This article with the then QPR Secretary, Mr G. H. Mousell, appeared in the Willesden Chronicle on 14th July 1899 and gives a wonderful insight into the early development of the Club:
With cricket in full swing, and a visitation of tropical heat about us that makes any suggestion of violent exertion objectionable, the football item is a little previous perhaps, but the gentleman who has undertaken to follow the Rangers for us next season has sent in his first batch of “copy” and is not to be denied. He writes:-
The startling development and rapid advancement of the Queen’s Park Rangers during the past few months has caused the eyes of the whole football world in the South to be turned in this direction. The vitality of this local club is to a very great extent due to the enthusiasm of their hard-working secretary. It was therefore with distinct expectations of a pleasant half-hour that I called on Mr Mousell at 89 Lancefield Street, Queen’s Park, the office of the club.
Mr Mousell has a great objection to anything in the nature of an interview, but was very willing to give me the fullest information with regard to the club and their intentions for the future. He stated:
“Your readers already know that we have been successful in our application to join the Southern League. We have also joined the new Southern Counties League for home and home mid-week matches, although our mid-week fixtures are arranged for Mondays that being the day upon which we expect to see decent gates.”
“In this League we meet Woolwich Arsenal, Southampton, Millwall, Bristol City, Reading, Tottenham Hotspur, Chatham, and the new professional team at Portsmouth. These, in addition with the matches with the Southern League – to say nothing about the visits of a few First Leaguers to play a few friendlies – will provide a good programme for the coming season.”
“I presume you have entered for the English Cup,” I hazarded – “Rather,” said Mr Mousell. “Shall we take on the Kaffirs who are to visit England next season ?” – “I don’t know yet; we may.” (I was very surprised to read that there was a team back then called by such a name ! However, the ‘Kaffir Football Team’ were captained by Joseph Twayi and the first South African football side to play abroad. In fact they played 50 or so games in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and France – SR).
“How about your team ?” – “Well, I think we have a good lot, and if they play up to their reputations I shall be much disappointed if we are not among the first three . Here are the names, positions etc, of the players:-
“Goal: – H. Clutterbuck, 23 years, 12st 9lbs, a doctor by profession, played for Small Heath last season.
Backs: – A. McConnell, 23 years, 11st 10lbs, junior international against Ireland, 1896, played last two seasons with Woolwich Arsenal – J. Knowles, 22 years, 12st 4lbs, played for Tottenham Hotspur, Sunderland, and last season South Shields – W. Skinner, 22 years, 11st 10lbs, from Uxbridge, a very useful back.
Half-backs: – Gavin Crawford, 27 years, 12st 11lbs, Woolwich Arsenal, and last season with Millwall – W. Keech, 22 years, 12st 6lbs, Liverpool and Leicester Fosse, also a good centre-forward – W. Tennant, 23 years, 12st 2lbs, the Clyde and Junior International against Ireland, 1899 – H. Jordan, 19 years, 12st 3lbs, who played so well last season with the Q.P.R. – A. Hitch, 21 years, 11st 3lbs, Grays United and Walsall.
Right-wing:- Adam Haywood, 24 years, 11st, been with the Arsenal three seasons – Tom Smith, 22 years, 10st 10lbs, late of Southampton, “a real flier”.
Centre forward:-F. Beddingfield, 21 years, 12st 11lbs, Lowestoft, Rushden, and last year Aston Villa.
Left-wing:- Peter Turnbull, 23 years, 11st 10lbs, has played for Glasgow Rangers, Burnley, Blackburn Rovers, and last season with Millwall – J. Hannah, 27 years, 10st 10lbs, the Clyde and seven seasons with Sunderland.
Reserve:- W. Evans, 22 years, 10st 11lbs, our old forward, whom Notts Forest tried to sign on, but who preferred to stay with us. This, I think you will agree, is a good team, and will require some beating. We are also in communication with several other good men.”
“Whom do you consider to be your best catch ?”- “Personally, I think Beddingfield, our centre-forward, from Aston Villa.”
“How about your reserves ?” – “The whole of last year’s team, with the exception of Sammy Brooks (who has returned to Wales) have signed on and will form our reserves, and we are hoping to obtain their inclusion in the London League. The reserves will occupy Kensal Rise ground when the league team is away.”
“Who are your nearest opponents ?” – “Tottenham Hotspur; you will see that we are ‘paired’ with them, and that when they play ‘at home’ we are away, and vice-versa.”
“I hear that you have a good trainer for the teams ?” – “Yes, we have secured Jock Campbell the best known football trainer in the world. He was the only official trainer ever appointed to train the men for the Scottish internationals, which he did for two seasons. Since then he has trained Sunderland, Tottenham Hotspur, Woolwich Arsenal etc.”
“Are any improvements at Kensal Rise to be made in the arrangements for the accommodation of the public ?” – “Yes, we are about to erect an uncovered stand on the opposite side of the ground to the pavilion, for which we will charge 3d extra. According to the support we receive we shall add further improvements, and hope thus to make the accommodation equal to any in London.”
“Special privileges for ladies ?” – “We mean to extend special s privileges to ladies. It is suggested that ladies should be charged half-price for their season tickets, which will admit to ground and pavilion, and we hope to have a tea room set apart for their use.”
“Of course you will charge the 6d now you offer such good fare.” – “Yes, and we will get it without any complaint. We always got between 7,000 and 8,000 who paid 6d when we received a friendly visit from the First Leaguers, and I am sure we shall have a much larger attendance next season, although the 6d will be charged. Season tickets will be ready in a few days, which will admit to all matches on the ground and to the reserved pavilion, prices 12s 6d, ladies 6s 6d. A season ticket, price 7s 6d, will also be issued, but this will admit to the ground only.”
“When will your first match at home take place ?” – “On Saturday, Sept. 2nd, against Brighton United, although we shall have a practice match between the two teams on Friday evening, the 1st Sept.”
“Now just give me just a few words about yourself,” and in answer to my queries I gained the following information; that Mr Mousell had been secretary of the QPR over five years, and throughout that time had not missed a single match the Rangers had played (a good record for a secretary). Although not now playing himself, he is full of enthusiasm for the welfare of his club.
He cycles a bit, does a good bit of cricket, having played for the Kilburn C.C. about ten years, and in his younger days was no novice at the 100 yards or anything up to the quarter-mile, as an array of nearly 40 prizes at his house clearly proves.
“What do you think of local talent ?” I queried. “Well, personally I am convinced that there are men in local teams, and even in Queen’s Park, who would be, if they had the opportunity – some doubtless will be – equal to men produced by Scotland and the north.”
“Is there anything you would like me to convey to our readers ?” – “No, only I should like to say what a fine body of men the Directors are. Since starting they have worked day and night, and travelled thousands of miles in search of good men, and if any success comes to the QPR, no one knows better than I that it is solely the work of our Directors, most of whom are sound business men, and men who have served the Rangers well for years. I only hope that the public will appreciate their labours.”
“We had hoped to purchase the ground, and although the shares have been well taken up, they have not gone off sufficiently well to enable the Directors to do this. Mr Irwin E. B. Cox, our local MP has consented to take the chair at a public meeting in the Queen’s Park Hall on Wednesday next, July 19th, supported by many influential gentlemen, when an appeal will be made for further support.”
Mr Mousell concluded by saying that a first-class football club seemed to be a necessity in any and every district now, and should be supported by those able to do so. I then left this hard-working but never complaining man to grapple with the mass of correspondence awaiting his attention; not, however, before I had obtained from him a complete list of matches which had been arranged up-to-date (that list then followed).’
(My thanks to Gordon Macey for his assistance with the above pic)