Showing posts with label Arbroath FC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arbroath FC. Show all posts

Sunday, 3 December 2017

The Curious Case of Johnny Dora

I wrote a blog post about John Dora a long time back, he was a Centre-Forward Falkirk signed from Arbroath who scored 2 goals in 3 games before breaking his leg and disappearing from the game.

The very little information about him was confusing, for example the Falkirk Herald said he was Italian, while the Arbroath Herald had stated he was born in Arbroath but his parents were from Italy.

Anyway, since his playing career was just under a century ago, this means that most of the usual sources [censuses etc] are still confidential, so I had sort of given up on finding more details without stumbling over it.

So I was a bit surprised when I was sent an e-mail the other day, written in Italian and titled "John Dora o Giovanni Dorà" it linked to an article on the history of Borgotaro Football.

In one of the chapters it tells the story of Borgotarese player Giovanni 'Johnny' Dorà being called up to play in the Italian Championship for Parma in 1925.

In the text of the article Johnny is described as "Tall, wiry, in his long stays in Scotland [he] had learned the game of foot-ball managing to graft into his Latin fantasy, the solidity and the concreteness of the British style." and that "Some time later, while in the newspapers there was talk of the interest of Bologna and Inter, Dorà returned to Scotland." [apologies for the translation].

So the Dorà that played for Borgotarese and Parma certainly had Scottish Connections but it is unclear where he was from, and even if this was the same person. but there is clearly something there.

Crucially in the article there was a picture of a Johnny wearing a Parma top.

The best picture I have of John Dora was from 1930 and there are certainly facial similarities, although this could just be a family likeness.

Last night I had a good dig about the internet looking for more info, and luckily Italian wikipedia had more, though it is interesting to note that the Italian Wiki is as flawed as the English one.

Giovanni Dorà it claims was born in Borgo Val di Taro [Borgotaro] on the 29th of May 1905, and that he was a defender, however on a website on the history of Serie A where line-ups are given, he is only ever listed in the Inside-Left or Centre-Forward positions [even though by this time Italian Football was under the influence of the Danubian School, it was not so radically different that a number 10 was playing in defence].

So there we are, in 1925 the Arbroath papers said that John Dora had joined Ardenlea from Parkhouse Half-Holiday, while the Italian papers are carrying reports of Giovanni Dorà joining Parma from Borgotarese: it was not unknown for Scottish-Italians to split their time between the two countries back then, it is well documented that Peter Cabrelli split his time between Scottish & Italian football. Until I find something definitive it will have to remain in the possibly category.


I had a wider root about in the newspapers for more information, and found an obituary in the Press &  Journal of 8 February 1971. Although it doesn't really clear things up, it backs up his birthplace as being Arbroath, but it claims that he ended his football career with Parma, rather than the other way around, of course he could have had two different spells at Parma!

I have now had confirmation from the family that the date of birth on the Italian Wikipedia page is correct, however the place of birth was incorrect, he was indeed born in Arbroath.

John Paul Dora

b 29th May 1905, Arbroath, Forfarshire
d February 1971, Arbroath, Angus

Known Career – Parkhead Half-Holiday, Arbroath Ardenlea [1925/26-1928/29], Borgotarese [1925/26], Parma [1925/26], Arbroath [1929/30], Falkirk [1929/30]

Parma Debut – Sunday October 25th 1925 v Reggiana (H) Campionato Italiano, Lega Nord, Girone B
Positions - Inside-Left, Centre-Forward
Campionato Italiano Matches/Goals [12/-]

Arbroath Debut – Saturday August 10th 1929 v Clydebank (H) Scottish League Division 2
Positions – Centre-Forward
Scottish League Division 2 Matches/Goals [21/15]
Scored a Hat-Trick on his Debut.

Falkirk Debut – Saturday January 18th 1930 v Buckie Thistle (A) Scottish Cup 1st Rd
Falkirk League Debut – Saturday January 25th 1930 v Morton (A) Scottish League Division 1
Positions – Centre-Forward
Scottish League Division 1 Matches/Goals [1/1]
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [2/1]

NB - Thanks to Arbroath FC for putting this on their Facebook page, without which ...

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Peter Cabrelli

Yet another Italo-Scot from North of the Tay [I have a certain fondness for Italo-Scots by virtue of 'being one' just the grandparents were the wrong way round for me to get a cool name], who came south to play for Falkirk.

Peter Cabrelli started off as a nippy wee Inside-Left in School football in Dundee before moving swiftly into the Tayside junior scene with Dundee Osborne. He was soon picked up by Dundee FC but never managed to break into the first team. He knew the score and quickly moved onto Forfar where he started to show what he could do. During his period at Forfar Peter also spent time with family back in Italy where he played matches with Borgotaro, Genoa & Ambrosiana Milano [better know today as Inter, but Mussolini had impelled clubs to use 'Italian' names], it was reported in the Courier at the time that the Milan club offered him profesional terms as a player/coach but he turned them down due to commitments at home.

Peter Cabrelli after signing for Dundee in 1930

Soon the clubs came scouting in Forfar trying to lure him down South, Chelsea and Manchester United being amongst the big names mentioned, but when it came to signing his first full-time deal he made the only obvious choice: turning down such fly-by-night teams to take a chance at being allowed to play on the hallowed turf that was Brockville Park.

Peter Cabrelli with Falkirk in 1935

Peter was moderately succesful in a pretty poor Falkirk side which was facing what would be their first ever relegation. Peter started the next season at Inside-Left but soon found his place being taken by David Cowan [who was it must be said a more consistent scorer] and instead of staying on the sidelines Peter finished the season on loan to King's Park.

Falkirk had signed more forwards for the next season and knowing he could not be guaranteed a first team place Peter moved on to Raith Rovers, who crucially moved him to the position he would later become better known for, they played him as a Left-Half. Peter remained with Raith until the war, when he was called up for national service.

Throughout the war he seems to have played a lot of football, not all of which I have been able to track down. Along with Raith and a season with St Mirren, he played throughout the length & breadth of the UK depending on where he was stationed or when he was on leave. The clubs he played for that I have come across were Dundee United, Consett, Halifax Town, Millwall, Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Bradford City, Bradford Park Avenue & Reading.

After the war Peter played the first full peacetime season with Dundee United before winding down with Arbroath then Montrose. But although ending senior profesional football in the 40s Peter continued playing. In particular with the lovely named Dundee Juventus in the Dundee Half-Holiday League

Peter Cabrelli

b 23rd October 1910, Dundee, Angus
d 14th December 1994, Dundee, Angus

Height - 5 ft 7½ in: Weight 11 st 6 lbs [1935]

Forfar Athletic
Scottish League Division 2 Matches/Goals [96/19]
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [4/-]

Scottish League Division 1 Matches/Goals [11/-]
Scottish League Division 2 Matches/Goals [9/2]
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [6/1]

King's Park
Scottish League Division 2 Matches/Goals [9/4]
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [2/1]

Raith Rovers
Scottish League Division 1 Matches/Goals [37/1]
Scottish League Division 2 Matches/Goals [66/-]
Scottish League Division East Matches/Goals [27/1]
Scottish North-Eastern League Matches/Goals [1/-]
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [7/-]
Other Matches/Goals [4/4]

Dundee United
Scottish League Division East Matches/Goals [3/1]
Scottish North-Eastern League Matches/Goals [2/-]
Scottish League Division B Matches/Goals [14/1]
Southern League Cup Matches/Goals [4/-]
Victory Cup Matches/Goals [1/1]

St Mirren
Scottish Southern League Matches/Goals [30/1]

Scottish League Division B Matches/Goals [1/-]

Known Career
Scottish League Division 1 Matches/Goals [48/1]
Scottish League Division 2 Matches/Goals [195/27]
Scottish League Division East Matches/Goals [30/2]
Scottish North-Eastern League Matches/Goals [3/-]
Scottish Southern League Matches/Goals [30/1]
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [14/1]
Southern League Cup Matches/Goals [4/-]
Victory Cup Matches/Goals [1/1]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [6/1]
Other Matches/Goals [4/4]
Known Matches/Goals [335/38]

Known Career – Dundee Crescent, Dundee Osborne, Dundee [1929/30-1930/31], Forfar Athletic [1931/32-1934/35], Borgotaro, Genoa, Ambrosiana Milano, Falkirk [1934/35-1935/36], King's Park [1935/36], Raith Rovers [1936/37-1945/46], Dundee United [1939/40], St Mirren [1942/43], Consett [WWII], Halifax Town [WWII], Millwall [WWII], Arsenal [WWII], Crystal Palace [WWII], Bradford City [WWII], Bradford Park Avenue [WWII], Reading [WWII], Dundee United [1945/46], Arbroath [1946/47], Montrose [1946/47-1947/48], Dundee Juventus.

Monday, 7 October 2013

John Dora - What if?

In 1929, Falkirk having sold the record breaking Centre-Forward Evelyn Morrison were looking about for somebody who could replace the 40+ goals Morrison had scored the season before. Not an easy task in anybody's book, but Falkirk's eyes were upon a new young Arbroath Centre-Forward John Dora who was just fresh from Junior Football himself.

Having caught the eye with Arbroath Victoria and previously with Arbroath Ardenlea, Dora was trialled with Arbroath towards the end of the 1928/29 season impressing enough to be signed by for his hometown club for the next season. By the time Falkirk came looking for their replacement John had scored 15 goals in 21 games in Division 2 which is pretty impressive for someone so new to the senior game. No sums were mentioned in the press for the transfer so it was probably nominal if anything.

John got off to a flying start scoring on his debut match for his new club away at Buckie Thistle in the First Round of the Scottish Cup [Jan 18th 1930], a week later at Greenock he scored again on his League debut, it looked like Falkirk had done a bit of remarkably astute transfer wheeler-dealing for a change. The following week he was again included at number 9, this time his first match at Brockville Park, and for the only time in his time at Falkirk he failed to score. Because this was the last match he played for the club, and it would seem the last game of football he ever played: in a midweek Reserves Match he broke his leg which seems to have ended his playing days.

He remained nominally on the playing staff until 1932/33 and there were rumours in some of the Angus press of an attempted comeback but his playing days were over.

From an Italian background it would seem he returned to Arbroath to work in the family restaurant on Arbroath High Street. After serving his time in the Navy during WWII John [in common with his father] divided his time between the restaurant and pidgeon racing at which he seems to have been quite successful.

All in all his senior career lasted less than a complete season, less than a callendar year, but he managed to score 18 goals in only 27 games, when only just out of the juniors. Like I said in the title, what if? Of course it is a stupid question, but who can say.