Mostly Fulham: 1907-08
Last updated: April 2008
Opened: England’s central criminal court, the Old Bailey. First: motor racing track. British troops opened fire on demonstrators in Belfast: four killed. Picasso’s Les Desmoiselles d’Avignon painted.
Tue 22 January 1907 the London County Council authorised the street layout of a new housing estate to be built in the Southfields area of Wandsworth.
Wed 27 February 1907 Henry and Edith Norris’ third and last child was born: a third daughter, Nanette Patience.
Mon 4 March 1907 Athletic News published a two-page article by Henry Norris in which he took part in the ongoing debate about whether the Football League and the Southern League should merge to form a national football league (something not actually achieved until the 1920s). The article led to Norris being interviewed by the West London and Fulham Times; the interview appeared on Fri 8 March 1907.
Sat 9 March 1907 the Charity Shield was again played at Craven Cottage: Newcastle Utd beat Corinthians 5-2. The Lord Mayor of London, Sir William Treloar, was present - a first public contact between Henry Norris and the grandees of the City of London. After the match, both the teams went to the Alhambra music hall; I guess the hosts from Fulham FC went too.
Mon 11 March 1907 at the Tavistock Hotel, London: meeting of Football League and Southern League representatives to discuss a merger. Most delegates were against it. Henry Norris ought to have attended this but I haven’t any direct evidence that he did.
Evening, 11 March 1907 presentation of a cheque to the widow of Herbert Jackson; I don’t know who was present, but I can’t see Henry Norris being absent: throughout his life he showed concern and care for people who worked for him and who showed him loyalty.
Mon 18 March 1907 England 1 Wales 1 was played at Craven Cottage. Afterwards Fulham FC hosted a dinner for the FA officials and England team, at the Holborn Restaurant. In his speech Norris denied rumours that Fulham FC would apply to join the Football League in the summer.
March to May 1907 Henry Norris was unable to persuade the Southern League to modernise its decision-making processes.
Thur 25 April 1907 Henry Norris attended a meeting called to found a professional football team to be based in Croydon; I think the team became Croydon Common. There’s no evidence that he ever got further involved than to go to this meeting but if they hadn’t already met, Norris would have come across well-known referee Charles Crisp there - Crisp later became a director of Arsenal FC.
Sat 27 April 1907 Chelsea FC were promoted to Football League Division 1.
Weekend of Sat 4-Sun 5 May 1907 Fulham FC confirmed that the club would be applying for election to the Football League and (if successful) formally resigning from the Southern League. The news was confirmed on behalf of the board of directors by Henry Norris in a letter to Athletic News, published on Mon 6 May 1907.
Wed 8 May 1907 at the meeting of London Borough of Fulham, Henry Norris was appointed to serve for three years as the borough’s representative on the Metropolitan Water Board, which ran London’s complex water supply and sewage network. The MWB was run by a Council of appointees from all the boroughs tha used its water and paid its rates, with representatives of other interested parties like the LCC and the Port of London Authority. It was a rather disorganised institution with offices in several government buildings but no headquarters building of its own. During Norris’ time on the MWB it became clear that from its very beginning it had been under-funded for what was expected of it. The MWB representatives met every fortnight on Friday afternoons at the offices of the Metropolitan Asylums Board on The Embankment. Henry Norris was re-elected for another three years in 1910, and another in 1913 and attended most meetings until the outbreak of the first World War. He resigned due to pressure of work in May 1918, after being unable to attend meetings for two years.
Around 27 May 1907 both Chelsea FC and Fulham FC resigned from the Western League; effectively ending it as a force in football, as only ten clubs remained. From season 1907/08 both clubs’ reserve teams played in the South-Eastern League.
Eve Thur 30 May 1907 Claude Kirby, chairman of Chelsea FC, stated in public that he would vote against Fulham FC in the election of members at the Football League’s AGM.
Also Eve Thur 30 May 1907the AGM of the Southern League took began but was adjourned until it was known whether Fulham FC’s bid to be elected to the Football League was successful.
10am Fri 31 May 1907 at the Tavistock Hotel: Fulham FC, Lincoln City and Chesterfield were elected to the Football League’s at its AGM; all new members started off in Division Two. Henry Norris took an immediate role in the AGM, explaining to representatives how the Southern League organised payments to referees.
Eve Fri 31 May 1907 the AGM of the Football Association was held at the Holborn Restaurant; I haven’t any evidence that Henry Norris was present but I would suppose he was, representing Fulham FC.
Sat 1 June 1907 the adjourned Southern League AGM was finished; representatives heard the formal resignation of Fulham FC.
19 June 1907 Henry Norris was elected as a manager of the Group 6 schools run by the London County Council in the London Borough of Fulham.
Mon 24 June 1907 Henry Norris and William Allen each bought 200 new shares in Fulham Football and Athletic Company Ltd.
Sat 18 August 1907 a pre-season practice game at Craven Cottage saw the first issue of a more professional match programme, edited by West London and Fulham Times’ Merula. Although the regular column putting the directors’ point of view was anonymous, Henry Norris later admitted to having written it, though I think myself that he didn’t write it after the end of season 1907/08.
Tue 3 September 1907 Hull City 1 Fulham 0 was Fulham’s first fixture in FL Division Two. The first home game was on Sat 14 September 1907: Fulham 0 Lincoln City 0. By Sat 5 October 1907 Fulham’s match-day programme was even admitting that the team was finding FL Division Two hard going.
Thur 10 Oct 1907 Henry Norris was initiated into Fulham Lodge number 2512 after a gap of four years as an ex-member. This time he stayed a member, though not an active one, until January 1923. He never served as Master at this lodge.
By Fri 1 November 1907 Merula had resigned as editor of Fulham FC’s match-day programme. On Fri 1 November 1907 Merula wrote an article in West London and Fulham Times making it clear he’d resigned because of the directors’ interference with his editorial freedom; WLFT publicised his article on their advertising hoardings, all over the borough. But by Tue 5 November 1907 he’d been persuaded to revoke his resignation; he then went abroad until Christmas.
Sat 9 November 1907 Councillor Easton became mayor of Fulham: a local journalist and a football-watching acquaintance of Henry Norris. At the same council meeting Norris was elected chairman of its Works and Highways standing committee, to serve for one year.
Fri 11 November 1907 Henry Norris and George Peachey represented the London Borough of Fulham at the LCC’s offices on the south bank in a meeting called to resolve various dispute arising from the development of Fulham Palace Road.
Between Sat 16 November and Fri 22 November 1907 a petition about team selection was presented to the directors of Fulham FC. In the match-day programme on Sat 23 November 1907 Henry Norris responded (negatively) for the directors.
Sat 7 December 1907 the FL Division Two game Leicester Fosse 2 Fulham 3 was the occasion for a day out organised by South Fulham Constitutional Club (a local Conservative Party club). After the match, they and their Leicester counterparts had dinner together in Leicester.
Week-commencing Mon 9 December 1907 a Players’ Union was formed. Various football personalities were invited to become vice-presidents, including Henry Norris. It was a purely honorary role, but he did accept the invitation.
18 December 1907 Henry Norris resigned from his post as a school manager, citing pressure of other commitments. His wife Edith was appointed to succeed him, beginning her career in Fulham’s public life (see my file EDITH NORRIS).
The Olympic Games were held in London; the football competition was played at Shepherd’s Bush stadium (just up the road from Fulham) in October. First: mass-produced automobile (Ford Model T); woman to be elected a mayor (Dr Elizabeth Garrett Anderson in Aldeburgh, Suffolk); Ideal Home Exhibition; aeroplane flight in Britain. Founded: Territorial Army, Boy Scout movement. Published: A Room With A View (E M Forster), The Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame). Cubism.
Early 1908 Kent Lodge number 15 suffered a lack of members willing to serve as its Master, and called for some volunteers. Henry Norris was the only member to put his name forward.
January 1908 the Football Association passed a rule capping transfer fees at £350 (see May 1908).
By Fri 10 January 1908 there were rumours in Fulham that Henry Norris would stand down as chairman of Fulham FC at its AGM. And other rumours that London-based sports paper Athletics, Cycling and Football Chat was in financial trouble.
Sat 11 January 1908 Luton Town 3 Fulham 8(eight), played on a pitch like an ice-rink, began the best FA Cup run of any Henry Norris team until 1927.
Sat 1 February 1908 FA Cup tie Norwich City 1 Fulham 2 was actually played at Craven Cottage at Norwich’s request.
Sat 22 February 1908 Henry Norris was ill with flu and couldn’t attend FA Cup tie Manchester City 1 Fulham 1, played in mud and gale-force winds.
Wed 26 February 1908 38000 crowd (a very high attendance) saw FA Cup replay Fulham 3 Manchester City 1; which Henry Norris probably attended as he was well enough to go to the Council meeting held that evening.
Wed 4 March 1908 impromptu meeting of the Fulham directors to decide what team to field at the weekend in the absence of key player Threlfall, who was injured.
Sat 7 March 1908 was one of the great afternoons in Henry Norris’ footballing career: 41000 saw Fulham 2 Manchester Utd 1 in the FA Cup, with a celebratory pitch invasion as the final whistle went. In the evening the players and all the Fulham management went to the Alhambra (it was in Leicester Square) to watch a film of the game.
Tue 16 March 1908 some new shares in Fulham Football and Athletic Company were issued, the last before 1913.
By Sat 21 March 1908 Fulham lost at Stockport County and effectively ended their chances of promotion to FL Division One; they never did get there in Henry Norris’ lifetime.
Sat 28 March 1908 Fulham’s FA Cup run came to an ignominious halt in the semi-final at Anfield: Newcastle United 6 Fulham 0. As a meaningful contest the match lasted 30 minutes.
Between 3 and 17 April 1908 Fulham directors dug into their own pockets to sign players for season 1908/09; the pockets’ owners weren’t named but its likely they were Henry Norris and William Allen.
By the end of April 1908 the continuing rumours that Henry Norris would end his time as Fulham chairman were added to by rumours suggesting he’d be standing down because he was going to try to get elected as mayor of Fulham.
End season 1907/08 Fulham FC finished 4th - a very respectable conclusion to the club’s first campaign in Football League Division Two.
During May 1908 the owner of Athletics World, Cycling and Football Chat approached Henry Norris’ refereeing acquaintance Charles Crisp suggesting a buy-out.
Eve Thur 28 May 1908 representatives of the Football League met at the Imperial Hotel on Southampton Row, London, to consider two changes in the rules. A huge rise in the membership fee was agreed: from £5/5 to £300. It’s not clear from the reports of this meeting whether Henry Norris was present, because he didn’t speak in the debates. In the morning of Fri 29 May 1908 the scheduled AGM of the Football League took place, again at the Imperial Hotel. Then in the
evening the AGM of the Football Association took place at the Holborn Restaurant. The representatives voted to abolish the cap on transfers which they’d brought in in January. They also voted to keep the current restrictions on wage levels and bonuses. Although I don’t know how he voted, reports of the AGMs are never that detailed, Henry Norris continued throughout his football career to oppose the maximum wage but support the enforcement of a maximum transfer fee.
By Wed 10 June 1908 negotiations had begun between the owner of Athletics World, Cycling and Football Chat and a consortium whose full membership I do not know as no records seem to have survived. Henry Norris was definitely one of them and Charles Crisp probably another though I don’t know how much money either of them put into the venture. On 10 June 1908 Football Chat’s owner wrote to the consortium a letter later proved to have exaggerated both its readership and its advertising revenue.
Mon 29 June 1908 Spurs were elected to FL Division Two at the second attempt, on the chairman’s vote after votes had been tied.
Thur 2 July 1908 the consortium bought Football Chat, for £200 down plus 4 more instalments of £200 each, only the first of which was paid.
June and July 1908 but reaching a climax on Tue 7 July 1908 as chairman of the London Borough of Fulham’s Works and Highways standing committee, Henry Norris became embroiled in a row over the LCC’s proposal to run a tramway down Fulham Palace Road, a plan opposed by Fulham’s Ratepayers’ Defence Association with public meetings and a letter campaign. The row came to a head in a Works and Highways committee meeting, during which two members resigned as councillors and blamed Henry Norris for not allowing a full debate on the matter. After the meeting Henry Norris received a letter from Mr Fowles, secretary of the FRDA, demanding that he withdraw some of the remarks he’d made about the two councillors who’d resigned. Norris replied by letter saying that the FRDA had no right to censure his behaviour as a councillor; he got his letter published in the West London and Fulham Times on Fri 24 July 1908.
Wed 8 July 1908 was the first issue of Football Chat under its new owners. Henry Norris wrote a column on football issues which he called ‘Casual Notes’; it continued on a weekly basis until April 1909 in Football Chat and then ran until April 1913 in West London and Fulham Times.
Wed 29 July 1908 the regular meeting of the full London Borough of Fulham threw out its Works and Highways standing committee’s recommendations on the tramway down Fulham Palace Road. Henry Norris was so annoyed he considered resigning as a councillor himself; but he didn’t.
Tues 11 August 1908 was the AGM of Fulham Football and Athletic Company Ltd. Henry Norris resigned as chairman though he continued to serve as a director. William Hall, a relative newcomer to football and virtually unknown to the public, was elected chairman.
During August 1908 it became clear to the new owners of Football Chat that they’d been sold a pig in a poke. And the FA caused resentment amongst its members by sending them all a letter encouraging them to inform on clubs they believed were paying players more than the allowed wages and bonuses.
Mon 24 August 1908 Henry Norris was in Paris! - I suppose on holiday, with his family.
Wed 26 August 1908 in Football Chat Henry Norris welcomed the appointment of journalist J A H Catton, who wrote as ‘Tityrus’ as editor of the very influential football newspaper Athletic News, describing him as a good friend. Football Chat also had a new editor - ex Athletic News editor J J Bentley.
Sat 29 August 1908 acting on advice from its lawyers, the consortium that now owned Football Chat refused to pay any more money to its previous owner. The reason was NOT the financial status of Football Chat but because the previous owner had broken the terms of the contract of sale by publishing a rival sports paper.
Wed 2 September 1908 was Fulham FC’s first game in season 1908/09 but Henry Norris was still in France and didn’t see it; he’d arrived back in England by Sat 5 September. By Mon 7 September 1908 the club was already enmired in an injury crisis.
Fri 11 September 1908 Henry Norris spoke at a meeting of Football League clubs called to see if they could figure out a way of enforcing the FA rules about wages and bonuses. The meeting was held at the Victoria Hotel, Sheffield - a place he would have to return to in July 1927.
Fri 25 September 1908 Football League clubs held a second meeting, at the Midland Hotel Manchester, about wages, at which Henry Norris voted IN FAVOUR of an end to the maximum wage. His Casual Notes columns in Football Chat were quoted at length during the discussions at the meeting.
Sometime in October or early November 1908 the Moderate councillors (the Tories) of the London Borough of Fulham held an election for who would be made mayor on 9 November; Henry Norris lost by a very small number of votes to Councillor Harris.
Tues 6 October 1908 as its chairman Henry Norris allowed a group of local unemployed men to present a petition to a meeting of the Works and Highways Committee. Possibly as a result of this, at the full Council meeting on Wed 7 October he was appointed to the Fulham Distress Committee, which collected charitable donations for the unemployed in the borough (this is in the era before Unemployment Benefit, of course).
Early October 1908 Fulham FC were fined £10 10shillings by the Football League for signing as a professional a player already on Aston Villa’s books as an amateur. In his column in Football Chat on Wed 21 October 1908 Henry Norris was at pains to stress to his readers that Fulham hadn’t actually broken any FL rules.
Tue 20 to Sat 24 October 1908 the football competition of the Olympic Games was held at the Shepherd’s Bush Stadium, just up the road from Fulham. It would have been easy for Henry Norris to go along to the three games that England had to play to win the Gold Medal; though he didn’t mention having done so when writing in Football Chat.
10am Wed 21 October 1908 the FA and the FL held a joint meeting about wages and bonuses, at the FA offices on High Holborn. I haven’t found any evidence that Henry Norris was present but I should imagine he was, having been at the two previous meetings, and having strong views on the subject.
Eve Tue 27 October 1908 after the last meeting of London Borough of Fulham before the new mayor was chosen (always on 9 November) all the councillors had supper together at Fulham Town Hall. This was Henry Norris’ suggestion (though I couldn’t find out whether he had paid for it!)
Early November 1908 Henry Norris and one other director of Fulham FC (never named, but I’d guess it was chairman William Hall) went to a music hall; where they were spotted chatting to Phil Kelso, once manager of Woolwich Arsenal FC, and player Jimmy Sharp of Glasgow Rangers. Henry Norris claimed the meeting was a coincidence; but within a few months both Kelso and Sharp were employed at Fulham FC. Fulham FC were in a bad run of form at the time; over the next few weeks the club signed several new players, all previously amateurs.
Wed 2 December 1908 with Christmas approaching Henry Norris’ column in Football Chat was set out as a pantomime skit on the hypocrisy rife in the Football League about the maximum wage. He claimed all the characters, and the club, were based on real life, but declined to name names.
Fri 4 December 1908 representatives of the FA and the FL met again, this time in Manchester, to discuss players’ wages yet again; I couldn’t find certain evidence that Henry Norris attended it.
Tue 15 December 1908 the first annual meeting of the new Players’ Union voted to begin campaigning to abolish all wage restrictions and allow free individual bargaining in professional football. In Football Chat on Wed 16 December 1908 Henry Norris strongly endorsed the PU’s resolution; he hadn’t been at the meeting.
December 1908 Fulham got only one point from the whole month’s fixtures.
IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE SOURCES OF ALL THIS INFORMATION, SEND ME AN EMAIL AND I’LL SEND YOU THE SOURCES FILE.
Copyright: Sally Davis August 2007