English football in 1912

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Tarn Stephanos

Member
Anyone familiar with the history of English football/soccer? Which team was the best in 1912? Westham United? Who won the English football cup in 1912?

Did the Manchester United and Liverpool teams exist in 1912?
 
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Bob Godfrey

Member
Westham? Wot you talking abaht? 'ere, d'you mean West 'am, mate? :)

The 1912 FA Cup Final was hardly the most exciting match ever seen - a 0-0 draw! The teams were Barnsley and West Bromwich Albion. At the replay, Barnsley won 1-0.

Man United's first win was in 1909. Liverpool's first Cup Final was in 1914, when they lost to Burnley. The Edwardian era was the period in which professional football took off as a spectator sport, initially in the north and midlands, so teams from southern England (like West Ham) rarely made it to the Cup Final. One notable exception was Southampton, who got there in 1900 and 1902, but lost on both occasions.
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Sam Brannigan

Sam Brannigan

Member
Good old West Ham have never won the league (they came pretty close in 1986 with the great Cottee/McAvennie partnership up front).

Although they contested the first FA (English) Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in 1923 it took them until 1964 to win their first FA Cup, but as everyone knows their greatest contribution to English football was the trio of Peters, Hurst and Moore for the England squad that won the World Cup in 1966, Moore lifting the Jules Rimet trophy as captain.

And we Irish, Scots and Welsh will hear about it for ever more...

Around the time of the Titanic - in 1913 West Ham sold Danny Shea to Blackburn Rovers for a world record £2,000 which nowadays would pay for your average Hammer players' weekly haircut.

The 1912 FA Cup final took place on 20th April, the day the Titanic was scheduled to leave New York, and the replay was held on the 24th.

Fulham knocked out Liverpool in the second round 3-0 and Man Utd were beaten by Blackburn Rovers in the fourth round.

Funnily enough, these two fixtures were repeated this weekend, with Liverpool and Man United both winning.

Can you just imagine if Southampton had reached the final in 1912 and had to play for the cup five days after the sinking?

Fortunately they were knocked out in the first round.

One other useless bit of sporting trivia to link in with April 20th 1912 - it was the day Boston Red Sox played the first ever game at their legendary Fenway Park.
 
Sam Brannigan

Sam Brannigan

Member
Damn and Blast!

My exciting Red Sox coincidence has already been reported on "The Red Sox- curse of the Bambino, or Titanic?" thread.

After seven years of waiting to find the right time to relay the information.

Spooky.
 
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Bob Godfrey

Member
Never mind, Sam. At least you got a chance to mention Peters, Hurst and Moore, and that doesn't happen every day in a marine history forum! :)
 
Sam Brannigan

Sam Brannigan

Member
LOL

And let's not forget that Geoff Hurst spent part of his career at Stoke City, which was surely EJ Smith's favourite team.

(unless it was Port Vale)
 
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Emma Richardson

Member
There is a fantastic bit of vintage footie footage (including part of the first ever footage of Manchester United playing) of the Lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon DVD - an excellent collection of Edwardian film which apparently was found hidden in the basement of a shop in Blackburn. The films were recorded of people going about their business and then shown in local cinemas where the same people paid to watch themselves!
 
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Tarn Stephanos

Member
"And let's not forget that Geoff Hurst spent part of his career at Stoke City, which was surely EJ Smith's favourite team."



I can't help but wonder which teams Titanic's crew would have supported..
Which football team would most Southampton bred stokers have routed for in 1912?
 
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Tarn Stephanos

Member
I'm reminded of one of my favorite sketches from the classic British comedy show "Monty Python's Flying Circus", where Eric Idle played the role of host of a game show-
the contestants were people like Mao tse Tung,karl Marx, etc...And they were asked questions they could never answer-such as 'who won the English football cup in 1929?'
 
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Bob Godfrey

Member
I've a sneaking suspicion that those Southampton-bred stokers might have supported Southampton, Tarn! Perhaps you're thinking that people in 1912 might, as is common today, have supported high profile teams like Man United even if they'd never been near that city or even this country. No, in those times you supported your local team, or at least the team which played for the locality in which you'd been born and bred.

Now some thoughts about economics. Professional players in the Edwardian era were almost always from working class backgrounds and were generally well-paid compared with most of those who paid to watch them, but even those who found fame didn't find great wealth. Within the football league there was concern that the wealthier clubs should not have the opportunity to buy all the best players, so in 1901 it was ruled that even the 'star' players could not be paid more than £16 per month - a little less than the rate of pay for a 1st Officer on an Olympic Class ship. With due allowance for changes in the general standard of living, that would equate today with around £5000 per month. The celebrity players didn't drive the 1912 equivalents of Ferraris and Aston Martins in those days; for many years only one player owned any kind of car, and he was Captain of the England team!

For the same reason, the one-off 'signing-on fee' for a player joining a new club was limited to just £10. But there was no limit placed on transfer fees - the money which one club could demand from another when a player was 'sold'. And that was the means by which the wealthier clubs in the larger cities began to dominate the game, with the first £1000 transfer fee being paid in 1905 and, as Sam mentioned above, £2000 by 1913. The smaller clubs just couldn't compete in that kind of marketplace.

There were around 150 professional teams playing in England in 1912, and around 30 in the Scottish league. But though all clubs were run very much as commercial operations funded mainly by gate money (from around 15,000 spectators at a 1st Division game), few of them paid much in the way of dividends because almost all of the profits (if any) were used to buy even better players. The object was to create not profit but prestige for the community and for the directors of the club.

And in those days England's professional footballers were without question the best in the World. A 1st Division club could embark on a friendly tour in South America, for instance, and expect to beat any National team which dared to take them on.

But that was a long time ago!
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Bob Godfrey

Member
And Karl Marx didn't know it was Bolton Wanderers? That man just didn't get his priorities right! Certainly didn't deserve to win the 3-piece suite.
 
Sam Brannigan

Sam Brannigan

Member
I reckon that quite a few of the crew would have supported the likes of Liverpool and Everton as well, as quite a few of them relocated from Liverpool after White Star's move to Southampton in 1907.

Old loyalties die hard!
 
John Lynott

John Lynott

Member
...and or course there is the impromptu football match on the well deck minutes after the berg is struck. "Come on Ireland" says the prototype Roy Keane, John Cairney's Murphy, as the prawn sandwich brigade gaze down from First Class. "I say, let's go down and join the fun!" "But they're steerage." We never do find out the final score...
 
Sam Brannigan

Sam Brannigan

Member
2-1 to the Scandinavians, with a last minute winner from Ole Gunnar Abelseth, to cheers from the prawn sandwich brigade of "I say, well played sir!"
 
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