On Saturday afternoon, 11th November, Shrewsbury Town were playing host to local rivals Madeley at their pitch on Sutton Road in Shrewsbury when a nasty tackle led to a 23 year old being carried off. After the game his condition quickly went downhill, as reported in the Montgomery County Times and Shropshire and Mid-Wales Advertiser:
On Monday evening, the Shrewsbury Coroner, R. E. Clarke, Esq., held an inquest at the Clarendon Hotel, Shrewsbury, on the body of John Henry Morris, of 26, Canal Buildings, Shrewsbury, who died at the Infirmary, on Sunday, from injuries received on the football field on Saturday afternoon in the first round of the Wednesday Charity Cup, the players being the Shrewsbury and Madeley town teams. The Coroner shortly stated the facts of the case, and said a good deal of animosity was sometimes shown in the game of football, and rough usuage took place which would not occur in cricket or hockey.
It was, however, a legal and a national game, but in all sports due care must be exercised, and when that was not done and death occurred, it was manslaughter. Herbert Frederick Evans, Providence Terrace, Greenfields, said he was playing right half back for the home team. After changing ends the ball was passed by the Madeley half back to Wm. Evans. He then saw the deceased and Evans collide.—By the Coroner: He saw no unfair play, and no blow or kick. When the deceased was on the ground he went up to him, and after asking him if he was hurt he said, It is a pity, but I think it was purely accidental.” Deceased replied that it was done on purpose. Deceased was carried off the ground, and he next saw him at the Unicorn Hotel, where he told witness he was a little better, but did not say where he was hurt.—By the Coroner: He thought the game was properly played; at any rate the referee had no cause to caution the players.—By Mr. Hughes: He heard Evans say he was very sorry, and that he did not do it intentionally. Joshua Andrew, The Mount, bricklayer, said he was at the match as a spectator. He was a trainer, and had seen the game played for 14 years. The game showed no more animosity than was usually seen between players. The deceased was taken to the Infirmary, where he was attended to, but he refused to stay there, and was taken to the Unicorn Hotel. He was after wards taken back to the Infirmary, where he remained
P. S. Rogers said he saw the occurrence, and he believed it to be an accident.—Mr. Herbert Walton, acting house surgeon at the Infirmary, said the body showed no external marks of violence. No post mortem had taken place, but he believed death was due to internal haemorrhage.—A verdict of accidental death was returned.—The President of the Club, Mr. H. D. Greene, M.P., has volunteered to pay the funeral expenses.—After the inquest Evans had to be escorted by the police to the station, owing to the show of hostile feeling towards him by a large crowd which had assembled.
Montgomery County Times and Shropshire and Mid-Wales Advertiser – Saturday 18 November 1893
The funeral was held on the Wednesday and there was a massive turnout with hundreds of people lining the street and representatives from teams across the county.
Countless wreaths adorned the coffin with messages from many who knew him; “Deep Sorry” from his late friends the Abbey Juniors, “Regret and sympathy” from the Shropshire FA, and one that read “Sincerity and sorrowing friends” – Madeley Town Football Club.