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History of the Queen's Park Football Club 1867 - 1917
Chapter LVIII.—Hospitality

Hospitality formed a great part of the idea with which the Queen's Park begain its career—namely, the "recreation and amusement of its members." Thus in July, 1869, in connection with the return match with Hamilton Gymnasium, a committee was appointed "to look after the providing of provisions, tent, etc., and that a man be got to go along with the refreshments, and that the committee elect on the field two of our own club to have the management of the dispensing of the articles." The expenses were to be first paid out of the funds of the club, and afterwards an equal share levied upon every member of the club, share and share alike. Still there was a sum of 17s. 6d. short. A deficit was left after entertaining the Airdrie club, and this too had to be made up. At the annual meeting in April, 1869, there was a balance on the wrong side of 12s. 8d. In 1872 the English International team were entertained to dinner, and in the later 'seventies tea was provided for visiting teams. When these clubs were of English origin, their long journey was recognised by a dinner. At the time the Charity Cup came on the scene, in 1877, the Queen's Park entertained the Charity Committee to dinner on the occasion of the handing over of the cup. Dinners became banquets at a still later period, when the hospitality of the Queen's Park was dispensed on a lavish scale, and in the best hotels. Indeed complaint was made at a committee meeting that a certain hostel, now no more, did not do the thing in "Queen's Park form," and a change was made. This did not go on without a grumble from some of the more economical members of the club, until the League system was introduced in 1890, and the Queen's Park joined the League in 1900. The fixtures with English clubs were gradually reduced, until finally they disappeared altogether, as the full programme of 26, 30, 38, and finally 42 home-and-home matches, with cup ties, left no room for engagements with outside clubs, English or Scottish, and the division of gates did not throw the onus of entertaining on the home clubs in turn. Professionalism too reduced the status of those English organisations which the Queen's Park most affected, and almost the only match left of the kind was that with the Corinthians on New Year's Day, a team who, like the Queen's Park, are the creme de la creme of amateurs. That too ceased, New Year's Day, 1903, by mutual agreement.

As the hospitality of the Queen's Park—refreshments are provided for every match at Hampden Park—had been greatly abused, the matter came up before the committee in February, 1908, which decided, on the motion of Mr. John Liddell, that the refreshment room at the extreme west end of the east stand be closed, but the whole question of entertaining visiting teams and "deserving" officials was left open. Tea only was, however, to be served for a few minutes at half-time in the refreshment room, and this arrangement has worked very satisfactorily ever since. These little matters were always placed in the capable hands of the late Mr. Arthur Geake, than whom no more popular official existed at Hampden Park.

When Queen's Park won the Association Cup at the beginning, it was the custom of the club to fill the cup on its being officially presented, and one guinea was granted for the purpose. On the second occasion 1 was voted. The cup was bigger than supposed, as another half-sovereign was required to foot the bill. That was in 1874-75, when the trophy again came its way. On the next occasion the president of the day, Mr. W. C. Mitchell, was not only a little more lavish, though the cup had not increased in size, but he had the temerity to have a private symposium with certain of the S.F.A. committee when the cup was being presented to himself. The committee did not like being ignored in this fashion, so the president had to explain the reason why. While his explanation was not quite satisfactory, the bill was duly paid. As time went on, two cups had occasionally to be filled, no doubt to overflowing, as the grants for the Purpose rose to 3, and then to 5, and no one appears to have been anything the worse.

The presentation of the Association and Charity Cups was at first made a pretentious affair, as the Queen's Park, as stated, gave a banquet to the Charity Committee on these. auspicious occasions. Of late years the practice fell into desuetude, and the Charity Cup is usually presented in the City Chambers by the Lord Provost of the day, without other ceremony. Alas, the Queen's Park does not often now take a prominent part in these proceedings.

The Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903, caused a stir in the dovecots of football clubs, including the Queen's Park, and the question arose, whether it would be necessary to register under the Act. As there was no sale of intoxicating liquors in question, all beverages being dispensed in the way of hospitality, it was thought such clubs need not register. The Queen's Park, however, communicated first with the Under-Secretary for Scotland, and afterwards with Sheriff Guthrie, as Sheriff-Principal of Lanarkshire, who gave the opinion that, failing registration, the club was liable to be prosecuted. The Scottish Association and Scottish League had agreed to defend a test case should any club be prosecuted, if a member of either body. It was, however, thought better, under all the circumstances, to register.

Though the club, for the first time in its history, was able to lay before the annual general meeting in May, 1893, a credit balance of over 1,000, thanks to the able management of the joint treasurers, Messrs. James Lawrence and| Hugh Barnett, the occasion was thought opportune to take exception to the princely hospitality in which the club indulged its guests and its members, and imputations were put forth which were strongly resented by the committee and First Eleven players. Mr. Geake, who occupied the chair, threw oil on the troubled waters, and the treasurers' report was unanimously adopted. Some little friction arose over the discussion, but at a subsequent committee meeting all allegations and insinuations were withdrawn.


When the entertainments tax came into force in 1916, the Football Association approached Sir Lawrence Guillemard, the chairman of the Board of Customs and Excise, with regard to holding a conference with representatives of football bodies, to discuss the method of collecting the tax in a way which would be most convenient. This conference was held in the Football Association offices, London, on Tuesday, 18th April, 1916, at which it was decided, as football clubs were liable to be taxed, the tax should be collected in the usual way on entering by the gates, by the turnstile returns, instead of by tickets, or stamps. Queen's Park arranged with the local Customs to pay the duty on the basis of certified returns and gave a bond for 100, through the Commercial Union Assurance Company Limited, to the Government. Admission to the ground was to be the same price as formerly, the club paying the tax for complimentary and season ticket holders and life members. After the war the charge for admission was doubled.

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