The question of securing a patron came up at the second
annual meeting, on 8th July, 1869, but nothing was done in the matter until
the annual meeting in April, 1872, when Mr. R. Gardner, seconded by Mr.
M'Kinnon, proposed "That this meeting take into consideration the propriety
of soliciting the patronage of one or more gentlemen, and give the committee
due authority to do so, if agreed to." An amendment, "That we have no
patrons," was lost by a large majority. However, the minority were not at
all satisfied with this finding, and took strenuous action at once. Messrs.
Henry Smith, Robert Todd, James G. Grant, Lewis S. Black, William Inglis,
and Adam Weir, signed a requisition to the committee to call a general
meeting to reconsider the question; which was done, and a motion, "That the
patron question lie over till the next general meeting for consideration,"
was carried by an overwhelming majority, against an amendment, "That the
committee be instructed to proceed at once with the election of patron."
Evidently the independent spirits in the club were in a majority. They
preferred to go ahead in their own way, without the countenance and
assistance of patrons, no matter how eminent and distinguished.
Notwithstanding all this bother the patron question cropped up again, this
time without any objection being raised, and that too at the annual general
meeting in 1873, when the names of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales,
the Earl of Glasgow, Sir George Campbell, Bart, of Garscube, and Colonel
Campbell of Blythswood (afterwards Lord Blythswood) were suggested as
patrons; but further consideration of the subject was postponed. A fortnight
later Mr. W. Ker received instructions from the committee to write to the
above-named gentlemen, and any others that might suggest themselves to him
as suitable, requesting their Patronage. In fact he received carte
blanche in the matter, and he proceeded with energy. He was able to
inform the committee, in August, 1873, that he had tried the Prince of
Wales first, and that he had refrained from writing to others, as, should
His Royal Highness give a favourable reply, his acceptance would induce
other eminent men to take a like position—which is concise and astute
reasoning. His Royal Highness refused, however, and Mr. Ker proceeded to
tackle the balance of his lot. Both the Earl of Glasgow, who forwarded a
donation of £5, and Colonel Campbell, M.P., in November, 1873, were good
enough to consent to become patrons, and a letter was read from the then
Lord Provost of Glasgow declining the honour on account of the business
relations between the club and the city. The Town Council had just
consented, on 20th October, 1873, "to let Hampden Park, Mount Florida, to
the club till the first day of May next, at a rental of £20 for that time,"
which offer was duly accepted, so that the parties were at the time in the
position of landlord and tenant. All things considered, his lordship's
position was quite correct. The statement has gone forth that the late Duke
of Argyll, then Marquis of Lorne, son-in-law of Her Majesty Queen Victoria,
was the first patron of the Queen's Park, and contributed £5 towards its
funds, which contribution proved a sort of godsend in its then impecunious
position. The " fiver" seems to have come from the Earl of Glasgow at a time
when the club had entered on its new ground, and had a turnover of £107 10s.
for one year, and a good balance in hand of £38 10s. 8d. His lordship died
in 1890, and was succeeded by his son as patron. That a patron had not been
nominated sooner was due entirely to the fact that there existed a strong
difference of opinion among the members on the subject. Many prominent
gentlemen afterwards considered themselves highly honoured in being
requested to extend their support to such an eminent club, among them the
Duke of Argyll. His Royal Highness the then Prince of Wales, afterwards King
Edward VII, as a great patron of sport, had many
calls made upon him, and he could hardly be expected to answer the appeal of
the Queen's Park in the affirmative, as the club was then comparatively
unknown, and only just coming into the limelight and popularity. So strongly
did Mr. J. C. Grant feel on the patron question that he resigned his
connection with the club. It is pleasant, however, to state that his
services have not been forgotten by the present generation of Queen's Park
managers, who annually forward to him a season ticket, giving him the
privileges of the ground.