June 9, 1923
Not the least interesting event during the past week has been the charge, made by a director of the Liverpool club, against the Lancashire County F.A.., to the effect that the manner in which clubs are treated by that governing authority amounts to little less than Prussianism! The incident arose at the annual meeting of the Lancashire F.A., a week ago, when the champions of the League were called upon to explain their attitude in the Lancashire Senior Cup semi-final.
It appears that Liverpool showed no great hurry in fixing a date to play Blackpool, and the County Association, whose views were expressed by Mr. John Lewis; took exception to Liverpool’s attitude in the matter. Mr. Lewis, in his usual John Blunt style – a style which is often open to be interpreted as truly autocratic – told the Liverpool club to act as sportsmen in the future; it was then a director of the Anfield club brought in his reference to Prussianism.
I have no wish to enter into the merits of this particular case, but it is yet another instance of a big club finding the calls of the county association rather irksome. It is not so long ago that Aston Villa caused a real rumpus amongst the Birmingham F.A. officials by refusing to enter that association’s senior cup competition, nor is it long ago either that Sunderland had little strife with its county association.
These back-end-of-the-season county competitions are looked upon by the associations as a means of raising funds for the carrying on of the administrative work. Gate receipts are divided into three parts, one of which goes to the association, and one each to the clubs competing. To a big League club the receipts are not worth the candle, nor compensatory in the slightest degree for the injuries to players which so often occur. Yet the League clubs are the big fish for which the various associations angle. Without their help these competitions would fail altogether.
Hobson’s choice for Leaguers.
But the point is, the League clubs are called upon to compete, and when that occurs they have Hobson’s choice. They have to play if the county association ask them. That being so, I do think the associations might show a little more sympathy for the clubs, which are in the position of being slaves to their bidding.
Liverpool’s outburst of protest is by no means unique, but, as other clubs have found, the champions will have to dance to the Lancashire F.A. tune! This brings to mind a discussion which took place only recently between two League players and myself, in the course of which the possibility of a break between the League and the FA was voiced. There are many people – League players are amongst the number – who cannot understand why the League submits to the many and ofttimes inconvenient calls of the F.A.. They declare that the League is strong enough to run its competition apart from the FA, to inaugurate its own challenge cup competition on the lines of that now run by the FA, to punish its own players, and to appoint commissions, etc., when occasion demands to enquire into matters which require probing – indeed, to do the hundred and one things which are now done by the FA.
All this is true, but there will be no such break. The two bodies are so closely connected, representatives on the one are also representatives on the other body, and so it will proceed. There are times when clubs intensely irritated, there are times when the clubs irritate the FA, but it is for the good of our national game that no breach between the two great bodies has ever developed.
(Source: Derby Daily Telegraph: June 9, 1923, by an “Outside Right”)