Football photos have stood the test of time

Corinthians 1923 training at Crystal Palace.
Corinthians 1923 training at Crystal Palace.

Lancaster Guardian historian Terry Ainsworth presents his series of monthly articles highlighting sporting photographs of the past.

“The first of my photographs this week will be of interest to the thousands of boys who attended the Lancaster Royal Grammar School.

Greaves School 1950-51. Back row: - John Gradwell, Leonard Redburn, Bill Thornton, Denis Cockbain, Mr Shillito (Sports Master); middle row: - Ron Bettany, Bill Potter, Terry Purcell, David Orr, J Helme; 'front row: - John Corless, Roger Holmes.

Greaves School 1950-51. Back row: - John Gradwell, Leonard Redburn, Bill Thornton, Denis Cockbain, Mr Shillito (Sports Master); middle row: - Ron Bettany, Bill Potter, Terry Purcell, David Orr, J Helme; 'front row: - John Corless, Roger Holmes.

“We never realised it at the time but our geography teacher in the 1950s, Harold ‘Dally’ Douthwaite, was a celebrated football player with perhaps the most famous of all clubs, Corinthians.

“Over a ten-year period in the 1920s the Corinthians cup matches against the professionals caught the imagination of the footballing public and drew extraordinary crowds.

“The players were famed, above all, for their ethos of ‘sportsmanship, fair play, and playing for the love of the game’. ‘Corinthian Spirit’, understood as the highest standard of sportsmanship, is often associated with the side.

“This spirit was famously summed up in their attitude to penalties; as far as they were concerned, a gentleman would never commit a deliberate foul on an opponent. “So, if a penalty was awarded against the Corinthians, their goalkeeper would stand aside, lean languidly on the goalpost and watch the ball being kicked into his own net. If the Corinthians themselves won a penalty, their captain took a short run-up and chipped it over the crossbar.

“The photograph was taken at Crystal Palace where the team were training prior to playing Brighton and Hove Albion in the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge in front of 45,000 spectators.

“The photograph of Greaves School was sent to me by Bill Thornton, through the Lancaster Guardian/Morecambe Visitor offices, and he provided me with ten names.

“Quite by chance I met Ron Bettany in Lancaster and when I produced the photograph he kindly added the final two names.

“A wonderful image that has stood the test of time over almost seven decades.”