Sunday, 26 January 2014

Jimmy Conlin

Jimmy Conlin was one of the ones that got away, coming to Falkirk from Lanarkshire Junior football, spending a season and a half at the club, before going back to Coatbridge, then to the English League and International football then on to foreign fields.

James was born of a Scottish Father and an English Mother in the town of Consett in County Durham, but the 1891 Census shows that the family was living in Coatbridge. His subsequent siblings were all born in the town from 1885, so it likely he was living there from at least the age of four.

It is often listed in books that he played football for Cambuslang then Hibs before moving to Falkirk FC, but I believe that to be a mistaken reading for the junior club Cambuslang Hibernian from what it said in the Falkirk Herald. James came to Falkirk a fortuitous time for both the club and the player, really good Left Wingers are notoriously hard to find [He was what become known as a 'nippy wee winger' with a burst of pace and a well placed low shot into the centre] and Falkirk were gearing up towards the team that would join the Scottish League shortly after he went back to Coatbridge.

After a relatively successfull period with his 'home' club, the English Scouts came looking and he was picked up by Bradford City [Sources say about £50], where he was selected to play for international side against Scotland. He soon moved to Manchester City where he was chosen in the League International to add to his honours.

However he had that human weakness that inflicts many a young man with money and time to spare: Drink. After a season with Birmingham City he was soon dispatched north of the border again this time to Airdrieonians, who soon discovered to their cost of his affliction, and after some run-ins with the management was told he was no longer needed by the club. It is reported he ended his football with a season with Broxburn Athletic but little evidence can be found of his play at the club.

Without a job and with a family to feed Jimmy signed up for the colours soon after the outbreak of the War, where he was to die on a field in Flanders, Belgium [like so many no remains were recovered].

With Falkirk FC c1900

James Conlin

b 6th July 1881, Consett, Durham
d 24th June 1917, Flanders, Belgium

Debut – Saturday December 30th 1899 v East Stirlingshire (A) Falkirk & District League
Positions – Outside-Left

Club Honours – Central Combination W 1899/00

Minor League Matches/Goals [16/7]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [1/2]
Other Matches/Goals [5/1]

Known Career – Captain Colt's Rovers, Airdrie St Margarets, Cambuslang Hibernian, Falkirk [1899/00-1900/01], Albion Rovers [1900/01-1904/05], Bradford City [1904/05-1905/06], Manchester City [1906/07-1910/11], Birmingham City [1911/12], Airdrieonians [1912/13], Broxburn Athletic [1913/14]

Falkirk FC in the Great War

Monday, 20 January 2014

Redding Athletic v Camelon 24th Sept 1887

Very rarely does a record take place in Falkirk, but occasionally these things do happen, and so was the case in September of 1887 when Camelon defeated Redding Athletic by 17 goals to nil in the Scottish Cup, the record away victory in British football.

Way back in the 1880s the early rounds of the Scottish Cup were regionalised to stop wee teams travelling too far for a mismatch, so it was that these two now defunct clubs met in 1887.

Of the clubs, Camelon could be seen for much of their existence as the third force in football in Falkirk, much more successful than Stenhousemuir, at times challenging Falkirk & East Stirlingshire in the local competitions, however they never had the consistency of the "big two" and were prone to lose players to both. They played at Victoria Park [now the Car Park behind the Mariner Centre].

Redding Athletic on the other hand were a bit of a basketcase [not as much as Rumford Rovers were it must be said] they were regularly known in local circles for not paying subs to the Stirlingshire FA, and when they did they often scratched in the first round due to not being able to get eleven players together. I do not know, exactly where they played, but I have read before that they played this match in Laurieston, not Redding [it is all very hazy]. Redding Athletic did not last long, especially as soon as professionalism was adopted [villages just could not get adequate crowds to pay the wages.

Here is the match report from the Falkirk Herald
These teams met on Saturday last on the ground of Redding Athletic before a good turnout of spectators, when a one-sided game resulted in the defeat of the Athletics by 17 goals to nil. From the kick-off Camelon had matters all their own way. W.Burns played half-back while Dan Inglis played centre-forward. The Athletics, though playing a hard game, could not prevent Camelon from scoring, and at call of half-timethe score stood 7 goals to nil. The Athletics started the ball for the second half, but it was soon returned, the half-backs playing a hard game, and a neat pass from J.Burns across to the right, Russell had no difficulty in scoring no.8 three minutes from the start. Camelon still continued to press, and through a scrimmage in front of goal no. 9 was registered, Horne failed to stop a low shot from Brown, thus registering no. 10. Only once were the Athletics considered dangerous, when Maxwell and Henderson had a run down the field, the former sending the ball over the bar. From this to the call of time Camelon kept up the siege in front of the goal, Brymer playing a good defence, but when the whistle sounded they had added 7 other goals, the game thus ending in an easy win for Camelon by 17 goals to nil. A.Balloch [E.S.] acted as referee.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Falkirk Amateurs - The First Season

A long, long time ago there was a second Senior club in Falkirk [East Stirlingshire were in Bainsford], they were called Falkirk Amateurs. They played in many places round the town but at the start of their existence were mainly based at Tanners Park [the car Park across from the Cladhan] for football and Bells Meadow for Cricket.

They were always a club of likeminded folk, who just wished to play, so I am pleased to bring you the reported matches from their first full season 1897/98.

I am not saying these are the only matches that the club played this season, just the matches I have found in the press.

Sep 4th    Dunblane              A   4   5   Friendly                                      Unknown
Sep 11th   East Stirlingshire    A   0   7   Qualifying Cup 1st Rd
Sep 18th   Uddingston            A   6   3   Friendly                                      Unknown
Sep 25th   Grasshoppers          A   0   4   Friendly
Oct 2nd    Alloa Athletic        A   2   2   Friendly                                      Unknown, ?.Kay
Oct 9th    Dunipace              H   5   0   Friendly                                      ?.Morrison, ?.Kay, Unknown 3
Oct 16th   East Stirlingshire    H   wo  scr Stirlingshire Cup 1st Rd
Oct 16th   Camelon               A   1   3   Friendly                                      ?.Morrison
Oct 30th   Dunfermline Athletic  H   2   7   Friendly                                      Unknown
Nov 6th    Rumford Rovers        A   1   3   Friendly                                      Unknown
Nov 13th   Camelon               A   1   8   Stirlingshire Cup 2nd Rd 1st Leg              R.Gillespie [pen]
Nov 27th   Camelon               H   2   4   Stirlingshire Cup 2nd Rd 2nd Leg              R.Gillespie 2
Dec 11th   Dunipace              A   0   2   Friendly
Dec 18th   Grasshoppers          H   1   2   Friendly                                      J.Callander
Jan 15th   Kilsyth Wanderers     A   0   3   Stirlingshire Consolation Cup 1st Rd 1st Leg
Jan 22nd   Kilsyth Wanderers     H   4   0   Stirlingshire Consolation Cup 1st Rd 2nd Leg  T.McEwan 2, J.Callander, R.Gillespie [pen] 
Feb 5th    Paisley Academicals   H   1   4   Friendly                                      Unknown
Feb 12th   Fair City Athletic    A   3   2   Friendly                                      Unknown
Feb 19th   Bo'ness               A   2   2   Friendly                                      Unknown
Mar 12th   Rumford Rovers        A   2   0   Stirlingshire Consolation Cup 2nd Rd 1st Leg  Unknown
Apr 16th   Stenhousemuir         N   2   3   Stirlingshire Consolation Cup Final           Unknown

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Peter Rae - Falkirk FC Graves

Brought up in the 'rough and tumble' of Gairdoch, the senior club from Carronshore, Peter "The Stag" Rae was the cornerstone of the Falkirk defence for five Seasons. He did play a match for East Stirlingshire, which counts against him, but I shall gloss over that.

It could never be said Peter was an expansive player [until Thomas Townsley Falkirk never had an attacking No 5], he was solid, but I pity the Centre-Forwards who were up against him, he was, in every meaning of the word 'hard' just what we needed from a Centre-Half.

Though like all Centre-Halves, he was the emergency Centre-Forward [thus his one hat-trick]

In later years he became a coach at Falkirk FC from where I have the picture

Peter 'Stag' Rae

b 23rd November 1871, Carronshore, Stirlingshire
d 28th October 1952, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday August 4th 1894 v Johnstone (A) Friendly

Positions – Centre-Half, Right-Half

Club Honours – Midland League RU 1895/96, Stirlingshire Cup W 1894/95, 1895/96, RU 1897/98, Falkirk Infirmary Shield RU 1895/96, 1897/98

Falkirk FC Career

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [3/-]
Scottish Qualifying Cup Matches /Goals [11/-]
Minor League Matches/Goals [70/5]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [23/4]
Other Matches/Goals [60/9]
Total Matches/Goals [167/18]

Hat-Tricks – 1 [Stirlingshire Cup [1]]

Known Career – Gairdoch [1891/92-1893/94], East Stirlingshire (guest) [1893/94], Falkirk [1894/95-1900/01]

Friday, 10 January 2014

Falkirk FC Graves – Jerry Dawson

Jerry Dawson comes right at the very back end of where I research, but he does get in, as he made his debut in the Victory Cup, just after the war.

Starting at Camelon Juniors, he was so good that he wasted most of his career in Govan [because they pay more]. But he was a Falkirk Bairn and eventually came back. He was still a fine keeper when he was at Falkirk. But slightly past his best.

He was the spine of the team around which 'Tully' Craig started to rebuild the team in the immediate post-war era along with Kenny Dawson, James McPhie, Jimmy Fiddes, Willie Telfer & George Brookes.

As I said, not at his International peak, but a 'keeper with enough skill & 'nous' to get Falkirk out of the hole that was losing nearly seven years out of the careers of our best players, and not having a proper reserve team to bring up new talent.

He is now in Camelon Cemetery [sorry for my reflection].

James 'Jerry' Dawson

b 30th October 1909, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
d 19th January 1977, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday May 18th 1946 v Rangers (H) Victory Cup 3rd Rd
League Debut – Saturday August 10th 1946 v Heart of Midlothian (H) Scottish League Division A

Position – Goalkeeper

Scottish League Matches – 79
Scottish Cup Matches – 6
Scottish League Cup Matches - 18
Victory Cup Matches – 2
Dewar Shield Matches – 6
Stirlingshire Cup Matches – 2
Other Matches – 3
Total Matches – 116

Known Club Career – Camelon Juniors, Rangers [1929/30-1945/46], Falkirk [1945/46-1948/49]