Satadru145England vs Scotland (First International Football match) : Scotland 0 - England 0, 30th November 1872, Partick, Scotland
Scotland versus England (1872) was the first ever official international football match to be played. It was contested by the national teams of Scotland and England. The match took place on 30 November 1872 at West of Scotland Cricket Club's ground at Hamilton Crescent in Partick, Scotland. The match finished in a 0–0 draw and was watched by 4,000 spectators.
Appropriately enough, the match was arranged for St Andrew's Day, and the West of Scotland Cricket Club's ground at Hamilton Crescent in Partick was selected as the venue. All eleven Scottish players were selected from Queen's Park, the leading Scottish club at this time. Scotland had hoped to obtain the services of Arthur Kinnaird of The Wanderers and Henry Renny-Tailyour of Royal Engineers but both were unavailable. The teams for this match were got together "with some difficulty, each side losing some of their best men almost at the last moment". The Scottish side was selected by goalkeeper and captain Robert W. Gardner. The English side was selected from nine different clubs and was selected by Charles Alcock, who himself was unable to play due to injury. The match, initially scheduled for 2pm, was delayed for 20 minutes due to fog. The 4,000 spectators paid an entry fee of a shilling, the same amount charged at the 1872 FA Cup Final.
The Scots wore dark blue shirts. This match is, however, not the origin of the blue Scotland shirt, as contemporary reports of the 5 February 1872 rugby international at the Oval clearly show that "the scotch were easily distinguishable by their uniform of blue jerseys.... the jerseys having the thistle embroidered." The thistle had been worn previously in the 1871 rugby international.
The match itself illustrated the advantage gained by the Queen's Park players "through knowing each others' play" as all came from the same club. Contemporary match reports clearly show dribbling play by both the English and the Scottish sides, for example: "The Scotch now came away with a great rush, Leckie and others dribbling the ball so smartly that the English lines were closely besieged and the ball was soon behind", "Weir now had a splendid run for Scotland into the heart of his opponents' territory" and "Kerr.. closed the match by the most brilliant run of the day, dribbling the ball past the whole field." Although the Scottish team are acknowledged to have worked better together during the first half, the contemporary account in the Scotsman newspaper acknowledges that in the second half England played similarly: "During the first half of the game the English team did not work so well together, but in the second half they left nothing to be desired in this respect." There is no specific description of a passing maneouvre in the lengthy contemporary match reports, although two weeks' later The Graphic reported "[Scotland] seem to be adepts at passing the ball". There is no evidence in the article that the author attended the match, as the reader is clearly pointed to match descriptions in "sporting journals". It is also of note that the 5 March 1872 match between Wanderers and Queen's Park contains no evidence of ball passing.
The spread of passing itself - that ‘united action’ - can be traced back to one game, football’s first international, played between England and Scotland at Hampden Park, Glasgow, in 1872. England’s line-up comprised a ‘goal’, a ‘three-quarter back’, a ‘halfback’, a ‘fly-kick’, four players listed simply as ‘middle’, two as ‘left side’ and one as ‘right side’, which, to try to apply modern notation, sounds like something approximating to a lop-sided 1-2-7. ‘The formation of a team as a rule…’ Alcock noted, ‘was to provide for seven forwards, and only four players to constitute the three lines of defence. The last line was, of course, the goalkeeper, and in front of him was only one full-back, who had again before him but two forwards, to check the rushes of the opposing forwards.’
Scotland were represented by the Queen’s Park club, which, until the foundation of the Scottish FA in 1873, governed the Scottish game - functioning much like the MCC in cricket or the Royal and Ancient in golf. Crucially, they were over a stone per man lighter than England. It is indicative of the physicality of early football that most pundits seemed to have expected that weight advantage would give England a comfortable victory, but what it actually did was to stimulate the imagination. Although direct evidence is sketchy, it seems probable that, as Richard McBrearty of the Scottish Football Museum argues, Queen’s Park decided they had to try to pass the ball around England rather than engage in a more direct man-to-man contest in which they were likely to be out-muscled, and their formation was very definitely a 2-2-6. The ploy paid off. England, with a more established tradition and a far larger pool of players from which to select, were firm favourites, but were held to a goalless draw. ‘The Englishmen,’ the report in the Glasgow Herald said, ‘had all the advantage in respect of weight, their average being about two stones heavier than the Scotchmen [a slight exaggeration], and they also had the advantage in pace. The strong point with the home club was that they played excellently well together.’
On a pitch that was heavy due to the continuous rain over the previous three days, the smaller and lighter Scottish side pushed their English counterparts hard. The Scots had a goal disallowed in the first half after the umpires decided that the ball had cleared the tape. The latter part of the match saw the Scots defence under pressure by the heavier English forwards. The Scots played two full backs, two half backs and six forwards. The English played only one full back, one half back and eight forwards. Since three defenders were required for a ball played to be onside, the English system was virtually a ready-made offside trap. Scotland would come closest to winning the match when, in the closing stages, a Robert Leckie shot landed on top of the tape which was used to represent the crossbar. At some point in the game, the England goalkeeper, Robert Barker, decided to join the action outfield when he switched places with William Maynard.
Match details :
Date : 30th November 1872
Score : Scotland 0–0 England
Venue : Hamilton Crescent, Partick, Scotland
Attendance : 4,000
Referee : Willy Keay (Scotland)
SCOTLAND : (All of Queen's Park)
GK Robert W. Gardner (c)
BK William Ker
BK Joseph Taylor
HB James Thomson
HB James Smith
FW Robert Smith
FW Robert Leckie
FW Alexander Rhind
FW Billy MacKinnon
FW Jerry Weir
FW David Wotherspoon
GK Robert Barker (Hertfordshire Rangers)
BK Ernest Greenhalgh (Notts County)
HB Reginald de Courtenay Welch (Harrow Chequers)
FW Frederick Chappell (Oxford University)
FW William Maynard (1st Surrey Rifles)
FW John Brockbank (Cambridge University)
FW Charles Clegg (Sheffield Wednesday)
FW Arnold Kirke-Smith (Oxford University)
FW Cuthbert Ottaway (Oxford University) (c)
FW Charles Chenery (Crystal Palace)
FW Charles Morice (Barnes)
GK = Goalkeeper
BK = Back
HB = Half-back
FW = Forward