The Great 1936 Bury Dressing-Room Incident

The Swans played an away game at Bury FC in November 1936. We haven’t yet seen the newspaper match report, but it seems clear that Bury had a robust approach to tackling – two Swansea players required treatment from the Bury team doctor. This was common practice – the home team would provide medical cover for visiting players.

We can only assume that the trainer was incensed at the way in which his players had received their injuries. Anyway, as the first letter from Bury made clear, the good doctor was not amused….

This letter, actually a fairly mild complaint about discourteous language, was accompanied by a note from the doctor:

First salvo from Bury

Alas, diplomacy deserted the Swans’ management, and legendary club  secretary S.B.Williams responded in robust fashion. He was clearly having none of it…

It does seem like a bit of a nuclear reaction – after all, Bury were only asking for a bit of decorum. Their reply came as follows:

Talk about storms in teacups.  How the matter ended we don’t know, that was as much of the correspondence as we have seen.

Williams had been more than happy to do business with Bury before the start of the season, when Jack Firth was sold to the Gigg Lane club for £800:

Letter to bury thanking them for the £800 for Jack Firth

Here is the receipt:

And of course the two teams got on with playing each other in the league. The return fixture in March 1937 saw the Swans win 2-0 to avenge their defeat at Bury by the same scoreline. And S.B.W. was happy to hand over the share of the gate, without (as far as we know) any reference to the previous year’s shocking behaviour.

Working sheet calculating the cut to Bury from gate receipts at the Vetch, March 1937

All of these fascinating documents are in Gwyn Rees’ collection, and thanks to him for letting us scan them.

3 responses to “The Great 1936 Bury Dressing-Room Incident

  1. Pingback: Time to Bury the hatchet? | 100 Years of Swansea City FC

  2. Pingback: Found on Football (weekly) « footysphere

  3. Peter Dawson

    Nice to see all this up on the site after being there when we found it in Gwyn’s collection. Thinking about it, isn’t it amazing that the poor old trainer is never named and that Bury refer to him as “your servant”!

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