Huddersfield Chronicle (23/Dec/1893) - Local Athletic Notes: A Great Secret

In August 1893, the Huddersfield Rugby Union team signed two of the Cummersdale Hornets' best players – three-quarter backs George Boak and John "Jock" Forsyth. The two men were given pre-paid rail tickets to Huddersfield, local accommodation and jobs at Read Holliday and Sons chemical works. The Cumberland team claimed that the men had been offered financial inducements to leave Cumbria and the subsequent investigation by the Rugby Football Union resulted in both players being banned for a "flagrant breech of the laws against professionalism" and the Huddersfield team being suspended for the remainder of the year. Of particular suspicion to them was the fact that Charles Holliday was the club's President. The fallout from the Huddersfield suspension, along with similar suspensions for Salford and Wigan, led to the Northern teams voting on 29 August 1895 to resign from the Union and forming the Rugby League.

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.


The period of Huddersfield’s suspension is rapidly drawing to a close. In a little more than a week New Year’s Day and the fixture against Hunslet will be upon ns, and then we shall breathe again. Meanwhile, I am glad to see that the players are turning up in such good numbers for the cross-country runs that are being arranged with the object of keeping them in training. Some of them are getting quite enthusiastic about this method of preserving their “staying” powers, but I heard of a few of the “hounds” at the opening run not thinking quite so much of it when they found that the “trail,” after showing the way through Storths, Birkby, lay in a straight line up Grimescar Wood right out at the top at Fixby. What we want to do is to open well, and if our men will only take care of themselves, I have no doubt they will render a good account of themselves, heavy as the programme before them undoubtedly is.

Still another ruling has emanated from the Rugby Union, who now declare that all members of the football section of the club will not be allowed to act as referees or linesmen during the period of suspension. The decision previously was only applicable to those members of the club who had ever played football. With the exception of the Rev. F. Marshall, practically every member who had been in the habit of acting in the capacities named was precluded from doing so. The last ruling I believe includes the rev. gentleman within the ban of the Rugby Union.

“Cid,” a well-known contributor to the columns of the Daily Chronicle, kindly sends a few verses on the situation, which I have no doubt will be read with interest. He heads them

A Great Secret

Dear Umpire if you’ll lend your ear.
I will a tale unfold
About those 15 football men
Who wear “Claret and Gold;”
I whisper it in confidence,
I know you will not tell
The Secret Inquisition,
But keep it to “yoursell.”
Since these men were suspended, sir,
I’ve watched them night and day,
And though I’ve warned them tearfully.
They still will football play;
One kicks an old hat up and down.
With anger in his eye,
Another runs with a mop-head
And swears he’s scored a try.
Another in his playtime hours.
Among his boys at school,
Runs like the wind and drops a goal.
Although against the rule;
Another walking through the park,
Gets mixed amongst the boys
In scrimmages, lines-out, and pass
And joins in their wild noise.
Another in his own backyard
I caught in great delight,
Playing amongst his boys and girls—
Ah, what a pretty sight!
But when I told him I should tell
The great suspending men,
His face grew pale, and kneeling begged
My pardon there and then.
Another of impetuous mien,
Who fears not man nor ——
I caught abroad at midnight once,
And though to me quite civil
He said, to keep in exercise,
He, in imagination,
Had kicked suspending heads about—
For this there’s no salvation.