Thursday, 29 August 2013

Jock Anderson - Captain

Whilst Falkirk were languishing in the lower leagues, then in the Second Division Captains seemed to be pretty arbitrary, Club Captains were sometimes recorded, but not always. Then in 1905 two important things  happened to the club, we signed Jock Simpson as a terrific new Outside-Right, and we signed John Anderson at Centre-Half [our new Captain]

Every Falkirk fan should fall to his knees upon reading this, Jock Anderson was the guiding light on the field. Signed from Heart of Midlothian [I won't hold that against him] but originally from Perth, Jock fitted the bill for the spot as Captain.

Fans of other clubs will dismiss this as nonsense, but Anderson took us from 2nd Division Team to Cup Winners. A nasty knee injury forced him to retire just before the Cup Final, but by then he had already done his job.

John Anderson

b c1882, Wester Fowlis, Perthshire
d 11th May 1942, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Wednesday August 16th 1905 v Cowdenbeath (A) Friendly
League Debut – Saturday August 19th 1905 v Port Glasgow Athletic (A) Scottish League Division 1

Positions – Centre-Half

Representative Honours – Scottish League v Irish League 1911/12

Club Honours – Scottish League Division 1 RU 1907/08, 1909/10, North-Eastern Cup W 1911/12, RU 1910/11, Dunedin Cup RU 1910/11, Dewar Shield W 1905/06, Stirlingshire Cup W 1905/06, Stirlingshire Consolation Cup W 1906/07, Falkirk Infirmary Shield W 1905/06, 1906/07, 1907/08, 1908/09

Scottish League Division 1 Matches/Goals [211/6]
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [12/1]
Minor League Matches/Goals [6/-]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [43/2]
Other Matches/Goals [26/1]
Total Matches/Goals [298/10]

Known Career – Dunfermline Athletic Juniors, Dunfermline Athletic [1900/01], Heart of Midlothian [1901/02-1904/05], Falkirk [1905/06-1912/13]

Played for Team 'B' v Team 'A', League International Trial at Glasgow, 16th February 1910
Played for White v Blue, Stirlingshire FA Benefit Match at Brockville Pk, Falkirk, 27th April 1910

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Some Stuff from WWII

Some historians [not all I know] tend to think that football just stopped upon Germany invading Poland, now that is just a silly notion, but it is one that seems to have permeated into large sections of the population.

You now get [allegedly] serious historical books which give players' matches played with the except Wartime Football tag. Now what is that about? Yes football was reorganised, yes some cubs decided not to operate during the War, but football continued.

For the majority of WWII in Scotland the Scottish Southern League was in existence [southern because there were travel restrictions in place] and it was largely the same as the old First Division, a bit smaller [no Aberdeen or Dundee] and the Scottish Cup was replaced by the Southern League Cup [with group stages as it was limited to the sixteen Southern League Clubs].

The major change was in personnel, many players signed up and were sent to their regimental bases for training, this meant that they were no longer available for their clubs. But the converse was that many other players moved to other areas and were available [occasionally] for their new local clubs.

All in all, football in Scotland got very makeshift, but football continued no matter what. To prove something of the continuity here are some stats from Falkirk FC during WWI, most matches played and most goals scored.

Leading Competitive Scorers [Excl Falkirk 'A' matches]
Player                Lea    Cup    Oth    Tot
Kenneth Dawson        76     7      11     94
John Fitzsimmons      66     6      11     83
James Inglis          39     12     10     61
Charles Napier        38     3      2      43
Robert Keyes          30     4      7      41
Alex Carruthers       16     4      7      37
Thomas Brady          20     5      8      33
Robert Campbell       30     1      1      32
George Brookes        27     1      3      31
Alex Stewart          9      5      15     29

Most Competitive Appearances [Excl Falkirk 'A' matches]
Player                Lea    Cup    Oth    Tot
Robert Shankly        114    31     25     170
Hugh Murray           121    22     19     162
John Fitzsimmons      105    29     19     153
Kenneth Dawson        106    23     18     147
Duncan Ogilvie        94     27     21     142
Gilbert McKie         88     16     21     125
Charles Napier        87     10     10     107
James Stewart         81     15     8      104
James McPhie          58     13     24     95
Alex Peat             62     11     19     92

Scottish Cup Final 1913

I rarely publish much about the great moments in the history of Falkirk FC, if you really want you can generally find it somewhere else, I like the slightly out of the ordinary to the outright obscure. But I was asked today which coloured shirts Falkirk & Raith Rovers wore in the 1913 Cup Final, and I simply did not know: so I found out.

Falkirk's attempt at this silly trophy [well admit it, it is hardly the Stirlingshire or the Falkirk Charity Cup] in 1913, it could be said, went very well smiting all and sundry along the way. The reason I am posting this is because I found this lovely picture of Jimmy Robertson in the act of scoring Falkirk's first goal in the final.

I love this, bit weird Falkirk FC wearing all white, but hey. James Robertson was one of our best Centre-Forwards ever, but now, more than a hundred years ago, is remembered by few.

Here is to Jimmy Robertson.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Falkirk FC 1906/07

Another old picture of Falkirk FC, this time from 1906/07 I believe [if not then from 1905/06]. This is a strange one as the team are not in proper formation, and there is no John Simpson. I will take time out tomorrow and go through the matches one by one to see which match this is [usual method excluding matches where the players I know were not playing, and excluding the matches where the players I know [but not here] were playing].

I will get it down to a reasonable number then see from then.

They are not in the right formation because it should be five in front and six at back, with the Captain [John Anderson] front and centre.

William Raisbeck, ????, William Allan, ????[not stripped], ????, Dan Gordon, Harry Collins [not stripped]

John McTavish, John Anderson, Alex Logan, ????, William Davidson, ????

Falkirk v Sunderland AFC 1896

I don't know why, but it took Falkirk FC a long time to host an English Club side at Brockville, I mean, East Stirlingshire had played several [including the World famous Corinthians] at Merchiston Park; East Stirlingshire had gone on tours down South while we contented ourselves with tours to the Highlands. I just have no answers.

The first club proper English Club side to play at Brockville Pk was Sunderland AFC, on Thursday 23rd April 1896. Of course part of Sunderland's tour of Scotland, but hey. Falkirk got rightly thumped, the final score being 5-3 to the Black Cats. Of Falkirk's three goals Andrew Hamilton scored two of them, strangely Sunderland signed him at the end of the season [wonder how...]

Anyway three days later Falkirk played Bury [with John Pray] and we resolved our demons by beating them 6-2 [of course in a return match they beat us 9-0 the next season]

Falkirk 3 Sunderland 5

Falkirk - Parlane; Turnbull & McFarlane; McLaughlan, Rae & Fearns; Glegg & Tennant, McDonald, Burt & Hamilton.

Sunderland - Doig; McNeil & Gow; Wilson, Gibson & Johnston; Gillespie & Harvey, Miller, McKenzie & Scott.

H-T 1-0

Scorers - Tennant, Hamilton [2] : Miller [2], Scott, OG [McFarlane], Gillespie.

Attendance - c1800

Match report

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Falkirk's Other Club

A long, long time ago Falkirk had another, proper, second club. I don't mean East Stirlingshire who were from Bainsford. I am talking about Falkirk Amateurs Athletic Club.

Unlike other clubs with Athletic in their name Falkirk Amateurs were a true Athletic Club, they had no off-season, they played football through the winter and cricket through the summer, as well as anything else they wanted to put their hands to throughout the year [track & field, bowling, curling, quoits].

Being amateurs they had a somewhat nomadic existence, I know they played on Bell's Meadow, Tannery Park [the car park on Kemper Avenue], Castings Cricket Club, Sunnyside and when it was free Brockville Park.

The original Falkirk Amateurs were, of course, mainly manned by the well to do, the educated, professional classes, but they wanted to play for the love of the game.

Falkirk FC used them as a kind of feeder, not like the reserves, but a team to pick up unregistered players when a half-decent player was needed for the club.

I recently came across their first ever football match, I still have not pinned town a date of formation.

In this first XI they ever put on the sporting field of play, fully eight played for Falkirk FC at a later date -

Camelon FC 2nd XI 2 Falkirk Amateurs 4
Played at Victoria Pk, Camelon, Saturday 3rd April 1897

Falkirk Amateurs - Elliot; Auchinachie & Livingstone Rae; G.Gillespie, Adam & Barr; Higgins & Henderson, R.Gillespie, James Callander & Comrie

Scorers - Unknown

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Falkirk FC & Northern Ireland

Falkirk & Northern Ireland have had a long & interesting history.

From one of the earliest players Tom Bellingham, to those capped in the later years, we like many clubs have relied on NI for players.

& I won't get into the politics of it [because I don't care enough] but our history goes before partition.

The first Irish [note the adjective] who played for Falkirk was Thomas Bellingham [click the link to read about him], but he was really from Falkirk having moved here by the time he was four.

The first 'Irish player' I have ever found was John Meaney [he scored 5 goals in his second match] ex of Hibernian, I know little of him.

The first proper 'professional' player we signed from NI was Joe Gowdy, I am not sure about Joe, he was either a HB or a CF, but within weeks he left Scotland to go play for Queen's Island in NI, negotiations went on & finally Falkirk relented & QI loaned Gowdy from Falkirk. during this time he played for Ireland twice, but since I claim schmeichel's U-2 matches when he was with FFC I must give them to QI.

Joe, eventually came back, and was a superb CH in his second Spell.

Third comes William Moore, about a month after Joe Gowdy, this was different, 'Pal' Moore slotted straight into the OL position, kids these days don't remember but 'Pal' Moore was a hero into the 50s.

Next came Alex 'Hugh' Patton, we signed him from Forfar, he had potential [he showed it in the Stirlingshire Cup Matches etc] but he failed in the League.

Patsy Gallacher

There is little I can write about this player that has not been written before, the scorer of the best goal EVER, Celtic thought he was past it, we got anotherfive seasons out of him.

Last but not least, Ned Weir.

Ned was born over there, but brought up in Bonnybridge, he never spent much time at the club, moving quickly to St Bernards, he played into the 1950s.

We also had players from Dublin, when Ireland was all UK but I don't want the opprobrium.

This could not be done without the help of I thank you

Friday, 16 August 2013

To Falkirk FC's Eternal Shame

On the 9th of March 1935 Falkirk played a League Match against Ayr United. You will not find this match in the records.

The simple fact is that the Falkirk Manager, William Orr, gave money to one of his underlings [he worked at Alexander's Bus factory in Camelon] to play below par. The player just happened to play for Ayr United at weekends.

*Hangs head in Shame*

This is the reason I always have "other matches" in my lists of matches players played and not 'friendlies', this match cannot count in the League record, but was clearly not a friendly. But I am sure the players tried their best [hoping they did not know what Mr Orr was up to].

The Falkirk Team on the day was

James Milton
Robert Nisbet
Hugh Hamill
Thomas Batchelor
Alex Lowe
Robert Shankly
Frank Wilson
John Ballantyne
Robert Keyes
David Cowan
William Walker

Subsequently William Orr was suspended 'sine die' from all involvement with football [rescinded in 1937]

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Falkirk Juniors v Stirling Juniors 1896

From the Falkirk Herald - Saturday March the 21st 1896

Just admit it Stirling, you are rubbish at football at every level.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

I have recently decided to give Andrew Hulett all my pre-WWII spreadsheets so hopefully soon there will be as complete a record of Falkirk FC matches/players on, as is possible.

I will keep blogging about the obscurantia of Falkirk FC anyway, but check out the Andrew's site.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Falkirk Excelsior & the Falkirk Junior Cup 1889

In 1889 a junior football club appeared in Falkirk and were instantly quite successful at the their level, then suddenly dissappeared. The club was called Falkirk Excelsior and there is very little solid information about them to go on, however I have a theory. But first I need to ramble on with a little bit of background info.

The junior Football scene in the district was up until 1889 thriving, but unorganised. There were plenty of clubs with their usual plethora of obscure names [why was there a Barracks Rovers from Camelon?, why Rising Star from Skinflats?, why Bullet Rangers of Grahamston? why Heather Bell of Bainsford? why Royal Oak of Grangemouth?] they played regularly between one another, and against the 2nd XIs of the senior clubs, but the limited coverage they recieved in the papers was usually just a score.

It was out of this that a letter was published in the Falkirk Herald of 16th February 1889, adressed to 'Scrutator' the sports columnist of the paper back then.

"Dear Sir, - I take the liberty of writing to you to see if you could assist in getting a Junior Cup for Falkirk and District, as I am sure it would greatly encourage junior football in this district. I don't see how Falkirk should be behind other towns as it is at present. For instance, in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and also in Paisley, Greenock and Dumbarton, they have more cups than they know what to do with; and, in fact, all the large towns in Scotland have a Junior Cup, with the exception of Falkirk. I am sure there is some gentlemen in the district would present a cup for competition if the matter brought to their notice - the cup to be named after the gentleman presenting it. I am sure it is time something was done, as who is to fill the places of the senior teams? Is it not the present juniors?

James Graham, 11 Graham's Road"

I am not sure whether Mr Graham was involved with a junior club, or just an interested spectator, but he seems to have started something. A couple of weeks later a meeting was announced to be held in Ross's Restaurant, Newmarket Street, Falkirk on Wednesday 6th March between 'represtentatives' from the various villages of the district, however nothing was reported in the following Saturday's paper. It seemed almost as if the whole thing had been forgotten until the end of the month when fixtures were announced for a new Falkirk District Junior Cup with fourteen teams entering. The draw for the first round was - Larbert v Carron Rangers, Our Boys v Falkirk Excelsior, Royal Albert v Carronshore Pates, Slamannan Rovers v Burnhouse, Falkirk Central v Zetland Star, Royal Oak v Falkirk Athletic, Vale of Grange & Falkirk Emmet - byes.

I have already published the details of the competition on the Scottish Football Historical Archive Website so I won't repeat it here, but will say that it was a slightly messy affair, the clubs being new to competition seemed to protest the most trivial of matters, but, in the end the Cup was completed [for its one and only season] with Falkirk Excelsior coming out the eventual victors.

This brings me back to my original point - Excelsior. There was no mention of Falkirk Excelsior until that Falkirk and District Junior Cup draw, and nothing much written after the final. I never noticed this when first reading the reports but later on it started to dawn on me that something was not quite right.

It seems to me quite likely that Excelsior were Falkirk Reserves in disguise, all the players mentioned in the few reports went on to play for Falkirk: James Callander, Daniel Daye, John Devlin, Thomas McFarlane, John Pray, David Ross.

Falkirk Excelsior Matches

30th Mar 1889 v Bainsford Our Boys (H) 7-2 Falkirk District Junior Cup 1st Rd [Protested]
 6th Apr 1889 v Bainsford Our Boys (H) 7-0 Falkirk District Junior Cup 1st Rd
13th Apr 1889 v Falkirk Emmett (H) 5-5 Falkirk District Junior Cup 2nd Rd
20th Apr 1889 v Falkirk Emmet (A) 2-1 Falkirk District Junior Cup 2nd Rd Replay
11th May 1889 v Slamannan Rovers (N) 9-2 Falkirk District Junior Cup Semi-Final [protested] played at Brockville Pk, Falkirk.
25th May 1889 v Slamannan Rovers (N) 7-2 Falkirk District Junior Cup Semi-Final played at Crichton Pk, Falkirk.
 7th Jun 1889 v Falkirk Athletic (N) 7-3 Falkirk District Junior Cup Final played at Brockville Pk, Falkirk

Note - Another Falkirk Excelsior who played in the mid-1890s were a completely different club.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Falkirk FC Players - Alex Ferguson

Way back in the dim and distant past Falkirk FC had a centre-forward by the name of Alex Ferguson, as centre-forward his job was to put the ball in the goal.

Those of you who have read this blog before will know that I could never write about the anybody from so modern an era as the 1970 - no, this is about the original Alex 'Sandy' Ferguson of the 1870s-1880s.

Like nearly everyone in the very early teams, Sandy was a Bairn and lived in Meeks Road, which must have been handy on a match day at Brockville. He was among the first scorers for the club I have ever found, scoring v Bathgate (A) on the 14th of June 1879 [along with Thomas Hamilton & Thomas Taylor] in a 3-1 victory.

His career is blighted by the same problem as everyone who played in this era, newspaper coverage was just so poor in comparison with today. But he scored more than any other in his period at Falkirk [then again he was CF]

After he retired he became the groundsman at Brockville Pk [again Meeks Rd would have helped], but then it gets a bit murky. The Falkirk Herald reported that he had moved to Colorado to live with his sister due to an 'ailment' then about a year later it reported he had died, in Falkirk. I don't know maybe both are true, maybe he went then came back. I just don't know.

Sandy Ferguson 1880

Alexander Ferguson

b 8th May 1859, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
d 1st December 1892, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday June 14th 1879 v Bathgate (A) Friendly

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

Representative Honours – Stirlingshire v Lanarkshire 1883/84
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1883/84, Falkirk District Charity Cup RU 1885/86

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [11/2]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [11/7]
Other Matches/Goals [62/19]
Total Matches/Goals [84/28]

Hat-Tricks – 1 [Falkirk District Charity Cup [1]]

Known Career – Falkirk [1878/79-1885/86]

Played for Falkirk District XI v Rangers, Benefit Match at Brockville Pk, Falkirk, 30th May 1885
Brother of William Ferguson [Falkirk 1879/80-1882/83, 1885/86]

Oh, and there was another Alex Ferguson who played in 1938/39. 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Obscure Falkirk Matches - FFC Veterans v ESFC Veterans

Falkirk Veterans 2 East Stirlingshire Veterans 2

Played at Brockville Park, Falkirk on 17th March 1894

This match was played to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first Stirlingshire Cup Final between these two teams. It was endeavoured to regather the actual players who played in that match, but inevitably several players were unavailable so substitutes of the time filled their places.

Falkirk Veterans

Alex Turnbull - Goalkeeper
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1883/84

James Liddell - Right-Back
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1889/90, RU 1887/88, Falkirk District Charity Cup W 1889/90, RU 1890/91, Falkirk Infirmary Shield RU 1889/90, 1890/91

James Murphy - Left-Back
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1883/84, Falkirk District Charity Cup RU 1885/86

James Balloch - Right-Half
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1883/84, RU 1886/87, Falkirk District Charity Cup RU 1885/86

Robert Bishop - Centre-Half
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1883/84, RU 1886/87, Falkirk District Charity Cup RU 1885/86

Henry Hendry - Left-Half
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1883/84

William Ferguson - Outside-Right
Club Honours - None

Thomas Bellingham - Inside-Right
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup RU 1887/88

David Fleming - Centre-Forward
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup RU 1886/87, Falkirk District Charity Cup RU 1885/56

John McIntosh - Inside-Left
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup RU 1886/87, Falkirk District Charity Cup W 1889/90

William Hamilton.
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1883/84, RU 1886/87, 1887/88, Falkirk District Charity Cup RU 1885/86

East Stirlingshire Veterans

J??? Shirra - Goalkeeper
Club Honours - None

Peter Mitchell - Right-Back
Club Honours - Stirlingshire Cup W 1885/86, 1886/87, RU 1883/84, Falkirk Charity CupW 1884/85, 1885/86, 1886/87

Thomas Williamson - Left-Back
Club Honours - Stirlingshire Cup - RU 1883/84

Andrew Inches - Right-Half
Club Honours - Stirlingshire Cup W 1885/86, 1886/87, 1887/88, 1888/89, RU 1883/84, Falkirk Charity Cup W 1884/85, 1885/86, 1886/87, RU 1888/89, 1889/90.

Robert Johnston - Centre-Half
Club Honours - Stirlingshire Cup W 1885/86, 1886/87, 1887/88, Falkirk Charity Cup W 1884/85, 18885/86, 1886/87, 1887/88

???? Law - Left-Half
Club Honours - None

Peter McGregor - Outside-Right
Club Honours - Stirlingshire Cup RU 1883/84

Harry Simpson - Inside-Right
Club Honours - Stirlingshire Cup W 1887/88, 1888/89, Falkirk Charity Cup W 1887/88

Lawrence McLachlan - Centre-Forward
Club Honours - Stirlingshire Cup W 1885/86, 1886/87, 1887/88, 1888/89, RU 1883/84 Falkirk Charity Cup - 1884/85, 1886/87, 1887/88, RU 1888/89, 1889/90

J??? Taylor - Inside-Left
Club Honours - None

Alex Cockburn - Outside-Left
Club Honours - Stirlingshire Cup RU 1883/84

Referee - J.Burns [Camelon FC]

Scorers - Falkirk Veterans [W.Hamilton [20], J.McIntosh [67]] - East Stirlingshire Veterans [L.McLachlan [65], ?.Law [8?]]

Notes -
Attendance - 250+ [£6+ was taken at the gate [3d entry]]