First international 1870

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First international 1870

Post by ScottishFA » Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:46 pm

I've been doing some digging into the first unofficial international, v England on 5 March 1870, and have managed to identify all the Scotland players except one.

He is GC Gordon of NN Kilburn. I don't suppose anyone out there has managed to find his first names/dates/school/career? I've been trawling through census records, Mormon sites, etc etc but nobody seems to fit the bill. Ironically, he may not even have been Scottish, as he was a late replacement for the side.

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Post by Scottish » Mon Jul 20, 2009 3:25 pm

Two big problems (and two suggestions) spring to mind regarding census searches and apologies if you're already aware of them.

Bad news
1. If he was born in Scotland then it would have been before 1855 and the start of BMD registration.

2. Although English & Welsh records start in 1837 these are not as easy to search as the Scottish ones as births are only listed by the quarter-year.

Good news
1. Always a chance he was a child of empire so a search through former colonies on the Mormon site might be worth a try.

2. All these players would be from the well-off end of the social spectrum so a search for birth notices in The Times from say 1835-1854 might be an idea.

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Post by Scottish » Mon Jul 20, 2009 3:26 pm

As for first names, I'd say George was a pretty good bet.

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Post by ScottishFA » Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:46 pm

Thanks, but I've already tried all those....

Having ploughed through every G Gordon in the 1881 census (the nearest date which is available free) there is no-one who fits the bill.

Of course, he could have been known by his middle name, so I shall have to check the C Gordon entries as well. Or it could even be a misprinted initial.

But you're right about the landed gentry angle, that is why the rest of the team have been relatively simple to uncover. The fashion for birth notices in the Times didn't really start until the late 19th century, though; it's been more effective to find a date of death and (with luck) an obituary.

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Post by LEATHERSTOCKING » Tue Jul 21, 2009 1:02 pm

It is possible that "G.C.GORDON" was a nome de guerre - to avoid friends, family, military colleagues etc. finding out he was playing foot-ball.

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Post by markbfc » Tue Jul 21, 2009 2:49 pm

I contacted a trusted source about this and he came back with the following:
The Glasgow Herald 7 March 1870: Gordon's club N.N.'s, not N.N.s, Kilburn, which I think would be like writing Arsenal, London. As someone on the blog says, it's possible Gordon wasn't Scottish: the Herald says he came in as a replacement, along with Alec Morten, who played for England in 1873. Having said that, Morten may - just may - have been born in Scotland, so maybe Gordon was too. He and Morten replaced Lord Kilmarnock, no less, and RN Ferguson.

The Penny Illustrated Paper (London) 12 March 1870 lumps his club in with Morten's: 'J.C. Gordon and A. Morten, Crystal Palace.'

The Liverpool Mercury 7 March 1870 calls him J.C. Gordon (!) and also lumps his club in with Morten's: 'J.C. Gordon and A. Morten, Crystal Palace.' A match 'in which W.H. Gladstone, M.P., J.W. Malcolm, M.P., and many old Harrovians, Etonians, Carthusians, &c., took part.'

The Leeds Mercury 8 March 1870: again, Gordon's club N.N.'s, not N.N.s, Kilburn.

Then, a possible little eureka...an unspecified paper (The Scotsman...?) in londonhearts.com runs a full match report and lists GC Gordon's club as Old Harrovians. If that's correct, there's an easy avenue to explore...
http://www.londonhearts.com/scores/imag ... 030502.htm

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Post by ScottishFA » Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:38 pm

Thanks for the suggestions, I will keep digging and will post any findings here.

By the way, one other inconsistency in all the reports is that Kinnaird's club is given as Crusaders. I could be wrong, but I'm not aware he played (on a regular basis, anyway) for clubs other than Wanderers and Old Etonians.

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First International 1870

Post by kiwiscot » Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:48 pm

Could the N Ns club in question be Northern Nomads ?

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Post by LEATHERSTOCKING » Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:13 am

The club was NO NAMES, a suitable refuge for anyone wanting to remain anonymous.

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Post by LEATHERSTOCKING » Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:18 am

Arthur Fitzgerald Kinnaird`s playing career = Cheam Preparatory School, Eton College, Cambridge University, Cambridge Eton Club, Crusaders, Wanderers, Gitanos, Old Etonians, Kent, Middlesex, London, The North.

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Post by ScottishFA » Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:23 am

I had seen this list of Kinnaird's clubs before, but never seen any specific reference to him being a Crusaders player in a match. In all other references to him as a player in representative games, and on the FA Council, he is described as Old Etonians or Wanderers.

Anyway, to get back to the Gordon question, if GC was really a misprint for JC, then here is a possibility:

John Campbell Gordon, who became Earl of Aberdeen in 1870. Although the full family name was Hamilton-Gordon, the first half was not always used and in fact the 1881 census has him listed as John C Gordon, living in Grosvenor Square. He fits the profile as he was born in 1847 and attended Cheam Preparatory School - the same as Arthur Kinnaird who was one of the match organisers. However, I haven't yet found a reference to his secondary school, only his universities (St Andrews and Oxford).

More digging to do!

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Post by prorege » Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:59 am

Probably not relevant, but interesting all the same . . .

Blyth Smart (2nd Ed, 2005) devoted several pages to AG Goodwyn, prominent English footballer, who played for the Royal Engineers in the 1872 Cup Final and played for England in 1873.

He notes that Goodwyn was a second cousin of Charles George Gordon (the General, of Khartoum fame), Gordon had five male siblings, all of whom would be around the right age to have offspring playing football in 1870.

Given the many family links and the 'old boy network' in football at that time, it is possible that the 'Gordon' of NN Kilburn was part of the Gordon family more noted for its military exploits.

I'm not aware of Scottish connections in the Gordon family but the name would again imply that this is a possibility.

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Post by LEATHERSTOCKING » Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:48 pm

To play for "Scotland" in these early "inter-nationals" the requisite was to be Scottish, to have a Scottish sounding name, to own vast tracts of Scotland or to just be available on the afternoon of the game.

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Post by Sat31March1928 » Wed Jul 22, 2009 5:06 pm

LEATHERSTOCKING wrote:To play for "Scotland" in these early "inter-nationals" the requisite was to be Scottish, to have a Scottish sounding name, to own vast tracts of Scotland or to just be available on the afternoon of the game.
Over 100 years ahead of the Irish Republic then.
Jackson; James; Jackson; James; Jackson

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Post by ScottishFA » Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:31 pm

prorege wrote:Goodwyn was a second cousin of Charles George Gordon (the General, of Khartoum fame), Gordon had five male siblings, all of whom would be around the right age to have offspring playing football in 1870.

Given the many family links and the 'old boy network' in football at that time, it is possible that the 'Gordon' of NN Kilburn was part of the Gordon family more noted for its military exploits.

I'm not aware of Scottish connections in the Gordon family but the name would again imply that this is a possibility.
That Gordon family were from Devon! And his brothers (four, not five) were:
Henry 1818-87
Samuel 1824-83
William 1831-63
Frederick 1833-72
So the initials don't fit either.
LEATHERSTOCKING wrote:To play for "Scotland" in these early "inter-nationals" the requisite was to be Scottish, to have a Scottish sounding name, to own vast tracts of Scotland or to just be available on the afternoon of the game.
I'm trying to show that is actually a myth. Yes, they were well off, but from what I have found so far they all would have qualified for Scotland under the current rules (ie up to grandparent) with the possible exception of Morten who was a later replacement - and even his birth/death details are uncertain.

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