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History of the Queen's Park Football Club 1867 - 1917
Chapter XX.—Queen's Park and Glasgow Charity cup

While the institution of the Glasgow Charity Cup competi-lion may not directly be attributed to the initiative of the Queen's Park, it certainly must indirectly be associated with the club. The controversy, most acute at the time, which arose over the defeat of the Queen's Park by Vale of Leven, 30th December, 1876, in a Scottish Cup tie—a defeat which caused a sensation in football circles, bad enough in its way, being the first the Queen's Park had to submit to from a Scottish club—developed into the notorious, when marks of spikes were found on Hampden Park on the Tuesday after the match. Unfair tactics of this kind were new in football, and, that victory should have been obtained by such unsportsmanlike methods, created a feeling of abhorrence in the public mind. The Vale of Leven indignantly denied the charge, and suggested "crows' feet," a jest which was ill-timed, and ill-suited to the occasion. The marks were undoubtedly there, but who were the culprits was never satisfactorily established. The controversy became heated and prolonged, the newspapers of the day taking an active part in fomenting it. A strong desire naturally was manifested to bring the clubs together again, under more favourable conditions, in order to establish a true test, which was the better. The public demanded this, and wished for a fair field and no favour. After all, was it surprising that the Vale should defeat the Queen's Park? On 21st December, 1872, the clubs first met on the Recreation Ground, Queen's Park, the senior club winning by 3 -- 0. The return match was Played at Alexandria the following month, and resulted in a draw (0-0). The Vale, though established in 1872, developed a precocious knowledge of the game, and ran the Queen's Park to a dead heat, With greater proficiency, acquired in the following four years, they were bound to succeed. Every club reaches its acme of skill, and the time comes when the fortune of war prevails against it. So it was in this case. The circumstances, however, were peculiar, to say the least of it. A committee of influential Glasgow gentlemen, consisting of Lieut.-Col. Merry (3rd Lanark), Mr. James Dickie, Mr. Robert Easton, Mr. John Miller, Mr. Andrew Stewart, and Mr. Angus Mitchell, all interested in football, was formed, who waited on Mr. W. C. Mitchell, then president of the Queen's Park, and informed him that they were desirous of raising funds for a valuable cup, to be played for annually by two clubs nominated by a committee of themselves, the proceeds to be devoted to some charitable object, the winning team to receive handsome badges. They wished to know if the Queen's Park would support them in the scheme, and assist them in carrying it out. Some discussion took place in the Queen's Park committee. A motion was made, "That we cordially support the affair," and an amendment, "That we take no immediate steps in the matter, but simply express to the gentlemen, through Mr. Mitchell, our appreciation of their proposal." This being more suitable to the general feeling of the meet- | ing, the proposer of the motion, Mr. C. Campbell, withdrew it in favour of the amendment. That meeting was held on 22nd January, 1877. A letter from Mr. John Miller, acting on behalf of the Charity Committee, was considered by the Queen's Park on 30th January, and it was decided to lend the aid of the club to the proposal, and the secretary was instructed to write to Mr. Miller intimating the willingness of the Queen's Park to meet any club the gentlemen might select to play against them for this commendable object. The club selected to play against Queen's Park was 3rd Lanark, and, in informing the Queen's Park of this, the Charity Committee stated that they were desirous of learning whether the club would be agreeable to play a second match with another club in the event of being successful against the Volunteers. As the club had only one Saturday free, it was suggested that the second game should be played on a week-night, and at the same time offered Hampden Park ground, and stands, free for the matches. The First Eleven of the club held a meeting to consider arrangements for the Merchants' Cup competition, and decided to play on two Saturdays in April, if desired, and were unanimous in support of the scheme. The arrangements had so far progressed that the first match against 3rd Lanark was fixed for 21st April, and that the winners were to play a final tie with the holders of the Scottish Association Cup. In the event of a draw, the play to be continued half an hour longer. The most recent method of deciding drawn Charity ties is to count corners taken in the extra half-hour. Messrs. Stewart, Ker, and Barnett, of the Scottish Football Association, were to officiate as umpires and referee at both matches. The 3rd Lanark suffered defeat by 3-0. The finalists for the Scottish Cup in 1876-77 were Vale of Leven and Rangers, the former winning the cup by 3-2, after two undecided games. For reasons which are not difficult to understand, Vale of Leven would not fall in with the views of the Glasgow Charity Committee. Therefore Rangers were substituted, The game was played on 28th April, 1877, Queen's Park again being successful by 4-0, and thus became the first holders of one of the handsomest trophies competed for anywhere. The Lord Provost handed the cup and badges to the winners at the conclusion of the game, amidst great enthusiasm. Public sympathy was with the Queen's Park. The well-intentioned ambition of the founders of the competition was thus baulked in the meantime. The controversy over the "crows' feet" had not yet simmered down. The animated correspondence on the subject between the two clubs had left its sting, and perhaps, all things considered, it was more advisable they did not oppose each other that season, even in the cause of charity.

In November, 1877, through the intervention of friends, and personal interviews between officials of the two clubs— the Queen's Park would have no correspondence because of the Vale's leaning towards publishing official documents—a mutual agreement was arrived at to let bygones be bygones. Two friendly matches were played between the clubs—the first, 12th January, 1878, the game ending in a draw (1-1). The return at Hampden Park was won by the Queen's Park by 2-0. The Scottish Football Association had now assumed control of the Charity Cup competition, in conjunction with some members of the Charity Committee. Mr. Dick, then secretary to the Association, intimated that the Queen's Park had been drawn to play the Vale of Leven on 20th April, 1878, in the first tie for the Charity Cup. As it was feared there might be a difficulty in getting a good team together at this late season to represent the club, it was agreed to leave the matter in the hands of the match committee, to play for the cup, or for the benefit of the charities only. The club felt there was much at stake against such redoubtable opponents, after recent happenings. Still, the club was glad of this opportunity of proving the Queen's Park was undoubtedly the "premier club." The ties of the Charity Cup competition as originally drawn fell through, and the clubs had to be readjusted. Vale of Leven and Queen's Park were the finalists, and met, 4th May, on Hampden Park, the latter winning the cup for the second time by 1-0. This was so far satisfactory for Queen's Park, who was consoled with the Charity Cup, a trophy which cost a hundred guineas. The cup was placed in the Kelvingrove Museum during the first two seasons it remained in the custody of the club, where the public would have the best opportunity of admiring its handsome proportions.

In season 1878-79, under the auspices of the Joint Charity Committee, a series of charity games was played in the evenings with electric light in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Kilmar-nock, Ayr, and Partick, but, on account of the great expense in transporting plant, these games were not very successful. The Glasgow Charity matches were taken part in by Queen's Park, Vale of Leven, Rangers, and 3rd Lanark clubs. On 3rd May, 1878, Rangers defeated 3rd Lanark by 4-1, and ] on Saturday, 10th May, Queen's Park completely broke down, Vale of Leven winning by 4-0. This game was played at the request of the Lord Provost and Parks Committee on the Glasgow Agricultural Show Ground, Glasgow Green, for the Glasgow Unemployed Fund, when the handsome sum of 291 was collected at the gates. Rangers won the cup by a majority of 2-1 over the Vale, on 20th May,. 1878. In seasons 1879-80 and 1880-81, Queen's Park again had its name inscribed on the Charity Cup, defeating Rangers on both occasions in the finals by 2-1 and 3-1 respectively. The clubs had to meet twice on each occasion before the destination of the trophy could be settled. Queen's Park in both years disposed of Vale of Leven in the preliminary rounds by 4-0 and 3-0 respectively. In season 1881-82 Vale of Leven put out Queen's Park in the] first round (2-0), and, meeting Dumbarton in the final, secured the Charity Cup for the first and only time in their history. Then followed a series of three wins by the Queen's Park—in 1882-83, put out Rangers (4-1); 1883-84, beat 3rd Lanark (8-0) ; and in 1884-85, defeated Dumbarton (1-0).

When the Scottish League arose in season 1890-91, and declined to allow its clubs to take part in the 1891 competition for the Charity Cup, Queen's Park won the trophy for the eighth and last time, defeating Northern in the final by 9-1, after a drawn game. The name of Queen's Park does not again appear on the trophy, though in the final tie of 1907-08, when the club met Celtic, and lost by 3-0, the revenue from the Charity games of that season established a then record of 2,250. Year after year the, competition for this trophy has maintained its interest. At first the clubs were drawn from Glasgow and neighbouring districts, chiefly Dumbartonshire; but in 1890 the county clubs withdrew, and the cup is now competed for by city clubs only, and the annual competition has suffered in no way, either in popularity or financially. An immense amount of good has been done, the charities of the city have received large annual grants, and no competition of the kind in the kingdom can show such remarkable results. From 1877, when the trophy was first established, until 1917, the amount distributed reached the extraordinary sum of 41,915. When first established, the cup and badges were presented to the successful club at a banquet given by the winners—a practice instituted by Queen's Park—but this system gradually fell into disuse as being expensive and unnecessary, and for many years now the ceremony of handing over the cup has taken place in the City Chambers by the Lord Provost of the day, in presence of the Magistrates, the clubs, and others interested. Thus great good came out of much tribulation, for had not the Queen's Park fallen before the valiant sons of the Vale, the Charity competition might never have been inaugurated, or the idea might have been left in the realms of uncertainty. In 1890 the Scottish League came into being, and arranged its list of fixtures for the 1890-91 season, which was to be strictly adhered to. When the Charity ties came to be played, the late Mr. J. H. M'Laughlin (Celtic), then secretary of the new body, wrote to the Charity Committee of the Scottish Football Association in March, 1891, requesting, on behalf of the clubs likely to be asked to compete for the Charity Cup, that the dates be altered from April to May, which request the committee could not see their way to grant, as the dates had been fixed at the conference of secretaries a year ago, and the clubs could not now postpone their fixtures. Celtic were drawn against 3rd Lanark for 11th April, and Queen's Park against Rangers for 18th April, A deputation from the three League clubs was heard on 2nd April, 1891, urging postponement, but the Committee were inexorable. The League clubs declined to play in the competition that season. The combination of clubs had thus to be reconstituted as follows: Queen's Park versus Partick Thistle, and Clyde versus Northern. In the final Queen's Park defeated Northern by 9-1. The League then started a Charity competition of its own, from which the handsome sum of 820 was distributed by the League Committee among various charities. The other competition produced only 150. Matters were arranged between, the League and the Charity Committee in the following year, and all was peace, the dates being transferred to May, to suit the convenience of the League clubs., The Queen's Park was included among the quartette of that season, 1892-93.

The Queen's Park won the Charity Cup in the following:-

Celtic won the Glasgow Charity Cup on seventeen occasions, Rangers nine times, Queen's eight, Renton four (all-consecutive), 3rd Lanark three, Vale of Leven, Hibernians, and Clyde once each. In 1917, Celtic completed a series of six consecutive wins, and had a series of five from 1892 to 1896, both inclusive. Three of the Queen's Park successes were consecutive—1883, 1884, 1885. Rangers were the winners in 1917-18 and also in 1918-19, and Celtic 1919-20.

In April, 1892, the Queen's Park committee were not at all pleased at the late dates fixed by the Charity Committee for carrying out the competition that season. The club informed the Charity Committee that it was its intention to close Hampden Park after the game with Preston North End on 30th April. Mr. M'Dowall had intimated to the club that all the matches had been fixed for Hampden Park for 14th, 21st, and 28th May. It was unanimously agreed to adhere to the original decision, and close the ground on 30th April. The club participated in the Charity ties of that year, losing to Rangers in the first tie, after two drawn games. The Charity Committee of that season, however, decided to bring the dates forward, and play future ties on the two last Saturdays in April and the first Saturday in May. In the following year, it was expressly stipulated to the Charity Committee that the participation of the club in the ties depended on the dates being 22nd and 29th April and 6th May. The Charity Committee again named the three last Saturdays in May, and the Queen's Park committee decided unanimously that they would take no part in the competition, and that the ground would be closed on 29th April, and would, therefore, not be available for the Charity ties. Dumbarton was chosen to fill the vacancy left by the withdrawal of Queen's Park.

In 1894, the club still adhered to its previous decision as to the dates ; but the Charity Committee fixed the latest date for 12th May, a week later than the club's ultimatum, and requested the Queen's Park to compete in that season's ties, stating the club had been drawn against Rangers, on Cathkin Park, for 28th April ; the other tie, 3rd Lanark and Celtic, to be played on Hampden Park, 5th May. It was agreed to accept the invitation, and to grant the use of Hampden Park as before. In the final, Celtic defeated Queen's Park by 2-1. The three clubs which took part in these ties with the Queen's Park in May, 1895, claimed and received wages for their professionals to the total amount of 75. Still, there was 1,000 left to give to the charities.

Rumours were current when J. L. Kay left the Queen's Park and played for 3rd Lanark in the Charity ties of 1884 that he had accepted remuneration for doing so. If proved, his name could not possibly be allowed to remain on the roll of membership. Mr. Kay was given an opportunity of explaining his conduct before the Queen's Park committee, in fairness to himself. It was a question which touched the honour of the club as well as that of Mr. Kay. The information, the chairman (Mr. Rowan) said, had been obtained from a gentleman who got it from Mr. Kay's own mouth. The player denied point blank that he had received money from the Volunteers for services rendered. The committee, while thanking Mr. Kay for making the explanation, said it was necessary to clear the matter up, and it would strengthen their hands for the general meeting should the question arise there.

Another remarkable incident in connection with the Charity game between Queen's Park and 3rd Lanark in 1884 was the anonymous letter scandal. Anonymous letters were sent by an official of the 3rd Lanark club to the parents of W. Sellar and Frank Shaw, warning them that should these men play for Queen's Park against 3rd Lanark in the Charity games they would most assuredly be injured—a dastardly trick which recoiled on the head of the writer, who stupidly took no pains to disguise his caligraphy, and was at once identified. The club employed an expert to detect the handwriting. The 3rd Lanark, through Mr. James A, Crerar and Mr. John Wallace, expressed their regret for what had happened, and letters of apology were sent to Mr. Sellar, Mr. Shaw, and to the Queen's Park club. The offending member was compelled to send in his resignation, and the unpleasant incident closed.

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