Friday, 8 November 2013

Falkirk FC's First Captain

In the first two seasons of the existence of Falkirk, match reports said remarkably little, often giving more space to the conditions under which the match was played rather than giving the details of the game itself [for example it is not until the final match of the 1878/79 Season that any scorers are recorded]. Often full teams are not given, only the players who were deemed to play well are named.

However in those reports with full teams and where there is a captain indicated on every occasion in those first two seasons the Falkirk captain is given as R.Peddie. He was not club captain as this was not yet an official position in the club, and there was no named Club Captain appointed at an AGM until Walter Gibson in 1882, but here was clearly the player who lead the team on the field of play.

R.Peddie was Richard Peddie, and in every match that R.Peddie there was also a W.Peddie [William Peddie] alongside him, yes here in the very first season was Falkirk FC's first set of brothers playing in the same side. The Falkirk club in 1878 was almost completely a team full of 'Bairns' which is why these two should be seen as interesting, for not only did they live in Grangemouth, they were both actually born in Sunderland. [Falkirk FC's first 'foreigners']. Of course it was not strange to have people born all over the place living in a major port, and the fact that Peddie is a very common name in Grangemouth suggests that they were born in Sunderland while the family was living there pro tempore, so we can't hold that against them.

Before turning up in the Falkirk ranks both brothers were noted in the Grangemouth annual Sports Day [though curiously in the rowing events], and in the Rifle Volunteers events, but neither of these seem particularly prescient for future football players. This came when both players started appearing in the reports of Grangemouth [rugby] football matches. Interestingly in a match between the Captain's Side and the Vice-Captain's Side of Grangemouth Football Club William Peddie is noted as Captain [with Richard playing on the other side], so why Richard was chosen as Falkirk's first captain is mysterious.

According to the rugby reports both players had an impressive turn of pace, and this was before the gap between the two codes of football had widened to the seemingly unbridgeable gap of today, so the skill of a winger in rugby would be just as useful in football [apart from the obvious difference] so why not?

The known Falkirk careers of the two players are incredibly similar, the only difference being William appearing in a friendly against Lenzie when Richard was absent [no captain being named], both brothers played in the club's first match [and victory] in the Scottish Cup v Campsie Glen on Saturday the 28th of September 1878, but both came before any goals were recorded, so although forwards no goals are attributed to them.

After the 1878/79 season both brothers disappear from Falkirk FC & football without a mention, and usually players like this just completely leave my radar, except that I stumbled across the gravestone of Richard in Camelon Cemetery.

I did not expect to find this here [Grandsable if anywhere..], and it took me a bit digging to assert that it was the same person. After football William continued with his Rifle Volunteers [representing Stirlingshire in the National Games in the 1890s] while Richard almost completely disappeared except for one little instance. In June 1882 he was named as one of the founders of Zetland Football Club, the first Association club from Grangemouth. There was extremely little published at the time about the exploits of Zetland FC and they soon seem to have been replaced by Grangemouth FC [I suspect though that they were one and the same club], I can not tell if Richard actually played for Zetland/Grangemouth, or if he had given up the game in the intervening three years.

No pictures of either brother seem to exist, but I am forever searching for these little things, until then a place in the history books of the club should be given to Falkirk's first brothers, Falkirk's first Englishmen, and most importantly, Falkirk's first Captain.

Richard Dawes Peddie

b c1857, Sunderland, Durham
d 11th February 1905, Grangemouth, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday March 23rd 1878 vGrasshoppers (H) Friendly
Competitive Debut – Saturday September 28th 1878 v Campsie Glen (H) Scottish Cup 1st Rd
Positions – Inside-Left

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [1/-]
Other Matches/Goals [7/-]
Known Career – Falkirk [1877/78-1878/79], Zetland? [1882/83]

William Bertram Peddie

b c1855, Sunderland, Durham
d 6th July 1926, Grangemouth, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday March 23rd 1878 vGrasshoppers (H) Friendly
Competitive Debut – Saturday September 28th 1878 v Campsie Glen (H) Scottish Cup 1st Rd
Positions – Outside-Left

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [1/-]
Other Matches/Goals [8/-]
Known Career – Falkirk [1877/78-1878/79]