Vicar critic of football crowds

Tuesday, January 3 – 1939
Club officials refute his charges.
It was revealed today that the author of the note in the Liverpool Diocesan Review, on the behaviour of spectators and players at football matches, is the Rev. J.M. Swift, Vicar of Garston.

In an interview obtained by The Evening Express the bishop of Liverpool states that he is in agreement with Mr. Swift’s commentary, but the directors and officials of football clubs take the opposite view. Interview include: –

Bishop of Liverpool (Dr. A.A. David): I agree with the general tone of the article. Nothing is more unsporting, in my opinion, than to jeer at visiting players and for spectators to attack the referee after their own side has lost. I have attended many matches and I have noticed how these things occur.

Club officials’ opinions.
Mr. T. Bailey, secretary of Crewe Alexandra A.F.C.: We have one or two who are excitable, but as far as I know the players and officials take it all in good part. I do not think we have anything to worry about at Gresty-road.

Mr. W.C. Cuff, a vice president of the Football League and a director of Everton Football Club: The behaviour of crowd at a football match is no worse than that of a crowd at a cricket match; indeed, it compares favourably with it. The article much exaggerates the position. If the Football Association and Football League were satisfied that misbehaviour had reached the proportions the article suggests, they would do something about it.

Mr. George Patterson (secretary Liverpool F.C.): We have the finest lot of supporters in the country at Liverpool. The allegations of bad sportsmanship, booing of the referee and foul language are without foundation.

There are always, at every match, one or two spectators who may carry their bias to extremes, but that is far from being general. There were, for example, one or two occasions when oranges were thrown at places, but these things rarely happen and, in any case, they were not done in a vicious spirit.

Spectators here do not mind their teams being beaten if the other side play a much better game. At times they make one wonder which team they are following.

Mr. R.F. Anderton (hon. Secretary and treasurer of the Lancashire Rugby League and the hon. Secretary of the Warrington Rugby League Club) stated that as far as the Rugby League was concerned, the spectators were no worse than those attending any other sporting events at which large crowds gather.

Others who speak in support of spectators are a Southport F.C. officials, and Mr. W.J. Sawyer, secretary-manager, New Brighton F.C.

Mr. John Wilson, Secretary of the Rugby League, says in the main, crowds are fair.

Mr. W. Peters, secretary at Chester A.F.C. states: “The standard of sportsmanship of our spectators is as high as anywhere in the country.
(Evening Express, 03-01-1939)

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