February 1, 1918
Tribute to the honesty of players.
This morning Mr. John McKenna, chairman of the Liverpool Football Club and of the English Football League, issued the following circular to clubs, officials, and public: –
“Liverpool, January 31, 1918.
“Gentlemen, – I regret to inform you that determined efforts are being made by two Scottish turf accountants to pollute the honesty of our football game.
“At the time of writing I have received information that one firm – G. Hillman and Co. of Falkirk – communicated with players connected with several of our clubs offering each player £50 if their team lost in the game of last Saturday. Another firm – Stuart and Co., of Glasgow – offered players connected with the opposing clubs a similar amount on the same conditions. Although promises were made that a representative of the firm would be at a certain hotel at a stated time to pay the money he failed in each case to make his appearance.
“After carefully considering the matter, I am satisfied that there was NO INTENTION TO PAY THE MONEY, AND THAT THE PROPOSAL WAS A HUGE FRAUD.
“The representative of Hillman and Co. was to turn up at certain hotels in different towns at the same time, was to be dressed in a blue suit, and was to be smoking a cigar and wearing eye-glasses. The representative of Stuart and Co. was to appear at different hotels in the same town and at the same time in a tweed suit and smoking a cigar and wearing a ring of an uncommon type, specifically described. One firm was seeking to bribe the plyers of one team and the other players of the opposing team.
“It is greatly to be regretted that our players should be tempted in this despicable and contemptible way by men who have no sense of honour or honesty, but who seek in the most unscrupulous manner to undermine the fairness and genuineness of our sport.
“I AM GLAD THAT THE PLAYERS HAVE RESISTED THIS COWARDLY ATTEMPT TO DISCREDIT THE GAME AND UNDERMINE THEIR CHARACTERS AND HAVE SHOWN A DESIRE TO ASSIST US IN THWARTING THESE EVIL DESIGNS BY PLAYING THE GAME IN A STRAIGHT, HONEST, AND MANLY FASHION.
“The game is being continued through very trying periods, and can only be maintained by the goodwill, honesty, and loyalty of the players.
“The public pay to see an honest game, and we must keep faith with them and preserve the game pure, straight, and unsullied. This canker of corruption must be kept at bay.
“The Football Association and Football League will do all in their power to protect the players and thwart the evil designs of these fraudulent swindlers, and we trust the players will maintain the spirit of genuine play which they have shown in the past and give all the assistance possible.
“Any such letters as referred to should be handed at once to the secretary of the club and reported so that the hands of the authorities may be strengthened in any action which may be decided upon, Yours faithfully, J. McKenna, President.”
(Liverpool Echo: February 1, 1918)