City hero turns down place in Full England team

Following the completion of the extension of the stand, councillor J Buckley Robinson donated a flag to the club. An appeal was then put out for a flagstaff for the club to fly the flag. G.T. Wiggins, the contractor who carried out the extension work, duly donated a flagstaff.

The club announced that it would sell season tickets for the coming season but the Supporters Club voiced its disappointment that the tickets did not include admission to Reserve team matches. The number of deposits for the season tickets reached only 25% of what had been anticipated, consequently the tickets were withdrawn and refunds issued.

City captain George Meagher retires

Meagher 1922On the playing side City headed into the new season with a new captain at the helm in their bid to become the only club to win the Athenian League three times in succession. George Meagher (left) turned 33 on 6thMay and decided that it was time to retire from playing, he did, though, offer to be on standby if required. He went on to play in 19 games and passed a significant landmark along the way. Meagher was also elected onto the committee at Clarence Park in place of Frank Rabone who had stood down after giving 12-years’ service to the club.

The responsibility of captain was passed to the highly popular Innes Tennent, the singing Kiwi having won the vote amongst his fellow players. Unfortunately, Tennent suffered a knee injury early in the season and his time with the City came to a premature end.

Arthur Webdale re-joined the club having last played for City in May 1921. Since then he had turned out for Rushden, Kettering and, latterly, Luton Clarence. He had tried to return to St Albans for the start of the 1921-22 season but, at the time, there was not a vacancy in the side.

The Miller brothers were very much in demand and St Albans faced a struggle to keep hold of all three. Hampstead Town expressed a desire to sign Harold, the youngest of the three and handed the moniker of ‘Babe,’ but he remained with the City. His two brothers, Ted and Redvers, both signed as amateurs for Watford but continued to play for the Saints. When word got out that Redvers might be moving on City claimed to have received almost 100 applications from players looking to fill his outside-left position.

Another player signing amateur forms elsewhere but remaining at the Park was Harry Hankey who signed on the dotted line for Millwall.

Percy Bird underwent an operation during the summer but was expected to be fit for the start of the new campaign. There had been some concern over the future of Harold Figg but after finding employment within the district he remained committed to the club. Wilf Minter grabbed the headlines even during the close season following his marriage on 23rdJune to Eleanor (Nell) Esther Rudlin.

The club agreed to allow the St Albans City Silver Band and St Albans British Legion to play alternately at home games while an offer from St John Ambulance to have two of their members present at every home game was accepted.

 

Metrogas resign from the Athenian League

The Athenian League was forced into operating with one club fewer for the 1922-23 season than the previous campaign. A Football Association investigation into the affairs of Metrogas recorded some astounding findings with the result that all bar two of its members were suspended immediately. At a meeting of the Athenian League on 17thAugust 1922, presided over by hon. secretary C.D. Crisp, the two remaining members of the club sensed the hostility towards them and promptly tendered the resignation of the club. This was duly accepted and the club’s fixtures were expunged from the records.

City’s preparations for the new season consisted of a trial match between ‘The Whites’ and ‘The Stipes’ followed by a friendly at home to Fulham Reserves. A high number of local players were involved in the practice match but none made it into the First team.

On the strength of his performance in the practice game W.Mundin earned himself a run out at outside-left against Fulham Reserves on 26thAugust. The former Army man had signed forms with Newport County towards the end of the previous season and was invited back by the Welsh club but returned to his native St Albans. His efforts, though, were in vain and he was despatched to the Reserve team.

Fulham won the friendly 5-1 and City suffered a blow when full-back Tommy Field suffered an injury that was to rule him out of the opening five games of the season. Kingstonian provided the opposition for the opening league game of the season. The Surrey club, having finished bottom of the table the previous season, had what was believed to be a stronger team this time around but still kicked off the campaign with a 5-0 defeat at Clarence Park. By the end of those first 90 minutes City had five different names on the scoresheet; Babe Miller, Bird, Hankey, Figg and Phil Pierce.

City faced a free day on the second Saturday of the season but filled it with a home friendly against Tunbridge Wells Rangers. The visitors to Clarence Park had been expected to send their Kent League side but instead sent what, at best, was their Reserve team. City supporters were not impressed at the poor quality of the opposition as the Saints strolled to a pointless 10-0 win and had three other goals disallowed. Minter scored three times, Meagher bagged a couple; Hart also scored once and did enough to keep his place in the side for City’s trip to Summerstown the following Saturday.

Before the Summerstown game three City players had the small matter of assisting Hertfordshire in the opening Southern Counties Amateur Championship match of the season against neighbours Bedfordshire at Clarence Park. Harold Figg, Harry Hankey and Wilfred Minter lined up for Herts while Percy Bird captained the visitors. Minter, having failed to score in either the pre-season friendly or the Kingstonian match, emphasised the point that he was back on song by scoring four times in the 6-1 rout. The crowd was 1,500.

City faced a break of five weeks after the Summerstown game before the next Athenian League fixture and it was made to feel even longer after a series of missed chances contributed to a 3-2 defeat at Earlsfield. Minter twice put City ahead but two goals in a couple of minutes enabled the home side to chalk up a surprise victory. E.Hart was very much made the scapegoat and, after just two appearances, was not seen again.

For the first of the four blank Saturday’s City entertained a Tottenham Hotspur XI that was listed as a Reserve side but included a wealth of First team experience. Charlie Handley, scorer of the Spurs goal, made 30 First team appearances during the season and was supported by Bob Brown (12), Jimmy Ross (6) and Andy Thompson (1). Bertie Butcher opened the scoring for St Albans in a 1-1 draw that was played in constant drizzle. In the City line-up was Harold ‘Babe’ Miller, his two brothers were also in action that day but, rather than being at Clarence Park, were ‘guesting’ for Hampstead during their 2-1 FA Cup defeat at Enfield. Redvers had signed Athenian League forms for Hampstead but requested a transfer and was back in the St Albans XI for the Saints next league match. Tottenham were strongly criticised for adopting tactics that relied upon an over-reliance on the offside trap.

The match was refereed by Stanley Rous, later Sir Stanley the President of FIFA from 1961-74. Rous took charge of a good number of matches at Clarence Park at this time.

F.A. top brass at Clarence Park

Clarence Park was in use again the following Saturday, 30thSeptember, when it hosted the prestigious representative match between the Athenian League and the Isthmian League. Five of the Athenians were on home soil and the large number of home-based players helped to swell the attendance to between 3,500 and 4,000. Fred Holland scored just once for St Albans in 32 games this season but he netted against the Isthmians in a 3-1 win for the Athenian League. The other City players on show were Figg, Hankey, Minter and Pierce. Those present at the game and looking on from the stand included many of the great names of the game from that time; Lieut-Col C.D. Crisp (chairman of the Athenian League), Henry Huband (secretary and treasurer of the Isthmian League), the referee secretaries of the two leagues, JR Schumacher (Isthmian), JF Ricketts (Athenian), along with Alfred Davis (vice president of the F.A,), Arthur Kingscott (hon. treasurer F.A,) and Frederick Wall (secretary F.A.). With nine players who represented England in Amateur International matches at one time or another taking part there was no shortage of scouts from the professional clubs scribbling notes.

Invite to play for Athenian League v Isthmian League at St Albans 9 09 1922

The Reserve team of Division Two side Clapton Orient paid a visit to Clarence Park the following Saturday and attracted a gate over 2,000. An entertaining 1-1 draw ensued on a difficult afternoon with a strong breeze blowing straight down the slope, Minter scored the City goal.

Holland, Pierce and Minter were back on representative duty the following Wednesday as the Athenian League drew with the Sussex County League at the Dripping Pan, Lewes.

A crowd of around 2,000 was back at the Park a week later, 14thOctober, to see City chalk up a comfortable 2-0 win over the nomads of Cardiff Amateurs. Harold Miller and Hankey scored the decisive goals. C.Billings was given a third successive run out in the friendly games but, with Redvers Miller returning to the fold, was not retained.

First home Athenian League defeat

The 21stOctober saw St Albans City play an Athenian League match for the first time since 16thSeptember with Bromley travelling from Kent to Clarence Park. Bromley, having won all of their games played, led the table and had the honour of being the first visiting side to collect both Athenian League points from Clarence Park. Since joining the league in 1920 St Albans had enjoyed an unbeaten record stretching back for 25 matches at Clarence Park, including ten straight wins prior to the visit of Bromley. Goals had been scored with gay abandon as 89 shots flew into the opposition net with just 18 conceded.

Bromley enjoyed some good fortune in winning 2-1. Tennent opted to kick up the slope and into a strong wind for the first half, looking to capitalise when Bromley would tire late in the game. Unfortunately for the City captain, the wind had eased up by the time the second half had started and, suddenly, Bromley’s single-goal advantage did not look so bad. Even worse for City was that Minter was knocked unconscious before half time. Remarkably, he reappeared early in the second half but was far from his sharpest form. 

City made several changes in preparation for Bromley’s visit. Redvers Miller came in at outside-left – and scored the Citizens goal – while George Meagher came out of retirement, for his first competitive game of the season, to step in at left-half and Hankey switched to left-back, a position that he had also filled for Millwall Reserves two days later.

Bromley now led the table by seven points having gained maximum points from eight games. City, having played just three games, were a point better off than bottom side Kingstonian.

Minter was declared fit to play for Hertfordshire on Thursday 26thand got amongst the scorers in a 4-1 win over Northamptonshire at Kettering. Ted Miller also scored and they were joined in the team by fellow Saints Redvers Miller and Hankey.

F.A. XI Honour for Harold Figg

Missing from the Hertfordshire side was Harold Figg (left), he had a rather more significant appointment twenty-four hours earlier down at Fratton Park in Portsmouth. Figg was chosen as captain of an F.A. XI that beat the Royal Navy & Marines XI 3-1. The Sporting Life was impressed with his performance and commented, “The middle line was excellent. H.Figg, who captained the side, had to do well to compare favourably with such players as Kay and Amos, and the amateur fully held his own.” Kay and Amos were professionals with West Ham United and Millwall respectively. Serving on the International Selection Committee at this time was George Wagstaffe Simmons, he was also vice chairman of the Southern Counties Amateur Championship Committee.

The following Saturday saw Redvers Miller on the scoresheet again, and Minter showed what he could still do with a clear head in the Athenian League when hitting a hat-trick in a 4-0 win over Hampstead. A debut was given to forward Frank Jenkins. Getting on for seven hundred supporters followed City to Avenue Crescent.

St Albans were due to face Southall on the first Saturday in November but the west London club were tied up in the Amateur Cup, a quick change was made to the fixture list and City travelled to Luton instead to face the Clarence club. The home club were enduring financial problems and, to ease the situation, were optimistic that City would match the 1,500 spectators that they took with them to the fixture a year earlier. Injury ruled Figg out of the game.

The encounter was a physical one with referee B.M. Neville of London being heavily criticised for not taking strong action to keep control. City claimed both points with a 3-2 victory at Round Green courtesy of another Minter hat trick, it was the first time that he had scored three times in two successive league games.

1921 22 Percy BirdThe win came at some cost. W.Lane gave Minter a rough afternoon and was spoken to on four or five occasions by the referee but no further action was taken. With just seconds remaining there was an incident that Percy Bird (left) was to regret for the rest of his career. Throughout the game he had had a tough time with the Clarence player G.Poole and when he robbed the centre-forward of possession in the final minute he was immediately fouled by him. A skirmish then ensued between the two players and both were sent off. 

Bird’s claim of self-defence garnered little sympathy at the F.A. and he was handed a four-week ban. Just a week before the Luton Clarence match Bird had been selected to travel as Reserve with the F.A. team to face Oxford University on 16thNovember. The F.A. withdrew his selection and he was never again considered for F.A. representative matches.

Three players did gain representative honours on the 9thwhen the Miller brothers turned out for the county against Berks & Bucks at Clarence Park. It was Harold’s only appearance for Hertfordshire but it was goals from Ted (2) and Redvers that secured a 3-2 win in the Southern Counties Amateur Championship.

 

 

Minter leads England attack at Preston

While Bird was left to lick his wounded pride, Minter’s career moved to a new level as he headed off to Preston on 11thNovember to lead the England attack in an international against Ireland at Deepdale. Minter played a leading part in the opening England goal and received a glowing report in the Athletic News. The headlines, though, were grabbed by a fellow debutant, Oxford City’s Frank Hartley, who scored three times in England’s 4-0 win. Hartley later scored five times in 13 games for Tottenham Hotspur. ‘Gamage’s Association Football Annual’ described the crowd as small; it was 6,500.

St Albans were without a league game while Minter was playing for England and filled the day with a friendly against Great Western League side Uxbridge Town. Figg was again absent and a family illness ruled out Hankey. Redvers Miller was also absent for the unusual reason that he stood in for his brother Ted at Watford. Ted had played in Watford’s two previous games, wins at home to Gillingham and Reading respectively, while in the return match with Reading, in which Redvers played, Watford lost 1-0 at Elm Park. Those three games were the brothers only appearances for Watford who were in Division Three (South) at the time.

Ted scored a hat trick during City’s 7-2 win over Uxbridge, while Frank Jenkins and trialist D.Chambers netted a brace each.

For the next game, at home to Dulwich Hamlet in the 4thRound Qualifying of the F.A. Cup, City called up all the big guns. Minter returned from international duty, Figg returned from injury, as did Tommy Field for his first game of the season. Bertie Butcher replaced Jenkins in the forward line and Redvers Miller came back in for Chambers.

After the good cup run the previous year City had received a bye until the latter stages of the qualifying rounds. Dulwich had knocked City out of the Amateur Cup in February and, as reigning Isthmian League champions and Amateur Cup finalists, were expected to have the edge in this meeting. Dulwich took the lead inside seven minutes when their Amateur and Full England international Edgar Kail volleyed home from a corner that many felt should have been a goal kick. City’s equalising goal, a paltry reward after dominating the game, was even more controversial than Kail’s. St Albans celebrated as Meagher helped a Redvers Miller (left) corner into the Hatfield Road net. Referee Mr Rolfe awarded the goal but, following a strong appeal by Dulwich, consulted linesman JW Hankin of Surrey and disallowed it. The argument was still not over and City persuaded the referee to have a word with the Hertfordshire-based linesman, W.Dyes, who claimed to have a clear view of the incident. This time the call went in St Albans favour and, by a two-to-one majority verdict, the goal stood. The crowd of 5,215 was placated, though still disappointed that the Citizens did not record a deserved victory.

The Historic F.A. Cup Tie at Champion Hill

City made two changes for the replay at Champion Hill on Wednesday afternoon, 22ndNovember. Arthur Webdale came in at full-back, Fred Holland moved to half-back and Figg was named in the forward line to replace Butcher. The most significant change was in goal where an injury ruled out Tennent. By a strange coincidence, Dulwich were also without Bert Coleman, their Amateur international custodian. Coleman was the first Dulwich player to be selected for the Full England team, beating the legendary Edgar Kail to the honour. However, the loss of Coleman was comfortably offset, as Hamlet could call upon the services of C.Williams, a goalkeeper with experience of Isthmian League football.

1922 23 Minter with photographer at CP copySt Albans, on the other hand, did not have another ‘keeper available to turn to. They called up Alf Fearn, whose goalkeeping prowess was an unknown quantity. He had made one known appearance for the Reserve team this season, as an outfield player, and during the 1921-22 season had been captain of St Albans Gasworks – at full-back. The match turned out to be one of the most remarkable and record breaking in the history of the FA Cup. With the game taking place on a Wednesday afternoon the attendance was lower than for the first encounter at 4,060.

St Albans started strongly and were soon pressing Williams into action, but it was Kail who opened the scoring for Dulwich. City then took a 3-1 lead with Minter grabbing a 15-minute hat trick. Dulwich were level by half time with Kail scoring his second and William Davis bagging the equaliser. Within seven minutes of the second half getting underway Hamlet were two goals to the good at 5-3 with Davis completing his hat trick. Davis’ second was controversial as Fearn lay flat out on the ground, said to be unconscious, following a clash with Sid Nicol. After treatment Fearn continued between the sticks.

Dulwich still led by two goal after an hour, but ten minutes later City led 6-5 and Minter had not only scored a second hat trick but also the quickest one of his career. City were in full flow and more goals beckoned. Five minutes from time referee JJ Kelley awarded City a goal kick but then, on the word of his linesman, changed it to a corner for the Hamlet. Fearn beat it away for another corner but he could do nothing to stop Nicol heading home from that cross and taking the game into extra time.

St Albans were determined to force victory but, with most of the side pushed forward to attack a free kick, Dulwich broke free and Kail became the third player to have a hat trick next to his name as he put the home side into a 7-6 lead. City felt that referee Kelley had been extremely lenient towards Hamlet full back Tom Goodliffe who, three times, cut City players down when clear on goal. Minter had twice been one of Goodliffe’s victims but four minutes from time Minter, with his seventh goal of the game, restored parity when heading home from a Redvers Miller corner.

As the light began to fade a third meeting looked inevitable but there was one final, and cruel, twist in the tail. The Herts Advertiser reported it thus.

‘It then seemed as though the teams would have to fight another day, but there was a dramatic finale to a thrilling game. When, according to the clocking of the majority of the multitude of pressmen present, the game should have been terminated, play was in progress on the touch-line in the Citizens’ half, and not far from the corner flag. The linesman signalled to the referee, who stopped play, and, after some argument, awarded a free kick on the linesman’s allegation that Figg had handled. The free kick was lobbed into the goalmouth, where, in the darkness, Davis headed past Fearn, and thus enabled Dulwich Hamlet to qualify to entertain Clapton in the next round of the F.A. Cup competition.’

Shortly before his death in December 1984 Minter revealed that for the only time in his long career his wife Nell had cleaned his boots for the replay.

1921 22 Harry HankeyMinter had scored seven times but St Albans City were out of the cup. His seven goals took him past George Edmonds’ total of 62 goals in 65 games and now, with 64 goals in 58 games, he had taken over as the Citizens leading goalscorer, a position that he retains to this day.

Overnight Minter became the darling of the local and national press. Professional clubs that had previously expressed a desire to sign him were back at his door and were joined many others. But Wilfred stayed true to his word, he had no wish to turn professional and, instead, continued to work in his father’s shop in St Albans. The maximum wage of a professional footballer at this time was £8 during the season and £6 during the close season.


City may have been able to continue to rely on Minter’s availability but three of his team mates were never to be seen in the Citizens colours again. Harry Hankey (left) missed both of the Dulwich games after it was revealed that he had signed professional forms for Millwall. Before the season was out, he had made four appearances in League Division Three South. Hankey scored seven times during his 22 games for St Albans and earned a reputation as an excellent utility player.

Harold Miller joins Charlton Athletic

Charlton Athletic gave 14-days’ notice of their intention to sign Harold Sidney Miller and he duly joined Hankey as a member of a Division Three South club. Miller scored 11 times in 20 games for the club before moving across London to sign for Chelsea for £1,500 in June 1923. He stayed with Chelsea until 1939 by which time he had scored 44 goals in 366 games. He then had short spells with Northampton Town and Wellingborough Town, he also made 23 wartime appearances for his hometown club Watford, scoring four goals, when he was not far short of his 40thbirthday. During his time at Charlton he played one game for England, scoring during a 3-1 win over Sweden in Stockholm on 24thMay 1923. He was also selected as an unused reserve for two other England matches.

The Herts Advertiser took an unusual stance, speaking out against Miller’s move into full time football. “Charlton’s gain is a distinct loss to the Citizens, but it is to be hoped that “Baby” Miller, as he is affectionally known to Albanians, will see his way clear to alter his decision ‘ere long.’ (Miller was known as ‘Babe,’ rather than ‘Baby’). He signed professional forms with Charlton on 4thDecember.

Goalkeeper Innes Tennent did not return after his knee injury but did carry on with his singing career and, later, opened a garage in St Albans. As a replacement for Tennent, City turned to Ted Barnes who had played one competitive game for the club back in November 1920. In February 1920 he had made one appearance in the Southern League for Watford during a 1-0 defeat at Norwich City.

City were back in action three days after the historic Dulwich game to face Northampton Nomads in a friendly at Clarence Park. A trial was given to J.A. McCormick, the vice-captain of Hatfield Road Old Boys. Normally found at centre-half he was tried at left-half by City and then not given another outing. Barnes had his first run out since returning to the club. Minter added just one goal to his collection with Pierce and Meagher also on target in a 3-3 draw.

Minter was named as captain against the Nomads and, following on from his astonishing feat three days earlier, he was given a warm reception by the locals. As he made his way towards the centre spot for the toss-up, which he won, the band struck up with, ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow’ and were joined by the spectators in paying tribute to their local hero.

Having already suffered two league defeats, St Albans needed to win at Southall on 2ndDecember to retain an interest in bringing the Athenian League championship to Clarence Park for a third time. Percy Bird missed the game, as he began a four-week suspension meted out the F.A. following his sending off at Luton Clarence. Fearn kept his place in the side, this time as an outfield player and J.Chambers came in for his only appearance. City were far from their best and Southall had little trouble in winning 3-1, Pierce scored the City goal.

Record win in Amateur Cup

City opened their Amateur Cup campaign with a 1stRound tie against R.A.F. Uxbridge, the airmen were drawn at home but the tie was switched to Clarence Park. They were holders of the Middlesex Senior Cup but only two members of that side were at the Park and City cruised to an easy 8-0 win, the club’s biggest in the competition. Minter scored his first Amateur Cup hat trick while Ted Miller scored twice and was joined on the scoresheet by his brother Redvers, and Meagher and Figg.

Two days later the Supporters Club hosted a ‘Smoking Concert’ at the Abbey Institute. Tickets cost 6d and amongst those on the bill was Innes Tennent, who was still limping from the injury picked up in the home game against Dulwich. Once again, he wooed the crowd and was called back for a double encore. The mayor of St Albans, Dr J.W. Cleveland, who also doubled at the club’s doctor, entertained the audience by giving a 20-minute speech about sport.

On the 16thDecember City welcomed a Fulham XI for the Saints eighth friendly of the season, just nine competitive games had been played at this time. The Herts Advertiser highlighted the point that supporters were becoming weary of friendly matches and stated the attendance ‘did not total much more than a thousand.’ A Fred Holland penalty gave City a 1-0 win. Making his first appearance in City’s colours was full-back Wilfred Coutanche. A regular for Watford Reserves, Coutanche played six times for The Brewers First Team (the nickname of Hornets was not adopted until the late 1950s) and did not play a competitive match for St Albans until March 1923.

Attention in Minter was starting to wane, as he repeated his declaration of wishing to remain an amateur, but some professional clubs did still try to secure his signature. The list of those to make an unsuccessful trip to Clarence Park included the Arsenal manager Leslie Knighton.

Minter’s 23 goals in nine games

City faced a busy Christmas period with games on the 23rd, Christmas Day morning and Boxing Day. First up were Luton Clarence to face a St Albans side that was without both Figg and Fearn due to business commitments. W.Biggerstaffe came in for his debut at centre-half, A.Smith made his only appearance and Jenkins, the scorer of two of the goals, was in for his second game. Veteran Meagher scored his final league goal for the club. City had few problems in completing a league double over the Luton side with Minter scoring another hat trick as the Saints romped home 6-0. It was Minter’s sixth hat trick in seven games and he was in a run of nine games during which he scored a barely believable 23 goals.

The win over Luton Clarence lifted City to fifth in the table but with leaders Bromley still having maximum points from 14 games – St Albans had played eight – there was little doubt as to where the title was heading.

Yorkshire Amateurs, made up of players from the West Yorkshire League, provided the opposition on Christmas Day. The visitors had spent the previous night at the White Hart Hotel in Holywell Hill, St Albans. Percy Bird captained the side after completing his suspension and his return was a pain for Fearn, as the two clashed heads when going for a header. Fearn spent a couple of days in hospital and did not play again for the First team until making his 22nd, and final, appearance in September 1923. On a day of dreadful weather, a goal by trialist S.Dumpleton of Hatfield Road Old Boys could not save City from going down 2-1.

A short journey to Underhill was made on Boxing Day, as Barnet entertained City in a league match. Barnet were experiencing an inconsistent run but, on a heavy surface, showed up well before succumbing to a 3-1 defeat with Minter adding another brace to his tally. Ted Miller completed City’s tally in front of a crowd that included almost one thousand travelling spectators. Earlier in the day Mid Herts played West Herts at Clarence Park.

The year was rounded off with a fourth straight win and a place in the Herts Charity Cup final secured with a 5-0 win over Cheshunt at the Park. Cheshunt fielded five reserves and the game was a one-side farce, City won 17 corners in the first half alone. Minter scored twice and singles came from Meagher and Pierce while W.Biggerstaffe scored his only goal for the club. The attendance was close on 2,000, which amounted to gate receipts of £65, all of which went to charity. The referee was Stanley Rous.

Hertfordshire completed their group matches in the Southern Counties Amateur Championship on Thursday 4thJanuary with a 3-1 defeat to Oxfordshire at Oxford. It was a weakened Hertfordshire XI but did include the City trio of Fred Holland and Ted and Redvers Miller.

Hat trick for Minter in International Trial

Hertfordshire were without Wilf Minter and the Corinthians’ legendary C.B.G. Hunter. Both had been selected for an international trial match between The North and The South at Bishop Auckland on 6thJanuary. Hunter, a Harpenden resident, played both football and cricket for Hertfordshire. The events at Dulwich seemed to have secured Minter’s place in the next England match, against Wales towards the end of the month, but if there were any doubts then they were dispelled in the trial as he struck three times in a 7-3 win. The Athletic News reported that Minter’s finishing was not as sharp as usual but he ‘kept play open, making numerous fine passes to his extreme wings.’

City missed Minter’s goals on the sixth as lowly Enfield gained a surprise 2-1 win at Clarence Park after Jenkins had headed the home side into a first half lead. Torrential rain the previous day had left the pitch in a dreadful state.

A return to winning ways was enjoyed the following weekend with bottom of the table Cheshunt beaten 2-1 on a heavy pitch. The game was reduced to 40-minutes each way after the referee, C.W. Gillett, was delayed in fog. Cheshunt played for 26 minutes with just ten men after F.Rumbles had missed his train. Rumbles’ day got worse when, for the opening goal, a shot by Minter was saved by T.Pikerman only to rebound into the net off his unfortunate team mate. Minter was, generously, awarded the goal. Pikerman had an outstanding game but could do little to stop Minter from adding a second goal.

Having made light work of removing R.A.F. Uxbridge from the Amateur Cup, St Albans faced a far sterner test in the 2ndRound on 20thJanuary with a trip to Loakes Park to face Isthmian Leaguers Wycombe Wanderers. City were expecting to call up Wilfred Coutanche, but, after illness ruled him out at Cheshunt, he was now absent due to assisting Watford. He had signed forms for both clubs at the start of the season.

6,000 see Amateur Cup win at Wycombe

City almost started the game with only ten players. Percy Bird could not get away until gone 1pm but was given a lift by one of the supporters, T.Wiggins. They arrived five minutes after the scheduled kick off time but, due to cinematographers over-running on filming the players, he was out on the pitch in time for the delayed kick off. Wycombe applied heavy pressure from the start but E.Atkins, with his only goal for the club, gave City an early lead. Wycombe pulled level but Pierce clinched a most notable scalp. The game was Atkins’ third and final one for the club. It was also a good day for the club financially. An attendance of just short of 6,000 was not a record for Loakes Park but the takings of £221 were. St Albans’ share was around £85, which would go some way towards easing a debt of £400 caused by the expenditure on the stand exceeding the original estimate.

1923 01 27 Wales v England Minter618 copy

A return to league action was made the following weekend, 27thJanuary, with Athenian League new boys Windsor & Eton making their first visit to Clarence Park. City were again without Minter who was making his second appearance in the England side. This time he was facing Wales in an Amateur International at Ayresome Park, Middlesbrough. Goals flowed during a 4-4 draw but Wilfred did not bag one of them, despite initial reports suggesting that he had scored.

City’s game against Windsor kicked off late but St Albans still took to the field with just ten men and were a goal down by the time that W.Smith arrived to complete their number. Figg teed up the equaliser for Redvers Miller and then scored the winner himself as City won a third successive game by a 2-1 scoreline. Centre-forward Harry Robinson was given the first of his two First team games but was switched to right-half when making little impression on the game. He performed more favourably in his new, unaccustomed, position. Fred Hellicar, formerly of Barking Town, came in for his debut at half-back to start an association with the club that ran for six years and almost 200 games.

The first Saturday in February saw Wealdstone pay their first visit to Clarence Park for a hastily arranged friendly. Wealdstone, who brought 200 supporters to the game, were in their first season as members of the Spartan League after winning the Middlesex League. Ted Miller, without a goal since December, struck four times and Redvers once in a 5-1 win.

Bromley were due to visit the Park on the 10thFebruary but were otherwise occupied with a London Senior Cup replay against Leytonstone. Cheshunt stepped in to fill the void and, having already lost 5-0 a month earlier in the Herts Charity Cup, suffered a second five-goal margin defeat as City romped home 6-1 in the Athenian League. W.Durrant opened the scoring in his debut appearance in the first team, Minter added a brace, Redvers Miller and Bird a single each while Fred Holland tucked away a twice-taken penalty. Figg had the misfortune to score an own goal.

F.A. impressed with Clarence Park

Barking Town of the London League were next up for City as attention focused on the Amateur Cup. A large crowd was anticipated for the 3rdRound tie and those wanting a seat in the stand were asked to arrive between 1.45pm (the opening time of the gates) and 2.10pm. Barking’s excursion trains were due to arrive in St Albans at 2.08pm. Barking brought 535 supporters with them by train. The total gate was just shy of 5,500 with receipts of £183 7s 9d. Amongst the dignitaries’ present was Mr T. Kirkup of the Football Association Council. He was impressed with the Park and in the week following the game the club was asked whether the ground would be available to stage a semi-final tie should it be decided to play one of the games there.

1922 23 Barking Minter fouled copyThe visitors put up a far better fight than the final score of 4-1 may suggest, it was only during the final 14 minutes that City forged ahead. Minter took a knock to the head early on and was a shadow of his normal self until the latter stages. Holland had a first half penalty saved as the two sides turned around on equal terms; Minter having put City ahead and W.Bird equalised. For 30 minutes after the break Barking gave as good as they got but further goals from Minter, Redvers Miller and Figg took City through to the quarter final.

Left: Minter is fouled as Barking ‘keeper A.Shoesmith prepares to clear.

Barking had applied, unsuccessfully, to join the Athenian League for the start of the 1922-23 season. Following the game at Clarence Park Barking pledged to try again at the end of the current campaign, St Albans stated that they would support their bid.

The excitement of reaching the quarter-final for the second time in City’s 14-year history was put on hold the following Saturday when a friendly was played at Clarence Park against Southern Amateur League side Westminster Bank. It was a much-changed St Albans side from normal for a number of good reasons. Meagher stood down due to having a heavy cold, Ted Miller and Fred Hellicar asked to be rested while three others were honoured with a place in the Athenian League representative XI. Bertie Butcher returned to the City side after three months absence and got one of the goals in a 2-2 draw, Harry Robinson netted the other Citizens goal on a sodden pitch.

Athenian League v Arsenal 24 02 1923 Richmond Road Kingston 2 copy

The three players playing for the Athenian League against Arsenal Reserves at Kingston were Minter, Figg and Redvers Miller. Minter scored the Athenians only goal but the honour that the players took from the game was somewhat muted by an 11-1 defeat. Henry White, who played 109 games for the Arsenal First team and was also a county cricketer, scored seven times.

10,000 see Amateur Cup progress at Northampton

Attention now turned to more serious matters as City prepared for an Amateur Cup quarter final meeting away to Northampton Nomads on the 3rdMarch. An excursion train was organised to take City supporters to Northampton, it would collect supporters from St Albans and Harpenden at a cost of 5s 7d and 4s 11d. The departure times were 12.50pm and 1.02pm. The players joined spectators on the train but, unfortunately, there was a 15-minute delay and the players had to rush to avoid kicking off late. There were also multiple complaints about the cramped conditions with requests made on the day to lay on extra coaches. In response to enquiries by the Herts Advertiser the Railway Company stated that fewer than 50 of the 250 tickets allocated to the club had been sold in advance. Using previous experience, they provided sufficient carriages for 500 people. When the day arrived it was a warm spring day and the Railway Company were taken aback by the numbers that turned up. Supporters Club officials refuted the claim that so few tickets had been sold in advance.

City relied upon the eleven players that saw off Barking Town in the previous round, which meant that Coutanche would get his second run out. The Nomads started positively and throughout the game had the better chances, but St Albans did get stronger as the game wore on. Harold Figg scored the decisive goal on 30 minutes when his header into the goalmouth was miskicked by Nomads defender L.Hawtin and rolled into the net. Figg was later booked for two fouls in quick succession. The attendance was given as 10,108, the second time in a little over a year that City had played in front of a five-figure gate.

Upon arriving back at St Albans, the players were marched by supporters, with the accompaniment of the St Albans City Silver Band, from the railway station to the town centre. Figg was one of several players to be carried shoulder high.

The draw for the semi-final, made at Penarth, pitted City against London Caledonians at Luton Town’s Kenilworth Road ground. Prior to then a side showing three changes went down to a 1-0 defeat to Enfield at Southbury Road, bringing to an end the six-match winning run. A goal two minutes from time by F.Gear gave Enfield the distinction of being the first team to complete the league double over St Albans since the club joined the Athenian League. Although he had little cause for celebration, George Meagher became the first player to make 200 appearances for the club during the defeat at Enfield. One of the missing City players, Ted Miller, went to Tufnell Park to cast an eye over the London Caledonians.

Two days before the semi-final seven City players had been included in the Hertfordshire side to face Dorset at Weymouth in the semi-final of the Southern Counties Amateur Championship. The seven declined the invitation. C.McSimms scored the Hertfordshire goal in a 1-1 draw. Dorset were furious that extra time was not played and withdrew from the competition, leaving Herts with a clear passage to the final.

Record numbers journey to Luton for Amateur Cup semi final

For the Amateur Cup semi-final on the 17thSt Albans City anticipated taking 5,000 supporters with them on two special trains and a fleet of twenty ‘motor buses.’ The players did travel to the game by char-a-banc but the plan to transport supporters on buses fell through. The trains departed from St Albans at 1.45pm and 1.55pm at a cost of 1s 4d, and 9d from Harpenden. After the game it was estimated that almost 4,000 St Albans supporters went to Luton by train. A third train was on standby just in case there was a repeat of the problem for the game against Northampton Nomads. The Calies had also booked two excursion trains.

1922 11 18 SAC v Dulwich Ham FAC4q Bertie Butcher copyCity’s hon. secretary Arthur Marshall was responsible for selling the admission tickets from Clarence Park. These were priced at; ground 1s, boys 6d, stand unreserved 2s, reserved seats centre stand 5s and reserved Block C 3s. The club was informed that it had an allocation of just 40 of the centre stand seats but up to 1,000 tickets could be made available for the unreserved seats. The attendance was recorded as a tremendous 13,950 with receipts of £950. It was the largest crowd seen at Kenilworth Road during the 1922-23 season and the third highest seen at the ground since it opened in 1905. Kick off was scheduled for 3.15pm and the referee was J.Kelley, he also took charge of the famous cup tie at Dulwich earlier in the season.

Butcher (left) was one of the three players brought in for the Enfield game and he held his place in the side at inside right for the cup semi-final, but Meagher, a veteran of City’s run to the quarter-final in 1913, was not included for the trip to Luton.

The Calies were riding high in the Isthmian League and finished the season in third place. On the day they were much the better team and had little trouble in winning 2-0, as City seldom got into their normal stride. The two goals scored by the London Caledonians may have been fortunate – the second a sliced own goal by Fred Holland – but they had other good opportunities to put City out of their misery. For the first time since February 1920 City had failed to score in two successive games. It had been Figg’s goal that took City through to the last four and, at Luton, he was the one St Albans player to enhance his reputation. It was a disappointing end to a day that had promised so much. Supporters could relive it for a whole week, as highlights were shown daily at the Grand Palace Cinema in Stanhope Road, a stone’s throw from Clarence Park. The cinema helpfully boasted that ‘you may store your cycle Free at the rear of the building.’

 

SAC v London Caledonians sf 17 3 19232 copy

cinema advert sacfc v london caledonians

Eleven-game unbeaten run secures second place

The conditions underfoot at Kenilworth Road were heavy but were nothing compared to what was encountered at Windsor and Eton’s Stag Meadow home the following weekend. The pitch had been under water earlier in the week and cut up badly as City returned to Athenian League duty. The Herts Advertiser match report praised the sportsmanship of the home crowd and said that they cheered loudly when Figg scored a magnificent equaliser. After robbing R.Gessey (the Windsor goalscorer) of possession on the halfway line, Figg beat four players inside the penalty area and then shot high into the corner of the net to salvage a point.

For the trip to Windsor on the 24thMarch, City made two changes from the XI that appeared in cup semi final. Arthur Webdale returned in place of Coutanche, and Fred Thorne took the place of Minter who was in Eastbourne representing the Athenian League against the Southern Amateur League. The Athenians went down 5-2 but Minter was, once again, on the scoresheet.

After three games without a win, and only one goal scored, City took full advantage of a weakened Guildford side from their only visit to Clarence Park on 31stMarch, Easter Saturday. Guildford picked up a number of injuries from their game on Good Friday and struggled to field a recognised XI at St Albans. Minter scored a hat trick and Bill Thrale a brace, his only goals for the Citizens, as the Surrey club were crushed 8-1. Completing the tally in City’s highest Athenian League score were Redvers Miller with two and his brother Ted with a single. Guildford’s goal, scored by J.Searby, came four minutes from time when they were already eight-down.

The holiday weekend ended with Barnet visiting Clarence Park on Easter Monday for a game that attracted City’s first Athenian League gate of over 4,000. Arthur Webdale missed the game through injury and was replaced by H.Colebrook from the Watford club Old Fullerians. Fred Hellicar was also absent due to tending to his ill mother in Bristol. Hellicar’s absence led to a final appearance at Clarence Park for Meagher. A highly entertaining game saw Barnet come close to saving a point after being two-down at the interval but, eventually, the goals scored by Minter, 2, and Bird carried City to a 3-2 victory.

Minter picked up some silverware later in the week, on the Thursday, when St Albans Post Office retained the Evanson Cup with victory over Kingston Post Office at Richmond Road. Also in the St Albans side was the Welwyn-based Fred Dear who joined the City for the start of the following season. 

Eighth hat trick of the season for Minter

St Albans played in front of a crowd of four thousand spectators for a second successive Athenian League game when Minter returned with the City to Richmond Road on Saturday 7thApril. Kingstonian had carried out a number of improvements since City’s most recent visit the previous April. Amongst the guests was Frederick Wall, the secretary of the Football Association who was greeted by the Mayor of the Borough in full regalia. The distinguished visitors had an opportunity to see Minter in full flow as the England international scored his eighth, and final, St Albans hat trick of the season in a 3-0 win. Minter’s afternoon, though, had not got off to the ideal start when the Kingstonian goalkeeper, C.Warner, saved his fourth minute penalty. It was, however, a temporary reprieve as Minter headed home from the ensuing corner taken by Redvers Miller.

Clarence Park played host to a friendly the following Thursday when Hertfordshire faced the Watford First team. St Albans provided five players; Fred Holland, Harold Figg, Wilf Minter, and the Miller brothers Ted and Redvers. Figg and Ted Miller scored for the county in a 5-2 defeat. Stanley Rous refereed the game.

The win at Kingstonian took City two points clear of the K’s and level with fourth placed Sutton United, the next visitors to Clarence Park. St Albans had four games in hand on their guests. After a poor first half of the season, Sutton had been in exceptionally good form since the turn of the year but found themselves behind inside two minutes as Minter scored one of his most spectacular goals. The Herts Advertiser described it thus; ‘Accepting a pass from Pierce on the halfway line, he eluded the Sutton United backs, and, when twenty yards from goal, delivered a left-footed shot, which sent the ball hurtling into the corner of the net at an amazing pace.’ Sutton overturned the deficit to lead midway through the half but a highly entertaining affair saw City collect maximum points with further goals from Minter and the two Millers. 

City’s rise to the upper echelons of the league continued a week later when the double was completed over bottom of the table Guildford at Woodbridge Road. Bird and Minter scored the goals that gave City a 2-0 victory but the side enjoyed some good fortune along the way when, what appeared to be two clear handball incidents in their own penalty area, were overlooked by the referee.

Minter turns down Full England appearance

On the same day that St Albans won at Guildford, 21stApril, the International Selection Committee, which included George Wagstaffe Simmons, named Minter in the full England squad to play Sweden in Stockholm on 21stand 24thMay. To have played in the full England team alongside the top professionals of the day would have been the pinnacle of Wilfred’s career. Sadly, it was announced the following Friday that he had withdrawn from the 14-man party for business reasons. The party was due to set sail on Wednesday 16thMay and Minter stated that the length of time that he would be required to be away was not possible. Five players from the original party withdrew although one of them, another amateur, Basil Patchitt of the Corinthians, was reinstated and captained England in both games. Former City player Harold Miller, now with Charlton Athletic, was called up as a replacement to the squad, he played at centre forward and scored in the second game of the tour as England won 3-1.

The tour was deemed to be a success with the relations between the two countries enhanced. The Swedes presented Wagstaffe Simmons with a silver salver, to be forwarded to the F.A., in recognition of the good relations between the football authorities of the two nations. He was also presented with a silver salver personally and each player received a medal and a carved wooden figure.

Four days after the Guildford match City faced opposition from the opposite end of the table with a trip to Hayes Lane to face champions Bromley on a windy day in Kent. Ted Miller put City ahead early in the second half but then had the misfortune to put a header into his own goal as the sides shared the spoils. Strangely, this was the seventh time that City had played on a Wednesday and was only the second time that they had avoided defeat. It was not until the 12thgame, on 3rdMay 1933, that City finally won on a Wednesday.

A third successive Athenian League title may have slipped from City’s grasp but the possibility of ending the campaign as runners-up was greatly enhanced by a 4-2 win over Hampstead Town at Clarence Park on 28thApril. Hampstead led twice but fell to goals from Minter, Bird and the Miller brothers. In an open and attack-minded game both sides picked up knocks and City finished with just nine players on the pitch. Bird departed early after sustaining a kick to a thigh while Redvers Millers left early when taking the ball full in the face.

Two days later, Monday 30thApril, second in the table Southall visited the Park requiring a win to deny City from leapfrogging them. Bird had not recovered from the injury picked up on the Saturday and was replaced by W.Smith. W.Featherbe, a full back with Leavesden Mental Hospital, came in for his second and final game. Two goals from Ted Miller put City in control and when Redvers added a third it mattered not a jot when Minter fired a penalty over the crossbar. Minter’s miss came five minutes from time and moments later Southall’s Buttery did score from the penalty spot, but it was never likely to be enough to stop City’s rise up the table.

The runners-up position was secured on Thursday 3rdMay when a point was gleaned from a 3-3 draw with Summerstown at Clarence Park. Phil Pierce opened the scoring and he was joined by, once again, goals from both of the Miller brothers. With Ted Barnes not available, Bert Runchman went in goal for his debut and it was to be just over a year before he would get a second run out in the First team.

City’s final match of their third season as members of the Athenian League took them to Gander Green Lane to face Sutton United. Sutton were anticipating their best gate of the season but once word got out that Minter, Figg, Holland and the two Millers would not be playing then the attendance was hit. Fred Thorne, who had only come into the team early in April but made his mark by setting up a number of goals, was also absent due to keeping a long-held promise to assist his work’s team on this date. The other five absentees were tied up with playing for the county that day.

One of the players filling-in at Sutton was Bertie Butcher who marked what was expected to be his final game for the club by scoring the opening goal. George Meagher came in for his 203rdand final game and full back Tommy Field made the last of his 84 appearances. Full-back W.Smith and forward Jenkins were called up and were in and out of the side over the coming years. W.Durrant, who featured briefly earlier in the campaign, had another run out while Herbert Runchman played the first of his 152 games for the club. Somewhat unexpectedly, City returned home with a point from a 1-1 draw. Their cause was aided when the home goalkeeper B.Scanlan injured his shoulder when trying to save Butcher’s shot on 20 minutes and took no further part in the game.

Five City players help Hertfordshire to Southern Counties Amateur Championship success

southern counties cupWhile the curtain came down on the league season and a makeshift side collected a praiseworthy point, the five absentees were enjoying a successful afternoon at Clarence Park, as Hertfordshire defeated Cornwall in the final of the Southern Counties Amateur Championship. Hertfordshire saw off Cornwall with some ease to win the trophy for the first time courtesy of goals from Ken Seabrooke, of Watford Old Boys, and Minter and Ted Miller. The other City players in the Herts team were Figg, Holland and Redvers Miller (left).

At the end of the game the Hertfordshire captain, the Hitchin Blue Cross goalkeeper Cecil Canon, received the trophy from W.J. Wilson, president of the Southern Amateur League. He was also asked to make a presentation to Minter of a trophy bought by supporters in memory of his achievement in the historic F.A. Cup defeat at Dulwich in November. After receiving the trophy Minter said, “I am extremely grateful for this present, and I thank everyone concerned with it for their kindness, but, after all, I am only one of the eleven, and the others all did just as much as I did.”

City retain Herts Charity Cup

There was just one game left to complete the season and City signed off in style with a 4-0 win over Herts County League side Ware to win the Herts Charity Cup for a third successive year. Fred Thorne opened the scoring and a straightforward victory was rounded off by further goals from Minter, Ted Miller and Fred Hellicar. For Thorne and Hellicar it was their first goal for the club, as City became the first club to win the cup three years running. After the Amateur Cup semi-final defeat, City had ended the season with a run of 12-games undefeated. At the completion of the game the cup was presented to City captain Fred Holland by Captain J.E. Kekewick. The match, played at Hatfield, attracted a gate of 1,500 with £36 being forwarded to charity.

On Saturday 12thMay a party of over 64 club officials and players dined and enjoyed a concert at the Town Hall. The Mayor, J.W. Cleveland, presided over the event with the musical arrangements carried out by Innes Tennent. The guests included Wagstaffe Simmons, Ernest Scott (hon. secretary Herts F.A.), Len Morrison (Herts County League and referees’ hon. secretary), F.Mercer (St Albans Hockey Club) and T.L. Williams (Hon. secretary Leavesden Mental Hospital Football Club). Speeches were given by the Mayor, Frederick Martin (City’s Chairman and hon. treasurer), Wagstaffe Simmons, Arthur Marshall (hon. secretary), Bob Fox, (Supporters Club Chairman) and Ernest Scott. The entertainment included songs from Tennent, who was repeatedly called back for more, Claude Chandler did a ventriloquist act, Billy Collier provided ‘humorous entertainment,’ while the drolleries of Frank Feltham went down particularly favourably. During his speech, Wagstaffe Simmons confirmed that Minter would have made his debut in the full England team had he travelled to Sweden.

Of the 33 competitive games played by the club during the season, centre-half Fred Holland made the most appearances, 32, followed by Phil Pierce on 31. Minter was the leading goalscorer with 44, a new individual record, but his total of 29 league goals had been surpassed once before, by Willy Hughes in 1909-10. Redvers Miller was the second highest scorer with 12 in all competitions, his brother Ted was the only other player to get into double figures. Minter had now scored 93 times in 80 competitive games for St Albans, and 12 in 15 friendly matches. His tally for the county was 15 goals in just nine games.

City resign from Athenian League to join the Isthmian League

The most successful period in the history of the club was in full swing yet the summer of 1923, whilst fulfilling one dream, was not without its problems. At an Athenian League meeting in May City gave no indication that the Club was on the verge of resigning its membership to join the Isthmian League. City joined the discussion regarding the composition of the league for the 1923-24 season and then, just a few weeks later, sent in its resignation.

Rumours abounded that the Isthmian League suggested that St Albans should apply to join its membership, as it would receive a favourable response. Such a move by the league was frowned upon but St Albans pleaded their innocence that no such offer had ever been made. The Isthmians were said to have held a ‘secret’ meeting on Friday 11thMay, at which discussions took place as to the filling of the bottom places, in other words, bringing in a stronger club.

The City committee discussed the possibility of switching leagues on the 14th. It was agreed to reverse all previous decisions, meaning that the club would resign from the Athenian League and apply to join the Isthmian League. City’s letter of resignation stated that it would be happy to continue with the Athenians should their application be unsuccessful. Coming in mid-May, St Albans’ resignation was well beyond the Athenian League cut-off date of 15thApril and the club was fined the maximum amount allowed by the League’s constitution, £25.

The Isthmian League held its AGM on the 25thMay with three clubs were seeking election; St Albans and the League’s bottom two clubs from the 1922-23 season, Oxford City and West Norwood. The latter named club were making their ninth application for re-election in eleven years as members. Their number was up. Oxford City polled 24 votes, St Albans City 19 and West Norwood four. City were in and West Norwood were out.

City A.G.M. highlights a financially successful season

The St Albans City AGM was held on 9thJune, at the Abbey Institute, with the Mayor presiding over events. During the evening the achievements of both the Club and individuals were outlined along with the financial state of affairs. The Club went into the season with a deficit of over £400, due to an overspend on the stand extension, but closed it with a balance in hand of £404 15s 1d. With reference to the stand there was still some work to be carried out on it during the summer. The walkway in front of it was still to be completed along with erecting a fence between it and the pitch, further work was also planned to improve the terracing.

The move to join the Isthmian League came at some cost with two senior officials resigning from their posts at Clarence Park. Frederick Martin, chairman and hon. treasurer, left on the grounds of ill health. His condition was such that he had intended to stand down a year earlier but did not wish to hand over the role of treasurer with the Club in debt by over £400. One year on and the healthy bank balance of the Club enabled him to step down with a clear conscience. T.Ashby was elected as the Club’s new treasurer.

The second departure was that of Arthur Marshall, City’s hon. secretary. His stance was simple, he was an ‘Athenian’ and believed that the Citizens should remain as members of that league. He was fully aware that the Supporters Club favoured the move but he could not support it. He had been a member of the Club since 1909. However, Marshall was not away from the Park for too long. Within three years he had returned to Clarence Park to take a position on the committee and during the 1930s spent four years as club treasurer. Marshall’s replacement as hon. secretary was William Green.

The City A.G.M. clashed with the Athenian League’ annual meeting and led to the Club sending a far smaller contingent than in previous years. The party of eight that attended the Athenians meeting at the Café Monico in Soho, London, were; George Meagher, Phil Pierce, Ted Miller, Reuben Miller, Fred Thorne, Percy Bird, Tommy Field and Fred Hellicar. Pierce was presented with his Athenian League cap, while Meagher accepted a cap on behalf of Minter (his second) and badges for Figg and Holland.

Struggling Supporters Club vow to continue

The St Albans City Supporters Club held its annual meeting on the 11thJune and, with membership having fallen from the previous year, consideration was given as to whether to continue or disband. It was agreed to continue but it would be with a new chairman after Bob Fox stood down. The Supporters Club accounts were and passed, it held a balance in hand of £12 1s 6d. Fox continued to serve on the committee while G.Eaton was elected as chairman.

1922 23 at Luton Town copy

Back: Herbert Jones (Trainer), Fred Holland, Percy Bird, Ted Barnes, Harold Figg, Wilf Coutanche, George Meagher, Fred Hellicar

Front: Phil Pierce, Bertie Butcher, Wilfred Minter, Ted Miller, Redvers Miller

Photo taken at Kenilworth Road prior to the Amateur Cup semi-final tie with London Caledonians.