Thursday, January 22 – 1914
Yes, life is worth living if one can only take the really funny incident that crop up in life. My visit to Sunderland for the international trial match had a fair number of amusing interludes, but nothing funnier than the incident that occurred on the return journey.
The dining-car was fairly well filled, and two of the Football Association were talking of the trial game and football’s general topics. They were not shouting exactly, but their talk of football set some Stockton wags agog with as fine a bit of leg-pulling as I have ever heard. At the outset, one of the number referred to that “august body, the Football Assassination Company, Limited.” The FA councillors heard the remark, and laughed heartily. They listened attentively for more news of the “Assassination.” It came swiftly. “Aye,” said another, “it is a company that is very hard up just now. You see they had to have a trial match at Sunderland. Well, the gate realised £350. Then the Assassination councillors agreed that they were getting on nicely, thank you! They “cut up” the receipts after much careful thought – for themselves. Sunderland were awarded fourpence for the use of their ground. Some of the players got an ‘armonium,’ and the rest was “cup up” for the Assassination members’ expenses!” The faces of the FA Councillors were a study. They enjoyed the joke.
Oh, yes! Sunderland itself didn’t offer many attractions, but the company one meets at these gatherings always recompenses. At York we bumped into Peter McWilliam, looking as young and fresh as ever, a remark that could be applied to Arthur Bridgett, Andrew Aitken, and Billy Dunlop. Billy looked thinner than usual. His reply to my anxious inquiries about his health was: “Aye, lad, I’m thinner. But, see, I am playing football again now!”
The ground was fairly well packed, some 20,000 people being present. The shipyards closed down after the customary ceremony had been observed. This the way they do it. They throw a brick up in the air, and if it doesn’t come down, well, they must stay a work and miss the match. Once the brick was thrown in the air and got caught in the some ship-rigging. But it was agreed that the brick was not a good one, and an attempt with a second brick proved much more satisfactory.
(Liverpool Echo, 22-01-1914)