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Trust Member Tells of Meeting Fred Keenor – And Getting His Autograph

Cardiff City Team 1921-22

Trust member John Jones responded to our appeal for memories from fans as we had to the centenary of Cardiff City’s first Football League game on October 28th, 2020.

John wrote: “This is a picture of the 1922 team that was given to me as a lad by my auntie. A few years later when I was 13 I got to meet Fred Keenor at the old people’s home in Gabalfa.

Signed by 1927 FA Cup winning skipper Fred Keenor

“He talked to me about the squad. He knew all their names, and as you can see he autographed the back of the photo for me. I’m now 61 but the memories of meeting the captain of the only football side to take the cup out of England has stayed with me all my life.”

Trust board member Rob Jeffrey has done a bit of research on the photograph.

Rob said: “It was taken on October 29, 1921 at Ninian Park. The background is the Canton Stand which had been built the previous season, our first in the Football League.

“The opponents that day were West Brom. We won 2-0 in front of 35,000. Both goals were scored by Jimmy Gill,  who was signed for a City record fee of £750 from Sheffield Wednesday the previous season.

The players in the photo are Back Row: Jimmy Nelson, Herbie Evans, Ben Davies, Jimmy Blair, Fred Keenor
Front Row: Eddie Jenkins, Billy Grimshaw, Jimmy Gill, Fred Pagnam, Joe Clennell, Jack Evans

“The game was the debut of Jimmy Nelson who went on to play in the 1925 and 1927 Cup Finals

“The only other bit of trivia I know is that Fred Pagnam, the gentleman with the ball at his feet was declared a deserter in WW1. The reality of the desertion was that he went home on leave in 1918 and didn’t return when he was supposed to, went missing for 5 day, so technically desertion, he eventually gave himself up. Because he handed himself in no further action was taken and he returned to the front. He later went into management and managed the Turkey national team.”

John Jones recalled Fred Keenor naming the team and the one person that stuck in his mind was the goalkeeper Tom Farquharson.

Responding Rob added: “Irishman Tom Farquharson (who lived in Allensbank Road) made more appearances in goal than any other City goalkeeper. He was imprisoned in Dublin in 1919 for his IRA activities and was only released on bail on the understanding that he left Ireland.

“He ended up in South Wales and was spotted by the City when he was playing for Abertillery Town and was signed by us. Always afraid that his IRA past would catch up with him he carried a gun in his kitbag, a fact attested by several of his City team mates. He made his debut for the City against Manchester United on 6 May 1922 more than 6 months after your photo was taken.

“Undoubtedly Fred Keenor played for nine years with Tom Farquharson behind him in goal so will have figured prominently in his career but, when he named the team perhaps his memory was not as it once was as the the goalkeeper in the picture is definitely Ben Davies,” explained Rob.

Trust Celebrates Cardiff City’s First Football League Game 100 Years Ago

Trust chair Keith Morgan

One week today, Cardiff City fans will mark 100 years since the Bluebirds played their first Football League game – a 5-2 victory over Stockport County. Trust chair Keith Morgan recalls the ups and downs of supporting the Bluebirds.

Keith Morgan said: “What a remarkable century it has been for Cardiff City and its fans with plenty of ups and downs.

“Since the Bluebirds joined the league, the club has won the FA Cup, been runners-up twice, finished second in the old First Division in the 1920s, promoted twice to the Premier League and won the old Welsh Cup many times, which led onto some great European adventures.

“There have also been the trips to the new Wembley Stadium, iconic games with the 1-0 win at home to Real Madrid and victory over Premiership leaders Leeds United in the FA Cup in 2002.

“We’re fortunate to have had some great players turn out for the Bluebirds ranging from Fred Keenor, Billy Hardy and Len Davies through to Ivor Allchurch, John Charles, Phil Dwyer and modern legends like Robert Earnshaw and Peter Whittingham.

“The century of football at the atmospheric Ninian Park and the Cardiff City Stadium has been a rollercoaster for fans with the excitement of promotion drives set against slumping into the old Fourth Division in the 1990s, which older supporters will recall.

“We struggled for many years to get back to the second tier of English football but have been back in the top two divisions continuously since 2003.”

“We’d loved to hear from fans about their favourite moments following the City.”

Trust members can send their memories to

Bluebird Facts from 1920:

  • The first full football season after World War One was 1919-20 when Cardiff City finished 4th in the old Southern League.
  • During this season it was announced that the Football League intended to create a Third Division for 1920-21 and the club’s Board of Directors applied to join.
  • The Bluebirds’ application succeeded beyond expectation in that we were invited to join, along with Leeds United,  a restructured Division 2, by-passing Division 3 and Portsmouth, Watford and Crystal Palace who had finished above City in the Southern League that season 
  • The Canton Stand at Ninian Park was constructed for our 1st season in the Football League
  • The first game in the Football League was away at Edgeley Park against Stockport County on August 28th, 1920.
  • City team v Stockport County was Kneeshaw, Brittan, Layton, Hardy, Smith, Keenor, Grimshaw, Gill, Cashmore, West, Evans
  • Score 5-2,
  • Scorers Gill 2, Grimshaw, Keenor, Evans
  • Crowd: 10,000.
  • Jimmy Gill, the scorer of City’s first goal in the Football League, was a club record signing in the close season at £750.

Our first season in the Football League turned out to be quite momentous for a number of reasons. We gained promotion to Division 1 at our first attempt by finishing as runners- up to Champions Birmingham City on goal average. Both teams finished on 58 points.

Stockport County, our first opponents, finished bottom and were relegated. In the FA Cup the City reached the FA Cup Semi Final which was played against Wolves at Anfield. It was attended by King George V and Queen Mary, the first time reigning monarchs had attended a football match in Britain. The result was a grim 0-0 draw and we lost the replay 3-1 at Old Trafford. So, in the course of one season Cardiff City went from the Southern League to promotion to the top flight and playing in front of Royalty.

Trust Praise ‘Brave’ Cardiff City As They Narrowly Miss Out On Promotion

Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust has praised the efforts of Cardiff City players and manager Neil Harris in trying to reach the Premier League.

Trust Chair Keith Morgan, said: “We believe as fans that recognition should be given to the brave and sterling efforts of Neil Harris and his players this season.

“Although Bluebirds fans will be disappointed at failing to reach the Play-Offs Final at Wembley, we truly believe the team did us proud against a very expensively assembled Fulham.

“Everyone can see the improvements that have been made gradually by Neil Harris since he took over the reigns earlier this season.

“While, we will be in the Championship in 2020-21, we can look forward with optimism to the new  season. We also hope in the not too distant future that the Cardiff City Stadium will once again be able to welcome our fans.”

Trust Hit Out At Lack Of Consultation Over Cardiff City Season Ticket Offer

Trust chair Keith Morgan

Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust has slammed a total lack of consultation with supporter groups over the launch of Cardiff City’s season ticket offer for 2020-21 season.

Keith Morgan, Trust Chair, said: “We fully appreciate the need for the club to generate cash following a long period of very limited income caused by the COVID-9 pandemic. But we are very disappointed at the cavalier way the club has launched the new season ticket without any official discussions with supporter groups. Sadly, it smacks of a lack of respect for fans.

“If the club had talked to us we might have been able to resolve some of the genuine concerns raised by our members and other supporters about this offer.

“There are so many questions that need answering. Why is the club not offering refunds if matches are played behind closed doors or if there are reduced attendance matches which supporters are unable to attend?

“The offer of streaming against no refund is not good enough and very poor value for supporters. The no refund offer  would seriously impact on families in particular, potentially costing them hundreds of pounds, if a number of games are behind closed doors.

“It is quite possible that full crowds may not return until 2021, yet the club is not offering refunds.

“There are also serious questions that need resolution including how the seating would work in the event of reduced attendances, about fans being allowed to sit together as normal and who exactly the opportunity to defer season tickets until 2021-22 applies to. Does it apply to only those who are shielding under government instructions  or other supporters that feel vulnerable?”

Safe Standing and Cardiff City

John Darch of the Safe Standing Campaign Group looks at the possibility of safe standing at the Cardiff City Stadium.

 Cardiff City are pioneers of safe standing. The club was the first in the UK to draw up a crowd management plan to enable fans to stand safely in an all-seater ground. That was in 2012 and for the last eight years, as you know, the Canton Stand has been operated as a de-facto standing area. Now a new chapter is about to begin.

Back in 2012, changing how such areas are managed was all that clubs could do to make standing fans safer. Since November 2018, they have also been able to enhance safety in areas of persistent standing by fitting rail seats or independent barriers behind existing seats.

The first clubs subject to the all-seater policy to do this were Spurs and Wolves. Recently Manchester United announced their intention to follow suit. Despite being able to make these structural changes, clubs are still not allowed to officially operate the areas concerned as standing.

Thatis set to change. The Westminster government is now committed to working “with fans and clubs to introduce safe standing” and this month will receive an important report from the Sports Ground Safety Authority.

 In January the authority stated that rail seats have a “positive impact on spectator safety” and assuming that their final report confirms this, many observers believe that this will give ministers in London the evidence they need to change the legislation. As No. 10 may well feel that announcing safe standing would go down well with voters, it could then happen very quickly.

Once areas such as the Canton Stand can be operated as official standing, new rules are likely to apply, i.e. the rules for standing areas, not for seated areas where fans happen to stand. This could mean a requirement for rail seats (or independent barriers), a requirement that seats in any standing area are “non-climbable” (as all structures on a terrace must be) and potentially that the seats must be locked upright to prevent fans standing on them and getting hurt if they fall off.

So the end of the standing ban is in sight. For all fans of clubs with all-seater grounds that has to be good news.

For pioneering Cardiff City it may also mean a bit of a rethink in the Canton Stand, as it changes from an area of seating where fans stand to an area of standing governed by the safety regulations that will then apply.