Club Handbook 1909-10
The following article comes from the "King's Lynn Football Handbook 1909-10".
The article, written by a Lynn player under the name of Sandy, suggests it was
not as easy to walk around the ground as it is today and that headgear might be
warn by the referee but that there are some things that have not changed
over the years.
"Now, I’ve always noticed at our football matches that we’ve an uncommon lot
of supporters who are always ready to pick holes in the referee’s coat. You’re
sure to find them at every match, and, if the referee happens to be a local man,
they at once sharpen their nails and dig into him worse than otherwise. They
think, you know, that once they have paid down their 3d. at the gate, they have
an undeniable right to call out abuse, swear a bit just to put themselves in
form, cheek the referee, boo at him, and be a nuisance generally. Oh! they are
such profound judges of the game they think, and how it ought to be played. They
know, of course they do, better than the best referee who ever blew a whistle.
And so, why shouldn’t they try to teach the poor referees we get in Lynn what
the rules really mean? Those men know all there is to know about these rules.
The offside rule to them is as simple as eating jam cake, and so they will often
give a free demonstration to the people around them, and make more noise than a
socialist at the Walks gates . . .
I’ll tell you what the trouble is though. You have become such a
confirmed old grumbler that, if the man did not make a single mistake in the
whole game, you would at once grumble because he hadn’t and you think you hadn’t
had your money’s worth. Oh! I can tell you I was downright ashamed of you at
some of last year’s matches. To hear you talk! You little gangs on the 3d side;
yes, and on the 6d side, too. . .
You never did give the referee a chance. You blamed him one week because he
did not keep up with the ball: the next because he did, and got in the way of
the players: the next because he hadn’t a cap on, and the fourth because he had.
Oh! For goodness sake do try and keep more quiet this season. Save your wind to
blow your porridge with"
The reference to three pence, and six pence sides to the ground are probably to
the north side (3 pence entry) and the south side (6 pence entry). I assume this
is something to do with those paying the lower price having the handicap of the
sun in their eyes. Some sixteen years earlier season tickets were available with
the description "2 shillings will admit one to the north and east sides of the
ground for all matches, double that price for a similar privilege on the south
and west sides."
The handbook also details the club’s accounts as at 17th June 1909 with the
£ s d
Pavilion, Canvas, Posts &c 50 0 0
Grand Stand 110 0 0
Desk &c 5 0 0
Cash at Bank 82 15 6
TOTAL 247 15 6
The canvas and
posts probably relate to the pavilion but a few years earlier it was recorded
that a canvas was erected before each game to prevent people seeing the match
without paying. On a windy day it seems to have provided more excitement than
some of the football.
Returning to Sandy’s article and the subject of rumours. Today, of course, we
have the Social Media but apart from the Internet being quicker
and reaching a wider audience than all those years ago nothing seems to have
changed. From time to time someone will post a comment on social media saying that
it is amazing any player comes to the club considering the way they are treated
by some of the fans it seems nothing has changed over the years.
"We still have in Lynn a worse sort of supporter still, - the kind who
thinks that the football players of the team are the fit and proper persons for
them to hang all their gossiping tales upon. . . . no player can stand down from
any match without having to pay the penalty of having his reputation scattered
to the four winds. As soon as it is known that some player cannot get away next
Saturday to go to Colchester or Ipswich, - what happens? Why, one of the kind of
person I’m referring to, goes to his special crony and says: "Oh so-and-so won’t
go to Colchester on Saturday" and before the two separate, they have become
convinced that why so-and-so won’t play is because the team are going in charge
of a man he dislikes, or because his chum was not picked in the team also . .
About two years ago - when our boys were winning fame by securing five cups
in one season - one of our prominent players was suddenly called away by
telegram to London. It was the day of the finals of the English Cup and the Lynn
Hospital Cup, but the man thought it his duty to go to London to see the friend
who was ill. And will you believe me when I tell you the silly tales that went
about Lynn before the days was out? Some said he had left his team in the lurch
and gone to see the English Cup final. How they did curse and revile him. Others
were equally certain that the man had gone to London to play for Norwich City. A
third section of these miserable fools (having heard a suspicion of the truth)
spread abroad the rumour that the man’s brother was in a London hospital with a
broken leg. You won’t wonder after this when I say that this third tale was
later amended and folks heard that the said brother was dead and the Lynn player
had gone to attend the funeral . . I wonder how it is that some are still
playing for us after what you had said about them."
The King's Lynn 1909-10 Handbook is kept in the Norwich Millennium Library