Many questions have been raised in the above postings, but I’m only addressing a few here, not because I don’t find the others interesting, but because of limitations of the hours in a day.
Erik’s above link to Word Detective
along with comments from Bob, Jim, John, Harry, Phil H, Edwin, and Wiz (neglecting his mistaken 1853 quote, which was actually from 1975 – see my quote below) supply pieces of interesting evidence from which different conclusions may be drawn. Here’s my take on a few issues:
The OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY
provides the following telephone definition for HOLD THE LINE
– which I am not overly thrilled with. I found the other two well-known meanings of hold the line
when I look up the OED
’s definition of LINE
(I’ll discuss these other two further on below and here continue with the telephone aspect:
HOLD THE LINE:
To maintain telephonic connection during a break in conversation. [[And as Peggy Lee sang, Is That All There is?
Well no it isn’t, as evidenced by the above postings and the three telephonic meaning I mention below.
I’ll continue the discussion with the telephone sense
, since that was Phil H.’s original question. I believe a more informative telephone definition than that offered by the OED
above would be something like:
HOLD THE LINE:
1) Originally, a phrase uttered by an operator at a switchboard (a la Bobinwales and hsargent above) to a caller. In this situation the switchboard operator tells the caller to HOLD THE LINE
(or actually hold the phone which is attached to the line) for a minute or two, or three or four, while she literally holds the line at her end or lays it aside (at the ready) to attend to other calls until the jack which the operator needs to plug into is free.
2) If one caller wanted to temporarily interrupt a telephone conversation (e.g. say to answer the doorbell or go potty), ‘hold the line’ or ‘hang on’ or ‘hang on a minute/moment’ were/are often used.
[[See HOLD THE LINE! exclamation
[1920s-30s]: Wait a minute [telephone imagery]—Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang
(2005) by Jonathon Green]]
3) Some time in the 1960s when telephones acquired a ‘hold button,’ anyone who had a hold button(s) could put a caller on ‘hold’ while having a conversation with a second, third, fourth, . . . caller. And, of course, the screwed party would often be politely asked (without much choice) ‘May I put you on hold for a minute,’ ‘Please hold the line’ or ‘Please hang on a minute’ or perhaps more abruptly “I’m putting you on hold” (whether you like it or not, buddy!).
Below are listed some early examples I dug up from archived sources (the oldest being from 1885) using the telephone
meanings of HOLD THE LINE
<1885 “What is the reason for it? You must be annoying the telephone girls. [If] ever a Federal M.P. books a call, they say, ‘Just hold the line,’ and they get the line in three or four minutes. I do not know why. That is my point.”— Parliamentary Debates, Volume 57, Issues 13-19, page 3309>
<1896 “For instance, the telephone boy had been in the habit of replying, ‘Hold the line, while I call Mr. Blank,’ was shown how this habit of ‘holding the line often shut out good customers desiring to enter through the telephone door during the time that the house wire was linked to the wire of the caller, thus limiting the serviceability of the telephone. By securing the caller’s name and the number of his telephone, and giving a promise to have Mr. Blank ‘ring up’ the caller, when there was any doubt of Mr. B. being unable to immediately respond to the call, the telephone boy effected a marked economy in the total number of minutes that the telephone would be ‘hung up’ that is, closed to others during the day.”— Telephone Magazine, Vol.7, page 280>
<1899 “When individual is asked for, the recalling party is requested to ‘hold the line’ while the attendant goes away to summon the man.”—Modern Machinery, Vol. 91, page 91>
<1902 “Say, Jack, hold the line for a minute till I speak to the man in the store. Yes, certainly, of course, I did think —Hello, there, Jack, I cannot hold the line any longer. The clerk says most of their business is done by phone, and the doctors complain if they cannot get the line.”—Bulletin of Pharmacy, Vol.16, page 220>
<1906 “A call comes over toll for a city party and the toll operator in the city exchange assigns a trunk and inserts the plug. The toll operator can hold the line for five or ten minutes. When the toll party is ready, she simply rings on the circuit and the apparatus relays the generator current on the subscriber’s circuit; the bell rings, and the party answers.”—Telephony Vol. 11, page 219>
<1907 “Referring to the local operation of the line that all stations may have equal opportunity to establish calls, a ruling is enforced that no two stations, under equal conditions, shall be allowed to hold the line to establish more than six calls or for a time period of thirty consecutive minutes.”—The American Telephone Journal, Vol.16, page 7>
<1914 Hullo! Who’s this? Frohman’s. Well, can you tell me the present whereabouts of a Mrs. J. S. Wright, who was with Frohman company that played the Prisoner of Zenda at Chicago two years ago? Yes, I’ll hold the line. (Under his breath.) You bet your life I will. Hullo! She left the stage in January 1903, and – What’s that?”—Long Distance by Lewis Orlando Faulkland>
<1925 “‘Hello, is Mr, Reepley there? . . . Oh, he isn’t? He has just gone to the drug store? . . . Very well, I will hold the line.’”—New York Timed, 21 June, page BR14>
<1969 “The Victorian Chamber of Manufacturers has criticised Australians for bad manners when answering telephones. In its weekly service bulletin, the chamber cited ‘infuriating examples of telephonic bad manners' of people in business houses. . . . . . . .Next came the switchboard girl answering: ‘XYZ Company, hold the line please,’ without asking if it was convenient for the caller to hold on.”—The Age (Melbourne, Australia), 22 July, page 6>
<1992 “Now that Nicholas Soames had access to a ministerial Montego, what will happen to Sutton, his old chauffeur? According to Soames sister, Emman, the admirable Sutton would answer Soames car phone in the manner of a country butler, asking callers to hold the line while he saw if Sir was in.”—Daily Telegraph>
The other two popular meanings of HOLD THE LINE
mentioned above are:
a) Holding the line militarily, where I’ll arbitrarily call this line a physical or literal sense of LINE
such as a military line of soldiers, fortifications, trenches, etc. in which a physical line of something or other exists. Other common literal senses of lines are goal lines, tennis sidelines, etc., but these aren’t necessarily something to be ‘held.’
b) Holding the line figuratively applies where no actual physical line exists such as the line of scrimmage in football (but it could be argued that this is a physical line of sorts – see OED
comment on this below), as well as to other nonliteral lines that are to be held, such as things like cost, wages, inflation, traffic congestion, nepotism, etc. Figurative senses of HOLD THE LINE
are discussed further below along with associated quotes.
The OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY
provides the following relevant definition of LINE
(among many others) as well as the definition of HOLD THE LINE
: In various games, as tennis, football, etc., the line
denotes a particular line which marks the limit of legitimate or successful play; in Cricket
, the line of flight of the ball from the bowler's hand, Also in phrase (taken from American football, but influenced by sense 20b) to hold the line
to maintain, support a position, viewpoint, etc. [20b “In the war of 1914-18, the trenches collectively; the front line.] [[It should be noted that in the OED
for the quotes which follows this definition, every example of HOLD THE LINE
is in the figurative sense]].
I’m not quite sure why the OED
provided a 1956 quote for hold the line
as their earliest figurative example (as mentioned in Erik’s above Word Detective
posting). But this was from the 1989 edition when searching was a lot harder.
<1956 “But 52nd Street couldn’t hold the line against Negroes forever.”—Lady Sings the Blues by Billie Holiday, xi. page 102>
Note that “to maintain, support a position, viewpoint, etc.” is a very nice definition for HOLD THE LINE
, since it actually encompasses both the military/literal and figurative meanings in one fell swoop.
Also, but this is no big deal, I think that it makes sense to say that the line being held in the football hold the line
(line of scrimmage) is figurative, since it is an imaginary line (perpendicular to the sidelines and passing through one end of the football, and consists of nothing material), although some may argue otherwise (but it’s no earth-shattering either way).
Here’s the Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary
’s take on the military meanings of LINE
[[and I chose them instead of the OED
definitions because they are short and sweet and you all know how much I love being short and sweet! (<;)]]
a) A defensive position or front.
b) A series of fortifications (e.g. the Maginot line).
c) A distribution of troops, sentries, etc. for the defense of a position or for an attack: behind enemy lines
’s earliest use of the word LINE
(in the senses under discussion) was nautical with respect to a ‘line of ships’ (1704). Their earliest military use appeared in the phrase, ‘battle flew on the lofty British line’ (1801).
The following are some early quotes from archived sources using HOLD THE LINE
in the military
sense of maintaining a military position. The earliest quote I could find using this meaning was from 1832:
<1832 “When Sir David Baird had established himself in Villa Manian, it appeared to him to be of the first importance to hold the line of the Upper Eslar, till the march of Sir John Moore by the more circuitous route through Benevente was secured, . . .”—The Life of General, the Right Honourable Sir David Baird, Bart, Vol. 2, page 305>
<1846 “Some writers, Rogniat among the number, have blamed the Emperor for persisting to hold the line of the Elbe during the Autumn campaign of which we have been speaking.”—The fall of Napoleon: An Historical Memoir By John Mitchell, Vol. 2, page 246>
<1859 “. . . the French arriving by the Alps were to hold the line . . . thus covering Turin.”—Newport Daily News (Rhode Island), 26 May, page 2>
<1869 “I was walking down the hill to the gate of the arsenal, whither our regiment had been withdrawn, after a picket guard had been detailed and sent out to hold the line of Bolivar Heights.”—Putnam's Monthly Magazine of American Literature, Science and Art, Vol. 13, Issue 16, April, page 447>
<1889 “THE MEN WHO Held THE LINE: The battle is done; the smoke-veiled sun / Creeps low to a misty West / . . . /Lift proud the head—O living and dead! / You have compassed Heaven’s design! / In every zone you shall e’er be known / As the men who held the line.”— Star Sentinel (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania), 2 July, page 1>
As for the nontelephone, nonmilitary figurative uses of HOLD THE LINE
(e.g. economics, sexually explicit remarks, prices, inflation …..– see list of quotes below), its origin has been attributed to American football as well as the military – see dictionary definitions below. But the military origin seems so much more likely and existed way before football (see Wiz’s comments above), although indications are that this view is probably wrong!
But the big boys such as Word Detective
’s Evan Morris, Picturesque Expressions
Laurence Urdang, New York Times
word maven William Safire claim that the figurative sense did originate in football (see below). And even the OED
(see above) said “Also in phrase (taken from American football, but influenced by sense [[the trenches of WWI]]) to HOLD THE LINE
I believe what the above mavens were getting at is that the most direct, immediate, and important influence on the figurative form (1859 and next seen in the late 19th century), a form which later spawned the many 20th-century figurative usages, was the football expression, even though the military (1832) and early figurative (1859) expression preceded it. And the 1859 example appears to be a bit of an early outlier, since the following figurative quotes were from somewhat later.
Similarly the OED
made the comment above, that the use of LINE
in HOLD THE LINE
from American football was also influenced by its military use in WWI. But, of course, it appeared in military use long before that (see the 19th century military quotes below), but it was probably its WWI use which helped popularize it and not the earlier military use (which perhaps was not heard that much outside of the military).
Here’s what William Safire had to say about one figurative use in SAFIRE’S POLITICAL DICTIONARY
(2008), page 319:
HOLD THE LINE
: Government efforts to restrain the economy; anti-inflation moves. [[Note: This is just one example from politics in the sea of possible figurative usages in other areas]] .
“Four months after he became president, Harry Truman issued an Executive Order gradually relaxing controls over prices, wages, and production as the wartime economy made its transition to peace. This became known as the ‘hold-the-line
’ order. ‘Holding the line
against inflation’ remains a cliché, taken from a football metaphor (‘Hold that line!’) [[a cursory search found an early use of this cheer in 1898]], which in turn comes from a military expression (a line of soldiers trying to prevent and enemy breakthrough).”
(1998) by Laurence Urdang
HOLD THE LINE
: To try to prevent a situation from becoming uncontrollable or unwieldy; to maintain the status quo. This Americanism probably comes from the game of football. It is frequently heard in an economic context, as in “to hold the line on taxes” or “to hold the line on prices.
AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY OF IDIOMS
(1997) by Christine Ammer
HOLD THE LINE
: Maintain the existing position or state of affairs. For example, We’ll have to hold the line on spending until our profits rise
. This term alludes to former military tactics, in which a line of troops was supposed to prevent an enemy breakthrough. Eventually it was transferred to civilian enterprises. [Mid-1900s] [[Note: The less careful Christine Ammer just ain’t good at origins and dates although she does excel at definitions and example sentences]].
Here are some quotes from archived sources for HOLD THE LINE
using the figurative
(nonmilitary) sense defined above [Note that Wiz’s 1853 New York Times
quote is actually from 1975 (see my 1975 quote below)]:
<1859 “In the unequal contest the citizen with the government, it is his right, to the last breath in his body, to hold the line . . . and standing there, to insist that law shall be administered with all the forms . . . of legal justice.”— Circuit Court of the United States. Massachusetts District (1878), October Term, 1859, page 48>
<1882 “The Court—The counsel is assuming that the court has assumed something against his client. The court has assumed nothing of the sort. The court merely rules on the pertinency of the evidence. I must hold the lines to the limit of proper evidence in a case like this.”—New York Times, 27 December, page 2>
<1890 “As Governor, Blanton has held the line on state spending, worked to expand the State's tourist industry, lobbied for public service jobs for unemployed citizens . . .”—Tennessee Blue Book, page 12>
<1924 “The inevitable subdivisions have appeared, but an ever-watchful citizens’ association and a number of unofficial ‘planning groups’ have held the line on preserving the character of the community.”—Maryland Conservationist, Vol. 41-43, page 16>
<1940 “. . . our organization must hold the line on normal community service to children in education, recreation, social service and medical care.”–Chicago Tribune, 14 July, page C2>
<1942 “Without price control the other elements cannot be put into play; and only as the other elements are made effective can we count on continuing to hold the line on prices.”—New York Times, 28 July, page 10>
<1957 “The program in Battle Creek this year has been one of ‘holding the line.’ A full-time replacement for the supervisor who resigned just at the opening of the year was not found. Part-time supervision was not found. Part-time supervision was provided, but some of the usual promotional activities were necessarily curtailed.”—The President's Report to the Board of Regents for the Academic Year 1955-1956, University of Michigan, Vol. 58, No. 69, 11 January, page 241>
<1967 “There were also undisguised rumblings for bigger pay packets from the rank and file that may make it difficult for Wilson to hold the line on wage increases.”—Time Magazine, 1 December>
<1975 “‘If we hold the line [on city aid], we’ll be very lucky,’ Mrs. Phelps said. The society, which was founded in 1853, serves annually more than 100,000 New York City children and their families with a network of neighborhood centers, camps, foster-care and adoption services, and medical, educational, and recreational programs.”—New York Times, 12 October, page 45>
<1995 “Bishop Robert Lowth gave in on than whom but held that Shakespeare made a mistake, and the grammarian’s followers have been trying to hold the line against the rising tide of spoken usage ever since.”—New York Times, On Language, 16 April, page SM16>
The following are some quotes from archived sources that use HOLD THE LINE in the football sense:
<1891 “Jefferis weighs 201 and each of the others 180. They hold the line well and break through when occasion requires.”—Chicago Daily Tribune, 14 November, page 7>
<1893 “The most glaring defect was that the center men failed to hold the line long enough to enable the quarterback to pass the ball.”—Boston Daily Globe, 29 October, page 16>
<1895 “They held the line well and the kicking . . . and tackling and rushing . . . were excellent.”— Chicago Tribune, September, page 7>
<1896 “Chamberlain even now, lacking in experience as he is, holds the opposing line in good shape, and gets the ball back to the quarter quickly and with a good degree of certainty.”—Boston Daily Globe, 18 October, page 28>
<1899 “It will be unnecessary to do more than suggest how [coach] Clayton was simply dumbfounded when he saw his first long kickoff caught by the veteran full-back . . and carried forward with express speed . . . ; how the spectators looked on in silent amazement at this unexpected beginning; . . . .How Clayton called his men to one side and rebuked them, and told them just what to do, and found, to his disgust, that when they had done it, it was just the wrong thing to do; how they could not hold the line against the fury of the scrub team; . . .”—St. Nicholas: A Monthly Magazine for Boys and Girls, Volume 26, Part 2, page 588-589>
<1900 “The right guard, Morris, was a pitiable sight as, with white, drawn face he stood up under the terrific assault, staggering, with half-closed eyes, to hold the line.”—The Half-Back: A Story of School, Football, and Golf by R. H. Barbour, page 258>
<1905 “But these are all the seasoned players to hold the line, and this will leave a great chance for strong men to make the team at New Haven if they are capable in all other respects.”— Galveston Daily News (Texas), 1 October, page 6>
<1917 “On July 24 the football squad left the . . . aerodrome . . . for its first big game. With nervous pats on the nearest shoulders and admonitions to ‘hold the line now boy—keep your formation together!’”—U.S. Air Services, Vol. 3-4, page 24>
Incidentally, American football as far as I can make out was the offspring of rugby (1864 earliest OED rugby quote, but that’s a bit late according to other references I’ve seen – see below) and in the beginning different groups and organizations followed different rules with little uniformity among them. Also, the game was constantly evolving and at one point a team consisted of 20 players and at another 15 and then finally 11. The first U.S. intercollegiate football game (Rutgers vs. Princeton) was played in 1869.
The ‘line of scrimmage’ was defined by the intercollegiate rules committee in 1880, authored by Walter Camp (often called “the father of American football”). For a fascinating look at early football take a look at Walter Camp and Lorin Deland’s books titled Football (1896) and Camp’s American Football (1894).
Here’s an interesting thought, but could some other American football or rugby ‘line’ (not ‘goal,’ or ‘side’) have been a figurative football or rugby term before the ‘line of scrimmage’ was the ‘line’ of HOLD THE LINE.’ And a possibility that I came up with was RUSH LINE).
Earlier there had been the ‘scrummage’ or ‘scrum’ which, as far a I could make out, was a group of players facing each other on either side of the ball ready to pounce. The above-mentioned book refers to a RUSH-LINE (but doesn’t provide dates), which I took to be the leading line of facing players in the scrum (the whole batch of opposing players). The implication here, I think, is that there were two ‘rush-lines,’ one for each team and that it wasn’t till the line of scrimmage was adopted in 1880 that the use of the expression rush line started to go the way of the dodo bird. But this was not instantaneous (see post-1880 ‘rush line’ quotes below).
But were these ‘rush-lines’ something that a team would want to hold? Seems to me it could have been and if this were true, it would seem that there might have been the expression HOLD THE RUSH LINE. Of course, I don’t know diddly-squat about rugby or American football (never played or followed either) so bear with me if I have made some obviously dumb statements concerning American football and rugby.
In a search to see if HOLD THE RUSH LINE did exist, I found that it did and this implied that perhaps it was a predecessor and contributor to the American football HOLD THE LINE.
So what does this tell us about the origin of the figurative meaning of HOLD THE LINE. It could, of course, have been patterned after the military expression (earliest quote – 1832) as some believe, although the word and phrase heavyweights above believe it probably came from football and the line of scrimmage. But, on the other hand, if there was a football/rugby HOLD THE RUSH LINE that predated the ‘line of scrimmage’s HOLD THE LINE then it is possible that football or rugby was the immediate predecessor of American football’s HOLD THE LINE. I would note, however, that the mavens opinion could be a case of follow-the-leader from the OED.
However, the OED’s earliest quote for rugby is 1864 (which is a bit late according to other sources ). What appears to be a well-researched Wikipedia article talks about rugby union (a form of rugby) originating in England in the early 19th century and dates in the 1820s and 1840s are mentioned. Another short, less well-researched Wikipedia article (no foot notes), talks about rugby football (another form of rugby) and also tosses around dates from the first half of the 19th century. Which all leads to the conclusion that the nonfootball figurative meaning of HOLD THE LINE (1859) could possibly have been patterned after the early military expression (1832) or an earlier football/rugby expression.
Digging a bit deeper, I found that before football’s line of scrimmage, there had been the ‘scrummage’ or ‘scrum’ which, as far a I could make out, was a group of players facing each other on either side of the ball ready to pounce. The above-mentioned books refers to a RUSH-LINE which I took to be the leading line of facing players in the scrum (the whole batch of opposing players). The implication here, I think is that there were two ‘rush-lines.’ But are either of these ‘rush-lines’ something that a team would want to hold? Seems to me it could have been. Of course, I don’t know diddly-squat about rugby or American football (never played or followed either) so don’t take some of my blathering here as anything close to gospel. But I did find a few HOLD THE RUSH LINES, which could have been a precursor of HOLD THE LINE (see quotes below).
Here is a brief primer on HOLD THE RUSH LINE:
The OED defined ‘rush’ as follows, with its earliest quote being from 1857:
RUSH noun: Rugby and North American Football. An attempt by one or more players, especially the forwards, to force the ball through the opponents' line and towards their goal. Also, a player who is skilled in this.
[[note that 1857 comes before 1864 (the OED’s earliest rugby quote)]]
<1857 “Then follows rush upon rush and scrummage upon scrummage. Ibid. Don't give the rush a chance of reaching you!”—Tom Brown’s School Days by Thomas Hughes, I, v>
RUSH LINE: Combined form [[see above] with the OED’s earliest quote being from 1887. The quotes below are from the OED and archived sources My earliest find was from 1881 (see below).
Note: I think all of these quotes refer to American football but I’m not certain.
<1881 “The object of A ‘rush-line is to prevent (merely by the interposition or their bodies, in no case by holding) B ‘rush line’ from getting to the quarter or half-backs in time to interfere with their getting the ball, or immediately subsequent action. When A rush-line can hold B no longer, they go down on the B backs in order to paralyse their actions if the A backs kick over.”—The Merchistonian, page 95>
<1881 “The men in the Adelbert rush line, however, failed to block their opponents. Oberlin gained much ground by tackling the backs before they had a chance to run. . . .Oberlin’s rush line played a strong game, blocking well and playing together.”—The Oberlin ReviewVolume 19, page 93>
<1882 “. . . a Yale or Princeton rush line will be very different from the men on our Second Eleven, and the men block well.”—The Crimson, Volumes 19-20, page 55> [[talking American football]]
<1884 “But a few minutes of the first half remained when Richards got the ball, ran through the Harvard rush line, dodged the halfbacks and back and made a touchdown square behind the goal.” New York Times, 23 November>
<1887 “Across the field stretch the football infantry, the ‘rush-line’ or ‘rushers.’”—Century Magazine, XXXI. page 891/2> [[The OED's earliest]]
<1890 “Yale, on the other hand, played a very poor game for her, and were careless back of the rush line.”—Outing: An Illustrated Monthly Magazine of Sport, Travel, and Recreation, Vol. xv. page 37>
<1891 “Princeton's rush line is where she needs material and plenty of it.”—Harper's Weekly, 19 September, 715/3>
<1923 The unlucky young men who were left in his wake when he tore through a rush-line. The unlucky young men who were left in his wake when he tore through a rush-line.”—Comrades of the Rolling Ocean by R.D. Paine, i. page 3>
<1976 “RUSH LINE, the defensive line of a football team.”—Webster's Sports Dictionary Webster's Sports Dictionary.” page 365/1>[[Ah so!]]
And by golly (as we sophisticates say) I did find early examples of HOLD THE RUSH LINE
Note: Again I think that all the following quotes refer to American football but am not certain.
<1887 “The inability to hold the rush line well was the greatest fault but they will take away with them a stronger one.”— The Michigan Argonaut, Volume 6, page 53>
<1895 “Couldn’t Hold the Rush Line: The football game between the Orange athletic club and the Chicago athletic association . . . was won by the former by a score of 24 to 0. The Chicago men were on the defensive all the time. They seemed unable to withstand the heavy onrush of the Orange line.”—Boston Globe, 6 November, page 3>
<1908 Unless you have been there, you cannot conceive throbbing excitement . . . ; the maddening exhilaration of a ‘rush’ when strong arms and legs are at a premium; the exultation when it is discovered that the opposing team cannot hold the rush line; .. .”— The Preshus Child by Belle T. McCahan, page 82>
Note that my earliest example of HOLD THE RUSH LINE (1887) does precede HOLD THE LINE (1891) by a bit.
So what’s the bottom line on HOLD THE LINE? The answer seems to involve a whole lot of speculation, which I here try to summarize:
1) The telephone expression derived from neither military nor its figurative offsprings but from the physical line connected to a telephone.
2) The 1859 figurative (nonfootball) meaning was probably an outlier (with quotes next appearing in 1882 and 1890, but popularized by American football’s line of scrimmage (1891) and also influenced by the WWI (1914-1918) use of the military expression.
3) The figurative football meaning (1891) – the line being the line of scrimmage – probably came from the military (1832) and could have been influenced by HOLD THE RUSH LINE (1887) of American football and/or rugby, or even from the earlier (1859, 1882, 1890) figurative form (but that seems unlikely).
NOTE: From what I have found in my wanderings in researching this posting is that the early days of football and rugby are not that well-documented, especially as far as dates are concerned So, I would highly recommend restraint in betting any money on them.
Ken – April 13, 2010