Thursday, 12 July 2012

Falkirk FC 1877/78 - The First Season ?

Falkirk FC 1877/78

Most people just accept 1876 as the founding date of Falkirk FC [after all it says it on the badge], however, I have looked through the old papers and there is nothing listed about Falkirk FC before December 1877 so ..... These are all the matches I have found played by the club in this season, but football was still in its infancy so it is very possible more games were played but not reported. Here are the details that I know.

Falkirk FC Matches

Date Unknown
Grasshoppers ? Falkirk FC ? at ????
Falkirk FC: Team Unknown

-This match was referred to in the report of the following game so did take place.
-Probably played on the land upon which Bonnybridge Library now stands.
-Traditionally the score was 7-0 to Grasshoppers, however I have also come across reports of 8-0 and 8-1, all we know is Falkirk FC got thrashed.
-I have found two differing line-ups for this match, both as viable as the other. The first from the memoirs of Robert Bishop [Falkirk FC Secretary 1883-1896] the second from the memoirs of George Richardson [Falkirk FC Secretary 1878-1883] via Thomas Mackie [Falkirk FC Committee 1890s and Editor of the Falkirk Mail].
-Bishop – A.McEwan; J.Richardson & R.Walker; G.Richardson & R.Service; Cowan & Fleming, Thomson & Walker, Malcolm & Leishman.
-Richardson – A.McEwan; J.Walker & G.Richardson; W.Carmichael & W.Gentleman; J.Leishman & R.Service, J.Fleming & M.Cowan, T.Taylor & W.Johnston.

23rd Mar 1878
Falkirk FC 2 Grasshoppers 2 at Campfield, Falkirk.
Falkirk FC: Angus McEwan; J? Taylor & Robert Service; John Taylor & George Richardson; James Leishman & Richard Peddie, William Gentleman & ? Bennet, William Peddie & James Neil.
Scorers - Unknown.

-Reported as 'Falkirk v Bonnybridge'
-'Campfield' is noted in Geoff Bailey's history of the Second Battle of Falkirk : "Falkirk or Paradise" as the land to the West of Hope Street, so this is probably the same piece of ground as Brockville Park [though there was also a Campfield near where the Central Retail Park now stands].
-Angus McEwan was listed as 'McQueen'.
-Richard & William Peddie were brothers, from Sunderland they were most likely Falkirk's first non-Scots [though if Robert Bishop's line-up for the previous match was correct, James Richardson was born in Peru].

6th Apr 1878
Falkirk FC 0 Govanhill 1 at the Randyford Ground, Falkirk
Falkirk FC: Angus McEwan; F? Buchanan & Robert Service; William Johnston & George Richardson; James Leishman & Richard Peddie, William Gentleman & John Taylor, William Peddie & James Neil.

-The exact location of the Randyford Ground is now lost to history, however in the 1880s/1890s there was a ground used by local junior sides which ran parallel with the Woodburn in the modern day Boag [Woodburn Street now covers the burn] which would have crossed the modern Randyford Street.
-Some Glasgow papers list Govanhill 2nd XI v Falkirk played in Glasgow, but that was probably the reserves playing on the same day.

13th Apr 1878
King's Park 0 Falkirk FC 0 at King's Park, Stirling
Falkirk FC: Lewis Watson; Robert Service & Angus McEwan; ? Bennet & George Richardson; James Leishman & Richard Peddie, William Gentleman & John Taylor, William Peddie & James Neil.

Other Match

8th Dec 1877
Falkirk XI 0 Kelvinbank 5 at Mayfield, Falkirk
Falkirk XI: P.C.Masterton; J.Richardson & J.McNee; J.Thomson & J.Finlayson; J.Dunn & D.R.Watson, J.Taylor & R.McNee, J.Pringle & W.Parkinson.

-The first recorded game of Association Football in Falkirk.
-This was not a Falkirk FC match, but an exhibition match, the Falkirk side was made up of Falkirk Bairns resident in Glasgow, and playing with Glasgow clubs.
-Mayfield was in the vicinity of the current Bantaskine housing estate, and was possibly the same as Falkirk FC's later Blinkbonny Ground.
-James Richardson & John Taylor both went on to play for Falkirk FC.
-This must have been the match referred to at the club's Semi-Jubilee [held in 1902....] that inspired the founding of Falkirk FC.