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History of the Queen's Park Football Club 1867 - 1917
Chapter X.—Early Honorary Secretaries' Reports


The report of the secretary, Mr. A. Hae, to the annual general meeting of 1873 is so racy, that it is worth reproducing:—

The birth of the club was on this wise: Glasgow, 9th July, 1867.— To-night, at half-past eight, a number of gentlemen, etc., etc. (number not given). That night the club was first wrapped in swaddling clothes. With one important exception, seven of the thirteen nurses, that night appointed, are still in the family. These are they:—L. S. Black (captain), Robert Smith (treasurer), J. C. Grant, Robert Gardner, James Smith, Donald Edmiston, J. M. Skinner (members of committee;. So that, to change the simile, the ship has some very old timbers, and yet she is not unseaworthy. She has braved many storms, and many are yet to be braved. She has now sailed on a voyage of perilous adventure, foes many and formidable are to be fought; shattered and shredded she may be, but let us hope and work that, whatever else befall, she may again arrive, still flying at the main that dear old flag of undefeat. During six years we have had four captains: Mr. L. S. Black, Mr. W. M. Klinger, Mr. James Smith, and Mr. Robert Gardner. The early history of the club is interesting and brief. After anxious inquiries at such eminent authorities as "Cassell's Paper" and "Sporting Life" (mark the literature of those days!), Association rules were adopted on 9th of August, 1867, one month after the date of the club's birth. The first match was played against a club called Thistle, (which has since departed this life), in 1869, and, of course, was won by the Queen's Park. For six years, gentlemen, we have endured an unbroken series of non-defeats, and yet conceit has not killed us. In such circumstances, I solemnly believe it to be a high virtue that we are only moderately cocky. This, gentlemen, is the exordium—now to the business of the past year.

Referring to the departure of Mr. Edmiston, he says:—

Of those Who have left us, I may be allowed to name one who, for his playing abilities and genial character, was respected by the whole club—I mean Mr. Donald Edmiston. He is gone North to engage in business. Gentlemen, Mr. Edmiston's health and prosperity! 

Mr. Rae's report to the annual general meeting in April, 1874, is equally clever:—

Gentlemen, our year of office is gone, and we are here to give an account of our stewardship. We have done our best, and we have no reason to be ashamed of our work. The popularity of the game we love is due in no small measure to the energy and pluck of this club. Little ragamuffins invest their joint savings in a gaudy indiarubber, while more ambitious localities, and schools, trades, and regiments, seek the bubble reputation in the goal-mouth. The muscular Christianity to which we owe our existence, for we were evolved (that's the scientific term) from the Young Men's Christian Association, was not always in favour. John Blows, a preacher, was not only absent on a day appointed for fasting and prayer, (the Fast Day draweth nigh), but was that day at a great football play, he being one of the principal appointers thereof. Being called to account for it, he was at first disposed to justify himself, but at length confessed that he had been wrong, and promised to abstain from the like for time to come. Nevertheless, as he had grieved the saints, and given occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully, it was resolved that he should not be suffered to preach until further fruits meet for repentance did appear. We can have no preachers among us. Let us practise— our arithmetic [the financial statement].

Then Mr. Rae gives the number on the roll, seventy, which he says "represents effective strength, the roll having been thoroughly weeded, and all mere names removed."

Mr. George O. Norval's report to the 1875 annual meeting is informative:—

It is my duty as honorary secretary to make you the annual statement of its affairs. I shall do so as concisely as possible, and with as little self-laudation as is allowable under the circumstances. This present season makes the eighth year of the existence of the club, 1867 being the year in which a number of gentlemen met somewhere in "No Man's Land" for the purpose of forming a football club, the object of which was to be "the recreation and amusement of its members." From that modest beginning the club has grown to its present exalted and prosperous condition. Little did that body of gentlemen who were on the first roll of the club, of whom, I regret to say, there is only one remaining amongst us, think that in thus joining together for mutual recreation they were really laying the foundation in Scotland of the now most popular code of football rules, the Association code, which is adopted by over forty clubs ] in the district, and makes no empty title that generally given to the Queen's Park of the "senior club."

"No Man's Land " was a disputed district between Govanhill and Crosshill.

Mr. T. Lawrie, honorary secretary, gave a brief but interesting report to the annual meeting, April, 1877 :—

It is my pleasant duty this evening to submit to you a most gratifying report on the progress of our club during the past year. There is a special interest attached to this meeting, in the circumstance that it marks the completion of the first decade of our existence as a club, and in looking back upon these years we cannot fail to be astonished at the marvellous success that has attended our efforts. Storting as we did from such humble and modest beginning as twelve to fifteen members, kicking a ball about for their amusement in a corner of the public park, sporting for uniform a small badge on one arm, and paying the extravagant subscription of one sixpence per annum—starting from that, we have risen to the eminent position we now occupy, and which, I trust, we will ever continue to hold. Once on a similar occasion to the present a distinguished predecessor of mine compared our club to a vessel that had braved many storms, and that had many more to brave. His prediction w!as right. Since then she has braved many a storm, but none so great as those of the past year. In one of those I regret she was taken unawares, and suffered very great damage, but, thanks to the able exertions of her crew, she has righted herself, and once more rides Queen of the Seas. I have to refer to the success of the club in competing for the Glasgow Charity Cup, which now stands before you, and I trust it will long continue in our possession, and although unfortunately it is not accompanied by the Scottish Association Cup, yet I hope that the members will exercise such diligence in the coming season as will ensure a recapture of that trophy.

The "great damage" Mr. Lawrie refers to was the defeat by Vale of Leven in a Scottish Cup tie, the first the club had ever sustained in Scotland.

Mr. Arthur Geake, match secretary, in his report to the annual general meeting, April, 1881, congratulated the members on the proud position of the club, and also on its having passed through one of the most prosperous years since its formation. In conclusion, he said :—

The committee have now to demit office for the year, and in handing back to you the trust given them a year ago—i.e., the good name of the club—they give it back to you, as bright and untarnished as when they received it.

All three teams had not lost a match during the season just ended, 1880-81. It was a great year for the Queen's Park. It had won both the Scottish Cup and the Glasgow Charity Cup, and placed the above record to its. credit, of which the club had the right to be extremely proud, and this feat still lives in the memory of the old members as a great achievement. The team that won the senior cup were: A. Rowan; A Watson and A. W. Holm; C. Campbell and J. Philips; W. Anderson E. Fraser, Dr. John Smith, George Ker, D. S. Allan, and J. L. Kay. The details of the season are :-

In the following season, 1881-82, the First Eleven retained their unbeaten certificate until the Charity ties, in which they were defeated by Vale of Leven, in the first round, by two goals to none, after a drawn game. They maintained their hold on the Scottish Cup, again defeating Dumbarton in the final, after a draw (2-2), by four goals to one.

The season 1883-84 was also a most successful one for the Queen's Park, the match secretary, Mr. Geake, having a very satisfactory tale to unfold to the annual meeting. There was one fly in the ointment, however, as the English Cup had not been added to the Scottish Cup, which Vale of Leven had declined to play for, and the Glasgow Charity Cup. Mr. Geake never forgave Major Marindin, the referee in the English final against the Blackburn Rovers, for thus marring a great record. The work of the season is as under :—

The two trophies won were placed on exhibition in the Corporation Galleries at the instance of Lord Provost M'Onie. Season 1886-87 was a black year in the history of the Queen's Park. Not only was it cupless, as Hibernians had won the Scottish Cup—Queen's Park falling in the semi-final to Renton (3-1)—and Renton the Charity Cup, Queen's Park being put out in the second round by Vale of Leven (3-2) (the Glasgow Cup was only instituted 17th May, 1887), but the team had sustained no fewer than a dozen defeats, having played 32 games, won 17, drawn 3, and lost 12 ; goals won 95 lost 64. The clubs which defeated Queen's Park were Preston North End three times—the third being in the last tie played by the club for the English Cup—Vale of Leven twice, Corinthians twice, Aston Villa, Stoke, Dumbarton, Renton, and Morton once each. The reason for this unsatisfactory state of matters was due to the fact, that only twice in that season had the same team been put on the field, and thirty-eight different men had played for the team during the season. Mr. Morton, the match secretary, thought the ability was still in the club, and that if the enthusiasm could be raised a very different report would be made to the next annual meeting. The twentieth season of the club was truly a disastrous one, but an improvement was manifest in the majority year, only 5 games being lost, and 25 won, out of 36 played, and 6 drawn.


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