Saturday, August 18 – 1888
The first-class cricket season is fast drawing to a close, and a fortnight hence we shall have footballers in full cry. To enthusiasts of the winter pastime, the close season, operating this summer for the first time, has been disagreeable, so that on the first prox. Their pent up feelings will be able to gush forth, which they will, without doubt, in right merry fashion.
The season, judging from present appearances, will be more than ever interesting, as in addition to the Association Cup Competition, there will be the Football League fixtures to be determined.
These will carry the best clubs of the country until the end of January, and then the Cup-ties will be played off by the 32 leading clubs on alternate Saturdays.
At the present time the competition of the leading teams is creating considerable speculation, and the 1st prox. will undoubtedly reveal many changes.
If the statement which have been published from time to time are to be relied upon, the Preston North End will be least altered of any of the professional teams, as only one new man will be found in the team.
The most remarkable feature of the teams will be the number of Scotch amateurs who have travelled south “in search of situations.”
By a ruling of the Football Association Council a man may play for a club as an amateur if he has been brought to a town specially for football, providing a situation has been found for him.
The absurdity of this decision is manifest on the face of it, and will lead to flagrant violation of the professional rules. It is the easiest thing imaginable for a club to create a bogus situation, put a good football into it, and thus pay him as much as he would receive had he been registered as a professional.
This question will no doubt be raised again this season if any of the “amateurs” attempt to play in cup-ties, and then the Council will be more foolish than even they are considered to be if they do not settle once for all that a man cannot be shifted from one place to another simply because he is a good footballer, and a club can afford to put him in a situation and keep him there, no matter how incompetent he is.
(Lancashire Evening Post, 18-08-1888)