The Evening Times previewed Partick Thistle’s prospects for the 1903-04 season.
Not for a long time have the prospects of the Partick Thistle looked so bright and cheerful as they do at present. Last year was quite a record one for the Thistle in the First League, whilst financially they finished the season with a substantial balance, after clearing off £650 of old debts, and this has served to spur the officials and players alike to greater achievements still in the coming term.
Starting with a win over Kilmarnock, the team finished strongly by gaining full points in their last three matches, and thus attained a respectable position on the League table, the best, in fact, in the history of the club. No effort in being spared to maintain the standard set up last year, and, with an extended League, hopes are entertained of annexing additional points. The only blot on last season’s work was the defeat by Stenhousemuir in the Scottish ties, but the lesson has been taken to heart, and a like catastrophe is not again reckoned on.
The officials are practically the same, and this is the best testimony to the harmony which exists at Meadowside, and gives an explanatory hint at the satisfactory way in which the club is managed.
Limited liability was adopted at the annual general meeting, but this was only for protective purposes, the finances of the club being thoroughly sound. The first statutory meeting takes place a month hence, when the present officials are subject to re-election, but no changes are anticipated, as under the chairmanship of Mr Wm Ward, the affairs of the concern are guided with a discretion and ability that commends the respect of all interested.
Now, to deal with the team, it may be said that there will not be many changes. All last season’s players have been retained except Morton, who is being inquired after by several First League clubs. The want of a reserve back was severely felt towards the end of last season, and in addition to Campbell and Wilson, Joe Leiper has been signed. Leiper has gained ripe experience with Derby County, but learned his football in the old Minerva, and is expected to prove an acquisition.
At half-back the team has been materially strengthened by the inclusion of Murdoch (Kirkintilloch Rob Roy) and H. Wilson (late of Petershill), a rattling good pair, the latter being considered by good judges to be the catch of the season.
With regard to the forwards, the only newcomer is Wm Hamilton (Clelland Rangers), a centre of considerable promise. Crawford has done wonders since joining the team, and the old Celt appears to have found his proper home at Meadowside, and the same may be said of Howden, who is now a fully fledged professional.
The following is the list of professionals signed on up to date, while negotiations are pending for the transfer of an old favourite who has seen a lot of service in England. Goal: Wilkie and Howden. Backs: Campbell, A.Wilson, Leiper (Derby County). Half backs: Harvey, Gailey, Walker, W.Gray, Murdoch (Kirkintilloch Rob Roy), H.Wilson (Petershill). Forwards: Crawford, Muirhead, Massie, Kennedy, R. Gray, Conner and Hastie.
In addition, the club will have the assistance of Amateurs A. McAllister and W. Hamilton (Clelland Rangers), who will be at hand when their services are required. This is a capital list, and should do much towards elevatingthe club to a good position, all the players having youth on their side.
Practice has been going on merrily for the last two weeks, before large crowds, and the care of the players is again in the capable hands of Mr John Nutt.
The ground, which is capable of accommodating 30,000, is in beautiful order, the playing pitch having received every attention. Care has been taken to arrange home fixtures when the Rangers are out of town, and Mr Little, in arranging the League fixtures, has fixed the home matches, so far as practicable, for the “big pay” Saturday, an arrangement which should benefit the club considerably.
Everything considered, the Thistle are well equipped for the work before them, and with a big district to draw upon the gates should be as the golden way that leads to prosperity.
The opening match is with Celtic at Parkhead next Saturday, when the team is ikely to be:- Howden, Campbell, Leiper, Harvey, Walker, H.Wilson, Crawford, Muirhead, Kennedy, R.Gray, Conner. Stenhousemuir open Meadowside on Tuesday 18th inst, and Port Glasgow Athletic appear on the 22nd.
Season by season