Thanks to fellow historian Javier Terenti, I have been alerted to this cutting from the Caledonian Mercury, published on 13 November 1828. Although this newspaper has been available online for some time, the key words did not appear in OCR searches, and it was only because this snippet was then republished in a recently-digitised London paper that it was found.
This brief report of a club dinner reveals much about the activities of the football players. For a start, it shows that the members were numerous, with 60 of them coming to the annual dinner in a Stockbridge pub. It details the breadth of their activities, not just football but also athletic exercises similar to other well-known Edinburgh clubs. And it reveals where they sometimes played, on the city's main recreational area at Bruntsfield Links, even though the club also rented Dalry Park at the time.
Most importantly of all, however, this discovery confirms that the club was widely known about in the city at the time.
The conviviality of a dinner was clearly important to the football players, and helps to emphasise that this was a sporting club in every essential: it had subscriptions, it had rules, it met regularly, it was active, and the members not only played together, they socialised together.
There is also a bit of wider Edinburgh history, as the venue was a new coffee house and tavern at 4 Hamilton Place, Stockbridge - the building is still there to this day and I think it is now Caffe Nero. It was run by Charles Presgrave, who clearly wanted to cater for many more such club dinners, judging by his advert (below) which appeared a few weeks later. It seems not to have worked as he was declared insolvent the following year.
I have now published my talk and the associated PowerPoint presentation, which can be accessed on the following links in pdf form. They should be opened and read together.
Click here for the PowerPoint.
Click here for the text of my talk.
If you are interested to read more, my book 1824, The World's First Foot-Ball Club is available price £11.99 (post free) from this website, or from Amazon.