Glentoran v Vienna Select
Glentoran in motion in opposition to Vienna Choose in a sport performed 106 years in the past

November is the month for remembering those that have gone earlier than us. Households replicate fondly on their family members. Nations pause to honour the fallen from the conflicts of the final century.

In 1914 occasions extra vital that the governance of soccer brought about the fledgling Fédération Internationale de Soccer Affiliation (FIFA) to position its enlargement plans on maintain.

On 28 June the slaying of the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and his spouse Sophie in Sarajevo, modified the course of historical past. The soccer area would get replaced by the battlefield as rival European powers turned their forces in direction of the Western Entrance and preparations for the conflict to finish all wars.

Three weeks earlier than these assassinations happened, Irish Cup winners Glentoran had returned to Belfast from a unprecedented European journey. A further suitcase was with their baggage. It contained the Vienna Cup trophy.

Shortly after claiming a primary Irish Problem Cup, an surprising invitation to a European soccer event had been obtained.

The English and Scottish Cup winners, Burnley and Glasgow Celtic had additionally been requested to journey to matches as a consequence of be staged in Prague, Berlin, Pressburg (now Bratislava), Budapest and Vienna.

“Eire had been the Dwelling Worldwide champions for the primary time that yr,” explains Sam Robinson, creator of One Saturday Earlier than the Battle, a forthcoming e book charting Glentoran’s exceptional achievement.

“These entrepreneurs presumed that if Eire had been this good, then Glentoran should be among the many greatest membership groups on the planet. In fact they had been a gaggle of shipyard employees from Ballymacarret and the Brief Strand who had been part-time footballers.”

A surreal expertise

Glentoran secretary, Joseph Shaw had little time to make the mandatory preparations. Nonetheless, with a replica of Bradshaw’s Continental Railway Information in hand, Shaw organised the journey plans for the 13 gamers and three officers journeying into the center of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

“This may have been a surreal expertise for them. Lots of the crew had been employed constructing ships, however few would each have been on one,” mentioned Robinson.

“Most of them would by no means have travelled additional than Dublin or Derry when taking part in for the Glens.

“There was an excessive amount of unease in Europe on the time. Nonetheless, given the tensions surrounding the Dwelling Rule debate in Belfast, the crew wouldn’t have been phased by what they noticed.”

A newspaper advertisement for a match between Glentoran and Vienna Select
A newspaper commercial for a match between Glentoran and Vienna Choose

Eight of the Irish Cup successful facet had been within the travelling celebration. They included Scottish brothers James and Willie Lindsay, who between them, had scored the objectives within the 3-1 defeat of Linfield within the 28 March decider at Grosvenor Park.

Brothers David and Roly Lyner additionally made the voyage together with goalkeeper Lesley Murphy, Sam Napier, Paddy McCann, James Reid, William McAlpine, Emerson Ferrett, John Scraggs, William Emerson and 15-year-old Jack Boyd.

On 18 Could the Glentoran celebration left by prepare from York Avenue to Larne, Scotland, England and throughout to Holland and Germany. Arriving in Prague on 20 Could they misplaced their opening match, 4-3 the next day.

Sam Robinson’s analysis has found that the Austrian promoters had generated a whole lot of publicity for the event within the native newspapers. “Right here the Belfast Telegraph and the Northern Whig did carry some experiences of this mad odyssey throughout Europe,” he says.

Thereafter the touring celebration made its solution to Berlin to say a formidable 4-1 victory in opposition to the working-class membership Hertha that paradoxically had its personal associations with delivery.

“The crew moved on to Vienna the place it performed a Vienna Choose crew twice in 4 days. The primary sport led to a 1-1 draw, whereas the 5-0 victory secured the trophy.”

Glentoran at the Vienna Cup
A tussle for the ball in one in every of Glentoran’s matches on the Vienna Cup

Glentoran then travelled eastwards for the 2 remaining fixtures. On 1 June, a day after beating Pressburg 3-0, the wheels got here off the rolling inventory in Budapest the place a Hungarian Choose, made up principally of Ferencvaros gamers, hammered them 7-0.

Arriving again at York Avenue station on 4 June 4th, the gamers dispersed to their properties in east Belfast. The Vienna Cup ultimately made its solution to the Oval boardroom the place it took up everlasting residence.

“Glentoran had made a dedication to return to Vienna to defend the trophy the next yr, however the intervention of the Nice Battle put paid to that plan,” says Robinson.

Robinson and different devoted Glentoran supporters have been looking for out the ultimate resting locations of these concerned within the Vienna Cup.

“Successful this trophy in a far-off land is a large a part of each Glentoran and Irish soccer’s historical past,” mentioned Robinson.

“It is necessary that each one the graves be discovered and marked. We wish to make contact with any surviving household family members. Anybody can contact me through our Fb web page. I actually wish to hear from them.”

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