Lang Park, international visitors and professionalism.

In 1929, a financial dispute (shares of proceeds) between Brisbane and Ipswich teams saw the competition split. The tension simmered beneath the formation of the Queensland Soccer Association (QSA) and the initiation of a First Division set up for 1930 season. Thistle elected to compete in the Ipswich competition,, but eight Brisbane clubs turned out along with an accompanying (per requirements) reserve grade team. They included First Division clubs Latrobe-Milton, Pineapple Rovers, and Norman Park and five newly promoted Second Division clubs sides – Bulimba, Wynnum, Toowong, Toombul and YMCA. Latrobe would win the 1930 Premiership, defeating Pineapple Rovers by a single goal. Matches were played at the Brisbane Cricket Ground, Memorial Park (Wynnum), Pineapple Paddock (Kangaroo Point), Nundah Sports Ground, Toowong, Lang Park (Milton) and Kalinga. 

By 1935, when the Queensland Soccer Council (QSC) left the Brisbane Cricket Ground to take on the lease of Lang Park. Latrobe-Milton used the ground for their home games, this would proved crucial in the resolution of the split. 

In 1936, the First Division comprised of eight teams: Latrobe, Milton, Merton Rovers (Yeronga Park), Shafston Rovers (Raymond Park, Kangaroo Point), Toombul United (Nundah), United Rangers (Raymond Park), Wynnum and YMCA (Kalinga and Premiers); the Second Division including: Corinthians (Raymond Park), Pineapple Rovers, Redfern United (Lanham Park, Grange).

As a result of low returns, QSC committee considered sub-leasing Lang Park to teams in other codes. Tenants Latrobe-Milton, refused to pay increased rent. Reformation, they said, would be better. 

The Brisbane and Ipswich Associations (re)merged for the 1937 season and fourteen teams contested a Premiership that Bundamba Rangers won. Team included: Booval, Brothers, Corinthians, Latrobe, Merton Rovers, Milton, Oxley Ramblers, Rosewood, Shafston Rovers, St Helens (Ebbw Vale), Toombul United, United Rangers and YMCA. The Second Division included Blackstone Rovers, Kookaburras, Redfern United, and Wynnum. 

Milton, Lang Park, 1937, (courtesy SLQ)

Despite the interest and number of teams competing in the competition, a rather churlish G. R. Tainton, a former secretary of the QFA, asserted that football was loosing popularity. He stated English amateur team’s visit to Brisbane, as part of a larger tour, would likely not generate the same levels of interest the English professional team did in 1925. And, commenting on Professionalism, he noted the demise Norman Park Club who paid players 10/- [ten shillings, or half a ‘pound’] for a win and 5/- for a defeat. The ave. weekly wage for a factory worker was less than £5 a week so it was a good deal for players while it lasted. Professional football and club finances required big gates, something clubs could draw while they played at the larger ‘Brisbane Cricket Ground. 

An 1937 interview in the Courier Mail with QSC President, W. Elson Green, would see him argue, on the basis of independent analysis, that attendances at club games underlined growth in  football’s popularity, particularly where it exceeded Rugby Union and was approaching attendance figures that would rival Rugby League.

Bundamba won each of three First Division Premierships between 1937 and 1939 and were presented with the Tristram Cup. 

The 1940s would bring turmoil and semi-professionalism.