CHAPTER 46. THE GRAND OLD MAN
It is the end of the 1893/94 season and only one player had played since 1885 and that was Arthur Taylor, the half back. He joined the club shortly after formation and had been the first on the team sheet ever since. He lived in Bedford and knew the Lomax brothers and George Deacon from playing in the same the regional F.A. and Bedfordshire teams.
“TAYLOR’S BENEFIT MATCH.
It was only fitting that the concluding match of the season should be intended as a benefit for Arthur Taylor, whose play at left half-back has been one of the most admirable exhibitions given by the Luton team. Mr. A. Roston Bourke, with that enthusiasm for football for which he is noted, fell into the idea and promised to bring a good London team down, and he well redeemed this. Unfortunately the weather was terribly bad, but despite this there was a good muster of sympathisers, a pronounced proportion of whom fully intended their attendance to be regarded as a token of esteem for the old player. Shortly after the advertised time the elevens took up their positions in the following order :—Luton Town : Goal, E. Bee ; backs, Pte. Gorman and W. Chesher ; half-backs, H. Whitby, W. George and J. W. Julian ; forwards, W. Brown and Connolly (Royal Ordnance) (right), H. Galbraith (centre), Woodburn (Royal Ordinance) and F. Allen (left). London :—Goal, A. Tearle (Luton Reserves) ; backs, C. McGahey (City Ramblers) and P. Read (Crouch End) ; forwards, F. Hughes (Clapton) and A. Taylor (Crouch End) (right), J. Gettins (Millwall Athletic), (centre), W. Gresham (Crouch End) and E. J. Wilkins (Crouch End) (left). The referee was Mr. H. Chase, and the linesmen Messrs. W. G. Wheeler (Luton) and J. Gibbons, jun. (London). The home side lost the toss and started operations against the wind, Taylor being received with great applause on entering the ring to kick off for his old comrades. At the outset it became apparent that the ground was in a bad state, and the ball became so greasy as to seriously hamper the players. Luton went off in good style, and shortly after the start Galbraith sent high over the bar. Thereafter the exchanges were in mid-field for a space, but London were gradually beaten back. Connolly, after several decisions against the visitors, was presented with a good opening, but he shot wide. A couple of corners against Luton in rapid succession betokened that the scratch eleven were pressing somewhat, but some pretty play by the home combination once more transferred the scene of operations to the other end. On one occasion Allen narrowly missed scoring ; the goal-keeper was tempted from his post, but one of the visiting backs saved at the expense of a corner. Bee exerted himself brilliantly a little later, but the opening goal was destined to be obtained at the other end. From a throw in Allen sent to Whitby, who netted the ball. Brown failed to improve on some chances, and then Gettins put in a good single-handed run. The leather was kept bobbing about in front of the visitors’ citadel for a space, and eventually Galbraith sent it over the cross-bar. The same player experienced hard luck in failing with a well-judged exhibition of headwork. Decisions against each side for infringements of the rules were recorded, and then Galbraith sent the ball through but was adjudged off-side. Three corners in as many minutes were registered against London, who were now having much the worst of matters, and it was only the excellent goal-keeping of Tearle that prevented the score rising rapidly. Brown sent the ball skimming the bar afterwards and Galbraith tried hard to score with a shot which went very close. Allen sent in a grand attempt, which Tearle only kept out with difficulty, and a minute before the change of ends Galbraith scored from a pass by Brown, Luton thus leading at the interval by two goals to none. Immediately after the re-start Connolly made a magnificent cross shot, and the same player presented a good chance to Allen, who declined to accept it. In the course of the subsequent operations some unpleasantness occurred between Galbraith and Briggs, and the latter evoked a hostile demonstration by shaking his fist in the Luton centre forward’s face, an action which brought down the prompt intervention of the referee. In the next few minutes Tearle again covered himself with glory. From a corner off McGahey, George headed over, and the centre half-back failed with a well judged long shot. After a corner Galbraith obtained a third notch. A little later Hughes scored as the result of some hesitation on the part of the home defenders, and two minutes afterwards Gettins put on a second. This was bad enough, but worse was to follow, for laxity enabled London to again break through and equalise through the medium of Hughes. Luton had all the best of the game to the close, and Brown cleverly contrived to give them the lead, a well fought contest resulting in a victory for the “reds” by four goals to three. It should be said that the amount taken at the gate was about £25, and that other amounts are expected from tickets and collecting books.
Inasmuch as this will probably be the last season in which Taylor will don the colours of the Town Club we take the opportunity of presenting his portrait to readers. It is scarcely necessary to say very much regarding the veteran player : his praise is in the mouth of every football enthusiast, and none has been heard to say a word in disfavour of him. It may be repeated that the popular half-back has been prominently identified with Luton football for about 15 years, and since the formation of the Town Club he has rarely been absent from the ranks in an important encounter. During all these years his form has been consistently good, and though towards the end of this season it was apparent that the genial Arthur did not run with the same lissom movement as of old it was equally noticeable that his spirit of downright pluck and determination had not deserted him. As a half-back Taylor never posed as brilliant, but the best testimony to his usefulness is to say that the place which his retirement leaves vacant will be indeed difficult to fill. The veteran has played even under the worst of conditions, and occasions have arisen in which he was absolutely unfit to don his colours, but “never say die” was the motto which he had ever before him, and there is no single attender at the matches but fully admires this trait in his character. To mention Taylor’s engagements in matches for the Eastern Midlands some years ago would be to retail ancient history, but mention of the fact will serve to show that he has been deemed worthy of selection in the most important of local encounters. As a sprinter he has won many prizes; indeed, as an athlete he is a splendid example. Altogether the writer, speaking from a ten years’ acquaintance with Taylor, is heartily sorry to have to announce the retirement, but joins in the general chorus of praise and congratulation which has been showered upon the old player during the last few days.
MR. A. TAYLOR.
Mr A. Craig, the football poet, has been busy with regard to the retirement. His tribute is as follows :—
He has never shirk’d his duty, but perform’d it like a man;
And shown more knowledge of the game than most good players can.
Old Luton needs such sturdy lads, when dark foreboding comes,
Right good at heart, and priz’d by all, especially by his chums.
You need not sound your comrade’s praise by cymbals, fifes or drums.
Hard toiler ! With both heart and soul he bangs into the fray,
On, on, and never flags until they’ve lost or won the day.
But if old Luton fails to win, he sits not down to sigh ;
“Away with sighing,” Taylor shouts, “let’s have another try.”
Rise, Luton, rise ! and guard your boys ; they’re worth their weight in gold ;
Your veteran’s worth to Luton Town has never half been told.
LUTON TOWN’S SEASON.
Monday’s match completed the list of fixtures which the Town Club had arranged for the season, and it may at once be said that the Club has been infinitely more successful than at any previous period of their history. Briefly, the results obtained are that of 43 first eleven matches 31 have resulted in wins, 10 have been lost, and the remaining two drawn. The goals scored for them number 123 and those against them totalled 65. The Reserves have also been highly successful, their record being as follows :—Matches played 20, won 16, lost 3, drawn 1 ; goals scored for 102, against 21. For purposes of calculation the opening match between the first eleven and the Reserves, which ended in a win for the seniors by seven goals to none, has been omitted. To elaborate somewhat with regard to the performances of the seniors it should be said that they have shown up prominently in the English and Luton cup contests. In regard to the former they equalled their achievement of two seasons ago, when they made their way into the competition proper and were eliminated by a Middlesboro’ organisation. When it became known that the local champions were drawn against the Old Westminsters in the first round of the qualifying competition the hearts of their sympathisers became heavy, for it was generally conceded that their chances of proceeding further were of the slightest. To the astonishment and delight of Luton residents the “reds” brought about a reversal of the forecasts, and secured a handsome and well-deserved win over their formidable antagonists. In the next round the locals had an easy task set them, and they administered a sound thrashing to the Norwich C.E.Y.M.S. After a draw at Colchester the Luton men managed to beat the Sherwood Foresters at Luton and so entitle themselves to be hailed as champions of the division. The reverse at length came from the Middlesboro’ Ironopolis, who only succeeded after a stubborn battle and with all the luck in their favour. In the Luton Cup the “reds” fared exceedingly well, and for the first time in their history they were able to be described as cup-holders, their performance in the final against Wolverton being regarded as very smart. Amongst the ordinary fixtures the victories over Derby County, Grantham Rovers, the Casuals and Millwall Athletic, and the draw with the Royal Arsenal, abundantly demonstrate the great advance which the locals have made in point of ability in the last year or two. Some of the losses were exceedingly unfortuitous while others were due to sheer carelessness. On the whole, however, the record is one which any club might be proud. Next season will see the team included in the Southern League competition, and it is requisite that the organisation should be brought to the highest possible state of efficiency, for it will not do for Luton Town to figure badly in this contest.
New players are required, and recent enterprising acts on the part of the authorities give warrant to the assumption that everything will be done that can be to maintain, if not to improve, the position which the club occupies in Southern football. It may be added that all the members of the eleven have now signed on for next season except Julian and Allen.
The following are the results in tabulated form :—
Date Opponents. Ground Result For Ag’st
Sept. 9 Woodville …………… H .. W .. 7 … 0
“ 16 Ilford ………………… H .. D .. 1 … 1
“ 23 Clapton A .. W .. 4 … 3
“ 30 Mansfield Greenh’lghs H .. L .. 1 … 6
Oct. 7 Royal Engineers …… H .. W .. 2 … 1
“ 14 Sherwood Foresters .. H .. L .. 1 … 3
“ 21 2nd Scots Guards …. H .. W .. 3 … 1
“ 28 Millwall …………….. A .. L .. 0 … 2
Nov. 4 Old Westminsters (E.C.) A .. W .. 1 … 0
“ 11 Casuals …………….. H .. W .. 4 … 0
“ 18 Chatham ……………. A .. W .. 2 … 1
“ 25 Norwich C.E.Y.M.S.
(E.C.) ………… H .. W .. 5 … 1
Dec. 2 3rd Grenadiers ……. H .. W .. 3 … 1
“ 9 Rushden …………… A .. W .. 4 … 0
“ 16 ṪSherwood Foresters
(E.C) ………….. A .. W .. 3 … 2
“ 23 “ “ H .. W .. 2 … 1
“ 26 Wolverton ………….. H .. W .. 5 … 1
“ 27 Casuals …………….. H .. W .. 3 … 1
“ 30 Ilford ……………….. A .. W .. 1 … 0
Jan. 13 Millwall …………….. H .. W .. 3 … 2
“ 20 West Herts ………… A .. W .. 3 … 2
“ 27 Middlesboro’ Ironopolis
(E.C.)…………… A .. L .. 1 … 2
Feb. 3 2nd Scots Guards …. A .. W .. 2 .. 0
“ 10 West Herts ………… H .. W .. 3 .. 1
“ 14 Luton Montrose (L.C.) H .. W .. 6 .. 1
“ 17 Grantham Rovers …. H .. W .. 3 .. 2
“ 19 Kettering …………… H .. L .. 3 .. 4
“ 24 City Ramblers …….. H .. W .. 3 .. 1
Mar. 3 Chatham …………… H .. W .. 5 .. 0
“ 5 Royal Arsenal …….. A .. L .. 0 .. 2
“ 10 Rushden …………… H .. L .. 0 .. 1
“ 17 1ST Scots (L.C.) ……. H .. W .. 4 .. 0
“ 23 “ “ ………… H .. W .. 3 .. 0
“ 24 Finedon ……………. H .. L .. 2 .. 4
“ 26 Derby County …….. H .. W .. 2 .. 1
“ 27 Mr. Bourke’s Team .. H .. W .. 5 .. 0
April 7 Clapton ……………. H .. W .. 5 .. 2
“ 14 Wolverton (L.C.) …. H .. W .. 4 .. 1
“ 16 Royal Arsenal …….. H .. D .. 3 .. 3
Date Opponents. Ground Result For Ag’st
April 21 Uxbridge ……………. H .. W .. 5 .. 1
“ 23 3rd Lanark ……….. H .. L .. 2 .. 5
“ 28 Loughboro’ ……….. H .. L .. 0 .. 2
“ 30 Mr Bourke’s Team H .. W .. 4 .. 3
Ṫ This game was stopped by the referee and given as a draw. E.C. represents an English Cup tie ; L.C. refers to a round in the Luton Cup.
30th April 1894 committee meeting – Letters received from Messrs J.G. Hatton Tottenham Hotspur, H.W. Pauli. S. Pakes Luton Cricket Club, H. Galbraith, J.W. Julian.
It was proposed by Mr Thompson seconded by Mr Hinson that we do not go beyond 30/- per week during the playing season and 20/- during the close season as the offer to Galbraith for season 94 and 5.
Amendment proposed by Mr Arnold seconded by Mr Fryer that the offer be raised to 32/6 during the playing season and remain during the close season as before viz. 20/- per week. On being put to the meeting 3 voted for the proposition and 4 for the amendment. The chairman therefore declared the amendment carried.
Proposed by Mr Hinson seconded by Mr Thompson that Mr Julian be paid the close season money as soon as he signed.
Amendment proposed by Mr Shane seconded by Mr Austin that he be paid half on signing and the remainder in 2 months time.
4 voted for the proposition and 4 for the amendment. The Chairman gave the casting vote in favour of the proposition which was therefore declared carried.
Arnold and Thompson be auditors for season 93 and 4.
That the annual general meeting be held on Monday May 28th.
That Secretary write Messrs Nicholson and George for terms for season 94-5.
The secretary advertise for class forwards.
Gate money for Saturday 28th £23 16 8 Pav £2 5 8
Monday 30th £19 5 1 £6 6 4
7th May 1894 committee meeting –
“Letter received from Messrs J. Heath Plumstead, G.W. George Plumstead, W.J. Cockayne Loughboro, J.W. Julian Plumstead.
It was resolved that secretary write to Cricket Club stating that 2 horses were allowed on the ground and having let them the ground so reasonably in fact so much that we reap very little benefit from the same we can not see our way to do any repairs asked.
Carried that J.W. Julian’s resignation be accepted.
Carried that the shares for the grand stand and the improvement be paid off.
Resolved that the next meeting be held on Friday 11th May.”
11th May 1894 committee meeting –
“Letters received from A. Rostron Bourke Referees Association, A. Selwyn Hall Greenhalghs, H. Favell Kettering, P. Allen Dundee, J.H. Bury Manchester, A. Howe Wellingboro, E.A. Willick Birmingham, I. Rae Rotherham, J. Stevenson Kilburnie, H.H. Wilshire Lincoln City, J.W. Roberts Darlington, J.S. Jones Grimsby Town, J. McDonald, J. Ferguson, McManus Dundee, C. Curbishley Stoke, J. Woods and D. Thomas Bevedere, J. E. Edwards Hurst.
It was resolved that Secretary write Messrs Hall, George, Bury, Culley, Roberts, McDonald, Ferguson, McManus, Edwards, Ward, Thomas, Curbishley, Barr, Withick declining their applications.
resolved that secretary write Messrs J.S. Jones and R. Edge for references offering 30/- per week providing they are satisfactory.
Secretary write Mr I Rae for reference and terms also that Wilshire be written to for references offering 30/- per week and 35/- down on arriving in Luton providing the references are satisfactory.
Write to Mr Stephenson for references and terms.
Write to Mr Howe offering 15/- per week and traveling expenses
Resolved that a deputation consisting of Messrs Arnold and Horn wait upon Mr Nicholson with regard to playing next season they being empowered to make an offer of 30/- per week and expenses but not to go beyond £2 per week including expenses.
Resolved to be represented at the meeting of the Referee’s Association by Mr Hackett.
Resolved that we decline the invitation to enter for the Kettering Charity Cup competition.
Next meeting Thursday 17th at 8PM.”
17th May 1894 committee meeting –
“Letters received from Messrs A.H. Wilshire Lincoln City, A. Howes Wellingboro, G.W. Willy Grimsby, W. Prentice Gainsboro Trinity, C. Nelson Dumbarton, J. Ashley Bedford, A. Morton Waddingstone, M.D. Nicholson London, E. Evans Birmingham, F. Allen Luton, A. Jones Llandudno, J. Finlayson, W.H. Davis Bolton, G. Handley Dartmouth, J Rosor Crewe, J. Willmott Hucknall Forkhand, H. Robinson Wednesbury.
Resolved to write to Wilshire for his trade or profession stating we will endeavour to find a situation also to Howe stating we will keep his application open until after his general meeting.
Also to R. Edge stating we are waiting his reply also to offer Stephenson 32/6 per week providing his references are satisfactory.
Also that Mr Barford wait upon Mr Nicholson offering same terms as before.
That Messrs Robinson, Willy, A. Jones, Willmott, Rosor, Hindley, Davis, Evans, and Ashley be declined. \Also to Allen offering to sign him on at the same terms as the other local players.
That secretary see Finlayson with regard to the Bootle man and write accordingly.
Also to write to Messrs Morton and Nelson for references and terms.
Also to see Galbraith with regard to Prentice and accordingly write for references offering 25/- per week.
Vampires be left open for a time.
Resolved that the Mayor be asked to preside at the Annual Meeting.
Proposed by Mr Hackett seconded by Mr Wilkins and carried that £1 be granted towards the reserves annual tea.”
21st May 1894 committee meeting –
“Letters received from Messrs A.W. Minney Wellingboro, W.G. Aylott Luton Athletic, A.J. Dowler Small Heath, R. Carter, R. McCrindle and D. Spiers Paisley.
Resolved that Secretary write Cunningham offering 30/- per week to sign on for season 94 and 5.
Declining the invitation to enter for the Wellingboro Charity Cup competition.
Resolved that the Athletic Club have use of ground for training purposes only until finally settled with regard to Saturday evening meeting.
Mr Barford reported he had seen Mr Nicholson and that gentleman had promised to help us in the greater part of our league fixtures.
Notice was given for the alteration of rules.
No. 2 the latter clause to read (all vacancies to be filled by the committee) proposer Mr Austin, seconder Mr Barford.
No. 8 Patrons subscriptions to be £1 1s 0d per annum this amount to admit the owner of the ticket only to ground and grand stand.
member tickets to be 10/6 per annum this amount to admit to all matches except cup ties or to be 7/6 for Saturdays only and pay for all mid week matches.
No. 11 Omit all after the word committee, viz., such selection to stand for a whole season except under special circumstances.”
28th May 1894 – Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held in the Corn Exchange May 28th at 8pm.
“The Secretary read a letter from His Worship the Mayor stating His Worship was indisposed and unable to leave his house and expressing sorrow at his inability to be present. Mr Charles Cotchin was therefore voted as Chairman of the meeting.
The minutes of last Annual meeting having been passed the Secretary stated that as every gentleman had a balance sheet the quickest way would be to pass it as read. This was agreed to after which
The Secretary proceeded to give the report for season 93 and 4.
He thought we might congratulate ourselves on the results of the past seasons engagements and a name had been made in the football world by engaging extra men, the cost of which was justified by the receipts. A Stand was also provided which proved a great success having paid for itself in about half the season. The entire control of the ground had been taken by the club with the result that all the plans belonging was taken with it. The Southern League had at last become an accomplished fact with the Town as one of its members. Beside the League, matches have been arranged with Wolverton, West Herts, Casuals and London Caledonians.
Results were as follows;
1st eleven, matches played 43, won 31, lost 10, drawn 2, goals for 123, goals against 65.
reserves, Matches played 20, won 16, lost 3, drawn 1, goals for 91, goals against 21.
The best wins were over Old Westminsters, Casuals, Grantham Rovers, Derby County, Rostron Bourke’s eleven, Millwall and Wolverton in the final of the Luton Charity Cup competition. As to the reserves we must admire the way they stick to goal getting never being satisfied until the whistle has blown.
The receipts were £641 11 2 in advance of last season the amount taken being being £1,197 13 1 which with £68 borrowed and £68 3 2 balance from last year make a grand total £1, 333 16 3. The expenditure amounted to £1,249 8 10 leaving a balance of £84 7 5.
During the year 54 committee meetings had been held at which Mr Hinson attended 52, Mr Horn 47, Fryer 47, Hackett 45, Thompson 44, Davey 44, Barford 42, Austin 41, Wilkins 40, Wright 36, Pakes 18, Webdale 16, Shane 47, Secretary 52, Assistant 53.
As to next season we intend to have 14 or 15 men to run the first team with and also to improve and probably lengthen the stand in return we expect increased gates and better behaviour both to the visiting and local teams.
After a few questions asked by Messrs Rodgers, Foxley, Squires and Millard had been answered by the Secretary. Mr Beecroft moved the adoption of the report and balance sheet Mr G. H. Barford seconded and was carried unanimously.
Election of officers resulted as follows;
President His Worship the Mayor A. Hucklesby
Treasurer Mr H. Shane
Secretary Mr I. Smith
Assistant Mr W.G. Wheeler
Committee, J. Squires 166, G.H. Barford 144, E.A. Barford 131, E.I Walsh 92, W. Thompson 89, J.H. Bennett 85, F. Scott 80.
unsuccessful G. Worboys 79, S.T. Brown 70, W.G. Aylott 63, F. Turner 50, A.A. Burnett 49, W. Carter 25, A.D. Sinfield 12, H. I. Sell 2.
Mr Rodgers moved a resolution that the committee have two turnstiles put up for next season. Mr Millard seconded but this was ruled out of order by the chairman who stated that the committee had it under consideration at the present time.
Alteration of Rules
Rule 2. Proposed by Mr Austin that the latter clause should read all vacancies to be filled by the committee. Mr Horn seconded. Mr Rodgers proposed, Mr Turner seconded, as an amendment that the rule remain as before viz all vacancies be filled in rotation by the unsuccessful candidates at the previous General meeting. The amendment was declared carried.
Rule 8. Proposed by Mr Hackett seconded by Mr E.A. Barford that members tickets be raised to 10/6 and patrons £1 10 0 to admit the owner of ticket only or as an alternative 7/6 and £1 10 for Saturdays only and pay for mid week matches as arranged.
Mr Millard moved an amendment that the subscription remain as before. This was seconded by Mr Rodgers and carried by a large majority.
Rule 11. Proposed by Mr Arnold seconded by Mr Austin and carried that rule 11 should read that the selection of captains be made by the committee.
The next business was to present the sum of £50 to Mr A. Taylor the amount realised by the benefit match. Mr Shane (treasurer) made the presentation on behalf of the club and in a few appropriate words expressed the esteem in which Mr Taylor was held by the football public. Mr Taylor briefly returned thanks when after a few words from Mr Arnold a vote of thanks was passed to the Chairman for presiding and the meeting terminated”.