Saturday, 16 August 2014

Junior Hell - Heather Rangers 1897/98

Although I mainly concentrate on Senior Football in Falkirk District, as a sideline I do note down all football in the town & its suburbs. So I have reems & reems of results from all manner of 'clubs' from proper Junior clubs down to scratch XIs representing anything from streets to the various Co-Operative Societies. And this is where it Hell. To this day I do not fully 'get' Junior Football: Dunipace Juniors play in the West Region; Camelon Juniors play in the East Region; Falkirk Juniors [who actually play in Grangemouth further East than Camelon] play in the Central. On top of this there are all manner of bizarrely named cups which seem to go on until the week before the next season.

Excuse my ignorance, I was just not brought up following the Junior game. But in my researches this week into the 1897/98 season and trying to put together an idea of the local Junior teams & Competitions has given me an inkling into why Junior football is so byzantyne. One club: Heather Rangers of Stenhousemuir.

In 1897/98 Heather Rangers competed in the Scottish Junior Cup, the stirlingshire Junior Cup, the Falkirk District Junior Cup, The Falkirk District Junior League, the Falkirk Cottage Hospitals' Junior Shield, the Stirling District Junior Cup & the Stirling District Junior League [nb - The Stirling District Junior Cup was two legged, and both the Stirling District Junior competitions did not start until after Christmas].

Now, you will obviously be shocked that they did not fulfill their fixtures [some of the cup matches having to be played in the next season], but this is a bugbear of mine, very little is known of these competitions, and even though some of us are trying to record them, so little was published that it is nearly impossible from this remove. And another, will Stenhousemuir make up its mind as to whether it is in Falkirk District or Stirling District.

Known Matches by Heather Rangers in 1897/98

Aug 21    Airth Castle Rangers        3      Heather Rangers             1      Friendly
Sep 4     Forth Rangers               0      Heather Rangers             1      Falkirk District Junior League
Sep 11    Heather Rangers             1      Falkirk Hawthorn            2      Falkirk District Junior League
Sep 18    Heather Rangers             5      Forth Rangers               3      League?
Sep 25    Heather Rangers             5      Falkirk Excelsior           1      Scottish Junior Cup 1st Rd
Oct 2     Gairdoch Junior             -      Heather Rangers             -      Falkirk District Junior League [Heather did not turn up]
Oct 9     Heather Rangers             5      Falkirk Excelsior           4      Falkirk District Junior Cup 2nd Rd
Oct 16    Heather Rangers             2      Slamannan Swifts            3      Stirlingshire Junior Cup 1st Rd [protest]
Oct 23    Gairdoch Juniors            2      Heather Rangers             0      Hospitals Shield?
Oct 30    Artizan Thistle             2      Heather Rangers             1      Scottish Junior Cup 2nd Rd
Nov 6     Heather Rangers             3      Slamannan Swifts            3      Stirlingshire Junior Cup 1st Rd
Nov 20    Slamannan Swifts            6      Heather Rangers             2      Stirlingshire Junior Cup 1st Rd Rep
Nov 27    Forth Rangers               2      Heather Rangers             1      Falkirk District Junior Cup Semi @Merch
Dec 18    Gairdoch Juniors            3      Heather Rangers             2      Falkirk District Junior League
Dec 25    Heather Rangers             3      Larbert Broomage Albion     2      Friendly
Jan 15    Longcroft Thistle           1      Heather Rangers             2      Stirling District Junior Cup 1st Rd 1st Leg
Jan 22    Heather Rangers             4      Longcroft Thistle           1      Stirling District Junior Cup 1st Rd 2nd Leg
Jan 29    Heather Rangers             3      Falkirk Excelsior           3      Falkirk District Junior League
Feb 5     Heather Rangers             7      Rising Star                 1      Falkirk District Junior League
Feb 19    Heather Rangers             3      St Ninians Thistle          2      Stirling District Junior Cup 2nd Rd 1st Leg
Feb 26    St Ninians Thistle          2      Heather Rangers             1      Stirling District Junior Cup Aband
Mar 5     Tillicoultry Victoria       2      Heather Rangers             2      Friendly
Mar 19    St Ninians Thistle          1      Heather Rangers             4      Stirling District Junior Cup 2nd Rd 2nd Leg
Apr 2     Heather Rangers             0      Bannockburn                 2      Stirling District Junior Cup Semi 1st Leg
Apr 9     Bannockburn                 5      Heather Rangers             2      Stirling District Junior Cup Semi 2nd Leg
May 7     Rising Star                 1      Heather Rangers             1      Falkirk District Junior League
May 14   Falkirk Excelsior            0      Heather Rangers             1      Falkirk District Junior League
I have to add to this that the Falkirk Herald did not publish every football result, it was dependant upon the club sending in match reports/results. I know this as they occasionally published the Falkirk District Junior League Table and the table did not tally with the published matches, but I can only go on what was reported.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Football & Alcohol - James Tennant

The victorians were weird people, well some of them were anyway. If you read enough into it their morals were generally projected upon the working classes in a "do as I say; not as I do" sort of way. Temperance movements abounded, whilst at the same time "Gentlemen's Clubs" existed within which all manner of lasciviousness occurred beyond the prying eyes of the common or garden pleb, and handily beyond the reach of the licensing laws placed upon the Public House.

These victorian values even stretched their long arms into the realms of football [Dunipace FC, were literally formed as Dunipace Temperance Association Football Club], this was brought to mind when I came across this interesting case brought before the Falkirk Burgh Police Court on Tuesday 25th of September 1897 involving Falkirk FC's Centre-Forward of the time: James 'Midgy' Tennant.

My antipathy towards the police, plus the fact that Tennant scored more than a hundred goals for my beloved football club makes me want to side with 'midgy' ... however ... in an extract from the same paper, another Falkirk FC player Bobby Fearns pleaded guilty to the charges, also James Tennant once signed professional forms for East Stirlingshire, claiming it was a mistake as he was drunk out of his head when he did it. Hmmmm.

Still, when he was playing for Falkirk, he was good.

James 'Midgy' Tennant

b 29th November 1871, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
d 25th September 1926, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday January 10th 1891 v Battlefield (H) Friendly

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

Representative Honours – Stirlingshire v Forfarshire 1894/95

Club Honours – Midland League W 1894/95, RU 1895/96, Stirlingshire Cup W 1894/95, 1895/96, RU 1891/92, 1897/98, Falkirk District Charity Cup W 1891/92, 1893/94, RU 1894/95, Falkirk Infirmary Shield W 1891/92, 1892/93, 1893/94, RU 1895/96

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [7/4]
Scottish Qualifying Cup Matches /Goals [8/4]
Minor League Matches/Goals [73/33]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [43/21]
Other Matches/Goals [87/45]

Hat-Tricks – 6 [Midland League [1] Stirlingshire Cup [2] Other [3]]

Known Career – Burnhouse, Falkirk Athletic, Falkirk [1890/91-1897/98], Camelon [1898/99]

Note - He was called Midgy due to his alledged rotundity .....

Note - It was very difficult to trace this chap, whether or not he was born out of wedlock I am unsure, but by tracking his parents and knowing his rough age, I finally found James Sinclair Tennant McCready in the record. In the 1881 census he is living with his grandmother in Lint Riggs, while his parents were living in Vicars Street.

Note - Since this post was first published I have come across several more accounts of his drinking being reported in the FH.

Falkirk Herald - 1st June 1895

Falkirk Herald - 2nd May 1896

Falkirk Herald - 28th November 1896

Falkirk Herald - 22nd August 1900