10 October 1908

11Oct08

Football in the Potteries and south Cheshire was suffering from a downturn this season 100 years ago. With no Football League clubs, the highest grade football played in the region was in the Birmingham League. Results in this competition from 10 October 1908 included: Crewe Alexandra 5, Brierley Hill 0; Stoke 7, Wellington Town 2; Walsall 1, Kidderminster Harriers 1; Wrexham 2, Shrewsbury Town 1. Elsewhere on the same day Macclesfield lost 5-2 away to New Mills in the Manchester League, while Port Vale were struggling just one place from the bottom of the North Staffs & District League having played 5 games with 1 draw and 4 defeats. Cup fixtures have a habit of providing relief from such problems and so it was with Vale, who defeated Longton Free Wanderers 7-0 in a Hanley Cup match.

To end today’s entry, here is a comment from the Staffordshire Sentinel from 10 October 1908 denouncing the use of the big boot: “The chief fault of present-day half-back work is high kicking, for some of them make their game a tall-kicking competition to such an extent [t]hat their own forwards will say ‘that won it, that the highest.’ It is meant sarcastic and there is good reason for it; for no line of forwards can be consistently effective if the half-backs are playing skywards. When the half-back kicks the ball high he gives his opponents an equal chance for possession of the ball, whereas when he plays the ball along the ground to one of his own side the opposition have to be very spry to get near it. High kicking is good to look at, but bad from a football point of view, although on occasion a player is justified in kicking the ball as high as he can , but, speaking generally, big kicking is not so effective as it looks. The judicious kick, with the ball going exactly where the kicker intended, means greater benefit to a team than the ponderous kick that sends the ball almost into the middle of the next field.”

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