Saturday, 29 March 2014

Falkirk FC Managers - George Richardson


George Richardson was never, actually, Falkirk Manager: the position did not exist when he was about. He was however Falkirk FC's second Club Secretary [the first John Fleming was only in the position for some months [from the formation of the club in December 1877 until the first AGM in May 1878]. There is not much to say about his tenure, after all the position of Secretary was just an organisational role, most of the important decisions were made by the committee then. It was, however, the most important position in the club [casting vote on the committee, organising the fixture list etc], and it was a very different time from today's football.

George was very middle class, in a town of foundries he was a clerk, so was in the lofty offices instead of getting himself dirty at the coalface [to mix metaphors], therefore he had the perfect background to run the nascent club. And let it not be forgotten that back then the officials of the club were mainly drawn from the playing [and paying] members of the club. Living in Marine Cottage, Grahams Road [I think it was roughly about Carphone Warehouse [but on the Grahams Road]] he came from a well to do family, his father was a Captain in the Merchant Navy, his mother was from far-flung Chelsea, his big brother was a businessman in Glasgow [and a football player with Kelvinbank].

It is difficult to say much about his time in office, for most of the time, there was no other club in Falkirk, and the only other clubs in Stirlingshire were Grasshoppers & King's Park [until the formation of ESFC]. The club failed to make much ground in the Scottish Cup, there was no Stirlingshire Cup, however the club had a healthy fixture card, playing the secondary Glasgow clubs [and occasionally the 2nd XIs of the big Glasgow clubs].

In comparison with later secretaries he organised more charity matches [muscular christianity played some part no doubt] George enticing among others Third Lanark and Pollockshields Athletic to the town to the benefit of the good causes of the town. However, this was a time when football was yet to become the mass spectactle that it now is, and as far as I know he never interacted with the Falkirk Herald or any other medium, so I know nothing of his personality. And try, as I have, I have never come across a mention of him in the local press after he left football [of course he may have emigrated].

On the field of play, he seemed pretty average, moving about position, as you would get when the rules are if you are willing to turn up, you are likely to get a game, so he spent most of his career as right-back, left-back or goalkeeper. He did however play in a couple of Scottish Cup matches, which is more than most of us can say.

At the time the AGMs of Falkirk FC were not regularly published in the Falkirk Herald, so most of the officials of the club are unknown, however it was reported in September 1882 that he was awarded a watch by the club with this inscription:

Presented to Mr G.Richardson by the members of Falkirk Football Club, as a mark of the esteem in which he has been held by them as their secretary for the last four years

I know 'hyperbole', but I would really like to see that watch! If you know anything, please get in touch!

George Richardson

b 9th November 1859, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
d10th June 1941, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday March 23rd 1878 v Grasshoppers (H) Friendly
Competitive Debut – Saturday September 28th 1878 v Campsie Glen (H) Scottish Cup 1st Rd

Positions – Goalkeeper, Right-Back, Left-Back
Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [2/-]
Other Matches/Goals [11/-]
Known Career – Falkirk [1877/78-1880/81]
Brother of James Richardson [Falkirk FC 1878/79-1880/81]

Competitive Matches as Secretary

Scottish Cup - 11      7     -      4      23     19

Edit - [5th May 2016]

I recently came across an obituary of sorts for George which appeared in the Falkirk Herald of Saturday June 21st 1941, however, given that he was Falkirk FC's first proper secretary, there is sadly no mention of his relationship with the club.