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|Ken Aston Referee Society ~ Football Encyclopedia Bible|
Administrators and Managers
|Source - References|
|Source - References|
(1) Sunderland: The Official History (1999)
By 3rd December 1910 we were flying in the Football League and clear favorites for the title. Sunderland took a fourteen game unbeaten run to Ayresome Park, and with Boro' struggling at the wrong end of the table, it was obvious to all that a Sunderland victory was on the cards. The Middlesbrough Chairman, Lieutenant Colonel Poole, had different ideas. He was running for parliamentary elections on the Monday and believed that his candidature and votes would be boosted if his side could beat Sunderland.
(2) Nick Varley, Golden Boy (1997)
First there was the outcry which greeted the signing of Alf Common in 1905, not because of his Freddie Mercury moustache, but because the record fee broke the £1000 barrier. In those days buying your way out of trouble was just not the done thing and relegation-threatened Boro, second from bottom and two years without an away win, as well as sellers Sunderland, were pilloried....
Then there was the sterling example set by chairman Lieutenant-Colonel Gibson Poole, the man who bought Common. After another transfer swoop the following season, for the acclaimed England international Steve Bloomer, rumours began to circulate that a number of other clubs had helped Boro, struggling again, with their purchases because they all wanted to see Bury go down. Both league and FA inquiries uncovered book-keeping irregularities including the chairman keeping gate receipts and owing the club money. In the manner of these things down the ages, it was settled quietly and all but forgotten until four years later when allegations were made that Boro and Newcastle fixed a match to give the Geordies, preparing for a Cup final, an easy ride. The allegations were not proved, but hardly helped Boro's tarnished image.
The goals-for-votes scandal cemented Boro's reputation for rogue finances. By 1910, the Lieutenant-Colonel was trying to move from football into politics by standing as a Conservative in the General Election. With the Liberals favorites to win, he needed all the help he could get - for example, his team beating Sunderland two days before polling. Some of the Boro players had spoken during the campaign on behalf of their chairman, while the Liberals were forecasting, rather disloyally, a Wearside win.
On match day, manager Andy Walker decided to do his bit and approached the Sunderland captain with an offer of £10 for him plus £2 for each of his players as long as there was a home victory. The skipper told his trainer, who told the Sunderland chairman, who told the FA and, although Boro won the game 1-0 through entirely fair means, the club was in dire trouble. Weeks earlier it had been fined £100 and Walker banned for a month after he made an illegal approach to a Scottish player. It had been their final chance and the new offence meant Poole, who lost the election, and Walker were banned for life. The remaining directors were warned that if there was any more rule-breaking Boro would be banned from the Football League.
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