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Ken Aston Referee Society ~ Football Encyclopedia Bible
Arthur Constantine
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Arthur Constantine developed a love of football while studying at Shrewsbury School. After leaving university he moved to Lancashire where he became friends with John Lewis. On 5th November 1875, Constantine and Lewis, organized a meeting at the St Leger Hotel in Blackburn to discuss the possibility of establishing a football club in the town. Seventeen men attended the meeting and as Charles Francis pointed out in his book, History of Blackburn Rovers (1925): "all present, including several young fellows who had just finished their education at public schools, signified their willingness to participate in the game and the motion to create a club was carried unanimously."

John Lewis agreed to be treasurer of Blackburn Rovers Football Club and Walter Duckworth, a former pupil of Clitheroe Grammar School and the son of a local timber merchant, was appointed as the club's first secretary. Two local businessmen, Alfred Birtwistle, directory of a local firm of cotton manufacturers, and Richard Birtwistle, whose family owned cotton mills in the Blackburn area, also became involved in running the club. Jack Baldwin, the son of a wealthy Blackburn businessman, also agreed to play for the team.

J. T. Syckelmoore, a former student of St. John's College, Cambridge and a teacher at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School in Blackburn also joined the club. So also did Thomas Greenwood, who was appointed captain of Blackburn Rovers. His two brothers, Harry Greenwood and Doctor Greenwood, also played for the club.

Blackburn Rovers played their first game on 11th December 1875. The team included Constantine, Alfred Birtwistle, Walter Duckworth, John Lewis, J. T. Syckelmoore, Thomas Greenwood, Harry Greenwood and Jack Baldwin. The game ended in a 1-1 draw.

The team played its early games at Oozehead, a piece of farmland on the road to Preston. In 1877 they began playing matches at Pleasant Cricket Ground. At a game against Preston Rovers in December, Henry Smith, collapsed and died of a heart-attack. The following year Blackburn Rovers moved to the ground used by the Alexandra Meadows Cricket Club.

According to the author of The Book of Football: "It was a modest beginning, and as the enthusiasts had no idea of the future that was in store, no complete records were kept for the first few seasons." Those existing documents show that Arthur Constantine apparently left the club in 1877.

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