It proved to be a goldmine of information, not least by pinpointing the precise date of formation of Partick Cricket and Football Club. The issue of 27 March 1875 reported: 'On Tuesday evening [ie 23 March] a meeting was held in the Lesser Burgh Hall to take into consideration the advisability of forming a club for the practice of cricket and football'. A committee was appointed to find a suitable ground, and among them are several names who would feature regularly in reports over the coming years: William Swan (convenor and interim secretary), Alex Anderson, William T Campbell, John Paton, John Riddoch, James S Campbell, T Kirkwood, David Muirhead and T Marr.
They moved fast, as a week later the committee reported back to another meeting that they had found a piece of ground at Whiteinch which was 'very suitable for the practice of cricket and football'. The annual subscription was set at 12s 6d, although for those who only wanted to play football it was 5 shillings.
A more formal club committee was voted in, with John AL Riddoch as president, WN Swan vice-president, James S Campbell secretary and W Kinross treasurer. Committee members were William Kirkwood, George Davidson, John Paton, Alex Anderson and William T Campbell. Over 40 young men joined and the opening of the new ground was set for 1 May.
Setting up the ground took a bit longer than expected, but by 22 May the paper reported that the field had been fenced and put in order, with an opening match arranged at Whiteinch for 5 June.
Reports of matches that summer are patchy, but there were two games against St Vincent and the first teamline published was for a victory by 81 runs to 39 over the 1st LRV on 31 July: Horn, Love, Kirkwood, Campbell, Currie, Struthers, McInnes, Hamilton, Swan, Anderson, Taag (sadly, no initials were given).
There were several other minor cricket clubs in Partick at that time, as well as the established West of Scotland CC at Hamilton Crescent. Names which crop up include Partickhill, Westburn, Nightingale, Elm and - intriguingly - Partick Thistle CC who had a ground at Partickhill.
On the football front, Partick Football Club published their fixtures for the autumn covering the 1st and 2nd elevens, which indicates a thriving membership. Their first match was on 18 September against Ramblers, who won 3-0 with all the goals coming in the last eight minutes, and a week later Eastern also came to Whiteinch and won 6-1. John Paton scored Partick's first ever goal, and the team was: J Currie (goal); J Young and J Leslie (backs); JS Campbell and G Davidson (half backs); McNaughton, G Kirkwood, W Kirkwood, W Kirkham, J Paton and D Young (forwards). Of particular note is the presence of William Kirkham, the young man from Darwen who inaugurated the cross-border links, starting with the match in Lancashire on 1 January 1876.
The Partick Advertiser listed the teams for that game a week before it took place, but failed to publish a match report - although we know from Bell's Life that Partick won 7-0. They lined up as follows:
Partick: William T Campbell (goal); John Young and William Scott Somers (backs); Alexander Kennedy and James S Campbell (half-backs); William Kirkwood, Peter Andrews, William G Struthers, George J Kirkwood, William Kirkham and William N Swan.
Darwen: James Booth (goal); AN Hornby and Charles Walsh (backs); L Baron and John Duxbury (half-backs); Christopher Rostron, JC Ashton, Wright Ainsworth, Baron Harwood, James Walsh and Moses Neville.
Having done some research into the players, there are a few to mention. Partick included three players from Eastern FC, Kennedy and Andrews who were already internationalists, and Somers who would later win Scotland caps. Darwen included sporting all-rounder Albert Neilson Hornby, an Old Harrovian who later captained England at both rugby football and cricket, two more Harrovians in the Walsh brothers, and James Christopher Ashton, the mill-owner's son who had founded the Darwen cricket and football club.
Over the course of the season, the Partick Advertiser's coverage of football was sketchy and there are still a number of gaps, but these discoveries of Partick's first year in existence do add considerably to the early history of the club and its links with Darwen.
Coming soon: the story of Partick's Jimmy Love, who became the first professional when he moved to Darwen in 1878, and a man who has - until now - eluded sports historians.