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History of the Queen's Park Football Club 1867 - 1917
Chapter LIII.—The Reinstated Professional

While the club had no dealings with professionals, and at once removed the name from the roll of any Queen's Park player who had signed a professional form, it had to face the question in December, 1904, of the attitude it should assume towards a professional player who had been reinstated as an amateur. The matter was carefully discussed, and no doubt, actuated by the fact, that the act of reinstatement had been officially performed by the Scottish Football Association, the highest authority in football, it was decided not to take up a recalcitrant position toward the application of an ex-member, who wished to rejoin the" club as a player. The applicant was desirable in every way. He was a school teacher by profession, and had played as a. professional for Morton F.C., from which club his League transfer had been duly received. It was finally decided to take advantage of the player's assistance. A very strong opposition was offered in October, 1907, to the readmission to the club of a reinstated professional, on the ground that it was against the provisions of article vii of the articles of association, Messrs. R. Smellie and John Liddell taking a prominent part in this opposition, the latter even going so-far as to give notice he would move at the annual meeting in June, 1908, that no reinstated professional player be eligible for admission to the club, and that the articles of association be altered accordingly. Nothing came from the movement. Its authors never relaxed their efforts, however, to impress upon the club the axiom, " Once a professional, always a professional," but met with no success, as the majority of the committee held a contrary opinion. The matter lay quiescent for a few years, when it was thought another attack might meet with a better fate. The advocates for reinstatement could always point out the team had been strengthened by the readmission of such players. There was always this very strong objection, on the part of some members of the committee, to the reinstatement of players who had left the club to become professionals, who had been whitewashed by the Scottish Association, and, being amateurs now, wished to rejoin the club. In scarcely one case were such readmissions granted unanimously, as strong opposition was usually offered to all such applications. A majority of the committee, however, thought such players, having now greater experience, might be useful to the club, and very few applicants were refused, indeed hardly one. The matter came to a head in February, 1913, when Mr. John Liddell, after a well-known player had been reinstated by seven votes to four, gave notice, at the same meeting at which this was done, of a motion for next meeting, " That no applicant be eligible for admission to membership of the club who has signed a professional football registration form, or played as a registered professional." When this motion came to be considered, Mr. Liddell could not find a seconder. Yet no less than twenty-seven signatures were appended to a requisition to convene an extraordinary general meeting of the club to consider this identical motion, the articles of association to be altered accordingly should it be adopted. This meeting was held 28th April, 1913. A number of influential members spoke for and against the motion, the final result being, on a division, sixty-five voted for the motion, and twenty-nine against. The supporters of the motion, not having the necessary two-thirds majority, lost their case, so that the majority of the meeting were not at one with the committee. All applications are now considered on their merits, and the readmission of such players has not been prejudicial to the club. This particular point agitated the newly-formed Scottish Amateur Football Association, as it also took a lenient view regarding the reinstatement of professional players, and decided to allow them to compete under its rules as amateurs, which led to Mr. A. J. Christie, that apostle of the strictly amateur cult, with others of a similar opinion, leaving the association to its own resources. With reference to the admission of non-playing members in 1896 at an enhanced fee of two guineas, raised to 10 when new Hampden Park was under construction, the rules of the club had to be altered at the annual general meeting, 28th May, 1896, in order to safeguard the club against professionals becoming members in this way. The club had for long been recognised as a strictly amateur one, and there must be no dubiety whatever as to the status of its members. The new rule reads :—

That any member being proved, declared, or registered a professional player shall cease to be a member, and no proved, declared, or registered professional player snail be eligible for membership.

Only thirty such non-playing members were to be admitted in each year. The committee were also given power to admit applicants considered likely to strengthen the playing element of the club at an entrance fee of ten shillings. This entrance fee was subsequently reduced, however, to five shillings.

An even stronger position was taken up by the Queen's Park on the occasion of its annual dance in 1911, when the committee let it be known, that ex-members of the club who had left to join the professional ranks would not be admitted to the club dance. It was a forcible attitude to take up, but still, not inconsistent with the history of the club, and its traditions.


The club had before it the question of entertaining professional teams, now that all disguise had been thrown off, and professionalism recognised in England and Scotland. The position had become altogether different. As an amateur club standing out for amateurism, and holding aloof then— September, 1894—from the Scottish League, it was unanimously decided in future not to entertain any professional team—a decision which cut off the club from social intercourse with those English professional organisations whose habitation was in Lancashire and the Midlands, many of which had for many years been on terms of close intimacy with the Queen's Park. To be consistent, there was no other course to pursue. England went to even greater lengths, as its amateurs would not, at this time, sit at table with the professionals of an International team, these latter being treated and considered as on the same plane as professional cricketers. That strict view of the position has been relaxed.

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