July 31, 1891
The English agents have again been busy in the ranks of Scotch football players, with the result that another batch of prominent amateurs has been booked to cross the Border at once. The latest addition to English professionals is Alex Stark, the promising right-wing forward of the Falkirk club. He was signed at Cumbernauld yesterday morning for the Bolton Wanderers.
Michael McKeown, the popular international back of the Celtic Football Club, has followed the example of Donald Gow and signed to play for Blackburn Rovers during the coming season. Already negotiations are on foot for the sale of his business in Glasgow, and Michael will shortly take over a spirit license in Blackburn on his own account. Dan Doyle, who is as strong a kick as the redoubtable Mick, steps into the shoes of the departing one, and Celtic supporters are in consequence saved much gnashing of teeth. Dan’s love for the green and white stripes, however, must be very great if he has decided upon sacrificing his princely salary of £4 weekly with the Everton club for the sake of getting his place in the famous Parkhead combination. Patriotism with some people, however, means a great deal.
A well-known Ayrshire centre forward, whose name as not yet been divulged, has also accepted the usual retaining fee, and signed an agreement to play during the season with a North of England club.
The Pollokshaws is another club which has been sadly decimated by the inroads of professionalism, having just lost three of its best players. These are Simon Fraser, the left-wing forward, and the two brothers Welsh. James Welsh is also a left-forward, while his brother William Welsh plays on the right, so that the front division of the Pollokshaws will be badly weakened. The trio signed their engagements at Pollokshaws three weeks ago. Fraser goes to Stoke, and the Welshes to the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich.
Some idea of the havoc that English gold is working in the ranks of Scotch amateur football players may be gathered from the fact that within the last mouth no fewer than nine good men from West of Scotland clubs have signed agreements to play next season as English professionals. The list is composed as follows:
Donald Gow, of the Rangers; back.
Alex Ritchie, of East Stirlingshire; back.
Carby, of East Stirlingshire; forward.
David Alexander, of East Stirlingshire; forward.
Thomas Hamilton, of Hurlford; forward.
Alex Stark, of Falkirk; forward.
Simon Fraser, of Pollokshaws; forward.
James Welsh, of Pollokshaws; forward.
William Welsh, for Pollokshaws; forward.
There is, in addition, the unknown Ayrshire player, who brings the total up to ten.
With scarcely an exception these players have been secured for England by Mr. A. Duff, a Glasgow man, who is himself well-known on the football field. The ostensible agent in Glasgow is Mr. John Wilson. He conducts the negotiations between the Englishmen and the players, and pays them their money, but it is Mr. Duff who does the practical part of the work, for he knows the men and knows also what they can do.
Each player, on signing his agreement, get £10 down as a sort of retaining fee and receives the rest when he goes to England.
It is expected that the ten men who have signed the agreements will leave for England and their respective clubs on Tuesday in order to begin training. Donald Gow, however, will not start for a fortnight. In football circles the alarming exodus of Scotch players across the Border is once more raising the old question of legalising professionals.
(Source: Glasgow Evening Post: July 31, 1891)