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l'angelo mysterioso

A sport born of rebellion?

163 posts in this topic

no it wasn't a myth

rather  than pay players they were to be compensated for time lost at work on game day-people in industry worked on Saturday. It was a fixed ammount.

 

By this the northern clubs thought they would stave off vprofessionalism and stay onside with the RFU. The people running the clubs weren't socialist firebrands, they were figures of the establishment

 

You don't have to be a socialist firebrand to start a rebellion. The rich men running the game in the north were mostly nouveau riche with their money coming from the industrial revolution. The people running the RFU were the ancien regime and felt threatened by working class players busting their patrician a**s and petit bourgoisie funding these people making the patrician rulers of the game and it's founders very defintely at the bottom of the pecking order.

 

They seized upon the broken time issue as a club with which to repel this invasion of working class players and get them out of the game. They were quite happy with gentlemen players claiming extravagant expenses for playing but broken time was to be verboten.

 

The Northern clubs did not so much paint themselves into a corner as they were forced into it by the RFU who were hell bent on getting the balance of rugby power back from Wigan and Leeds to Harlequins and Blackheath and were prepared to commit rugby suicide to cut this cancer of Northern dominance based on working calss players out of their game.

 

Faced with that the good burgers who ran the Northern Union clubs did indeed rebel against the oppression that was being foistered on them by the RFU.

 

The whole situation has a similarity with the American revolution. They were being dictated to and discriminated against by the British and broke away and broke away/rebelled to safeguard their way of life but they weren't wild revolutioanries. The state they founded had a property vote only, so half the population could not vote and they retained slavery. They were men of property and business but they rebelled nevertheless.

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At the end of the day they didn't want to leave the RFU or overthrow it, now that would be a rebellion.

 

Did they not collectively in Augst 1895 resign from the RFU and form the Northern RFU, a seperate and new organisation and therfore a rebel orgainisation.

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Plenty of closed clubs up north too, Pontefract RUFC as an example (as Old Pomfretians) was only for old boys of The King's Grammar School until the late 1960s

 

My son of a miner father, went there on a scholarship on the 1930s, so they screwed up on that one. his accent wouild have curled their toes.

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My son of a miner father, went there on a scholarship on the 1930s, so they screwed up on that one. his accent wouild have curled their toes.

 

Old Pomfretians always had a much more elastic view on who could play for their club otherwise they'd've never survived.

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You also could not work in a bar. Probably something to do with the temperance movement.

I think the explanation is more practical. Barman is a job that could easily involve no actual work for the player concerned. Not like clocking in at a factory and working all day producing things. It could easily be got around.

I also think it *was* a rebellion, regardless of their intention or the social make up of the owners. Society then was much more conformist and you didnt organise any sort of breakaway without conviction you were right and they were wrong.

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Good topic this. Whether the issue which caused the separation was broken time payments or wanting cup and league competitions is open to debate, and I suspect it was a combination of the two. What I did start to wonder, some years ago, is why the RFU was so dead set against what they saw as professionalism, when, particularly with regard to broken time payments, it was only making sure players weren't out of pocket when missing a work shift because of having to travel long distances to matches on Saturday mornings. After some research, what I did find out is that rugby lost loads of clubs to pro football when that started and, more than likely, the RFU were anxious to avoid a repeat situation. Only speculation, I know, but it does sound plausible.

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I think the explanation is more practical. Barman is a job that could easily involve no actual work for the player concerned. Not like clocking in at a factory and working all day producing things. It could easily be got around.

I also think it *was* a rebellion, regardless of their intention or the social make up of the owners. Society then was much more conformist and you didnt organise any sort of breakaway without conviction you were right and they were wrong.

 

Yes and yes

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Did they not collectively in Augst 1895 resign from the RFU and form the Northern RFU, a seperate and new organisation and therfore a rebel orgainisation.

What happened was they actually resigned from the RFU before that without realising it. The Lancashire Daily post reported on August 27th that the clubs had resigned from the Yorkshire clubs resigned from the Yorkshire Union on August 26th at a meeting at The Green Dragon Hotel in Leeds, by resigning from the Yorkshire Union they resigned from the RFU, the clubs thought they could remain in the RFU. The Lancashire clubs left their Union at a meeting in Manchester at the Grand Hotel. in May 

 

The clubs didn't resign from the RFU, they couldn't.

 

See my earlier quote from Old Ebor in the Athletic News

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I was mostly disagreeing with Angie when your list of directors caught my eye.

The point I'm making is that there were class differences between those running the game in the north and those in the south. The northerners were by-and-large self-made-men (or their father / grandfather was) making their money in industry. Naturally they were significant men in their communities.

But the southerners were often gentry who were the real establishment (Angelo uses the term to describe the northerners). None of them would have been seen dead inside a factory.

There was a class angle to the "rebellion". It just wasn't a particularly socialist one. The northerners thought that they could make the southerners respect them and accept their ways; the southerners were not interested in the nouveaux riches or the hoi polloi.

How different we're these people to the ones running union clubs or the sport in general in other parts of the country including the South?

We know that to this day the aristocracy are interested in union, but I'm not sure what their pro active involvement in the sport is or was historically. The establishment IMHO dined further down the food chain than you suggest

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Plenty of closed clubs up north too, Pontefract RUFC as an example (as Old Pomfretians) was only for old boys of The King's Grammar School until the late 1960s

A work colleague of my father played for old pomfretians in the 1950s his name was Clifford piper he didn't go to kings school

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My son of a miner father, went there on a scholarship on the 1930s, so they screwed up on that one. his accent wouild have curled their toes.

There was nothing posh about kings school

Although it was a little more desirable than normanton grammar.

The club isn't that old

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The fact that the owners were wealthy actually makes it more of a rebellion. Middle class Victorians didn't go against authority lightly, it wasnt the done thing.

The club owners might not have been rioting in the streets or shouting 'what do we want? ' (10%) and they were possibly reluctant about it but they were rebelling all the same.

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"The Reluctant Rebellion".

 

"The Inadvertant Rebels".

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[Padge] " The Yorkshire clubs resigned from the Yorkshire Union on August 26th at a meeting at The Green Dragon Hotel in Leeds, by resigning from the Yorkshire Union they resigned from the RFU, .

The Lancashire clubs left their Union at a meeting in Manchester at the Grand Hotel. in May 1895"

 

Great !

Get two Commemorative Plaques up, 1 in Manchester Pre-dating the Yorkshire Clubs resignation for bragging rights , 1 in Leeds predating the George Hotel Meeting so leeds can have the bragging rights over Huddersfield .

We don't need to worry who owns the George anymore ..

 

the Green Dragon I guess would be is referred as being replaced by the Guildford Pub  , now Oxygen on the Headrow Leeds ?

the Grand is still in Piccadilly square albeit now trendy flats

Get Stevo to buy a Flat in the Grand , put his memorabilia there ,

we can all visit over Magic Weekend in May  ... cos that's now the real anniversary of the split in 1895 ...

now that's rebellion

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I was mostly disagreeing with Angie when your list of directors caught my eye.

 

The point I'm making is that there were class differences between those running the game in the north and those in the south. The northerners were by-and-large self-made-men (or their father / grandfather was) making their money in industry. Naturally they were significant men in their communities. 

 

But the southerners were often gentry who were the real establishment (Angelo uses the term to describe the northerners). None of them would have been seen dead inside a factory.

 

There was a class angle to the "rebellion". It just wasn't a particularly socialist one. The northerners thought that they could make the southerners respect them and accept their ways; the southerners were not interested in the nouveaux riches or the hoi polloi.

 

 

Bourgeoisie v Aristocracy in very simplified terms.

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A work colleague of my father played for old pomfretians in the 1950s his name was Clifford piper he didn't go to kings school

 

That's interesting, having spent most of my formative years down there, I'd always been led to believe that only old boys could play until The Sports Council part funded the replacement for the old wooden hut and forced them to open up.

 

The current club chairman is a close family friend (and old boy of Kings), I'll quiz him on that.

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the idea that it was some kind of noble uprising by horny handesonse of toil to play the game they loved was at best a myth: at worst bullsh it

 

the clubs were founded and run by wealthy educated people. They saw what that professionasm was messing up soccer, were under pressure to pay their players, decided the clubs couldn't afford it and acted accordingly...a compromise: a compromse that the RFU rejected...although it could have gon the other way. The northern clubs didn't rebel. they had painted themselves into a corner.

 

It was born of rebellion inasmuchas people like Rev Frank Marshall, headmaster of Almondbury Grammar School was fond of reporting local players to the RFU and getting them banned because he could prove they had taken money, either for broken time or to play. 

It's true that the Lancashire and Yorkshire sides didn't want to secede from the RFU they were forced to. But IMO the RFU expected the L&Y clubs to concede once they'd lost the vote on broken time.  The clubs did not concede, they set up their own show. If the secession of the Southern States of the US  in 1860 was a rebellion then this too was a rebellion.

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There was nothing posh about kings school

Although it was a little more desirable than normanton grammar.

The club isn't that old

 

There's a photo in the clubhouse of the 1890-91 Yorkshire cup team, that's pretty old in my book

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There's a photo in the clubhouse of the 1890-91 Yorkshire cup team, that's pretty old in my book

 

There's a photo in my house of a pub that's 400 years old, our house is only 35 years old though.

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No, but they weren't landed gentry either.

 

Exactly. They were "trade" as far as those who ran the RFU were concerned such people were no better than the miners and weavers who were playing the game.

But it's true that the L&Y clubs as far as playing strength and success on the field was concerned were the best in the country.  IMO the RFU had seen what had happened to soccer and were determined it wouldn't happen to "their" game.  Those who founded the NFU presumably took the pragmatic view that what was sauce for the goose (soccer) was sauce for the gander (Rugby)

If you look at the early winners of the FA Cup, you find Old Etonians, Royal Engineers, Wanderers, Oxford University. After the advent of professionalism you find West Brom and Blackburn Rovers winning the cup.  The RFU knew that the L&Y clubs were dominating Rugby, they saw broken time as the thin end of the wedge (which TBF it proved to be) and they guessed that if full professionalism was allowed than Rugby would go the way of soccer.  They determined to put a stop to this.  But I'm sure they didn't expect the outcome they got.

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It was born of rebellion inasmuchas people like Rev Frank Marshall, headmaster of Almondbury Grammar School was fond of reporting local players to the RFU and getting them banned because he could prove they had taken money, either for broken time or to play. 

It's true that the Lancashire and Yorkshire sides didn't want to secede from the RFU they were forced to. But IMO the RFU expected the L&Y clubs to concede once they'd lost the vote on broken time.  The clubs did not concede, they set up their own show. If the secession of the Southern States of the US  in 1860 was a rebellion then this too was a rebellion.

The clubs that weren't rebelling though, they were trying their utmost to remain within the RFU, the fact that they cocked it up and finished up resigning from the RFU by default when they thought they hadn't doesn't make them rebels it makes them naive.

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There's a photo in the clubhouse of the 1890-91 Yorkshire cup team, that's pretty old in my book

Different incarnation if the club

Old pomfretians wasn't formed until after World War Two changing its name to pontefract in the 1960s I forget exactly what year

Halifax rugby union club until recently claimed to have won the original yorkshire cup, which had actually been won by the club that joined the northern union. Halifax union club wasn't even formed until the 1920s

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Exactly. They were "trade" as far as those who ran the RFU were concerned such people were no better than the miners and weavers who were playing the game.

But it's true that the L&Y clubs as far as playing strength and success on the field was concerned were the best in the country.  IMO the RFU had seen what had happened to soccer and were determined it wouldn't happen to "their" game.  Those who founded the NFU presumably took the pragmatic view that what was sauce for the goose (soccer) was sauce for the gander (Rugby)

If you look at the early winners of the FA Cup, you find Old Etonians, Royal Engineers, Wanderers, Oxford University. After the advent of professionalism you find West Brom and Blackburn Rovers winning the cup.  The RFU knew that the L&Y clubs were dominating Rugby, they saw broken time as the thin end of the wedge (which TBF it proved to be) and they guessed that if full professionalism was allowed than Rugby would go the way of soccer.  They determined to put a stop to this.  But I'm sure they didn't expect the outcome they got.

 

I suggest you do more reading, there are many reports about the arguments with the Lancs and Yorks Unions over fixtures, leagues and cup competitions being an issue for years before the split, the senior clubs weren't having this argument with the RFU, the RFU frowned upon such competitions but didn't ban them and left it to the counties to decide.

 

The Lancashire Union was formed in 1881, prior to this Manchester Rugby Club was solely in charge of County fixtures, before long Manchester and Liverpool dominated the  Lancashire Union and effectively controlled the county.

 

West Lancasire clubs, mindful of soccer's success, decided to form their own union in November 1984, they had 24 clubs who competed for the West Lancashire Cup in the 85/86 season by the next season they were up to 50 clubs. In 1889 they decided to form a league to replace the knock out cup. This league consisted of 8 teams and lasted for two years despite attracting crowds as high as 15,000.

 

In Yorkshire 12 clubs decided in 1892 that they wanted to form a league system over which they would have control. The Yorkshire union vetoed the idea.

 In the 92/93 season as an effort to appease the clubs The Yorkshire Rugby Football Union Senior Competition was given the go ahead.

 

Back in Lancashire the idea of a league was revisited in 1892 and the Lancashire Club Championship was born.

 

The idea of a league competition in Yorkshire hit the buffers at the end of the 1894/95 season when clubs from the lower division demanded automatic promotion to the Seniors competition.  Hull and Wakefield had finished bottom of the Seniors and Morley and Castleford were champions and runners up in the Seconds competition. In Lancashire they had used a play-off system to decide if a club would be promoted.

 

Morley and Castleford demanded that they should be promoted at the expense of Hull and Wakefield, however the Senior Clubs voted to keep Hull and Wakefield in.

 

The Yorkshire Union vetoed the Senior clubs decision and this is what forced the Yorkshire clubs to resign from the Yorkshire Union and thus without realising it from the RFU a similar argument happened in Lancashire when the clubs demanded more control over their own fixtures. When all this was going on broken time wasn't a big issue (illegal payments and inducements may have been but broken time wasn't).

 

The senior clubs had been discussing for some time having a Lancashire Northen Union League and Yorkshire Northern Union League based on a Seniors competition and having the winners of each competition play-off to be Northern Union champions, such proposals had been put to the RFU but rejected.

 

The RFU almost certainly would like to be rid of some of the troublesome Northern Clubs especially the ones indulging in underhand professionalism. The actions of the senior clubs in isolating themselves and resigning from the county unions over the issue of Leagues gave the RFU what they wanted on a plate, it was the RFU that pushed this as a broken time and professionalism argument not the clubs as this would get support from many quarters where as the objection of the county unions to leagues would probably get less support.

 

Broken time is a red herring and was used as a stick to beat the Northern Clubs with by the RFU through the Southern media.

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The clubs that weren't rebelling though, they were trying their utmost to remain within the RFU, the fact that they cocked it up and finished up resigning from the RFU by default when they thought they hadn't doesn't make them rebels it makes them naive.

So why didn't they just pack it in after a year or two if it was just a trivial spat? It was an act of rebellion.

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So why didn't they just pack it in after a year or two if it was just a trivial spat? It was an act of rebellion.

 

All the players and officials (including referees) were under life-time bans from the RFU, if they wanted to continue to play rugby they had nowhere to go. Even their grounds were declared as being professionalised and therefore no RFU club or even player could play on a NU pitch without professionalising themselves. If they had packed in and a new committee organised a whole bunch of new players they would have had nowhere to play.

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