Showing posts with label David Reid. Show all posts
Showing posts with label David Reid. Show all posts

Monday, 3 June 2013

Falkirk FC Managers - David Reid


Although the term 'manager' has been used in football since the beginning of professional football the role of the position has changed greatly over that time. In the case of Falkirk FC the earliest character at the centre of the running of the club was the Secretary [there being no manager, whose title evolved into Secretary-Manager before finally just becoming the Manager]. But the simple fact there has always a single chap around whom the club revolved. Initially he was an ordinary member elected for the upcoming season at the AGM, a couple only lasted a season or two, Robert Bishop came and went four times due to his work commitments in the real world, and it was not really until William Nicol [1900/01-1923/24] that it became a serious permanent paid position.

The secretary's role at the club was also different, he was involved more broadly in the running of the club [which was after all, for a long time a gentleman's amateur sporting club whom anyone could join if they paid their annual dues] his jobs included chasing up late payments of club dues, arranging fixtures with other clubs, arranging the club's annual sports day and making sure the bills were paid [though this job was shared with the treasurer]. Strangely the one thing he was not responsible for was the selection of the team on a week by week basis [in the case of Falkirk this was left in the hands of a selection panel [also elected at the AGM] of either five or seven members, though it must be said that the secretary had the casting vote when needed. The Secretary had the duty of sending those selected a postcard informing them so [oh I wish I could find some of those poscards].

Needless to say the shift from amateurism to professionalism, then the further need for 'results on the pitch' meant a shedding of those wider roles and a concentration upon first team affairs, until we get to the point where we are today.

I give this background info to the role of the football manager through history in order to bring you the curious case of the death of Falkirk's second full-time Manager – David Reid.

David Reid was thrust into the role of Falkirk Manager with the death of William Nicol [he died on the 9th of February 1924 during a Scottish Cup 2nd Round game with East Fife] and at the time Falkirk was a relatively strong Division 1 side, with some great names in the history of the club on their books.

Over the course of the next three seasons Falkirk gained in strength year on year, and although some good players had to be sold down south [few clubs in Scotland could resist, then as now, the sums offered by English League clubs] these were replaced by players who were equally up to the job from Division 2, Northern England, Ireland and especially from the Junior ranks.

It was on a scouting trip when David Reid died, he died at about 2 o'clock on the 29th of October 1927 at Thornhill Junction Station on his way to a Fife Junior Cup match to watch a potential signing... Nothing surprising about a football manager going to watch a potential signing I hear you think, but here is the thing. This could never happen nowadays. Because if you check the dates you might notice that Falkirk were due to play Clyde in a League match at Brockville an hour later.

Unthinkable in our time, but if you mull it over, it kind of makes sense, the team had been picked, and the captain ran the team on the pitch [in the 1920s substitutes were a long way in the future], there was little tactical fluency [all clubs played a form of 2-3-5, yes some centre-halves played deep while others were more central midfielders, some wing-halves overlapped the winger whilst others kept back, and some centre-forwards were out-and-out penalty box players whilst others laid off and brought the Inside-Forwards into play much more, but this was often more reliant upon the skills of the players available than upon tactical nuance], so there was little the manager could do once the whistle had blown. And in a time when few games kicked off at other than 3 o'clock on a Saturday there was no better time to scout.

In comparison with other managers of the era he never really got a chance to build his own Falkirk side, but the one he was building seemed to be improving. Below is his record as manager [including the posthumus match against Clyde], it is not outstanding, but had been improving season upon season.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Scottish League Div 1
138
51
34
53
223
211
Scottish Cup
17
10
3
4
40
15
Dunedin Cup
6
-
2
4
4
10
Dewar Shield
4
3
-
1
4
3
Stirlingshire Cup
9
6
-
3
23
14
Stirlingshire Consolation Cup
4
2
-
2
4
6
Falkirk Infirmary Shield
7
3
2
2
21
10
Friendlies etc
8
1
3
4
15
22
Total
193
76
44
73
334
291