No 91 : The 1915 Betting Scandal

No. 91  – The 1915 Betting Scandal

Good Friday 1915, Liverpool travelled to Old Trafford, Manchester United were battling against relegation while Liverpool lay mid table. George Anderson opened the scoring for United, the second half saw Pat O’Connell blast a penalty wide, while Liverpools Jackie Sheldon also missed a penalty. Anderson then grabbed a second for United to end the game 2-0. Upon leaving the game, a number of supporters and media journalists noted a lack of commitment from a number of Liverpool players.

Liverpools Team v Manchester United
Elisha Scott, Ephraim Longworth, Bob Pursell, Thomas Fairfoul, Philip Bratley, Donald MacKinlay, Jackie Sheldon, William Banks, Fred Pagnam, Tom Miller, Jimmy Nicholl

However, a few weeks later it was announced of a possible betting scandal when the Sporting Chronicle published an article in its newspaper. After a thorough investigation by the FA and police, seven players were suspended and banned from playing, four players from Liverpool and three United players. The FA concluded that it had been a conspiracy by the players alone ‘“ no official from either club was found guilty of wrong-doing, and neither club was fined or had points deducted. Jackie Sheldon, Bob Purcell, Tommy Miller and Tom Fairfoul had all been found guilty and were banned from playing for life in a decision handed down on 27 December 1915.

However, after the War, all four players had their bans lifted by the FA in 1919 for gallantry during the war.