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History of the Queen's Park Football Club 1867 - 1917
Chapter XV.—Recruiting


It has been charged against the Queen's Park that they did very little recruiting for themselves, and relied to a great extent upon the ambition of players belonging to other clubs, to become members of a greater club. In the "'80's" of last century, the club made more football history than during any period of its illustrious career. At this particular time, it was strengthened most from outside by players who were the greatest men of their day and generation, and all of whom made voluntary application for admission. To refuse to accept such offers would have been a crime. It was an axiom with the club that no player was to be solicited, or pressed to join, no matter how eminent his standing, and it has never been laid at the door of the Queen's Park that it poached on the preserves of another club. This is a statement which is correct, but one which may not be accepted by many Scottish League clubs, as, in self-defence for the raids they have made on latter-day Queen's Park teams, they point out the numbers of players who, they allege, were induced to flock to the standard of the Queen's Park in the days of old, abandoning their former associations for greater renown with their new friends. The Queen's Park never lacked recruits, and was no doubt glad of the services of capable players. Its own junior players did not always receive promotion—a standing grievance with the youngsters, which their friends took occasion to air at meetings of the committee and of the club.

The question naturally arises here, What was the wisest course to pursue? Whether was it better to maintain the strength of the team by men of reputation and experience, who were anxious to join, or to build hopes on young players, who might acquit themselves creditably after a certain period in First Eleven football, but who could not be expected to distinguish themselves in high-class company, without experience in such games ? A reputation is not made in a day. The Queen's Park chose the better part. The system was, however, not very encouraging to the juniors, little hope being held out for advancement in the profession. Such clubs as Battlefield and Pollokshields Athletic were the gainers at first, but the pendulum swayed the other way also. Thus it was brought home to the club that dissatisfaction existed, and it was sought to enforce the rule that the club had first call on the services of all its members. It even went the length of removing from the roll, the names of players who did not respond to the usual circular, and who played for other clubs instead. That was not considered a punishment, as the youngsters so treated, preferred the First Eleven football elsewhere, which they were unable to obtain at home. Still, the club, in its own interests,. and to preserve discipline, acted correctly from its point of view. It had to fulfil its fixtures, and were it not certain of the attendance of its players on match days, the teams, and necessarily the club, must suffer. The rule is a very old one, having been passed at an adjourned annual general meeting, 9th April, 1873, and reads as follows:

Mr. Gardner moved, seconded by Mr. W. Ker: "That no members play against the club except by consent of the captain, and must play lor the club when wanted, in preference to any other club or clubs, of which they may be members."

The natural ambition to figure in the Queen's Park first team was due to be fostered by the club. The players desired admittance, and thereby became heirs to traditions which no other club possessed to the same extent, nor could the same degree of fame be obtained elsewhere, than in a club whose name had by this time become a household word in the world of sport wherever the British flag floated in the breeze. These facts had to be considered both by the players from without, and the club, who gained by their adhesion, and both attained their objects—the one reached the height of their ambition, and the other had its prestige maintained at the same high pinnacle, and both were satisfied.

The advent of professionalism, and the League system of football, threw the Queen's Park very much on its own resources, and amateurs became divided in opinion, whether it paid better to play under the amateur or professional flag. In many cases it did not take long to decide, and the Queen's Park, whose amateurism was always of the highest standard, had to suffer from defection of players, often of men whose circumstances, one would have thought, were such, that they could afford to indulge in the amusement of football for the love of it, rather than follow it as a profession for the few short years a footballer is at his best. In his days of decline, he is cast aside as of no further use to the club in whose employment he has been, and drops out of sight, never to be heard of again. It must be admitted that the paid player, as a rule, does not make bad use of the money acquired from football. His capital has usually been usefully employed. The spendthrift is the exception, not the rule; and no one knows what are the circumstances of each player, who felt himself compelled to abandon his amateur status. In these latter days the Queen's Park has been forced to rely greatly on its junior teams, to foster the amateur spirit in the schools, and to support the Amateur Association, and Amateur League—all of which have provided material which has done much to maintain the prestige of the club, in a manner which could hardly be expected, and that too under most adverse circumstances. Still, there is no certainty of retention. Once a player has risen to the front rank he is besieged with offers of employment, despite all the rules the Scottish League has introduced from time to time to safeguard the amateur as against the professional player, and the special legislation passed in the interests of the Queen's Park, gives the club the certainty of a player's services for a season, and no more. Yet that is something gained, and has proved of material help, as is to-day (1920) demonstrated by the comparatively high position the club holds on the League list. So long as this position is maintained, there can be no question of its dismissal from the League. The club had for a few seasons been continued as a member of the League by the favour of the members of that body, who know its attraction as a drawing force. Before the war, and even more so since, large wages bills had to be paid, and the Queen's Park has been a useful factor in producing the wherewithal.

Robert Smith

It. has been said that shortly after the birth of the club capable players flocked to its standard. That is not the case, however. Where were they to come from? There were very, very few clubs, or nucleus of clubs, in Glasgow, and fewer outside. In the two great games played in 1872, against Wanderers, and the first International against England, W. Ker is given in the reports of these games as a member of Granville, though two years before he had been admitted to the Queen's Park. Robert and James Smith likewise as of South Norwood, but both were original members of Queen's Park, who had migrated to London, and brought back specially, with much pecuniary sacrifice, for the International, and were still Queen's Park members. It is quite safe to say that the club relied solely on its own resources for almost the first ten years ; and then came the strenuous times when the players who had rushed the club into fame, were dropping out one by one, and other strong combinations cropping up in the city and neighbouring counties. The strength of the club had to be kept up. Around its name there was a halo which proved an irresistible attraction, and the team did not lack recruits. It was the ambition of every club to have the honour of a game with Queen's Park. If such were the case with the clubs, how much more so with the players who sought membership ? All the original members of the club up to 1874 were what may be called the products of the club. The men that developed the science of Association football, did all their practice on the Recreation Ground, and had been greatly assisted in the good work by the fact that their matches were between teams selected from their own members—Greek meeting Greek, enthusiasts against enthusiasts. When their methods were perfected, they sighed for other opponents, Association clubs if possible ; failing these, they were prepared to play Rugby clubs. Among those players on the club roll of 1868, the first published, who afterwards rose to fame as players or legislators, are found the names of R. Leckie, D. Wotherspoon, James Smith, H. N. Smith (poet laureate and press reporter to the club), and Andrew Spiers. The list of actual members when the club was inaugurated, 9th July, 1867, is not available, but the office-bearers were presumably all players: Mungo Ritchie, president; Lewis Black, captain; W. Klinger, secretary; R. Smith, treasurer; with James Grant, R. Gardner, R. Davidson, James Smith, D. Edmiston, P. Davidson, A. Gladstone, Reid, and J. Skinner, members of committee. In the 1868 list of members, Messrs. Reid and R. Davidson and others are marked "doubtful," as their subscriptions had not been paid, "so that by next year's paid subscription list they can be checked, and if found unpaid can be erased from the roll." Out of eighty-one on the roll, only forty had been transferred to the new list. Mr. Gladstone resigned from the committee, June, 1868. Mr. Ritchie requested his name be removed from the roll in July, 1868. Thus the founders departed, but the club grew and prospered. In 1869 Edward Campbell, a brother of the famous Charles Campbell, and William Keay joined. In 1870 are found the names of great men—namely, William M'Kinnon, Charles Campbell (both 17th July, 1870), William Ker, James B. Weir, A. Rae, Alex. Rhind, R. A. Tod, J. Taylor, and Angus M'Kinnon, but Messrs. Rhind, Taylor, and A. M'Kinnon were not formally admitted to the club until 25th April, 1871. It was the custom to admit members "on the field," and afterwards bring their names before the club. Though Thomas Lawrie's name is given in the 1872 list, he was not made a member until 1st October, 1874, nor J. B. Weir until 12th April, 1873, yet the latter played in the International at Partick in 1872. R. W. Neill is also on the 1872 roll. He played first as a goalkeeper; the same with J. J. Thomson. In the year 1873 G. O. Norval, Andrew Hillcoat, J. D. Finlayson (the miler and antiquarian), P. M'Hardy (the hammer-thrower, committee-man, and Second Eleven captain), Harry M'Neil, J. J. Thomson, James Phillips, T. C. Highet, and W. C. Mitchell became members—the last three formally in the middle of 1874. The admission of new members was not always minuted. This informal way of doing business struck the committee, and all fresh nominations had to come before the committee, and "field" elections were abolished.

One of the first to come from an outside club was Moses M'Neil, who temporarily joined his brother in the team, 5th October, 1875, but after playing a few matches for Queen's Park he returned to his first love, the Rangers, though continuing membership of the Queen's Park. A notable acquisition, 7th August, 1877, was the famous George Ker, whose brother William had joined 14th April, 1870, and resigned to go to Canada, 26th November, 1873. The younger Ker came from the Kerland, a young Crosshill team, named after the house of Mr. Robert Ramsay, whose contributions to these juniors were highly appreciated. Eadie Fraser was another Kerland product, as was J. K. M'Dowall, who came via Kerland and Crosshill, and William Anderson (the "Demon Dodger"), Abington and Shawlands Athletic, both 6th May, 1879, Fraser joining in the same year, also W. M. Adamson, same date. The desertions from Kerland to the Queen's Park at this time broke up the former, and those left threw in their lot with Crosshill club, only again to drift to Hampden Park. Kerland was the first nursery for the Queen's Park. David Davidson, the famous half-back, came from 3rd Lanark in April, 1876 ; James Allison, 5th September, 1876 ; and J. G. Crichton, 3rd Lanark, the only once beaten sack racer, 4th May, 1875 ; and the great left-winger, John L. Kay, 3rd Lanark, 1st April, 1879, on which date W. S. Somers, Eastern and 3rd Lanark, also joined Queen's Park. J. J. Gow, Pilgrims, was admitted in this same year, as was James Lawrence, 6th May, 1879. Archibald Rowan, the cricketer and Queen's Park goalkeeper, who hailed from the old Caledonian Cricket Club on that club losing its ground at Burnbank, joined 7th May, 1877. on which date Richard Browne, Crosshill Football Club, and J. T. Richmond, Northern and Clydesdale, were introduced. A notable member, Mr. James Smith, a non-player, and intense partisan of the club, joined 7th May, 1878, a year before his great friend, Mr. Arthur Geake, the embodiment of Queen's Park etiquette and decorum, 6th May, 1879. John M'Tavish, match secretary, arrived 3rd September, 1878. Three brothers Holm, Andrew H., J. W., and W. A., became members—Andrew and John, 6th May, 1879, and William, 3rd June, 1879. They had belonged to Ayr Thistle. The following important men joined in 1880 : Dr. John Smith, Mauchline and Edinburgh University, 13th January ; A. Watson, Parkgrove, 6th April (left for Liverpool, 1st December, 1887) ; D. S. Allan, 11th May; Stewart Lawrie, 23rd August; James Morton, 6th July; and D. C. Brown, 2nd November. The two last named belonged to Queen's Park Juniors, for which club George Ker, also Stewart Lawrie, Played occasionally. Allan was reared in the Strollers. W. Harrower began with Queen's Park, September, 1881. Walter Arnott, Pollokshields Athletic, and P. M'Callum were admitted 9th May, 1882, and J. S. M'Ara, 11th December, 1883.

The team was now in a very strong position, and few changes had to be made in it for a couple of years, as the Veterans of the "70's" had all gone—some here, some there, others adorning the pavilion terraces. Still, the time came when new blood was desirable, and this was never lacking. Alex. Hamilton, Rangers, found congenial company at Hampden Park, 2nd September, 1884, his brother James arriving a year later, 6th May, 1885, in which year also George A. Ings, Edinburgh University (goalkeeper), same date, was added; also Thomas S. Waddell, Victoria Football Club, 13th May; Hugh Barnett and James M. Adamson, same date ; R. Smellie, Hamilton Academicals, 7th July; Geo. Somerville, Uddingston and Rangers, 19th September, 1885. R. M. Christie, Dunblane and Edinburgh University, 4th September, 1883, was a find. George Gillespie, Roslyn and Rangers, reached Hampden matured, 8th January, 1884; Frank Shaw, Pollokshields Athletic, 29th January, 1884, and left for abroad, 3rd February, 1885; and Dr. J. M'Donald, Edinburgh University, 8th January, 1884. Though the great William Sellar, Battlefield, has his name on the club roll, 13th June, 1882, he played in very few games until the Charity ties, 1884. John Auld, 3rd Lanark, walked in from next door, November, 1884, only for a short time ; and John A. Lambie, Victoria Football Club, joined 7th October, 1884, his brother, W. A. Lambie, and W. Gulliland seeking fame, 8th May, 1889. J. A. Lambie went to London, September, 1894. W. M'Leod, Cow-lairs, admitted 26th December, 1884, gave valuable assistance in the English Cup ties; N. Macwhannel, Kerland, 1st July,. 1884, was a useful substitute in these same ties. Allan Stewart's membership dates from 2nd February, 1886.. W. H. Berry, 2nd March, 1886, and his brother, Davidson Berry, 1st June, 1891 ; the former especially gained distinction in the club. Humphrey Jones, a Blairlodge master, joined. 7th September, 1886, and resigned in 1900 to go to London.. James Connor, jun., Airdrieonians, 26th August, 1886, was a safe goalkeeper; this player had been first elected a member, 1st August, 1882. There is no explanation of this double election. Donald C. Sillars, Pollokshields Athletic, 26th July, 1888, was a great help. Woodville Gray, of the same club, played for Queen's Park at the Oval, 4th April, 1885, against Blackburn Hovers in the final tie for the English Cup. Tom Robertson, Cowlairs, the famous half-back and referee, joined: 26th July, 1888. Another Tom Robertson, 7th October, 1889,. was elected joint treasurer, November, 1901, when A. Burnett departed for South Africa; he was president, 1913-14 to 1915-16, and still sits on committee (1920). John Liddell and Alfred Dalzell came in 26th June, 1889. Geo. T. Samson, player and town councillor, president 1919-20 and 1920-21, got membership

7th October, 1889. D. Stewart joined 7th September, 1891 ; R. S. M'Coll, 8th January, 1894; C. B. Miller, 16th March, 1891, appointed secretary, 18th June, 1894; R. A. Lambie, 7th October, 1895; and W. Hay, 24th November, 1894, was brought from England to assist Queen's Park against Celtic in a Scottish Cup tie. Kenneth Anderson came to hand, 3rd September, 1894; Peter White, 6th July, 1896, elected to committee, annual general meeting, 1902, president 1916-17 to 1918-19; and George W. Gillies, 21st July, 1893.

In scrutinising the above, it is clear the charge against the Queen's Park of maintaining its prestige at the expense of other clubs, falls to the ground. The club, at certain crises, had the assistance of outstanding players, who had come in of their own free will, but the club relied mainly on its own junior teams and on those it fostered, such as Queen's Park Juniors, Victoria, Royal Park, Kelburn, and Langside Athletic, all of which, with the exception of Queen's Park Juniors, had in succession the free use of Myrtle Park, a ground adjoining retained as a practising pitch. These clubs, though not directly connected with Queen's Park, except Victoria, which was adopted ultimately as a Fourth Eleven, were granted certain privileges, which attached the players by a strong bond to the club, who delegated certain members of committee to supervise their work, with a view to giving such as promised to develop into good players, the opportunity of joining one of the Queen's Park junior elevens, with probable promotion into the First team. This source, with the Amateur Associations and Leagues, had now to be relied upon, and in the course of time these became the only means of recruiting for all four teams of the club.

The club was greatly favoured, in that few alterations in the composition of the team were necessary between 1872 and 1880; but between 1880 and 1890, particularly in the first half of the "'80's," when the club decided to go wholeheartedly in pursuit of the English Cup, some parts of the team required to be strengthened, because important members of the regular team found it impossible to travel so often to England, and the club was particularly unfortunate in the draws, most of the ties having to be played, and replayed, from home. At the last moment men had to be found, and the predicament in which the Queen's Park stood evidently appealed to players of note. They considered it an honour to help in such circumstances, and once in Queen's Park colours they usually decided to remain, though some, such as the late W. Sellar, while supporting his own club, Battlefield, gave his services to the Queen's Park for a time in important matches only—other than Scottish Cup ties.

During the period 1890-1900, Queen's Park, because of its abstention from League football, did not occupy so prominent a position in Scottish football. It was forced to play com- paratively minor Scottish clubs, all the other first-class clubs having—at least after 1893, when the professional player was recognised, prior to which the "veiled" professional was believed to exist—adopted the new system, thereby cutting themselves adrift from that pure spirit of amateurism which had ever been a cult with the Queen's Park. The club suffered for its strength of mind, not so much in purse as in prestige, as no glory was to be obtained in the company in which it now found itself. Its intercourse with English clubs became greater, until in 1900 accident and a threatened disruption in the Scottish League, and probably its own desire for higher-class football, caused the Queen's Park to abandon its isolation and join the League, and that too by the unanimous verdict of the team. It was a momentous step for this great amateur club to take, but in doing so it nailed the amateur flag to the masthead, determined to stand or fall under the system which it represented. As amateurs they had made their reputation, raised Association football to be the sport of the people, and if they failed in the latter days to keep the sordid principle of payment out of the game, they at least were determined that as they began in 1867 so they would end, as the chief, the only apostle of amateurism in the Scottish sport of football.

The history of the Queen's Park from 1900 to the present day is the story of the League. Outside that body it has played few games. When it joined in 1900, the League was composed of ten clubs—the Queen's Park made the eleventh—and before the war the number of clubs stood at twenty; now it is twenty-two. It cannot be said much success has attended the club in this competition, or in any other competition, cup or otherwise. The team has done well, nevertheless ; never more so than in the year of grace 1917-18. They are amateurs, they meet professionals. They are not competing on equal terms against the other League clubs. Under all circumstances the unanimous verdict must be, they have done even more than was expected of them.

It has to be remembered that the club contributed more men to the fighting forces than any other club in Scotland. The argument that the reduction in the wages of professional players to Ģi a week, and a bonus at the end of the season during the war period, has lowered the standard of professional football, is not tenable. It certainly reduced competition for the services of the best players, and thereby prevented one club being aggrandised at the expense of the others, and it is here the general body of footballers maintain the Queen's Park had found its opportunity. At the same time, it must not be forgotten it suffered, to an equal, if not a greater extent, than its competitors in the football market, who have preyed upon the club, and there is and can be no reciprocity. In the two seasons since the Armistice, the Queen's Park, even with the professionals out in force, has maintained a high position in the League table.


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