Diary of John Counsell

~1933 ~


Jan. 2nd - At Central Park. Wigan 45 points, Wakefield Trinity 5. Poor gate.

Jan. 3rd - Windy day at Central Park. Attended Lancashire County Football League Senior Competition meeting in Manchester.

Jan. 7th - Went with directors and players to Swinton. Swinton 2, Wigan nil. A poor game. The Wigan forwards were beaten in the scrummages.

Jan. 11th - Attended Northern League Management Committee meeting in Leeds. Arrived back in Wigan 7-30.

Jan. 18th - Attended Rugby League Council meeting and Cup meeting in Leeds. Draw: Askern v. Wigan.

Jan. 21st - Wakefield v. Wigan match postponed on account of frost. Received word at ground about 10 a.m. Very cold weather.

Jan. 24th - At Central Park. Ground very hard. Attended Finance Committee of the Rugby League at Wigan Highfield ground. Had tea with them at Grill Room. Attended Lancashire County Committee in the evening.

Jan. 26th - Bright day but cold. Went to Central Park and found ground still hard. Th little experiment with kill-frost was not a success.

Jan. 27th - Went to Central Park and found the ground hard. The chairman, H. Lowe, and myself decided to postpone the match to-morrow with Swinton.

Jan. 28th - Thawing just a little. Wigan's home match with Swinton was postponed on account of frost.

Feb. 3rd - Helped to make sandwiches for Wigan "A" team who were playing at York next day.

Feb. 4th - At Central Park, and found ground in good condition. Good crowd for match. Wigan 4 goals, 8 points, York 1 goal 2 tries, 8.


Feb. 11th - Went with three other directors to Askern, near Doncaster. First round Rugby League Challenge Cup. Wigan 46 points, Askern nil. Over 4,000 spectators, gate just under £200. Wigan's going there was a very popular attraction as a fair number of Wigan people had gone to live there in recent years.

Feb. 15th - Attended J. Austin's funeral with H. Lowe and J. Entwistle. Attended Central Park for postponed match. Wigan 22, Swinton 3. 14,000 spectators, £635 gate.

Feb. 18th - At Leigh. Wigan 23, Leigh 3.

Feb 25th - Wind and sleet. Very cold. We postponed cup-tie with Oldham at Central Park to be played next Wednesday.

Mar. 1st - Second round Rugby League Challenge Cup at Wigan. Wigan 5, Oldham 3. 14,500 spectators, £722 gate.

Mar. 4th - Went with directors and team to Widnes. Result: Wigan 15, Widnes 8.

Mar. 11th - Attended Central Park and saw Wigan beaten in the third round of the Rugby League Challenge Cup by Warrington 9 points to 7. 38,000 spectators, £2,071 gate. It was a summer-like day.

Mar. 15th - Attended funeral of Mr. Harold W. Hunt. Attended Central Park. Wigan 44 points, Dewsbury 4. Very poor gate.

Mar. 18th - Went with E. Conroy to Highfield football ground to see Barnes, the full-back, play. Salford won easily by 40 points to nil.

Mar. 25th - H. Lowe deputised for me at Barrow with "A" team. Lost 20-14. Went to Swinton to see semi-final R.L. Cup. Warrington 11, St. Helens 5. 30,373 spectators. Gate £2,055 9s. Wigan at home to Barrow, 11 points each. Gate over £400.

Mar. 30th - Attended match at Workington. England v Other Nationalities. Very fine day and a good attendance. England 34, Other Nationalities 27.

Apr. 15th - Went with directors and team to Dewsbury. Result: Dewsbury 20, Wigan 8. Wigan's play was very disappointing.


Apr. 20th - Left for London at 8 a.m. and met along with other members of the R.L. Council distinguished sportsmen and London newspaper representatives at the Hotel Metropole (below). Went to a cocktail party in the evening.

Apr. 22nd - Went with team and directors to Salford to see semi-final of Northern League Championship. Salford 14, Wigan 2. Gate about £1,150. Presented Lancashire League Cup to Salford.

Apr. 29th - All bustle at Central Park getting ready for the Northern League final. Result: Salford 15, Swinton 5. The attendance was disappointing, only 18,000 spectators paying £1,050.

May 6th - Rugby League Cup final at Wembley Stadium. Huddersfield 21, Warrington 17. Gate about £6,500. About 50,000 spectators. Down Strand, etc., in the evening.

May 13th - Football match at Swinton for local hospital. Swinton beat Jim Sullivan's team by 55-39.

May 29th - Attended Wigan Football Club directors' meeting. H. Lowe resigned chairmanship and Ald. Walkden appointed.

June 6th - Went to Manchester to meeting of clubs called by Manchester clubs re two divisions. Scheme propounded by Capt. Hampson.

June 7th - Attended annual meetings of R.L. and Northern League in Manchester. Self and Hutchins tied for first place with 23 votes. E. Howarth 19, Anderton 18, for League Management Committee.

June 20th - Attended annual meeting of Wigan Football Club at Hope Schools. A bit rowdy at times. Alderman Walkden in the chair. Polling for four retiring directors on Thursday June 22nd.

June 22nd - Polling at Central Park for four directors: J. Counsell 368, J. Entwistle 358, A. Peacock 356, Richard F. Hough 275. The majority of above were proxy votes.

June 23rd - At Bridlington. The Rugby League clubs agreed provisionally that Wigan Highfield play their home team fixtures at White City, London.

July 4th - Went in afternoon East Lancashire way to see Merritt and Roberts, two professional cricketers, about giving Wigan club trials at League football.


July 18th - With Alderman Walkden had interview with Jim Sullivan re next year's engagement. We also went to Frame's in Wallgate re cable to New Zealand to Innes (above), a footballer.

July 20th - Received cable that Gordon Innes had accepted Wigan Football Club's offer to come and give trials.

Aug. 12th - Very fine day. Attended first practice match at Central Park. A few promising newcomers. Poor attendance.

Aug. 22nd - Went with Alderman Walkden and A. Sim to Leyland Motor Works to see officials re work for Wigan footballers.

Aug. 26th - At Warrington. Warrington 22 points, Wigan 6 points. Our forwards were badly beaten for possession in the scrums.

Aug. 30th - Went with Alderman Walkden in his car to Leigh. Australia 16, Leigh 7. About £350 gate.

Sept. 2nd - Wigan 43, London Highfield 11. At Central Park.

Sept. 4th - Attended Rugby League Council meeting and official welcome luncheon at Leeds to the Australian footballers.

Sept. 6th - Met Gordon Innes at King George V. dock, London. Arrived with him in Wigan at 6-50. Took him to ground and after a long wrangle he signed on for the Wigan club.

Sept. 9th - At Central Park. Wigan "A" 7 points, St. Helens Recs. 3 points. Wigan were lucky to win. G. Innes and Merritt, two New Zealand footballers, payed one of their trial games. About £70 gate. Wigan first lost at the Recs. ground by 12 points to 11.

Sept. 11th - Went with George Bennett to Mr. McMurray, the specialist, at Liverpool, who examined Bennett's ankles.

Sept. 20th - Went to London and White City Stadium. It was first Northern League match there. Result: London Highfield 8 points, Wakefield Trinity 9 points. Poor attendance.

Sept. 23rd - Wigan v Australia at Wigan. The Mayor (Councillor Walter Atherton) received Mr. Harry Sunderland, Mr Wally Webb and the Australian footballers at the Mayor's Parlour before the match. Result: Wigan 4 points, Australia 2 goals 2 tries, 10 points About 16,000 spectators and gate money £1,266.

Sept. 30th - At Central Park. First round Lancashire Cup. Wigan 21, Barrow 2 points. £365 gate.



Oct. 7th - Went with a few of Wigan Football Club directors to Belle Vue, Manchester, to see the Test match between England and Australia. England won by 2 goals kicked by Sullivan, to nil. It commenced to rain during the match. The gate was £4,659 and the attendance over 33,000.

Oct. 14th - At Widnes. Wigan 14 points, Widnes 7. W. Howarth, of Wigan, got a sensational try, running three-quarters length of the field to near posts.

Oct. 19th - Billy Howarth said he would not play with "A" team next Saturday at Warrington.

Oct. 21st - Went to St. Helens Recs. ground to observe P. Cowell, referee, and generally speaking he did very well.

Oct. 23rd - Went to Wigan Football Club directors' meeting. Billy Howarth was suspended.

Nov. 11th - Went to Leeds to see second Test match. It was a nice bright day until near the end. England 2 goals by Sullivan and 1 try by Woods, 7 points, Australia 1 goal 1 try, 5 points. Spectators 29,618 and gate £3,873.

Nov. 16th - Examined Wigan Rangers' football ground and declared it fit for qualifying round v. Haresfinch Hornets.

Nov. 19th - Attended special meeting of Wigan R.F.C. directors and signed Harold Edwards, a Welsh forward.

Dec. 5th - Went with Alderman Walkden to order gas stove for Wigan Football Club.

Dec. 16th - Slight frost and fog first thing. Went with a few Wigan directors to see third and last Test match at Swinton. The gate as very disappointing on account of fog. England 19, Australia 16. Sullivan, England's captain, kicked five goals. Gate £1,515 14s. 6d., spectators 10,900.

Dec. 23rd - Went with Mr. E. Howarth to St. Helens Recs.' ground to observe Referee J.F. Armstrong.

Dec. 24th - Attended special meeting of Wigan R.F.C. directors to select team for to-morrow's match with Salford.

Dec. 25th - Christmas Day. Attended Central Park to see Wigan v. Salford. Wigan won by 15 points to 9. Gate about £900. Spectators about 18,000.

Dec. 30th - In London with Alderman Walkden for International match. Australia easily beat Welsh side by 51 points to 19.