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History of the Queen's Park Football Club 1867 - 1917
Chapter XVI.— Queen's Park's Missionary Efforts


The missionary work of the Queen's Park managers was undertaken with the earnest desire to impart the faith that was in them to others, to help in the formation of kindred clubs, which in course of time were sure to become possible rivals, as many actually did, yet they never lost sight of the main principle of their existence—the promotion of Association football as an amateur sport. They kept a keen eye on anything that might possibly do harm to the game. Their own funds at the beginning were negligible, and any expense beyond the mere purchase of a limited stock of the appurtenances of the game came out of the members' pockets. They entertained the Hamilton and Airdrie clubs when these visited Langside, and with a limited clientele. In both cases debit balances had to be made up ; some members even objected to pay on the ground of want of interest in the club, and that they had not been consulted. The others shouldered the burden. Having no ground then, there was no great need for a plethoric purse. Still the committee were very chary in committing the members to expense, as witness the case of the challenge from Ayr in 1868, the match having to be refused because of the sum the fares, etc., would cost at the end of the July holidays. The members had to pay their own fares, and the game must not become a tax on their limited resources. Though the debit balances of the Hamilton and Airdrie match were only 18s. 6d. and 15s. 6d. respectively, the club decided to be cautious in these matters. Money did not come into the question in the great enterprise of visiting London to tackle the Wanderers. The club was in a position to vote from its funds only 6, the balance coming from a guarantee fund raised among the members and friends. It was a great piece of enterprise this first visit of any Scottish Association club to England on such an excursion. For the 1872 International the brothers Smith were allowed the modest sum of 6 12s. to come from London to Glasgow, which was paid out of the proceeds of that match at Partick. Then for the 1873 International at London the seven Queen's Park players, and the secretary, received 4 a head out of this same fund to go to London, which practically swallowed up what was left from the International game on the "West's" ground. It was all spent to good purpose, and managed in a businesslike way, the amount of good done to football being valued at many times the expenditure. The Queen's Park were in a better position in 1876, when their secretary was instructed to convey a delicate hint to the Wanderers that a sum of 60 was at their disposal should they need it to play a return game in Glasgow. The time arrived when it became the rule to receive, and give, and ask expenses, when the games were between English and Scottish clubs. The first business transaction in this way which the Queen's Park entered into is recorded concerning the opening match of the season, 8th October, 1877, when the sum of 40 was paid to the Welsh Druids "in lieu of expenses," the committee are very careful to safeguard themselves by stating. Having done enough gratuitous missionary work, the Queen's Park themselves, too, insisted on guarantees for travelling expenses. The amounts, however, demanded appear absolutely ridiculous in these days, when the commercial spirit is so rampant. The Birch club, Manchester, sent a request in January, 1878, asking the Queen's Park to visit Cottonopolis with a view to demonstrating the niceties of the Association code, as they at present played Rugby, and intended to adopt Association rules. Some of the committee thought it would be derogatory to the dignity of the Queen's Park club to play with beginners. However, the majority prevailed, and the Birchites had their exhibition lesson, 6th April, 1878. It was subsequently found that the expenses of the First Eleven to Manchester, had not cost the sum guaranteed, by 9 odds, and it was agreed to refund this sum to Birch, who needed it more—a truly graceful and sympathetic act, and the annals of football might be searched to find an equal to it. This was amateurism in its strictest sense. Another Manchester club, the Wanderers, had a somewhat similar experience of the generosity of the Queen's Park. A match was played against the Wanderers, 12th April, 1879, at Whalley Range, which the Scots won by four goals to none. Only three days after the team returned to Glasgow the committee had a "long and animated discussion"—long and animated discussions are thick throughout the minute books—as to the loss the Wanderers must have sustained over the match. It was unanimously agreed, that, as the Wanderers were known to be in difficulties, the annual meeting be requested to authorise the committee to bear the loss, which was sanctioned, but with the stipulation that the loss was not to exceed 12. This sympathy, it has to be stated with regret, was misplaced, as no settlement could be obtained from the Manchester club, notwithstanding repeated letters, until July, 1880, when 10 of the guarantee was forwarded by the club, which still pleaded poverty, the balance to be sent on later. The Queen's Park wiped out the balance, and were done with the Wanderers, who had immediately before played a return game at Hampden Park on 27th March, 1880, which the Queen's Park won by two goals to none. The trip to Manchester cost the club 35 10s. 9d., so the loss on the game was serious. The benevolence was wasted. Blackburn Rovers were to have been met on the following Monday, " if the captain could get up a team" to travel to Blackburn. His team became scattered, so all returned home. The Queen's Park in those days never thought of profit. The team liked these excursions to the South, the players gained experience, had a good time generally, and the club earned kudos, its esprit Ae corps being thereby maintained. It was always considered a misfortune to lose a match at this time. All were fired with the common aim, to win, to win fairly, and uphold the name of the club on foreign soil, even with more courage and determination than at home. Another illustration of the self-denial of the club is seen in its action towards Sheffield Wednesday, who thought a guarantee of 28 too high, and offered 20. This was unanimously agreed to, with the proviso, that in the event of Wednesday having a good turnout, the former sum was to be paid. The Queen's Park was quite willing to lose a sum of money to meet Wednesday, and play the game. No quibbling ; it knew Wednesday was not then a rich club, and the only desire was to help. In February, 1880, the club was compelled to scratch to Sheffield Wednesday in the English Gup competition, and, on the latter asking for the expenses incurred, a cheque was at once sent for the amount, and an offer made to play a club match at Sheffield on 8th April. However, the Englishmen acted in: this matter very handsomely. They stated they had to vacate their ground on 20th March, so were unable to accept the date offered, and at the same time the cheque was returned with thanks, the club agreeing to bear the loss. This in no way depreciated the benevolent intentions of the Queen's Park. The guarantees which the Queen's Park requested, rarely met , the sums expended. Thus in 1881 Blackburn Rovers and Aston Villa were visited for guarantees of 25 and 30 respectively, which would seem a paltry sum nowadays. In 1882 the Queen's Park was requested by a Mr. R. M. Sloan, secretary of the Bootle club, where the Association game had not yet taken hold, to send a missionary team to play at Liverpool. It was the Second Eleven on this occasion. Mr. Sloan, in a letter of thanks, "pointed out the impetus that such a high-class exhibition would give the Association game in the district." See what a great centre of Association football Liverpool has since become I The Queen's Park was always at the call of charity. The Langside Dorcas Society was one of its chief cares; its ground was given free both for the benefit of impecunious clubs, and charitable institutions. Its defeat by the Vale of Leven was the cause of the foundation of the Glasgow Charity Cup, which has brought relief to thousands ; its purse was always open to its own members who had fallen on evil times, and who were visited by members of committee, and assisted in their distress. It was not to be exploited, however, and when refusals had to be made, they were conveyed in delicate and considerate language, which left no sting. While conserving amateurism, it was dead against professionalism in any shape or form. For instance, in August, 1879, members of the club brought professional runners to train on Hampden Park. This the committee considered improper, and resolved "That no professional runner be allowed to enter the club-house, or practise running on the ground." The sacred turf of Hampden was not to be defiled by the foot of the "pro." All these details, extending over a series of years, demonstrate clearly that much good was done by stealth, quietly, yet effectively, with a conscience void of offence. The spirit of greed was entirely absent, benevolence and justice were ever before the minds of the club managers all through the years, and the same dominant factors still guide the rulers of the Queen's Park. Clubs at home have experienced its benevolence in several ways. Many districts in Scotland have been visited, as much to help a local club pecuniarily, as to popularise the game in the district. Matches have been played away to raise funds for charities, for players injured on the football field (there was no insurance in those days), for the clubs themselves, and no genuine call was refused where time and opportunity served. A great club like the Queen's Park has few spare dates during the season to give away. It bore no resentment, and those clubs who were its greatest rivals in the days of their prosperity found the Queen's Park generous and willing to lend a ready ear to appeals, when those old opponents were in trouble. When the services of the team could not be spared, the purse strings were unloosened, and liberal donations given, and no one the wiser. It did good by stealth, and will no doubt now blush to find it fame.


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