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Thursday, 17 September 2009

Dundee FC v Corinthian FC, January 4th 1896

Corinthian FC can be described as the English Queens Park, except much more militant. It is said they were formed to develop a squad capable of measuring up to the formidable Scotland international team of the day. Indeed, Corinthian FC supplied 9 of the 11 England players in the Scotland-England international in 1886 and 11 England players in the international matches against Wales in 1894 and 1895. In this respect they were like Queens Park- another prolific supplier of international players of that era. They also shared the same outlook as their Glasgow counterparts in playing the game just purely for the enjoyment that brings. They took this philosophical ideal farther than the Glasgow side, however, as Corinthian FC (formed in 1882) refused to take part in the FA Cup until 1923 as the FA Cup was not a competition where charity was the primary objective. They were more international than Queens Park also having taken part in "missionary" trips touring South Africa in 1897 and Brazil in 1910 to name two notable examples. These trips inspired many and it is said Real Madrid adopted the English side's distinctive white strips and Sport Club Corinthians Paulista (the notable Brazilian side) adopted their name. In 1904 they also left a mark on another great club by defeating Manchester United 11-3, which remains the Manchester side's heaviest defeat. It came to an end in 1939 when they merged with Casuals FC to form Corinthian-Casuals FC, who, to this day, play in the English non-league.

We'll rewind to 1896 and their visit to Carolina Port to visit Dundee FC in which some of the players in the above photo no doubt took part. 4,000 fans turned out to witness the game and the English side had the better of the early stages of the match but the Dundee backs and, in particular, left wing shone and prevented an early advantage for the English team. Longair, playing at centre-half, "tried negotiations" with Corinthian's G.O. Smith and seemed to be winning the battle for supremacy in this part of the field. However, Dundee were not able to hold out for much longer and Corinthian's superior passing reaped rewards in the form of two goals in quick succession.
Dundee started the second half well and Sandy Keillor, in particular, caused Corinthians problems. The English side's quality shone through though and time after time the Dundee backs were called upon to clear the opposition threat. Dundee eventually got a just reward when Keillor notched what would only be a consolation- amid "tremendous cheering". It ended 2-1 to the visitors, but there can be no shame in that result against a very fine side who viewed friendlies, benefit matches and charity tournaments as their raison d'ĂȘtre.

The two sides had it all to do again in April of that year...

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