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Village Football

from Barwicker No. 74

"The great social interest of the last few weeks has been the rise and progress of the Barwick Association Football Club. It has already become a most popular institution, every Saturday afternoon has its match, and there are few fine days when some enthusiastic spirits do not have a kick-up on the field. The village owes a great deal to Mr William Robshaw, who is so good as to let his field be used for the purpose.

So far the football movement has been most successful. Not in winning games, that could hardly be expected in a club in its infancy. But, in the enthusiasm that it has called out, and in the general behaviour on the ground, there is room for a great deal of congratulation. It is with the hope that the present good feeling and good tone may be preserved that we make these remarks. We all know how football clubs often go down in the world, and how often they do more harm than good.

One great evil is betting. It is doing incalculable mischief in every kind of sport, so much that it is often impossible for a conscientious man to take an active interest in it. All these evils have their beginnings, which are of the smallest, and we would beg our village enthusiasts to watch jealously against the suspicion of betting. This of course is the parent of the ruffianism that almost every Saturday disgraces some football fields in the North of England, the worst passions have been aroused by the greed of betting, and disappointment of gain issues in disturbance and fighting.

A further evil is the use of foul language. This is a vice far less common in Barwick than in most places, and certainly, so far as our players are concerned, there has been no complaint of it on the football field, they are too self-respecting, and have a better notion of what is right than to give way to it. But it wants discouraging on the part of others, and we hope that it may become a strict rule that it shall never be allowed on our ground, that our own players shall jealously protect the credit of their club and of their village, and be as keen to keep the game free from all reproach as they are to win it. There will then be little danger of the present enthusiasm dying out, or of the present good tone being lost."

Where have we heard this before? How often do we see letters like this printed in our national and local newspapers? Not OUR team, of course! And if they get a dig in about the North, well, so much the better. And it never happened in the good old days, did it?

Think again! This article was written by the Barwick rector, Rev. Frederick Selincourt Colman, in the parish magazine of March 1902.

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