The Merchant's Charity Cup was begun in 1876/77 and was born from a feud between Queen's Park and their biggest rivals of the day, Vale of Leven.

Queen's had declined to play Vale on 6th November 1875 in a friendly match as previously agreed due to being scheduled to play in a Scottish Cup tie on the date, and this led to a dozen letters between the clubs, each more acrimonious than the last, which ended with Queen's Secretary, Thomas Lawrie, writing to Vale to state that "Unless drawn against you for the cup, my club decline to play you at all".

Needless to say, the following season Queen's were drawn to play Vale in a 5th Round Scottish Cup match at Hampden on 30/12/1876, and Vale inflicted Queen's first ever defeat by two goals to one. Two days after the match, some Queen's Park members found marks on the pitch two days later which suggested that spikes had been worn, and much to Vale of Leven's annoyance accused their players of wearing spikes.

It was suggested, jokingly, that the marks had been caused by crows, and so the game became referred to as the "Crow's Feet Match".

Another lengthy exchange of letters between the clubs ensued, with Queen's refusing to withdraw their allegation. Queen's annoyance with Vale was exacerbated by Vale's habit of publishing the letters, which Queen's considered to be private correspondence, in the newspapers.

In an attempt to break the impasse between the two clubs, a group of businessmen suggested a new competition to be played for charitable purposes, and after beating Third Lanark in the first round, Queen's were scheduled to face Vale (as Scottish Cup Winners) in the final. However, Vale declined to play, and Queen's defeated the Scottish Cup runners-up, Rangers, by four goals to nil, to lift the first Merchants' Charity Cup.

This first competition raised some 200 for charity (around 15,000 in today's values), and over the years the competition flourished and raised many thousands of pounds for good causes.

Although the competition was originally by invitation only and saw the top sides of the day invited to take part, by the start of the 20th century it had become an end of season Glasgow only affair.

By the early 1960's the competition was in a terminal decline with monies raised for charity steadily falling, and the last tournament between the Glasgow sides was held in 1960/61. In an attempt to revitalise the competition it was then altered to a Glasgow select against a variety of English sides, but this was a short lived rebirth and following a 1-1 draw match against Leeds United in 1967 the competition was discontinued.

The Merchants' Charity Cup can be seen today in the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park.


To see our Merchant's Charity Cup record season by season, click here.

To see our Merchant's Charity Cup record against each team, click here.