The Avengers FC 1867


Charles Alcock seems to be behind this hard to track down team that never seemed to affiliate to the FA.

AVENGERS V WESTMINSTER SCHOOL.A match was played at Vincent-square on Saturday last, the 2inst, which resulted in an easy triumph for the Avengers by one goal to none. The game was commenced punctually at three o’clock, the Westminster’s having won the toss, playing up from the lower goal with a rather strong breeze in their favour. In spite of the disadvantages under which the Avengers commenced the combat, the united strength of their team, who played extremely well together, combined with the formidable conjunction of goal-keeping which represented them, soon enabled them to take the lead, which they ably sustained until conclusion of the game. From the commencement the Westministers were surrounded by an almost impossible line of assailants who completely frustrated all the energetic efforts made by their opponents to break the barrier by which they were surrounded. Many attempts were made by the Avengers to secure the school goal, which was splendidly defended on this occasion but without success, until a kick from the side into the centre of the ground gave a chance to the expectant Bowen, who, by an extremely well-guided shot , directed the ball through the desired space between the Westminster goal-posts. With the change of goals the two sides once more rushed into the fray, the Avengers now sided by the wind, bringing all their forces to the front, and utterly abandoning all defence of their goal, which assuredly would have fallen on the foot of the C.E. Blackmore, had he not delayed his kick a little too long, and thus enabled the avenging goal-keepers to reach their own territory in time to save their endangered goal. This was, indeed, the only occasion on which the Avengers goal was at all threatened, the ball but rarely reached their territory. In spite however, of the numerous attempts made by the avenging team to increase the advantage they had gained, the defence exhibited by the Westministers was too good to allow any further success to their opponents, who accordingly remained the victors from one goal to none. It is but fair to the Westministers, to state that they lost on this occasion the valuable services of two of their best players (F. Miller and A. G. Lee), though we do not think they could in any way have prevented the victory gained by the strangers. For the Avengers, who made their first appearance on this occasion, E. E. Bowen showed very prominently, while the efforts of the two vagrant highkickers to immortalise themselves over the neighbouring houses were very loudly applauded. The Westminsters, though defeated were certainly not disgraced in succumbing to such a formidable team; to us, however, they appeared to play in weary style, as if fagged by too much practice. W. Jr Dixon played for them with more than his usual energy. The following is a list of the players:

Westminster school: S. H. West (captain), E. C. Bovill, A. G. Lee, (J. C. O’Brien), W. J. Dixon, H. R. Dupre, F. Miller (W. W. Neill), G. H. Lee, C. E. Bickmore, J. C. Smith, H. S. Curteis and S. Randolph.

Avengers: E. Freeth (captain), C. W. Alcock, R. Babington, E. E. Bowen, A. Crompton, R. D. Elphinstone, H. Forsyth, Q. Hogg, B. J. Holland, C. F. Reed, P. Rhodes, and C. M. Tebbut.

The Sportsman – Tuesday 05 March 1867


Baden Powell worries about football spectators’ morals in 1908

Baden Powell who played football at Charterhouse School as goal keeper, posted his thoughts in the marvellously titled book ; Scouting for Boys .
One of the causes of the downfall of Rome was that the people, being fed by the State to the extent of three-quarters of the population, ceased to have any responsibility for themselves or their children, and consequently became a nation of unemployed wasters. They frequented the circuses, where paid performers appeared before them in the arena, much as we see the crowds now flocking to look on at paid players playing football. Football in itself is a grand game for developing a lad physically and also morally, for he learns to play with good temper and unselfishness, to play in his place and “play the game” and these are the best of training for any game of life. But it is a vicious game when it draws crowds of lads away from playing the game themselves to be merely onlookers at a few paid performers. I yield to no one in enjoyment of the sight of those splendid specimens of our race, trained to perfection, and playing faultlessly; but my heart sickens at the reverse of the medal – thousands of boys and young men, pale, narrow-chested, hunched-up, miserable specimens, smoking endless cigarettes, numbers of them betting, all of them learning to be hysterical as they groan or cheer in panic unison with their neighbours – the worst sound of all being the hysterical scream of laughter that greets any little trip or fall of a player. One wonders whether this can be the same nation which had gained for itself the reputation of being a stolid, pipe-sucking manhood, unmoved by panic or excitement, and reliable in the tightest of places. Get the lads away from this – teach them to be manly, to play the game whatever it may be, and not be merely onlookers and loafers.

Page 297 Scouting for Boys 1908

International Football Association Board (IFAB) 6 December 1882

As late as 1886 the Football Associations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were still all playing by slightly different rules, with whichever team was at home, rules applied. This was far from ideal and they were keen to start the Home Championships Tournament, so they decided to form the International Football Association Board (IFAB) on 6 December 1882 in Manchester. The first meeting of IFAB took place at the FA’s offices in 2nd June 1886 where they decided that they all had equal voting rights. Representing England from the FA were Major Marindin and Charles W Alcock, Scotland (SFA) had R Browne and A. Kennedy, Wales (FAW) had Mr. Hunter and Mr. Mills-Robert and Ireland (IFA) was represented by J Sinclair and J McAlvery.
The original document can be seen here in a FIFA pdf celebrating the 125th anniversary:

The state of the Football Association in 1867

Four years after the FA was formed in 1863 the membership was stagnant and the Hon. Sec. sent out the following letter:

The Football Association, 1867

Dear Sir, — I wish to call your attention to this Association.
It has now been in existence for nearly four years, and its rules have had the careful consideration of all the most experienced football players in the Metropolis. Read more