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

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Lost Football Grounds of Falkirk District - Blinkbonny Park

For most of this week I have been looking for the location of Falkirk FC's second permanent home: Blinkbonny Park. All of my life the only Blinkbonny Park in Falkirk has been a public space between Gartcows Road and the railway line close to the High Station. Now there is a substantial problem with this being the ground where Falkirk played teams such as Dumbarton and Renton in Scottish Cup matches over nearly three and a half seasons, namely that most of the sporting references to this Blinkbonny Park in the local press are about tobogganing!


Yes, it has a very pronounced slope.

The biggest problem that we have is that Falkirk played at Blinkbonny almost exactly halfway between the 1860 and 1896 OS surveys, so the ground is missing from the best sources available. A secondary problem is that Blinkbonny [and variant spellings] is a somewhat common name, so much so that there was another one [and another Blinkbonny Park] in the district, in Slamannan. So sorting out which references were to which Blinkbonny/ie took time and patience, plus the multiple references to sales of Turnips at Blinkbonny Farm never once mentioned its location.


Blinkbonnie, and Blinkbonnie Park, Slamannan 1896.

Therefore, as ever, you have to look wider than the football to find the parts of the jigsaw puzzle not staring you in the face. And so some five years after Falkirk FC had moved to Brockville, in 1890, Falkirk Town Council started looking for a suitable piece of land in order to create a public park for the residents of the town. In the reports of the Falkirk Herald of the time it was reported that they had had several possibilities and had sounded out the landowners as to the terms were a purchase to be necessary: among the possibilities was Blinkbonny.

On Saturday April 19th 1890 the FH reported that

 "... the committee were strongly of opinion that they could not get a better site for a park than the ground at Blinkbonny. It was splendidly situated, and its only drawback was its distance from the town. The Committee had visited Blinkbonny, and they were of opinion that if they could get that part lying to the west of the road leading to Greenhorn's Well, it would make a splendid park. The land was very similar to the town's muir, and if they could make arrangements with Mr Forbes [of Callendar] in the way of excambion, they might get the one for the other. The land had special advantages for a public park. In one corner was situated Greenhorn's Well, and near it was a natural hollow, which by being flooded, would make a splendid skating pond. ... The northern boundary ran along the Bantaskin wall, and formed a natural boundary".

The simple fact that they were looking at the land west of Greenhorn's Well, and that Blinkbonny was bounded to the South by the Railway Line and to the North by the Bantaskine Estate, and stretching from Drossie Road presumably to the estate of Glenfuir House means that Blinkbonny (Park) in the 1880s and 1890s was much bigger than the current park.


The area known to Falkirk Bairns as Blinkbonny in the late 19th Century

This, though, is still a huge piece of land, and just because a passer-by in 1882 would notice the throng of a football match, means nothing to anybody nowadays, the entire area is built over by the Windsor Road housing estate, and very little of it looks remotely suitable for a Scottish Cup Match.

And it was here that I was incredibly fortunate in coming across an article about a dispute over several 'rights of way' which were regularly used by Camelonites going to and from the different parts of Falkirk. In the summer of 1891 some of these 'rights of way' were blocked by the landowners and it took the law to settle which parties were in the right.

The single most important path/right of way here

"opens from the southern bank of the Forth & Clyde Canal near to Lock 16, at Glenfuir Lodge and passes between the estates of Glenfuir and Bantaskin, and thence through the estate of Callendar, joining Maggie Wood's Loan, near Blinkbonny. The thoroughfare is still open from the entrance at Glenfuir Lodge till a point a little beyond East Bantaskin pit, a new working which is presently being formed". [Falkirk Herald Sat 25th July 1891]

The part here from the Lodge to the mine is shown clearly as a path on the 1860 map, and equates exactly with modern day Blinkbonny Road.


1860 - Ordnance Survey


2017 - Google Maps

And the second part of the 'right of way' from the East Bantaskin Pit [renamed Camelon Pit No. 2 when opened in 1895] to Maggie Wood's Loan follows the path, almost exactly of the current Windsor Road.


1896 - Ordnance Survey & 2016 - Bing Maps Hybrid from the marvellous NLS Maps Site.

The reason that the course of this 'right of way' is so important to Falkirk fans and Scottish Football historians in general is what the Falkirk Herald went on to report.

"On Wednesday one of our representatives visited the district, and passed along the disputed road. Judging from its appearance, it appeared to have been in use for a considerable period. At one side of the thoroughfare is a hedge, while the other side is not fenced. The road does not appear to have been largely used of late, judging from its grassy surface. It passes along the north side of the park which was formerly occupied by the Falkirk Football Club, and when matches were played at Blinkbonny a great number of the spectators came from Camelon and Lock 16 by the road which has now been closed. Since the club left Blinkbonny the road has been chiefly used as a nearer approach to the High Station, and if it be closed great inconvenience will, it is stated, be caused to those who have been in the habit of using it for that purpose. ... our representative was informed that the road was formerly known as "the old mill road" and was largely used by people going to the Union Canal and the High Station".

If I have added everything correctly, and not misread everything, this would put the Blinkbonny Park somewhere in the vicinity of Balmoral Street, Falkirk - Google Street View.

After Falkirk FC left Blinkbonny the ground was taken over by Erin Rovers [who themselves were born out of Falkirk Harp] the local "Irish" team who did not last for much more than a season.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

David McNair - Falkirk FC 1879-1881

Now, every so often I come across an obituary of a Falkirk player, it makes me smile.


Well, yes he played for Falkirk, back in 1879, he played.I have always hated the Post-war glitterati, those who loved Pele because he played in the sixties, without recognising Artur Friedenreich who came before.

I have huge appreciation for playeys who played for Falkirk before Professionalism.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Falkirk CC v Falkirk FC - 28th May 1887

Well, yes, there is a very good reason why Falkirk FC stuck to football.


Though, it must be said that Harry Smith, Falkirk CC's opening bat & leg spinner, was also an old Falkirk footballer..

Friday, 24 June 2016

Robert Hamilton - President of Falkirk FC 1908

I know I normally post about football players, and to be fair it is because there is not very much of interest to say about football club board members or directors or whatever. And rightly so. But I found this bit from the FH in 1908, and the article says that the Falkirk Football Club President was a player with Zetland Swifts in his youth so that is good enough.



Saturday, 14 May 2016

Falkirk Footballers v Grangemouth Footballers 1879

I cannot be 100% sure, but I think I may have found the first occasion in which Falkirk FC took part in a sporting occasion outside of football. The following cutting was in the Falkirk Herald of Thur 6th February 1879, and relates to a curling match in Grangemouth.


The difficulty in asserting this is pretty obvious though: for a start "Footballers of Falkirk" is not the same thing as Falkirk Football Club. On the other hand there is no record of other football going on in Falkirk at the time. There is also the fact that there was a Grangemouth Football Club at this time [however they played their football with the oval ball], and that there was contact between the two clubs is beyond doubt, due to the fact that the Peddie brothers played for both clubs.

So all in all I think that it is most likely that the two local clubs, in the middle of the season, instead of playing a match at one or other code of football, had a friendly competition in a completely different sport.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Daniel Daye: The Falkirk player who seems not to exist.

What's in a name? Throughout his time at Falkirk one player was listed as Daye, Day, Daze and Dey. His name was mostly written as Daniel Daye though, and that is how I call him. But the simple fact is that when I go back through the records, there is next to no record of any Daniel Day.

I did find a record of the death of Daniel Day [no obituary].


Add this to the fact that there is a Falkirk player called Daniel Daye regularly listed as Centre-Forward in the 1890s of whom I even have a photograph.


Then why when I look through the census, do I get this result?


That there was a centre-forward playing under the name of Daniel Daye in the 1890s there is no doubt [just look up the Falkirk Heralds of the time], that there was a Daniel Daye before 1945 I have no evidence.

There was a family that lived on Canal Street, Camelon, who were mentioned in an 1891 Falkirk Herald as Daye -


Yet are listed in the 1881 census as Day!


But still there is no Daniel! I know, perhaps it was a middle name, but which son? How do I know this was even the correct family?

Until something comes Deus Ex Machina, I fear I will never truly solve the Enigma of the Daniel Day that seemingly never existed.


Daniel Daye

d 21st October 1945, Falkirk, Stirlingshire?

Debut – Saturday August 31st 1889 v Campsie (A) Friendly
Competitive Debut – Saturday September 28th 1889 v King's Park (H) Scottish Cup 2nd Rd

Positions – Centre-Forward

Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1889/90, Falkirk District Charity Cup W 1889/90, Falkirk Infirmary Shield RU 1889/90, 1890/91, Stirlingshire 2nd XI Cup W 1891/92

Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [3/1]
Scottish Federation Matches/Goals [5/-]
Stirlingshire Cup Matches/Goals [7/8]
Falkirk & District Charity Cup Matches/Goals [3/2]
Falkirk Infirmary Shield Matches/Goals [3/1]
Other Matches/Goals [33/21]
Stirlingshire 2nd XI Cup Matches/Goals [5/3]

Known Career – Falkirk Excelsior, Falkirk [1889/90-1892/93]

Notes
Played for Laurieston v Kilsyth Wanderers, Friendly at Garrell Garden Pk, Kilsyth, 17th September 1892
Scored five goals in the Stirlingshire Cup Final v Gairdoch (N) 8th March 1890

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Robert Stalker 1904/05

Continuing my informal series on former Falkirk players who ended up on the other side of the Atlantic I bring what little I know about Robert J. Stalker, a man of several clubs but comparatively few games.

Seemingly born in the Newington area of Edinburgh, as far as I can find out the earliest football played by Bob was with Edinburgh Myrtle in East of Scotland Junior football, where he had impressed enough for Queen's Park to pick him up in 1903/04. From the middle of December he played regularly with the Spiders in Inside-Forward and Center-Forward positions for the next month, playing 6 and scoring twice while at Mount Florida.

Whether or not Hibs actually signed him next or simply played him is unknown. I have no way of knowing whether he was a fixture in the reserves in between his 2 appearances for the club, or whether he was a "free man". The latter is possible, especially in the light that his matches were in two different seasons. Robert had scored on his debut, but neither this nor his second game [both, incidentally against Kilmarnock] were enough to convince those in charge that he was worth continuing with [it must be said that he was about 25 by this time].

Curiously enough, four weeks after his last appearance for Hibs, Robert was in the Hearts line-up against Hibs on the 29th Oct 1904 for what seems to be his only appearance for the Jambos.

His situation at Hearts was clearly only temporary [perhaps a loan?] because on Christmas Eve 1904 Robert Stalker was now playing Centre-Forward for Falkirk at Abercorn [scoring twice], and there he stayed for the next three matches until Jan 14th 1905 [scoring another brace v Albion Rovers the previous week].

Yet, within the week the SFA has Bob listed as signing for his fourth team of the season [it is now impossible to play for more than two without UEFA's special permission], when he turned out for Motherwell in two league matches.

Toward the end of the season an R.Stalker again played for Falkirk v St Bernards in an East of Scotland League match, this was probably the same player but I am not 100% sure.

From this point on it seems that he disappeared from senior football in Scotland, and apart from a single game for St Bernards in the 1907 Roseberry Charity Cup possibly from all football [though I suspect he may have returned to the junior folds], suggesting that football was not his first priority.

So, what to make of such a short and transient career? There are two possibilities. 1) going on from his time that he was with Queen's Park, Robert was an amateur with employment elsewhere which did not allow him to devote the time to full-time football, but was good enough for several clubs to desire his services where and when or 2) after his time at QP he signed for Hibernian who after failing to find a place for him subsequently loaned him out to whoever needed him for the rest of the season.

While the former sounds nice and romantic, the fact that he effectively dissappeared from football after 1904/05 seems that he either was too busy in his 'other' employment or that he never found a place in football [whether through injury or lack of ability I cannot tell], but it points toward the latter.

Nearly two decades after his time in football [1926] I found Robert on a ship's manifest from Scotland to Boston, he described himself as a 46 year old 'house-painter' and gave his previous address as '2 Merchiston Place, Edinburgh", within 4 years he is found in the Philadelphia Census, and was then a 51 year old 'golf professional'.

This raises the possibility that he was mainly a golfer [and not a footballer] in his youth, possibly explaining his sporadic appearances, and it is to an extent borne out by his obituary in the Philadelphia Inquirer [December 13th 1930] which stated that he was "the coach for Andrew Jamieson who defeated Bobby Jones in 1926."

But the simple fact is that his passing went, as far as I can tell, largely unnoticed by the majority of Scottish Football, however, he hardly set Scottish Football on fire.


Sunderland Echo - Mon 12th January 1931

Robert Stalker

b 1879-1880, Edinburgh
d 11th December 1930, Abington, Pennsylvania, USA

Positions – Centre-Forward, Inside-Left, Inside-Right

Known Career

Edinburgh Myrtle

Unknown

Queen's Park [1903/04]
Scottish League Matches/Goals [6/2]

Hibernian [1903/04-1904/05]
Scottish League Matches/Goals [2/1]

Heart of Midlothian [1904/05]
Scottish League Matches/Goals [1/-]

Falkirk [1904/05]
Scottish League Matches/Goals [4/4]
EoS League Matches/Goals [1/-]

Motherwell [1904/05],
Scottish League Matches/Goals [2/-]

St Bernards [1906/07]
Roseberry Charity Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]

Height – 5” 7½'

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Joshua Cochrane 1894

I recently found a drawing of Joshua Cochrane, the former Falkirk & Grahamston centre-half in the St Paul Daily Globe [24/5/1894]. The drawing is of him playing "McStuart, traitorous scot" in Rob Roy, which was held at the Grand Opera House, St Paul on Saturday 19th May 1894




Falkirk Herald 28th September 1889




Joshua Cochrane 

b 15th January 1869, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

d 20th April 1955, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA


Debut – Saturday January 5th 1889 v Clydesdale Harriers (H) Friendly

Competitive Debut – Saturday September 7th 1889 v Tillicoultry (H) Scottish Cup 1st Rd

Positions – Centre-Half
Known Career – Grahamston [1887/88-1888/89], Falkirk [1888/89-1889/90], Minneapolis Rangers FC [1890], Minneapolis FC [1892-1897]

Notes
Emigrated to Minneapolis, USA sailing from Glasgow to Boston arriving on the 9th October 1889 on the S.S.Nestorian.

Brother of Peter Cochrane [Falkirk 1887/88]


Wednesday, 2 December 2015

In Search of the Founders of Falkirk FC : William Gentleman

For a good number of years I have been looking out for traces of the founders of my favourite club Falkirk FC [and I can tell you it has been arduous and they have been elusive], but where is that to start?

The origins of Falkirk are murky at best! Ignore the badge: that is wishfull thinking, the first mention of the club was in December of 1877, but even then it is without fanfare, after all it was just another football team playing this new-fangled sport. Many other teams were doing the same thing!

It is not until 1902, and the Club's Semi-Jubilee celebrations that anything is reported in the local press on the origins of Falkirk, when Murdoch McIntyre Club Secretary stated:

He did not see many of the old members present that evening who were at the institution of the club. He had expected another gentleman [damaged] who was one of the three who held a meeting about the Cross in the High Street, when there was some talk of the club being formed. A meeeting [sic] was held in the Newmarket Inn, which used to be the club headquarters, and they decided to advertise the matter. They did so, and the result was that a large meeting of the young men of the town was held and the club formed.” (Falkirk Mail, 15 March 1902)

This puts it down to three 'founder' members of Falkirk, without giving much else away, and so it remains until March of 1909 when the Falkirk Herald reported on a meeting of Falkirk Bairns in Jacobsen's Hall, Chicago:


Of course it could be bluster on the part of Mr Gentleman, but there is no doubt that he was there at the time, for that you simply have to return to the earliest report of a Falkirk FC match in the Falkirk Herald published on the 30th of March of 1878:


What can I say? Maybe he got to play Centre-Forward because he had paid up the money, maybe he was just very good ;). So, he was there at the start but who was this William Gentleman? Through reading the other columns of the Falkirk Herald, and other research it would seem that at one time the Gentleman family were quite big about the district at one time.  - There are fully ten people called William Gentleman in the Falkirk District Census of 1881!

But our William Gentleman was but one of these, as far as I can find out the family were cattle merchants from around the Slamannan area, however it seems they had more than one business holding, as William [Falkirk FC] was born in Avonbridge [sometimes cited as Muiravonside] in January 1857, yet is registered as living in Slamannan in the 1861 Census. However by 1871 the family had moved to a house [I am not sure where exactly] in Parkfoot [long before the advent of High Flats this was seen as a rather nice area].

Then comes football, and inevitably for an eligible young batchelor: marriage. William married Eliza McGregor in 1879, and pretty soon had their first child, Catherine, the first and last of the siblings to be born in Falkirk [even Scotland]!

It is because of Cath [as she seems to have been known], that I managed to trace them across the water. In 1882 there is an entry in the US Immigration records for a Mrs William Gentleman & Cath Gentleman [aged 1 moving to cook County, Illinois, to meet up with William who had moved the year before.

In 1890 and 1900 he was listed in the US Censuses as being involved in the Cattle trade in Chicago, only to suddenly dissapear from the 1920 Census, this perturbed me greatly at in looking for William Gentleman in Chicago I had often come across the case of William Gentleman's murder in 1911! Now this through a spanner in the works, especially since the US papers seemed against the idea of putting any biographical details in print!

I did eventually find the family in 1920, in the San Diego Census! No explanation is forthcoming. However they were back for the 1930 Census in Chicago.

From 1909 it seems to have dropped from the scene that William Gentleman Cattle dealer of Chicago Cook County, Illinois was one of the founders of Falkirk FC, and it must be said his obituary [which stated his birthplace as Falkirk] in the Chicago Tribune of 2nd July 1938 missed that point completely:


And there it might have ended, me doubting whether this William Gentleman was the same person that was instrumental in the formation of the best Club in Stirlingshire, just due to the vagueness, and the lack of anything in the Falkirk Local press ... until out of the blue, and out of left field I came across a little thing in a Canadian paper a week or two later: From the Winnipeg Tribune


So it seems that more than sixty years later, and on another continent, 'somebody' had not forgotten William Gentleman's contribution to Scottish Football. I salute you fine person!

William is buried in Mt Hope Cemetery, Cook County, Illinois, if anyone reading this is ever in the area, please pop round and take some pictures for me, as it will save one helluva trip!


William Gentleman 

b 24th January 1857, Avonbridge, Stirlingshire

d 30th June 1938, Chicago, Illinois



Competitive Debut – Saturday September 28th 1878 v Campsie Glen (H) Scottish Cup 1st Rd
 

Positions – Back, Half-Back, Centre-Forward


Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]

Other Matches/Goals [7/-]


Known Career – Falkirk [1877/78-1878/79]


Played in Falkirk's first ever Senior Competitive Match v Campsie Glen (H) Scottish Cup, 28th September1878

Played for Lenzie 2nd XI v Falkirk 2nd XI, Friendly at Randyford Grd, Falkirk, 27th September 1879


John

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Three Falkirk FC Players in one House

I spend a lot of time digging about the geneological records with the same gusto as some category-Z celebs on "Who do you think you are?", Except, I am not trying to prove I am related to royalty.

The opposite in fact, I know I am loosely related to the Meffen Brothers who played for Campsie in the early 1880s, and that is that.

But I do use the same tools to look up people from a long time ago, so we are just doing the same thing.

NB: In the 1870s, 1880s & 1890s we had to look up football players using other evidence [ie other than football], in the 1901 [and especially] the 1911 Census the profession "Professional Footballer" started becoming more prevalent in the Census.

And thus it was that I found at Bradford a singular boarding house that had not only two former Falkirk Footballers [Archie Devine and William Gildea] but at the same time a [yet to be] Falkirk FC player [David Taylor]



Of course, this is not magick, this is not a portent, it was three Scottish Footballers living together in England, I still like it.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Sydney & Leonard Puddefoot

It is well recorded that Sydney Puddefoot signed for Falkirk in the 1920s after having wowed the fans when he was stationed in Scotland during the Great War. The Falkirk fans & the board put all other considerations aside to raise the £5,500 price tag which West Ham had put on him largely to deter Falkirk, it did not deter Falkirk FC.

What is less well known is that during Syd's time at Falkirk his little brother also turned up: Leonard Puddefoot. Unlike Sydney I can find very little written about Len, either as a footballer or otherwise.


Falkirk Team v Hibernian Wed 16th Aug 1922

I do not know why he played for the club, other than this one match I have never found any record of him playing football at any level whatsoever; Perhaps Syd convinced the board to give his brother a trial, perhaps it was part of Syd's contract. All I know is that Len is missing from the usual sources: he is not in John Listser's CD-Rom of Scottish Players' Registration; nor in Michael Joyce's Football League Players' Records 1888-1939. Which would suggest that his main football was with juvenile and non-league football in and around London.

Whatever the case, I found the brothers in the 1911 census, I looked because even though Puddefoot is a very rare name, I had to look because I had very little to go on to be sure that this was another case of a pair of brothers playing for Falkirk FC.


click to see a larger version.

Note -Oops, looking about in the same paper, I found a reason why Len might have been about, though not why he played a league match. I seems he played more than once for Falkirk FC



Thursday, 27 August 2015

Falkirk v Partick Thistle 24th February 1883

Now, I know that I would like to identify every player that ever turned out for Falkirk FC, I also know that that is an almost impossible dream, but I will keep working at it.

What is thankfully bizarre to me is how people like @stuthejag can try to replicate what I do when he comes up against match reports like this -


Falkirk Herald March 3rd 1883

Now, I do not know where to go with this, outside of inventing a time machine, going back and interviewing everybody involved.

Luckily that is not my problem.

Don't think it will happen anytime soon.

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

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Shortest Falkirk FC players before WWII

Since I had the info and done the research to find out for my previous post on the tallest Pre-WWII Falkirk FC players, it stands to reason that it would be as simple to look for the shortest players too. And so it was, like last week, this list really does not signify much, people were shorter back then on average, and I only have the heights of roughly a quarter of the players from the time.

Height    Name               pos Career
5' 5"     George McNicol     IR  1898/99
5' 5"     James Conlin       OL  1899/00-1900/01
5' 5½"    Patsy Gallacher    IR  1926/27-1931/32
5' 6"     Robert Orrock      LH  1908/09-1916/17
5' 6"     Daniel Paterson    OL  1924/25-1928/29
5' 6"     William Cox        OR  1927/28-1928/29
5' 6"     Thomas Robertson   OR  1936/67
5' 6½"    Alex Heeps         IR  1925/26-1928/29
5' 6½"    James McNeill      CF  1926/27-1927/28

Again I have included those players whose heights were within an inch of the above players, the simple fact is I do not trust anything measured in that weird imperial stuff, nor do I trust those doing the measuring to be too rigorous in their methods. For Example, the Falkirk Herald reported that the 20 yo Alex Carruthers was 5' 8" in 1935, but the same paper in 1939 recorded that he was now 5' 9"!

5' 7"     James Croal        IR  1910/11-1918/19
5' 7"     John McNaught      OR  1911/12-1915/16
5' 7"     Robert McDougall   OL  1915/16-1920/21
5' 7"     William Agnew      IR  1919/20-1920/21
5' 7"     John Hunter        IR  1920/21-1927/28
5' 7"     Robert Kennedy     CF  1926/27-1927/28
5' 7"     Thomas Gilroy      LB  1927/28-1929/30
5' 7"     Richard Duffy      IL  1936/37-1945/46
5' 7"     Ian McLachlan      IR  1938/39
5' 7½"    Michael Gibbons    IR  1910/11-1918/19
5' 7½"    John Rattray       CF  1910/11-1912/13
5' 7½"    William Millar     RH  1913/14
5' 7½"    Alex Thomson       CF  1913/14-1915/16
5' 7½"    Thomas Scott       RB  1917/18-1928/29
5' 7½"    Thomas Batchelor   RH  1932/33-1936/37
5' 7½"    Hugh Hamill        CH  1929/30-1936/37
5' 7½"    Robert Nisbet      RB  1932/33-1938/39
5' 7½"    Peter Cabrelli     IL  1934/35-1935/36
5' 7½"    David Cowan        IL  1934/35-1936/37
5' 7½"    George Anderson    OR  1936/37-1942/43


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Tallest Falkirk FC Players before WWII

This is another little arbitrary and completely meaningless list of former Falkirk FC players that I have put together. It is completely meaningless on two levels, the first is that we all know that there is no corollary between height & skill in football, the second is that I have probably come across the heights of under a hundred Falkirk FC players in this time.
It is undeniable that footballers have, on average, grown as the population has in the years following the recovery from World War II, but that does not mean there were not people [and players] who were of above average height even in the 19th Century. As a result of this, some of these players probably only got a match because they were tall and had stood out [metaphorically] in juvenile football. 
Height  Name               Position 
6' 3"   Thomas Bellingham  CF  1885/86-1887/88
6' 2½"  Duncan Elliot      GK  1897/98
6' ½"   James Strathie     RB  1933/34-1934/35
6'      George Brewster    OR  1918/19
6'      William Brown      RH  1937/38-1941/42
6'      Robert Wilson      GK  1938/39-1940/41
5' 11"  William Raisbeck   LH  1905/06-1906/07
5' 11"  Stephen MacDonald  RH  1909/10-1916/17
5' 11"  John Robertson     LH  1913/14
5' 11"  Joseph Whitton     GK  1927/28
5' 11"  James McNair       IL  1933/34-1935/36
5' 11"  Kenneth Dawson     OL  1934/35-1950/51
5' 11"  Gilbert McKie      GK  1936/37-1942/43
5' 11"  Alex Allan         IR  1937/38-1938/39
I have included the heights of the following players who were measured within an inch of the above, for the simple fact that I do not completely trust the accuracy of imperial measurements, and it is never clear whether they rounded up or down throughout the 50+ years I have researched.
5' 10½"  John Morrison     CH  1906/07-1915/16
5' 10½"  Thomas Logan      CF  1910/11-1912/13
5' 10"   Joseph McQue      CH  1898/99
5' 10"   Alex Stewart      GK  1908/09-1916/17 *
5' 10"   Frank Reilly      LH  1912/13/1919/20
5' 10"   Thomas Ferguson   GK  1918/19-1931/32
5' 10"   Daniel Thomson    CF  1921/22-1922/23
5' 10"   Patrick Docherty  LH  1934/35-1935/36
5' 10"   Edwin Young       OL  1938/39
5' 10"   William Miller    IL  1938/39-1941/42
5' 10"   Alex Stewart      CF  1938/39-1942/43 *
5' 10"   Henry Pinkerton   LH  1938/39-1945/46
* The two Alex Stewarts were Father & Son.

NB - It says on his wikipedia page that Jock Drummond was 5' 10" but has no supporting evidence, so I have left it out.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Falkirk FC Team Pic Date Unknown

I have very little to go on with this picture


I can tell you that the chap three in from the left IS a young Jock Drummond, and that Falkirk FC are displaying Two Cups. This can only mean that this photo was taken during the era of Jock Drummond - [1886/87-1892/93] and that Falkirk only held two cups in that period between the end of 1889/90 and the end of 1890/91, so it must have been about then.

Update - I have received an e-mail from Andrew over at Better Meddle who has a much better version of this 1889/90 picture, not only is it clearer .... it has the names attached.

Back Row - James McDonald, John McIntosh, Robert Rae, James Liddell, Alex Kennedy, Gilbert McIntosh, Robert Bishop.
Middle Row - Alex McGregor, Thomas McDonald, John Gillespie, John Drummond, George Barr, David Ross.
Front Row - Alex Stark, Daniel Day.

One of the great things, is that not only does it help me identify more players, but all fifteen pictured here played for Falkirk FC at some point [though I have to say Gilbert only played for the 2nd XI].

Thanks Andrew.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

When is a Bairn a Bairn?

Now I have always been a bit of a purist when it comes to 'Bairns' [that is people from Falkirk for the rest of the World] but I was surprised to be outdone by the correspondent of the Falkirk Mail in 1893 about this.

Falkirk Mail Feb 18th 1893

"It may interest some of our readers to know that of the eleven players who compose the Falkirk team, eight of them are "bairns". The other three belong to the shire - McGregor hailing from Slamannan, Lees from California and Smith from Carronshore. It is a long while since so many "bairns" figured in the Falkirk first eleven. and the fact is worth noticing."
I am not the first "bairn" who was parochial in his outlook, and glad that I am not as parochial as he was!

I personally would never include Slamannan or California as Falkirk, but Carronshore is a grey area, but now I know now that historical precedent says they are not!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Bury v Falkirk - 19th Dec 1896


Not one of the most illustrious notes in the history of Falkirk Football Club, but still a match worthy of noting was Falkirk's 0-9 crushing at the hands of Bury at Gigg Lane in December 1896, notable because it was Falkirk FC's first match outside of Scotland. Of course the club were out of their depth, Bury were a serious force in the English League, whilst Falkirk were a middling team in the Scottish Combination [a league made partly of provincial sides and partly of City Clubs' reserve sides].


The result looks a bit embarrassing at first glance, but the gulf in the teams probably was about that size. Plus there were other things to take into account, for example there were significant differences between the laws in Scotland & England and this game would have been under laws that Falkirk had never played under before. And it must be said this was a bit of a makeshift Falkirk side [for example David Robertson [the Albion Rovers RB playing because his brother was at Bury and he was visiting]].



There is little doubt that John Pray had something to do with this match taking place, as the then Bury centre-half was a Falkirk lad and had risen to prominence in the centre of the Falkirk Half-Back line before going down south by the even back then circuitous route by way of Govan: there is nothing new in Scottish Football.


However, the thing I like most about this is the way the team never went straight to Bury on the train, and instead stopped by way of Pendleton [birthplace of John Simpson] to visit the Scotia Foundry, where there were many a Falkirk Bairn [and quite a few Bainsford folk too], this link between Falkirk/Bainsford & Pendleton has largely been overlooked now that the steel & iron is dead in both communities, but back then was so pronounced that it was not unknown for the Falkirk Herald to carry reports of inter-foundry matches from Pendleton depending upon the amount of locals involved.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Falkirk FC Graves - William Ferguson


Oh Dear, my atrocious filing system does me again. The other day whilst looking through the many pictures I have taken in Camelon Cemetery to try and cut down the sheer number of files on my computer I came across one I had no memory of - that of William Ferguson.

You see, when looking for the gravestones of former Falkirk players, I also take pictures of the headstones of people with the same name whose timescale is roughly similar to that of the Falkirk player, with the intention of having a closer look when I get home, the problem being that many of the pictures get lost in the mass of timestamped jpegs in the folder.

Well, I clearly overlooked the headstone of William Ferguson, so now I have forgotten in which part of the cemetery it lies, oh well ....


The big brother of Falkirk's first proper goalscorer Sandy Ferguson, Willie started out as a winger, but he never really shone in that position, and quickly settled down into his regular position of Right-Half. To be there is little to go on, as even though his career lasted over four seasons at the club, there is such scant information on most of the games in the early seasons that his 18 known matches only tell half the story. Most of the games back then have no information whatsoever about who played in most of the matches at all.

Right-Half was an unglamorous position even back then so very little was said of them unless they scored or had a particularly great game, it would seem William did neither, he played regularly until 1883, then a cameo appearance a couple of seasons later. I cannot say exactly why he dropped from the team for a while, but according to the 1881 census he was an Iron Moulder [another one: in Falkirk!] therefore it is entirely possible that he obtained a place in a foundry somewhere else, perhaps even down south as many others did at the time [for example the only reason that Jock Simpson was born in Pendleton, Lancashire, was that his Father who had lived in Campfield Street was working there].

I can not tell exactly what was going on, I have learned however that workers did move about much more than I previously believed, but until someone finds a William Ferguson playing for a local team in another area known for Iron Founding it will be almost impossible to prove either way, but, you know, I will keep looking.


William Ferguson

b 23rd December 1855, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
d 8th November 1911

Debut – Saturday September 6th 1879 v Kirkintilloch Athletic (A) Friendly
Competitive Debut – Saturday September 27th 1879 v Grasshoppers (H) Scottish Cup 1st Rd

Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [4/-]
Other Matches/Goals [14/-]

Known Career – Falkirk [1879/80-1882/83, 1885/86]