The fastest footballers in the world

August 5, 1905
Dundee Football Club had a unique sporting event at Dens Park this afternoon in the shape of a hundred yards scratch race, confined to well-known sprinters in the football world.

Several peds known on the football field for their sprinting abilities accepted the invitation, and the result was a meeting between cracks, each confident of his power to beat the other.

There were in all twelve entries, but David Dougal (Dundee), John Scullion (Broxburn Shamrock), William Dow (Bury), Michael Giblin (St Bernards) did not toe the mark.

The weather was dull and threatening, and this had an adverse effect on the attendance, which did not exceed 1,500. Joe Newton acted as starter, and W. Wallace and J. Adams stood at either end of the tape.

Mick Noon (Aston Villa) and T. Crook (Blackpool) turned out in the first heat. Thirty yards from the starting mark the Villa demon got ahead, and running in easy fashion got home by a yard and a half. Time 10 2-5 seconds.

The second round was more briskly contested between John Cox (Liverpool) and Andrew Potter (Dundee). The Dundee lad made a gallant effort against his more noted opponent, but half-way down the course Cox got his nose ahead, and for the rest of the race he smiled. Time, 10 3-5 seconds.

The best contest took place in the third heat, where the sport was supplied by Sam McLure (Blackburn Rovers) and Fred McDiarmid (Dundee). It was a race to the tape. The men ran neck and neck three quarters of the distance, but then McLure began to forge ahead. McDiarmid tried hard to respond to the challenge, but only manage to chase McLure right to the tape. Time, 10 2-5 seconds.

Jack Parkinson (Liverpool) and Richard Bond (Preston North End) wound up the heats, and supplied a spirited finish. It was a stiff race all the way. Parkinson maintained the pace, and got there ultimately without much of a struggle. Time, 10 2-5 seconds.

When the men lined out for the final there was great excitement. It got out that Cox and Noon had private reasons for trying to beat one another. The pair had never faced each other before, and as both were known far and wide a desperate tussle was looked for. And a desperate struggle it was.

The race was positively the finest ever seen in Dundee. After some manoeuvring, the men got off to a cracking start. Cox and Noon at once led the field at a tremendous pace, the pair going shoulder to shoulder down the race. Parkinson hung on to the rear like a terrier, and while Cox and Noon watched each other’s every move Parkinson crept up. With thirty yards to go the three were abreast, tearing down for all they were worth.

Less than twenty yards from home Parkinson shot out with a tremendous bound. He simply flew along. Cox and Noon seemed to be quite taken by surprise at the opposition. Both made heroic efforts to catch Parkinson, and all three almost bundled into the tape together. Parkinson had the judges’ verdict, with Cox second, and Noon third. The time was naturally exceptionally good, being returned at a dead ten seconds. The prize money was £12, £5, and £3.
(Source: Evening Telegraph: August 5, 1905; via © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited

Jack Parkinson, the world’s fastest sprinter.
Jack Parkinson

Jack Cox and Mick Noon.
Cox and Crook 1905

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.