29 January 1909


100 years ago today the Birmingham Gazette reported on a Commission of Inquiry held by the Football Association into incidents that took place during the Southern League game between West Ham and Plymouth over the Christmas period.

This how the Gazette reported the incident: “When Plymouth Argyle visited West Ham United to play a Southern League match on Monday, December 28, the referee appointed to act did not put in an appearance, and one of the linesmen deputised. About five minutes after the start a penalty kick was given against a Plymouth player for handling, and this was strongly objected to by some of the visiting players, who refused to allow the kick to be taken. A charge was also made against the referee by Clark, the Argyle captain, that the referee was intoxicated, and not fit to take charge of the game. Kitchen, the West Ham captain, was called up from goal, and he at once consulted his directors, who disassociated themslves from the charge and insisted on the game proceeding. Play was accordingly resumed and at half-time Messrs. G. Wagstaffe Simmons and T. H. Kirkup, members of the F.A. Council, who were present, were asked to interview the referee. They did so, and asserted there was not a shadow of justification for the charge that had been made.”

After three hours deliberation the Inquiry resolved that the referee had not been drunk and as a result suspended Clark for a period of two months. Plymouth were also instructed to pay the costs of the hearing.


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