20/02/1897 Nottingham England 0-6 6,000
Tom Scott, Jack Ponsonby, Sam Torrans, John Pyper, Bob Milne, George McMaster, James Campbell, George Hall, Olphert Stanfield, Johnny Darling, James Barron
Another easy win against the Irish. England acted aggressively right from kick-off, and had their reward as they took the lead, thanks to Dewhurst, inside two minutes. After that, things became a little more even, but England always demonstrated superior skill and pace. Cobbold scored with a well-placed shot from the left, and Lindley added a third after a fine run. Lindley scored again before half-time.
The second half began in much the same way as the first, except that this time England scored two early goals rather than one – Cobbold netting his second, and Lindley his third. Undeterred, the Irish continued to battle, and came close to scoring late on. However, it was the English who got another goal before the end, as Dewhurst got his second.
Having been six goals up with more than 35 minutes left, England might have expected more. It didn’t matter anyway; games against Ireland were seen as nothing more than trial matches in preparation for the big one against Scotland. The presence of another five England debutants was a sign of that. One of them, Haworth was Accrington’s first England international. In between two spells at Accrington, he had a brief spell at Blackburn Rovers, just in time to help them win the 1885 FA Cup.
Author: Peter Waring
20 February 1897 – It Took A While, But It Eventually Caught On
On 20 February 1897, Ireland made history by becoming the first national team in modern history to compete under the guidance of an official coach, as Billy Crone took charge for their opening match against England in that year’s British Home Championship. Unfortunately for the Irish, it didn’t help, and England defeated them 6-0.
Prior to Crone’s appointment, national team players were selected by their respective football associations, then coached by the team captain. Before overseeing the national team, Crone – himself a former Irish international with 12 caps – had established himself as the manager of his hometown club, Belfast’s Distillery FC, where he played his club ball until his retirement as a player in 1893. He remained the manager of Distillery (now known as Lisburn Distillery) during and after his time in charge of Ireland, leading them to five Irish League titles between 1895 and 1906.
For the remainder of the tournament, Ireland won their next match against Wales, 4-3, but lost their final match against Scotland, 5-1, to finish third out of the four teams.
In hiring Crone, Ireland were well ahead of their competition. For comparison, England hired their first manager in 1946, while Wales and Scotland hired their first managers in 1954.
Author: Brian Seal