In the 1880s and 1890s he was at the centre of a crusade against 'broken time payments' in Rugby football. Rev. Marshall believed that for anyone to receive payments in any form for playing football was morally reprehensible. His zeal for preserving amateurism knew no bounds. He was a committee member at Huddersfield FC, but this didn't prevent him for reporting them for professionalism, leading to a ban.
Rev. Marshall's activities ultimately led to what is known as The Great Schism. In 1895 clubs who favoured 'broken time payments' to compensate their working class players for wages lost when they were playing football, broke away from the Rugby Union and formed the Northern Union. These clubs developed a different code that created a faster, more exciting game that we now know as Rugby League.
So, what has this got to do with us, concerned as we are with the history of the Association game?
The FA Cup 4th round tie played between Preston North End and the London club Upton Park on January 19th 1884 can be considered one of the most significant games in the history of Association football. The controversy following this game (which will be dealt with in more detail in a later post) led directly to the Football Association's acceptance of professionalism.
Liverpool Mercury 21.01.84Was this the same Rev. F. Marshall?
It has never been made clear who provided the catalyst that inspired Upton Park, in the person of the Secretary- Mr Barnett, to report Preston to the FA. Their local rivals Blackburn Olympic denied any involvement. Indeed, the press commented that none of the leading Lancashire clubs would be able to defend themselves against charges of professionalism.
I can find no other references to Rev F Marshall as a referee of Association games, and he seems to have had no input into the debate that raged on into the summer of 1885 regarding professionalism in football.