Playing long balls into empty space since 2012.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Soccer reporting in 1915 Melbourne

This is a nice example of the calibre of soccer reporting produced by one element the Melbourne press in 1915. J.W Harrison in the Winner produced some terrific articles that gave broad coverage to the game and the culture and politics around it. The article is from 19 May 1915 p 7


Britishers are immensely proud of the ready response which field sportsmen made when first the 'call to arms' sounded. It is only in keeping with the true British spirit that our athletes should eagerly volunteer for the defence of King and Empire, and when the roll of honor is published in detail of those who forsook their football uniform for the khaki and the handling of the rifle, players and followers of the soccer code will be among those who hold pride of place in the football world. And in that category the Victorian Amateur British Football Association will be numbered.

In this connection a family of footballers is well worthy of mention. I refer to the three brothers Lowe, of the St. Kilda Club, all members of the Australian Expeditionary Force, whose portraits are published in this issue.The family record is one to commend itself, seeing that the trio of brothers so readily forsook their home and playing fields for the stern realities of war.Victorian soccerites are proud of them,and rightly so.

The three players — T. E., A. H., and H. M. Lowe, respectively — had done yeoman service for the St. Kilda club, and that organisation rendered them all possible honor prior to their departure for active service. The Lowe family arrived in Melbourne some 14years ago from Aberdeen, the granite city of Scotland. T. E. Lowe, familiarly known as Tommy, began his career with the St. Kilda club six years ago, and became so popular that in the following season he was appointed captain of the seaside organisation. His two brothers came into prominence with St. Kilda somewhat later. Some two years ago A. H.Lowe was appointed treasurer and assistant secretary of the club, and also kept goal for the club in that period. The two abovenamed are, at the time of writing, on the high seas with the Australian Expeditionary Force, following in the wake of H. M. Lowe, who is already at the front with his brother Australians at the Dardanelles. H. M. Lowe was a promising young footballer in St. Kilda's second team. A fourth brother — Bert. — Is also in the ranks of that club.

One and all were sorry to hear of the death in Egypt of Private R. Martin, formerly secretary of the Northumberland and Durham United club; and later still of the wounding of Private Waterhouse, a playing member of the St. Kilda organisation. An illuminated photograph of the Northumberland and Durham team, with an inset of the late Private Martin, has been sent to his bereaved parents. It was the gift of Mr. Bergin, a member of the N. arid D. club, who sailed on the steamer Beltanaon Saturday last on a visit to England.

The inclement weather of last weekend played havoc with the 'Soccer' programme, equally with that of other field sports. In fact, the Spotswood v. Footscray Thistle fixture had to be abandoned owing to the playing arena being flooded, and Yarraville v. Albert Park was also a game not proceeded with. It is only on rare occasions that I have known Soccer games to have to be abandoned, and invariably King Frost has been the culprit, though, of I
course, that was in another part of the world.

The advent of the new club representing H.M.A.S.. Cerberus into the ranks of the Victorian Amateur British Foot-ball Association is being watched with interest. Though the Jack Tars struck a 'bad patch' as it were, when opposing Northumberland and Durham United on Saturday. I hear excellent re-ports of their spirit of sportsmanship which was in evidence in the whole progress of the game.

The most wonderful piece of work in Saturday's Soccer programme was the goal-scoring of W. Kilty for the North of England representatives, that player putting up four goals — all the points registered in the match. No wonder that his team members and opponents alike congratulated Kilty upon his meritorious performance. I am told that the game was one of the 'cleanest' ever seen on the N. and D. enclosure, and that the naval men would make things hum if they could get combination by playing' the same set of men week by week. Those, however, who know anything of 'the Service' realise that that is almost an impossibility.'

Cerberus soccer eleven proved themselves to be possessed of 'nippy' for-wards, and when they made tracks for goal took a lot of holding back. And I am aware that N. and D. know some-thing of defensive tactics! Finch, at centre forward, played a great game, and made no mistake when the opening came by placing the ball out of the reach of N. and D's, 'star' goalkeeper, Robison. For the winners, in whose ranks D. Jeffrey reappeared from retirement, owing to J. Grieves having an injured hand, Helas and Soames played their usual sound game at back. J. Ford also put up. A great game in the forward line, but H. Marsden, who was given a trial, was somewhat disappointing. Referee Dempster handled the game well.

In Section B. of the League, a close contest was that between Birmingham and Thistle, and, after their defeat at Preston the week previous, the Brums' victory over the Scotsmen by 2 — 1 must have brought solace in its wake. Allen and Hogg were the scorers for the victors. Thistle's goal coming from the foot of A. Wood. I am wondering if the Thistle representatives are suffering from want of combination, though perhaps the season is too young to weigh form properly. 
Preston, who pleased their supporters the previous week, in their initial match at home, failed to retain their reputation when opposed to St. Kilda,a team of great promise. Nevertheless, Captain T. Bailey's eleven is capable of improving upon last week-end's performance. Church and Lamb put on the two goals for the winners in the first portion of the game.
I congratulate Prahran upon their victory over Sandringham, which should prove a stimulus to them in their future engagements. 
The new club— Brunswick — found Hawthorn too smart for them at almost all points of the game, though it maybe aptly put forward as an excuse that the lads of Brunswick have not had time to get that combination necessary for success. The near future may put a different complexion upon their prowess. And I am told that the team referred to have no reason to lose heart at Saturday's non-success.


  1. Have you found out anything more on J.W.Harrison? I'm guessing he arrived in Australia not long before starting with The Winner. He covered lower tier Aussie Rules when soccer went into recess in 1916. Have not seen his name pop up after The Winner folded.

  2. I haven't seen much. I think he was a Geordie. I wonder if he went to Sporting Globe - which may have been a reincarnation of the winner.

  3. "Centre" was the Globe's first soccer man in 1922. By 1925 it was J.O.Wilshaw from the Association filing their reports.

  4. Maybe, but after using his full name it would be unusual to revert to using a nom-de-plume.

    Of the 1914 correspondents, he was the only one using his actual name:

    The Age: "Full-Back"
    The Herald: "Centre-Half"
    The Winner: J.W.Harrison
    Sporting Judge: "Linesman"