Part 2 - Results
and table - printer
When a group of well-to-do
West Yorkshire businessmen formed Leeds City Association Football
Club in August 1904, hopes were high of a successful and prosperous
future. After six grim years, reality had set in; the team was
customarily to be found in the bottom half of the Second Division
table, with a 17th place finish in 1910 representing
a new low. It had taken a run of six points out of the final
eight to retrieve what has seemed a lost cause as the team conceded
80 goals, the worst performance in the division.
Their onfield problems were eclipsed, though, by their business
record. After being floated in 1904 with an initial capital of
£10,000 and enjoying a profit of £122 during the debut League
season, the club had consistently returned losses. By November
1909 they were struggling under the yoke of a £9,000 overdraft.
The board struggled in vain to raise new funds through a share
issue and in the spring of 1910 shareholders pressed them to report
on the dire financial position.
After a summer of rumbling discontent, the club's annual general
meeting on 25 July gave the shareholders a long awaited opportunity
to vent their spleen.
Vice chairman Joseph Henry presided over affairs in the absence
through illness of chairman Norris
The Leeds Mercury: "The chairman, in moving the adoption of the
report and balance sheet, said a loss of £1,904 took a lot of
explaining away, but he thought he could say with conviction that
the reason why the balance sheet was so bad was decreased income.
The gate receipts were down last year by £2,300 and the sale of
tickets showed a decrease of £269. But there would have been a
very much worse balance sheet had there not been a great reduction
in expenses. What was the cause of these smaller receipts? The
shareholders might imagine that the shortcomings of the directors
were at the root of the trouble, but his opinion was this, that
the playing was so unsatisfactory that the public would not support
the team. (Hear, hear.)"
Henry went on to say that the board had introduced new measures
to get matters under control and that, "The directors had cut
down expenses for next season, and they intended to maintain that
limit, whatever they might suffer or whatever they might gain.
The wage list would be cut down by £1,000 (Hear, hear) and the
directors would not keep on their books any man who ought not
to be there (Applause)." He hinted at a new scheme to raise funds,
but declined to elaborate while the chairman was away, promising
to reveal all in a special meeting.
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Norris Hepworth duly arranged a second gathering, at Salem Hall
at the beginning of September; he revealed the true size of the
club's problems, reporting that they owed £7,000 to the bank,
with interest increasing the liability by £300. Eleven members
of the board had agreed to guarantee the debt, but the refusal
of four directors to do likewise led to the bank declining any
further overdraft. Secretary-manager
Frank Scott-Walford was owed a further £3,500, incurred on
operating expenses, including £340 for players' wages over the
Hepworth's sad conclusion was that the club needed to raise £12,000
to clear the debts and provide sufficient working capital to cover
day to day operations. The directors had decided that the only
option was to raise the money by way of debenture loans; they
had agreed to fund £8,000 themselves, the remaining £4,000 to
be raised by shareholders and others.
Joseph Henry revealed that the problems originated from the time
when the club began redeveloping the Elland Road ground. The bank
had been reluctant to support the development and the club had
been forced to switch banks, with the directors guaranteeing an
overdraft of £7,000. Losses in 1909/10 had brought further pressure
from the bankers.
The directors did not get an easy time of things at the meeting
and both Alf Masser and Harry Riley voiced doubts from the floor.
They bemoaned the lack of business acumen, claiming "the directors
had been failures in regard to finance" and that "it was useless
to expect the club to lift its head out of the hole into which
it had got under the present board of directors". They demanded
that the board be reduced to just "five efficient men." The debenture
scheme was adopted, with a rider from Joe Henry "that the scheme
be referred to a committee consisting of the directors and six
shareholders chosen by the meeting with power to carry it into
effect." Masser and Riley were put forward as shareholders' representatives
along with Messrs S Bodlander, W A Metcalfe, W Bromley and J Harrison.
Chairman Hepworth confirmed that all the directors were prepared
to retire except Mr Preston, with the object of the number being
reduced, but it was agreed that they should remain in office for
the time being.
A further meeting was held on Saturday 17 September at the Grand
Central Hotel. Norris Hepworth confirmed that he would find £5,000
for the purchase of the ground, the freehold of which he would
hand over to the shareholders, retaining a mortgage for the amount
he paid for it. Alf Masser said that if the club was to continue,
the proposed arrangement was "the best that could be devised.
If it was carried through, the shareholders would in time see
something for their money, while if the club was not continued
the shareholders would certainly lose everything."
Masser also announced that "the directors had agreed to pass
a special resolution at their next annual meeting reducing their
number to five, and of these five only one was to represent the
gentlemen who were finding the £8,000, while the other four were
to be appointed by the shareholders, thus giving the shareholders
full control of the club. It was probable that Mr Norris Hepworth
would be the representative of those who were finding the £8,000,
and he was certain that Mr Hepworth was a gentleman and a sportsman
whom they did not want to lose. (Applause) With regard to the
other four they did not want to lose Mr Henry, but the shareholders
must be united in choosing their representatives, or some of the
old directors would be returned, and if they were the club would
go back to a worse position than it was in even now."
There were some calls for the club to be wound up, allowing it
to wipe the slate clean and start afresh. There was a recognition,
however, that this would mean expulsion from the Football League
and having to apply for re-admission: "That would be a tremendous
disadvantage, and would set the clock back not hours but days."
The meeting was heated, but in the end the proposal was endorsed.
Alf Masser issued a public statement on behalf of the club, appealing
for contributions to the £4,000 required. Only time would tell
whether there would be sufficient support for the scheme to allow
Leeds City to continue, but for now at least they could totter
Against this backdrop of financial hardship, Frank Scott-Walford
was struggling to find a way to revive the club's playing fortunes.
He was accused during the shareholders' meetings of seeking players
through the Glasgow Labour Exchange, something he strenuously
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The summer brought the retirement of Jimmy
Burnett and the
transfer out of Jimmy Gemmell
(Sunderland), Tom Naisby (Luton)
and Jock Watson (Clyde).
In October 1910, Jack White
was also on his way, to Merthyr Tydfil. Scott-Walford badly needed
to rebuild his playing strength if City were to compete effectively.
The previous season had made that much clear.
His initial strategy, when he arrived from Brighton in 1908,
had been to recruit players from the Sussex club, but the approach
was unsuccessful; Tom Morris
was the only one of his imports who by now had an active role
in the team.
In 1909 Scott-Walford had signed two promising Irishman in Billy
Halligan and Tom Mulholland;
a year later he returned to the Emerald Isle in search of cheap
recruits and brought in some youthful talent: Mick Foley, Joe
Enright and George Cunningham
from Dublin Shelbourne, Billy
Gillespie from Derry Institute and full-back Alec
Creighton from Belfast Distillery. Gillespie, an Irish junior
international centre-forward, was about to sign for Linfield when
Scott-Walford persuaded him to turn professional and cross the
Irish Channel. Cunningham and Enright had both represented Ireland
in games against the English and Scottish Leagues.
Other players signed were Scottish right-half John
Harkins from Bathgate, centre-half Chris
Kelly from Denaby United and George Page, a forward from Broxbourne.
Hugh Roberts' two brothers
from Rhyl, Dick and Albert, also arrived at Elland Road, moving
in with their brother, who lived in a house in Beeston, in the
shadow of Elland Road.
In preparation for the new season, City held a pre-season trial,
the Reds against the Greens. For the Greens, Enright and Gillespie
did well, with the latter netting a hat trick, though Billy McLeod,
for the Reds, went one better, scoring four times as his side
There was great excitement as City opened their campaign on 3
September at home to Blackpool. Creighton was at right-back and
Harkins left-half, but the major changes were up front where Enright,
Gillespie, Foley and Cunningham were selected, with only Fred
Croot of the old guard retaining his position.
Completing the line up were 20-year-old keeper Tony Hogg, preferred
to the veteran Harry Bromage,
George Affleck, Tom Morris and Stan
Cubberley, newly instated as club captain.
The crowd of 12,000 was the highest to watch City at Elland Road
since the visit of Bradford the previous November, and they were
in high spirits.
The Leeds Mercury: "Mr Scott-Walford evidently had an eye to
making his new men feel at home as well as to stage effect when
he attired the team in green jerseys and supplied green flags
to mark the centre line, and he apparently realised that the first
match might go wrong when he thus addressed them in his official
programme: 'Should your efforts deserve success, and it is denied
you, we shall extend our sympathy, when you do badly we shall
still think you have done your best.'"
The game opened tamely, though City had some promising openings
and Cunningham went close with a fierce drive that passed narrowly
over the top corner. Blackpool were the better team in the first
half, but it was City who broke the deadlock four minutes after
the break with a neatly created goal. The Yorkshire Post: "Morris
initiated the movement which led up to it by passing to Gillespie
in his own half, and the latter in turn presently swung it out
to Enright. He dribbled straight for goal, and successfully recovered
the ball after his progress had been impeded by Gladwin, and shooting
hard with his left foot sent the ball high into the corner of
the net - a success which occasioned a tremendous outburst of
The goal should have breathed confidence into Leeds, but their
advantage lasted only a few minutes as Blackpool equalised to
quieten the crowd. Hogg fluffed his clearance and the ball fell
to centre-half Connor, who fired home from long range.
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The Seasiders dominated affairs from then on against a dispirited
City eleven, with only the debutants, Creighton and Enright, coming
out of the match with any great credit. Miller got an inevitable
second for Blackpool and the home side never looked like equalising,
finishing in disarray.
Flaneur in the Leeds Mercury: "The result was a bitter disappointment
to the City directors, to the manager, who has staked his reputation
as a judge of a footballer on these young Irishmen he has secured
from the Dublin
Shelbourne, Belfast Distillery and Cliftonville clubs, and to
the public, who were present in very encouraging numbers indeed,
and who tried their utmost, by means of the new battle cry, 'Play
up Ireland!' to stimulate the young men on whom so much depends
into putting forth their greatest efforts."
Jimmy Horsley and Billy
McLeod were recalled in place of the injured Cubberley and Gillespie
for the following Saturday's visit to Glossop, and again Joe Enright
gave City a lead early in the second half. Again the goal seemed
strangely to destabilise Leeds and they spent the rest of the
game on the defensive.
Tom Morris was a rock in the rearguard and well supported by
Creighton, Affleck and Hogg, but could not keep the men from Derbyshire
out for ever. After being on almost constant attack, Glossop grabbed
an equaliser and ten minutes from time added a well deserved winner.
Two more single goal defeats followed, 1-0 at Elland Road against
Lincoln and 3-2 away to Huddersfield, to leave a dispirited City
rooted to the bottom of the Second Division table after four games,
the only club in either division in England without a point to
their credit. It made for dismal reading.
The team played with far more enterprise on October 1 at home
to Birmingham and led from a sixth minute goal by Gillespie. City
seemed certain to take the points, but conceded a penalty five
minutes from time and had to be content with a 1-1 draw.
The setback crushed the spirits and the Peacocks slumped back
into their shells a week later when facing West Bromwich Albion.
Bowser gave the Midlanders the lead after five minutes and Leeds
never looked like getting back on terms. Albion added a second
in the thirtieth minute and assumed complete command. Only a combination
of a lack of composure on the part of the West Bromwich forwards
and a splendid performance in goal by the reinstated Harry Bromage
prevented a landslide.
Things looked bleak, but in midweek the West Riding Cup semi
final at home to Castleford Town brought a morale booster. Billy
McLeod scored five times as City ran out 8-2 winners. The task
was rendered a formality when an injury to goalkeeper Whelpion
saw him leave the field.
The players displayed new spirit in their Elland Road derby on
22 October against Hull City. The East Yorkshire team had the
better of the first quarter as the Peacocks started tentatively,
despite having the wind at their backs, but the home eleven ended
the half on top with Fred Croot threatening a breakthrough. The
game seemed to be drifting towards a goalless draw, but Leeds
secured both points with a goal from Billy Gillespie ten minutes
from time. Hull defender McQuillan
tried to head away but saw his clearance fall to Hugh Roberts.
The winger centred to Gillespie, who dribbled past McQuillan and
Nevison and hammered the ball past the advancing keeper to settle
Sportsman in the Leeds
Mercury: "Leeds City … displayed better football than they had
previously done on their own ground this season, and well deserved
their victory by the only goal the game produced. True, 'one swallow
does not make a summer,' but, if only for a brief space, the darkness
has been pierced, and the club's supporters are thankful in that
a little light has burst through the surrounding gloom.
"Bromage gave a most capable exhibition in goal, and Creighton
… was much the better back, for Affleck miskicked repeatedly and
often gave cause for anxiety. Morris, though lacking in speed,
and on occasion retaining the ball too long, gave a useful display
at centre-half; whilst Cubberley, though beaten in more than one
instance, did a few good things, and Harkins, who is an advance
on Kelly, was very serviceable. Of the forwards, the outside men,
Croot and Roberts, were the best. The former was particularly
prominent prior to the interval, with a number of good runs, whilst
Roberts was often to the fore afterwards. The failings of the
inside men have been alluded to, but nevertheless they accomplished
some creditable work, and Gillespie's goal compensated to a large
extent for a number of missed opportunities."
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The win was not enough to take City off the bottom of the table,
but the mood was lightened and the same team took the field at
Fulham a week later with high hopes. They gave a good display
at Craven Cottage and had some decent moments in front of goal,
but, despite Harry Bromage's first half penalty save, lost 3-1.
Wanderer wrote in the Mercury: "I do not think I am exaggerating
for a moment when I say that the team showed an improvement on
their form in the Hull City match, and they were a good side on
that occasion. Both fore and aft, the work was always sound, and
had there been even the slightest weakening in the Fulham defence,
I am certain that at least one point would have been secured.
"The improvement in the City half-back line accounted for a great
deal. Morris, Cubberley and Harkins were always a thorn in the
side of the Fulham forwards, and they never forgot their own front
line. Morris was particularly noticeable, especially as regards
his head work, and his placing of the ball was always accurate.
Another welcome improvement was at right-back, where Affleck has
in the past been performing somewhat indifferently. He came out
of his shell in no uncertain manner, and with Creighton right
on the top of his form and Bromage as agile as a cat in goal,
it will be readily understood that the defence was a good one.
"With regard to the forwards, a few lines will suffice. Their
work was quite equal to anything I have seen this season, although
there was, perhaps, just a slight lack of shooting power. Enright
was as good as any of the quintet. He sorely puzzled the opposition
at times with his neat footwork and was responsible for many of
the openings that came Leeds City's way."
The home derby against Bradford Park Avenue on October 29 was
witnessed by a crowd of 13,000, the best attendance since February
1909, and they enjoyed an exciting contest. City took the lead
after 35 minutes from a corner by Croot. Morris got possession
and hammered in a shot. Bradford keeper Mason could only parry
the ball and to resounding cheers Billy McLeod managed to flick
it home from two yards.
The visitors mounted frenzied attacks after the resumption and
threatened an equaliser on several occasions, though the City
rearguard withstood all that was thrown at them. The forwards
rallied towards the close and Billy Gillespie snatched a second
goal ten minutes from the end to secure the win.
The two teams clashed again three days later in the West Riding
Cup final at Valley Parade. City sustained a 5-1 hiding. They
did well enough early on but lost heart after Harry Bromage let
a greasy ball slip through his hands for the first goal and were
overwhelmed by inspired opponents.
The Selection Committee were now persisting with both Gillespie
and McLeod in the forward line, though they did not combine particularly
well, as noted by Flaneur in the Mercury after the defeat against
Bradford: "The forwards, with limited opportunities, were not
a bad lot, but Gillespie, in the centre, had not much idea of
feeding his colleagues, and the best work came from the wings,
Roberts and Croot. McLeod is better in the centre than
at inside-right." The two main strikers both wanted to lead the
attack and their styles did not seem to be compatible.
When the trip the following weekend to Burnley brought a 4-1
reverse, there was a fear that the improvement over the previous
month had been a false dawn, but matters improved when City entertained
Gainsborough Trinity on 12 November.
Sportsman: "Not since they defeated Lincoln City on the opening
day of last season have Leeds City prevailed by such a substantial
margin as on Saturday, when they routed Gainsborough Trinity by
the decisive score of four goals to none.
"When all due allowance has been made for the shortcomings of
Gainsborough, it must be admitted that Leeds City succeeded by
really good football, the forwards, who combined most effectively,
giving an excellent display. The Gainsborough halves simply could
not hold them, and consequently their backs experienced a most
unenviable afternoon, spent for the most part in a vain endeavour
to check an elusive front rank, who played with a method and judgement
which might easily have penetrated a more skilful defence.
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"City's first goal was obtained by Enright, who beat Webster
and scored with a slanting shot which struck the far post and
glanced inwards, whilst Gillespie registered the second with a
long drive. Resuming with an advantage of two goals, Leeds City
for a considerable period altogether outclassed their opponents,
and hardly had McLeod put on the third point from a centre by
Roberts, ere Gillespie, rushing in, netted the final goal following
a free kick just outside the penalty area awarded for a foul on
the right winger.
"Bromage experienced a comparatively easy afternoon. Affleck
and Creighton, though seldom severely tested, were a reliable
pair. The halves were satisfactory, though … they were rather
inclined at times to hang back and devote their energies to defensive
work when they might reasonably have adopted a forward policy.
The bright particular star in the forward line was McLeod, who
gave a fine exhibition and well deserved the applause which greeted
his efforts at the close."
The victory saw City move off the foot of the table, albeit only
on goal average. They were back at the bottom again after a 3-0
defeat at Bolton, but returned to form with a heartwarming 4-0
victory at Stockport County.
The game brought the first change in the line up in seven matches
with Harold Bridgett replacing
Croot to make only his second appearance since moving from Stoke
in May 1909. He scored one of the goals, with Gillespie (2) and
McLeod supplying the others, though he pulled up no trees. The
win was based on a sound defensive display, with Joe Enright supplementing
the half-back line for most of the game.
Another win came on 3 December when City entertained Derby County,
succeeding by the odd goal in five, with Roberts scoring twice.
Sportsman: "The City fully maintained their improved form on Saturday
… to the obvious delight of the majority of the ten or twelve
thousand spectators present. And let it be recorded that they
thoroughly deserved their success, which was a just reward for
the determination and persistence they displayed in the face of
events which pointed to their failure.
"Viewed from a purely scientific standpoint the game never rose
to great heights, but it was hard, fast and interesting football
that we saw, and the excitement was maintained almost throughout.
Leeds City's success was attained rather by the whole hearted
efforts of the team than by the individual brilliance of any of
its members, and if Roberts, Enright, Cubberley and Creighton
were somewhat more prominent than their fellows, they were given
satisfactory assistance. True there were defects. One or two lapses
cost them dearly. But such perseverance and determination more
than compensated for any deficiencies, and few, indeed, must be
those who would withhold from them that credit to which they are
Three wins in four games had seen City ease their way up the
Second Division rankings and they were now fourteenth.
Unfortunately, the team's form was fluctuating wildly, veering
haphazardly from the sublime to the ridiculous: on 10 December
they faced Barnsley at their Oakwell ground with the South Yorkshire
side three places below them. In wretched conditions and gathering
gloom, City were routed 4-0, with only Tom Morris standing between
them and utter humiliation, as observed by Oakwell in the Mercury:
"Morris, the City's veteran centre-half, (rose) to such a height
that, despite his side's heavy reverse, he may with justice be
described as the best man on the field. At least he was the most
"From the first he took the measure of Barnsley's attack, and
playing as though by instinct he single handed repelled rush after
rush, using both head and feet in a manner which often suggested
that he was carrying the Leeds team on his back. During the first
half Morris played a brilliant game. He broke up every short passing
movement that was initiated by the home forwards, and it was only
a stroke of ill luck which turned a fine header from him over
instead of under the Barnsley crossbar.
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"Towards the end of the game Morris tired. It was impossible
for him to do three men's work without feeling the strain, and
it was when this point of the game arrived that Barnsley went
straight ahead. But if the other men on the Leeds side had done
half so well as Morris did, Leeds would not have been beaten by
four clear goals."
When City recovered from 2-0 down at home to Leicester Fosse
a week later to draw level through goals from Morris and Enright,
it seemed they might secure an unlikely draw, but a late misunderstanding
undid a sterling fightback. Sportsman: "In the last minute of
the game came the disheartening climax which completely extinguished
the enthusiasm of the bulk of the five or six thousand spectators
present. Leicester worked their way down the field, and Owen crossed
the ball from the left wing. The ball was travelling towards the
goal, but doubtless Bromage would have had little difficulty in
clearing had not Creighton intervened. The Leeds left-back attempted
to kick away, but the greasy ball turned in an opposite direction
to which he intended and entered the net, Bromage, who had a melancholy
task to perform, being obviously quite deceived by the turn of
events. There was just time to resume the game ere Mr J T Howcroft
blew his final solo, and Leicester had triumphed somewhat luckily,
yet deservedly, by the odd goal in five."
Tom Mulholland returned for his second appearance of the season
in place of the injured McLeod when City faced promotion chasing
Wolves at Molineux on Christmas Eve; the Peacocks fought hard
and gave the Wanderers a hard game before losing 3-1.
Boxing Day saw McLeod and Fred Croot back in the side for a home
game against Chelsea, also in the running for the title. The Londoners
had much the better of the contest, according to Sportsman in
the Mercury, "proving themselves the cleverer exponents of the
finer art of football." George 'Gatling Gun' Hilsdon, the first
Chelsea player to score 100 goals for the club and also their
first England international, notched a hat trick, but on each
occasion City managed to equalise, Roberts, Croot and McLeod getting
The draw owed more to Chelsea complacency than City tenacity,
but nevertheless the Leeds men had shown up well in games against
top class opposition and the mood was much more optimistic as
the year drew to a close.
A first half injury to Clapton Orient custodian Bower the next
day meant that the Londoners were always struggling after Mulholland
gave City the lead and Leeds ran out more comfortable winners
than the 1-0 score suggested.
A 2-1 victory at Blackpool on New Year's Eve was rather more
impressive. The Seasiders were another side in the top six and
were previously undefeated
at home. The City selection was disrupted by injury, with Enright,
Gillespie and Croot all absent. Bridgett covered for Croot and
Stan Cubberley was forced to play out of position up front. According
to the Yorkshire Post, "Cubberley was hopelessly out of place,
and occasionally went back to his proper position in the half-back
line, but the appearance of McLeod at centre was a very important
factor in the City's success."
Leeds went ahead in the third minute when McLeod scored from
a Bridgett cross. The forward had a second effort disallowed,
seemingly for handball. Bridgett made it 2-0 before half time,
firing a Roberts cross in off the post. Wolves pulled one back
before the break, but the second half was goalless and City thus
avenged their opening day defeat by securing a second victory
on the bounce.
The win was the consequence of another sound defensive display
by Morris, Creighton and Bromage, with City making better use
of their attacking moments.
14th place in the table was not what City had hoped for at the
start of the season, and they were too many points removed from
the upper reaches of the division to harbour realistic hopes of
a late promotion chase. However, after their inauspicious opening
run of four straight defeats they had at least achieved a measure
Part 2 - Results
and table - printer
Other Football Highlights from 1910/11
- A new trophy was needed for the FA Cup competition when the
FA presented the trophy to Lord Kinnaird to mark his 21st year
as president. A redesigned Cup was made in Bradford, and after
the replayed Cup final at Old Trafford it stayed there, Bradford
City beating Newcastle 1-0 to win their first major honour.
The winner was scored by Jimmy Speirs, soon to move to Leeds
City. This was Newcastle's fourth defeat in five finals in seven
- Three days after Bradford City won the Cup at Manchester United's
new home, Old Trafford, the ground was the scene of a great
United victory, 5-1 over Sunderland, which gave them their second
League title in four years. Again they won with 52 points, and
again it was Aston Villa who were runners up, but this time
by only one point instead of nine
- England won the Home International Championship with 5 points,
their 10th win in 14 years
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