When, in 1873, a group of 19-year old members of Havelock Cricket Club decided to form a football club in order to play sport throughout the year, local press coverage of sporting activities was, at best, minimal. Horse racing received the most column inches while reports of football appeared sporadically and were usually very brief, often not even listing the players involved.
The earliest newspaper coverage of what was then Havelock Football Club appeared in the Birmingham Daily Post in November 1873, soon after the club’s foundation, and was not instigated by the paper but by one of its correspondents.
On 12th November the Post published a letter from “A Clerk” bemoaning the fact that there was very little football played in the Birmingham area and that the only clubs were ‘connected with the public schools’ and played according to the rugby code. “A Clerk” went on to state that other large towns such as Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool all had representative association clubs, which competed in the annual Football Association Challenge Cup.
Bearing in mind that “A Clerk’s” main complaint seemed to be the lack of soccer teams in Birmingham it is surprising that the first reply to his letter came from a rugby club. This response was printed in the following day’s Post and was as follows: ‘We are asked to state that “A Clerk” will find all that he requires by writing to Mr. J. Heaven, 2 St. Paul’s Terrace, Moseley Road, who is secretary to the Havelock Football Club.’
A similar offer from the secretary of the Incogniti association club was published in the Post on 15th November and bearing in mind “A Clerk’s” original complaint he was probably more likely to take up this offer than that of Mr. Heaven.
The club received one more mention in the Daily Post during its inaugural season, when, on 17th November, a report of a game with King Edward’s School was published.
As mentioned above these early reports were usually very brief and the whole account of the match ran as follows:
HAVELOCK FOOTBALL CLUB v. KING EDWARD’S SCHOOL-The above match was played on Saturday last, on the ground of the latter, and resulted in a victory for the school, who obtained three “touches-down” and kicked one goal, while the Havelock neither kicked a goal nor obtained any “touch-down.”
There was then no further mention of the club in the local press until November 1875 when both the Birmingham Daily Gazette and the Birmingham Daily Post carried reports of a Moseley v. Bromsgrove fixture. There had also been a reference to the team in Berrow’s Worcester Journal in March of the same year when Bromsgrove defeated Moseley in Bromsgrove.
A little different from today’s media attention!
 A touchdown was obtained when the defending side was forced to ground the ball in its own in-goal area. During the early years of rugby touchdowns were included in the final score of matches.
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