August 30, 1911
The decisions of the football legislators are difficult to understand. Here we have two cases on parallel lines. R.D. Nichol, of Aberdeen, and Robert Pursell, of Queen’s Park, are the players. Both were amateurs and registered with the Scottish League (1st Division, and it was a well-known fact that both intended breaking their amateur status and turning professionals.
Take Nichol’s case. He was bought out of the Army by Aberdeen, and without doubt with the intention, when he was eligible to do so, to become a professional for them (all players brought out of the Army are compelled to play as amateurs for twelve months). Nichol prefers Glasgow to the granite city. He leaves the latter city very early on the morning of May 1st last, much earlier than the majority of us care to rise – viz., 5.20 a.m., and makes his appearance on the banks of the Clyde. Next we hear of him playing for the Celts v. Rangers in the final of the Glasgow Charity Cup on Hampden Park. He also accompanies them on their Continental tour, and this without either club or man ever approaching the Aberdeen club. Afterwards Nichol applies to the Scottish League for his transfer, and they advise him to go and see his former club, and try and fix it with them. He does so, with no result, and afterwards is signed as a professional player by the Celtic club, and Aberdeen are requested to give that club his transfer by the Scottish League. This they refuse to do. No caution, no fine, no suspension is offered here.
R.R. Pursell was a promising player of the Queen’s Park, Glasgow. It was public property long before the season finished that he was going to turn professional, and he wrote to several clubs as far back as last February asking for an interview re an engagement, and one club at least sent his application along to the Queen’s Park officials. In the month of May, and long after the first day, the Liverpool club apply for permission to approach this player. It is refused, and eventually, tired of waiting the Liverpool club sign Pursell on a professional form, and duly register him, with the result that Queen’s Park report Liverpool to the League; and at the Inter League Board recently held at Carlisle the Liverpool club was fined £250, and an ex-director, who had negotiated with Pursell, and against whom there never had been a complaint previously was suspended for two years, without ever being asked for an explanation. It is very remarkable that two similar cases should both come to the ears of the football public at the same time with such different results, and one cannot close without asking – If Pursell had gone to a Scottish club would there have been any trouble?
(Source: Liverpool Echo: August 30, 1911)