Showing posts with label Albion Rovers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Albion Rovers. Show all posts

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Five-a-Side Tournaments

Back in the day, back when leagues were small and top class fixtures were thin on the ground, the notion of the pre-season friendly did not exist. It was not until the turn of the Century that football clubs began their season with a match against a Junior Club followed with some inter club practice matches: Falkirk for example would play Falkirk Juniors then a match of Attackers v Defenders, then a 1st XI v 2nd XI match.

Before this the clubs relied upon 5-a-side tournaments to get their players into shape. Normally these would be held in the 2-3 weeks coming up to August [the official start of the season]. In Stirlingshire [where I know most], these would be held all over the place and by many different organisations: in Kilsyth & Slamannan; Stirling & Grangemouth; Falkirk & Dunipace; by East Stirlingshire Bicycle Club & Falkirk Football Club; by Airth Brass Band & Redding Colliers; by Lennoxtown Alum Works & Grangemouth Docks.

They all attracted fives from all levels of football [the senior clubs generally entered two teams], from serious teams to a smattering of made up teams who just wanted 'a go'.

So I picked up a folder of football results [in this case 1894/95] and the first 5-a-side I came across was the Stenhousemuir FC of 1894, the Falkirk Herald had only the barest of details, but the Falkirk Mail carried this report -

Only two ties were drawn for the first round, but none were played, as Clackmannan & Dunblane failed to turn up, and the second round was then proceeded with.

Heather Rangers v Albion Rovers - This turned out to be one of the best ties of the day. The Rangers made a pluck stand, but in the second half the Rovers secured a point, and the "Heather" lost, after hard lines, by 1 point to 0.
Dunipace v Gairdoch came next. Gairdoch put out a strong team, Wilson (Stenhousemuir) and Rae (Falkirk) being in the team. Gairdoch opened well, and scored off Smith. Although the "Gairs" had many other chances the score remained unaltered. Gairdoch 1 Dunipace 0.
Stenhousemuir No.1 v Roamers - The Roamers were a scratch lot, and included Stoddart (ES) and Clarkson (Stenhousemuir). The "Warriors" had no difficulty in disposing of this lot, winning by 2 goals 1 point to 0.
East Stirlingshire No.1 v Abercorn - Abercorn had some splendid opportunities in the first half, but they failed to take advantage of them. On the restart Alexander made away up the field and finished with a lovely goal, followed by a point before time from the same player.
Windsor v Stenhousemuir No.2 - The Muir's second lot were Gillespie (Denny), Duff (Alloa), Thomson, McInnes, and Marshall (King's Park). After a drawn game Stenhousemuir got into the third round by 1 goal 1 point to 0.
Carron Rangers, St Mirren and ES No.2 walked over, Clackmannan No.2, Grangemouth and Corithians failing to turn up.

Third Round

East Stirlingshire No.2 v Gairdoch - E.S. opened well, and Brock put in some splendid work, but failed to score, and the game ended in a draw. Other two drawn games were played, but in the fourth game Smith secured a point, but Brock, with a long shot scored a goal, E.S. winning by 1 goal to 1 point.
Stenhousemuir No.1 v Carron Thistle - Stenhousemuir took matters easily, and won by three goals to 0. Cochrane and Duncan (Gairdoch) played well for the Thistle.
East Stirlingshire No.1 v Albion Rovers - Kennedy was called upon to save from the very start, and the Rovers managed to score 2 goals to their opponents 1.
Stenhousemuir No.2 v St Mirren - St Mirren had this tie easily, winning by 2 goals to 1 point.

Semi-Final

St Mirren v Albion Rovers - Albion Rovers opened well. They played better every tie, and made strenouos  efforts to get into the final, but after a drawn game of one each the Rovers appeared fagged, St Mirren running out winners in the re-play by 3 goals to 1.
East Stirlingshire No2 v Stenhousemuir No.1 - This tie was very shortly begun when Scott put E.S. on the lead by scoring a goal. Stenhousemuir returned and scored. The referee awarded a goal, but E.S. maintained that it was only a point. After a long dispute it was ultimately decided to re-start the game. Not long after the re-start Brown shot. The referee awarded a point, but E.S. again claimed that it went past the side. The referee stuck to his decision, and E.S. left the field.

Final

St Mirren v Stenhousemuir No.1 - The Saints pressed at the outset, but Reid relieved, and ran the ball well up the field, but his parting shot went over the goal. Another run by Reid resulted in Brown scoring. Scott saved splendidly, and half-time resulted with the "Muir" leading by 1-0. Keeping up the pressure in the second half the home lot had numerous chances, but nothing was gained. The Saints pressed towards the finish but the score remained unaltered. Result - Stenhousemuir No.1 1 goal ; St Mirren 0."

Interestingly both The Falkirk Herald & The Falkirk Mail printed Carron Rangers then Carron Thistle in their articles, I can not be sure which is the correct name.

For all those out there who claim that things are not like they used to be I would just like to quote the following from the Falkirk Mail's Athletic Gossip -

"There have been some complaints regarding the foul language that was heard around the ropes. I heard it on all sides, and as did also some of the committee, who, if they had done the right thing, would have shown the offenders to the outside of the field."

Well what can I say, people swore at the  football then, as they do now, people complained then as they do now, get over it!

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