September 16, 1905
Threatened rivalry to the Football Association
The following circular is issued to clubs by the “National Football Agency”: –
“Important to players.
53, Jamaica-row, Birmingham.
The Above agency has been established to enable players to obtain engagements, and being in close touch with all the leading clubs in the kingdom every subscriber can rely on his interests being attended to.
The subscription is 5s per annum, which entitles a subscriber to have his name upon our books, and in the event of our finding an engagement for subscriber with a First Division League club a sum of one guinea is charged. Second Division League club half-a-guinea, and in all other cases five shillings.
Every player should join, and subscribers will at all times be entitled to the fullest information as to clubs wanting players, to free legal advice upon any point affecting their interests as players, and to details as to the district, &c., to which they propose going. Forms and particulars supplied on application. – Tagg and Campbell.”
A Birmingham correspondent has interviewed Mr. Tagg. The circular issued by the firm has created some stir in the football world, and the Football Association are making diligent inquiries concerning the bold pair, whose scheme is not at all in accordance with their wishes.
“I do not know why the Football Association should interfere with me,” Mr. Tagg said, “and I can assure you that I don’t intend that they shall interfere with me if the law of the land can have a say in the matter. We are conducting a bona-fide football agency; we are doing nothing illegal. We are merely seeking to benefit clubs and players, and, of course, ourselves. Why the Association should object to a thing being done openly which has hitherto been secretly, and has been winked at by them, I cannot see. They must know that endless illegalities have been committed by clubs and players. I have evidence here which would incriminate most of the leading clubs. If the Football Association interfere with me I shall at once take legal proceedings, an see what view the law of the land takes. I would willingly work harmoniously with the Football Association: in fact, I would greatly prefer to do so, but I shall not tolerate any interference by them which will cramp my legitimate business.
“I am going to take a team of English footballers out to Germany and Austria. We are going to visit Berlin, Vienna, Prague, and Budapest. I have been officially invited to visit the Continent. Jimmy Crabtree is going, so is Jimmy Cowan; Dennis Hodgetts has been invited, and Charles Athersmith and Dan Nurse will also go. We want Billy Meredith to go, but, of course, if the Association are going to impose any penalty, perhaps he may not see fit to make the journey. I don’t see why I should not go as well as the Pilgrims; they’re a scratch team.”
Mr. Tagg then said, “I should advise the Football Association to draw in their horns. It would not be a difficult matter to start a rival association, with a capital of £40,000 or £50,000, and openly defy this very autocratic body. It would not be a very difficult matter to go to the leading clubs, and get them to throw in their lot with an association which would not interfere with their methods. I can assure you that from what I know clubs are ripe for revolt; they do not like the way they are treated. Personally, I think the suspension of Meredith was a most scandalous proceeding.”
“But how would you get your players and competitions?”
“It would not be a difficult matter to get players. They are ready for open revolt, too, because they do not like this maximum wage business.”
(Liverpool Daily Post: September 16, 1905)
Any idea what happened? Interesting precursor to the Kingaby case.