Club news

Jack Sheldon, Robert Pursell, Tom Miller and Thomas Fairfoull suspended


December 23, 1915
The following statement was issued by the the football Association today:

“The commission appointed first by the Football League, and afterwards by the Football Association, have fully investigated the rumours and allegations largely circulated in several districts  during and immediately after the Manchester United v. Liverpool match, to the effect that the result was prearranged for the purpose of betting and winning money thereby. A mass of information was received. The allegation of “squaring” the match carried with it a charge of conspiracy by some of the players, and as a result of long and searching investigation we are satisfied that a number of them were party to an arrangement to do so, and to join together to obtain money by betting on the actual result of the match.
It is proved that a considerable sum of money changed hands by betting on the match, and that some of the players profited thereby.

“Every opportunity has been given to the players to tell the truth, but although they were warned that we were in possession of the facts, some have persistently refused to do so, thus revealing a conspiracy to keep back the truth. It is almost incredible that players dependent on the game for their livelihood should have resorted to such base tactics. By their action they have sought to undermine the whole fabric of the game, and discredit its honesty and fairness.

“We are bound to view such offenses in a serious light. The honesty and uprightness of the game must be preserved at all costs, and although we sympathies greatly with the clubs who are bound to suffer seriously, we feel we have no alternative but to impose the punishment which the players have been warned over and over again would be enforced. We are satisfied that the allegations have been proved against the following:

Liverpool: Jack Sheldon, Robert Pursell, Tom Miller, Thomas Fairfoull.
Manchester United: Alex Turnbull, Arthur Whalley, Enoch “Knocker” West, and William Cook (Chester).

“They are therefore permanently suspended from taking any part in football or football management, and shall not be allowed to enter any football ground in the future.

“There are grave suspicions that others are also involved, but as the penalty is severe we have restricted our findings to those as to whose offence there is no reasonable doubt.

“Fred Howard, Manchester City, is suspended until the expiration of 12 months after the registration of professional players has been resumed by the F.A., for the unsatisfactory and contradictory manner in which he gave evidence before the commission.

“There has never been the slightest allegation against the clubs or their officials.”
(Source: Manchester Courier: December 24, 1915)

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