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

Friday, 8 September 2017

Falkirk FC Graves - Patrick McKay

I cannot take credit for finding this grave other than coming across it when searching his name on the internet, in fact I do not believe I have ever been to Kilsyth Cemetery so someone else found it for me. However I do not believe the person who added it to 'find a grave' knew it was the grave of a former footballer.

Patrick McKay was a deadly Centre-Forward for Kilsyth Emmet, in time earning him a Scottish Junior cap v England in Birmingham, this was good enough to raise the interest of Celtic, and not long after his international appearance he was given an opportunity to play for the Bhoys in the Glasgow League. He scored both of the goals his debut, Celtic's 2-2 draw with Third Lanark at Cathkin Park. That brace probably earned him a contract, but earning a contract does not mean an automatic place in the first team.

So by October he was transferred to Bolton Wanderers, where it seems he rapidly dissapeared into the reserves: by the end of the 1898/99 season the Kirkintilloch Herald repord he had been re-instated as an amateur, and was playing again with the Emmet.

Over the next season and a bit I have found him playing with Clydebank, Falkirk and Aberdeen before finally signing full-time with Bo'ness.

Patrick McKay

b c1876 Kirkintilloch, Dunbartonshire
d 25th January 1916, Kilsyth, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday December 2nd 1899 v Clackmannan (H) Central Combination

Positions – Centre-Forward

Known Career, Kilsyth Emmet, Celtic, Bolton Wanderers, Clydebank, Falkirk, Aberdeen, Bo'ness

Falkirk Career

Scottish Cup Matches/Goals 1/-
Scottish Federation Matches/Goals 3/1
Falkirk District League Matches/Goals 2/2
Other Matches/Goals 4/-

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Falkirk FC Graves - Archie Jack

Signed from prominent Grangemouth junior club Forth Rangers, Archibald Jack was a promising Outside-Left who Falkirk signed at the beginning of the 1913/14 season, but who seemed to have made a good enough impression in his first two reserve matches to be given a shot in a relatively minor match for the first team.

Kilsyth Chronicle - 29th Aug 1913

Jack made his full Falkirk debut against Hearts in the Semi-Final [2nd Rd] of the Dunedin Cup [the Dunedin Cup if you didn't know was a Cup for Edinburgh clubs, plus for some reason never explained Falkirk & Raith Rovers], and Falkirk got a pasting, but luckily for the club with nine minutes to play, the referee stopped the game because of bad light [Falkirk won the 'replay'].

The Scotsman [London Hearts]

Apart from a couple of appearances in early season benefit matches Archie remained solidly in the 'A' side for the next couple of weeks, making his League debut at Pittodrie in a scoreless draw, Archie apparently missing an open goal.....

But, this was not the reason he made so few appearances for the club, it was mainly because Falkirk stuck with Robert Terris at Outside-Left [a move vindicated by the fact that Liverpool signed Terris in February] and already had a replacement for Terris in William Lennie of Aberdeen.

So Archie played out the season in the reserves, winning the Stirlingshire Consolation Cup [Final held over from 1912/13], and being a Runner-Up in the Stirlingshire Cup, making only occasional first team appearances when Terris or Lennie were indisposed, before moving on to Armadale at the end of the season.

After a season and a bit with Armadale he moved on to Leith Athletic until he was called up for the war effort.

It was while he was at Aldershot that he seems to have played occasionally with Tottenham [and indeed it seems preferred playing football to messing about with that army business.

Pall Mall Gazette - April 2nd 1918

I cannot find much information about his time at Spurs [English Football Historians do not seem to pay much heed to their wartime football for some reason], nor have I found any documentation from his time in the army: after Spurs he moved on to South Shields for a time before seemingly drifting off the footballing map.

It was only because I recognised his name whilst checking through Grandsable Cemetery that I was able to confirm that it was him from the papers.

Falkirk Herald - Saturday 3rd December 1938


b 15th August 1889, Grangemouth, Stirlingshire
d 26th November 1938, Grangemouth, Stirlingshire

Debut – Monday August 25th 1913 Falkirk v Heart of Midlothian (A) Dunedin Cup 1st Rd [Abandoned]
League Debut – Saturday September 13th 1913 Falkirk v Aberdeen (H) Scottish League Division 1

Known Career – Forth Rangers, Falkirk [1913/14], Armadale [1914/15-1915/16], Leith Athletic [1915/16-1917/18], Tottenham Hotspur [1917/18-1918/19], South Shields [1919/20].


Scottish League Division 1 Matches/Goals [8/1]
North-Eastern Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]
Stirlingshire Cup Matches/Goals [3/-]
Stirlingshire Consolation Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]
Other Matches/Goals [4/-]



Leith Athletic


Tottenham Hotspur

London Combination Matches/Goals [19/7]

South Shields

English League Division 2 Matches/Goals [7/1]

Monday, 31 July 2017

Grandsable Cemetery

Having finally got my bike back into working order, I decided to get out again and look for more gravestones of footballers from the district. Since I have almost exhausted Camelon this time I decided to turn my attention to Grandsable Cemetery.

Although nominally the Cemetery for Grangemouth, Grandsable is not really in any particular place, and the villages of Polmont, Westquarter, Redding & Laurieston are probably closer to it than Grangemouth. But as "The Port" is the largest town in the area it is generally seen as being the Grangemouth Cemetery.

The cemetery has a weird layout, it was built on a undulating slope [which doesn't seem the wisest place to place large stone blocks, but they never do ask me about these things], and seems to have been designed radiating out from a central area, but has been cramped in by both roads and natural limitations, making the graves at the outer parts of the cemetery in quite irregular formations.

From the earliest days of football in the district, players were sought from Grangemouth and the Lower Braes [especially when Grangemouth was a staunchly Rugby town] so there ought to be a fair few in there, over and above the couple I know about from their obits. So there will be a couple more Falkirk FC graves posts soon.

Known players commemorated in Grandsable Cemetery:

Peter Auchinachie
[Falkirk Amateurs, Falkirk]

Archibald Jack
[Falkirk, Armadale, Leith Athletic, Tottenham Hotspur, South Shields]

George Mason
[Falkirk, Dundee United, Stranraer, Montrose, Alloa Athletic, East Stirlingshire, St Johnstone]

Charles Napier
[Celtic, Derby County, Sheffield Wednesday, Falkirk, Stenhousemuir]

William Orrock
[East Stirlingshire]

John Ramsay

Clyde Skene
[Falkirk Amateurs, Stenhousemuir, Queen's Park, Falkirk, Dundee, Dunfermline Athletic, Montrose]

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Archie Waugh - Falkirk FC Graves

Whilst out and about perusing my local Cemetery [Camelon] recently I happened across another name from the past that I recognised.

I humbly apologise for my reflection ;(

I will not bluster, Archie Waugh was an average defender, but was a local lad, and son of Thomas a former secretary: after not being able to find a guaranteed spot at Falkirk he moved around before coming back to end his career as a reserve/cover in the late twenties.

Archibald Waugh

b c1899, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
d 5th July 1962, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Wednesday April 30th 1919 v Cowie Wanderers (H) Benefit Match
League Debut – Saturday September 27th 1919 v Airdrieonians (H) Scottish League
Positions – Right-Half

Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1919/20, RU 1920/21, Stirlingshire Consolation Cup W 1921/22, Falkirk Infirmary Shield W 1927/28

Known Career – Gairdoch Thistle, Falkirk [1918/19-1921/22], Cowdenbeath [1922/23], King's Park [1922/23-1925/26], Falkirk [1926/27-1929/30]

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Pen Pic - William Raisbeck - Falkirk FC - 1907

Willie Raisbeck came from a Slamannan/Larkhall football dynasty: the Raisbecks produced several footballers at the turn of the Century. Born in Wallacestone [and not Wallacetown, Ayrshire like it says on his Wikipedia entry], he grew up in Limerigg before the family moved to Larkhall, where he "entered the footballing fraternity".

After his Falkirk career he moved to Alberta, Canada, where he may have played with Lethbridge FC.

William Raisbeck

b 22nd December 1875, Wallacestone, Stirlingshire
d 2nd November 1946, Taber, Alberta, Canada

Debut – Tuesday August 28th 1905 v Hibernian (A) East of Scotland League
League Debut – Saturday September 2nd 1905 v Partick Thistle (A) Scottish League Division 1

Positions – Left-Half

Club Honours – Dewar Shield W 1905/06, Stirlingshire Cup W 1905/06

Known Career – Larkhall Thistle, Clyde [1896/97], Sunderland [1896/97], Royal Albert [1897/98], Clyde [1897/98], Sunderland [1898/99-1901/02], Derby County [1901/02], New Brompton [1902/03], Reading [1903/04-1904/05], Falkirk [1905/06-1906/07], Lethbridge FC [Canada]

Cousin of Luke Raisbeck [Falkirk 1901/02]
Height – 5 ft 11 in: Weight 13 st [1906]
Emigrated to Canada, sailing from Liverpool to Montreal on the 20th May 1907 on the Ionian.

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]

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Peter Rae - Falkirk FC Graves

Brought up in the 'rough and tumble' of Gairdoch, the senior club from Carronshore, Peter "The Stag" Rae was the cornerstone of the Falkirk defence for five Seasons. He did play a match for East Stirlingshire, which counts against him, but I shall gloss over that.

It could never be said Peter was an expansive player [until Thomas Townsley Falkirk never had an attacking No 5], he was solid, but I pity the Centre-Forwards who were up against him, he was, in every meaning of the word 'hard' just what we needed from a Centre-Half.

Though like all Centre-Halves, he was the emergency Centre-Forward [thus his one hat-trick]

In later years he became a coach at Falkirk FC from where I have the picture

Peter 'Stag' Rae

b 23rd November 1871, Carronshore, Stirlingshire
d 28th October 1952, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday August 4th 1894 v Johnstone (A) Friendly

Positions – Centre-Half, Right-Half

Club Honours – Midland League RU 1895/96, Stirlingshire Cup W 1894/95, 1895/96, RU 1897/98, Falkirk Infirmary Shield RU 1895/96, 1897/98

Falkirk FC Career

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [3/-]
Scottish Qualifying Cup Matches /Goals [11/-]
Minor League Matches/Goals [70/5]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [23/4]
Other Matches/Goals [60/9]
Total Matches/Goals [167/18]

Hat-Tricks – 1 [Stirlingshire Cup [1]]

Known Career – Gairdoch [1891/92-1893/94], East Stirlingshire (guest) [1893/94], Falkirk [1894/95-1900/01]

Friday, 10 January 2014

Falkirk FC Graves – Jerry Dawson

Jerry Dawson comes right at the very back end of where I research, but he does get in, as he made his debut in the Victory Cup, just after the war.

Starting at Camelon Juniors, he was so good that he wasted most of his career in Govan [because they pay more]. But he was a Falkirk Bairn and eventually came back. He was still a fine keeper when he was at Falkirk. But slightly past his best.

He was the spine of the team around which 'Tully' Craig started to rebuild the team in the immediate post-war era along with Kenny Dawson, James McPhie, Jimmy Fiddes, Willie Telfer & George Brookes.

As I said, not at his International peak, but a 'keeper with enough skill & 'nous' to get Falkirk out of the hole that was losing nearly seven years out of the careers of our best players, and not having a proper reserve team to bring up new talent.

He is now in Camelon Cemetery [sorry for my reflection].

James 'Jerry' Dawson

b 30th October 1909, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
d 19th January 1977, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday May 18th 1946 v Rangers (H) Victory Cup 3rd Rd
League Debut – Saturday August 10th 1946 v Heart of Midlothian (H) Scottish League Division A

Position – Goalkeeper

Scottish League Matches – 79
Scottish Cup Matches – 6
Scottish League Cup Matches - 18
Victory Cup Matches – 2
Dewar Shield Matches – 6
Stirlingshire Cup Matches – 2
Other Matches – 3
Total Matches – 116

Known Club Career – Camelon Juniors, Rangers [1929/30-1945/46], Falkirk [1945/46-1948/49]

Friday, 6 December 2013

John Ramsay

I take no credit for finding this gravestone, I found it on the internet whilst looking for details of Falkirk players who died during WWI. It was on one of those fora which document the details so well.

John Ramsay was from Grangemouth [and I mean old, proper, Grangemouth for any Portonians out there] but he never really got a chance to show his ability before those damned fuckers I mean politicians threw away millions of lives which were not their own.

He was promising, we know that, but I regret the fact that the failure of diplomacy equals war does not finish off the failed diplomats & politicians, but our youth...

Picture from John's Roll of Honour in the FH 

He is on the family grave  at Gartsable Cemetery, Grangemouth.

He is also listed on the Grangemouth War Memorial [only listed as J.B.Ramsay] taken from the The Scottish War Memorials Project.

John Ramsay

b c1897, Grangemouth, Stirlingshire
d 28th April 1917, Arras, France

Debut – Saturday September 26th 1914 v Hamilton Academical (H) Scottish League Division 1
Positions – Inside-Right, Centre-Forward
Club Honours – Falkirk Infirmary Shield W 1914/15
Scottish League Division 1 Matches/Goals [25/10]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [3/-]
Known Career – Falkirk [1914/15]

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Friday, 8 November 2013

Falkirk FC's First Captain

In the first two seasons of the existence of Falkirk, match reports said remarkably little, often giving more space to the conditions under which the match was played rather than giving the details of the game itself [for example it is not until the final match of the 1878/79 Season that any scorers are recorded]. Often full teams are not given, only the players who were deemed to play well are named.

However in those reports with full teams and where there is a captain indicated on every occasion in those first two seasons the Falkirk captain is given as R.Peddie. He was not club captain as this was not yet an official position in the club, and there was no named Club Captain appointed at an AGM until Walter Gibson in 1882, but here was clearly the player who lead the team on the field of play.

R.Peddie was Richard Peddie, and in every match that R.Peddie there was also a W.Peddie [William Peddie] alongside him, yes here in the very first season was Falkirk FC's first set of brothers playing in the same side. The Falkirk club in 1878 was almost completely a team full of 'Bairns' which is why these two should be seen as interesting, for not only did they live in Grangemouth, they were both actually born in Sunderland. [Falkirk FC's first 'foreigners']. Of course it was not strange to have people born all over the place living in a major port, and the fact that Peddie is a very common name in Grangemouth suggests that they were born in Sunderland while the family was living there pro tempore, so we can't hold that against them.

Before turning up in the Falkirk ranks both brothers were noted in the Grangemouth annual Sports Day [though curiously in the rowing events], and in the Rifle Volunteers events, but neither of these seem particularly prescient for future football players. This came when both players started appearing in the reports of Grangemouth [rugby] football matches. Interestingly in a match between the Captain's Side and the Vice-Captain's Side of Grangemouth Football Club William Peddie is noted as Captain [with Richard playing on the other side], so why Richard was chosen as Falkirk's first captain is mysterious.

According to the rugby reports both players had an impressive turn of pace, and this was before the gap between the two codes of football had widened to the seemingly unbridgeable gap of today, so the skill of a winger in rugby would be just as useful in football [apart from the obvious difference] so why not?

The known Falkirk careers of the two players are incredibly similar, the only difference being William appearing in a friendly against Lenzie when Richard was absent [no captain being named], both brothers played in the club's first match [and victory] in the Scottish Cup v Campsie Glen on Saturday the 28th of September 1878, but both came before any goals were recorded, so although forwards no goals are attributed to them.

After the 1878/79 season both brothers disappear from Falkirk FC & football without a mention, and usually players like this just completely leave my radar, except that I stumbled across the gravestone of Richard in Camelon Cemetery.

I did not expect to find this here [Grandsable if anywhere..], and it took me a bit digging to assert that it was the same person. After football William continued with his Rifle Volunteers [representing Stirlingshire in the National Games in the 1890s] while Richard almost completely disappeared except for one little instance. In June 1882 he was named as one of the founders of Zetland Football Club, the first Association club from Grangemouth. There was extremely little published at the time about the exploits of Zetland FC and they soon seem to have been replaced by Grangemouth FC [I suspect though that they were one and the same club], I can not tell if Richard actually played for Zetland/Grangemouth, or if he had given up the game in the intervening three years.

No pictures of either brother seem to exist, but I am forever searching for these little things, until then a place in the history books of the club should be given to Falkirk's first brothers, Falkirk's first Englishmen, and most importantly, Falkirk's first Captain.

Richard Dawes Peddie

b c1857, Sunderland, Durham
d 11th February 1905, Grangemouth, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday March 23rd 1878 vGrasshoppers (H) Friendly
Competitive Debut – Saturday September 28th 1878 v Campsie Glen (H) Scottish Cup 1st Rd
Positions – Inside-Left

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [1/-]
Other Matches/Goals [7/-]
Known Career – Falkirk [1877/78-1878/79], Zetland? [1882/83]

William Bertram Peddie

b c1855, Sunderland, Durham
d 6th July 1926, Grangemouth, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday March 23rd 1878 vGrasshoppers (H) Friendly
Competitive Debut – Saturday September 28th 1878 v Campsie Glen (H) Scottish Cup 1st Rd
Positions – Outside-Left

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [1/-]
Other Matches/Goals [8/-]
Known Career – Falkirk [1877/78-1878/79]


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Andrew Prentice

Andrew Prentice was a stalwart of the East Stirlingshire Half-Back line at the turn of the 19th-20th Centuries, he was helped in no little way by the fact that he was accompanied by those other 'Shire perennials Thomas Fish and Peter Steele. But he might just have become a Falkirk player....

Andrew grew up on the 'Shire's home patch, his mother was in the employ of the Merchiston Hall Gardens [roughly somewhere on the grounds of St Mungo's Secondary School], and this is where the family are listed in the 1881 census. However he played his juvenile football for Falkirk sides and this is where Falkirk got most of their young locals, but upon progressing to junior football he moved definitively into the East Stirlingshire sphere of influence.

He joined Vale of Carron who were based in Carron. True they were a very successful junior team in their own right, but most importantly it was virtually East stirlingshire's nursery club. The two teams had a very close bond, Vale played their home matches at Merchiston Park whenever it was available [in the same way Falkirk had relations with Falkirk Exselsior & Falkirk Hawthorn and later Falkirk Juniors].

Of course, Andrew might have been a Zebra himself, or perhaps he had just been looking at the results and the Silverware won by the two clubs and decided on which side his bread would best be buttered. There is no getting away from the fact that until Falkirk's promotion to Division 1 in 1905 East Stirlingshire were seen as by far the bigger & more successful club in the District.

But strangely enough, before Andrew became a regular down Bainsford way he actually made his debut in senior club football for Falkirk FC, he only played the once in a friendly at Stenhousemuir. Perhaps he was giving Falkirk a trial than the other way around, if he was, then Falkirk failed miserably. Falkirk were going through they all too common reorganisations on-field [trying to replace players pilfered by bigger clubs by local juniors] an quite simply the side Falkirk put out on that Monday Afternoon in Stenhousemuir were cuffed. It is a hideous sight to this day - Stenhousemuir 8 Falkirk 2.

It is no surprise he soon signed pro forms with East Stirlingshire, and stayed with them for nearly a decade, probably never looking back. Last laugh to Falkirk though, a couple of seasons later Falkirk 'pinched' "Punkie" Reid from the Vale a couple of season's later, but more on him another time.

NB - I recently stumbled across his grave in Camelon Cemetery

Andrew Prentice

b c1875
d 10th Jun 1931, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Falkirk Debut – Monday August 17th 1896 v Stenhousemuir (A) Friendly
East Stirlingshire Debut - Saturday November 28th 1896 v Royal Albert (H) Scottish Combination

Known Matches

Scottish League Division 2 Matches/Goals [107/1]
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [16/-]
Scottish Qualifying Cup Matches/Goals [28/1]
Minor League Matches/Goals [68/1]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [20/-]
Other Matches/Goals [39/2]
Total Matches/Goals [278/5]

Known Career – Falkirk Alert, Falkirk Northern, Vale of Carron, Falkirk [1896/97], East Stirlingshire [1896/97-1904/05]

Monday, 9 September 2013

The first former Falkirk player to fall in combat - John Devlin

Yet another incredibly obscure Falkirk player from the dim and distant past, one nobody else but I has probably heard of, mainly because he did very little for the club. In fact I can only find him playing in one match for the first team, in an end of season Benefit Match for Stenhousemuir FC in 1886/87 [he scored]. But John Devlin was the first Falkirk FC player that I have found that fell in combat, in the Battle of Atbara, Sudan in 1898.

Very little is known of his football career, and it is blurred by there being other players by the name of Devlin playing in minor Falkirk clubs at the time, but it is known that John played for both Falkirk & Falkirk Excelsior, but he may also have played for Falkirk Harp, Black Watch and Erin Rovers [but he would have been very young].

It is known he played for Falkirk because luckily he is in a picture of the Second XI which somehow survived from 1886.

It was also noted in his obituary in the Falkirk Herald that he had won the Falkirk & District Junior Cup with Falkirk Excelsior in 1889 [though it was not mentioned at the time].

He is honored on the family gravestone in Camelon Cemetery although I do not know whether he is interred there, as he was also commemorated on the British War Memorial in Sudan and the Seaforth Highlanders Memorial in Malta.

John Devlin

b c1870, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
d 8th April 1898, Atbara, Sudan

Debut – Saturday May 7th 1887 v Stenhousemuir (A) Benefit Match

Positions – Forward

Other Matches/Goals [1/1]

Known Career – Falkirk [1886/87], Falkirk Excelsior [1888/89]

Monday, 29 July 2013

Falkirk FC Graves - Robert Gibson

I recently wrote a blog post about the earliest grave I have found yet of a Falkirk FC player, [Thomas Smith], then I come across an earlier one [I will find James 'Jamie' Neil eventually, he was the first to die as far as I know, 1888], hey that is the way it goes [until I get my way and there is a special Falkirk FC players section, I will always be hunting].

Robert Gibson played centre-forward for Falkirk for much of the early part of the 1880s, sadly, no matter how much I look, many of the matches in this period were poorly reported, therefore my spreadsheets have lots of blank cells. Which means in a career of over five years with the club I only know of thirty games in which he played. Doubtless he played more games, but I have no evidence.

Camelon Cemetery

He was a bricklayer by trade, and died in Glebe Street [just round the corner from where I am writing this now]. On the following Saturday Falkirk FC played Burnbank Swifts. The team wore black armbands and the flag was flown at half-mast [the first time it is noted of this happening with Falkirk FC]

In some places his birth is listed as taking place in Eastwood, Renfrewshire, however  in the 'Births, Deaths and Marriages' part of the Falkirk Herald it said he was born in Pollockshaws, Renfrewshire.

Robert Gibson

b 18th July 1855, Eastwood, Renfrewshire
d 16th April 1892, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday September 18th 1880 v Queen's Park (Hampden XI) (H) Friendly

Positions – Centre-Forward
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1883/84

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [5/1]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [3/-]
Other Matches/Goals [22/5]
Other Matches/Goals [30/6]

Known Career – Falkirk [1880/81-1885/86]

Played for East Stirlingshire v Vale of Teith, Friendly at Merchiston Pk, Bainsford, 10th March 1883
Played for Alloa Athletic XI v Queen's Park, Friendly at West End Pk, Alloa, 28th April 1883
Brother of Walter Gibson [Falkirk 1880/81-1885/86]

Saturday, 29 June 2013

John Pray

My little life was brightened, yet saddened at the same time when I found a picture of Bury FC from 1894/95 on t'web the other night. Brightened because it had a picture of John Pray in it, and a picture taken only a couple of years after he had left the club. Saddened because the article mentioned signing him from Rangers [he spent a derisory time at Rangers, most of his time in Scotland being spent with Falkirk].

Born in the greatest town in Stirlingshire on the 17th of March 1872, it would seem Jock Pray was brought up by his Grandparents [according to the 1881 census, I know nothing the parents], living in George Street [the street in Grahamsmuir running East from the North end of the old Brockville Park] he was definitely a local.

The first time he is noted in the local press was as part of the Falkirk & District Junior Cup winning side, Falkirk Excelsior, of 1889/90 [nearly everybody in that team went on to play for Falkirk FC, making me think it was just a Falkirk FC youth side, but there is no proof to back up my suspicions].

By September of the 1890/91 season John had made his debut in the Falkirk first XI. Playing mainly at his famous position of Centre-Half [though occasionally filling in at Right-Half or Right-Back] he quickly became a regular.

He did not score in his first season, so in his remaining three seasons at Falkirk he must have been developing into an attacking midfielder of a Centre-Half when he left the club [probably why he left the club, the lure of Full-Time League football must have been great].

He was also the first Falkirk player I know to have been sent off in a Scottish Cup match [v Bathgate Rovers (H) 3rd Rd Replay, 24th October 1891]

After his football career was over John emigrated to Canada, where he died about 1948, it saddens me that for a player who went on to great things from the Falkirk youth ranks, his nearly 150 matches for the club are often overlooked.

Representative Honours – Stirlingshire v Fife 1893/94
Club Honours – Falkirk District Charity Cup W 1891/92, 1893/94, RU 1890/91, Falkirk Infirmary Shield W 1891/92, 1892/93, 1893/94, RU 1890/91

Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [9/1]
Scottish Federation Matches/Goals [25/3]
Midland League Matches/Goals [13/1]
Stirlingshire Cup Matches/Goals [12/4]
Falkirk District Charity Cup Matches/Goals [10/2]
Falkirk Infirmary Shield Matches/Goals [9/4]
Other Matches/Goals [60/4]
Total Matches/Goals [138/19]

Known Career – Falkirk Excelsior, Falkirk [1890/91-1893/94], Rangers [1893/94-1894/95], Bury [1894/95-1901/02], St Bernards [1903/04]

Other matches played while at Falkirk FC
Played for East Stirlingshire v Gairdoch, Friendly at Gairdoch Pk, Carronshore 5th August 1891
Played for Grangemouth v Glasgow Wanderers, Friendly at Caledonian Pk, Grangemouth, 4th April 1892
Played for East Stirlingshire v Airdrieonians, Scottish Alliance at Broomfield Pk, Airdrie, 9th April 1892
Played for Grangemouth v Falkirk District XI, Benefit Match at Caledonian Pk, Grangemouth, 28th April 1892
Played for Port Glasgow Athletic v East Stirlingshire, Friendly at Merchiston Pk, Bainsford, 5th January 1893
Played for Camelon v Laurieston, Friendly at Zetland Pk, Laurieston, 11th February 1893
Played for Stirlingshire XI v Grangemouth, Benefit Match at Caledonian Pk, Grangemouth, 9th May 1893

Edit - June 2016

Somebody over there in Canada took a picture of his grave and put it up on the internet recently, here it is.

He died in Hamilton, Ontario on the 14th of May 1947, the military cross representing his service in the Canadian forces during WWI.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Falkirk FC Graves - Samuel Roper

To write about Sammy Roper is difficult, he was never a first team regular, but was with the club for nearly a decade.

Sammy Roper was one of Falkirk FC's most loyal fringe/squad players, playing mostly in the reserves for his local team [he lived in the Cow Wynd], but he was always at the beck and call of the first eleven.

Obviously I never saw him play so can not make any proper judgements, but whenever one of the first team was injured he was there, perhaps Falkirk & football in general need more players like him.

Only 28 games over nearly a decade [about three games a year] means Sammy either just accepted his place in Football, or the absolute opposite, maybe he never gave up trying. I don't know, I like to think the latter.

Here is to all fringe players, clubs could not exist without them.

There is no chance in hell of me having a contemporary picture him, but I did notice his grave on my travels.

Camelon Cemetery

Samuel Roper

b 8th September 1873, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
d 25th January 1937, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Falkirk Debut – Saturday December 24th 1892 v Laurieston (H) Friendly

Positions – Outside-Right, Outside-Left

Minor League Matches/Goals [11/1]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [3/1]
Other Matches/Goals [14/6]
Total Matches/Goals [28/8]

Known Career – Falkirk [1892/93-1900/01],
Played for Queen's Park Strollers v Falkirk 1st May 1897 (H) Scottish Combination.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Falkirk FC Graves - Robert Fearns

Another of the many players who seem to have slipped through the cracks in the history of the club, Robert "Bobby" Fearns was Falkirk FC's regular Left-Half from 1892 until 1895. However he was often used across the half-back line when circumstances need it. Again will not pretend he was great, but he spent along time with the club for the time, and his 150+ matches for the team was a lot back then [it is quite a lot today].

Towards the end of his time with Falkirk he was being tempted by offers to sign for Stenhousemuir, and although he did play one game as a guest for them he may have signed after his time with Falkirk FC, I just don't know.

He is interred in Camelon Cemetery. Like many of the Falkirk players of the time were.

Again I do not have a photograph of him, but am always looking for one.

Robert Fearns

b 3rd September 1871, Redding, Stirlingshire
d 22nd October 1962, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday August 30th 1890 v Laurieston (A) Friendly

Positions – Left-Half, Right-Half

Representative Honours – Stirlingshire v Fife 1894/95

Club Honours – Midland League W 1894/95 RU 1895/96, Stirlingshire Cup W 1894/95, 1895/96, Falkirk District Charity Cup W 1893/94, RU 1894/95, Falkirk Infirmary Shield W 1892/93, 1893/94, RU 1895/96

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [7/1]
Scottish Qualifying Cup Matches /Goals [1/-]
Minor League Matches/Goals [58/6]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [29/6]
Other Matches [69/11]
Total Matches [164/24]

Known Career – Burnhouse, Falkirk [1890/91-1895/96]
Played for Stenhousemuir v Bo'ness, Friendly at Ochilview Pk, Stenhousemuir, 26th August 1893
Variable spellings - Ferns, Fernes, Fearnes

Thursday, 6 June 2013

The Brothers Turnbull

This post comes somewhere between my usual rambling nonsense and my Falkirk FC Graves 'series', but first I shall digress -

I go on my strolls through the local cemeteries for more than just looking for dead Falkirk FC players. I go because they are peaceful [even pleasant] places [I sometimes put pictures of them on my tumblr], I go because I am interested in many aspects of the history of Falkirk [I recently posted on my other blog my thoughts on an aspect of WWI after coming across a relevant grave], and I go because what I find constantly surprises me. But then again since I 'became' unemployed I have plenty of time on my hands.

I could never be mechanical about it, could never just find out where a player was buried and go take a pic. I look at every grave in each of the sections of the cemetery. I takes time, but this way have found the graves of Alex Stark's family [sadly he is not in Falkirk having emigrated to New Zealand], have graves of players when I had no inkling of what happened after they stopped playing, have found graves of players who played for other clubs in the district. But I said I like surprises.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I came across across a headstone which mentioned three Falkirk players at once, but which was not quite a grave. The three were brothers, and I just did not expect this to be in the cemetery.

I did not expect it because of the three Turnbull brothers to play for the team, Alex Turnbull emigrated to Canada, I had already found Thomas Turnbull's grave about 50 metres away, and I believe James Turnbull remained in England after his long career down there.

But then again this is more of a family memorial than a grave, anyway, thank you Edith W McVey of Lasalle, Canada.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Falkirk FC Graves - Thomas Smith

I get excited by quite simple things, so this excited me. Again strolling through our local cemetery in Camelon I came across a gravestone I really did not expect to see. I came across that of Thomas Smith, a solid Left-Half for about a season and a half in the early 1890s. I did not expect to see it not only because it is the earliest grave of a Falkirk player I have yet seen [they become harder to find the further back because of possible exhumation] but also because I know that Tommy and his family were not from Falkirk, but from Carronshore, so thought he might be buried in Stenhousemuir [even Bothkennar at a push] not Falkirk.

It seems to be the original stone [but I am no graveologist so cannot say]

Camelon Cemetery

There is not much to say about his career, he started with his local club - Gairdoch - and showed so much promise as an eighteen year old in a match v Falkirk that Falkirk decided to 'borrow' him for an end of season charity match. He was in the starting line-up the next season, and became a regular in one of the club's more successful seasons. But for whatever reason during the next season he was gradually replaced by 'Paddy' Wemyss at Left-Half, and soon returned to "his first love".

What is quite strange is that no clue was given as to why he died so young in either of the local papers, another mystery for me to keep chasing.

Thomas Smith

b 31st October 1872, Carronshore, Stirlingshire
d 14th February 1895, Carronshore, Stirlingshire

Debut – Wednesday May 25 1891 v Falkirk District XI (H) Benefit Match

Positions – Left-Half

Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup RU 1891/92, Falkirk District Charity Cup W 1891/92, Falkirk Infirmary Shield W 1891/92

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [2/-]
Scottish Federation Matches/Goals [17/-]
Stirlingshire Cup Matches/Goals [6/1]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [3/-]
Other Matches/Goals [20/1]
Total Matches/Goals [48/2]

Known Career – Gairdoch [1890/91], Falkirk [1890/91-1892/93], Gairdoch [1893/94-1894/95]

Played for Gairdoch v Clackmannan, Friendly at Gairdoch Pk, Carronshore, 27th August 1892
Played for Gairdoch v Grangemouth, Friendly at Caledonian Pk, Grangemouth, 28th January 1893

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Falkirk FC Graves - James Callander

I, literally just walked past this gravestone this afternoon, and thought, "whoa .... that rings a bell". So I had a closer look. I was very happy that it was the player that I thought it was because this is a very special Falkirk player.

Camelon Cemetery

Jimmy Callander should be the merest footnote in the history of Falkirk FC, he played in four matches in total, spread over several seasons only scoring once.

May 26th 1897 v East Stirlingshire (A) Benefit Match 0-3
Nov 5th 1898 v Alloa Athletic (A) Central Combination 3-3
May 17th 1900 v Camelon (A) Falkirk & District League 1-4
May 6th 1901 v East Stirlingshire (H) Falkirk & District League 2-4

He played at Inside-Right in all, scoring his only goal for the club in the last of these matches, but as you can see he was hardly our good luck charm.

The reason for the scarcity of matches for the club is quite simple. He was not a Falkirk player. Throughout this period he was was playing as regularly as he could for his main club : Falkirk Amateurs.

Football has never been the most reliable of trades for those who ply it so James instead studied to be an architect. With very good reason, because it seems he was rather good at it. Many of his designs survive to this day.

Most prominent among his clients was the Falkirk Co-operative society, and the old Co-op store on the corner of Kirk Wynd and Bank Street [now a Clydesdale Bank] is his most recognisable achievement. But those of you who have an eye for the Art Deco style of the 1920s & 1930s can also see his hand in the cinema on Princes Street [now a nightclub], the shops in Callandar Riggs [coincedence] at the Bus Station, and the Callander Arms pub across the road.

He also helped design or alter buildings which no longer exist such as part of Aitken's Brewery and several of the foundry offices around the town.

But, for a Falkirk Football Club history blogger like me, by far and away the jewel in the crown is that James Callander not only played for the club, he also designed the old grandstand at Brockville Park. I like the circularity of that.

Sadly though I have no picture of him, I will keep searching.

Note, today [28/07/2015] I was sent an image of James Callander by his Great Neice [thanks Jean], though not in his footballing days. It seems he was a founding member of Glenbervie Golf Club, and he is in a picture on their website.

James Callander

b 14th May 1881, Shotts, Lanarkshire
d 6th March 1942, Edinburgh

Known Career – Falkirk Excelsior, Falkirk Amateurs [1896/97-1900/01], Falkirk [1898/99-1900/01]

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Falkirk FC Graves - Livingstone Rae

Livingstone 'Livvy' Rae is another of those stalwarts of football in the town. He played for the three clubs in Falkirk immediate area [Falkirk, Falkirk Amateurs & East Stirlingshire]

From a well known family in Larbert [to this day you will find several Livingstone Raes in Larbert Parish Church Graveyard].

This Livingstone is buried in Falkirk Cemetery [many people call the cemetery that I call Falkirk Cemetery, Camelon Cemetery. Though Falkirk Cemetery is completely within Camelon, and there is no municipal cemetery in Falkirk, the official name of the municipal cemetery in Camelon is Falkirk Cemetery].

An amateur throughout his career, Livvy did not play as often as others as it seems he was a pupil-teacher in training. It was after qualifying from Edinburgh University that he gave up the game as he had moved into the more administrative side of education in various schools throughout the district.

His playing career is less clear than others with such a distinctive name because he had two direct contemporaries [at Camelon and St Mirren] with the same name, and often could only be distinguished when he used all three initials.

His time at Falkirk Ams [having played in their first ever match it is probable he was among the founders] is blighted by the fact the Falkirk Herald tended to only report their results except when they were playing one of the 'big teams' in the district.

He played in the period coming up to joining the League, and should be appreciated as one of the [many] people who caused it to happen.

Livingstone Alexander Baird Rae

b 28th April 1877, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
d 14th December 1953, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday March 9th 1895 Falkirk v Paisley Academicals (H) Friendly
Competitive Debut - Saturday April 13th 1895 Falkirk v East Stirlingshire (H) Midland League

Positions – Left-Half, Left-Back, Right-Back

Club Honours – Central Combination W 1899/00


Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [1/-]
Scottish Qualifying Cup Matches /Goals [5/-]
Minor League Matches/Goals [43/3]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [5/1]
Other Matches/Goals [19/-]
Total Matches/Goals [73/4]

Falkirk Amateurs

Scottish Qualifying Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]
Stitlingshire Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]
Stirlingshire Consolation Cup Matches/Goals [3/1]
Falkirk Cottage Hospitals Shield [1/-]
Other Matches/Goals [3/-]
Total Matches/Goals [9/1]

Known Career – Falkirk [1894/95-1895/96], Falkirk Amateurs [1895/96-1897/98], East Stirlingshire [1896/97-1897/98], Falkirk [1897/98-1900/01], East Stirlingshire [1900/01]