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

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Falkirk FC Managers - George Richardson

George Richardson was never, actually, Falkirk Manager: the position did not exist when he was about. He was however Falkirk FC's second Club Secretary [the first John Fleming was only in the position for some months [from the formation of the club in December 1877 until the first AGM in May 1878]. There is not much to say about his tenure, after all the position of Secretary was just an organisational role, most of the important decisions were made by the committee then. It was, however, the most important position in the club [casting vote on the committee, organising the fixture list etc], and it was a very different time from today's football.

George was very middle class, in a town of foundries he was a clerk, so was in the lofty offices instead of getting himself dirty at the coalface [to mix metaphors], therefore he had the perfect background to run the nascent club. And let it not be forgotten that back then the officials of the club were mainly drawn from the playing [and paying] members of the club. Living in Marine Cottage, Grahams Road [I think it was roughly about Carphone Warehouse [but on the Grahams Road]] he came from a well to do family, his father was a Captain in the Merchant Navy, his mother was from far-flung Chelsea, his big brother was a businessman in Glasgow [and a football player with Kelvinbank].

It is difficult to say much about his time in office, for most of the time, there was no other club in Falkirk, and the only other clubs in Stirlingshire were Grasshoppers & King's Park [until the formation of ESFC]. The club failed to make much ground in the Scottish Cup, there was no Stirlingshire Cup, however the club had a healthy fixture card, playing the secondary Glasgow clubs [and occasionally the 2nd XIs of the big Glasgow clubs].

In comparison with later secretaries he organised more charity matches [muscular christianity played some part no doubt] George enticing among others Third Lanark and Pollockshields Athletic to the town to the benefit of the good causes of the town. However, this was a time when football was yet to become the mass spectactle that it now is, and as far as I know he never interacted with the Falkirk Herald or any other medium, so I know nothing of his personality. And try, as I have, I have never come across a mention of him in the local press after he left football [of course he may have emigrated].

On the field of play, he seemed pretty average, moving about position, as you would get when the rules are if you are willing to turn up, you are likely to get a game, so he spent most of his career as right-back, left-back or goalkeeper. He did however play in a couple of Scottish Cup matches, which is more than most of us can say.

At the time the AGMs of Falkirk FC were not regularly published in the Falkirk Herald, so most of the officials of the club are unknown, however it was reported in September 1882 that he was awarded a watch by the club with this inscription:

Presented to Mr G.Richardson by the members of Falkirk Football Club, as a mark of the esteem in which he has been held by them as their secretary for the last four years

I know 'hyperbole', but I would really like to see that watch! If you know anything, please get in touch!

George Richardson

b 9th November 1859, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
d10th June 1941, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday March 23rd 1878 v Grasshoppers (H) Friendly
Competitive Debut – Saturday September 28th 1878 v Campsie Glen (H) Scottish Cup 1st Rd

Positions – Goalkeeper, Right-Back, Left-Back
Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [2/-]
Other Matches/Goals [11/-]
Known Career – Falkirk [1877/78-1880/81]
Brother of James Richardson [Falkirk FC 1878/79-1880/81]

Competitive Matches as Secretary

Scottish Cup - 11      7     -      4      23     19

Edit - [5th May 2016]

I recently came across an obituary of sorts for George which appeared in the Falkirk Herald of Saturday June 21st 1941, however, given that he was Falkirk FC's first proper secretary, there is sadly no mention of his relationship with the club.

Friday, 16 August 2013

To Falkirk FC's Eternal Shame

On the 9th of March 1935 Falkirk played a League Match against Ayr United. You will not find this match in the records.

The simple fact is that the Falkirk Manager, William Orr, gave money to one of his underlings [he worked at Alexander's Bus factory in Camelon] to play below par. The player just happened to play for Ayr United at weekends.

*Hangs head in Shame*

This is the reason I always have "other matches" in my lists of matches players played and not 'friendlies', this match cannot count in the League record, but was clearly not a friendly. But I am sure the players tried their best [hoping they did not know what Mr Orr was up to].

The Falkirk Team on the day was

James Milton
Robert Nisbet
Hugh Hamill
Thomas Batchelor
Alex Lowe
Robert Shankly
Frank Wilson
John Ballantyne
Robert Keyes
David Cowan
William Walker

Subsequently William Orr was suspended 'sine die' from all involvement with football [rescinded in 1937]

Monday, 3 June 2013

Falkirk FC Managers - David Reid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scottish League Div 1
Scottish Cup
Dunedin Cup
Dewar Shield
Stirlingshire Cup
Stirlingshire Consolation Cup
Falkirk Infirmary Shield
Friendlies etc