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Newspapers 1880-1885



Newspaper headlines and excerpts from the reports of England's matches, with selected news and sporting headlines of the day.

Season 1880-81


The Times - Monday 24th January, 1881

Several interesting matches arranged to be played on Saturday last had to be postponed on account of the frost, the most notable of these being England and Wales (Rugby Union) at Blackheath, and North v. South (Association) at Sheffield.


The Times - Monday 7th February, 1881


The return match between these teams was played at the Aston-grounds, Birmingham, on Saturday. The visitors, unfortunately, lost the services of several good players through the absence of C. W. Wilson, J. F. Princeps, E. D. Shaw, and E. C. Bambridge from their ranks, while Birmingham found all their men at their posts...


The Times - Monday 21st February, 1881


A numerous company witnessed this match, the second this season between the above teams, played at Bramall-lane, on Saturday afternoon, under Association rules. The game ended in a victory for the South by two goals to one.

12 26-Feb-1881 England 0 Wales 1 [0-0] East Lancashire Cricket Club, Alexandra Meadows, Gawthorpe, Blackburn Fr HL

The Times � Monday 28th February, 1881

An Association match between England and Wales was played on Saturday last at Blackburn. The attendance was large. Wales were lucky enough to secure a goal, by which point they won the match. England made several determined efforts to score, and their rivals' goal had many very narrow escapes.

Meanwhile, at Trent Bridge, Nottingham Forest beat the F.A. Cup holders, Clapham Rovers 3-0.

It was on 27 February 1881 that 359 men, including their commanding officer, General Sir George Colley, were killed at Majuba Hill as they attempted to reclaim the Transvaal from the Boers.

13 12-Mar-1881 England 1 Scotland 6 [0-1] Surrey Cricket Ground, The Oval, Kennington, London Fr HL

The Times � Monday 14th March, 1881

The Association game of football has long enjoyed great popularity in Scotland, and there is such a wide field for selection, that in the international matches they are able to produce very strong teams. Out of the nine games played against England prior to Saturday last they scored five victories to their opponents two, the remaining two having been left drawn. The ground at The Oval on Saturday was in excellent condition, and the attendance one of the largest that have ever been seen. Unfortunately, a rather heavy mist hung over the ground. Bailey, successful in the toss for England, drew up his followers in front of the western fortress; and Ker set the ball rolling at a quarter past 3 o'clock...

A combined rush was again made by the Scotch forwards, and after one or two ineffectual attempts to score, M'Neil got possession of the ball, and passed it well to M'Guire. That player ran it a little way, and centred it to Smith, who kicked the first goal for Scotland...

Capital passing was once more shown by the Scottish forwards, and Lindsay shot the ball straight into Hawtrey's hands. The latter struck it away, but Hill returned to the charge and secured a second goal for Scotland...

Hargreaves, Mitchell, and Wilson were well to the fore on behalf of England, and at length Bambridge sent the ball under the bar...

Twice Wilson managed to avert the attack, but Smith returned and sent the ball through a third time for Scotland.

M'Guire conducted the ball down the ground, middled it to Ker, and that player kicked it underneath the crossbar, the goalkeeper slipping in his attempt to stop it...

The corner kick was made by Campbell, who sent the ball right in front of the posts, between which it was headed by Smith...

Towards the close of the match, the Scotch carried all before them, and after several unsuccessful efforts, Ker secured another goal for the northerners. "Time" was immediately called, and Scotland thus won by six goals to one. In the ten matches now played, the Scotch have kicked 34 goals and the English 20.

It was on 13 March 1881 that the Russian Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in St. Petersburg. He made the fatal decision to get out of his carriage after he was unharmed when it was hit by a bomb. A second bomb was thrown at his person and exploded at his feet. He died later from the severe injuries.

Season 1881-82


The Times - Monday 31st October, 1881


Teams selected from Metropolitan and Birmingham clubs met on Saturday last at The Oval to play a match under Association rules. Successful in the toss, Birmingham elected to defend the eastern goal, having the wind in their favour, and within a few minutes of 3 o'clock Prinsep set the ball rolling...


The Times - Monday 30th January, 1882


For some little time past this match, under Association rules, has been anticipated with considerable interest by lovers of the "dribbling game" both in the north and south of England, and over 1,000 spectators were present on Saturday at Kennington-oval to witness it. Great disappointment, however, was felt at the numerous alterations from the published list of those who were to represent the North, and although the play shown was good, this defect deprived the match of much of its interest. The ground was in capital order and the weather genial...

14 18-Feb-1882 Ireland 0 England 13 [0-5] Knock Ground, Bloomfield, Belfast Fr AW

The Times - Monday 20th February, 1882

On Saturday last for the first time an Irish Association team met a picked eleven of English players, at Bloomfield, Belfast. England won the toss and chose to play with a strong wind at their backs. Ireland set the ball rolling: it was soon returned and in a few minutes England forced the ball underneath the crossbar. In the result, England were pronounced victorious by 13 goals to none.

Meanwhile, Great Marlow beat the Old Foresters 1-0 to reach the F.A. Cup semi-finals for the only time, where they were beaten 5-0 by the eventual winners, Old Etonians.

It was on 17 February 1882 that Lord Donoughmore's motion was passed for a Select Committee to be set up to investigate the inefficiencies of the previous year's Irish Land Act.

15 11-Mar-1882 Scotland 5 England 1 [2-1] Hampden Park, Hampden Terrace, Glasgow Fr AL

The Times - Monday 13th March, 1882

The international football match between England and Scotland, under Association rules, was played at Glasgow on Saturday before 15,000 spectators. Both countries were well represented, but the Scotchmen were the favourites. A stiff breeze prevailed during the progress of the game, but even with this advantage in their favour the Scotchmen did not make much of it, half-time being called with the score at - Scotland, two goals; England, one. The second half, however, proved disastrous to the Englishmen, who seemed to have shot their bolt in defending their goal in the first half, because they did not play so well and could not retain the ball when they did get possession. The consequence was that a third goal was soon added, and in a short time a fourth fell to the Scotchmen, who, hemming in their opponents, surrounded their goal continually. Five minutes before the call of time a fifth goal fell to Scotland, and the match was brought to a close before the Englishmen could increase their score of one goal.

North British Daily Mail - Monday 13th March, 1882

There can be little doubt, if the contest had been played under Scottish rules, it certainly would have been a much prettier game to look at...

It was on 10 March 1882 that Roderick Maclean was charged with high treason in attempting to assassinate Queen Victoria by shooting at her carriage the previous week. He was found 'not guilty, but insane' and sent to Broadmoor Asylum for the rest of his life.

16 13-Mar-1882 Wales 5 England 3 [1-2] Racecourse Ground, Mold Road, Wrexham Fr AL

The Manchester Sporting Chronicle - Tuesday 14th March, 1882

The fourth international encounter between England and Wales was played on the Wrexham Racecourse yesterday afternoon in the presence of about 2,000 spectators. The weather was very pleasant, almost equalling that of a midsummer day, and the ground was in splendid condition. England had won two of the three previous encounters - Wales carried off the victory last year at Blackburn - but as the English team had been so decisively beaten at Glasgow on Saturday, hopes were held on that Wales would add their second victory...

The men, however, changed places from Saturday, and when, almost three minutes after the start, Bainbridge had his shoulder dislocated from a charge by Owen, the team was further mixed up - Brown of Aston Villa being sent half-back, and Parr was left alone in the centre...

It was on 14 March 1882 that Queen Victoria left for a short holiday on the French Riviera after expressing her gratitude to the protection she had been afforded during the recent attempt on her life.

Season 1882-83


The Times - Monday 2nd October, 1882


In wretched weather a match between the above clubs was played at Sheffield on Saturday under Association rules, and ended in a victory for the Yorkshiremen by three goals to two...


The Times - Tuesday 19th December, 1882


A match under this title was played yesterday at Blackburn according to Association rules. When time was announced Lancashire were declared the winners by four goals to three.


The Times - Monday 1st January, 1883


There was a large muster of spectators at The Oval on Saturday to witness the first match between representatives of London and Edinburgh. The game, which was played under Association rules, was rather one sided, the Southerners showing much better passing than their rivals. Play began at a quarter to 3. Edinburgh, successful in the toss, defended at the outset the western goal, having the wind in their favour...


The Times - Tuesday 16th January, 1883


The fourth annual match between these divisions of England under Association rules was played yesterday at Birmingham. Each side put the strongest teams they were able to muster into the field. Bright, seasonable weather caused the attendance to be large, but the heavy state of the turf prevented any very fast play being shown...


The Times - Monday 22nd January, 1883


A London team visited Glasgow on Saturday last, and at Hampden-park contested an Association team. The weather was fine, and the attendance mustered between 4,000 and 5,000 spectators; but the ground was in a very heavy state. The home team at the outset had the breeze in their favour, and the Londoners kicked off...

17 03-Feb-1883 England 5 Wales 0 [2-0] Surrey Cricket Ground, The Oval, Kennington, London Fr HW

The Times - Monday 5th February, 1883

Representatives of the Association game in England and Wales met on Saturday at Kennington-oval to play their annual match. The weather was delightfully fine, and an exceptionally large number of spectators were present. Play began soon after 3 o'clock, when Wales, who had won the toss, took up their station at the western goal, which gave them the advantage of the wind at their backs...

Goodhart now carefully conducted the ball down the centre of the ground and passed it to H. A. Cursham, who in turn kicked it over to E. C. Bambridge, who shot it between the posts...

At length E. C. Bambridge carefully steered the ball along the left side, and, eluding the efforts made to stop him, sent it under the bar, thus gaining the second point for the home team...

After one or two attacks by their forwards, E. C. Bambridge again distinguished himself by an expert run, and, passing the ball to A. W. Cursham, the Nottingham player gained a third goal. It was not long before Mitchell shot the ball between the posts for the English. The Welsh strove hard to stem the tide which had set in against them, but to no purpose, as the ball was again forced back on their lines, and Mitchell secured a further goal...

Meanwhile, Blackburn Olympic beat their local rivals, Church, 2-0 to reach the F.A. Cup quarter-finals for the first time.

It was on 3 February 1883 in Dublin that the Crown Prosecutor in the trial of the Irish National Invincibles announced that the knives used in the Phoenix Park murders of Lord Cavendish and the Permanent Under-secretary, Thomas Burke, had been found. Five of the group were convicted and hung after their leader, James Carey testified against them, only to be subsequently murdered himself following his release, when he fled to South Africa.

18 24-Feb-1883 England 7 Ireland 0 [4-0] Liverpool Cricket Ground, Aigburth Road, Aigburth, Liverpool Fr HW

The Times - Monday 26th February, 1883

On Saturday, at Aigburth, near Liverpool, the second annual match was played between England and Ireland according to the rules of the Football Association. Ireland was successful in the toss, and at ten minutes past 3 Goodhart kicked off for England. Before a quarter of an hour had expired, Whateley kicked a goal for England; this score was rapidly augmented by a second, secured by Cobbold, and, prior to half-time, the last-named player and Dunn obtained two more. Positions having been reversed, the Irishmen strove hard to retrieve their losses, but without effect; while, on the other hand, Whateley, Dunn, and Pawson shot the ball under the bar for the home team...

Meanwhile, Blackburn Olympic's F.A Cup run continued as they brushed aside Druids, the Welsh Cup holders, 4-1 to progress to the semi-finals for the first time. They went on to become the first northern club to lift the trophy.

It was on 23 February 1883 that Charles Parnell, the leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, defiantly tried to deflect criticism of his suspected support of the violent attacks on opponents of the Irish Land League.

19 10-Mar-1883 England 2 Scotland 3 [2-2] Bramall Lane, Highfield, Sheffield Fr HL

The Times - Monday 12th March, 1883

The annual match between England and Scotland was played at Sheffield on Saturday. Scotland were successful in the toss, and at the outset had the sun at their backs...

At length another free kick fell to the Scotchmen, and Macpherson was enabled to pass the ball to Smith, who shot it between the posts. Some keen play followed, and Whateley, getting in possession of the ball, passed it to Mitchell, who sent it under the cross-bar...

Smith, who had the ball well centred to him by Kay, scored a second time. Prior to half-time, however, Cobbold again brought the score level...

Ultimately Kay ran the ball down the left side of the ground, and secured a goal, which decided the game...

North British Daily Mail - Monday 12th March, 1883

A match which will long be remembered for very fast play on a hard and slippery ground...

It was on 9 March 1883 that five survivors arrived in Hull after their ship, the S.S. Navarre, had sunk on a voyage from Denmark to Leith, two days earlier. They were rescued by a passing vessel. In all, there were 16 survivors, but around 60 lives had been lost.

Season 1883-84


The Times - Monday 17th December, 1883


This annual match was played on Saturday last at The Oval. Glasgow sent a thoroughly representative team, but they proved quite unable to compete with their rivals. There were about 2,000 spectators on the ground. The Scotchmen won the toss, and at the outset had the wind in their favour. Bailey kicked off at 2.45...


The Times - Monday 14th January, 1884


While the representatives of Scotland were competing against Wales under the Rugby Union rules, a strong team of Association players journeyed north from London and engaged in a match with Edinburgh. It was played on the Powderhall grounds, and was productive of a most interesting game not only from the evenness at the end, but from the excellent style shown all round. At the start the Scotch had the advantage of the wind in their favour...


The Times - Monday 28th January, 1884


These two divisions of England played their annual match under Association rules at The Oval on Saturday. Although the weather was so unpleasant, nearly 2,000 spectators were present to witness what proved to be a very interesting game. Successful in the toss, the Northerners decided to have the advantage of the strong wind in the first half of the game, and Bailey kicked off at a quarter to 3...


This international contest was played under Association rules at Belfast on Saturday. During the earlier portion of the match the game was very evenly played, yet the visitors scored two goals, (kicked by Harrower and Gosald). The second half of the game was all in favour of the Scotchmen, who secured three more goals (kicked by Gosald, Goundie and Harrower). The Irishmen failed to score, and were thus beaten by five goals to none.



The Times - Monday 11th February, 1884


An Irish team of Association players visited Wrexham on Saturday and contested a match with Wales. The Irishmen failed to score, and consequently the call of "time" left the Welshmen victorious by six goals to nothing.




The Times - Monday 18th February, 1884


Played on Saturday at The Oval. The weather was fine, and a large number of spectators were present. During the earlier half of the game Birmingham, who played well together throughout, secured three goals. Two of these were kicked by Vaughton and one by Brown. Bainbridge also scored a point for London. Positions having been reversed the game was more evenly conducted. Birmingham eventually won by five goals to one.

20 23-Feb-1884 Ireland 1 England 8 [0-4] Ulster Cricket Ground, Ballynafeigh Park, Belfast BC AW

The Times - Monday 25th February, 1884

Notwithstanding the fact that five of the original team elected to represent England in this international association encounter at Belfast on Saturday were unable to play, the English eleven secured a somewhat easy victory over their opponents. The weather was rather dull, but this did not prevent a large number of people visiting the Ulster ground to watch the contest. During the first portion of the game England obtained four goals, through the agency of Cursham (two), E. C. Bambridge, and Johnson. After positions had been reversed, the visitors still had matters much their own way, and Cursham, E. C. Bambridge, Johnson and A. L. Bambridge each scored a goal. M'Wha kicked the ball between the posts for Ireland, who were beaten by eight goals to one.


Meanwhile, Notts County, who had reached the F.A. Cup semi-finals for the second year in succession, defeated Aston Villa, 2-0 at Trent Bridge.

It was on 22 February 1884 that it was announced that the town of Tokar in Sudan had been surrendered by British forces to the slave trader, Osman Digna.

21 15-Mar-1884 Scotland 1 England 0 [1-0] Cathkin Park, Cathcart Road, Glasgow BC AL

The Times - Monday 17th March, 1884

Although rain fell at Glasgow on Saturday morning, the weather brightened considerably in the afternoon, and nearly 10,000 spectators assembled at Cathkin-park to witness the 13th International contest, under Association rules...

After a sharp attack on the English goal, Dr. Smith sent the ball under the cross-bar, thus scoring the first and, as it proved, the only goal. Although England made most energetic attempts to bring the score level, they were unable to do so, owing to the determined manner in which the home backs played...

North British Daily Mail - Monday 17th March, 1884

...one of the most disappointing ever played between thoroughly trained representatives of both countries...

Daily Mail - Monday 17th March, 1884

The international match of 1884, in fact, may be said to have been won by the backs of the Scotch team and Macauley, the goalkeeper...


It was on 14 March 1884 that the forces commanded by General Sir Gerald Graham drove back Osman Digna and his rebel fighters.

22 17-Mar-1884 Wales 0 England 4 [0-1] Racecourse Ground, Mold Road, Wrexham BC AW

The Times - Tuesday 18th March, 1884

This international contest was played under Association rules yesterday on Wrexham Racecourse, before nearly 4,000 spectators. Wales won the toss, and decided to have the wind in their favour during the early portion of the game. Bromley-Davenport set the ball in motion for the visitors and after about five minutes' play, he scored a goal for them...

Positions having been exchanged, England played with renewed vigour and secured three additional goals...



It was on 17 March 1884 that the Prime Minister, William Gladstone was unable to attend the House of Commons as he was suffering from laryngitis.


The Times - Monday 31st March, 1884


Although somewhat weakened by the absence of the Queens Park players, the Scotch team managed to vanquish their opponents in this international contest at Glasgow on Saturday, At the outset it seemed as if the home team would lose the game, Roberts scoring for Wales very quickly; but when half-time was announced each side was credited with a goal. During the second portion of the encounter the home team added three goals to their score, and, as the visitors failed to gain a further point, Scotland won by four goals to one.



Season 1884-85


The Times - Monday 22nd December, 1884


A powerful eleven of Londoners, under the captaincy of N. C. Bailey, visited Glasgow on Saturday, and contested the home eleven on the ground of the Queens-park club, Hampden-park, before nearly 5,000 persons...


The Times - Monday 2nd February, 1885


Five seasons ago a match was instituted under Association rules between teams representing the northern and southern divisions of England. Saturday last was the day fixed for this season's contest, and the cricket ground at Derby was the rendezvous. Both sides put strong teams into the field. The South won the toss, and at first defended the Nottingham-road goal, having a strong wind at their backs. At 2.35 the North started the ball, in the presence of about 4,000 spectators...


The Times - Monday 9th February, 1885


Saturday last was the day appointed for the decision of the 12th annual match between these associations at the Aston Lower Grounds, Birmingham. The weather was fine, and there were about 5,000 spectators present...

23 28-Feb-1885 England 4 Ireland 0 [1-0] Manchester Football Ground, Chorlton Road, Whalley Range, Manchester BC HW

The Times - Monday 2nd March, 1885

The annual encounter between England and Ireland, under Association rules, took place last Saturday, at Whalley Range, Manchester. The afternoon was fine, and between five and six thousand spectators visited the ground of the Manchester Club. Having lost the toss, Ireland kicked off with both wind and sun in their faces...

It continued so until close upon half-time, when Spilsbury dribbled the ball down the right side, and passed to Bambridge, who placed a goal to the credit of England...

...after the kick out a determined attack was made on the Irish goal, which resulted in Spilsbury obtaining another point for England. The latter team then had a further corner kick, which Lofthouse again undertook. He placed the ball within a few yards of the posts, and Eames in endeavouring to clear his lines sent the ball under the Irish cross-bar...

Brown secured it from the kick out, and after some passing between himself and Lofthouse he scored a fourth goal for England...


Meanwhile, Queens Park beat Notts County, 2-1 at Derby in an F.A. Cup replay to reach the semi-finals for the second year in succession. They were to repeat their feat of the previous year, when they became the first and only Scottish club to reach the final, but once again, Blackburn Rovers were to deny them the ultimate prize.

It was on 27 February 1885 that the government achieved a narrow majority of 14 votes over the opposition's motion that their indecision and neglect of the war in Sudan had led directly to the loss of Khartoum and the death of General Gordon.

24 14-Mar-1885 England 1 Wales 1 [1-1] Leamington Street, Blackburn BC HD

The Times - Monday 16th March, 1885

The seventh annual match under Association rules between England and Wales was played on Saturday, at Blackburn, in the presence of about 5,000 spectators. The weather was bright and the turf in excellent order...

Bambridge, however, being on the alert, then secured the ball and placed the first point to the credit of the home eleven. Wales speedily equalized matters and the score was still even when positions were reversed. During the second period of the game, the play was exceptionally fast and exciting. Although unable to increase their score, a fact mainly attributable to the splendid goal-keeping of Mills-Roberts, the Englishmen had rather the better of the game, their forwards playing very unselfishly and making excellent shots...


Although Scotland were without the services of the Queens-park players at Hampden-park, Glasgow, last Saturday they easily vanquished the Irish eleven. The afternoon was fine and a large company of spectators visited the ground. Soon after the start Marshall scored a point for the home team, which Turner supplemented with another a few minutes later. Scarcely a quarter of an hour had elapsed when the Scotchmen gained another goal, while before half-time a fourth was added. The third and fourth goals had been kicked by Higgins and Macpherson. During the second half of the game the Scotchmen increased their score by four goals, while Ireland obtained a couple of points. Thus at the call of "Time" Scotland were left victorious by eight goals to two.



Meanwhile, having beaten Notts County in the quarter-final, Queens Park found Nottingham Forest a tougher nut to crack and drew 1-1 at Derby in the F.A. Cup semi-final.

It was on 13 March 1885 that memorial services were held around the country for General Gordon and all the officers and men killed whilst serving their country in the Sudan.

25 21-Mar-1885 England 1 Scotland 1 [0-1] Surrey Cricket Ground, The Oval, Kennington, London BC HD

The Times - Monday 23rd March, 1885

On Saturday at The Oval elevens representing England and Scotland met to decide the annual encounter under Association rules. The afternoon was bright, and an immense company of spectators visited the Surrey County Cricket Ground. England at first defended the Vauxhall goal, and at 3 35 Scotland began hostilities with both wind and sun in their faces...

One of the home eleven then touched the ball with his hand, and Gow, to whom the free kick was entrusted, sent it to Paton. The latter gave it up to the forwards, and out of a scrimmage Lindsay obtained the first goal of the match for Scotland...

Macaulay stopped two consecutive shots, and had endeavoured to turn the ball away a third time when Bambridge secured it and kicked it through. The score was thus even, and the greatest excitement prevailed...

Bell's Life in London - Monday 23rd March, 1885

It was the general opinion that had the Englishmen had six instead of five forwards their rivals would have had a very hard task to have averted defeat...

One of the finest contests that have ever taken place between the representatives of the two countries...

The Scotchmen have been so generally considered to be the superiors of the Southerners at the dribbling game that the splendid fight made by the home team after many reversals is the more satisfactory...


It was on 20 March 1885 that a verdict of accidental death was recorded on a 14-year-old girl, Harriet Haylock, who drowned when a rowing boat with ten people in, sank under the central arch of London Bridge, five days earlier.


The Times - Tuesday 24th March, 1885


This international match was played yesterday at Wrexham under Association rules. The weather was fine, and a large number of spectators were present on the racecourse to witness the contest. At first the game was even but ten minutes from the start the Scotchmen obtained a goal, Allan kicking the ball through. Continuing to get the better of the play, the visitors scored two more goals before half-time was announced. Positions having been reversed, Scotland had matters all their own way, and the call of "Time" left them victorious by eight goals to one.




The Times - Monday 13th April, 1885


The Welsh Association played the third of their international matches last Saturday on the ground of the Ulster club, Belfast, where they encountered the Irish eleven. The weather was dull, but this did not prevent a fairly large company being present to witness the game. The visitors began the hostilities up the incline and with the wind in their faces. The Irish forwards soon dribbled the ball into their opponents' quarters, and the invaders scored a goal through the agency of Gibb. Ireland kept up their aggressive tactics, and M'Gee was soon enabled to place a second point to their credit. Ends having been changed, Wales speedily forced their rivals back, owing mainly to some smart passing by Wilding. R. Davies then obtained possession, and made a shot at goal. Henderson prevented the ball going through, but Owen was on the alert and scored a point for Wales. From then up to the call of "Time" the Welsh eleven had matters all their own way, and were victorious by nine goals to two.


Please note: excerpts from Bell�s Life and Sporting Chronicle are taken from �England v. Scotland� by Brian James (Pelham Books Ltd. 1969).