Showing posts with label East Stirlingshire FC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label East Stirlingshire FC. Show all posts

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Stoke v East Stirlingshire - 2nd January 1888

I just came across an "article" about East Stirlingshire's [indeed any club from Stirlingshire's] first venture into foreign climes; when they journeyed south to Stoke-on-Trent to play a return friendly against Stoke on Monday the 2nd of January 1888, as Stoke had opened Merchiston Park at the begining of the Season.

I have no idea who penned this article as he wrote it under the pseudonym "O.P.Que", but he has a very strange turn of phrase, and sometimes I have no idea what he is on about.

WITH THE EAST STIRLINGSHIRE AT STOKE

"Having accepted the kind invitation of the Stoke-on-Trent F.C. to return the visit paid to us in August last, we left Bainsford on Sunday night at 4:45 in a break bound for Larbert Station, where we were to join the Limited Mail, which was to convey us to the pottery town. There were sixteen of us all told, and we sported own native heather, each one seemingly determined to show that he was a "Scottie". At Larbert we entered into possession of a handsome saloon, which was kindly placed at our disposal by the local agent of the Caledonian Railway Company, and we were started on our long journey amidst shouts of encouragement from a large party of our friends who had gone over to see us off. The first part of the journey was passed very pleasantly, a due regard for Sunday observance being strictly enforced by the evil-doer having to run the risk of getting his head smashed with a boot or a bag, and sacred music only being allowed, although, I must admit, we were not too plentifully supplied with it. One member of the party who had been fortifying himself for the journey, proved himself a friend in need, his funniosities keeping the party in the best of spirits, while variety was added by an occasional fight for possession of the good things which a kind friend had thoughtfully provided, and in these engagements the redoubtable Pullar bore a prominent part , but despite his military training, he had very much the worst of the battles.

Carlisle was reached about nine o'clock, and having a short time to wait there, an adjournment was made to the refreshment bar for hot tea or coffee, and in a very few minutes the tables were considerably lightened. At 12 o'clock cards and secular music was added to the programme, and an attack was made on the sandwiches, which this time proved more successful. The mirth and fun grew fast and furious, and when Crewe was reached at 12:40, we were in the midst of a jolly rumpus. At Crewe we were to leave the main line and join that of the North Staffordshire Coy., and having an hour to wait on the connecting train, we indulged in a visit to the refreshment saloon, from which we were expelled after a brief stay. At 1:30 we were surprised to learn that we could not leave Crewe until 7 o'clock, and all attempts to mend this state of matters ended in smoke, we proceeded to make ourselves as comfortable as possible, and also to make plenty of noise. Sleep was impossible, and those who did drop into the arms of Morpheus awaking to find themselves transformed into burnt cork *******. All kinds of amusements were tried, but that six hours' wait at Crewe did not add to our enjoyment, and we dropped a big sigh of relief when the time for our departure arrived.

Stoke was reached at 8:10 A.M., and although we had a most enjoyable ride, 15 hours in a railway carriage did not promise well for our men in the field. Immediately on arriving at Stoke, "tracks" were made for the Copeland Arms Hotel, where apartments had been engaged for the team. After a good wash we felt considerably freshened up after our long journey, and we were in rare form for breakfast, which was served in sumptuous style. On its completion our luggage was stowed away in the different rooms destined to be our homes during our stay. That finished, a stroll round the town was indulged in, and a very curious town it looked too. Everything appeared to be brick, houses and streets alike- in fact, one church and the police station were the only stone houses seen. The fronts of some of the houses were finished off with different coloured bricks, which gave them a very artistic appearance. But when we remembered we were in the centre of the potteries, this great display of bricks was not to be wondered at, although they did look a little curious when put in contrast to the stone houses at home.

"When all was seen that could be seen" during our stroll, an adjournment was made to "Minton's" Pottery, which is said to be the largest and finest of its kind in the world. Mr Lockett, the courteous secy. of the Stoke club, had previously made arrangements for our reception there, and accordingly we were very courteously received at the entrance of tyhe works by the manager, who forthwith proceeded to let us into the mysteries of the potter's art. Proceeding from the gate, we first visited the clay room, where loads upon loads of white clay were stored, which at no very distant time would be formed into every kind of delf known, both useful and ornamental. Proceeding from the clay room, we next entered the handle room, where a lot of boys were engaged making handles for the almost endless variety of dishes which "Minton's" firm turn out. The manufacturers of the handles awakened the liveliest interest amongst our fellows, but as we passed from room to room and saw the beautiful vases, statues, and other costly ware being made by the employees, our interest knew no bounds, and each and all declared that they had never seen anything like it in their lives. But the greatest treat was reserved till near the finish, when on opening a door on the second floor our courteous guide introduced us to the artist's room, that is where the figures and engravings are put on the crockery, and where the hand painting is done. Young girls and old women, young lads and old men were employed here, and the way they executed the beautiful and difficult designs was a treat to be remembered a life-time. The workers, I may mention, were very obliging in explaining the manner in which their work was done, and were not a bit afraid to put themselves to a little inconvenience to thoroughly explain anything not perfectly understood by the company. As a grand final we were introduced to the show-room, where the finished were shown off to advantage. This room is a very large and splendidly lighted , and the manner in which the different articles were grouped together was simply magnificent. However, as the time for our match was drawing near, we had to reluctantly turn our steps towards the gate, and after heartily thanking our guide for his great kindness, we proceeded towards the "Copeland Arms," and in a few minutes after our arrival there preparations were made for the battle.

"Pullar" soon had his men ready, and we forthwith proceeded to the scene of the encounter, where we were met by an enthusiastic crowd numbering over 1500. The ground is a splendid one, and of great size, very level, with a four-laps-to-the-mile cinder track round it. Owing to the recent frost and sudden thaw, the surface was in a very bad state, and it was next to impossible to keep one's footing. The stand is without doubt the finest in England - or Scotland either, for that part. It is built of brick, and covered, so that you feel more like in a theatre than a football field. Shortly after our appearance on the field, rain began to fall, which made matters worse for players and spectators alike. But to the match! Stoke lost the toss, and kicked off a few minutes after the advertised time. The Scotchmen were first to invade, and missed a chance of scoring through the slippery state of the ground. After a visit to the other end, Stoke were again compelled to retire, and twice Rowley saved his charge. Ballham broke away, and Stoke threatened, but the ball went behind. Stoke assailed again, and Sharp, the Scotch custodian, handled twice. A run down by the visitors was then succesful, a shot by Kirkwood beating Rowley, and scoring the first point for East Stirlingshire after ten minutes' play. The locals attacked, but the defence of Mitchell and Wilson remained intact, and a fine passing run was displayed by the visitors carrying the play to the opposite end. Again Stoke went to the front, and Ballham made a grand shot, whilst Brunt rushed up to the goalkeeper and converted the attempt into a goal, equalising the score after twenty minutes' play. Stoke pressed again but Sharp saved, and next the visitors scored again from the foot of Dunn. Stoke were once more the assailants, but their opponents, with a splendid bit of passing, took the leather the length of the ground and Dunn scored a third point. Resuming, both goals were visited, and both goal-keepers preserved their charges intact, the ball alternately from end to end. Owen made a shot which just missed its mark, and immediately the opposing forwards also shot behind. The game was evenly contested during the first half, at the end of which time the game stood: East Stirlingshire 3; Stoke 1. In the second half E.S. showed signs of fatigue, but their splendid combination at times evoked a hearty cheer from the onlookers. However, Stoke put on 6 goals in this half, and won by 7 goals to 3. E.S. were without Doyle, for whom Mitchell played, and Johnston was also absent, his place being taken by Reid. To crown all, Stewart turned sick during the game. Our fellows don't understand the off-side rule as they do in England, as that was the great drawback in the second half. Two goals were disallowed owing to this, and Dunn hardly touched the ball, but the gentleman from Leek blew his whistle.

After the match we proceeded to the hotel and dressed for dinner, which had been provided on a magnificent scale by the Stoke club. We have been at many a splendid feed after a match, but the one we had here put everything previously in the shade. Mr Thomson, the vice-president of the Stoke club, occupied the chair.

The E.S. team remained in Stoke until 11 p.m. on Tuesday night, arriving home on Wednesday morning.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

East Stirlingshire v Glasgow XI - 1887

In the 19th Century Charity matches played by combined teams were far more common than they are these days, especially at the beginning and end of the seasons. The clubs in Falkirk District would often combine to play one of the Glasgow clubs or one of the surrounding counties to add to the coffers of the Falkirk & District Charity Football Association.

These matches were often a bigger draw than anything but the Final of the local Charity Cup competitions because of the 'big names' on view. However 'foreign' combinations also visited the district for the benefit of Charity. East Stirlingshire Fc got in touch with Mr Mackay of the Scottish Umpire to put together a fitting team to raise money for the Falkirk Cottage Hospital. After a couple of call-offs finally the two teams met on Wednesday August 31st 1887.

From the Falkirk Herald 3rd September 1887

GLASGOW TEAM v EAST STIRLINGSHIRE

On Wednesday evening the match for the benefit of the proposed Cottage Hospital (postponed from last week) came off on the ground of the East Stirlingshire at Merchiston Park, Bainsford, when there was a large attendance of spectators, who witnessed a hard-contested game. The weather fortunately for a few hours before and during the match was dry , but the rain which had fallen in the fore part of the day had made the ground a trifle greasy. The Glasgow team arrived a man short - Kirkwood of the ground club filling the vacancy, and the Glasgow team was then made up as follows:- Goal, Chalmers (Rangers); backs, Muir (Rangers) and Buchanan (Cambuslang); half-backs, McIntyre (Rangers) and Cameron (Rangers); forwards, left-wing, Brand (Queen of the South Wanderers) and White (Albion Rovers); centre, Kirkwood (East Stirlingshire) and Robertson (Battlefield); right-wing, Suter (Partick Thistle) and Peacock (Rangers). East Stirlingshire were fully represented. "Tuck" McIntyre having lost the toss Glasgow kicked off, but Johnston returned, and after Chalmers had left his charge to return the ball, twice it was sent wide of the goal. The Glasgow left-wing had a run up the field, but the ball was returned, and Reid had a swift run, but sent wide. A chance took place which might have resulted in a goal, but Dunn left the shooting of the ball to Johnston and vice-versa. A corner was obtained off one of the Glasgow backs, and a shot was sent in to Chalmers, which he cleverly cleared. Again Chalmers had to save, and then Sharp was called on to save a drooping shot from the left at the other end. Then Chalmers had a lively time, and the left wing raised the siege, and a from a shot by Kirkwood a corner was conceded by Inch. Nothing resulted from it, and again at the other end Dunn was in front of goal, when the Cambuslang representative rushed in and kicked it out of the field, thus giving a corner. The goal was cleared, but still the East Stirlingshire kept the play mostly in Glasgow ground till the call of half-time, having several corners and several exciting scrimmages. The ball went every place but through the goal, once or twice striking the bar. During this time the Glasgow team were only twice at Sharp's charge, both visits being of brief duration.
Half-time was called without any scoring.
The second half was immediately started, and a run was made for the Glasgow goal, but the ball was returned and the ball was got near mif-field. They were then checked, and Dunn getting the ball sent a shot into goal, which was rushed through two mins from the start. The Glasgow men wrought hard after this, but could not break the home team's defence. About 15 minutes of the second half had gone when a second goal was scored by E.S. By this time darkness had set in, and the play could only be followed with difficulty. No more scoring took place, although once or twice the cry of "goal" arose when the ball was hovering near the Glasgow goal, which was found to be erroneous. The game thus ended East Stirlingshire 2 Glasgow 0.

Athletic Notes

The match in aid of the proposed Cottage Hospital Fund - notwithstanding many adverse circumstances - may be said to have been a great success. The weather on Wednesday last was not so propitious, as the original date fixed on, but I understand upwards of £17 were drawn at the gate. The Glasgow team, too, was not so strong as was affected, but a look over the names shows it to be a pretty good team, and the East Stirlingshire men are to be congratulated on their victory. The match all through was brimful of interest, as was evinced by the interest manifested by the spectators. The second half was not completed as darkness had set in, and the full hour-and-a-half could not be played. Cameron, of the Rangers, was not of much use in the second half, his leg haven given way; while Honeyman, of the home team, was for some time off the field from a kick which he received. I beg to congratulate Mr Reid on carrying out the project to a successful issue, and hope that since the representatives of other clubs left East Stirlingshire to play the game, they will follow suit by playing matches with the same object in view.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

East Stirlingshire v Stoke - 6th August 1887


From the Falkirk Herald Saturday 13th August 1887.

EAST STIRLINGSHIRE v STOKE

The East Stirlingshire opened their season at Merchiston Park, Bainsford, on Saturday by a match with Stoke-on-Trent, the holders of the Staffordshire Cup. The weather was most unfavourable , rain having fallen heavily for several hours prior to the game commencing, and continuing throughout the whole of the play. This had a very telling effect on the attendance of spectators, and the numbers present would not exceed 1000. The visitors won the toss, and elected to defend the west goal, and McLauchlan kicked off, and from a miss from Reid the visitors got the leather at once well into the home territory, but Wilson and Doyle at back played a fine defence, and the goal was well cleared, and the ball taken into mid-field, where play remained for a time.
Play had gone on for about twenty minutes , when Dunn, from a smart pass by McLauchlan, headed the leather between the uprights, and thus registered the first goal for East Stirlingshire. For about a quarter of an hour East Stirlingshire kept up a most determined attack on the Stoke goal, shot after shot being sent in in rapid succession, but they were as smartly saved by Rowley. A minute from the call of half-time the home team relaxed their pressure, and Bollom, getting away with the leather, ran it right up the field. He made a straight shot for goal, but the leather striking Sharp, the ball rebounded, and on Sharp running out to lift it he slipped, owing to the soft condition of the ground, and Bollom, who had followed it up, touched the leather, and it rolled through between the posts. Half-time was then called, leaving the score at one goal each.
In the second half a lot of hard work was put in by both teams, and, when the game had gone about half an hour, McLauchlan scored a second goal for East Stirlingshire. The visitors tried hard to equalise, but were unable to do so, and time was called, leaving the result - East Stirlingshire, two goals; Stoke, one.
Teams:- Stoke - Goal, Rowley: backs, H.Montford and T.Clave; half backs, E.Smith, G.Shott (Captain) and W.Holford; forwards, right wing, A.Edge and J.Sayer; centre, L.Bollom; left wing, T.Wainwright and J.Owen. East Stirlingshire - Goal, Sharp; backs, Wilson and Doyle; half backs, Inch, Kadie and Johnstone; forwards, right wing, Stewart and Reid; centre, McLauchlan; left wing, Dunn and Honeyman.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Revisionism: the First mention of East Stirlingshire

In History revisionism has a bad name, as if the crusty Victorians were right and anyone with new ideas were wrong. However, luckily football history never really started until the 1920s so we do not have to put up with the same stigma as the new wave of 19th Century social historians did.

I was recently reading a thirty year odd old book about East Stirlingshire, which claimed that the first mention of the club in the press was of a friendly against Dunipace on the 19th of November 1881 [and I will gloss over the fact that the author had missed a report of Armadale v East Stirlingshire in the midweek Falkirk Herald dated 3rd November], but this entire mistruth comes from the fact that the author had clearly only used the Falkirk Herald as a source.

Every football match takes two teams, and so it was that there was an earlier report of an East Stirlingshire match which exists not reported in the Falkirk Herald. Nearly a month before any mention of East Stirlingshire in the Falkirk Herald the West Lothian Courier of the 15th October 1881 carried this:

Armadale v East Stirlingshire

Played at Falkirk, and after a very pleasant and well contested game, resulted in favour of Armadale by two goals to nothing.


I am not saying this is the earliest mention of ESFC in the press, I am simply saying that this is the earliest I have found, and I welcome anybody who revises it to an even earlier date.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Motherwell Thieves

Now I have never been a big fan of Motherwell, either as a town or a Football Club [and don't get me wrong this goes way further back than when that fat, ignorant get Cowan got on the BBC], and it seems there is precedent. Not only is there a dirty thief from Motherwell in the story, he is also a Motherwell player.

I found this doing my usual, looking through matches, to see if any had played for Falkirk.

The Falkirk Herald - 28th April 1900


Like I say, "Motherwell Thieves"

Friday, 7 August 2015

Falkirk & District Charity Cup 1885-86

The second edition of the Falkirk & District Charity Cup was only slightly better organised than the first, and although they had had all season to prepare, it was not until April that the matches were scheduled (pretty soon May would become the exclusive reserve of Charity Competitions). On the playing side the tournament had expanded to six clubs: Laurieston and Comely Park replacing the defunct Tayavalla.

The kicked off with a bit of a whimper, as although Camelon drubbed the faltering Grahamston by five goals to nil, it was Grahamston who lived to fight another day. Whether through lack of foresight or mere insouciance Camelon fielded two players who had appeared for other clubs in cups that season, and in accordance with the rules of the time were deemed ineligible: Camelon were disqualified and Grahamston progressed.

In the other First Round match Laurieston, the perennial whipping boys of the cup, had their baptism of fire conceding seven to Falkirk. Comely Park by comparison fared surprisingly well in the first of the Semi-Finals again against Falkirk only losing 4-1 (I say surprisingly as Comely Park were virtually Falkirk's nursery team at this point, so really ought have been outmatched in every position).

Grahamston, so 'fortunate' in the first round came up against "The Hammer" of East Stirlingshire in the other Semi-Final, the Zebras scoring their seven goals at will.

Although the Final was the one the organisers wanted in order to maximise the audience, it was by all standards a bit of a non-event. The simple fact being that the best team in Falkirk District defeated the second best by the standard three goals to nil. What is more notable is that this was the last 'important'match at Camelon's old ground at Camelon House: after the closed season Camelon had relocated to Victoria Park, and left that part of their history behind them.

For the second, and last, time the Charity Cup Committee selected a representative XI for a further charity match (NB - it never claimed to select the best XI), this time the opposition were Linlithgowshire.

First Round

Saturday April 3rd 1886 at Merchiston Park, Bainsford
Grahamston 0 Camelon 2
[Camelon disqualified for fielding ineligible players]

Saturday April 17th 1886 at Chrichton Park, Falkirk
Falkirk 7 Laurieston 0

Semi-Finals

Saturday May 8th 1886 at Merchiston Park, Bainsford
Falkirk 4 Comely Park 1

Saturday May 15th 1886 at Brockville Park, Falkirk
Grahamston 0 East Stirlingshire 7

Final

Saturday May 29th 1886 at Camelon House, Camelon
Falkirk 0 East Stirlingshire 3

Extra Charity Match

Saturday June 12th 1886 at Brockville Park, Falkirk
Falkirk District XI 1 Linlithgowshire 2

Falkirk & District Charity Cup Home

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Falkirk & District Charity Cup 1884-85

The first edition of the Falkirk & District Charity Cup was a bit of a rushed affair, not so much of an afterthought, yet it was thought up so late in the season that all the arrangements were hurried. I still have no clue about why these five teams were involved and not others, most probably they were simply looking at club size.

The Falkirk Herald - Edition Sat Mar 7th 1885

"The ... business disposed of was the fixing of the clubs to compete for the cup this season. The following were selected:- East Stirlingshire, Falkirk, Camelon, Tayavalla and Grahamston. It was unanimously settled that the proceeds of the competition for the cup should be divided amongst the the charitable institutions of the district."

The Cup served at least to show the last death throws of Tayavalla, this never mighty club, in their last competitive match, were absolutely steam-rollered by the also never mighty Grahamston in the inaugural match. Sadly this must rank as the pinnacle in Grahamston's history, which just about sums up the impact Grahamston had on history, even locally.

First Round

Wednesday April 15th 1885 at Brockville Park, Falkirk
Grahamston 9 Tayavalla 0

Semi-Finals

Saturday April 25th 1885 at Brockville Park, Falkirk
East Stirlingshire 5 Grahamston 0

Saturday May 2nd 1885 at Merchiston Pk, Bainsford
Falkirk 1 Camelon 2

Final

Saturday May 9th 1885 at Brockville Park, Falkirk
East Stirlingshire v Camelon
[Match abandoned after 77 minutes, score - 2-0 to ESFC]

Saturday May 16th 1885 at Brockville Park, Falkirk
East Stirlingshire 1 Camelon 1

Final Replay

Saturday May 23rd 1885 at Brockville Park, Falkirk
East Stirlingshire 2 Camelon 1

Extra Charity Match

Saturday May 30th 1885 at Brockville Park, Falkirk
Falkirk District XI 0 Rangers 4

Falkirk & District Charity Cup Home

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Lost Grounds of Falkirk District - Merchiston Park

I asked Drummond Calder of The East Stirlingshire Supporters Society to write a piece on the 'Shire's old ground Merchiston Park, knowing that he would have researched in far more detail than I would ever get round to doing, and he did not dissapoint. -




Action Shot from (New) Merchiston Park



Merchiston Park was the home to East Stirlingshire from the 1880s to the 1920s and is actually the story of 3 grounds. East Stirlingshire had previously played at Burnhouse and then at Randyford before returning back to Bainsford in March or April 1882. The club’s 3rd ground, which they played on from then until the end of season 1882/83, was basically a playing field in Bainsford which was rented from Mungal Farm.


At the start of season 1883/84 East Stirlingshire had moved again to their 4th ground, which was adjacent to one they had just vacated, and it was formally opened with a match against Our Boys (from Dundee). This east/west ground was rented from the owner of Mungal Farm, James Young, who would shortly afterwards become the Baillie for the Northern Ward of the town which included Bainsford. He was also the club’s 1st President from at least May 1883. Initially the ground was just a playing field but the club gradually improved it. Originally it did not having a name (it was known only as “the ground at Bainsford”) by the end of season 1885/86 it was referred to as “Bainsford Park”. At the end of that season extensive ground improvements were made, including levelling the pitch, and from the start of season 1886/87 the ground was formally named Merchiston Park with the club playing a friendly against Aston Villa in August 1886 to celebrate the occasion. Merchiston Park during its’ history did have a “Match box” stand but after the great Ibrox disaster in 1902 along with other clubs in the district (Falkirk excepted) it was condemned. In the early years on the 20th Century Bainsford was continuing to be developed rapidly and one consequence was that the ground had to make way for a railway line to an iron foundry. So at the end of season 1905/06 the ground closed its gates for the last time.


Edinburgh Evening Telegraph - Thursday August 26th 1886


After losing their ground to the railway line over the 1906 close season the club moved back to the playing area used by the club from March/April 1882 to April 1883 (East Stirlingshire’s 3rd ground) and built a new ground, their 5th, called New Merchiston Park (though latterly it was just known as Merchiston Park). New Merchiston Park was a substantially more developed from the playing field that was the 3rd ground, it would been more like some of the more basic Junior grounds we find today (without the toilets !). The club would play at this ground from of start season 1906/07 to the end of 1920/21 when once again they were forced to find a new ground. The East Stirlingshire club booklet gives us the following information about what happened after the club moved from Randyford back to Bainsford which confirmed the link between the 3rd and 5th grounds;


“...after which they took up their quarters at Merchiston Park, on the identical site of the field which they were forced to leave two years ago. This fact is known to only a few of the present-day followers of the club, whose reminiscences go no further back than the time when East Stirlingshire played on the pitch slightly to the north, which had to be vacated in 1907 owing to the construction of a new railway.”


The following two maps show the actual locations of the club’s grounds from March/April 1882 to May 1921 (Grounds 3 to 5).

The first Ordnance Survey map from 1897 shows the location for Ground 4 (Merchiston Park). The basin just south of the ground was Burnhouse Basin. Church Street, to the East of the ground is the current Smith Street. The ground was entered from the East side through Black Close, just off the Bainsford Main Street.
 



The following 1922 Ordnance Survey map shows the location of Ground 5 (New Merchiston Park) that the club played on and this area was also where Ground 3 was situated. Note the location of Mungal Cottage (where the club’s’ first President, James Young, lived) in the top left-hand corner of the map. It can be seen that the ground was situated south of the 4th ground and was a lot closer to the canal. The railway line where the old ground was can be seen as well. The ground was directly north of Burnbank Iron Foundry and the east side of the ground backed onto Burnhouse Basin.





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!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

East Stirlingshire 1890/91


Sterling work [or luck] by the folk over there at 'Shire Towers in coming across a long lost picture of one of the mighty Zebra teams from the 19th Century, especially for me as it includes two former Falkirk players [Michael Harley & John Mercer] of whom I had no pictures, my only surprise was there were only two players that played for both teams in the picture [Michael's wee brother Tom was with the ES for example]. During this era, I doubt if I have ever come across a team pic from either club that did not have at least one player who had played for both teams.

NB - After posting this, I noticed the picture also included Harry Reid [who played in 4 friendlies for Falkirk FC, so I am slightly happier].


However the best [and often most annoying] thing about images of football players is their strips. Until you look at it closely few things are obvious. Then look at Johnnie Mercer ..... The only thing that gives him away as a goalkeeper is a slight variance in the collar of his shirt. Then look at their shorts, never mind that they are knee-length, that is just fashion, the first thing that struck me is that they all have pockets!! Of course, there would be no major dealers in football strips, so apart from the shirts, the players would doubtless be wearing converted workwear. The third part of the strip which to me was conspicuous, is striking by its absence. Apart from a couple of players, and then only just, I cannot see a pair of socks: stockings made up part of the club colours which were listed in the SFA Annuals of the time! Never mind the fact that it is now against the laws to wear shin-pads over the socks.

Finally, a couple of little things for the purists, the fad for wearing caps was ebbing away, apart from Archie Ritchie rightly showing off his newly earned Scotland Cap, only Kadie is wearing a cap, yet several could have worn their Stirlingshire caps. There is no club insignia anywhere, in fact apart from things that only a fan or a historian could have known, there is no way of knowing which club it is and when it was taken! Finally, who is the Captain? I am guessing David Alexander, not because he is front and centre [he was a Centre-Forward after all] but because of his proximity to the ball, but that is still just a guess.

Read more over at the official East Stirlingshire Website.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Stirlingshire Coronation Tournament 1902


In 1902 the Stirlingshire FA organised a seperate Competition on the same lines as the Stirlingshire Cup, It seems to have been in part to celebrate the Coronation, however the proceeds were given to the Ibrox Disaster Fund. I have never found an official name for this competition, so I made up the name above.

The ccup was rather hastily arranged, so the first round was a bit of a disaster, only two games taking place, both between Alloa Athletic & Falkirk, both draws leading Falkirk to withdraw [we had just joined the League and had more important fixtures to fulfill], in the other ties King's Park scratched to East Stirlingshire and Falkirk Amateurs scratched to Stenhousemuir.

At least the Semi-Finals were competed, with East Stirlingshire beating Camelon by a single goal and Stenhousemuir beating Alloa by 3-1 in Alloa.

So for the the big [semi] local final, naw, it was a drab affair by all accounts, ESFC again winning by the only goal of the match, but then again that it is all it takes.

So, in the summing up of all mankind at the end of times, at least ESFC will be able to meet their maker in the eye and say "We were the one and only winner of the Stirlingshire Coronation Tournament" [or whatever it was officially called].

I have put the results on Brian McColl's brilliant Scottish Football Historical Archive site.