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Home > News > 1872 AND ALL THAT
Your News 1872 AND ALL THAT

The Festive season and a month of no action is no mean challenge for any website scribe so needs must

Why 1872 --well folks unfortunately I am about to tell you

If you seek to drink the water remember those who dug the well

November 1872 was a busy time in the leafy west end of the Second City of the Empire with football of both codes being on the move to some effect

On the 23rd of November 1872 Glasgow Accies hosted a challenge match between Edinburgh and Glasgow at a pitch on Gt Western Rd near St Georges Cross and within a stones throw of Firhill known as Burnbank and so it all began

This was a famous ground that was home at various times to Glasgow Accies ,Rangers,Caledonian Cricket Club and the 1st Lanarkshire Volunteers The ground was used for drill purposes as well as rugby and soccer and hosted representative cricket matches

The ground or more accurately where it once stood is now featured in the Gallant Pioneers Heritage Trail tracing the birth of Rangers--

This became the oldest inter district match in the world of Rugby. The match was played 20 aside and it was to be used in helping to select the Scottish team for their upcoming match with England early in 1873

Prime movers in the arrangements for the match were J W Arthur of Glasgow Accies and W Kidston of West the former having been one of the signatories to the famous challenge letter sent to the clubs of England to meet the Scots under the rugby rules which led to the birth of international rugby in 1871.His cap from that match still remains on display at New Anniesland and is believed to be one of only two still in existence the other being in the RFU Museum at Twickenham

It's strange to think that both the Glasgow clubs that made up the team Accies and West were both members of the(Engish) RFU at that time as there was no Scottish Union That was soon rectified in 1873 at a meeting held in the Glasgow Academy then situated in Elmbank St and the Scottish Football (Rugby)Union was born

Glasgow won the the first match by a drop goal to nil which was just as well as you got no points for scoring a" try "back only a "try "at goal.The matches were played on a home and away basis up to 1876 when the match was significant as the first when tries were counted if the teams were equal on goals

This must have been a busy time for Accies because Queens Park had approached them for players to be included in the first official Association international soccer match against England scheduled for St Andrews Day a week later to be held just down the road at Hamilton Crescent Partick the home of West of Scotland Cricket Club.

However it would appear that Accies preferred to focus on the Inter City match for although they turned up for the international soccer trial they declined selection so Queens Park alone took on England and held them to a draw

The Inter City match is now played for the 1872 Cup and is contested by the Warriors and the Edinburgh but the heritage and history belongs to the amateur era

These 1872 matches are now sponsored by Greaves Sports which follows a long company tradition of supporting sport. Fred Lumley who founded Lumleys that grand old Glasgow sports shop which was situated at the east end of Sauchiehall St and is now part of Greaves also patronised sport and he presented a quite magnificent trophy in 1903 to be contested by the home nations plus France and Belgium over 10 miles of Hamilton Racecourse-- this event gave birth to the World Cross Country Championships. Lumleys became very much part of the fabric of Glasgow sport as apart from being the recognised suppliers of club kit across various sports it also acted as an administrative centre for some like athletics where the staff processed entries for the many open handicap meetings then held throughout the west of Scotland which were often organised by rugby clubs

Traditionally the Inter City match was played in Glasgow at venues such as Hamilton Crescent. Old and New Anniesland and on one occasion in 1885 at Hampden Park .These contests were graced by the great players of successive generations like a young winger from Edinburgh University who was to go on to be an Olympic Gold medalist and world record holder over 400 metres .The Chariot of Fire that was Eric Liddell The matches historically took place in early December so just like now frost could be a problem but that was often overcome using straw as protection as you can see in the 1923 picture

When you glimpse into the sporting world of the 1870s you cannot fail to be impressed by the versatility of the participants.Rugby players who were equally adept at soccer and many were also quite outstanding track and field competitors whose times would still stand up today as well as being outstanding cricketers with one of these rugby players actually playing in an F A Cup Final.This is also underscored by the fact that the oldest cup in the famous Rangers Trophy room at Ibrox is not for football but athletics and on one occasion Clydesdale Harriers beat Celtic at football

All that was then and this is now--and the match has moved into the professional era but to know where you are going it's sometimes useful to know where you have come from

Good luck to Kenny Baillie and the Warriors

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