1907: RUGBY FOOTBALL IN ABERDEEN. Sir, - Only in one part of the community in Aberdeen does Rugby football hold premier place, and there even, its sway is not undisputed. King's College is the home of "Rugger"; Pittodrie is the home of "Soccer." On Saturday afternoon ten dozen people visit the Rugby match, while 10,000 patronise Pittodrie. At King's College the match is every bit as exciting as an Association game, yet it cannot draw huge "gates," as Rugby clubs do in London, and the north of England.
Is it the game itself that is wrong? No, certainly not. The game is conducted, after a start has been made, on perfectly even lines, but it is the slipshod method in which they are organised that is to blame for the unpopularity of the game. A match may be advertised to start at 3 p.m. ; an enthusiast not acquainted with the ways of Aberdeen Rugby turns up a few minutes before the specified time, and tells himself he is to have 80 minutes' unalloyed pleasure. A biting wind is blowing across the field; what about that? He is there to witness his favourite pastime. He stuffs his hands in his pockets until the excitement of the game makes him warm. A few others arrive. Time up. Where are the teams? The stranger makes an excursion to the dressing-room. Three or four young men are standing talking. He inquires where the teams are. "Oh, they have not arrived yet" he is told. Three-fifteen! Half of each team has arrived by that time, and a start has to be made with a few substitutes at 3.30. Before that time, however, the disgusted "enthusiast" has left the place and is making his way to where he is sure of seeing a game (not a Rugby one) conducted on proper lines. This is the chief reason why the carrying game is not popular in the Granite City. If the games were under the control of an efficient committee whose duty it was to see that the matches were played up to time, and that the referee was a strict and impartial man, better "gates" would be obtained.
Even the small attendance is not everything to be desired. An excited "backer" of one team sometimes finds himself mixed up with the players. At Mannofield this fault is especially noticeable. On one occasion about thirty spectators were mixed with the players, and on the occasion of a "throw-in" the ball landed on the head of a man who imagined himelf to be playing. At the same ground there is an objectionable habit of hissing - a player (if he is on the visiting side) when the player in question has done anything which lessens the chances of the home team's victory. Then there is not specified competition in existence. There is, of course, the North of Scotland League. Does anyone know the exact number of teams there are at present taking part in the tournament, or what the positions of the various clubs are? A competent secretary should be appointed, who shall have as his duty the task of supplying a copy of the League table to the local newspapers, to be published. If this were done, greater interest would be taken in Rugby in the city, which would be advantageous to all concerned. I am, etc - RUGBY.
Source : The Aberdeen Daily Journal Friday November 22nd, 1907.