Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

History of the Queen's Park Football Club 1867 - 1917
Chapter XI.—Queen's Park and Football Legislation

The Queen's Park was ever methodical, and the members felt that the rough and ready methods which had hitherto governed them on the field were not satisfactory. The kicking about of a football by a large number of players, even in the wide and roomy space which they had fixed upon, or which had been conceded to them by the other seekers after amusement, on the Recreation Ground, was not football in its true sense. The game was played under no system or rules. The leather was chased about the field, all bent on sending the ball through goals which were indicated probably by heaps of discarded garments at both ends of the field, followed in due course by upright sticks, both goals and touches being recorded. The meeting at which the club was formed did not separate until "the secretary (Mr. William Klinger) gave intimation that the committee would meet on the 15th July, 1867, for further deliberation, and to draw out a code of rules for the guidance of the club." At this meeting "several members gave rather lengthy speeches." The secretary was ultimately requested to communicate with the editor of "Cassell's Paper" and "Sporting Life," as to where the best code of rules could be had, as they (the committee) found themselves incompetent to form rules without the assistance of a treatise on the game." Wise and prudent men. There was not a very wide choice of sporting literature in those days, and few of this band of pioneers could have realised what vast strides Association football would make in the first decade ; that the literature devoted to it was to become widespread and extensive ; that soon publications would be devoted solely to the game ; column upon column written about it in the dailies and weeklies ; thousands upon thousands of an interested public devoted to it; palatial covered stands, tier upon tier, and commodious pavilion accommodation provided, both for players and spectators participating in it; and that, finally, Association football would become the sport of the masses—the classes did not readily accept the innovation. The dribbling game in many districts of England and Scotland has completely overshadowed the carrying code. Many enthusiastic supporters of it are, however, to be found to-day in the classes, particularly those connected with the great English universities and public schools. As this history unfolds, it will be seen how much the popularity of the new game is due to the initiative of the Queen's Park, who on the field worked for progress, developed the style of play, where anomalies existed swept them away, always courageous and single-hearted of purpose, above pettiness and pettifogging. It can truly be said that success crowned its efforts, as the football of to-day is what the Queen's Park made it. In the legislative chamber it excelled, and its law makers,, or menders, were always active workers, joining first the English Association—or the Football Association, as it styled itself in 1863, when founded, and still styles itself—as there was no national association at home, a defect which, however, the club soon proceeded to remedy. The club at once took a leading part in the deliberations of the English body, and many alterations in the rules of that Association were first hatched in the Queen's Park council chamber, and many are in force at the present time. These will be dealt with in their proper place.

Celerity was ever the watchword of the Queen's Park legislators. If a thing were to be done, it were well that it be done quickly. Their bantling must at once be put into ship shape. There is a business air about all their early proceedings, and once the idea propounded, no time was lost of bringing it to fruition. At a meeting held on 9th August, 1867, the committee drew up a constitution, and then proceeded to frame a code of rules for the game. A rule of the constitution reads :—

That the club shall be called the "Queen's Park Football Club," and its object shall be the recreation and amusement of its members.

That was the first object of the club, "the recreation and amusement of its members"; no profit, no hope of gain, they existed for recreation and amusement. The last two of the eight rules indicate more than anything else the absence of thought of pelf, for they are :—

That each party pay a shilling of entry money, on being admitted into membership.

That the expenses of the club shall be defrayed by an annual subscription of sixpence, payable in June.

A basis of rules was obtained from Mr. James Lilywhite, the famous Notts cricketer, who had started in business as a universal provider for sports accessories in London. However, at this second committee meeting, held at 3 Eglinton Terrace, the secretary, on being asked whether he had received any information from the parties applied to regarding " Rules on the Field," read the "Association Rules" which he had received from Mr. Lilywhite. The committee then set to work, and took up the rules separately for consideration, and ultimately adopted them with a few alterations. As these rules are of the greatest interest in the history of Association football, and as the Queen's Park made some vital alterations in the rules, which had a most serious effect on the game as played in Scotland and England, they are given in full :—

First.—That the maximum length of ground shall be two hundred yards, the maximum breadth shall be one hundred yards, the length and breadth shall be marked off with flags, and the goals shall be upright posts eight yards apart.

Second.—The winners of the toss shall have the choice of goals. The game shall be commenced at a place picked from the centre of the ground by the side losing the toss ; the other side shall not approach within ten yards of the ball until it is kicked off.

Third.—After a goal is won the losing side shall kick off, and goals shall be changed.

Fourth.—A goal shall be won when the ball passes between the goal-posts, not being thrown, knocked on, or carried.

Fifth.—When the ball is in touch, the first player who touches it shall throw it from the point on the boundary line where it left the ground, in a direction at right angles with the boundary line, and it shall not be in play until it has touched the ground, and the player throwing it in shall not play it until it has been played by another player.

Sixth.—When a player has kicked the ball, any one of the same side who is nearer to the opponents' goal-line is out of play, and may not touch the ball himself, nor in any way whatever prevent any other player from doing so, until the ball has been played, unless there are at least two of his opponents between him and their own goal, who must not be more than fifteen yards from the goal-line; but no player is out of play when the ball is kicked from behind the goal-line.

Seventh.—In case the ball goes behind the goal-line, a player on the side to whom the goal belongs shall kick it off from the goal-line, at the point opposite the place where the ball is touched by a player, with any part of his body; but if a player of the opposite side first touches the ball after it has gone behind the goal-line of his adversary, one "touch down" shall be scored by his side, and in the event of no goals being got on either side, the side obtaining the greater number of "touches down " shall be the winners of the match.

Eighth.—No player shall carry the ball.

Ninth.—Neither tripping nor hacking shall be allowed, and no player shall use his hands to hold, or push, his adversary.

Tenth.—A player shall not throw the ball, or pass it to another.

Eleventh.—No player shall take the ball from the ground with his hands while it is in play, under any pretence whatever.

Twelfth.—No player shall wear projecting nails, or iron plates on the soles or heels of his boots.

The rules upon which the Queen's Park worked were those of the English, or the Football Association, which body was founded in October, 1863. On 1st December, 1863, this Association, taking as a basis a code of rules drawn up by Cambridge University in the month of October of the same year—Cambridge had endeavoured on three occasions since 1846 to originate a code of rules which would bring the game as played at the various schools and universities under one code, and had twice printed sets of rules—finally altered some of the Cambridge rules, and adopted these as the rules of the Association. Certain Rugby elements were reintroduced, which are not found in the Cambridge set, such as "a fair catch," "touch down," and "modified handling"; touches do not appear to have been counted in the score. Rule Eight, which dealt with the " fair catch," was abolished in 1865-66, in toto. The Queen's Park made a radical alteration in Rule Seven, which deals with the ball going behind, raising the "touch down" to a scoring point in the game. The Association directed that the ball, when touched by the defenders, should be kicked off from the goal-line by their side, at a point opposite where it had been touched down. If by the attackers, then the ball was brought out fifteen yards from the point where it crossed, and a free kick taken, but at the goal only." It is worthy of note here that ends were changed at half-time by Cambridge, not after every goal, as laid down by the Association, and the ball was thrown in, and not kicked in, as stipulated by the Cantabs. the widest difference of opinion has always existed between Scotland and England regarding the interpretation of the off-side rule. This difference in interpretation has caused the Queen's Park club no end of heart-breaking regrets, as all Scots will maintain, and maintain justly, that the English rendering has prevented the Queen's Park from having its name inscribed on that much-coveted trophy—the English Cup. The first English rule on the subject reads (1866):—

When a player has kicked the ball, any one of the same side who is nearer to the opponents' goal-line is out of play, and may not touch the ball himself, nor in any way whatever prevent any other player from doing so until the hall has been played ; but no player is out of play when the ball is kicked from the goal-line.

Another relic of the Rugby code. Observe, no mention is made of three players between the kicker and opponents' goal. It does not appear that this first code was the one which the Queen's Park received from Mr. Lilywhite, as in 1865-66 the strict rule given above was subsequently amended by the Association to allow a player to be on side " when at least three of his opponents came between him and the goal-line." The Queen's Park in its wisdom reduced the number to two, which goes to prove that the rules they had received were those of the Association for the year before 1866-67. Still, there is another point to be observed. In 1865-66 tapes were first introduced between the two upright posts, which were to be at a height of eight feet. The cross-bar first came from the Sheffield Association, in 1867, the year that Association was founded, but nine feet up. It is now eight feet. Prior to this, the ball going through at any height between the posts was accounted a goal. The Queen's Park rules do not mention the tape. Sheffield first introduced the corner kick in 1868, but this innovation was not adopted by the Football Association until 1873. It was only in the rules of 1870-71 that first mention is made of the goalkeeper being permitted to use his hands in defending his goal. It can hardly be imagined this amendment to the "off-side" rule was -of Q.P. initiation altogether. It must have had something to go upon, and that something would appear to have been the rules of the Association up to date, not the original rules of 1863. In the absence of positive information, this has to be assumed.

The interpolation put in, presumably by the Queen's Park, reads, "after the ball has been played," as follows :—

Unless there are at least two of his opponents between him and their own goal, who must not be more than fifteen yards from the goal-line, but, etc.

What is the meaning of these fifteen yards ? Is it implied that off-side was non-existent in the remainder of the field, and came into force only fifteen yards from the defending goal at either end? This may have been the thin end of the wedge, by which a freer interpretation was given to the off-side rule in Scotland than in England, where the hard and fast Rugby interpretation held sway in Association circles. Scotland, as the years rolled on, ruled that a player was put on side by the mere fact of three opponents, after the ball had been kicked, coming between him and their goal-line, while in England the player was off-side always, until the ball had been played by an opponent. This was the whole crux of the situation. Of course, the Scottish Association, after its formation in 1873, took all responsibility from the shoulders of the Queen's Park as to the interpretation of the laws. The English Association arrogated to itself the position—never conceded to it in Scotland—as head of all other associations, national or otherwise. It claimed to be the only body competent to alter, or construe, the rules. This claim was resisted by the Scottish Football Association from time to time. The arrogance of the English Association can be understood when it is stated that on the occasion of an International match at Hampden Park, the spectators being actually on the ground awaiting the appearance of the players, the English team were prevented from taking the field unless the Scottish referee promised to accept the English laws, and the construction put upon them by the English Association. No arguments availed. Under pressure, and fearing a riot by the disappointed public, the Scottish Football Association was compelled to give way ; but the referee did not altogether please the English officials in his decisions. It was a cowardly advantage to take, and only embittered the differences between the two Associations. Scotland stood so firm that the English Association abandoned its stupid position, so far as to suggest the holding of an International conference, with the object of obtaining a universal code of laws for the game.

Having thrown in its lot with the English Association, of which body the Queen's Park became a member in November, 1870, it was quite natural that the club, which began so early as a legislative authority, should take a prominent part in the proceedings of the controlling body of the sport in England. Several very important alterations in the Rules of the Game were introduced, from time to time, at the instigation of the Queen's Park committee, who seem to have thoroughly understood what they were about. One cannot fail to admire their complete realisation of the necessities of the game, and what was most required to produce the best results.

As early as 23rd April, 1868, the committee proceeded to interpret the rules. "An interesting and warm discussion arose," in committee, "on Rule 7 of the Laws of the Game—whether in the event of the ball going behind the goal-line, and when in touch, it may be 'kicked off' indis-. criminately, or that a 'free kick off' be taken by the side to whom the goal belongs. After a good deal of debate, and changing of opinion, it was ultimately decided that a free kick off be made compulsory, so as to prevent any dispute that might hereafter arise through the carelessness of any ' player." At this meeting a sub-committee was appointed to revise the "Constitutional Rules" of the club, and make any alterations and additions they thought necessary. This sub-committee was also instructed to draw up a set of "By-Laws" for the proper enforcement of the "Field Rules" by the members when they were playing, and to prevent the "Laws of the Game" from being unduly infringed upon or disregarded. The sub-committee thought it premature to draft the by-laws, but met the case by inserting in the constitutional rules a rule giving the committee power to make and enforce by-laws, so that the " Laws of the Game," in play, shall be properly respected and attended to. One of the first new by-laws made by the committee is rather strange. It is possible, however, that the Highland element in the club may have required a hint not to offend the public ear under the stress of a furious clan charge, or suspicious handling, which were not under a ban in those days of lusty football. The by-law reads;—

That no member shall, under any pretence whatever, use improper language on the field.

Another by-law is drastic:—

Any member infringing upon the "Laws of the Game," and persisting in such violation, will be subject to expulsion from the club by the committee.

How would the latter work now, in these professional days? Realising now that the rules of the game drawn up by a private club had not the force or authority of those carefully reasoned out by men of greater experience, Mr. Gardner, on 26th October, 1870, moved: "That the present code of Association Rules in use by the club, not being in strict accordance with the rules as laid down by the Football Association, that our present code be discarded in favour of the Association Rules proper," which was agreed to. What followed was only natural under the circumstances, as a week later, 3rd November, the club took the momentous step of deciding to become a member of the Football Association, "seeing that we had adopted the Association rules in toto for play, and that the Queen's Park might thereby be advantageously brought into notice." No other Association then existed, and the move was, all things considered, a correct one, and a necessary consequence, after adopting the rules. On 9th November, Mr. C. W. Alcock confirmed the enrolment of the club, expressing at the same time his unqualified appreciation of the support given to the Association by the active adherence of the Queen's Park. The secretary was instructed to procure a new copy of the Association Rules from London, and to have them printed and circulated among the members, so as to keep the club up to date in the alterations made since the committee framed their own set in 1867. Then came the institution of that "blessed pot," the English Cup. Mr. Alfred Stair, treasurer of the Association, intimated to the Queen's Park that a suggestion had been made to establish a challenge cup among the several clubs playing the Association rules, the value of the cup to be not less than 25, and the minimum subscription from each club 1 1s. After consideration of the proposal, the committee concluded that it was a desirable project, and would tend greatly to the development of the game throughout the country, and particularly to the strengthening of the Football Association ; but seeing that the Queen's Park club was so tar removed from the likely centre, formidable difficulties might arise to prevent them taking part freely in the contests for the cup. In the meantime the minimum subscription of one guinea was voted, until fuller particulars were furnished by the Association, and a more definite prospect of this club having a chance for the cup, when, if necessary, further support would be given. Messrs. Gardner and Wotherspoon were appointed to draw up, and forward such suggestions as would place the Queen's Park on an equal footing with other clubs. That "blessed pot," the English Cup, to which the I Queen's Park out of its meagre funds had contributed one guinea, was a rather insignificant trophy. While in the possession of Aston Villa club, the cup was stolen in 1895, and disappeared for all time, being replaced by a second cup, one of exactly the same size and design. It is to be regretted that the original cup met such an unfortunate fate It was not its intrinsic value which made it dear to footballers in England. The names of many famous clubs were engraved on it, who, in those amateur days, thought only of the glory of winning it, and never considered for a moment what was its value in current coin of the realm. It cannot be said such is the case to-day.

The Queen's Park was fortunate in having experienced old players living in London who were able to attend the meetings of the English Association, and represent there the views of the club. Thus Mr. Klinger, the first secretary of the club, and Mr. R. Smith attended the annual general meeting, held in London, 27th February, 1871, immediately after the Queen's Park had joined. A faithful record of what transpired at this meeting was sent to the club by Mr. Smith, together with some valuable hints on the English style of play. The brothers R. and J. Smith lived at South Norwood, and James also acted as delegate after Robert went to Canada. As the years rolled on, representatives were sent from Glasgow, and thus we find Messrs. Thomas and Stewart Lawrie nominated to attend a most important meeting in London, where the question of professionalism was to be discussed. Naturally the Queen's Park, with its limited means, found the difficulties to be overcome in competing for the Association Cup almost insuperable. The position of the club being in a manner isolated from the centres of play for the cup, the evident difficulties that would result from the position of the club—Scotland being far distant from those centres—forced the consideration of them upon the committee, and "inclined the club to open correspondence with the other Scottish clubs playing Association rules, with the view of persuading these clubs to enlist also for the English Cup." The idea was to have an eliminating competition at home before competing in the South. If this idea were successful, the Queen's Park would in all probability be first pitted against its neighbours at home, in the preliminary ties, which would thereby save long journeys to meet the English clubs. The club even sought to alter the cup competition rule, which provides that the two final rounds must be played in London, so as to allow the ties immediately preceding the final one to be played wherever the contending clubs may decide. By favour of the Association, Queen's Park was left out of the first competition for the cup in 1872 until the semi-final round, in which it met and drew with Wanderers.

The Queen's Park entered for the cup again in 1872-73, as the Association had decided to grant byes to clubs at a distance. Thus the Queen's Park was exempted until the semi-final round, in which it was to meet Oxford University in London. The 'Varsity wrote, explaining their inability to play the tie in London on 10th March, 1873, The Queen's Park withdrew in favour of the " Dark Blues." That season's competition was peculiar, in the sense that the Wanderers, who held the cup, were left out of the ties to meet the winners, and Oxford University, having disposed of all opponents, had to challenge Wanderers for the cup. The students were beaten by two goals to none. The Hon. A. F. Kinnaird, now Lord Kinnaird, and Wollaston, were the goal takers. His lordship has remained connected with the Association to this day, and has been president for many years—indeed, a sort of perpetual president.

That the Queen's Park was keeping an eye on the rules is evidenced by the fact that, at a meeting on 22nd January, 18/5, the secretary was instructed to suggest to the Football Association various amendments of the laws of the game, the principal of which were :—

1. To have the use of the goal bar, instead of a tape, authorised.

2. To adopt a fixed half-time in playing, irrespective of goals being taken.

3. To adopt a new rule regarding the law of free kicks being more explicit.

The committee considered, a month later (18th February), the various amendments in the Laws of the Game, to be discussed at the annual general meeting, and decided which to support and which to oppose. Messrs. James Smith and Robert Tod were appointed to represent the club at this meeting held in London on 24th February, 1875. The introduction of the cross-bar into the rules of the Association is due to the initiative of the Queen's Park, though it was not at the time, nor until some years later, made obligatory. Prior to this, however, the Sheffield Association, founded 1867, which had then a set of rules of its own, abolished the tape, and made the bar compulsory. It was at this London meeting also that change of ends at half-time was introduced—another Queen's Park proposal, though this was the method of play in the Cambridge rules of 1863, not adopted by the Association when framing its rules in that year. In 1874 it was agreed to suggest to the "London Association" to adopt a law disallowing any goal from a kick off— presumably from the centre of the field. In 1875 the club wished to insert, as a new rule, the words :—

In no case shall a goad be scored from any free kick, nor shall the ball be again played by the kicker, until it has been played 'by another player. The kick-off and corner-flag kick shall be free kicks within the meaning of this rule.

Which rule was duly carried, together with all the Queen's Park amendments, to use a cross-bar instead of a tape, and change ends at half-time, instead of after every goal. At the annual general meetings of the Association, 1876 and 1877, there was no particular rule which attracted attention and needed improvement.

The Queen's Park took a particular interest in the "throw-in" rule. It favoured the straight throw-in in the Scottish style, had no liking for the throw-in in the English style, and had a rooted abhorrence to the Sheffield rule— kicking-in—which they considered unnecessarily severe, and the delegates to the annual meetings of the Football Association, Messrs. James Smith and Robert Tod, were instructed accordingly. In February, 1878, the club recommended the adoption of the straight throw-in, as played by the "Scotch Association," in preference to the English rule—i.e., in any direction. The Royal Engineers were on the same tack at this meeting. Messrs. M'Kay and F. Tod were the Queen's Park delegates on this occasion; Mr. R. Tod, not having obeyed instructions, was replaced by his namesake. Every amendment was carefully scrutinised, and the line to be taken by the delegates clearly indicated in marginal notes to the agenda. The same with the Scottish Association rules when under revision. At the annual meeting of the Scottish Association, 3rd September, 1878, a proposal, by the Alexandra Athletic Club, "to throw the ball in in any direction the thrower may choose" was strongly opposed by the Queen's Park delegates, Messrs. W. C. Mitchell and G. O. Norval. For the annual meeting of this Association in May, 1880, Messrs. T. Lawrie, R. Browne, and C. Campbell were elected by the Queen's Park as a sub-committee to revise the " Scotch Association " rules, as to alterations, and report. The straight throw-in was again attacked, and the matter was considered of too great importance to decide without a fuller voice of the committee, the result being a unanimous vote to oppose. However, this important point was taken out of the hands of the Queen's Park, and settled in a manner not quite satisfactory to its opinions. England, as already stated, insisted on its rules being played in International matches, and Scotland's loss of the 1879 International by 5-4 is attributed to " the practice and experience of the throw-in in any direction, which they had evidently brought to great perfection, while the Scotch, having neither, were compelled to play under a disadvantage, to which the main cause of the defeat may be attributed." Reference has already been made as to how England behaved when Scotland wished to play home rules at Hampden Park. The Football Association offered to compromise matters by adopting, on condition the Scottish Association did likewise, the throw-in rule with both hands over the head in any direction, the player throwing in the ball to face the field of play. The Scottish Association decided to meet its English friends half-way, and give this new rule a trial for a year. It has never since been altered, and is the rule to-day. The old rule, throwing the ball with one hand in any direction, gave the Englishmen a great advantage, as the ball has been known to have been thrown from midfield to the goal mouth. Some English players were specially dexterous at this game. "Big Gunn," the Notts cricketer, was famous for his long and deadly throws, and other English players, too numerous to mention, were equally clever.

Mr. Don. Hamilton, who attended an International Conference, 25th April, 1882, at Sheffield, brought home certain suggested alterations on the rules, for the consideration of the Scottish Football Association, among which was an attempt to bring Scotland into line with England on that International bugbear, the "off-side" rule. These were summarily rejected, and at the annual meeting of the Association, 26th April, 1882, it was decided not to meet England any more, unless she agreed to play Scottish rules all through the game. A motion was also passed, "not to send delegates to the National Conference as it at present exists." At this annual general meeting a motion was made, to throw the ball in in any direction with both hands. Mr. C. Campbell (Queen's Park) carried an amendment, "that the ball be thrown in with both hands over the head in any direction," and this became the law of the Scottish Association. Mr. N. L. Jackson, assistant hon. secretary, Football Association, invited the Scottish Football Association in June, 1882, to attend a conference at Manchester, which invitation was refused, and attention was called to the refusal of Scotland to alter the off-side rule. To this England replied, declining to make any arrangements towards the International, unless the Scottish Football Association agreed to send delegates to a special conference. Scotland reluctantly gave way, and Messrs. T. Lawrie (Queen's Park) and John Wallace (3rd Lanark) were the delegates. They were the officials who attended this conference, held at Manchester, 14th November, 1882, entrusted with the mission "of pressing the throw-in rule, and coming to an understanding regarding the interpretation of off-side, and urging that the goalkeeper be given liberty to move with the ball in his hands, as in Scotland." The delegates carried these points, and a hearty vote of thanks was given them for their noble work. Mr. Jackson wished to know what rules were to obtain at the London and Glasgow match, about to be played on Hampden Park. He was informed that the rules used would be those fixed on at the conference. He next suggested half English, half Scottish rules, to which the Association returned the same reply, with which he had to be content. At the above conference the rules were assimilated, and are now only changed by the International Board. The alterations made were adopted at the annual general meeting of the Scottish Football Association, on 25th April, 1883, and no trouble has since arisen to disturb the peace of football nations, at least until professionalism introduced its dominating head—but that is another story. The Queen's Park interest in the English Association and its rules ended only when the club, and all Scottish clubs, were compelled to withdraw from that body in 1887. When the International Board was established at a conference in London, June, 1886, Mr. Richard Browne (Queen's Park), president of the Scottish Association, and Mr. A. M'A. Kennedy (Dumbarton), vice-president, represented the Scottish Football Association, and assisted in drawing up a code of rules to govern the Board, the result of which is that harmony has since reigned in Association football legislation.

Thus it will be seen what a leading part the Queen's Park as a club, and its members, have taken in the formation of the rules, and in the general government of the game, and what vast consequences arose in after years from the daring enterprise of the early Queen's Park members, who adopted and "slightly altered " the rules in 1867.

Return to Book Index Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus