Friday, 23 May 2014
I came across an article in the Evening News, and saved it as it was to do with Football round about Falkirk, then I had a thought .... it was like - hmmmmm!
The article was about a young bloke who had died as a result of an accident on the football field, and it set me thinking. I had a look through the local papers that I have copies of, and I can not find an earlier fatality due simply to footballing factors in the District. I am pretty sure, but not certain, that it would have been mentioned had it happened anywhere else in Stirlingshire, but I can find nothing.
I have a very rubbish book about British Football, which states the first death due to football in Britain was William Walker of Leith Athletic v Vale of Leven in 1907, but I think they were only counting League & Cup matches. I have tried to look for an earlier death in google, but to no avail.
It is very difficult to look up these things as I can find no footballing/death source to cross reference, but on February 23rd 1889 in a match between Redding Athletic and Southfield at Redding a player by the name of Robert Whyte received a kick to the stomach, he left the field, however his condition worsened over the weekend, finally dying on the Tuesday. There is no match report in the Falkirk Herald [the fact that he died is the only reason I know the match even occurred], and I only have two sources for the aftermath.
Now, I can hear what some of you are thinking, Redding v Southfield [from Slamannan] this is just a kick-around, but both these teams were members of both the Scottish & Stirlingshire FAs, the fact that it was an ordinary match [not quite a friendly, but this was before League Football] is neither here nor there, however it was two Scottish Senior clubs in a tussle for local bragging rights, and Redding would have ended the game with only ten [or less] players.
b c 1866
d 26th February 1899, Redding, Stirlingshire
Known Career - Redding Athletic [????-1899] ["long a member of his club"]
NB - I have had a look at the 1881 Census and can only find a Robert White living in Polmont [Parish], however the IGI has a Robert Whyte born in Polmont [Parish] c 1865, but dying in 1888!