Thursday, 27 February 2014

Thomas McDonald

I could not possibly write about Alex Stark without complementing it with a post about his "partner in crime" :- Thomas McDonald ever the Inside-Right to Alex's Outside-Right.

Thomas McDonald caused me so many problems when I was researching the murky past of Falkirk FC, by the simple fact that he played under two different names throughout most of his career. It seems obvious now that I can look back with 20/20 hindsight and see that Thomas McDonald & Tommy Donnelly are similar names, never once played in the same Falkirk FC line up, yet both only ever played in the same positions. But at first it was simply two different names to me, so two different players. The name is a real giveaway, now. It wasn't until I found his obituary that it was confirmed they were one and the same [which meant I had to fix several season's spreadsheets].

Like most Falkirk players of the time he was a true bairn: this isn't saying much as, apart from kudos and a chance at Cup and International honours, it would actually cost a player both in time off work and travelling expenses to play for anyone outwith the immediate locality.

McDonald & Stark were the Falkirk right-wing partnership for nearly a decade, both high scoring, both Falkirk Bairns, but eventually things came to a head. With the introduction of professionalism to the Scottish game people came looking for players to bolster their teams. Falkirk suffered. Alas, Falkirk in the first year of professionalism in Scotland, decided to remain amateur, and Thomas who was a foundryman, chose to sell his labour on a Saturday afternoon. Thus he signed pro-terms with Slamannan Rovers [it is completely bizarre to me, now, in 2014 that slamannan had a professional
football club when Falkirk had none, but hey], this is a shame to me as the Falkirk Herald and Falkirk Mail largely ignored the Slamannan clubs, so I do not have a good idea of how well he did up there. However, he must have done well, for the next season East Stirlingshire signed him up, where he seems to have done well, scoring at a better rate than he ever did at Falkirk. But by this time he was on that long slow decline we all must face.

He returned to Falkirk for just over a season before he finally gave up the ghost, but in all honesty he was more of a reserve by this time, and soon enough he dissapeared from the Falkirk team. During his time he had captained the club, and represented his county but there is little room for sentimentality in this game!

In closing I will say some little things; that although he grew up in Kerse Lane, later on he worked in the foundries, and died in his home in River Street, Bainsford. The other interesting thing is that he died on his birthday!

Thomas McDonald c1885

Pen Pic from the Scottish Umpire April 14th 1890

Thomas McDonald

b 28th December 1868, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
d 28th December 1943, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday March 26th 1887 v Rangers Swifts (H) Friendly

Positions – Inside-Right, Outside-Right

Representative Honours – Stirlingshire v Fife 1887/88, 1889/90, 1890/91, v Linlithgowshire 1887/88, v Forfarshire 1889/90

Club Honours – Midland League RU 1895/96, Stirlingshire Cup W 1889/90, 1895/96, RU 1887/88, 1891/92, Falkirk District Charity Cup W 1889/90, 1891/92, RU 1890/91, Falkirk Infirmary Shield W 1891/92, RU 1889/90, 1890/91, 1895/96

Falkirk FC

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [16/3]
Scottish Qualifying Cup Matches /Goals [1/-]
Minor League Matches/Goals [31/14]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [42/19]
Other Matches/Goals [125/43]
Total Matches/Goals [215/79]

East Stirlingshire

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [4/2]
Minor League Matches/Goals [17/13]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [7/4]
Other Matches/Goals [37/18]
Total Matches/Goals [65/37]

Black Watch & Slamannan Rovers


Known Career

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [20/5]
Scottish Qualifying Cup Matches /Goals [1/-]
Minor League Matches/Goals [48/27]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [49/23]
Other Matches/Goals [162/61]
Total Matches/Goals [280/116]

Hat-Tricks – 2 [Stirlingshire Cup [1] Falkirk District Charity Cup [1]]

Known Career – Black Watch [1885/86], Falkirk [1886/87-1892/93], Slamannan Rovers [1892/93], East Stirlingshire [1893/94-1894/95], Falkirk [1895/96-1896/97]

Played for Falkirk Swifts v Redding Athletic, Friendly at Redding, 18th May 1887
Played for Falkirk Swifts v Carron Athletic, Friendly at Inns Pk, Carron, 8th June 1887
Played for Falkirk District XI v East Stirlingshire , Benefit Match at Merchiston Pk, Bainsford, 17th April 1888
Played for Falkirk District XI v Glasgow Corinthians, Benefit Match at Victoria Pk, Camelon, 17th May 1890