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Transfers – acquiring a player

Need a player?

The Straw Plaiters first mention of the use an an agent to obtain a player came in 1893.  This from the minute book –

“That secretary ascertain the terms of an agent for finding a player and in the event of these being unfavourable to advertise in the Athletic News for forwards”.

However, before agents, an advert in a sports publication usually produced a number of applicants for a club to sift through.  The Straw Plaiters were in need of a centre forward in the Summer of 1892.  The position had been a problem for some time.  Herbert Oclee had played regularly in the 1891/92 season but illness prevented him playing towards the end and when he returned he was somewhat debilitated.  In any case, the centre forward position had evolved into a more ruthless position.  Oclee was old school, unselfish and linked play together very well but did not score enough goals.  The advert below was therefore placed in the Sporting Life on the 22nd October 1892.

Hugh Galbraith, a Burnley player, wasted no time in answering the advert. The minute book entry for the 24th October 1892 says –

“It was proposed by Mr Hackett, seconded by Mr Barford that Hon Sec write Mr Hugh Galbraith offering him 30/- per week inclusive also explaining that there were several firms in the town where he might possibly obtain work but that the club could not undertake the responsibility of the same.”

The club committee meeting the following week heard some good news –

“Mr Hugh Galbraith in his letter accepted our terms.  It was therefore resolved we should write to Burnley Secretary asking whether Mr Galbraith was released from that club.  If so, everything being favourable, Hon Sec draw up agreement and allow him to sign.”

The following week the Straw Plaiters got their man as the minute book shows –

“It was resolved that Mr F. Hill should take Mr Galbraith’s form and agreement to Burnley and wire back when everything was satisfactorily settled”.

Hugh Galbraith went straight into the team against Millwall Athletic.  The Luton Reporter said –

“Galbraith is a decided acquisition and when he settles down will be certain to give universal satisfaction.  When he obtains possession there is little chance of depriving him, and his dribbling and passing are smart and accurate.  I confess to having been delighted with his initial performance, and trust that he will soon be helped by a competent set of forwards.  Galbraith’s style was too good to escape observation very long, and he was pounced upon by two or three men who gave him their undivided attention during the remainder of the play.”

Did Hugh Galbraith settle down?  He scored 30 goals in the remainder of the season and 181 altogether in his career.  Read his life story here