Diary of John Counsell

1936 ~ 1937


Jan. 18th - Went with directors and players to York. The ground was hard with frost and we protested against the match being played, but referee Harding declared it fit. Result: York 3 points, Wigan 5 points.

Jan. 24th - Attended at Central Park with Alderman Walkden, W. Highton and George Taylor and signed W.R. Trevor Thomas on from Broughton Rangers.

Jan. 25th - Went to Wigan v. York match at Central Park, Wigan winning 23-2. Ellaby scored three tries and Sullivan kicked four goals.

Feb. 8th - First round Rugby League Cup, at Central Park. Wigan 26, Widnes 9. 26,500 spectators, gate £1,319 18s. 3d.

Feb. 15th - Left for Paris and arrived Hotel Bedford.

Feb. 16th - Match in Paris. England 25, France 7. There were about 21,000 spectators, and gate money £2,150. There was a splendid banquet afterwards.

Feb. 22nd - Second round R.L. Cup at Oldham. Wigan won 15-4. Gate £1,332

Feb. 28th - Went with Alderman Walkden, R. Hough and A. Peacock to St. Helens inquiring about a Canadian footballer.

Mar. 7th - Third round of the R.L. Cup at Warrington. Warrington won 5-2. There were over 26,000 spectators with receipts £1,630.

(March 10th)


Mar. 18th - Wigan played postponed League game with Widnes at Central Park, Wigan winning 15-13. it was a very hard game, especially in the second half.

Apr. 29th - York beat Salford at York by 10 points to 5, which meant that Wigan remained in the first four of the Northern League.

May 13th - At a meeting of League Management Committee in Leeds, Newcastle were admitted as a member of the Northern League.


May 29th - Meeting of League clubs at Leeds to decide whether Halifax should remain a Lancashire League club. It was decided that they remain in Lancashire section.

June 10th - Annual meeting of the Rugby League at Leeds. I was elected again on the Management Committee. Voting: Hutchinson 22, Counsell 21, Anderton 16, Howarth 16.

July 2nd - Went with Wigan Football Club directors to meet A. Cooper (below), a footballer from Canada, who was coming over to give the Wigan club a few trials with a view to signing on for the club.

Aug. 22nd - Final practice match at central Park. Signed Gregory, County forward, on after the match.

Sept. 19th - Went to St. Helens to observe Referee Timilty, but was not impressed by his display.

Oct. 1st - Attended Wigan Football Club directors' meeting, and decided to offer £400 to Salford for Cliff Evans.

Oct. 2nd - Left Wigan for Leeds and attended Advisory Board meeting to the Newcastle R.L. Club. We found the club in a poor position re players and financially.

Oct. 17th - Final for the Lancashire Cup at Warrington. Salford 5 points, Wigan 2. Gate about £1,160, spectators 17,500. I presented the cup to the winners.

Nov. 21st - Wigan v. Rochdale at Rochdale. The ground was rather hard through frost ad it was foggy during the second half. Rochdale 10 points, Wigan 12. J. Sullivan kicked a great goal three minutes off time.

Nov. 24th - Went with Alderman Walkden and R.F. Hough to t. Helens to interview Atherton, of the Recs., with a view to his transfer to Wigan. He wanted a few days to consider it.

Dec. 5th - Hail and rain at intervals all day. Went to Central Park. The game was stopped after 55 minutes' play on account of hailstorm. Wigan 8 points, St. Helens Recs. 5.


Dec. 21st - Meeting of Ground Committee at Central Park re exchange of plots of land - St. Mary's and Football Club.

Dec. 25th - At Central Park. Wigan 10 points, Salford 17. About 25,000 spectators. Gate £1,158.


Jan. 9th - Wigan beat Widnes 6-5 at Central Park. It was a very poor game. All kick and rush and very few passing movements. The gate was £350.

Jan. 16th - Went with RF. Hough and Wigan "A" team to Warrington. Wigan played very well and won a good game by 17 points to 11 points. Dave Brown (below), the Australian, played his first match for Warrington. The gate was £150 16s. 0d.

Jan. 20th - Attended Northern League Management Committee meeting in Manchester. Edwards and Trevor Thomas, two Wigan players who had been sent off the field, were suspended; Edwards two matches and Thomas three.

Jan. 22nd- I was introduced to Eddie Holder (below), the New Zealand footballer from Streatham and Mitcham, and signed him on for the Wigan club.

Jan. 23rd - Attended meeting of Newcastle Advisory Committee and the Newcastle Committee after the Bramley v. Newcastle match at Barley Mow. Newcastle's financial position was described as very serious.

Jan. 28th - Went to Central Park to meet a player, Harrison, a New Zealander from Streatham, and agreed to terms, etc., for him signing for Wigan.

Feb. 2nd - Went in R.F. Hough's car to see J. Wilcock, a junior footballer, who had had an accident while playing in a match on November 7th, 1936. The Rugby League asked me to inquire into the case and to go up to £3 3s. I informed the boy he would get 10s. 6d. a week for six weeks.

Feb. 10th - Special meeting at Central Park, Ground Committee and Fr. Whiteley and Stanley Baron, re exchange of land at Central Park.

Feb. 11th - Offered the players an extra £3 bonus if they won the cup-tie at Oldham next Saturday. First round Rugby League Cup.

Feb. 13th - First round Rugby League Cup at Oldham. Oldham 2 goals, Wigan 3 goals 3 tries, 15 points. Sullivan three goals, Garvey, Holder and Trevor Thomas tries.

Feb. 15th - Went with Alderman Walkden to see Vicar of St. Michael's re allowing Gordon Innes leave of absence from school next Wednesday to play in the Wigan v. Halifax match.


Mar. 1st - Snow was cleared off Central Park with the Corporation's brush machine.

Mar. 4th - Attended combined meeting of League Management Committee and Directors of Leigh Football Club re low financial position of Leigh club. I occupied the chair.

Mar. 6th - Wigan lost at Barrow by 16 points to 7. It was a great disappointment. Holder, Garvey and Ike Jones (below) were rested for this match.

Mar. 9th - Attended Rugby League Management Committee in Manchester, and decided to award all clubs due to play Streatham and Mitcham for their last match two points each. The London club had intimated they would not fulfil any more fixtures.

Mar. 17th - Went with directors and players to Huddersfield to see third round of the Rugby League Cup. Our right-winger, Holder, got a try close on time which won the match for Wigan 8-7. Holder's try came as an agreeable surprise at the finish.

Mar. 20th - Wigan Wigan "A" beat Liverpool Stanley "A" 24 points to 2 at Central Park. It was a very rough match, eight players being sent off.


Mar. 22nd - Attended Wigan Football Club directors' meeting and decided to call an extra-ordinary meeting of the Company re the number of show of hands from 50 to 150 to demand a poll.

Mar. 27th - Attended funeral service in Scarisbrick-street Chapel of Mr. J.H. Winstanley, who was a skipman for Wigan "A" team for eighteen years.

Mar. 29th - League match at Salford. Salford 15 points, Wigan 5 points. Wigan gave a very poor display. The forwards were badly beaten in the scrummages and were second best in the loose. Gee, our half-back, did not play through boils.

Mar. 31st - Attended Lancashire County Football League Committee in Manchester. G. Bennett, K. Gee (below), Kershaw and H. Sharrock were suspended four matches each. Four of Liverpool Stanley "A" team were also suspended four matches each.

Apr. 19th - Wigan and Castleford at Central Park. Wigan 10 points, Castleford 13. It was a very disappointing game.

Apr. 21st - Deputation from Wigan club went to see Mountain, a centre three-quarter of the Huddersfield team.

Apr. 27th - Attended extraordinary general meeting of Wigan Football Club in Hope Schools, and passed resolution raising number from 50 to 150 hands up to demand a poll at general meetings.

May 4th - Sub-Committee meeting at Central Park re dealing with ground staff.