The following article appeared in the Belfast Telegraph on 5th August 1927:
‘Opinion in London’s football circles is reported sharply divided on the desirability of using a white ball to enable the spectators to follow the play better.
With this end in view Arsenal have decided to experiment with a white ball at their first practice match on August 20.
Mr F. J. Wall, secretary of the Football Association, was non-committal on the subject. “It certainly is a novel suggestion”, he said to a Press representative.
“There is nothing in the laws of the game to prevent a white ball being used, and as it is a practice game between the Arsenal’s own players, I personally see no objection.”
A well known international footballer pointed out that if the white ball were adopted it should be made compulsory by the FA, because players would find difficulty in dealing with a brown ball in one match and a white ball in another.
Difficulty would arise also, he said, in the event of an eleven having to play against a team clad entirely or partially in white.
The manager of Chelsea FC said: “Dull days in winter are usually muddy days and I don’t see what advantages the spectators would have. The ball would become coated with mud and be no different to the present ball.”
The Hotspurs manager said: “It is premature to pass judgement. Perhaps the adoption of a white ball would greatly help the spectators, but I think the universal adoption of a white ball is doubtful.”
Fulham FC’s manager: “I think it would be a good idea to use a white ball in dull weather, and the ordinary light-brown ball in good weather. Obviously if a white ball were used on a sunny day the glare would dazzle the players.”
The secretary of Clapton Orient: “Splendid idea. It seems practicable. I should like to see the white ball adopted everywhere.”
Brentford’s secretary said: “I don’t think the idea would prove to be of any advantage. The present ball when new is very light. In muddy conditions a white ball would become dirty within a few minutes.”
Secretary of Crystal Palace FC: “A very sound idea. I believe the spectators would be able to follow the ball with far greater ease. The players would not be affected.”
“ If anything, it would be helpful to them. Perhaps there would be a little glare if the sun was shining brilliantly, but that would be more than offset by the advantage of having a light-coloured objective in dull weather.”
“If the Arsenal’s experiment proves successful, I think it probable that other clubs would follow suit.”
Manager of Queen’s Park Rangers Football Club: “It is a good idea. At last the spectators are likely to come into their own.”
Manager of Charlton Athletic FC: “It is too early to say anything yet. After the Arsenal’s practice game perhaps we shall be able to speak more freely.”
The Secretary of the Amateur Football Association: “There is no reason why a white ball should not be used so long as it complies with regulations and is made of the correct material.”
“Several clubs already use a light-coloured ball with success, but I should think that a white ball would be very confusing when the goal posts are painted white and a white board is placed behind the goal.”’
That suggestion certainly provoked some very wide-ranging responses!
(Thanks to Colin Woodley for sending me the article)