The true nature of sportsmanship

November 16, 1915
We are at war through our determination to get fair play for Belgium. Fair play is a jewel. We want a lot of jewels, and the spirit of sportsmanship should increase as a consequence of this vile war. However, here and there we have semblance of the poisoned mind and its nastiness.

On Saturday, for instance I heard James Dawson, Liverpool’s outside left, rebuke a spectator who had “called him.” Spectators must have a care with their tongues. Footballers have had a lot to put up with in the last few months, and they have given their services ungrudgingly, although the financial fall in their wages has been sometimes heartbreaking.

Let us remember that the footballer is not being paid for his “professional” services this season, and remember too, that he is helping charities by giving his game each week. As an entertainer he does not stand on the same footing this season; he’s entitled to sympathy, and certainly he should be free from the barking of partisans. Dawson would be the first to admit that he has played better than on Saturday last – he’s a sportsman – but it is the height of impertinence for followers of the game to rave at players because they do not always touch their highest form. Mr. Barcroft has told us that some of his players are so tired by their almost inces sant munition work that they fall asleep when travelling to “away” matches.

This accounts for Blackpool failing to win “away” until last Saturday. Coming back to the question of sportsmanship, let us give every man his due. It is only fair to point out that after a long last the opposition has got the home-match goalscorer’s right. Nothing is charged for the publicity of this unusual fact.

The opposite case of “admission” can readily be recalled. Our friends the enemy declared that they had an “exclusive” item of news, but when the “Echo” par was sent to the judgment seat the spirit of fairness didn’t rise to any heights, and the correction was conspicuous by its absence.
(Liverpool Echo: November 16, 1915)

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