The fourth meeting of the Football Association

December 1, 1863
The fourth meeting of the members of this recently-formed association was held on Tuesday evening, December 1, at seven o’clock, at the Freemasons’ Tavern, Great Queen-street, Lincoln’s Innfields, for the further consideration of the laws, and perfecting generally the working arrangement of the association.

In our impression of Saturday last we gave a full report on the meeting which was held the previous Tuesday, and at which meeting considerable discussion arose on a question calculated to lead to a sudden disruption of the association, and the tone taken on Tuesday last evidenced that the Blackheath members were fully bent on preserving their time-honoured institution of “hacking,” although, as will be seen, the “non hackers” carried their point.

The meeting was numerous, and comprised the following members, the names of the clubs they represented being also specified:

Blackheath Club, Messrs. F.M. Campbell and L.A. Campbell;
Blackheath Proprietary School, Messrs. W.H. Gordon and T.P. Fox;
Forest, Leytonstone, Messrs. J.F. Alcock and A.W. Mackenzie;
Forest School, Walthamstow, Messrs. J. Morgan and J. Boach, jun;
Crystal Palace, Messrs. F. Urwick and J.L. Biordet;
Barnes, Messrs. W.C. Morley and T.D. Gregory;
N.N. Kilburn, Messrs. A. Pember and G. Lawson;
Wimbledon School, Mr. A.E. Daltry.

The President (Mr. A. Pember) took the chair, and called on the hon sec (Mr. W.C. Morley) to read the minutes of the last meeting. The hon sec accordingly read the minutes as entered by him, and the president put the question, “That the minutes as read are correctly entered, and they be signed accordingly.”

Mr. F.M. Campbell (the treasurer) said: I wish to call the attention of the meeting to what took place on the last occasion. It would be remembered that Mr. Alcock proposed,

“That the rules of the Cambridge University Football Club, which have been lately published, appear to be the most desirable code of rules for the association to adopt, and therefore it is proposed that a committee be appointed to enter into communication with the committee of the University, and to endeavour to induce them to modify some of the rules which appear to the association to be too lax, and liable to give rise to disputes.”

I then moved an amendment that the words, “The most desirable code of rules for the association to adopt” be omitted, and to insert instead thereof “worthy of consideration.”

Upon that Mr. Morley made another amendment for the insertion of the words in the place of those proposed by me, “and that they embrace the true principles of the game with the greatest simplicity.”

The president, when he put the first amendment, took the number in favour of it, seven, and then put the second amendment, for which eight hands were held up.

On neither of those amendments did he take the votes against either of them, and as the number present was 19, if the resolution had been put in the proper form the amendment would have been negative.

Mr. Mackenzie: But everybody might not have voted.

The President: I really think Mr. Campbell that you are in error. There certainly was something said, and I replied, “Why, you did not vote,” on which the gentleman – I think it was Mr. Gordon – replied to the effect that the purport of the resolution had not been properly understood, and most certainly I put it again, and they did not vote again.

I certainly put the question both ways, and I appeal to the recollection of those gentlemen who were present at the last meeting.

Besides, I gave a casting vote for Mr. Morley’s amendment.

What is your plan now, then? Do you move that minutes are not correct?

Mr. Campbell: No, I will not say that, but I want the resolution of Mr. Alcock and Mr. Morley to be expunged.

Mr. Lawson: Then you can move that so much of the minutes as relate to that matter be not confirmed.

Mr. Campbell accordingly moved, and Mr. Gordon seconded – “That so much of the minutes as relate to the resolution moved by Mr. Alcock and Mr. Morley be not confirmed.”

The President put the question, which was negative, and the minutes were then confirmed and signed, Mr. Campbell entering a formal protest on behalf of the Blackheath players.

The Hon Secretary then read the following letters, which had been received since the last meeting: –

“Lincoln, November 30, 1863.
“Dear Sir: Herewith I beg to send you a copy of a letter I have received from the Hon secretary of the Louth Football Club in reply to mine, inquiring whether they had joined the association, and recommending the propriety of their doings so without delay.

“I shall write to him by to-night’s post referring him to you, and in the mean time, perhaps, you will be good enough to give him some information in the matter.

“Our acquaintance with the Louth Club arises from our having played matches with each other. Hoping that we may succeed in obtaining the club as one of the members, and begging you will send me a list of your earliest convenience of the members of the association, believe me to be, yours very truly, E.A. Chambers, Hon Sec, Lincoln Football Club.”

The enclosure was as follows (said Mr. Morley), with the exception of the last paragraph, which referred to a private matter: –

“Louth, November 26, 1863.
“Dear Sir: I saw the first meeting of the Football Association reported in the papers, and ever since have been on the point of writing to you to ascertain the opinion of your club as to the association, as we have now a sub-committee formed for revising our rules of play, and I judged it advisable, whether or no the two clubs joined the London association, to have rules of play in common for the greater facility of arranging matches, &c..

“With reference to the association, my own predilections are entirely in favour of it, and I shall do my best to induce our club to join it after our next meeting.

“With respect to what clubs have already joined I am in partial ignorance, and shall be glad to learn that the foundation schools of Harrow, Eton, and Rugby have done so, as their joining or holding back must have, any way, a great amount of influence, looked up to as are those schools for their practice of the game. – Believe me, yours truly. John G. Tupholme, Hon Sec, Louth Football Club.”

“Streatham Lodge, Marsh Gate, Richmond, S.W., November 28, 1863.
“Dear Sir: We should have sent two representatives to the Football Association from the commencement, but for this reason, that we are not an organised club.

“As most of our men are only here preparing for the army, and do not remain any length of time in Richmond, it is useless our trying to form a regular club; we merely club together during the winter for the sake of playing a few matches.

“I think you will agree with me that under these circumstances it is unnecessary for us to enrol a club like this as a member of the association, which many not last beyond this season.

“If the rules of the association are decided upon in time for us to use them this winter, we shall no doubt adopt hem, whatever they may be, as it will be a great convenience to us when we play with other clubs.

“If we had a good club in Richmond, I should have been only too glad to have done my best to assist in promoting what, I think, will be a great benefit to us all. Thanking you for your letter, believe me, dear sir, yours truly. Edwin H. Ash.”

“Sheffield Football Club, Sheffield, November 30, 1863.
“Dear Sir: Our committee have read with great interest the late discussions respecting the laws of football, and believing the association now formed likely to promote the game, they are anxious to enrol the club amongst the list of members, and I herewith enclose the amount of the subscription.

“We think it very desirable a general code of laws should be established, and heartily wish you success in the undertaking.

“I enclose a copy of our rules, and perhaps you will excuse a few remarks on them. I am very much in favour of a cross bar; without one it is sometimes very difficult for an umpire to decide, and whatever his decision, generally displeases some one.

“In your Rule 5 I think the ball when thrown or kicked into play should ne not less than six yards. If thrown less it is very liable to go out again at the first kick. We have no printed rule at all like your No. 6, but I have written in the book a rule which is always played by us.

“Nos. 9 and 10 I think are directly opposed to football, the latter specially being more like wresting. I cannot see any science in taking a run kick at a player, at the risk of laming him for life.

“Your No. 14 will be altogether new to our players; I suppose the idea is that nails are dangerous; we strictly prohibit spikes, but though it is the general custom in this neighbourhood to wear nails, I never yet heard of an accident resulting from the use of them.

“I think our No. 15 (which we have only had about two years) a very useful and desirable rule, and worth your consideration. Doubtless the foregoing are all old arguments, but I thought that perhaps they would not be uninteresting, as showing how the game is played in this neighbourhood.

“On hearing that we are accepted as member, I shall be glad to appoint representatives to attend your meetings. – Yours truly. W. Chesterman, Hon Sec.”

The President: The next business is the final settlement of the laws.

Mr. Alcock: I think, sir, as the whole of the rules almost depends upon Nos. 9 and 10, as they have been proposed I think we had better proceed with them at once. They are as follows: –

IX. – A player shall be entitled to run with the ball towards his adversaries’ goal if he makes a fair catch, or catches the ball on the firstbound; but in the case of a fair catch, if makes his mark he shall not then run.

X. – If any player shall run with the ball towards his adversaries’ goal, any player on the opposite side shall be at liberty to charge, hold, trip, or hack him, or to wrest the ball from him; but no player shall be held and hacked at the same time.

I therefore move, sir, that we proceed with them at once.

Mr. Morley (hon sec): I agree with Mr. Alcock in thinking that these two rules affect everything so materially that I am strongly of opinion that it would be well if went into the further consideration of them at once. “Hacking” and “running” so much affects every rule, the length of the ground, the tape, the width of the goal posts, and indeed everything connected with the game, that they must be looked upon and dealt with as most vital points.

As far as either hacking and running is concerned I do not mind if myself personally, but my object in the matter is that I feel that if we carry those two rules, it will be seriously detrimental to the great majority of the football clubs.

I do not say that they would not play with us, but it is more than probable that they would not; and Mr. Campbell himself knows well that the Blackheath clubs cannot get any three clubs in London to play with them whose members are for the most part men in business, and to whom it is of importance to take care of themselves.

For my own part, I confess I think that the ”hacking” is more dreadful in name and on paper than in reality; but I object to it because I think that its being disallowed will promote the game of football, and therefore I cordially agree with Mr. Alcock.

If we have “hacking,” no one who has arrived at years of discretion will play at football, and it will be entirely relinquished to schoolboys.

Mr. Campbell: I have played football ever since I was eight years of age, and certainly approve now of the laws proposed to be expunged. I am much afraid that there are many of the clubs who will not join the association because they fear that our rules will do away with the skill shown in the game at Harrow and Eton, and the pluck so necessary in the game as played at Rugby.

“Hacking” is the true football game, and if you look into the Winchester records you will find that in former years men were so wounded that two of them were actually carried off the field, and they allowed two others to occupy their places and finish the game.

Lately, however, the game had become more civilised than that state of things, which certainly was, to a certain extent brutal.

As to liking “hacking” as at present carried on, I say they had no business to draw up such a rule at Cambridge, and that it savours far more of the feelings of those who liked their pipes and grog or schnaps more than the manly game of football.

I think that the reason they object to “hacking” is because too many of the members of the club began late in life, and were too old for that spirit of the game which was so fully entered into at their public schools and by public school men in after life.

The President: Perhaps you will allow me to say that I took down “Fifteen” the other day to play a match, and I was the only one that had not been at a public school, and we were all deed against “hacking.”

Mr. Campbell: Be that as it may, I think that if you do away with it you will do away with all the courage and pluck of the game, and I will be bound to bring a lot of Frenchmen, who would beat you with a week’s practice (loud laughter). I think that Mr. Alcock ought not have put such a resolution, and I think it does not denote the opinion of the London clubs.

I am sure if you take the votes of all the school that resolution will be condemned, and why? They all like “running” and “hacking,” and will not play any other game.

The rule will exclude something, though it is open to running, so that while you can play our game in your way we cannot play it in ours if your resolution is adopted.

We have been willing to meet you halfway, but I confess I do not like the spirit in which you propose to deal with this subject, and I hope the meeting will not adopt it.

If the rules are to be established they must be gone into from the beginning to end, and at the last meeting we ought not to have the Cambridge rules put before us. We ought to have gone on with the appointment of the committee, who should be unshackled by any recommendations, and made the laws on the basis of the original propositions as printed and now before the meeting.

I think that this proposition to expunge rule 9 and 10 would not now be gone on with, but that you see we who are the advocates of running and hacking are in a minority.

I will, however, sat this, that I represent the true feeling of our club when I say that in the event of this resolution being carried we shall not only feel it is our duty to withdraw our names from the list of members of the association, but we shall call a meeting of those who were at the former meeting, and take their opinion on the subject, and shall, besides that, put ourselves into communication with other clubs and school to see what they think of it.

Mr. President: I must be allowed to interpose a word. At the outset I must remind Mr. Campbell that several of the London clubs were invited to attend to talk the matter over, and when we first started it was agreed that the rules should be arranged upon a certain basis, and put into proper form by Mr. Morley, who kindly undertook to do it, but that nothing was to be considered finally settled till they had been confirmed at a subsequent meeting, as appears by the heading of the printed laws, which is in these words,
“to settle the laws, which are proposed to be as follows.”

Several gentlemen came, and you, Mr. Campbell, amongst the number, and if those who attended and put down the names of their clubs are proposing to join the association, with the intention of adhering to it if all their principles were carried out, or immediately seceding if their notions were not adopted, it certainly is not, in my opinion a fair and honest way of dealing. You virtually say, “I will come and join your association, and see if I can get my notions adopted, and if so go on with you, but if not we will secede, and form an association for ourselves.”

Mr. Campbell: In reply I will just say that when the Blackheath clubs joined the association they were prepared to carry the laws such as the majority of the meeting agreed to.

When the last meeting was held for the express purpose, as the president had said, of settling the proposed laws, they ought to have gone on with the rules as proposed by the association, and not taken the course they did as to the Cambridge rules, but the resolution and amendments had been proposed and passed in the way they had been without being properly put to the meeting, because it was found that he “hacking” party were too strong.

The President: That is, I think, an accusation of ungentlemanly conduct to which I am not willing to submit, added to which is not the fact.

Mr. Morley: I certainly thought that any member had a perfect right to propose any resolution he thought fit.

Me Alcock: Let me explain that I moved the resolution upon the subject of the Cambridge rules, without any previous communication with any one until just prior to the meeting, when they were brought to my notice quite unexpectedly on my part.

Mr. Lawson: I saw the rules in of the sporting papers, and thinking they were just the rules that were wanted, I certainly submitted them to one or two; but I emphatically deny that I had any intention of delaying any fair discussion of the laws. I may observe that the division on the question “That the committee do insist upon ‘hacking’ in their communication with Cambridge” was very close, the numbers being 10 to 9, and certainly I had no idea that we should be in a minority.

The President: Well, gentlemen, there is a motion before the meeting, “That Nos. 9 and 10, of the proposed laws be expunged.”

Mr. Campbell: I beg to move as an amendment, “That this meeting do adjourn until the vacation, so that the representatives of the schools who are members of the association may be enabled to attend.”

Mr. Gordon seconded, and on the amendment being put to the vote it was lost by 13 to 4, and the original motion carried.

The president observed that though the rules 9 and 10 were expunged, it was quite competent for Mr. Campbell to bring the matter up at the next annual meeting, by which time it would be seen how the laws worked.

Mr. Morley said that before the meeting proceeded any further he would suggest that having the Cambridge rules before them the association should, in forming their own laws, see what consideration the others deserved. No communication had taken place with Cambridge since the last meeting, but he (Mr. Morley) thought that their hands would be strengthened if the laws of the association were made nearly identical with the Cambridge rules.

He thought it a matter worthy of consideration, especially with reference to the influence it might have on some of the public schools.

The president thought it would be better to go on with their own rules.

Mr. Alcock would be glad if they could so assimilate the rules as to bring all players within the scope of the association.

The meeting then proceeded to settle the proposed laws, which will have to be confirmed at the next meeting, and we give them now in extensor as they will be submitted verb et lit for adoption, so that any non-contents may not be able to say that they did not know, and there are several very important differences from the code published last week.

1863 rules 1 1863 rules 2

Definition of terms.
A PLACE KICK. – Is a kick at the ball while it is on the ground in any position which the kicker may choose to place it.

A FREE KICK. – Is the privilege of kicking the ball, without obstruction, in such manner as the kicker may think fit.

A FAIR CATCH. – Is when the ball is caught, after it has touched the person of an adversary, or has been kick or knocked on by an adversary, and before it has touched the ground or one of the side catching it; but if the ball is kicked behind the goal-line, a fair catch cannot be made.

HACKING. – Is kicking an adversary.

TRIPPING. – Is throwing an adversary by the use of the legs.

KNOCKING ON. – Is when a player strikes or propels the ball with his hands, arms, or body without kicking or throwing it.

HOLDING. – Includes the obstruction of a player by the hand or any part of the arm below the elbow.

TOUCH. – Is that part of the field, on either side of the ground which is beyond the line of flags.

The laws and definitions, as amended, having been agreed to.

Mr. Campbell wished to know whether it was the intention of the association to ignore the public schools as they had done Cambridge.

The president called Mr. Campbell’s attention to the fact that, so far from ignoring the Cambridge rules, they had adopted their No. 6, and assimilated them where they agreed with the views of the majority of the association.

As to the public school he could confidently state, from information received from a public schoolman, that there was not the least chance of the public schools adopting the rules of any association, or, in fact, departing in any way from their own.

The meeting, after sitting three hours, then adjourned till Tuesday, December 9, at seven o’clock.
(Source: Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle: December 12, 1863)

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