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History of the Queen's Park Football Club 1867 - 1917
Chapter XXXII.—Financing the Queen's Park


One thing particularly striking is the business way in which the finances of the Queen's Park Club were carefully conserved and developed. From the very beginning, the accounts, small as they were, had to be duly audited before being presented to the members in annual meeting assembled—at first by members of the club appointed for the purpose, and afterwards by a firm of chartered accountants. The sums to be dealt with grew in extent, involving large amounts, especially after Hampden Park was acquired in 1873, and it soon became evident that the treasurers would require assistance. In 1877-78 Mr. James Baillie, who succeeded Mr. Andrew Spiers as treasurer, was given Mr. Hugh Wylie as assistant, and from that date until the present the office has been a joint one, and many able men have filled these positions—men who, when the club grew in importance and undertook serious financial responsibilities, provided ways and means of meeting the liabilities of the club, with the assistance of a strong finance committee, as this was a department of the club management on which devolved success or failure. There is no such word as "failure" in the history of the Queen's Park. Its greatest undertakings have always been brought to a successful issue. The committee looked far ahead, and carefully weighed the pros and cons of each movement before deciding to make the plunge. This foresight and provident care have saved it on several occasions from embarking on schemes which were doubtful and dangerous. The purse was never strained, and great patience ever exercised, when a serious step was proposed. If the risk did not give a definite prospect of a favourable issue, and the wherewithal was not in hand, or likely to be provided, then action was wisely delayed. The only revenue at the start, and for half a dozen years thereafter, was the entrance fees and annual subscriptions of the members—1s. and 6d. for one year, then 2s. 6d. and 2s. respectively—so . that the revenues of the Queen's Park, now amounting to thousands of pounds per annum, had a very humble beginning indeed. At the end of the first year's trading the sum of 4s. 3d. was due the treasurer; the income and expenditure are not given. The second year, even with an enhanced subscription, ended with a deficit of 12s. 8d.— income, 3 9s. 8d.; expenditure, 4 2s. 4d. The minutes contain the information at the end of season 1869-70: "From the report submitted by the treasurer, the club financially was in a very satisfactory condition," with only 4s. to the good—with an income for the year of 6 3s. 11d.

As early as 28th October, 1870, it was resolved, 'That a tabular statement of the funds of the club be submitted by the treasurer at each committee meeting." This rule is followed to this date, and an audited statement is submitted every month to the general committee of the club. Great financial progress made the treasurer's statement to the committee, 29th November, 1870, look much more satisfactory, the 4s. being turned into a credit balance of 2 6s. 2d.—entry money and subscriptions, the only revenue, yielding 7 15s. 6d.; expenditure, 3 9s. 4d., in which is an item of 2 for the Hamilton Gymnasium match, the expenses of which in this case appear to have been borne by the club, as such entertainments were afterwards when the income allowed it. As a matter of fact, only 2s. 2d. was left of the balance, 2 4s. being taken into account as representing "stock" in guernseys and cowls. Even at this early stage "assets" were brought into the accounts. The funds were growing, and new members joining, no fewer than twenty-eight having been enrolled during the year 1870-71. Nine old members who had not paid were struck off.. This was a point on which the club has ever been particular— no "dead-heads" are retained on the roll to swell the membership. At the instigation of Mr. H. N. Smith, the committee, 25th April, 1871, unanimously agreed to raise the subscription to 5s., and abolish the entry money, "as a means of establishing the club on a good footing financially, as the present subscription was inadequate to meet the outlays, it being necessary to make extra calls on the members throughout the year for expenses incurred at matches, etc." These expenses had amounted to 1 14s. 6d. that season;. but a credit balance of 3 11s. 4d. remained from a total income of 11 9s., which was satisfactory. We are approaching now what might be called the introduction of the Queen's Park to International football, which commenced in season 1871-72. It was in that season the club joined the Football Association, subscribed 1 1s. to the English Cup, and played the Wanderers in London in the semi-final tie for that trophy, crossing the Border for the first time. No wonder ways and means had to be carefully considered. Assistance came from its supporters, while inside the committee a difference of opinion existed, some fearing that devoting the available funds of the club to such a purpose would make a bad precedent. The members were too full of the project, and the motion was carried, and 6 out of a total income of 18 10s. 4d. went that way. The voluntary subscriptions which paid the balance of cost to London are not brought into the account. A credit balance of 9s. 9d. remained to the good that season. After the game, in which the Queen's Park team astonished the Englishmen by their skill, all were enthusiastic, Mr. A. Rae, the hon. secretary, submitting to the annual general meeting, April, 1872, a panegyric on the achievements of the team in this great match. The income from the more famous first International between Scotland and England, at Partick, in November, 1872, is kept apart from the general account of the club. At that match the receipts were 102 19s. 6d., and the expenditure 69 l1s. 6d., leaving a balance of 33 1s. 8d., which was set aside by the club as an International fund. Of this balance, 32 was used to send the Queen's Park contingent to play the second International in London, March, 1873. The club funds, apart from the proceeds of the Partick International, amounted in 1872-73 to 23 3s. 9d., and the balance on the year's working 3 12s. 11d. The financial success of the game at Partick impressed the Queen's Park, and raised anticipations of brighter times in store, had the club only a ground of its own. It had to pay 20 for the use of Hamilton Crescent ground. No football club had a private ground. Club subscriptions were a poor source of revenue, and the members, as already seen, had to dole out further sums for match expenses, etc., as the Queen's Park began that spirit of hospitality in its earliest days which has ever characterised it, and the club to-day in this respect follows the traditions handed down to it from generation to generation. A private ground meant money, and money had to be expended in its formation. The committee, once the idea propounded, after some searching, the particulars of which will be found elsewhere, had Hampden Park in working order, and opened with a Scottish Cup tie, 25th October, 1873, in the first season of the Scottish Football Association, and of the competition. Now the figures in the income, and also in the other column, swell. The 100 is at once exceeded, and the Queen's Park entered upon a series of years of plenty, commensurate with its success in the football field. Its membership did not amount to more than seventy in 1873-74, but its clientele was legion, and with its widespread fame came financial prosperity. Improvements were effected in Hampden Park, a more convenient pavilion purchased and erected, and generally, the appearance of the new ground was quite in keeping with the reputation and standing of the club. The balances in hand were not hoarded, nor were they lavishly expended. The managers of those days had passed through the school of experience, and knew what the lack of funds meant to a rising and ambitious football club. The second year of the occupancy of Hampden Park saw an income of 319 0s. 11d. and a profit on working of 72 2s. 6d. The following season this satisfactory state of matters continued, the receipts being more than doubled—781 1s. 6d. income, and balance in hand 264 16s. At this annual general meeting, April, 1876, on the motion of Mr. W. M'Kinnon, the subscription was fixed at 5s. and the entry fee 10s. On 23rd August, 1876, offers for the erection of a grand stand were considered, and an offer to do the work for 237 11s. 7d. accepted. This was the first stand put up on an Association ground in Scotland. In connection with this outlay, the club granted a bill at three months from 19th October, 1876, for 200, to meet the balance due the contractors—the only bill the club ever accepted during the whole of its career. The thousand pounds income (1,005 7s. 4d.) in 1876-77 enabled the club to meet this bill, and improve the ground further by extending the gates and enclosures, leaving a balance on hand of 50 4s. 2d. Now for the first time in the balance sheet are given the assets of the club—"net estate" they are designated —which amounted to 323 15s. 2d., which advanced year by year. At the end of season 1881-82, just before second Hampden Park began to be thought of, this "net estate" reached 772 8s. 4d., and is not given again until quite recent years. In this same account the profit amounted to 424 13s. 8d. Note the "bawbee." In that season the club had a record income of 1,802 18s. 11d. At the annual general meeting of 1883 the subscription was fixed at 10s., with 5s. entry money, and the club roll limited to 400. These details are given in order to show the gradual increase in the prosperity of the club, and the careful way in which surplus profits were expended, always in the improvement of the ground, and the general advancement of amateur football and athletics. The standard the club set was a high one. Occasionally references are made throughout the minutes that certain matters had not been up to "Queen's Park form." That "form" was the best, and nothing less satisfied the club. The venture of creating second Hampden Park on a new and improved principle turned out a good speculation, as on returning from Titwood Park, where the club had temporary quarters while their own ground was being prepared and completed, at the commencement of the season in 18S4, it met with even greater support than before, due probably to the fact that the team that represented the club in the field at this period was perhaps one of the greatest and most effective in its history. At the end of that season the receipts were 2,304 2s. 7d., with only 3 0s. 3d. left in the till; and the following season, 1885-86, with the income 470 more, the balance was only 2 5s. 8d. But the club had its new ground, one of the best of its kind, and, what is more, it was paid for to the last cent;—and there were good times coming. Increasing in public favour, the game attracted large crowds. The number of first-class clubs continued to increase, and consequently competition became keener, and thus excitement was maintained; and the Queen's Park, by the excellence of its play and the high ideals always before it, held the premier position in the football world, on the field, and in public favour, its honesty of purpose being its chief asset. Hampden Park became, and for that matter is still, the Mecca of football, as new, or third Hampden, is unsurpassed anywhere in the excellence of its appointments and conveniences. As has been said, prosperity attended the club to a greater degree than ever in its new quarters. In the third season after shifting quarters to improved Hampden (1886-87), the balance of 2 odd was raised to 5 19s., and the drawings for the season provided a record—2,821 17s. In 1887-88 the stand had a roof put to it, the first Association football stand in Scotland to have a cover to shelter the spectators. In the years immediately following money flowed in, until at the conclusion of season 1888-89 the receipts aggregated 4,331 18s. 3d. The club now took the opportunity to add a storey to the pavilion, increase the terracing, improve the track, and bring the ground up to date, always remembering that "the recreation and amusement of the members" must be the first consideration. This was money well spent, and after meeting all liabilities the treasurer had still 278 8s. 11d. in hand. Half-net gates was remitted to Vale of Leven and Dumbarton clubs, as a mark of sympathy with them in their financial difficulties. Balances continued to grow, until Mr. James Lawrence, the treasurer, was able to announce to the annual general meeting in May, 1893, that all financial records had gone by the board, the receipts for the past season totalling 5,006 12s. 9d., and for the first time the balance to the good had exceeded the thousand pounds, the actual figures being 1,002 12s. 74. It must here be remembered that the Scottish League had now been three years in operation, which makes this record the more remarkable, all the best clubs not being available as opponents to the Queen's Park, except in Scottish and Glasgow Cup ties, and occasional games with League clubs as vacant dates offered. Gates had now, however, to be divided, following the League system. This, of course, cut both ways, and the Queen's Park was not always the greatest giver, except when games were decided in provincial districts. Despite these disadvantages, the financial aspect continued to improve, until the 1896-97 balance showed a new record of 2,051 6s. 2d. to the credit of the club-receipts, 5,740 4s. 6d. This was a period of great prosperity both in a financial and playing sense, though in the latter respect the opposition did not furnish the best material. Season 1897-98 left a balance of 2,657 9s. l1d., that of 1898-99 3,908 17s. 5d., and 4,758 18s. 3d. in 1899-1900, the receipts for these three years being respectively 6,399, 8,837, and 8,565. At this point two important crises were reached in the history of the club—namely, admission to the Scottish League in 1900-01, and the commencement of that great undertaking, the construction of a new and greater Hampden Park, at Mount Florida, in the same season. With nearly five thousand pounds in hand, and the prospect of increased gates in better company, this was no reckless step. The management saw their way clear to a successful issue. Every possible expense was calculated beforehand, and it was determined to carry on the work gradually, there being no immediate hurry, as the lease of second Hampden held good until at least 1903. Still, no time had to be lost, and the work was pushed on. The finances were duly provided. Mr. Gordon, of Aitkenhead, took a bond for 6,000 as part payment for the ground, which still exists, and is the only debt now remaining on Hampden Park. Were it not for the Avar, this bond would have been cleared off, so great is the recuperative power of the club. The ground cost in all 20,645. Up to March, 1917, 15,437 had been written off for depreciation. In addition the grand stands had been completed, and a handsome pavilion begun in season 1913-14, supplied with all modern conveniences, and finished for the commencement of season 1914-15. This pavilion was erected at a further cost of 8,000. Hampden Park was now equipped to the last detail. The financing of this great scheme caused the club much anxiety. With such a capable senior treasurer as Mr. John Liddell, ably assisted by Mr. Tom Robertson, all financing difficulties in this respect were successfully overcome. Many influential members of the club came to its rescue, many other members paid several years' subscriptions in advance, and the banks gave facilities which were much appreciated. The directors were able to announce to the annual general meeting in March, 1910, that the overdraft given by the bank had been completely cleared off, and there stood to the credit of the club's bank account a sum of 91 14s. 1d. Practically all the accounts due in respect of the season's working had been paid up to date, and the club was in a position to discharge all liabilities forthwith, with the exception of the bond. The directors' report adds: "Now that the club is in a stronger position than at any previous time in its history, the committee are of opinion that the members may safely consider the advisability of proceeding with the provision of pavilion and clubhouse accommodation more in keeping with Hampden Park than that presently existing." That pavilion was in its place in 1914, and is unquestionably the best of its kind, and the most suitable in purpose, of any such erection possessed by any football, cricket, or athletic club in the United Kingdom. Somehow funds always increased when necessity arose. With the debts all paid before 1911, the credit balances increased with the accumulated savings, and the pavilion became a fact, though once or twice during the war small debit balances had to be recorded.

While the Scottish Football Association, in its wisdom, preferred Celtic Park to Hampden Park in 1904 for the International between England and Scotland, that important match, when since played at home, has come to Hampden. Park, because no other ground in the Northern Kingdom is capable of holding the enormous crowds which flock to witness the test match of the season. As with Scotland, so with England, where the Crystal Palace practically monopolised this International in alternate years when played in England. Since 1906 records in the matter of attendance have been common, and these games are a considerable source of revenue to the club, which also benefits largely by final Scottish and Glasgow Cup ties. These usually have their venue on Hampden Park, as the best and most suitable enclosure for such important games.

The ambition of the directors to have the club free of debt in its jubilee year, though somewhat hampered by the war and the consequent reduction in drawings, has met with its reward, and the treasurer was able to report to the annual general meeting in May, 1918, that the Queen's. Park Football Club, by careful management and strict economy, had cleared off every liability (excepting the bond), having 938 on the right side, and stood before the world a. living example of what combined effort, enthusiasm, and economy, coupled with business capacity, can achieve, notwithstanding many difficulties and anxieties. Its struggles are over, its position seems assured, and its future is in the hands of its members.

Newest Hampden Park holds the record for the largest attendance at a football match. The International, Scotland versus England, at that enclosure, 4th April, 1908, attracted 121,452 persons. Total receipts, 6,762 10s. This was surpassed four years later (1912), when the International was again played on Hampden Park, 127,307 spectators witnessing the game—which constitutes a record that has never been surpassed. Total receipts, 6,997 15s. At the final tie for the English Cup, at the Crystal Palace, 19th April, 1913, the attendance was given as 120,000, and the gate at 9,406 9s., Aston Villa and Sunderland being the contesting

clubs, though these Palace records are doubtful, as it is difficult to differentiate between visitors to the Palace and those who came solely to witness the football. On 4th April, 1914, the attendance reached 101,512 at Hampden Park. The gates were closed to prevent overcrowding. This figure may be taken as the actual number of people inside the ground who paid, with no guess-work as to those who were admitted by ticket, and on official duty.


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