1 1915/16 - Part 3 1917/18 -
Part 4 1918/19 - Part
5 Results and table
As the curtain closed on the 1915/16 football
season, war continued to rage on the Continent, with the conflict
nearing its second anniversary.
Four days before Leeds City's final fixture on 29 April, the
German Navy bombarded Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft; on the day
of the game British troops surrendered to Turkish forces at Kut
in Mesopotamia; two days later, British Summer Time was introduced
as a 'daylight saving' measure. At the end of May the British
Government widened conscription to include married men, later
extending it further to include all men aged up to 51.
Neither side in the conflict had been able to deliver a decisive
blow though the Allies were suffering the greater number of casualties
as they made several unsuccessful attempts to break through German
Wikipedia: "On 1 July 1916, the British Army endured the bloodiest
day in its history, suffering 57,470 casualties, including 19,240
dead, on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Most of the
casualties occurred in the first hour of the attack. The entire
Somme offensive cost the British Army almost half a million men."
One of the Somme's earliest victims was former Leeds City captain
and England half-back Evelyn
Lintott, aged just 33, who was mown down that first day, as
he led an early advance.
The Yorkshire Post: "Lieutenant Lintott's end was particularly
gallant. Tragically, he was killed leading his platoon of the
15th West Yorkshire Regiment, The Leeds Pals, over the top. He
led his men with great dash and when hit the first time declined
to take the count. Instead, he drew his revolver and called for
further effort. Again he was hit but struggled on but a third
shot finally bowled him over."
Lintott's body was never found, but he is commemorated on the
Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.
The misery of the Somme continued until mid-November.
The 1916/17 football season was the second in which the normal
arrangements of competition were set aside.
There had been some agitation nationally to reintroduce payments
for players, albeit only to a limited extent, but the authorities
quickly made it clear that this flew in the face of public feeling
and would simply not be tolerated.
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The previous autumn, Leeds City Football Club had been taken
over by a consortium led by Joseph Connor, president of the West
Riding FA. Under their leadership, the club had turned a financial
corner and was moving into a state of rude health. There had been
a profit for the year just ended of £673, and the directors agreed
to pay "£300 on account of the indebtedness for players to the
liquidators of the old company", according to the Leeds Mercury.
"The total gate receipts for the year were £2,806, of which £710
was contributed by arrangement to the League Fund and to other
clubs, while £329 10s 3d has been given to charities. Included
in the season's expenditure are the following sums
- Travelling expenses £325, home match expenses £129 and rates,
taxes insurance, etc £337."
City had ended the 1915/16 campaign by winning the end of season
Midland Subsidiary Tournament, finishing ahead of five other clubs.
Ever since the arrival of Jack Peart and Clem Stephenson in February
the team had been in irresistible form, winning eight of its final
The league format which was to operate in the new season was
similar to 1915/16, with City engaged in the Midland Section,
whose membership had been expanded from 14 clubs to 16 with the
addition of Rotherham County, Chesterfield and Birmingham at the
expense of Derby County.
For the time being, City would have to soldier on without the
leadership of secretary-manager Herbert
Chapman, who took on a management position at a munitions
factory at nearby Barnbow in July.
Stephen Studd: "With his practical knowledge of mining engineering
and his nine years as a football manager, Chapman was well equipped
to deal with the demands of industrial management. The Barnbow
factory made shells, and Chapman became virtually its manager
in chief, with some thirty sub-managers under him. And just as
in football he knew how to get the most out of his resources,
so in the factory he used his skills to obtain maximum production.
By the end of the war the factory had produced more shells than
any other of its size, and at 25 per cent less cost, while the
output of ammunition boxes had more than quadrupled.
"On leaving Leeds City, Chapman recommended as his deputy George
Cripps, a schoolteacher and one of his assistants. He continued
to advise the club from Barnbow." The change of leadership brought
some disharmony behind the scenes, but it would be a while before
this bubbled over into genuine conflict.
It was understood that on the playing side Mick Foley, George
Law, Fred Croot, John Edmondson, George Affleck and Billy McLeod
would no longer be able to turn out for the Peacocks and Fanny
Walden's availability would be intermittent after he joined
the air section of the Royal Naval Reserves. On the credit side,
though, Manchester United
full-back Edward Hudson and Burnley
half-back Levi Thorpe declared themselves available for selection
as did Clem Stephenson's brother
Jimmy, also of Aston Villa, and Grimsby's
Tommy Mayson, both of them wingers. Bob Hewison and Harry
Sherwin continued their association with Elland Road, as did pre-war
Peacocks like Willis Walker, Charlie Copeland and Jack Hampson.
City's campaign began at Elland Road against Leicester Fosse
on 2 September. Neither Walden nor Mayson was available, and promises
of an appearance by former Woolwich Arsenal and Fulham outside-left
Tommy Winship came to nothing; McCreadie,
a trialist from Goole Town, was consequently given an opportunity
on the right wing. The City lined up thus: Walker; Copeland, Hudson;
Hewison, Hampson, Thorpe; McCreadie, C Stephenson, Peart, Price,
Fosse arrived at Elland Road with only nine players and had to
enlist local replacements in Hawden and Sturdy to form their right
wing attack. Disrupted they may have been, but the visitors were
2-0 ahead after half an hour, with Sturdy getting the second goal.
Arthur Price narrowed the deficit before half time and five minutes
into the second period added a second, heading home a nice centre
from McCreadie. City could not fashion a winner despite the fact
that on the balance of play they ought to have won comfortably,
Fosse woodwork on four occasions.
JRB in the Leeds Mercury: "The two Stephensons were prominent
in both the attacks that led up to the City's goals. Jimmy Stephenson,
on the left wing, should make an admirable partner for Price,
while McCreadie, the Goole Town player, promises to be a useful
outside-right. Peart, who led the attack on several occasions
last season, distributed the ball in good style, but his shooting
left room for improvement. Hampson, at centre-half, does not appear
to have lost any form, and the new wing-halves, Hewison of Newcastle
and Thorpe of Burnley, gave a good exhibition and should be useful
men to the club. Hudson of Manchester United, who partnered Copeland
at full-back, is a resolute defender. He greatly strengthened
the defence. Walker, in goal, did well, and altogether the team
gave a good display."
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It was a disappointing opening, but City found their real form
in the following weeks, reeling off seven wins on the bounce,
commencing with a 6-1 victory at Grimsby on 9 September. According
to Mariner in the Leeds Mercury, Notts County centre-forward
Jack Peart, who scored two of the goals against Grimsby, "was
the life and soul of the attack, and I have never seen him in
happier mood than on Saturday. He dribbled and shot faultlessly,
and he worked openings for the men on either side of him with
"Nor was Price far behind in point of merit. Between them the
pair gave Ormiston a hectic afternoon. On the right wing the brothers
Stephenson played together well, and with Mayson, the old Grimsby
inside-forward, doing well at outside-left, City had a vanguard
that was irresistible.
"The attackers were well supported by the middle men, who so
over mastered the home forwards that they were able to co-operate
in the raids on Sewell's charge, and Thorpe profited by one exchange
to help himself to a clever goal. Hampson was perhaps the pick,
but Sherwin blended with the Stephensons admirably. City's defence
was rocklike and in striking contrast to that of the home team,
which was very erratic. Walker played excellently in goal. Though
the score may suggest that his task was a cakewalk, it was not,
and he disposed of some awkward balls from Young and the two Rippons."
The Peacocks followed up with 5-0 victories against Notts County
(thanks to a Clem Stephenson hat trick) and Rotherham County (featuring
four goals from Price).
On 30 September Peart scored the only goal to see off Huddersfield
and a week later snatched a hat trick as City won 5-2 at Lincoln
City. Leeds arrived in Lincoln without left-back Hudson and were
indebted to their hosts for the loan of Pattison
to play on the left wing, with Arthur Price switching to left-half.
The strong wind in which the game kicked off made a passing game
particularly difficult, though Leeds coped far more ably than
the home side. However, Lincoln scored after fifteen minutes'
play, Manning finishing off a fine solo effort with a shot which
glanced in off the far post. Ten minutes later, Barnett turned
to convert Manning's fine centre and the home side was 2-0 up.
Leeds retained their cool, and gradually wore down their opponents.
Just before half time, Lincoln inside-right Cavanagh broke his
leg in a clash with Charlie Copeland and had to be stretchered
off. Almost immediately, Peart pulled a goal back. The same player
equalised three minutes after the resumption and then completed
his hat trick, converting a Stephenson centre. Pattison, the borrowed
player, added a fourth and Stephenson made it five after a splendid
The Leeds Mercury: "The superiority of Leeds City was
apparent throughout even when the scoring was going against them.
The perfect understanding between the players, their smartness
on the ball, clean kicking and clever passing must have given
them victory even had Lincoln kept at full strength. There was
not a weak place in the team. Against such brilliant forwards,
Lincoln's backs did well but the halves were weak, and the forwards
A goal from Stephenson was enough to defeat The Wednesday on
14 October and a 3-1 victory at Bradford
Park Avenue the following week left City clear at the top of the
Old Bradfordian, reporting for the Mercury, described
it as "really the most entertaining encounter so far seen in Bradford
this season, and the determination and zeal of the players, coupled
with the remarkable speed at which the match was fought, sustained
interest from start to finish.
"Leeds, though facing the breeze, were quickly into their stride,
and before Bradford knew where they were, they found themselves
two goals down. Three minutes from the opening Price scored with
a fast, straight drive, and four minutes later Howling, in clearing
a centre, knocked the ball on to Howie's head, from whence it
went to Peart. The Leeds centre-forward did not waste a second,
and banged the ball into the net, leaving the custodian helpless.
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"Bradford played with fine zest, and McLeod, Robinson, Howie
and Bauchop found employment for Walker, only to see every effort
thwarted. On the run of the game Bradford had as much of the ball
as Leeds, but the City forwards were a more skilful combination,
more dangerous and accurate in their passing, and infinitely to
be respected when approaching goal.
"Twenty minutes after the interval, Sherwin, in trying to kick
away an oblique shot from Cooper, put through his own goal. This
was the extent of the damage against Leeds, who scored again a
quarter of an hour from the end, Price being favoured with an
open goal, after Howling had stopped one shot. Just previously
Mayson had hit the upright and Peart had missed an easy chance.
"The Leeds defence was particularly sound; in fact, the team
was admirably balanced. Bradford, on the other hand, were lacking
in finish, the inside-forwards many times failing to carry on
promising movements to a successful termination."
Fanny Walden played against both Huddersfield and Wednesday,
but those were his final appearances for City as naval duties
preoccupied more and more of his time. In his stead, Jimmy Stephenson
and Tommy Mayson were proving their worth on the wings and the
forward line as a whole terrorised opposition defences. City's
first eight games brought an aggregate goals record of 28-6 with
Peart and Price scoring nine apiece and Clem Stephenson contributing
a further six.
City's closest rivals, Birmingham, were the visitors to Elland
Road on 28 October and forced a 1-1 draw. The Midlanders' kit
"went astray" en route and kick off was delayed by almost half
an hour; the game was able to run its full length thanks to the
interval being dispensed with, but ended with spectators struggling
to follow the action in the semi-darkness. Peart hammered City
into the lead following a solo run just after the teams changed
ends, but the advantage was short-lived. JRB in the Mercury:
"The incident had an electrical effect both on the crowd
and the opposition, for before the vociferous cheers of the former
had died away, the Birmingham men had scored the equalising goal,
their forwards dashing straight in, taking the City defence completely
by surprise, and Hopkins, the old Cardiff City centre, netting
before hardly anyone had realised that play was in process again."
A week later Hull came close to being the first side to lower
City colours and it required a brilliant display from Willis Walker
in goal and a second half strike from Clem Stephenson to secure
a 1-1 draw.
City were pushed all the way on 11 November by Nottingham Forest
and had to come back from a goal down to earn a 3-1 victory. They
failed to find their usual form, "the forwards being rather feeble
in attack and the defence unreliable", according to JRB in the
Leeds Mercury. Sherwin headed City ahead from a Stephenson
corner with ten minutes remaining and in the final sixty seconds
Clem Stephenson added a third from a centre by James.
The unbeaten start came to an end on 18 November at Barnsley.
With Hudson, the Stephenson brothers and Hampson all unavailable,
it was an unfamiliar side that took the field at Oakwell. Fred
Clipstone made his debut at right-back and Barnsley lent one of
their players, Kaye, to play outside-right. Bill
Toms made his second appearance for City at inside-left. Unsurprisingly,
Leeds were hammered 4-1 in a game which kicked off half an hour
late and came to a conclusion in semi-darkness.
Normal order was restored in the weeks that followed with victories
over Chesterfield (4-3), Sheffield United (2-0), Leicester Fosse
(4-1, Price hat trick) and Grimsby (1-0) as City continued to
dominate the Midland Section, building up a five-point lead on
Birmingham and Huddersfield after sixteen games.
By now, 32-year-old Newcastle left-back Billy
Hampson had replaced Edward Hudson, who was struggling to
get away from his Army commitments. Hampson quickly developed
a sound defensive partnership with Charlie Copeland and went on
to become a stalwart of City's wartime campaigns.
On 23 December Leeds lost 1-0 at Notts County in a game they
really should have won, and then needed a Tommy Mayson penalty
to beat Bradford City at Elland Road on Christmas Day. The following
day, they hammered the same opponents 3-0 on their own ground.
Parader in the Mercury: "Throughout the game there was
a marked propensity in the Leeds City attack, the five forwards
playing together in perfect unison, and they played with astonishing
accuracy, having regard to the wretched condition of the pitch.
The two Stephensons were a grand pair and Price and Mayson were
equally good on the opposite wing, whilst Jack Peart led the line
with his usual spirit."
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City ended 1916 by beating Rotherham County 2-0 on 30 December,
increasing their lead over Huddersfield Town to seven points.
They took the lead with a minute on the clock, Mayson picking
up a long clearance from Copeland to fire home from distance.
Just before half time, Bob Hewison increased the lead with a shot
from thirty yards after Price's initial burst had brought goalkeeper
Wilkinson out of his area. City secured the points with ease despite
ending the contest with nine men after Hewison (ribs) and Clem
Stephenson (foot) were forced out of the action.
On New Year's Day, City met Liverpool, leaders of the Lancashire
Section, at Newcastle in a match played to raise funds for war
charities. Leeds were the better team early on, but feeble finishing
cost them and they lost 4-1. Two of the Liverpool goals came when
City had men off injured, while Mayson failed with a penalty.
City faced second-placed Huddersfield Town at Leeds Road on 6
January without Bob Hewison, Jack Hampson, Clem Stephenson and
Arthur Price. Ashington
left winger Sandy Trotter, Preston
left-half George Dawson and Sunderland inside-forward Billy
Moore, who had won England amateur honours, filled the void.
A closely-fought contest was still goalless at the break, Huddersfield
having one effort chalked off for offside. A minute into the second
period, City took the lead. After a vain appeal for hands in the
Terriers' area and with goalkeeper Lindon yards off his line,
Mayson fed Trotter and his shot beat the covering back to billow
the net. Huddersfield equalised from a penalty given for handball
against Charlie Copeland and the game finished 1-1.
Price returned in place of Trotter a week later at home to Lincoln
and scored City's second goal in a routine 3-1 victory. The Mercury
boasted confidently that "it is now practically certain that they
will be this season's champions."
Willis Walker sprained his ankle in the game and Blackburn
Rovers keeper Alf Robinson, training in a local Army camp,
deputised the following week against The Wednesday in Sheffield;
Arthur Price was also absent but Clem Stephenson returned. The
home side took the lead on the half hour, but Jimmy Stephenson
equalised just before the break. Jack Peart put City ahead five
minutes after the resumption with a low drive and they seemed
set to secure the points. In the closing minutes, though, Dawson
failed to cut out a pass to Kirkman, who equalised for Wednesday.
Four further draws followed, a breathtaking 3-3 result at Nottingham
Forest concluding the run on 17 February.
The Leeds Mercury reported thus: "The meeting of Nottingham
Forest and Leeds City provided the finest and most exciting game
of the Notts season. It was a charming contrast in styles; Forest
exhibited their traditional short passing, while the City played
a typical wing to wing game.
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"Peart displayed any amount of energy, and the wings, following
his splendid example, gave the Forest defence many anxious moments.
The old Notts centre-forward manipulated the ball in lively fashion,
despite the fact that Wightman played the part of policeman to
"In one characteristic effort, Peart could not find a shooting
position, Jones hampering him, but the next time he got within
striking distance he deftly transferred the ball to Moore, who
had Lawrence beaten in a twinkling with a fine cross shot. Copeland
and Hampson's conspiracy to beat the Forest forwards by the offside
game succeeded for a while, but eventually Tinsley slipped in
to drive home a capital low centre from Timmins.
"Lawrence thrice saved from Price, Peart and Moore before Godfrey,
Forest's Yorkshire centre-forward, went away at top speed to beat
Robinson with a swerving shot. There had been an interval of just
two minutes between each goal, but only eight minutes elapsed
before Leeds City got on terms. Stan
Robinson, who had many times distinguished himself, drove
the ball against the post on Lawrence's right, and, the ball rebounding
to the foot of Peart, it was coolly turned into the net.
"Two goals all at half time was a fair indication of the play
before the interval. Leeds were stronger than the Forest at half-back,
Hewison and Thorpe being particularly sound. Forest, however,
were cleverer forward, if not so fast. Godfrey received great
assistance from his partners, whereas Peart, in the City centre,
had, in the main, to make his own openings. Initiating an attack
just after the interval, Peart gained for the City another fine
goal, and incidentally the lead; but this advantage was not held
long, for Godfrey repeated his previous
performance and put on the equalising goal for the Forest.
"Two good teams, well matched, sums up the contest, which was
the best seen in Nottingham since peacetime football."
Despite the succession of dropped points, City maintained a clear
lead at the top of the table. Barnsley had emerged as their strongest
challengers, though with just three games remaining they were
six points in arrears.
City faced the Tykes at Elland Road on 24 February knowing a
point would be sufficient to confirm their title. Enjoying a significant
advantage in terms of goal average, City were already virtually
home and dry but required a point to complete the formalities.
Barnsley were intent on doing whatever was required to keep the
title race going. According to the Yorkshire Post, "For
the first half hour their play for speed and keenness resembled
that of their best Cup-fighting days and, moreover, it was marked
by very good football."
Barnsley were somewhat fortunate to be awarded a penalty after
fifteen minutes. It came as the consequence of an alleged foul
by Copeland, though the offence was distinctly dubious. To the
delight of the crowd, goalkeeper Alf Robinson saved Layton's penalty
and City promptly broke to the other end and opened the scoring.
Clem Stephenson sent a long pass downfield to Mayson who made
ground before centring; Peart beat goalkeeper Rounds to the ball
and fired home, the force of his own shot sending the centre-forward
tumbling to the ground.
It was the only score of the first half, but City dominated the
second period as Barnsley lost their way. A few minutes after
the resumption, Peart headed home a second goal from a Mayson
corner. Four minutes from the finish Clem Stephenson wrapped up
a 3-0 victory to secure the title.
The Yorkshire Post: "In the end Barnsley were very well
beaten, and they gave one the impression that they had set themselves
too great a pace to start with. All the same, much credit is due
to them for the fine fight made, and especially to their half-backs,
who alike on defence and attack were invariably smart.
"Leeds had C Stephenson back in their front rank again, and though
he was not quite at his best, his initiative was sufficient to
lead to the scoring of the first goal, and his opportunism to
the scoring by himself of the third. Though Peart scored two goals,
he was below form, hesitation and tendency to overstep the ball
marring his play. Mayson and Moore made a fast left wing, and
though Price had to go into the half-back line, he did not impair
its efficiency once he had settled down to the post, though naturally
he was not equal to Sherwin and Thorpe, both of whom played finely.
W Hampson once more showed himself to be a cool and polished full-back,
Copeland a daring intervener and hard volleyer, and Robinson a
goalkeeper of the top class. The victory was a fitting climax
to a season's good performances and no impartial critic will deny
that the honours of the Midlands Tournament have fallen to a clever
and worthy side."
A Peart goal was enough to defeat Chesterfield a week later.
Robinson was unable to keep goal and Billy Hampson's brother,
Tommy, from Accrington Stanley, took over, keeping a clean sheet.
Peart registered his 25th goal in 29 games the following week
when City ended their programme with a 2-2 draw at Sheffield United.
After taking a two-goal lead they seemed likely to win comfortably,
but mistakes by Tommy Hampson
allowed United back into the game. The keeper was out of his station
when Simmons nodded home and then he dropped Gillespie's header
into his own net for the equaliser.
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The closing weeks of the season saw City engaged in the Subsidiary
Tournament, where they were pitched against
Huddersfield Town and the two Bradford clubs.
The competition proved to be a sad anti-climax for City after
their dominance in the main competition; they failed to win any
of their first four games, three of which were at home, and only
had two goals (one a penalty) to show for their efforts in that
They managed to recover from the malaise, winning 1-0 at Huddersfield
on 9 April with a goal from Clem Stephenson. Newcastle
United right-back Hudspeth made his first City appearance,
partnering his Magpies colleague Billy Hampson. Hudspeth could
have been the Newcastle captain Frank or his lesser-known brother
A dominating 5-1 victory at Bradford City on 21 April completed
the fixtures; one of the Peacocks' most impressive displays, it
was the Bantams' heaviest reverse of the season.
Leeds took the lead inside the first quarter of an hour. Clem
Stephenson brought the ball forward with brother Jimmy and, when
Potts failed to cut out a pass to Tommy Mayson, the winger promptly
centred for Billy Moore to net from close range. The same player
made it two from a Jimmy Stephenson corner, heading in off the
Bradford managed to pull a goal back just before the break and
they promised to make a game of things in the second half; but
Leeds gave them short shrift, never looking back after Moore laid
on a headed goal for Peart to make it 3-1. The centre-forward
returned the favour shortly after, enabling Moore to complete
his hat trick.
Still the visitors were not finished and Clem Stephenson took
a pass from brother Jimmy and fired home the best goal of the
game to wrap up a 5-1 victory.
In the first week of May, City gave an impressive performance
in a charity game against Everton at Walton, showcasing what good
football they could play when in the mood.
Everton took a first half lead, but Moore equalised and after
seventy minutes City were ahead when Clem Stephenson played Peart
in to score. Five minutes later Moore added a third goal to complete
City received £66 3s 6d as their share of the takings, pooling
it with a further sum of £19 18s 6d, for donation to local charities.
In recognition of the support accorded to them by players from
the Newcastle area, the club's authorities allocated
a further £30 to charities in the North East as nominated by those
City were now among the finest sides in the country and could
look forward with confidence. However, chances of football continuing
for a third wartime season seemed a little bleak, as reported
by the Yorkshire Post on 23 April.
"As the season of 1916/17 is closing, it is natural that the
prospects of play in September next should come quickly under
discussion. It also is not surprising that club officials, having
had to endure much worry and disappointment in the selection of
teams, should feel disinclined to face further difficulties in
this direction. It is all part of the end of the season feelings
experienced at the present time by certain national bodies. Yet
recovery of buoyancy and confidence is characteristic of all British
back to top
"So far as the Management Committee of the Football League are
concerned, no effort will be spared to keep the game going in
1917/18. The subject is being considered in all its bearings,
and before the annual meeting is held in Manchester in July, the
League clubs will have a definite scheme placed before them, possibly
alternative schemes. Even if the most sanguine dreams of the optimist
become true, and the blessings of peace were restored to the world
during the coming summer, it could not be possible for League
football to resume its normal status next season. The work of
demobilisation must take time, when it does come, and clubs could
not be called upon to fight for positions before the chance of
regaining the services of their soldier players had been given
"It is therefore for a continuance of wartime difficulties that
the League Committee will have legislation to draft. Competitions
fully on the lines of the season now expiring are out of the question.
Railway journeys of any length must be avoided, and there will
have to be a greater concentration of local interest. On the latter
point, there seems to be no reason why clubs in given areas should
not have four matches with each other instead of two. The system
worked quite well in Rugby Union in South Wales before the war,
and in the Northern Union recently the extra matches have provided
plenty of sport for players and their public."
On 16 July, the League held its annual general meeting at the
Grand Hotel in Manchester, with John McKenna presiding. It was
proposed that the regional groupings used in 1916/17 should continue.
The only change in the Midland Section was the absence of Chesterfield
Town, thrown out of the League for making illegal payments to
Tom Maley of Bradford brought forward a proposal on behalf of
Leeds City, the two Bradford clubs, Huddersfield and Barnsley
aimed at reducing the amount of travelling required. City chairman
Joseph Connor pointed out that his club had been forced to travel
1,000 miles to play six matches. The West Riding clubs proposed
a regrouping of the sections, whereby they would form an additional
section embracing themselves and certain Lancashire clubs situated
on the main railway routes. They also suggested an alternative
gate pooling system.
The resolution drew little support, with only six votes in favour.
To general laughter and applause, C E Sutcliffe offered a snide
rebuke: "It would be perhaps well for some clubs next season if
they endeavoured to get their players nearer home. The cost of
players' railway travelling might surely be saved by the encouragement
of local players, and the clubs would benefit in the long run."
Connor remarked that it was "only fair to other clubs to state
that there was no certainty that the Leeds City Club would be
able to continue operations next season. The directors had discussed
the question, and after the refusal to alter the groupings they
would have to decide upon their course of action. This they would
do as quickly as possible."
Four days later, representatives of the Yorkshire clubs met in
Bradford and after a long
discussion announced that Bradford City, Leeds City and Huddersfield
Town had decided to withdraw on financial grounds from the Midlands
grouping while Bradford Park Avenue and Barnsley had softened
their stance and would break the boycott. One week later, under
pressure from football authorities, Bradford City and Huddersfield
also reversed their original decision. That left Leeds City as
the sole club dropping out, a decision which meant that for all
practical purposes City would be closing down, with games confined
to a few specially arranged war fund matches.
John McKenna wrote to Connor urging the City directors to reconsider
their decision, adding that the club's withdrawal would probably
have the effect of setting back the Association game in Leeds
for some years, while at the same time it would give fresh life
to the Rugby League code.
The club's directors reconsidered the matter at a meeting on
Friday, 10 August. They remained at a loss as to how they would
find the money to meet the financial consequences of competing
in the Midland Section, but decided in the end to accede to McKenna's
request and end their exile.
Not for the first time, Leeds City faced a wholly uncertain financial
back to top
Part 1 1915/16 - Part
3 1917/18 - Part 4 1918/19 -
Part 5 Results and table