Saturday, 14 May 2016

Falkirk Footballers v Grangemouth Footballers 1879

I cannot be 100% sure, but I think I may have found the first occasion in which Falkirk FC took part in a sporting occasion outside of football. The following cutting was in the Falkirk Herald of Thur 6th February 1879, and relates to a curling match in Grangemouth.


The difficulty in asserting this is pretty obvious though: for a start "Footballers of Falkirk" is not the same thing as Falkirk Football Club. On the other hand there is no record of other football going on in Falkirk at the time. There is also the fact that there was a Grangemouth Football Club at this time [however they played their football with the oval ball], and that there was contact between the two clubs is beyond doubt, due to the fact that the Peddie brothers played for both clubs.

So all in all I think that it is most likely that the two local clubs, in the middle of the season, instead of playing a match at one or other code of football, had a friendly competition in a completely different sport.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

William Sanderson

I recently found his obituary. [NB - I only found it because I had found his middle name elsewhere]



William Gaff Sanderson

b 8th June 1861, Polmont, Stirlingshire
d 19th June 1937, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday November 26th 1881 v Alexandra Athletic (H) Friendly
Competitive Debut – Saturday October 2st 1882 v Renton (H) Scottish Cup 3rd Rd

Positions – Centre-Forward
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [1/1]
Other Matches/Goals [6/2]
Scottish 2nd XI Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]

Known Career – Falkirk [1880/81-1883/84]

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

James Richardson - WWI in Ruhleben

I have spent some time trying to find the details of all the Falkirk FC players who served in the Great War, it is not always easy because most of the files were destroyed in 1940 during the blitz. However there are long and laborious ways around this 'problem'.

However it was during this that I came across another Falkirk FC related tragedy from the first war: that of James Richardson.

James Richardson was like most Victorians Bairns, apart from the fact that due to his Father's profession of Master Mariner, he seems to have born on the Chinchas Islands off the coast of Peru in 1858!

An engineer by trade the first time we come across him in the world of football was whilst studying in Glasgow he was playing with Kelvinbank, and brought the team through to play against a team of players from Falkirk in what was reported to be the first match ever played in Falkirk. This was in December of 1877.

As far as I can tell he played no actual part in the formation of Falkirk FC, however his wee brother George was the first proper secretary of the club [so he was probably in contact], and he probably helped in teaching the initiates in the early days.

After his time in Glasgow he returned to the town where he joined Falkirk for the next couple of seasons, before getting a proper job on the high seas.

The next I learned of his life was his return from Germany at the end of World War One. It seems that the steamer on which he was serving was in port in Hamburg when war was announced between Germany and the UK, and the crew were interned in the Ruhleben Internment Camp for the duration.


Upon his return to Falkirk he got a post as tinsmith in the Gothic Works in Camelon, where he ultimately died within ten years of his time.


James Richardson 

b c1858, Peru 
d 1st October 1927, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
 
Debut – Saturday March 8th 1879 v Kelvinbank (H) Friendly
Competitive Debut – Saturday September 27th 1879 v Grasshoppers (H) Scottish Cup 1st Rd
Positions – Left-Back
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]
Other Matches/Goals [8/-]
Known Career – Kelvinbank [1877/78], Falkirk [1878/79-1880/81]
Brother of George Richardson [Falkirk 1877/78-1880/81]

Monday, 14 March 2016

Daniel Daye: The Falkirk player who seems not to exist.

What's in a name? Throughout his time at Falkirk one player was listed as Daye, Day, Daze and Dey. His name was mostly written as Daniel Daye though, and that is how I call him. But the simple fact is that when I go back through the records, there is next to no record of any Daniel Day.

I did find a record of the death of Daniel Day [no obituary].


Add this to the fact that there is a Falkirk player called Daniel Daye regularly listed as Centre-Forward in the 1890s of whom I even have a photograph.


Then why when I look through the census, do I get this result?


That there was a centre-forward playing under the name of Daniel Daye in the 1890s there is no doubt [just look up the Falkirk Heralds of the time], that there was a Daniel Daye before 1945 I have no evidence.

There was a family that lived on Canal Street, Camelon, who were mentioned in an 1891 Falkirk Herald as Daye -


Yet are listed in the 1881 census as Day!


But still there is no Daniel! I know, perhaps it was a middle name, but which son? How do I know this was even the correct family?

Until something comes Deus Ex Machina, I fear I will never truly solve the Enigma of the Daniel Day that seemingly never existed.


Daniel Daye

d 21st October 1945, Falkirk, Stirlingshire?

Debut – Saturday August 31st 1889 v Campsie (A) Friendly
Competitive Debut – Saturday September 28th 1889 v King's Park (H) Scottish Cup 2nd Rd

Positions – Centre-Forward

Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1889/90, Falkirk District Charity Cup W 1889/90, Falkirk Infirmary Shield RU 1889/90, 1890/91, Stirlingshire 2nd XI Cup W 1891/92

Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [3/1]
Scottish Federation Matches/Goals [5/-]
Stirlingshire Cup Matches/Goals [7/8]
Falkirk & District Charity Cup Matches/Goals [3/2]
Falkirk Infirmary Shield Matches/Goals [3/1]
Other Matches/Goals [33/21]
Stirlingshire 2nd XI Cup Matches/Goals [5/3]

Known Career – Falkirk Excelsior, Falkirk [1889/90-1892/93]

Notes
Played for Laurieston v Kilsyth Wanderers, Friendly at Garrell Garden Pk, Kilsyth, 17th September 1892
Scored five goals in the Stirlingshire Cup Final v Gairdoch (N) 8th March 1890

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Robert Stalker 1904/05

Continuing my informal series on former Falkirk players who ended up on the other side of the Atlantic I bring what little I know about Robert J. Stalker, a man of several clubs but comparatively few games.

Seemingly born in the Newington area of Edinburgh, as far as I can find out the earliest football played by Bob was with Edinburgh Myrtle in East of Scotland Junior football, where he had impressed enough for Queen's Park to pick him up in 1903/04. From the middle of December he played regularly with the Spiders in Inside-Forward and Center-Forward positions for the next month, playing 6 and scoring twice while at Mount Florida.

Whether or not Hibs actually signed him next or simply played him is unknown. I have no way of knowing whether he was a fixture in the reserves in between his 2 appearances for the club, or whether he was a "free man". The latter is possible, especially in the light that his matches were in two different seasons. Robert had scored on his debut, but neither this nor his second game [both, incidentally against Kilmarnock] were enough to convince those in charge that he was worth continuing with [it must be said that he was about 25 by this time].

Curiously enough, four weeks after his last appearance for Hibs, Robert was in the Hearts line-up against Hibs on the 29th Oct 1904 for what seems to be his only appearance for the Jambos.

His situation at Hearts was clearly only temporary [perhaps a loan?] because on Christmas Eve 1904 Robert Stalker was now playing Centre-Forward for Falkirk at Abercorn [scoring twice], and there he stayed for the next three matches until Jan 14th 1905 [scoring another brace v Albion Rovers the previous week].

Yet, within the week the SFA has Bob listed as signing for his fourth team of the season [it is now impossible to play for more than two without UEFA's special permission], when he turned out for Motherwell in two league matches.

Toward the end of the season an R.Stalker again played for Falkirk v St Bernards in an East of Scotland League match, this was probably the same player but I am not 100% sure.

From this point on it seems that he disappeared from senior football in Scotland, and apart from a single game for St Bernards in the 1907 Roseberry Charity Cup possibly from all football [though I suspect he may have returned to the junior folds], suggesting that football was not his first priority.

So, what to make of such a short and transient career? There are two possibilities. 1) going on from his time that he was with Queen's Park, Robert was an amateur with employment elsewhere which did not allow him to devote the time to full-time football, but was good enough for several clubs to desire his services where and when or 2) after his time at QP he signed for Hibernian who after failing to find a place for him subsequently loaned him out to whoever needed him for the rest of the season.

While the former sounds nice and romantic, the fact that he effectively dissappeared from football after 1904/05 seems that he either was too busy in his 'other' employment or that he never found a place in football [whether through injury or lack of ability I cannot tell], but it points toward the latter.

Nearly two decades after his time in football [1926] I found Robert on a ship's manifest from Scotland to Boston, he described himself as a 46 year old 'house-painter' and gave his previous address as '2 Merchiston Place, Edinburgh", within 4 years he is found in the Philadelphia Census, and was then a 51 year old 'golf professional'.

This raises the possibility that he was mainly a golfer [and not a footballer] in his youth, possibly explaining his sporadic appearances, and it is to an extent borne out by his obituary in the Philadelphia Inquirer [December 13th 1930] which stated that he was "the coach for Andrew Jamieson who defeated Bobby Jones in 1926."

But the simple fact is that his passing went, as far as I can tell, largely unnoticed by the majority of Scottish Football, however, he hardly set Scottish Football on fire.


Sunderland Echo - Mon 12th January 1931

Robert Stalker

b 1879-1880, Edinburgh
d 11th December 1930, Abington, Pennsylvania, USA

Positions – Centre-Forward, Inside-Left, Inside-Right

Known Career

Edinburgh Myrtle

Unknown

Queen's Park [1903/04]
Scottish League Matches/Goals [6/2]

Hibernian [1903/04-1904/05]
Scottish League Matches/Goals [2/1]

Heart of Midlothian [1904/05]
Scottish League Matches/Goals [1/-]

Falkirk [1904/05]
Scottish League Matches/Goals [4/4]
EoS League Matches/Goals [1/-]

Motherwell [1904/05],
Scottish League Matches/Goals [2/-]

St Bernards [1906/07]
Roseberry Charity Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]

Height – 5” 7½'

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Alex Turnbull: Falkirk Goalkeeper

Alex Turnbull was one of Falkirk FC's first serious goalkeepers: to go further on this is difficult, he [of course] was not a professional, but the goalkeepers before him seem to have been slightly random, more like the worst player in the eleven rather than a specialist goalkeeper.

Coming from Plean [well,,, Touchhill Farm just outside of Plean] it seems that the Turnbull family also had links with Falkirk causing the footballing sons to play their football in Falkirk district rather than Stirling [Alex was the only footballing brother who never also played at some point for East Stirlingshire & Stenhousemuir].

Alex was good for Falkirk, good enough to represent Falkirk District & Stirlingshire when those kind of matches mattered, but truth be told probably not likely of going to a higher level.

And so it was he decided to emigrate to Canada about 1885 from where it was reported in the Falkirk Herald that he was playing with Montreal FC. But before professionalism that was not good enough to make a life in the new world, so Alex returned, with the resolve to return to the New World south of the Mason/Dixon line.

Soon Alex was off again, this time to Cheyenne, but presumably with the same level of failure as he turned up in Spokane [quite a distance apart] soon after.

It is difficult to determine the exact order of events from this remove, but it seems Alex was involved in quite a few schemes [including gold mining, diamond mining and local politics] before settling down as an undertaker in his new city, but not any old undertaker, he was active in the Rotarians, set up another branch of the the Order of Oddfellows, and in various school committees during his time in Spokane.

But important to me is the fact that in 1921 he returned to the Old World for a tour of Europe, and for this he had to apply for a US Passport, from where I have an image of the man [albeit nearly 40 years after the last time he kept the sticks for Falkirk] but him all the same








If you follow the Spokane Newspapers Alex seems to have kept in touch with his little World from then on writing to his local papers in as much a right wing fashion as many Daily Mail letter writers do to this day, but hey, that is their problem for being Right-Wing loons, not mine.

Alex died in the aptly named Medical Lake Center, just outside Spokane in 1945, where seemingly no-one except he knew of his input into the development of Football in Falkirk/Stirlingshire, since I find no obituary.

Alexander William Turnbull

b 14th May 1862, Bannockburn, Stirlingshire
d 18th September 1945, Medical Lake, Washington, USA

Debut – Saturday September 2nd 1882 v East Stirlingshire (A) Friendly
Competitive Debut – Saturday October 28th 1882 v Renton (A) Scottish Cup 3rd Rd Replay
Positions – Goalkeeper
Representative Honours – Stirlingshire v Lanarkshire 1883/84
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1883/84

Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [4/-]
Stirlingshire Cup Matches/Goals [4/-]
Falkirk & District Charity Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]
Other Matches/Goals [23/-]
Scottish 2nd XI Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]

Known Career – Falkirk [1881/82-1884/85], Montreal

Notes
Played for Grasshoppers v East Stirlingshire, Friendly at Merchiston Pk, Bainsford, 27th December 1884
Played for Grahamston v East Stirlingshire, Benefit Match at Crichton Pk, Falkirk, 27th May 1885
Played for Falkirk District XI v Rangers, Benefit Match at Falkirk, 30th May 1885
Emigrated to Canada c1885-86
Emigrated to Spokane, Washington, USA in May 1888 sailing from Liverpool.
Brother of James [Falkirk 1903/04] & Thomas Turnbull [Falkirk 1893/94-1897/98].

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Revisionism: the First mention of East Stirlingshire

In History revisionism has a bad name, as if the crusty Victorians were right and anyone with new ideas were wrong. However, luckily football history never really started until the 1920s so we do not have to put up with the same stigma as the new wave of 19th Century social historians did.

I was recently reading a thirty year odd old book about East Stirlingshire, which claimed that the first mention of the club in the press was of a friendly against Dunipace on the 19th of November 1881 [and I will gloss over the fact that the author had missed a report of Armadale v East Stirlingshire in the midweek Falkirk Herald dated 3rd November], but this entire mistruth comes from the fact that the author had clearly only used the Falkirk Herald as a source.

Every football match takes two teams, and so it was that there was an earlier report of an East Stirlingshire match which exists not reported in the Falkirk Herald. Nearly a month before any mention of East Stirlingshire in the Falkirk Herald the West Lothian Courier of the 15th October 1881 carried this:

Armadale v East Stirlingshire

Played at Falkirk, and after a very pleasant and well contested game, resulted in favour of Armadale by two goals to nothing.


I am not saying this is the earliest mention of ESFC in the press, I am simply saying that this is the earliest I have found, and I welcome anybody who revises it to an even earlier date.