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PARTING OF THE WAYS

MAY 1908

Alec Bennett leaves Celtic...amidst much controversy!

After the successful winning of the 'double'  Bennett played on 2nd May  in Celtic's team against Partick in the first round of the Charity Cup, Celtic winning 3-2.

On Wednesday 6th May the team was announced in the press  for a Charity match to take place on 10th May. Listed in the right wing slot was not Bennett but A.N.Other.

Subsequently the news broke in the evening papers that Bennett had signed for Rangers.

Celtic were however not prepared to let their right winger go easily.

On Friday May 29th 1908 at the first meeting of the new committee of the Scottish Football Association ...." a letter was afterwards read from Mr William Maley, secretary of the Cektic club in which he stated that he had been authorised by the board of directors to call the attention of the Association Committee to the signing on of Alexander Bennett by the Rangers club. The communication also stated ' This player was asked to re-sign on April 15th but refused to do so and would give no reason but eventually stated that he had received a very big offer.

On 20th April he told Messrs Kelley, Colgan and Dunbar, all members of the board, that he had received such a big offer that it would be ridiculous to ask such terms of Celtic. On April 30th he again refused to sign for us and told our secretary he had decided to sign for another club but could not do so for a fortnight. He signed for Rangers on May 9th according to the evening papers.  My club desires your committee to enquire into this case and to find from the player what club he had arranged with or had an offer from on April 15th which offer or arrangement was of course illegal and on learning the name of the club we would seek such club to be punished for infringing rule 55 of your association' "

Mr Mowar (Albion Rovers) moved that the commission be appointed
Mr Ward (Partick Thistle) seconded adding he knew Rangers desired an enquiry
Mr Williamson opposed the proposal saying that if they opened up all such questions they would have their hands full
Mr Robertson (Stenhousemuir) seconded.

By the casting vote of the Chairman it was agreed to grant a special commission to be composed and given full powers under article 7.

The commision sat in private eventually finding no substantiation to Celtic’s charge ‘... The transfer not being one between two clubs but Bennett signing as a free agent’

His departure was felt deeply, not particularly because he had gone to  Celtic's arch rivals Rangers, but because the club was losing a very talented footballer.

Much has been made of his admiration for Rangers, citing this as his main motive for moving.

Another possibility also exists.  At the time he was 'walking out' with a young lady, Miss Annie Drennan, the 25 year old daughter of a Glasgow commercial traveller.  For a young man with marriage on his mind a substantial rise in income must also have been very tempting!

 






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