Showing posts with label 100 goals for Falkirk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 100 goals for Falkirk. Show all posts

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Falkirk FC 100 Club - Andrew Burt

An'ra Burt was yet another of those legendary players for the club who through time and circumstances seem to have been overlooked with time. Little wonder, it is well over a century since he played his last match, and during his best years Falkirk was playing mostly at a local level.

Andrew came to prominence in the Slamannan Rovers side which was trying to switch from junior to senior football. But was coming up against the same problems they had in the junior game [lack of structured competition, lack of easily accessable opponents, population too small to sustain a consistently competitive side] and any gems the Rovers did unearth were quickly picked off in the newborn era of professional football.

It may have helped that alongside him in that Slamannan Rovers side was his elder brother, Adam, who had had a spell as Centre-Half with Falkirk FC, but the Bairns were themselves in need of replenishing their side due to even bigger clubs cherrypicking their better players.

Starting off as a Centre-Forward, Andrew soon found his place at the club at Inside-Left and scored consistently for the next five years. And this was a period when Falkirk had several consistent scorers in their ranks.

I am not sure why he was never tempted to move to a larger club who might have offered him league football and probably better pay. Perhaps he had a very good job in Slamannan, or maybe no other clubs wanted him, but he stayed with Falkirk for the rest of his career.

It is a true shame that his last proper season at the club was the club's first in the Scottish League as he was, according to match reports, slightly past his best, so his record of ten league matches with one goal looks very poor in comparison with those that came later, and of course is very deceptive as to his importance to the history of Falkirk FC.

He was brought back in an emergency in 1905 to make up the numbers in a Stirlingshire Cup match v Falkirk Amateurs, but he was well 'out of the game' according to the local papers [even though Falkirk strolled the game winning 9-0 he never got on the scoresheet] this slight blemish again is a bit of a shame.

In the club picture at the beginning of the 1902/03 season Andrew is pictured front & centre with the ball between his legs, in club pictures of the time this normally signifies that the player was captain. Since I have no record of the captain for this season it may be so, but it may also have been honorary due to his service and longevity, either way.

Again, nowadays people may question the inclusion of friendlies in his career figures, but one has to understand that the leagues of the time only allowed for at most twenty-two games a season and due to the fickle nature of cups, the season had to consist of a large number of 'ordinary' matches but these were in no way pre-season warm ups, they were proper fixtures usually arranged on a home and away basis.

Andrew Burt 1902/03

Andrew Burt

b 30th April 1873, Slamannan, Stirlingshire
d June 1951, Glasgow

Andrew Burt's Falkirk FC Career

Debut – Saturday September 21 1895 v East Stirlingshire (A) Friendly

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

Representative Honours – Stirlingshire v Forfarshire 1896/97

Club Honours – Central Combination W 1899/00, RU 1900/01, Midland League RU 1895/96, Stirlingshire Cup W 1895/96, RU 1897/98, Falkirk Infirmary Shield W 1901/02, RU 1895/96, 1897/98, 1900/01, Stirlingshire Consolation Cup W 1901/02, RU 1900/01

Scottish League Matches/Goals [10/1]
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [6/2]
Scottish Qualifying Cup Matches/Goals [24/15]
Minor League Matches/Goals [110/54]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [43/24]
Other Matches/Goals [78/44]
Total Matches/Goals [271/140]

Hat-Tricks – 8 [Scottish Qualifying Cup [2] Central Combination [1] Stirlingshire Cup [2] Other [3]]

Known Club Career – Slamannan Swifts, Slamannan Rovers [1892/93-1894/95], Falkirk [1895/96-1902/03, 1905/06]

Falkirk’s first substitute, replacing the injured George Drummond v Vale of Leven (H) Nov 28th 1899, Friendly.
Brother of Adam Burt [Falkirk 1891/92].

Monday, 29 November 2010

Falkirk FC - 100 Club - John Simpson

John Simpson is quite simply the best player that ever played for Falkirk Football Club. Now that is a big statement to make given the calibre of players who have donned the Falkirk dark blue over the years, even though I never saw him play [obviously]. John, or Jock, Simpson comes from a footballing family, his uncle Harry had turned out for Grahamston, East Stirlingshire on the left wing and represented Stirlingshire several times, his cousin also John played for Stenhousemuir, and John's son Peter played for King's Park and St Johnstone. But other sport was also in the family as Harry's Grandson was Bobby Simpson Australia's Test Cricket Captain.

The Simpson family hailed from the Grahamston area of Falkirk, but upon Jock's father [also John] coming of age he moved his new family to Laurieston, but as he worked in an iron works he was always liable to move due of his work, and so in the mid 1880s the family moved down to Pendleton, in Lancashire. A move that was to blight Jock's football career later on as this was also the place of his birth.

Within months the family had returned back over the border to remain in Laurieston, and John to grow up like any bairn. After school, Jock started showing up in the junior columns of the local papers, an exiting young outside right first for Grange Rovers, then for his village side Laurieston Villa. Interest in Jock was growing and although playing a trial for Rangers he was snapped up by Falkirk in early 1905, and turned out for the first eleven in some of the minor competitions that were prevalent at the time.

The following season he burst into the league team and simply never looked back, he was soon regarded as the best winger in Scotland, if not the whole UK, and this is where his place of birth caused a problem. Back when the SFA had only in recent years decided to select Scots who were playing in England, they were still sticking to qualification based upon place of birth [no matter the lineage], and the English FA simply would not countainance selecting a player from a league other than the English, meaning several years of international exclusion. Finally his performances on the field caused one authority to relent and Jock was finally selected to represent the Scottish League against the Southern League in 1910, and it seems his performance did not go unnoticed as he was soon afterwards selected to play for the Stripes against the Whites in an England International trial. Within days of that match huge offers were flooding in from English clubs and before he had a chance to turn out for Falkirk again the club had accepted an offer from Blackburn Rovers of a reported £1850 [plus James Robertson], a record fee for a Scottish Club, and Jock was off to play in England.

During the First World War restrictions on travel meant Jock was to turn out for Falkirk again, but by this time, the treatment meated out to everybody with a bit of pace and skill had taken their toll, his ankles had taken a severe kicking, not just whilst in England it had been a part of his treatment during his first spell at Falkirk. But that touch in front of goal had gone and Jock stuck to the wing as a supplier of chances, only thirteen goals coming in his second spell even though he was a first team regular. After an attempt to resurrect his top-flight career at Blackburn just after the war, Jock gave up the ghost and promptly retired from professional football. Jock returned to Falkirk to run the Horseshoe Inn on Falkirk High Street. He never gave up on football though, and when he got the chance would play for Falkirk Amateurs, winning the Scottish Amateur Cup with them. John turned out for Falkirk one last time in a benefit match against old adversaries East Stirlingshire in 1922, before ending his career with Falkirk Orient in the Falkirk Wednesday League [played on Wednesday afternoons for shopworkers], though little can be said of his career at the Orient as the matches had next to no coverage. Jock remained popular in Falkirk for the rest of his life, living, as he did, in Orchard Street until his demise in 1959. John is interred in Falkirk Cemetary, and although it is a family decision I feel it a shame that it does not mention his Footballing career anywhere on the stone [but I would think that...]


Lea = Scottish League Division 1 & Scottish League [WWI]
SCu = Scottish Cup
Min = Minor Competitions [East of Scotland League, north-Eastern Cup, Dunedin Cup, Dewar shield]
Loc = Local Competitions [Stirlingshire Cup, Stirlingshire Consolation Cup, Falkirk Infirmary Shield]
Oth = Other Matches [Friendlies, Benefits, etc]
Representative Honours – Scottish League v Southern League 1910/11
Club Honours – Scottish League Division 1 RU 1907/08, 1909/10, East of Scotland League W 1904/05, Dewar Shield W 1905/06, Stirlingshire Cup W 1905/06, Stirlingshire Consolation Cup W 1904/05, 1906/07, Falkirk Infirmary Shield W 1904/05, 1905/06, 1906/07, 1907/08, 1908/09, 1916/17
Falkirk FC Leading League Goalscorer 1906/07 [23], 1907/08 [32], 1909/10 [24]
Leading Goalscorer in European League Competitions for 1907/08
Hat-Tricks – 6 [Division 1 [4] Dewar Shield [1] Other [1]]

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Falkirk FC 100 Club - Alex Stark

One of the things I want to do here, besides pointing out little odds & ends about the history of Falkirk FC, is to give a gentle nudge to Falkirk fans that Falkirk have been about for a long time and that just because nobody alive now remembers players from 100+ years ago doesn't mean they should not be considered Falkirk greats.

To this end I give you Alexander 'Buttons' Stark.

Alex Stark was at one point a Falkirk legend, born in Falkirk [probably at the family home on Kerse Lane] on the 11th of April 1869, he spent nine years on the Falkirk FC right wing [though in emergencies he played in all four other forward positions occasionally]. It would be virtually impossible to give his entire career, there was simply not the mass coverage which exists nowadays, so I can only what I have discovered.

Alex had previously played for no other Junior or Minor club as far as I can find [it must be said that since the Falkirk FC coverage is patchy at this time so Junior football is worse], but this is hardly surprising as he first pops up in a Falkirk shirt on the 3rd of January 1885 scoring for the 2nd XI v Tayavalla 2nd XI [a Tamfourhill team], this before his 16th Birthday so he didn't seem to have any chance to play anything other than school football.

He first appears in a published Falkirk FC first team line-up against Rangers Swifts in an end of season match on the 3rd of June 1886, 52 days after his 17th Birthday and simply never looked back. The following table is as much as I have been able to glean from his career [but remember this probably misses lots of matches where there is so little info that no one will probably ever know what happened]

I have written more about Alex Stark better.


SCu = Scottish Cup [includes Preliminary Rounds]
Min = Minor Leagues [Scottish Federation, Midland League]
Sti = Stirlingshire Cup
Loc = Local Competitions [Falkirk & District Charity Cup, Falkirk Cottage Hospitals Shield]
Fri = Friendlies [includes all matches for Falkirk FC not for a competition, proper]

I will probably never know why he was christened 'buttons' by the Bairns [when I say Bairns I mean those who follow the team sometimes known as the Bairns in the media, whom I call Falkirk FC], but I shall never stop looking [I do know that then secretary Robert Bishop often complained to the Falkirk Herald about it].

His last match for Falkirk was on June 20th 1895 against Camelon in the Final of the Falkirk Cottage Hospitals Shield, Falkirk won 1-0, with Alex on the Right Wing as ever. In his time in the navy blue he scored [that I have found] six hat-tricks: 1 in the Scottish Cup, 1 in the Scottish Federation, 1 in the Stirlingshire Cup and 3 in Friendlies.

Falkirk FC Honours – Midland League W 1894/95, Stirlingshire Cup W 1889/90, 1894/95, RU 1886/87, 1887/88, 1891/92, Falkirk District Charity Cup W 1889/90, 1891/92, 1893/94, RU 1890/91, 1894/95, Falkirk Cottage Hospials Shield W 1891/92, 1892/93, 1893/94, 1894/95, RU 1889/90, 1890/91

During his time at Falkirk he also played some [unknown] matches for Queen's Park during 1894, two matches for Falkirk Swifts [a team for promising local youths], three matches for a Falkirk District XI, Four Matches for King's Park, 1 match for Laurieston, 1 match for a Stirlingshire XI, and 13 matches for Stirlingshire in county matches [county football meant something back then], he also played in an official Scottish FA Trial Match.

In the summer of 1895 Alex left Scotland to go and work in New Zealand with his uncle in the the sheep farming/meat packing industry, but I know that this didn't kill his love for football: long winded e-mails with football historians in NZ have uncovered the fact that he was the President of the Canterbury FA and the Vice President of the New Zealand FA in 1905, leading to his inclusion in NZ's first representative match against a touring New South Wales side in 1904 [no longer counted as official], so he probably had a club [and provincial] career over there too - I'd love details [hint, hint] from anybody who could supply them.

Alex died sometime in 1935 in NZ [sadly the details are unclear to me]

Until then, I say 'Buttons' ought be included in every Falkirk FC greatest ever XI, after all it was not his doing that the majority of the matches he played in were friendlies, as there was nothing else to play in, and he did it all for the love.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Falkirk FC 100 Club - Bobby Keyes

This is one of several [well..... I think seven, maybe eight, off the top of my head] players who scored 100+ goals for Falkirk FC, I fully intend to profile their known goals, appearances would be trickier, but give it time, including three who have been almost completely forgotten as their careers happened before Falkirk joining the league, though I might not do all [we'll see]. This is about Bobby Keyes who sparked up a lethal partnership at IL or CF with the legendary Kenny Dawson at OL in the years leading up to WWII, like Kenny we will never know how their careers might have ended had Hitler not got in the way.

Bobby Keyes



* Div 2
^ N/E League
! Includes matches expunged because of WWII
$ Emergency Cup
+ Southern League
& Southern League Cup
Min - Minor Cups
Oth - Non-Competitive matches

Points of Interest

Hat-Tricks – 10
Division 1 - 3
Division 2 - 3
Scottish Cup - 1
Stirlingshire Cup - 1
Infirmary Shield - 1
Other - 1

100th First Class Goal v St Mirren (A) Apr 30th 1938, Scottish League Division 1 [118 Matches]
100th League Goal v Motherwell (A) Apr 14th 1939, Scottish League Division 1 [139 Matches]
Scored five goals in the Scottish League Division 2 v King's Park (H) Jan 18th 1936
Scored five goals in the Scottish League Division 2 v St Bernards (H) Feb 29th 1936
Scored five goals in the Falkirk Infirmary Shield Semi-Final v East Stirlingshire (H) May 7th 1938