1872 Scotland vs England football match

First international
association football match
Partickcricketgroundnew.jpg
Hamilton Crescent in Partick
hosted the match
EventInternational friendly
Date30 November 1872
VenueHamilton Crescent, Partick
RefereeWilliam Keay (Scotland)
Attendance4,000

The 1872 match between Scotland and England was the first ever association football official international match to be played. It was contested by the national teams of Scotland and England. The match took place on 30 November 1872 at West of Scotland Cricket Club's ground at Hamilton Crescent in Partick, Scotland. The match finished in a 0–0 draw and was watched by 4,000 spectators.[1]

Background

Following public challenges issued in Glasgow and Edinburgh newspapers by The Football Association (FA) secretary Charles Alcock the first encounter of five matches between teams representing England and Scotland played in London took place on 5 March 1870 at The Oval, resulting in a 1–1 draw.[1] Scotland did not record a win in all five matches. The second match was played on 19 November 1870, England 1–0 Scotland; 25 February 1871, England 1–1 Scotland; 18 November 1871, England 2–1 Scotland; 24 February 1872 England 1–0 Scotland.[2] All players selected for the Scottish side in these early "internationals" were mainly from the London area, although Scottish players were invited from Scotland. The only player affiliated to a Scottish club was Robert Smith of Queen's Park FC, Glasgow, who played in the November 1870 match and both of the 1871 games. Robert Smith and James Smith (both of the Queen's Park Club) were both listed publicly for the February 1872 game, but neither played in the actual match.[3]

Robert Smith

After the 1870 matches there was resentment in Scotland that their team did not contain more home grown players. Alcock himself was categorical about where he felt responsibility for this fact lay, writing in the Scotsman newspaper:

"I must join issue with your correspondent in some instances. First, I assert that of whatever the Scotch eleven may have been composed the right to play was open to every Scotchman [Alcock's italics] whether his lines were cast North or South of the Tweed and that if in the face of the invitations publicly given through the columns of leading journals of Scotland the representative eleven consisted chiefly of Anglo-Scotians ... the fault lies on the heads of the players of the north, not on the management who sought the services of all alike impartially. To call the team London Scotchmen contributes nothing. The match was, as announced, to all intents and purposes between England and Scotland".[4]

Alcock then proceeded to offer another challenge with a Scottish team drawn from Scotland and proposed the north of England as a venue. Alcock appeared to be particularly concerned about the number of players in Scottish football teams at the time, adding: "More than eleven we do not care to play as it is with greater numbers it is our opinion the game becomes less scientific and more a trial of charging and brute force... Charles W Alcock, Hon Sec of Football Association and Captain of English Eleven".[4] One reason for the absence of a response to Alcock's challenge may have been different football codes being followed in Scotland at the time. A written reply to Alcock's letter above states: "Mr Alcock's challenge to meet a Scotch eleven on the borders sounds very well and is doubtless well meant. But it may not be generally well known that Mr Alcock is a very leading supporter of what is called the "association game"... devotees of the "association" rules will find no foemen worthy of their steel in Scotland".[5] Despite this the FA were hoping to play in Scotland as early as February 1872.[6]

In 1872, Queen's Park, as Scotland's leading club, took up Alcock's challenge, despite the fact there was as yet no Scottish Football Association to sanction it as thus. In the FA's minutes of 3 October 1872 it was noted "In order to further the interests of the Association in Scotland, it was decided that during the current season, a team should be sent to Glasgow to play a match v Scotland".

Appropriately enough, the match was arranged for St Andrew's Day, and the West of Scotland Cricket Club's ground at Hamilton Crescent in Partick was selected as the venue.

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