Sunday, 3 December 2017

The Curious Case of Johnny Dora

I wrote a blog post about John Dora a long time back, he was a Centre-Forward Falkirk signed from Arbroath who scored 2 goals in 3 games before breaking his leg and disappearing from the game.

The very little information about him was confusing, for example the Falkirk Herald said he was Italian, while the Arbroath Herald had stated he was born in Arbroath but his parents were from Italy.

Anyway, since his playing career was just under a century ago, this means that most of the usual sources [censuses etc] are still confidential, so I had sort of given up on finding more details without stumbling over it.

So I was a bit surprised when I was sent an e-mail the other day, written in Italian and titled "John Dora o Giovanni Dorà" it linked to an article on the history of Borgotaro Football.

In one of the chapters it tells the story of Borgotarese player Giovanni 'Johnny' Dorà being called up to play in the Italian Championship for Parma in 1925.

In the text of the article Johnny is described as "Tall, wiry, in his long stays in Scotland [he] had learned the game of foot-ball managing to graft into his Latin fantasy, the solidity and the concreteness of the British style." and that "Some time later, while in the newspapers there was talk of the interest of Bologna and Inter, Dorà returned to Scotland." [apologies for the translation].

So the Dorà that played for Borgotarese and Parma certainly had Scottish Connections but it is unclear where he was from, and even if this was the same person. but there is clearly something there.

Crucially in the article there was a picture of a Johnny wearing a Parma top.


The best picture I have of John Dora was from 1930 and there are certainly facial similarities, although this could just be a family likeness.


Last night I had a good dig about the internet looking for more info, and luckily Italian wikipedia had more, though it is interesting to note that the Italian Wiki is as flawed as the English one.

Giovanni Dorà it claims was born in Borgo Val di Taro [Borgotaro] on the 29th of May 1905, and that he was a defender, however on a website on the history of Serie A where line-ups are given, he is only ever listed in the Inside-Left or Centre-Forward positions [even though by this time Italian Football was under the influence of the Danubian School, it was not so radically different that a number 10 was playing in defence].

So there we are, in 1925 the Arbroath papers said that John Dora had joined Ardenlea from Parkhouse Half-Holiday, while the Italian papers are carrying reports of Giovanni Dorà joining Parma from Borgotarese: it was not unknown for Scottish-Italians to split their time between the two countries back then, it is well documented that Peter Cabrelli split his time between Scottish & Italian football. Until I find something definitive it will have to remain in the possibly category.

UPDATE

I had a wider root about in the newspapers for more information, and found an obituary in the Press &  Journal of 8 February 1971. Although it doesn't really clear things up, it backs up his birthplace as being Arbroath, but it claims that he ended his football career with Parma, rather than the other way around, of course he could have had two different spells at Parma!

I have now had confirmation from the family that the date of birth on the Italian Wikipedia page is correct, however the place of birth was incorrect, he was indeed born in Arbroath.


John Paul Dora

b 29th May 1905, Arbroath, Forfarshire
d February 1971, Arbroath, Angus

Known Career – Parkhead Half-Holiday, Arbroath Ardenlea [1925/26-1928/29], Borgotarese [1925/26], Parma [1925/26], Arbroath [1929/30], Falkirk [1929/30]

Parma Debut – Sunday October 25th 1925 v Reggiana (H) Campionato Italiano, Lega Nord, Girone B
Positions - Inside-Left, Centre-Forward
Campionato Italiano Matches/Goals [12/-]

Arbroath Debut – Saturday August 10th 1929 v Clydebank (H) Scottish League Division 2
Positions – Centre-Forward
Scottish League Division 2 Matches/Goals [21/15]
Scored a Hat-Trick on his Debut.

Falkirk Debut – Saturday January 18th 1930 v Buckie Thistle (A) Scottish Cup 1st Rd
Falkirk League Debut – Saturday January 25th 1930 v Morton (A) Scottish League Division 1
Positions – Centre-Forward
Scottish League Division 1 Matches/Goals [1/1]
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [2/1]

NB - Thanks to Arbroath FC for putting this on their Facebook page, without which ...

Friday, 8 September 2017

Falkirk FC Graves - Patrick McKay

I cannot take credit for finding this grave other than coming across it when searching his name on the internet, in fact I do not believe I have ever been to Kilsyth Cemetery so someone else found it for me. However I do not believe the person who added it to 'find a grave' knew it was the grave of a former footballer.

Patrick McKay was a deadly Centre-Forward for Kilsyth Emmet, in time earning him a Scottish Junior cap v England in Birmingham, this was good enough to raise the interest of Celtic, and not long after his international appearance he was given an opportunity to play for the Bhoys in the Glasgow League. He scored both of the goals his debut, Celtic's 2-2 draw with Third Lanark at Cathkin Park. That brace probably earned him a contract, but earning a contract does not mean an automatic place in the first team.

So by October he was transferred to Bolton Wanderers, where it seems he rapidly dissapeared into the reserves: by the end of the 1898/99 season the Kirkintilloch Herald repord he had been re-instated as an amateur, and was playing again with the Emmet.

Over the next season and a bit I have found him playing with Clydebank, Falkirk and Aberdeen before finally signing full-time with Bo'ness.



Patrick McKay

b c1876 Kirkintilloch, Dunbartonshire
d 25th January 1916, Kilsyth, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday December 2nd 1899 v Clackmannan (H) Central Combination

Positions – Centre-Forward

Known Career, Kilsyth Emmet, Celtic, Bolton Wanderers, Clydebank, Falkirk, Aberdeen, Bo'ness

Falkirk Career

Scottish Cup Matches/Goals 1/-
Scottish Federation Matches/Goals 3/1
Falkirk District League Matches/Goals 2/2
Other Matches/Goals 4/-



Saturday, 2 September 2017

John MacIntosh

Falkirk player from way back then, seems to have been done a slight injustice by the Falkirk Herald, I have gone through the usual places, and it seems that the MacIntosh Family were only ever McIntosh in the Census. Anyway, John MacIntosh played for Falkirk for a remarkably long time, given the era. Which means either he was good enough a player to go to Glasgow/Edinburgh but remained because of his job in the real world, or that he was just good enough, but kept his head under the parapets.

I don't know, he seems to have done the usual thing, just at one club, he started as a sparkling Outside-Left, in the early 1880s, retiring as a classy Left-Half in the early 1890s. But due to his employment never having played the decades worth of matches we expect from modern professionals.


John MacIntosh

b 19th March 1865, Larbert, Stirlingshire
d 9th March 1925, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday September 27th 1884 v King's Park (A) Friendly
Competitive Debut – Saturday October 4th 1884 v Grasshoppers (A) Scottish Cup 2nd Rd

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

Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup RU 1886/87, Falkirk District Charity Cup W 1889/90

Scottish Cup Matches/Goals 7/4
Scottish Federation Matches/Goals 1/-
Stirlingshire Cup Matches/Goals 7/5
Falkirk District Charity Cup Matches/Goals 4/-
Other Matches/Goals 35/9

Known Career – Falkirk [1883/84-1892/93], Comely Park [1885/86]

Falkirk FC Club Treasurer 1890/91
Falkirk FC Committee Member 1892/93

Played for Falkirk District XI v Partick Thistle, Benefit Match at Tannery Pk, Falkirk, 22nd May 1886
Played for Falkirk Swifts v Carron Athletic, Friendly at Inns Pk, Carron, 8th June 1887

Brother of Gilbert MacIntosh [Falkirk FC 2nd XI]


Friday, 25 August 2017

Lost Football Grounds of Falkirk District - Inns Park

The home ground of Carron FC [1884-1888] was Inns Park, neither of which names have remained with us through history. To be fair Carron were never a great club, I'm not sure most people would class them as a Senior Club since they never played in the Scottish Cup. But they did play with the 'big boys' in the Stirlingshire Cup & Falkirk District Cup, so I would err in their favour.

Inns Park though, was not just the ground of Carron FC though, the inter-office matches of the Carron Works were also played there, and for a while these were very popular. Which leads to the possibility that Carron FC, if not a works team, was heavily linked with the Iron works. It was a major employer in the town and a disproportionately large number of players came through the ranks of Carron FC to the bigger clubs than other clubs of a similar size.

I am not 100% sure that the earliest recorded matches in Carron were played at this ground, but there are not many other places in Carron where a game of football could easily have been played, so it is probable. The only thing that caused the local press to mention Inns Park was when Brockville Park & Merchiston Park were occuped by the First Team and Reserve matches, Inns Park often hosted the 3rd XI fixture.


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Lost Football Grounds of Falkirk District - Muirhead Park

Grangemouth Football Club, never world-beaters, nonetheless had one of most centrally located and easily accessable grounds in all of Stirlingshire. Their home for most of their history was Caledonian Park, in the centre of town and most importantly only yards away from Grangemouth Train Station. But for a couple of years before this they had played at just the other side of the Grange Burn at Muirhead Park.

Grangemouth FC started in January 1886 as most clubs did, playing on the local public park, but the Portonians had ambition, and in order to compete, SFA rules stated that clubs had to have their own enclosed ground. So the committee started to look for a potential site of their own. Just in time for the start of the 1886/87 season the Club announced that it had secured the lease of a field from Peter Muirhead Esq. of Grangemouth for £15 per annum. This ground, which came to be known as Muirhead Park, has been erased from the face of Grangemouth, making it very hard to locate exactly. It seems to have been placed between the South Shore Road and Grangemouth's "New Dock": The Falkirk Herald [14th Aug 1886] stated that "their new field ... is situated at the back of Muirhead's Buildings". The big problem being that Muirhead's Buildings also no longer exist.

I had always suspected that Muirhead Park was under the BP for some reason, not quite, but I was in the right direction. First I had to find some clue about it's whereabouts, it came in a notice in the Herald earlier that year that the Surveyor General of the Post Office in Edinburgh was to include "the Hospital, Muirhead's Buildings, Grangemouth Saw Mill, and Grangemouth Iron Works" in the Grangemouth postal delivery. Since I have looked at the 1897 OS map of Grangemouth several times, I knew there was a huge foundry just to the east of the town, and checking it again I noticed it was situated in between a hospital and a saw mill, with the buildings on Zetland Street, presumably Muirhead's Buildings.


Grangemouth Foundry, Saw Mills and the previous site of Muirhead Park 1897

This leaves me with a final problem, from the only locator I have, the ground was 'at the back of Muirhead's Buildings" which to me looks like the Hospital and Foundry, so I can only suppose it really meant at the back of the foundry, just to the north of 'Saw Mills' on the map. But without some other clues I will be tantalisingly close whilst never completely sure of the exact location, and of whether it was aligned North-South or East-West [or even on a diagonal!].


Current site of the Foundry, Saw Mills and Muirhead Park from NLS Maps [click to explore]

The ground was 'christened' with a friendly visit from Camelon on the 4th of September, a 3-3 draw, and was celebrated by the Zetland Brass Band playing the players on to the pitch, the Falkirk Herald's only reference to the ground itself being that it was too narrow.

However the biggest game at Muirhead Park was undoubtedly when Grangemouth somehow contrived to get the full Rangers side down to the Port for a friendly in March 1887, and although only 300 hardy souls turned up, and Grangemouth were beaten, though at 4-1 not hammered it still stands as an impressive coup for the club.


However, only one match that could in anyway be considered official for the purpose of records took place on the ground, when East Stirlingshire defeated Grangemouth 5-2 in the First round of the Scottish Cup Matches on the 3rd September 1887, strangely all four of Grangemouth's Stirlingshire Cup matches at the time were drawn away, and the Falkirk District Charity Cup matches were always played at neutral venues.

In June of 1888 Grangemouth FC were informed that the ground was needed 'for storing purposes' in future, and that they would have to find a new park.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Falkirk Amateurs FC Graves : Peter Auchinachie



Falkirk Herald - Wednesday May 4th 1910

Another chap who was better known locally for his place in the upper echelons of civic society than for his youthful exploits on the football field, was Peter Auchinachie, for many a year Rector of Grangemouth High School and a Justice of the Peace to boot. Although born in Banff, Peter's family moved first to the Glen Village then to Falkirk when he was but a lad, and it was at Falkirk High School that his twin loves of education and football were kindled.

But in 1893 his services were to be temporarily lost to local clubs as he went up to Glasgow University to undertake his masters [I believe it was in economics but I am not sure]. At the same time he qualified 4th in his class at the CoS Training College [the institution that became Jordanhill College]. In a later commemoration of him it was stated that he played for the University's football club during his time but I have found no evidence of this from the time.

The first time I have found him relating to football is from Falkirk Amateur's first ever match a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Camelon's 2nd XI right at the tail-end of the 1896/97 season. And although I have never found anything to tie down the formation of Falkirk Ams it is not too far to surmise that most, if not all, of the players in that match were among the founders of the club.

Although he was a stalwart of Falkirk Amateurs for it's first two full seasons, his appointment as Assistant Headmaster of Grangemouth High effectively ended his playing days. During this time he managed to play the one match for Falkirk FC [he played in the last Central Combination match of the 1897/98 season as Thomas Turnbull had made it clear that he was leaving for East Stirlingshire as soon as possible], yet his association with the town's professional club was not over, as Peter served on the committee between 1901 and 1904, as well as temporarily holding the post of treasurer in 1903 when Harry McNaught emigrated to the USA.

After this point though the only references to him are to do with his educational career, Falkirk FC in 1905 became a PLC, and there was no need for a committee, and certainly not a committee made up of gentlemanly amateurs with a love of the game, and his attentention seem to have shifted toward the Grangemouth Burns Club.


The Scotsman - Saturday January 16th 1937



Peter's Grave in Grandsable Cemetery

Peter Auchinachie

b 16th April, 1874, Banff, Banffshire
d 15th January 1937, Grangemouth, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday April 3 1897 Falkirk Amateurs v Camelon 2nd XI (A) Friendly
Competitive Debut - Sat September 11 1897 Falkirk Amateurs v East Stirlingshire (A) Scottish Qualifying Cup 1st Rd

Positions – Right-Back, Right-Half

Known Career – Falkirk High School, Whitefield Swifts, Dalbeattie Star, Glasgow University, Falkirk Amateurs [1896/97-1898/99], Falkirk [1897/98]

Known Career

Glasgow University

Unknown

Falkirk Amateurs

Scottish Qualifying Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]
Falkirk & District League Matches/Goals [5/-]
Stirlingshire Cup Matches/Goals [2/-]
Stirlingshire Consolation Cup Matches/Goals [4/-]
Falkirk Hospitals Shield Matches/Goals [2/-]
Other Matches/Goals [9/-]

Nota Bene - Falkirk Amateurs suffered from a lack of indepth reporting in its very early years so this only represents matches with team line-ups, he probably played in a good number more.

Falkirk

Central Combination Matches/Goals [1/-]

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Falkirk FC Graves - Archie Jack

Signed from prominent Grangemouth junior club Forth Rangers, Archibald Jack was a promising Outside-Left who Falkirk signed at the beginning of the 1913/14 season, but who seemed to have made a good enough impression in his first two reserve matches to be given a shot in a relatively minor match for the first team.

Kilsyth Chronicle - 29th Aug 1913

Jack made his full Falkirk debut against Hearts in the Semi-Final [2nd Rd] of the Dunedin Cup [the Dunedin Cup if you didn't know was a Cup for Edinburgh clubs, plus for some reason never explained Falkirk & Raith Rovers], and Falkirk got a pasting, but luckily for the club with nine minutes to play, the referee stopped the game because of bad light [Falkirk won the 'replay'].

The Scotsman [London Hearts]

Apart from a couple of appearances in early season benefit matches Archie remained solidly in the 'A' side for the next couple of weeks, making his League debut at Pittodrie in a scoreless draw, Archie apparently missing an open goal.....

But, this was not the reason he made so few appearances for the club, it was mainly because Falkirk stuck with Robert Terris at Outside-Left [a move vindicated by the fact that Liverpool signed Terris in February] and already had a replacement for Terris in William Lennie of Aberdeen.

So Archie played out the season in the reserves, winning the Stirlingshire Consolation Cup [Final held over from 1912/13], and being a Runner-Up in the Stirlingshire Cup, making only occasional first team appearances when Terris or Lennie were indisposed, before moving on to Armadale at the end of the season.

After a season and a bit with Armadale he moved on to Leith Athletic until he was called up for the war effort.

It was while he was at Aldershot that he seems to have played occasionally with Tottenham [and indeed it seems preferred playing football to messing about with that army business.

Pall Mall Gazette - April 2nd 1918

I cannot find much information about his time at Spurs [English Football Historians do not seem to pay much heed to their wartime football for some reason], nor have I found any documentation from his time in the army: after Spurs he moved on to South Shields for a time before seemingly drifting off the footballing map.

It was only because I recognised his name whilst checking through Grandsable Cemetery that I was able to confirm that it was him from the papers.


Falkirk Herald - Saturday 3rd December 1938

ARCHIBALD JACK

b 15th August 1889, Grangemouth, Stirlingshire
d 26th November 1938, Grangemouth, Stirlingshire

Debut – Monday August 25th 1913 Falkirk v Heart of Midlothian (A) Dunedin Cup 1st Rd [Abandoned]
League Debut – Saturday September 13th 1913 Falkirk v Aberdeen (H) Scottish League Division 1

Known Career – Forth Rangers, Falkirk [1913/14], Armadale [1914/15-1915/16], Leith Athletic [1915/16-1917/18], Tottenham Hotspur [1917/18-1918/19], South Shields [1919/20].

Falkirk

Scottish League Division 1 Matches/Goals [8/1]
North-Eastern Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]
Stirlingshire Cup Matches/Goals [3/-]
Stirlingshire Consolation Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]
Other Matches/Goals [4/-]

Armadale

Unknown

Leith Athletic

Unknown

Tottenham Hotspur

London Combination Matches/Goals [19/7]

South Shields

English League Division 2 Matches/Goals [7/1]