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John Simkin
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Guest Gary Loughran
In 1907 the Welsh team beat Ireland (3-2) and Scotland (1-0). They clinched their first Home Nations Championship with a 1-1 draw with England. Why was this such an amazing achievement?

Given your penchant for social history and sport, I'll plump for Wales players still being amateurs - was Meredith in the team??? upstart!!!! :).

Thought just being called Wales made it an amazing achievement.

P.S added on edit - You see John, I am learning. I was googling for the answer this morning and found that I was right - it was that upstart Meredith :) Remembered him from some research in the Unions and Man U stuf from a while back. I don't know if this reassures me or you though LOL.

Edited by Gary Loughran
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In 1907 the Welsh team beat Ireland (3-2) and Scotland (1-0). They clinched their first Home Nations Championship with a 1-1 draw with England. Why was this such an amazing achievement?

Given your penchant for social history and sport, I'll plump for Wales players still being amateurs - was Meredith in the team??? upstart!!!! :angel.

Thought just being called Wales made it an amazing achievement.

In 1907, as today, the best Welsh players played in the Football League. The chairmen of the clubs were very patriotic and did what they could to make sure that England won the Home Nations Championship. Therefore, many of the clubs refused permission for the Welsh players to play in these games. Billy Meredith was very proud of coming from Wales and when he signed for Manchester United in January 1907 he insisted on the right to play for his country. Therefore, he was available for the 1907 competition that took place in the March of that year. Wales also had several talented amateur players in the side in 1907. As they did not sign contracts with their Football League clubs, they had the freedom to play in international matches. This included the great Leigh Roose, who many believe was Britain's best ever goalkeeper. As Billy Meredith pointed out in his autobiography: "In those days, Wales was never really sure of a first team and there used to be a sigh of relief when the party trickled up in twos or threes. Reserves were usually standing by, but a reserve goalkeeper was not thought of when Dick (Leigh) Roose was holding down the position."

Irish and Scots players were also often refused permission to play for their countries. This was the main reason why Alex James joined Arsenal from Preston in 1929. He got it put in his contract that he would always be allowed to play for Scotland in international matches.

While on the subject of Leigh Roose, the Football Association actually changed the laws of the game to make him a less effective goalkeeper. Roose actually retired from the game, when the new rule was announced (this was not the only reason for this decision as he was struggling with a wrist injury). Do you know what this rule change was?

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Guest Gary Loughran
While on the subject of Leigh Roose, the Football Association actually changed the laws of the game to make him a less effective goalkeeper. Roose actually retired from the game, when the new rule was announced (this was not the only reason for this decision as he was struggling with a wrist injury). Do you know what this rule change was?

Not too much of a flyer this time: during the history of football project I read some posts about Leigh Roose and had the good sense to check him out. At the time you said that you were trying to do a bit of work on him IIRC. Not sure if you've gotten around to completing.

Anyway, he used to enjoy breaking up play outside the box with his hands (as well as being a showman for the crowd, when not saving penalties and abusing spectators, if memory serves) - bouncing the ball in own half was allowed then. Something I still find amazing.

The rule change permitted 'keepers to only handle the ball in the Penalty box.

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