December 24, 1915
The smell from the stigma cast upon football will permeate the air for many a day. It is nothing short of a scandal that so good and clean a sport should be held up to the critics by he wrongdoings of the footballers who were named in the black list published in our columns last night.
The Liverpool-Manchester United match won by the United by 2.0 goes down to posterity as “a fake game.”
The punishment of the players were severe.
It was all deserved.
Long weeks have passed since I had in my pocket the names of the culprits who had been “cornered.” Long weeks ago I published a forecast saying that “Not proven” was to be the verdict. Something happened – and the unexpected turn in the course of events was immediately made known through the “Echo.” All along we have smiled at the attempts to throw cold water on our statements. Our contemporary’s critic said our forecast was “hypocritical claptrap.” Fortunately anything that critic says does not matter, as it is generally incorrect.
The bombshell that we knew would fall, and said would fall has fallen.
While our contemporary was telling of “another sitting of the commission,” and saying, “From what I hear in a quarter well founded we shall be longer yet before we hear the verdict,” we were having the suspensions and names of suspended players set by the lino-type.
Enough of the comparison, however. Everyone who takes an interest in football knows that we have for weeks indicated that certain Liverpool and Manchester United footballers were to be bombed, and, after all, the thing that concerns us in the honour of the game, not the pin-pricking business of persistently showing readers that we lead and others follow – a long way behind!
Arthur Whalley’s inclusion in the list was a surprise packet. The odd thing about it is that our contemporary actually failed to mention Whalley’s case in any edition!
All the players are widely known. Jack Sheldon’s cost to Liverpool was expensive. He had been with the club two years, and his transfer fee was in the region of a thousand pounds.
Therefore his club have lost that sum over the business. Robert Pursell was a cheap-priced player, even though his signing from Scotland (Queen’s Park was the club) led to a fine and a suspension. Tom Miller was another cheap-priced purchase, and from the financial point of view the Liverpool club will be hard hit. Still, they will not grumble because they will not countenance malpractices, and have shown every readiness to the commission to help them to solve the mystery of that “Bad Friday” match.
The F.A. actually commiserate with the clubs on their loss of players, but the outside world will not understand that phrase; only the football follower will realise that the clubs have lost men who cost them thousands of pounds, and their places will have to be filled.
Better lose thousands of pounds than have the game brought to the level some sports have been dragged to.
That is the sport-loving world’s views.
There are some lucky fellows connected with the inquiry. That’s certain. The commission plainly tells us that other players were under grave suspicion, but that findings of the commission had been restricted. Aye, it is a fact that some fellows have scraped through the inquiry “by the lip of their mouth.” There’s no need to go into that phase now; sufficient has been said of the match in the last nine months to make the matter somewhat nauseating by its oft-repeatedness.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: December 24, 1915)