Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Falkirk FC 100 Club - Alex Stark

One of the things I want to do here, besides pointing out little odds & ends about the history of Falkirk FC, is to give a gentle nudge to Falkirk fans that Falkirk have been about for a long time and that just because nobody alive now remembers players from 100+ years ago doesn't mean they should not be considered Falkirk greats.

To this end I give you Alexander 'Buttons' Stark.

Alex Stark was at one point a Falkirk legend, born in Falkirk [probably at the family home on Kerse Lane] on the 11th of April 1869, he spent nine years on the Falkirk FC right wing [though in emergencies he played in all four other forward positions occasionally]. It would be virtually impossible to give his entire career, there was simply not the mass coverage which exists nowadays, so I can only what I have discovered.

Alex had previously played for no other Junior or Minor club as far as I can find [it must be said that since the Falkirk FC coverage is patchy at this time so Junior football is worse], but this is hardly surprising as he first pops up in a Falkirk shirt on the 3rd of January 1885 scoring for the 2nd XI v Tayavalla 2nd XI [a Tamfourhill team], this before his 16th Birthday so he didn't seem to have any chance to play anything other than school football.

He first appears in a published Falkirk FC first team line-up against Rangers Swifts in an end of season match on the 3rd of June 1886, 52 days after his 17th Birthday and simply never looked back. The following table is as much as I have been able to glean from his career [but remember this probably misses lots of matches where there is so little info that no one will probably ever know what happened]

I have written more about Alex Stark better.


SCu = Scottish Cup [includes Preliminary Rounds]
Min = Minor Leagues [Scottish Federation, Midland League]
Sti = Stirlingshire Cup
Loc = Local Competitions [Falkirk & District Charity Cup, Falkirk Cottage Hospitals Shield]
Fri = Friendlies [includes all matches for Falkirk FC not for a competition, proper]

I will probably never know why he was christened 'buttons' by the Bairns [when I say Bairns I mean those who follow the team sometimes known as the Bairns in the media, whom I call Falkirk FC], but I shall never stop looking [I do know that then secretary Robert Bishop often complained to the Falkirk Herald about it].

His last match for Falkirk was on June 20th 1895 against Camelon in the Final of the Falkirk Cottage Hospitals Shield, Falkirk won 1-0, with Alex on the Right Wing as ever. In his time in the navy blue he scored [that I have found] six hat-tricks: 1 in the Scottish Cup, 1 in the Scottish Federation, 1 in the Stirlingshire Cup and 3 in Friendlies.

Falkirk FC Honours – Midland League W 1894/95, Stirlingshire Cup W 1889/90, 1894/95, RU 1886/87, 1887/88, 1891/92, Falkirk District Charity Cup W 1889/90, 1891/92, 1893/94, RU 1890/91, 1894/95, Falkirk Cottage Hospials Shield W 1891/92, 1892/93, 1893/94, 1894/95, RU 1889/90, 1890/91

During his time at Falkirk he also played some [unknown] matches for Queen's Park during 1894, two matches for Falkirk Swifts [a team for promising local youths], three matches for a Falkirk District XI, Four Matches for King's Park, 1 match for Laurieston, 1 match for a Stirlingshire XI, and 13 matches for Stirlingshire in county matches [county football meant something back then], he also played in an official Scottish FA Trial Match.

In the summer of 1895 Alex left Scotland to go and work in New Zealand with his uncle in the the sheep farming/meat packing industry, but I know that this didn't kill his love for football: long winded e-mails with football historians in NZ have uncovered the fact that he was the President of the Canterbury FA and the Vice President of the New Zealand FA in 1905, leading to his inclusion in NZ's first representative match against a touring New South Wales side in 1904 [no longer counted as official], so he probably had a club [and provincial] career over there too - I'd love details [hint, hint] from anybody who could supply them.

Alex died sometime in 1935 in NZ [sadly the details are unclear to me]

Until then, I say 'Buttons' ought be included in every Falkirk FC greatest ever XI, after all it was not his doing that the majority of the matches he played in were friendlies, as there was nothing else to play in, and he did it all for the love.


  1. This is the best blog about Falkirk FC that I have ever read.

  2. The question is how many have you read?