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History of the Queen's Park Football Club 1867 - 1917
Chapter II.—The Birth of the Queen's Park

Its origin is not exactly lost in antiquity, though after the lapse of half a century there exist now very few who can bear testimony regarding the manner of its birth. Three of the original members—two of them past presidents, and all members of the first committee—who played football for it, before and after the formation of the club, are yet to the. fore, and still engaged in business in the city—namely, Messrs. Mungo Ritchie, of Messrs. Mann, Byars & Co. ; James C. Grant, commission agent, 11 Maxwell Street; and Robert Davidson, provision merchant, Virginia Street. The first named was the first president of the club, and Mr. Grant the third, while Mr. Robert Davidson was elected to committee at the initial meeting. Mr. Lewis Black was the second president. In sifting the evidence which can be gathered together at this late date, fifty years after the club was brought into being, much can yet be gleaned regarding its early history. Football was played in a more or less liappy-go-lucky fashion in two of the three great public parks the city possessed in those days, the Queen's Park and Glasgow Green. Kelvingrove was more of an ornamental park. Play with the round ball was then comparatively new, and had not been systematised in Scotland. As no clubs existed, there was no inter-club communication A set of players met together to amuse themselves, among themselves, in their own way. A group of young men fixed upon a corner of the Queen's Park Recreation Ground, opposite the Deaf and Dumb Institution, and there hunted the leather as it pleased them. No rules, no boundaries, not even goal-posts -piles of discarded garments indicating the goals and the corners, straight lines between which indicated the field of play ; no tape, no cross-bar, the heavens above being the only upward limit, a goal counting no matter how high the ball passed over the space between the uprights, when afterwards erected ; failing a goal, a touch down.

Mungo Ritchie

One of the old brigade, Mr. James C. Grant, has a vivid recollection of the origin and early days of the Queen's Park, and his story may be accepted as correct. He was an active participator in the foundation of the club, being one of the first committee, and for two years president. He was also its first goalkeeper, acting in that capacity for five years, and no goal, not even a touch down, was recorded against his side in any club match while he was in charge of the citadel. He was succeeded by Mr. Robert Gardner about 1872, and it was the latter who played in the match against the Wanderers in London, and also in the International at Partick in that year. Mr. Grant is a native of Carrbridge. He, with nine or ten others from the North—Morayshire, Banffshire (Grantown), and Aberdeen—practised hammer-throwing, putting the ball, tossing the caber, pole vaulting, and other muscular exercises on a vacant piece of ground near Lome Terrace, on the Pollokshields side of Strathbungo Bridge. Finding the place cribbed, cabined, and confined for their more athletic proclivities, and the ground being required for building purposes, they removed to the Recreation Ground at Queen's Park, and there took up their location near the pitch which the football players occupied. A branch of the Y.M.C.A. (Young Men's Christian Association) had recently been formed on the south side of Glasgow, and a band of youths connected with the association, under the supervision of a Mr. Young, pursued the game of football, sometimes so strenuously that they frequently encroached on neighbouring preserves. The stalwarts from the North had an occasional kick at the ball in its wayward course, and rather liked the novelty. The two bodies mixed forces on one occasion only, and had a game, the Y.M.C.A. being mere youths, which the older men so much enjoyed, that they decided to add football to their athletic programme, and afterwards pursued this particular sport to their hearts' content. The Northerners had no further connection with the Y.M.C.A. The first ball purchased was the outcome of sixpence per head being collected, and when it burst another was procured in the same way. No distinguishing marks between teams were in vogue in the earlier football games— that came later. Teams were selected on the field. Frequently no more than twenty men were available, divided into two teams under captains. Then, as their numbers increased, fifteen and twenty a side constituted the opposing teams, and occasionally, if short of men, a spectator or two, friends probably, were impressed into the fray.

So much intelligence and vigour could not long lie fallow in an undeveloped state, and the idea took shape of having a regular club of their own. No sooner was this idea formulated than it took definite shape, with the result that a meeting took place at No. 3 Eglinton Terrace, Victoria Road, 9th July, 1867, at which the Queen's Park Football Club had its birth. Mr. Mungo Ritchie, who was elected the first president of the club in absence, also does not favour a continued Y.M.C.A. connection. He came in as one of the athletic youths, hailing as he does from Madderty, in Perthshire. He agrees otherwise with the particulars furnished so succinctly by Mr. Grant. Mr. Robert Davidson also agrees with Mr. Grant in every particular. Mr. Ritchie's connection with the club lasted only one year, as he resigned in July, 1868, on the occasion of his marriage. Though over eighty years of age, he is still in harness. That there was an opinion prevailing among later members, of a Y.M.C.A. section in the club, appears to be beyond dispute, but it simply hangs on the introducing of the game to the stalwarts who afterwards formed the Queen's Park club. Mr. A. Rae, honorary secretary, in his report to the annual meeting in April, 1874, states:—"The muscular Christianity to which we owe our existence—for we were evolved (that's the scientific term!) from the Young Men's Christian Association—was not always in favour." That was seven years after the club had been founded. The Young Men's Christian Association connection ceased after the one game. That all the meetings of the club were then held on licensed premises goes far to prove this. The early meetings took place at White's, 3 Eglinton Terrace, the Victoria Restaurant, the Queen's Park Inn (M'Arthur's), and the New Restaurant. Afterwards meetings were held in Buchanan's Temperance Hotel, Carlton Place, and Dewar's Temperance Hotel, Bridge Street, which last was the headquarters of the club for many years. It is reported that, while there were few total abstainers in the club, all were temperate in their habits, and athletic in their pursuits.

It has been stated that the early minutes of the Queen's Park club had been lost. No more erroneous statement could have been made. The minute books of the club are all extant, from the first meeting in 1867 down to the present

day and in perusing them one cannot help being struck with the exactness with which every important event in connection with the club is recorded. The various secretaries have been able men, who thoroughly understood what they were recording, and whose business aptitude is apparent in every line. The first minute is a historical document of great worth, and is as follows:—

Glasgow, 9th July, 1867. To-night, at half-past eight o'clock, a number of gentlemen met at No 3 Eglinton Terrace for the purpose of forming a " football club." After Mr. Black was called to the chair, a good deal of debating ensued, and ultimately the following measures were voted for and carried, viz.:—

First. That the club should be called the "Queen's Park Football Club."

Second. That there should be four office-bearers, viz.:—A president, captain, secretary, and treasurer. Third. That there should be thirteen members of committee, including office-bearers, seven of whom to form a quorum.

The following gentlemen were then duly elected as office-bearers and members of committee, viz.:—

The secretary then gave intimation that the committee would meet on the 15th inst. for further deliberation, and to draw out a code of rules for the guidance of the club. The business for the evening being now finished, the members retired, after awarding a hearty vote of thanks to Mr. Black for his able conduct in the chair.

W. M. KLINGER, Secretary.
LEWIS S. BLACK, Chairman.

Evidently the meeting entertained no superstitious awe regarding the unlucky number 13—the number of office bearers and committee. Be that as it may, these were reduced to nine at the first annual meeting of the club on 4th April, 1868, though for quite a different reason—"the difficulty in constituting meetings last season on account of the number necessary to form a quorum being too great. Five in future were to form a quorum."

A good deal of debating took place over the name to be given the new club. One section was for calling it "The Northern," another "Morayshire," and yet a third "The Celts," all of which names would naturally come from the athletic section, as they savour of a Highland origin. Mr. Grant, though from Speyside, proposed "Queen's Park" as being more immediately connected with their existing headquarters. If the club had a future before it, he said, it should be baptised by the name with which it was most closely associated. Objection was taken that the word "Park" was not suitable as a name for a club. "Queen's Park" was ultimately carried, but only by a majority of one, after a number of divisions. The club has had a future, the name has become renowned in story, a halo of glory has descended on its head through the intervening years, and it has been borne on the summit of the wave to undying renown. Time can never obliterate or minimise the great work it has accomplished.

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