Local newspapers, football match reports and the 1908 FA Charity Shield – The British Newspaper Archive Blog

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Local newspapers, football match reports and the 1908 FA Charity Shield

BrianLast year, we donated 100 subscriptions to Wikipedia’s volunteer editors to help expand public information about historical topics.

Brian Chapman has worked with Wikipedia for over five years and made around 42,000 edits to the online encyclopedia. He got in touch to tell us about one of the pages he’s improved with the help of our newspapers.

 

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When I heard about the collaboration between The British Newspaper Archive and Wikipedia, I jumped at the chance to take part. I’ve long been fascinated by the history of football at the turn of the 20th century, with the decline in amateur players and the development of professionalism.

For such a complicated history of soccer, Wikipedia allows editors to bring together a variety of sources into a cohesive article, providing a more comprehensive account than a single person could achieve. I thought I would share a bit more about one of the articles I’ve been working on, covering the 1908 FA Charity Shield.

 

The development of the Football Association Charity Shield

Today the Football Association (FA) Community Shield (renamed in 2002 from the Charity Shield) is played between the winners of the Premier League and the FA Cup, but that was not always the case.

I knew that it had been formed out of the decline of the Sheriff of London Charity Shield, a previous competition in which an amateur team played a professional one, but historic newspapers reveal that the FA actually intendeded it to be a direct replacement.

The following articles from the Sheffield Evening Telegraph, printed on 22 February 1908, are particularly telling about the controversy that surrounded this change. While the FA Charity Shield was announced in one article, the following story was about the decline of the Sheriff of London Charity Shield.

The introduction of the FA Charity Shield, reported in the Sheffield Evening Telegraph in 1908.

Sheffield Evening Telegraph – Saturday 22 February 1908
Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

View the whole newspaper page

 

Match report: Manchester United vs Queens Park Rangers

While it might be possible to find basic details about historical football matches (such as dates, players and results) in traditional reference works, it is very difficult to get hold of match reports.

The style of reporting at the time meant that only newspapers local to each team published football match reports. With online access to more than 300 newspaper titles at The British Newspaper Archive, this sort of detail can now be easily tracked down.

Unusually for the Charity Shield, the match between Football League winners Manchester United and Southern League champions Queens Park Rangers (QPR) went to a replay after a 1-1 draw. What I didn’t previously know was that QPR’s goalkeeper Charlie Shaw saved a penalty from George Stacey.

The first leg was described in the following article, published in the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser on 28 April 1908.

The result of the FA Charity Shield in 1908, reported by the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser – Tuesday 28 April 1908
Image © Local World Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

View the whole newspaper page

 

The 1908 Charity Shield replay

The replay took place on 29 August 1908 and resulted in a 4-0 victory for Manchester United. It was the first time that the game was played as the traditional season opener of the Football League.

Of course, the competition didn’t remain the same. A fixture between the Football League and the Southern League only continued to just prior to the First World War. During the war period, the two leagues were merged. A few different types of fixtures were then tried, including the one we all know today – the champions of the top league playing the FA Cup winners.

A really unexpected find in the newspaper archives was the following article from the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, published on 3 October 1908. It documents which charities benefited from the replay and first leg of the 1908 Charity Shield. We can see that more than £1,000 was raised.

The result of the 1908 FA Charity Shield was reported in the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer – Saturday 03 October 1908
Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

View the whole newspaper page

 

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You can read more of Brian’s research about the 1908 FA Charity Shield at Wikipedia. We’d love to hear about what you’ve been using the newspapers to research too – please tell us in the comments section below.

 

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