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AFFILIATION REDIVIVUS., Issue 10437, 5 October 1897
At the special meeting of the Rugby Union on Saturday night The Chairman said the other business was the consideration of the following requisition, signed by Messrs J. A. Chapman (Union), J.' B. Waters (Zingari-Richmond), G. C. Matheson (Pirates), A. H. Midler (Kavensbourne), and J. A. Stewart (Naseby Prospectors) '.—“ That in the interests of Rugby football in Otago it is desirable to sever the connection of the O.R.F.U. with the Mew Zealand Rugby Union, and that the Committee take the steps necessary to do so; and, contingent on this proposal being carried, to consider any motions having for their -object the formation of an alliance between the Unions of the South Islaud of the colony.” Mr Chapman said in getting the gentlemen to sign the above requisition he wanted to get an opportunity of discussing the relations ot the Otago Union to the M.Z.U. In justice to the gentlemen who signed the requisition he would straightaway say that they did not in any way commit themselves to support him in the proposals he intended to bring forward. From remarks that he had heard by footballers throughout Dunedin lie had come to the conclusion that the relations between the local Union and tne M.Z.U, were even more unsatisfactory now than they had been when Otago was not affiliated. Ail those gentlemen who were associated with him up till 1394- in the management of football in Otago were strongly opposed to the N.Z U., and in the Committee s report of 1895 they spoke in no uncertain sound as to what their views on the matter were. He had not seen any reason to alter the opinion held by him then. In 1894 the Committee expressed a similar opinion, and said they believed the N.Z U. instead of doing good to the colony would do it harm. They knew the circumstances under which the N.Z.U. was formed. It was forced down the throats of many unions in the colony Had Canterbury stood faithful to this Union and Southland, the M.Z.U. so far as the South Island was concerned would have been a dead letter to this day. When the M.Z.U."was formed they were told of the wonderful things it was going to do for football in this colony, but he asked had it done anything to benefit football ■ Ic had certainly done no good in Dunedin. The N.Z.If. was supposed to ably control intercolonial football. Since it was formed there had been two trips to Mew South Wales, and m each case the game was sacrificed lor the gate, more especially during the last trip, when the team played far more matches in » week than they were capable of playing. The Sydney papers were also full of criticisms on the rough play in the first match, anil on the previous tour the same thing took place. RouMi play was a tiling the M.Z.U. was coin" down - The ‘Sydney Mail’ of the loth of last month, in referring to a match between the premier junior clubs of Now South Wales, characterised the play as being of a most disgraceful character, and the reason°for it was that they could not expect juniors to play football when they were set such a bad example by the seniors, and especially in intercolonial matches. They had had an exhibition of a similar kind of play in Dunedin during the last month, but he would not say any more on that point. Then he asked Was the management of the team that went to Australia of a satisfactory kind? He never could ree the necessity tor sending those gentlemen to other colonies to manage a team. Another thing he objected to was the over of reinforcements on the responsibility of one gentleman in Mew Zealand. (Mr Duncan : Mo.) a man was chosen and sent, to Now South Wales to reinforce the New Zealand team there. He would ask the meeting to compare the teams that camo.from New South Wales in 1882 and 18 6 with the teams that had visited the colony since the formation of the New Zealand Union, and say which teams played the best football. They had an absurd visit from a team from Queensland two years ago. and it seemed to him that that trip was simply got up for the sake of the tnp. They all knew the success of the Quoenslu m w*?r th r is co]on T- He was convinced that the M.Z.U. from the beginning had set itself to eicourage that kind of travelling, which, in his mind, was going to spoil amateur Rugby football.—(Hear, hear.) He had a Wellington Annual 1 in his hand which allowed that some players in that place had represented their province no less than twenty-eight times within the last two or three years. He asked what was that an indication of ? It was nothin' - '' It’-.; than professional football. Taking ball on the low ground of gate ramiey, bo found ..hat the takings in the match against C ;lQ t“rbury m 1891 was within a fraction of £2OO, and in 1892 it was about the same. The gates had fallen off the last few year,*. Mr Strong : They get over ti;“ fenc". Mr Chapman ; Well, that shows you have a different kind of patrons.—(f.auiliter.) Continuing, the speaker said that the public iutere-t in the game was dying out for some reason nr other. He believed that it was owing to the inferior kind of play, and also to the fact that the public had come to the conclusion that football in the colony was not being properly managed. Mr Chapman pointed out that the South Canterbury Union—which joined the M.Z.U. while Canterbury, Otago, and Isouthland stood out had two players in the second last' team that visited Ausand now they had been snuffed out of existence. He advised Otago to take care or Rugby football would also he a thing of the past here. He had heard it said that if thsy could also got Canterbury to secede from the M.Z.U. his motion would be owned. Ho might Bay that he had not made any attempt to intluonce delegates in this matter,‘and personally he did not care whether Canterbury Receded or Wot. They had always been good trionds with Canterbury, but considering the wav they treated Otago in 1894 he did not think this Union should say; Wo shall not leave the M. unless Canterbury comes with us, Ho was of the opinion that Otago and Southland were strong enough to stand out themselves - (A. VOICE: “No.”)—and Southland would go whatever way Otago went. -(A Votes: “ Question. ) Those who saw the match with Southland last month would acknowledge that Southland showed as good play as the. hurl seen in Otago this year. It was certainly a far more taking style of play than that of the gentlemen—(laughter)— fmm the North Island. He had seen a fe.w rou'di games in his time, but for real good outrageous rough play give him the Wellington match agaiost Otago. He was not going to blame the N. for the rough play in that match.-( A voice; “You ought to.”) He wanted to be fair. In Otago they were not used to stein" payers going bald-headed for the opposm“ player, instead of for the ball. That, ho aaitf was done deliberately in the Wellington match —(hear, hear)—and he was not afraid to sav so. He believed it went without saying that they were dissatisfied with the present arrangements of the N.Z.U.—(A Voice : “No.”) He did not think it would make much difference whether the headquarter i were shifted or not. If the meeting carried his motion an endeavor should be made to get Canterbury and Southland to combine with Otago Mr Waters seconded the motion. He said it was quite evident to almost anyone who took aa interest m football that the relationship between the local Union and the N.Z.U. was a-.rained, and had been more or less so all ahm". They should look the matter honestly in the face, and if they were going to benefit Otago football by severing their connection with the N.Z.U. left them do po at once; but, on the other hand, if the delegates thought that the time was not ripe for doing so ho would be the last to urge them in that direction. He would not like it to go abroad that they were actuated by a spirit of jealousy. He wished to give the N.Z.U, fair play. Mr Campbell agreed with Mr Chapman on a great many points, but he thought that gentleman had put the cart before the horse. The proper course to adopt before disaffiliating was to ascertain whether the other South Island unions were favorable to forming a union of their own. He was of the same opinion now as he was three years ago : that as long as Canterbury was m the N.Z.U. Otago could not stand ea T r he u y tried [t and Pkved a match with Southland, but the public showed no interest m the game. He had not seen any cjaes of professionalism, and therefore he could Wlt * l Chapman’s remarks that the N.Z.U. was a menace to the amateur status. The dissatisfaction between Otago and the central body had arisen since Mr Hoben loft Thev were not dissatisfied with the N.Z.U. when thev first joined; the trouble had arisen within the last year or two. He would move as an amendment—“ That although this Union is not entirely satisfied with the management of the N.Z.U., they deem it undesirable to sever their connection with that bodv.”
Mr Chapman : That is a direct negative. The Chairman : Yes, that is so. Mr Chapman : lam quite agreeable to meet you in this way : that we do not disaffiliate until we receive information from Canterbury on the subject.
Mr Campbell said he would like to correct a statement that had appeared in the 'Wellington papers that this move against the N.Z.U. had been going on for some time, and that Otago never intended to pay a visit to Wellington. He could say. on behalf of the Committee, that affllate™ 1 ° nCO be ° n Said thatthe - v should disMr Matheson, a delegate who had signed Mr requisition, would not go so far as to support Mr Chapman’s resolution in its entirety. He must say, however, that the fooling of footballers in Otago was that the N.Z.U. had been badly managed from its inception; and he thought, with a view of getting over the difficulty, that this Union should co operate with Canterbury and Southland with the object of having the headquarters transferred. He did not think that the time was ripe for severing their connection with the N.Z.U. An English
team would visit the colonies next year, and if they left the N.Z.U. they would not have a visit from that English team. The public and footballers of Otago would be strongly opposed to that.—(Hear, hear.) He would move as an amendment—“ That this Union co-operates with Canterbury and Southland with a view of having the headquarters transferred.”
The Chairman : The Committee have already expressed an opinion that the headquarters should be shifted, and are already co-operating with Canterbury in that direction. Mr Lawry thought that if it was decided to form a South Island Union every union in the South Island should ho consulted in the matter.
Mr Campbell said he would alter his amendment so as to make it read—“'l hat although this Union is not entirely satisfied with the management of the N.Z.U. thev deem it undesirable to proceed in the dilection of -operation without information as to the feelings of the other South Islaud unions.”
Mr Matheson ; I will accept that. Mr Chapman said he could not officially communicate with Canterbury’ and Southland. Mr Cohen disagreed with the last words of tlie_ amendment. It seemed to him that the position had not altered in the slightest way since the delegates two years ago carried a resolution in favor of affiliation, nor had Mr Chapman in his speech advanced one single argument why the delegates should secede from the position they took up then. Surely it could not be said that it was professionalism because a man had represented his province a certain number of times. The player must have been entitled to his place in the team. There! were men in that room who had represented their province for many years. Everyone would admit that there was not a better piaver in the colony than Duncan, and he would be a great loss when he gave up the game. There were men who had battled for their province for wars and years, and it was impossible to got better men to fill their places. The existence of professionalism might be apparent to Mr Chapman, but not to some of them who had watched the game. Speaking of the South Canterbury Union, Mr Cohen said the N.Z.U. had squashed a large number of small unions, and in doing so they considered they were acting in the best interests of the game. The speaker put the position in a nutshell when it was first discussed. Thcvo was no good of Otago and Southland standing out alone, but if they could get Canterbury to unite there was no needj of (them being in the N Z.U. But so long as Canterbury elected to adhere to the central body Otago must, in the interests of the public and the players, stand by the N.Z.U. He, like others, was firm in saying that the management of the N Z.U. for_ the past two years had been unsatisfactory, and must be altered. The amendment in his opinion should take this form: “Whilst dissatisfied with the management of the central body, we think the time is inopportune to disaffiliate.” If that state of things continued it would then behove this Union to reconsider their position, with the object or forming a union in the South Island.
Mr Torrance said he preferred to sec a vote taken on Mr Chapman’s motion without any amendments at all. He agreed with Mr Cohen’s view of the matter, heoiuse he did not consider the time opportune for them to sever their connection v/ith the governing body. He was satisfied that the Union was not properlv managed, and Otago should endeavor to have better men placed in the management of affairs. —(Hear, hear.) He d d not think that there was the slightest hope of Canterbury 'leaving the N.Z IT., and ho was sure Southland was not on the point of seceding, as their financial position, Hire Otago’s, depended very much on the visits of Northern teams.
Mr Platts thought it was quite clear, if the motion was put without an amendment, a tremendous majority would be in favor of the present position—the allegiance to the N.Z U. What M r Cohen said was exactly ihe position. What had happened since Otago affiliated _to cause them to reconsider their position? He submitted nothing had happened. The gentlemen who had ■ done host to keep Otago from joining the N.Z.U came to the meeting that night with exactly the same aiguments, plus one or two weaker ones. The appointment of a manager was one objection, but Mr Chapman had iorgotten that Otago always sent a manager with a team, and that every train in the colony sent a manager. Even a rowing club had its manager. It was also weak talk to charge the N.Z.U. with maladministration in sending reinforcements to Australia, for more men were ceitaiuiy required It was clear that too many matches wore arranged for the team, but tnat could not he called mismanagement. It might be mi-taken management. It was done in the best in‘crests of the team, ard ' n . sending rc-infoi cements was the best thing that coulti be done to correct that mistake. It w.ts ridiculous to term it professionali-m ii-cmue a man had plavcd twenty-eight times for his province. Ho had never heard anything more lidiculous. Mr Cnapman said football in Dunedin had degenerate 1. It was quite true that gate money had faljen c-ti, and it would bo some years before Uta;o got the gates that were obtainable in Mr Chapman’s time. But what ■ had killed football in Dunedin? It was Mr Chapman’s mismanagement of the Committee, when ho declined to join the N Z.U. and took up a position of isolation, and Otsgo had no interprovinoial matches, to the di=<mst of the public -(Rear, hear.) They had never go. over that mismanagement—(hear, hear)— and it would hi sorao vcars before thev would. He hoped Mr Chapman’s motion would ho lelegatedto obscurity.
Mr Oran ; I am hardly in sympathy with the motion, but fo my Instructions from tho Upper Olmha Olub to support it. ftir Beadle thought they ought to not independently ot Canterbury, who had thrown them over once.
, Mr UHAPMAN, in reply, said no English football team that came to this colony would pass Otago. He received a letter that day from Messrs Lrlley white and Shrewsbury, who had been all over Australia anti New Zealand, and they said there was no plane like Otago. He was quite certain if an English team came to this colony they would visit Otago whether the N.Z U. prohibited it or not. He said distinctly that the rough play in the first New South ■Wales-New Zealand match was due to the tactics of the latter’s forwards, and he referred anyone who questioned his statement to the papers. He contended that twentye:ght times was an excessive number for a man to represent his province in two or three years. It was professionalism either disguised or real.
The amendment was put and carried by 15 to 12, thus becoming the substantive motion. Mr Cohen moved to amend the motion to 1 cad i h;it although this Union is not entire! v satisfied with the management of the New Zea‘land Union, this meeting is of opinion that the present time is inopportune for considering the question of disaffiliation.”
This amendment was carried by 14 votes to 13, but on being put; as the substantive motion was ksb by 15 votes to 11.
Mr Chapman then moved, and Mr Matheson seconded “Ihat although this Union is not satisfied with the management of the New Zealand Union, it deems it undesirable to proceed further at present in the proposal for disaffiliation from the New Zealand Union beyond ascertaining the views of the other South Island unions on the matter of the formation of a south Island alliance.”
This motion was carried with only four dissentients, and the meeting then terminated with the usual compliment to the chair.
AFFILIATION REDIVIVUS., Issue 10437, 5 October 1897
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