Galt Football Club: Olympic Champions, 1904
Eight years before the Dominion of Canada Football Association (today’s Canadian Soccer Association) was formed, and six months after the founding of FIFA, the Federation Internationale de Football Association, an Ontario club team won an Olympic Gold Medal in soccer.
The year was 1904, the place St. Louis, Missouri, and the team, the Galt Football Club. Now a part of the City of Cambridge, Galt was a hotbed of soccer activity in those days, and the Galt team had won the Ontario Cup, the championship of Ontario, in three previous years, yet oddly enough not in the year of their Olympic triumph. One year later, Galt also won the unofficial Dominion championship by beating Westmount 2–1 in Montreal on June 13, 1905, and by the same score in Galt on July 3, 1905. One year earlier, Galt had toured Manitoba without losing a game.
Soccer had become an event at the second Olympiad in Paris, France, in 1900, but only as a demonstration sport. On that occasion, three countries were represented: France, Belgium and the United Kingdom, with Upton Park F.C. of London defeating Club Francais of Paris 4–0 on September 20.
The third Olympiad was the first time Canada had been truly represented. No Canadian had participated at the first games in Athens in 1896. In the second, George Orton from Strathroy, Ontario, competing for the United States, won a gold medal in the 2500-metre steeplechase and a bronze in the 400-metre hurdles.
For the Olympiad in St. Louis, the difficulties of travelling long distances limited the competition to two countries, Canada and the United States. The game coincided with the St. Louis World’s Fair, with most athletic events staged in late August and into September. However, the soccer games did not take place until November.
Originally, according to a report in a Galt newspaper, the University of Toronto, Winnipeg Shamrocks and Toronto Scots had entered, and it was thought likely that Berlin Rangers and Seaforth Hurons would also take part. Later it was claimed that the Berlin Rangers said they simply couldn’t afford the 500 dollars the trip would cost. On the other hand, the University of Toronto, after losing to Galt in Toronto on November 5, and then managing only a tie a week later in Galt, decided that if they couldn’t beat Galt in two tries in Canada, it was pointless to make the trip. However, the Toronto Star of November 5, 1904, listed the Varsity players who would be making the trip to St. Louis, players, who if they had gone, might conceivably have made history. They were Robert, Dowling, Blackwood, Patten, Green, Foster, Slemin, Williams (Med.), McDonald, Phillips, Richardson, Williams (S.P.S.) and Fowler. It was unfortunate because the competition would have been a lot more interesting with two Canadian teams. No further mention was made of the other teams or why they didn’t take part.
Galt was a member of the Western Football Association, which was founded in 1880 in Berlin (now Kitchener) and of the fledgling Ontario Football Association League, formed in 1901, with the support and encouragement of the WFA. With experienced players, Galt had little difficulty in defeating the two St. Louis teams in the competition. Mayor Munday of Galt made the trip to St. Louis along with the team. In addition, 50 supporters travelled to St. Louis by train on the old Grand Trunk Railway, which had come up with a special round trip fare of $10.70. Even the train was special – red and white streamers throughout the car, red and white fan-shaped decorations under the windows, flags flying from the rear, and a huge sign letting everyone know that it was the Galt Football Club passing through on its way to the great Fair.
In the opening game, Galt had little trouble beating Christian Brothers College 7–0. After taking 20 minutes to find their feet, Galt scored four times in the last 20 minutes of the first half, and never looked back. In the second game, Galt reportedly dominated the first half but could not find a way through the St. Rose defence. However, a tactical talk by captain John Gourlay at half time got the team back on track, and they went on to win 4–0. It should be noted that each half of the two games lasted only 30 minutes, not the standard 45 minutes.
November 16, 1904, in St. Louis, Missouri
Galt F.C. 7 (Hall 3, Steep, McDonald 2, Taylor)
Christian Brothers College 0
HT: Att: Ref: Paul McSweeney (U.S.)
Galt: Linton – Ducker, Gourlay – Lane, Johnston, Fraser – Taylor, Steep,
A. Hall, McDonald, Twaits.
November 17, 1904, in St. Louis, Missouri
Galt F.C. 4 (Taylor 2, Henderson, o.g.)
St. Rose 0
HT: Att: Ref: Paul McSweeney (U.S.)
Galt: Linton – Ducker, Gourlay – Lane, Johnston, Christman – Taylor,
Steep, A. Hall, Twaits, Henderson.
In various reports appearing after Galt had won the 1904 Olympic tournament, it was said that the Galt players were presented with Olympic medals after they had returned to Galt. However, a report in the Toronto Mail and Empire dated November 18, 1904, tells a different story. “Immediately after the game, the Galt aggregation, numbering about 50 persons, retired to the office of James E. Sullivan, chief of the Department of Physical Culture, where they received their prize. After a short talk by Mr. James A. Conlon of the Physical Culture Department, Mayor Mundy of the City of Galt, presented each player on the winning team with a beautiful gold medal. Mr. Mundy, on behalf of the visitors, expressed his appreciation of the kind treatment they had received while here, and especially thanked the Department of Physical Culture of the World’s Fair for the excellent management.”
Accompanying the team to St. Louis were: Mayor Mark Munday, Manager Louis Blake Duff and fans George A. Graham, Hy. Dakin, A. McAuslan, Dr. Haas, Joshua Sauder, W. Ballantyne, S. Bruce, George Stevens, C. Proctor, George Bernhardt, N. Laing, Irving Bernhardt, J. Martz, A.E. Cole, W. Bell, James Fraser, A. Willard, P. Radigan and George Steep. On August 8, 1907, a reunion banquet was held at the Iroquois Hotel in Galt of those who had made the journey to St. Louis.
The Manitoba Tour, 1903
The players who made the trip to Manitoba were:
Ernest Linton, George Ducker, John B. Gourlay, Robert Lane, Albert Johnston, John A. Fraser, Frederick Steep, Tom S. Taylor, George Hancock, Harold Deeton, George Hall and Eddie West.
The team was managed by Louis B. Duff, and they took Tom G. Elliott, later to become the president of the Ontario and Canadian associations, along as a referee.
July 1 Galt F.C. 4: Owen Sound 0
July 4 Galt F.C. 3: Fort William 0
July 6 Galt F.C. 2: Winnipeg YMCA 0
July 7 Galt F.C. 2: Winnipeg Bisons 1
July 8 Galt F.C. 2: Gretna 0
July 9 Galt F.C. 4: Manitou 0
July 10 Galt F.C. 5: Plum Coulee 0
July 11 Galt F.C. 2: Crystal City 1
July 13 Galt F.C. 4: Pilot Mound 0
July 15 Galt F.C. 4: Deloraine 0
July 16 Galt F.C. 1: Hartney 0
July 17 Galt F.C. 2: Brandon 0
July 18 Galt F.C. 0: Souris 0
July 20 Galt F.C. 3: Gladstone 0
July 21 Galt F.C. 3: Portage la Prairie 0
July 23 Galt F.C. 1: Winnipeg Shamrocks 0
July 25 Galt F.C. 4: Fort William 0
In the early 1900s, there was no national football association in Canada, and therefore no official national championship. However, that did not stop teams from declaring themselves national champions. Galt did so in 1905 in beating Montreal Westmount both in Montreal on June 13 and in Galt on
July 3. The game in Montreal was won by Galt 2–1, and the return game by the same score. These are the details.
June 13, 1905 at the Montreal A.A.A. Grounds, Quebec. Referee; Frank Calder of Montreal.
Westmount 1 (?)
Galt F.C. 2 (Steep, Hall)
Westmount: W. Clapp – G.H. Heald, H.J. Woodburn – W. Martin, W.
Neville, J. Martin – J. Nairn, W. Deans, W. Whiteside, J. McFarlane, W.R.
Galt: Linton – Ducker, Gourlay – Lane (Douglas), Johnston, Fraser –
Finlayson, Steep, Hall, Imlah, Brady.
July 3, 1905 at Dickson Park in Galt, Ontario. Referee: James Bennett of
Galt 2 (Hall, Steep)
Westmount 1 (Whiteside)
Galt: Linton- Ducker, Gourlay – Fraser, Douglas, Love – Finlayson, Steep,
Hall, Imlah, Brady.
Westmount: Clapp – Woodburn, Payne – Goodman, Neville, Crabb –
Toomey, Reynolds, Whiteside, Deans, Nairn.
1905 – International Game
In 1905, an English amateur team toured Eastern Canada and the Eastern United States. This team, known as The Pilgrims, played in Galt on September 17, 1905. The game was billed as being for The Championship of the World, seeing as it featured the Olympic Champions. The game attracted a lot of attention, not only in Canada but also in the northern U.S., and was well covered by a large variety of newspapers in Canada. Special trains were run from Hamilton and Toronto, and the crowd at Dickson Park on the Grand River was estimated as being 3500. The game ended in a 3–3 tie. Less than one year after the Galt triumph in St. Louis, there were new names in the lineup, notably James, John and James Brady and Finlayson. Dickson Park is still there today.
Galt vs the Pilgrims
September 17, 1905, at Dickson Park in Galt, Ontario
Galt F.C. 3
HT: Att: 3500 Ref: Bennett (Galt)
Galt: Ernest Linton – George Ducker, John Gourlay – C. James, Albert
Johnston, Otto Christman – John Brady, James Brady, Fred Steep,
Gordon McDonald, W. Finlayson.
Pilgrims: Milton – Milnes, Walmsley – Storey, Nuttall, Barnesdale – Raine,
Fletcher, Woodward, Coopland, Bryning.
Champion Teams of the Western Football Association
The Porridge Eating Galt Invincible’s
Albert Ernest Linton – Born: Scotland, February 17, 1880. Died: Galt, Ontario, August 6, 1957. Clubs: Galt F.C., Buffalo. Goalkeeper. Occupation: Machinist. A resident of Galt for most of his life, he served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in World War One.
George Ducker – Born: England, September 27, 1871. Died: Galt, Ontario, September 26, 1952. Galt F.C. Full Back. Occupation machinist. Accounts list Ducker as being "as hard as nails, and a magnificent checker with an unerring kick." He learned the game in Galt and played his way up through the ranks and into the senior team. Won five provincial senior championships with Galt as well as many intermediate and junior championships. Worked for the firm of Goldie and McCulloch.
John B. Gourlay – Born: Blenheim, Ontario, July 26, 1872. Died: Vancouver B.C., April 7, 1949. Clubs: Galt F.C., Vancouver City. Full Back. Occupation, machinist. Captain of the Galt team that won an Olympic Gold Medal in St. Louis in 1904 and toured Manitoba in 1903. Known as the father of football in Galt for his dedication to the game. Played on Galt championship teams for eleven years. One of the best known Canadian players in the United States during his era, having played in important matches at Detroit, St. Louis, Buffalo, Chicago, Fall River and Newark. Recognized as the greatest full back in Ontario at the time but was also regarded as a fine captain. Later moved to Vancouver where in 1906 he was playing for Vancouver City.
Albert Johnston – Born: Plympton, Lambton County, Ontario, October 30, 1879. Galt F.C. Half Back. Occupation: machinist. Considered to be a hard checker who covered a great deal of territory during a game. He first attracted attention as a sprinter. A member of the Galt team that won the Ontario Cup in 1901, 1902 and 1903.
Robert “Bobby” George Lane – Born: January 15, 1882. Died: Winnipeg, Manitoba, November 14, 1940. Half Back. It was written of him that ”The feature of Lane’s work is his persistence. He stays in the game until the last whistle, checks well and has great speed.” Lane also played hockey, Rugby football, lacrosse and baseball. He went to live in Winnipeg soon after 1904, and was a salesman for Wilson Furniture in 1917 and in 1936 for Fuller Brush. He was a member of the Galt team that won the Ontario Cup in 1901, 1902 and 1903.
Thomas “Tom” S. Taylor – Born: Galt, Ontario, December 4, 1880. Died; Winnipeg, Manitoba. Considered to be the star of the Galt team and the best right winger in the game at that time. It was written of him that “he always has a few tricks up his sleeve, his shooting is accurate and he is very fast.” A member of the Galt team that won the Ontario Cup in 1901, 1902 and 1903. He moved to Winnipeg soon after 1904 and was Assistant Manager of the A.R. Williams Machine Company from at least 1917 to at least 1936.
Otto Christman – Born: Normanby, Grey South, Ontario, in 1879. Died: Orillia, Ontario, August 26, 1963. Moved to Orillia from Elmira, Ontario, before World War One and was a salesman with Sherwin Williams Paints. He was a member of the Ontario Curling Club. Son Lorne was killed in action in 1941 with the RCAF and is buried in Reichswald, Germany.
Frederick William Steep – Born: St. Catharines, Ontario, December 20, 1874. Died: Guelph, Ontario, September 14, 1956. Clubs: Hamilton St. Matthew’s, Toronto Gore Vales, Galt F.C., Guelph Taylor-Forbes. Occupation: machinist. Starred in junior soccer in Galt in 1892, and then was a member of the Hamilton St. Matthew’s team that won the first Hamilton Spectator Cup in 1896. He went on to captain Toronto Gore Vales to the Ontario championship in 1899 and 1902, and was on the losing side in the 1900 Caledonia Cup Final with Gore Vales. In 1903, he led Galt to a Dominion championship, and in 1904, to the Olympic title in St. Louis. Soon after, he moved to Guelph and for many years played for the Taylor-Forbes team.
William Twaits – Born: Galt, Ontario, August 20, 1878. Died: Sarnia, Ontario, April 13, 1941. Galt F.C. A star in both soccer and hockey, Bill was regarded as one of the finest hockey players in the early 1900s, and was offered professional contracts with teams in Sault Ste. Marie (Michigan), Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), and Berlin, Ontario, but chose to stay at home. Later in life, Twaits became sales manager, director and secretary of Mueller Ltd., one of Sarnia’s largest industries. Prior to moving to Sarnia, he was on the business staff of The Galt Reporter and also employed by the Galt Brass Company.
Albert Henderson – A member of the Galt team throughout 1904, but didn’t appear in the side again until the mid-western tour to Chicago in October 1905.
Gordon McDonald – Seems to have been a guest player with Galt in 1904 and was captain of the Seaforth Hurons when they won the Ontario championship in 1905 and the championship of the Western Football Association in 1905 and 1906. He returned to Galt to play in the game against the Pilgrims in 1905.
John A. "Jack" Fraser – Born: Ontario, December 15, 1881. Galt F.C. Half Back. Occupation: clerk. Fraser was considered a utility man, and while his regular place was as a half back, he could play any field position with credit. Later moved to Hamilton to live.
Parnell Orde Gourlay – Born: February 8, 1879. Died: Vancouver, B.C., November 15, 1958. Galt F.C. A member of the great Galt teams in the early 1900s, he was the only member of the party that went to St. Louis who didn’t see any action.
Alexander N. Hall – Born: Peterhead, Scotland, 1883. Died: Toronto, Ontario, September 28, 1943. Clubs: Peterhead, Toronto Scots, Galt F.C., Westmount (Montreal), Sheffield Wednesday, Dundee, Dunfermline Athletic, Mimico Beach. Emigrated to Canada while still a teenager, and was a member of the Galt team that won a Gold Medal at the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis, Missouri. Scored three goals in the first game against Christian Brothers College. Moved to Montreal in 1905, and was signed by Westmount, and represented Montreal against the touring Pilgrims in that year. The Montreal Gazette said of him, “He is a scientific player and uses his head to great advantage, is a splendid shot and very fast on the ball, is feared by every defence he has played against. He is worth his place on any team in America.” Returned to Britain and was signed by Newcastle United, then the champions of the Football League, in April of 1907. He made his First Division debut the following season on September 7, 1907, against Sheffield Wednesday at Owlerton. Played a total of six First Division games and scored two goals for Newcastle before being transferred to Dundee in March of 1908. Played five games for Dundee at the end of the 1907–08 season, three in the 1908–09 season and 25 in the 1909–10 season, during which Dundee won the Scottish Cup. Later became player-manager of Dunfermline Athletic. Served in the British Army in World War One, and then returned to Canada to live in Toronto. Played for Mimico Beach, and worked at the Toronto Incinerator. Captained Toronto Scots before moving to Galt.
Louis Blake Duff – Manager. Born: Bluevale (near Wingham), Huron County, Ontario, January 1, 1878. Died: Welland, Ontario, August 29, 1959. Duff played for Galt’s Ontario Intermediate championship winning team in the early 1900s. A high school teacher, a newspaper reporter in Galt and Welland, and later owner and editor of the Welland Telegraph. Duff also had a reputation as an after-dinner speaker, and at various times was President of the Ontario Hockey Association and the Ontario Historical Association.
John D. Eagan – Trainer. Born: Galt, Ontario. Died: Galt, Ontario, February 1935. An all-around sportsman and theatre promoter, he attended Central School and then went to work at Goldie’s Safe Company. From there, he went to the machine shop at Cowan’s Ltd., but he soon turned his hand to large and small promotions. In the sports field, he was a sprinter and a quarter-miler, and played Rugby and baseball. In the theatrical world, he was the manager of the old Opera House in Galt, and in 1911, became the manager of the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario. He also worked in the insurance business, and was an agency supervisor for Metropolitan Life.
Thomas George Elliott – Born: Galt, Ontario. Died: Galt, Ontario, December 23, 1961. President of the Dominion of Canada Football Association in 1939–40. President of the Ontario Football Association in 1929 and 1930. Secretary-treasurer of the Western Football Association in 1909 and 1910 and President in 1912. Goalkeeper for the Galt team that won the Ontario Cup in 1901 and 1902. Life member of the Ontario Curling Association and secretary-treasurer of the Galt Curling Club. Worked for 40 years at Babcock and Wilcox, and at one time was president of the Hamilton and District Purchasing Agents.
George Hancock – Born: Galt, Ontario, 1883. Died: Galt, Ontario, 1948. A member of the great Galt teams of the late 1800s and early 1900s. He toured Manitoba with the team in 1903, and was described as “a right wing who is most aggressive forward on the line.” He went to St. Louis with the team in 1904, but didn’t play in either of the games. In 1905, he established a paper box factory in Galt, and was the head of the box factories in Brantford and Woodstock at the time of his death. He was also president of the Scroggins Shoe Company and a director of the Galt Wood Heel, the Wragge Shoe Company and president of Dominion Plywoods at Southampton, Ontario. He owned a celebrated Jersey farm on Cedar Creek Road in Roslyn Park, and was a city council member and a member of the public utilities commission in Galt in 1919.
The Galt club seems to have been formed in 1882, and many of its players over time came through the Galt Collegiate Institute, which was a soccer hotbed in Ontario along with Berlin High School. In fact, the collegiate institutes all across western Ontario played a major role in spreading the game to all the towns and villages in the area.
Players: J.N. MacKendrick, J.R. Blake, W. Harvie, J.S. Gray, William Young, T.J. Kelleher, Walter P. Thomson, J. Barbour, E. Webster.
Players: F.D. Palmer, J.R. Blake, W. Harvie, T.W. Murray, W. Burnet, R.D. Kay, T.J. Kelleher, Walter P. Thomson, P. Parker, J. Barbour, E. Webster.
Players: Alonso C. Caldwell, R.R. Elliott, J.R. Blake, J. Schwartz, A.B. Vardon, D. Buchanan, A.C. Hilborn, T.T. Aitken, F. Herbert Hindmarsh, C.J. Dickson, G.G. Hume.
Players: Thomas G. Elliott, George Ducker, John B. Gourlay, R.J. Spalding, A.R. Goldie, Robert Lane, Tom S. Taylor, T.T. Aitken, F. Herbert Hindmarsh, James Bennett, George Hancock.
Players: T. Despond, George Ducker, John B. Gourlay, R.J. Spalding, Albert Johnston, Robert Lane, Tom S. Taylor, Eddie J. West, F. Herbert Hindmarsh, George Hancock, Harold Deeton.
Players: W.S. McKay, George Ducker, John B. Gourlay, Robert Lane, Albert Johnston, John A. Fraser, Tom S. Taylor, George Hancock, F. Herbert Hindmarsh, Eddie J. West, James Hindmarsh, Sam Scarlett.
Players: Albert Ernest Linton, George Ducker, John B. Gourlay, Robert Lane, John A. Fraser, Otto L. Christman, William Twaits, Albert Henderson, Frederick W. Steep, W. McInnes, W.E. Douglas, Parnell Gourlay, George Hall and Alexander Hall.
Players: H. Johnston, J. Cuzens, S. Law, E. Scott, W. Dakin, J. Hutton, E. Holtzman, J. Hussack, George Hall, M. Cluney, W. Douglas.