Richard Robert Vickers
“Born in Edinburgh on 5th February 1871 he first played for the junior Edinburgh club “The Primrose” progressing from there to the “Edinburgh St. Bernards” (that club was disqualified shortly afterwards for tipping its players). When the ban on that club was eventually lifted Vickers re-joined them, but 1891 saw him on the move again. this time to the Shankhouse club, Northumberland, only to become a Barnsley player some months later.
He remained at Barnsley until July 1893 before coming further south once again, to play two trial games for Kettering, but found that he could not come to an agreement with them over terms. Luton then signed him, still only 22 years old for all the travelling he has done.”
Robert’s stay with the Straw Plaiters was a bumpy one. I have a number of extracts from the Club Committee minute book which highlight how the committee worked.
28th August 1893 committee meeting –
“here the secretary stated that Mr Vickers from Kettering was in the large room of the library, he thought the committee might have him before them and see whether they could do anything with him. It was thought no harm could be done by seeing him and it was therefore resolved to see him. On coming before the committee several questions were asked and answered satisfactorily. It was then resolved that Mr Vickers should stay until Monday 28th in order to play a trial game on Saturday 26th”.
“10/- be allowed Mr Vickers to cover his expenses until Monday also that a practice match be played on Saturday in order to give him a trial”.
Richard impressed in the trial game at outside left and was signed up as per the committee minute book –
“The Chairman then asked the committee’s opinion with regard to the play of Mr Vickers on Saturday 26th?. The opinion all round seemed very favourable which was confirmed by the greater part of those who witnessed the match. In fact it seemed the general opinion that he would be a good acquisition to our team. Several propositions and amendments were then proposed and withdrawn but it was resolved that he be called before the committee to hear his terms. On appearing before the committee he declined to state any terms preferring to leave it with the committee. Mr Vickers was therefore asked to retire while a decision could be arrived at. Decided to offer £1 per week.”
The committee meeting of the 25th September 1893 reveals that –
“Resolved that Secretary should speak to Vickers with regard to his conduct on the field”.
2nd October 1893 –
“It was also resolved that Secretary should write Messrs Galbraith, Wilson and Vickers calling their attention to the way in which they hang on to the ball, instead of passing it when the opportunity presents itself. In the case of Vickers special mention to made made with regard to his conduct on the field”.
Luton Reporter 21st October 1893 –
“Vickers is not by any means redeeming the promise of his display at the beginning of the season, and last Saturday a very mediocre show was relieved by exceedingly rare flashes of brilliancy. If he does not soon improve the local executive will have to consider what steps should be taken.”
Richard appeared before the committee on the 19th October 1893 –
“Mr Vickers was the first to come before the committee. The Chairman asked him if he could account for the falling off in his play. In reply Vickers acknowledged that he was not playing up to form but added that a man could not always expected to be in form. The Chairman then addressed Vickers as to his moral character thinking that might have some effect on his play. In conclusion he said probably he would be given another trial but if no improvement was made he would have to leave the team”.
Richard was dropped for the next game and replaced by Dimmock who impressed. Robert was therefore tried at back with Dimmock keeping his place on the left wing. He was then tried a half-back.
4th December 1893 committee meeting –
“Proposed by Mr Wrights, seconded by Mr Thompson that Vickers doctors bill of 7/6 be paid”.
So it could be that he was carrying an injury leading to a dip in performance.
Richard refused to play in the reserve game against Luton Montrose on the 9th December 1893. The committee again discussed him –
“Secretary reported that Vickers had failed to play when requested against Montrose and in consequence a man had to be found on the field. This was thought to be a very serious matter and it was resolved that secretary write Vickers explaining that when secretary ordered him to play he was expected to abide by the same and should it occur again it would be necessary to take more stringent measures”.
January 1894 saw the committee again dealing with Richard –
“Resolved that Vickers be taken before Dr D Thompson in order if possible to ascertain what the matter is with his knee”.
After a spell in the reserves, Richard was again played at back in the first team. In February however, he badly twisted one of his knees and had to be carried off the field in a game against Kettering. He returned to the first team in early April but was dropped for the Luton Charity Cup Final. The committee however, directed that a winners medal be struck for him for his part in the earlier rounds of the competition.
He played his last game against Loughborough on the 28th April 1894.