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History of the Queen's Park Football Club 1867 - 1917
Chapter I.—Fifty Years' Endeavour, 1867-1917

The Story of the Queen's Park is so interwoven with the history of Scottish football that the two cannot be dissociated. In writing the story of the club, the more the subject is studied, the more the impression must prevail, that were it not for the fostering care given to Association football in Scotland by this club, the game would never have taken the place it has in the world of sport, nor would Scotland stand where it does, as the nursery and home of football as at present played in all parts of the world. Foresight and enthusiasm enabled the great amateur combination known as the Queen's Park Football Club, to spring into being with a fixed object in view.

The able men who first conceived the idea of organising into a club the crude elements gathered together in a city public park for mutual "recreation and amusement," did not then realise the ultimate effect their efforts would have in founding a national sport hitherto unknown in northern latitudes, but which was slowly making its way in England, where the Rugby game had hitherto held sway. These pioneers merely came to a logical conclusion. If they as a body had a membership sufficient to lay the foundation of a club on the lines of the cricket and Rugby football clubs around them, why not have a club of their own, even though there was then no club in existence in Scotland of a similar nature? All things must have a beginning.

The club once formed, then rules followed. The desire to have opponents to play came next, and these were not easily found. The Queen's Park tried to discover what clubs existed, and whether there were any other bodies of youths whose predilections lay in the same direction as their own. After some search, two or three, founded after Queen's Park, were located and publicly challenged. When the exact localities of these clubs, or nucleus of clubs, were ascertained, the necessity of playing this new football game under recognised rules, and organising the forces of these clubs into a concrete whole, by forming their constitutions on the lines determined by the Queen's Park, was brought before them. In this the pioneers were not very successful. They refused to play clubs who were not prepared to use the rules of the game as modified by themselves. Certain old Rugby attributes lingered around the new code, even with the Queen's Park. These were not easy to get quit of. They were traditional in a sense, and the new code was introduced solely for the purpose of eradicating what were considered blemishes from football as played under Rugby rules. This took time, and these blemishes were not wholly expelled from the new Scottish game until 1872, about which time England had made progress in the purification of the game from the Rugby traditions, and naturally the Queen's Park followed suit. Thus "handling," "carrying," and "hacking" fell into disuse, and scoring by "touches down" was abolished. After five years of intermittent club football opponents were still few and far between, but at the same time, by carefully studying the game in matches among themselves until they had perfected their methods, the club considered the time had arrived when it should become a member of a recognised association, and as there was then only one such in existence—the Football Association—the rules of that body were adopted "in toto" and admission sought and found to its ranks. If an English Association, why not a similar body in Scotland, in which there existed in 1873 about a dozen clubs? No fitter person could undertake such a task than their own honorary secretary, Mr. A. Rae, and he was at once set to work. Eight clubs were of the same mind as the Queen's Park, and these eight have the honour of founding that great institution known as the Scottish Football Association.

Meantime efforts had been made by the Queen's Park to induce or persuade other Scottish clubs to throw in their lot with, and support, the English Association, but no success could be reported in this direction. The reason is not far to seek. None could afford the travelling expenses necessitated by frequent journeyings to and from England to play matches and cup ties—an obstacle which was as great with the Queen's Park as with any other club. Herein we find the opening of the determined spirit which has been the chief characteristic of the club all through the years. Its members pooled their limited finances—the club had none to speak of—friends came to the rescue, and the thing was done. The members were of good standing, for the most part employed in offices and warehouses, and were by this time, through constant association with each other during the five years since the birth of the club, bound together by a common tie—namely, to uphold the reputation of the club, which it was thought might be increased by such a great undertaking as playing an English Cup tie in London. Even were only a modified success to attend them against the Wanderers, the crack English club of the period, still the reputation of the club would not suffer. Their difficulties would be remembered, and it would be considered they had done even more than had been expected of them. They made history on that excursion, and have never looked back since. Their undoubted success not only redounded to their own glory, but what was of more importance to them, Scotland was the gainer, and Scottish football as played by the Queen's Park became a power in the land, and an international example. Again, what club, emerging from the chrysalis stage, could have assumed the even greater responsibility of playing an International match against mighty England other than the Queen's Park? It was an audacious episode in its career, faced cheerfully and manfully, with no money in the locker. All these tales of the deeds accomplished by such men of valour and vision will be unfolded as the story proceeds—truly this club made history, and the last thing thought of was its own glorification. The success in the International—one club against a nation—gave an astounding impetus to football in Scotland, and quickly the roll of clubs increased, and the Queen's Park, no longer in splendid isolation, found plenty of opposition at home, and at the same time increased its reputation abroad. Its managers rose to the occasion. They devoted all attention to home football, and did not again take part in the English ties until 1883-84, continuing membership with the Football Association up to 1887. The club found ardent disciples in Glasgow and district, and was soon put to it to hold its own—a good thing for the sport, as a dominating influence is not desirable on the part of any one club, even though that club be the founders of the game. Close and exciting competition is what compels the public to take interest in a game, and that was provided for them. Every club sought to rise to the Queen's Park standard, and the efforts to reach that eminence gave zest to opponents, and stimulated the senior club to maintain its own position. The Queen's Park players of that time were men whose hearts lay in maintaining the prestige of the club. Latter-day supporters and players of the club have little conception of what a defeat meant to the club and its supporters, who were enthusiasts, in those days. The first goal lost by the Queen's Park, taken by a Vale of Leven player, was a heartbreaking event, the first reverse by the Wanderers a national misfortune, and the first defeat at home by the Vale in a Scottish Cup tie cast Hampden Park and its habitues into a state of impenetrable gloom. The club did not lie down under these misfortunes. It buckled on its armour again, and entered into the fray determined to win back the laurels which had been torn, temporarily, from its grasp. This much must be said for the club, its zeal has never been damped by its misfortunes, and it pursued the even tenor of its way in making history.

The Glasgow Association found a Queen's Park prominent official in the chair at its foundation, where he sat for five years, consolidating the new body. This Association was formed to relieve the Scottish Association from the indignity of a National Association controlling Inter-City matches against sectional associations, such as Sheffield, Edinburgh, London, etc. The Glasgow Charity Cup was the outcome of the defeat inflicted by Vale of Leven, referred to above, many enthusiasts desiring to have another meeting between the teams that season. Incalculable good has resulted from that cup through this untoward event in the history of the club. The cup did not fulfil its mission the first season, as the Vale and Queen's Park could not be brought together. Many minor associations found the Queen's Park among their first adherents—the Scottish Second Eleven Association, the Glasgow (later Inter-City) League, the Glasgow Reserve League, the Scottish Combination (later Union), and the several amateur organisations, such as the Schools Association, and Schools League, Former Pupils' League, Scottish Amateur League, and the Scottish Amateur Football Association, all of which had a Queen's Park origin.

To its pioneer work was due the inauguration of the Edinburgh Association, and also the institution of the Irish Football Association. It had no part in the formation of the Scottish League, for reasons that are sufficient. This body savoured of professionalism, and with such the Queen's Park, at first, had no dealings. It stood aside for ten years from this body, until accidental circumstances, which are related in their proper place, brought about a change of view. The stand which the Queen's Park, and the Scottish Association, made against professionalism is an interesting story. Both as a member of the Football Association, and the Scottish Association, Queen's Park members took a leading part on professional committees and at conferences of associations, with the object of suppressing the evil, but all in vain, as first the English and then the Scottish Associations recognised professionalism, and introduced special legislation for its better government. In the realm of amateur athletics the Queen's Park has ever taken a prominent part in encouraging such exercises, and has been in the forefront in ameliorating the various athletic disputes; these points are dealt with in special chapters. The record of all these happenings is interesting, and its perusal will demonstrate conclusively that the story of the Queen's Park is to a large extent the history of Scottish football. Certainly no club has taken such a leading part in the development of the game, in guarding the purity of the sport when developed, in suggesting improvements in legislation for its good government; and it stands to-day as the embodiment of all that is good and true in the sport of football, never having departed by one jot or one tittle from the principles laid down by its founders—namely, that the club was formed for the "amusement and recreation" of its members, and that the amateur flag was for ever to be the standard under which all its battles must be fought, its actions guided, and its fate decided.

Its Jubilee has now been reached. From 1867, when the Queen's Park was founded, to 1917, is, for the club, a period fifty years of splendid and glorious history—half a century in the limelight—a period of continuous and unswerving devotion to one great object, the development of Association football in consonance with amateur principles, The labours of its members have been rewarded, in that the Queen's Park Football Club, in the year of grace 1917, reached its Jubilee, and still retains the pride and vigour of its youth. During this lapse of time it has had its triumphs and its adversities—the latter invariably overcome. In good report, and evil report its members have pursued their way, determined, whatever the vicissitudes, to act uprightly, and above all as gentlemen actuated in sport, as in private life, by the good they may do, not by the glory that may accrue to them. The glory was to be to the club, not to any individual, or individuals, who framed its policy. The club has been most fortunate from its very inception in having a continuous stream of able and honourable gentlemen to conduct its affairs—business men, of whom many in after life have made good, not only in the city of Glasgow, but also in many of the larger centres of industry throughout the United Kingdom, and in the United States and the Colonies. This business acumen told its tale when brought to bear on a sport which it was decided must be amateur. The dawn of youth developed into the vigour of manhood, and the members never lost sight of their intention to persevere as they began, their object being to achieve success, and found a club which would be an example to others—and they succeeded. From generation to generation the link remained unbroken, and the series of able leaders has continued to the present day.

It is a great story, the history of the Queen's Park Club. The club initiated the Association code in Scotland, it took the lead in all matters connected with the game, and was the one authority, the pillar, on which the new organisations, which it helped to found, and counselled when formed, were compelled to lean for advice and support. Its great success on the playing field created a furore for the new recreation, and called public attention to both the club and the game when the club had only been a few years in existence. The knowledge of the game and the enthusiastic support it subsequently met with are all due to the strenuous exertions of the Queen's Park, whose members sought out new methods of play, developed these by assiduous practice, and produced a result which placed the experience of the English clubs, who had played the game for some years before the Queen's Park took it up, quite in the shade. Scotland was then a terra incognita so far as the dribbling code was concerned, and its football history nil. The Queen's Park, however, soon proclaimed to the world that a force had arisen with knowledge and power, and the capability to express both these attributes in a manner wholly unsuspected by the English veterans, who were compelled soon to admit they had much to learn from these neophytes, at their own game, and it must be freely conceded that, after a lesson or two, they were willing to acknowledge their own methods were not perfect, and took the lessons administered to them to heart.

All this was the work of one club—the Queen's Park. As the years advanced the club itself grew in favour and strength, and continued to embellish the story of Scottish football by the success which attended it in the arena, at the council board, and in the world of athletics generally. It continued to formulate the natural course of the sport, and its brilliancy was in no way diminished until professionalism introduced its penetrating head into what had hitherto been an amateur game. Even under these new conditions it has manfully held its own. Its vicissitudes during the five decades also form part of the history of the game, but never has its reputation been tarnished, and the rare example it has set to other clubs for rectitude and straightforwardness will add lustre to its name to the end of time.

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