julian during the game, as I have reported my opinion about the referee to the Association who sent him there. My answer to the different writers re Robertson’s foul is that if Mr. Morris had with a firm ruling asserted his authority at the outset this unpleasantness would never have occurred. There is one other remark which has appeared in the Athletic News and also in your paper—namely, that Millwall asked Luton to forego their fixture. That is not so. The only request we made was to alter the dates to a little later in the season. In sending these notes I must admit, whoever “Ghost” may be, that his remarks on the referee are far more correct than those of “Free Critic” or an “Old Player.”
“Lutonian” replied on Tuesday in the following terms :—I did not anticipate troubling you again in regard to the Luton v. Millwall match, but I must express my regret that Mr. Henderson has been led away by the more unreasoning and cantankerous of his supporters. I must also enter a demurrer against the assumption that I am identical with “Free Critic.” I knew nothing about that gentleman’s notes, and was not responsible for them in any way whatever. Mr Henderson says that I forgot to mention the circumstance of the fouling. He is quite mistaken ; I did not forget, but I thought it would be a work of supererogation to prove to your readers that Millwall were not left behind in this department. Still, if Mr. Henderson wishes it, I will declare emphatically that by far the greater part of the fouling was done by Millwall, no less than three being given against them in the three minutes after Luton had scored the winning goal. The Millwall secretary says he has reported his opinion of the referee to the association which sent him. Well, if the officials of beaten and disappointed clubs are going to make it a rule to round on the referee in this way Mr. Roston Bourke and his coadjutors will find their hands pretty full, and I am surprised that Mr. Henderson should be guilty of such a childish action. Having seen Millwall and Luton in all their encounters I was confident that on this occasion Luton would win, simply because they are now the better team. And they did win handsomely and fairly, although the Dockers played a much stronger game at Luton than they did at Millwall.”
22nd January 1894 committee meeting –
“Team selected against Middlesboro Ironopolis. Bee, Cheshire, Wilkins, Watkins, Julian, Taylor, Dimmock, Allen, Galbraith, Finlayson, Brown, reserve Whitby. Mr Wright to have charge of the team. Messrs Barford and Davey to go as chequers”.
Gate money for Sat 20th £4 8s 3d, pav £1 7s 10d.
“it was resolved that the team be put up at Liddle’s Temperance Hotel”.
“resolved to travel by Midlands Railways, the Secretary to provide for team”.
“Carried that 10/- be given to each player for a win on Saturday against Middlesboro”.
Expenses of team to Watford £2 8s 9d.
“Mr Arnold reported that satisfactory replies had been received so as to form the 9 clubs to constitute the league. Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer were appointed, other arrangements to be left for a first time meeting”.
In Bulmer’s Directory of 1890, Liddle’s, at 10,11 and 12 Bridge Street west, was one of three Temperance Hotels in Middlesbrough. There were also five Temperance bars in the town.