day we played the Mill, we were told that they would kill,
Smash, and bring us to a state of degredation;
But when the game was done, and the victory was won
Oh what an alteration!"
A William G Carn ditty composed after a "historic" victory over the Middle Mill club in a Kingston Derby match.
Having been in
existence for two years, the Y.M.C.A. club showed their ambition by opening
up membership to everyone and not just members of the Y.M.C.A., non Y.M.C.A.
members however could still not serve on the decision making committee.
Carn reported that, at the time, the move to allow non members of the
Y.M.C.A. to join had not made much difference to membership numbers but
it was obviously an important step to becoming the team that would eventually
represent the whole town in later years. The club also changed its name
to Saxons as Kingston & Surbiton Y.M.C.A. was considered a bit too
much of a mouthful, but the name change did not sever links with Y.M.C.A.
whose name was still included on their fixture card. The club also changed
it's colours to white with a scarlet facing containing a badge of a white
horse closely linked to the old Saxons. A proposal by Surbiton Hill to
amalgamate was rejected by the newly named Saxons. It was no doubt seen
as more of a takeover than an amalgamation with Surbiton Hill the more
senior and successful of the two teams.
the club was still using a large number of players and there were still
occasions when they played short of the full eleven men, they were beginning
to produce the foundations of a regular team and they had 7 or 8 players
who barely missed a game. One of their regular players from the first two
seasons, Edwin Stringer, had left the area moving to Nottingham on a Church
Mission to "work among the Navvies" of the area. Saxons had also
lost Harrison Briscoe and Henry Harris, their top scorers from the previous
season. Briscoe had left for Streatham where he played for Streatham Bees
(a team that another early Y.M.C.A. player, Philip Salisbury, was also to
play for against his former club) and was credited by William G. Carn with
founding the Streatham Danes a couple of seasons later.
Harris had been involved in an accident which only allowed for him to play the odd game in goal when the team was short of players. Indeed the goalkeeping slot was one of the few positions not claimed by a regular player and still seemed to be treated very much as an afterthought in team selection after Robert Sivers, who had been the main goalkeeper in the first two seasons, was moved into the back line where he was getting favourable mentions in reports. Sivers primary game was cricket and was a regular with the Royal Hampton Wick Cricket Club during which he scored over 17,000 runs including a century against MCC.
George Jones and Jack Kemp, who had played in the latter part of the previous season, became able replacements in the forward line both netting on a regular basis with Kemp finishing as top scorer on 9 goals despite his position on the wing. They were joined in the forward line by Billy Ocock and Arthur Peck whose brother, George Peck, had already been a regular in the half back line. New regulars in the back lines included Bicknell and Ernie Sayers.
(picture taken from Surrey Comet dated 9th April 1910)
By this time William G Carn was starting to drop out of the footballing side of the club, filling in when necessary but concentrating more on the adminstration as he took on the secretarial duties after Edwin Stringer left. He was also to become a regular referee for the home games but still managed a few appearances with the reserves and the occasional first team appearance.
Although the standard of football was improving and things were on the up, there were tensions developing between the Y.M.C.A. and the club, and in particular William G Carn. While folklore suggests that the Y.M.C.A. organisation felt that football was too rough for a Christian sport, it probably had more to do with their opinion that competitive football activities were turning the organisation into a sporting club and away from its primary objective as a religious organisation. Carn cited their refusal to allow a bagetelle board in the main meeting room as an example of the tensions at the time.
The Summer of 1888 saw William G Carn resign from the Y.M.C.A. This resignation meant that he could no longer be secretary of the football club but the members showed their support for Carn choosing to break the club's links with the Y.M.C.A. rather than lose him. The club became a separate organisation and William G Carn was able to continue as secretary.
A photo of Oil Mill Lane from 1901 courtesy of Kingston History Centre. Oil Mill Lane was later to be renamed Villiers Road. It shows how rural the area was at the time with the "ground" simply being a field somewhere along the lane.
the 1888-1889 season the club moved to a new
ground at Oil Mill Lane (since renamed Villiers Road) with changing
rooms at the Victoria Hotel in Albert Road. They were able to fully establish
a reserve team and, despite having to scratch some matches by not having
enough players on the day, both teams were to have a successful season,
although for the Reserves this success was only to last up to Christmas.
The first team lost just 5 of their 20 games played and only conceeded 16
goals. The Reserves also provided some support for the first team and it
was a great help to be able to dip into the squad when needed. In W.H. Chapman
they had found a regular goalkeeper with much of the rest of the team little
changed, although Charles Collins replaced Albert Collins in the half back
line with Albert Collins moving to captain the Reserves. Charles Collins
speciality was the long throw and on many occasions he would find the head
of the centre forward in a goalscoring situation. Although the FA had introduced
a two handed throw there was still an element of "flinging" allowed
and Collins used this to the full.
After the New Year the Reserves ran into problems with attendance and playing short. One match against Hampton United saw only 5 players turn up but they still only lost 4-0 (it is not clear if they found replacements from spectators or not) and they then had to scratch two weeks later as they were not able to field a team. This caused the Secretary of the Reserves to threaten to cancel remaining fixtures if interest did not pick up. Although this threat was not acted upon, they were only to struggle through a handful more games and were forced to scratch another match. The early season form where they had been unbeaten until December was reversed and only one game was won after that until the end of the season, this being a 4-0 win against Kingston Grammar School who they had beaten 7-0 earlier in the same season.