Jimmy Conlin was one of the ones that got away, coming to Falkirk from Lanarkshire Junior football, spending a season and a half at the club, before going back to Coatbridge, then to the English League and International football then on to foreign fields.
James was born of a Scottish Father and an English Mother in the town of Consett in County Durham, but the 1891 Census shows that the family was living in Coatbridge. His subsequent siblings were all born in the town from 1885, so it likely he was living there from at least the age of four.
It is often listed in books that he played football for Cambuslang then Hibs before moving to Falkirk FC, but I believe that to be a mistaken reading for the junior club Cambuslang Hibernian from what it said in the Falkirk Herald. James came to Falkirk a fortuitous time for both the club and the player, really good Left Wingers are notoriously hard to find [He was what become known as a 'nippy wee winger' with a burst of pace and a well placed low shot into the centre] and Falkirk were gearing up towards the team that would join the Scottish League shortly after he went back to Coatbridge.
After a relatively successfull period with his 'home' club, the English Scouts came looking and he was picked up by Bradford City [Sources say about £50], where he was selected to play for international side against Scotland. He soon moved to Manchester City where he was chosen in the League International to add to his honours.
However he had that human weakness that inflicts many a young man with money and time to spare: Drink. After a season with Birmingham City he was soon dispatched north of the border again this time to Airdrieonians, who soon discovered to their cost of his affliction, and after some run-ins with the management was told he was no longer needed by the club. It is reported he ended his football with a season with Broxburn Athletic but little evidence can be found of his play at the club.
Without a job and with a family to feed Jimmy signed up for the colours soon after the outbreak of the War, where he was to die on a field in Flanders, Belgium [like so many no remains were recovered].
b 6th July 1881, Consett, Durham
d 24th June 1917, Flanders, Belgium
Debut – Saturday December 30th 1899 v East Stirlingshire (A) Falkirk & District League
Positions – Outside-Left
Club Honours – Central Combination W 1899/00
Minor League Matches/Goals [16/7]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [1/2]
Other Matches/Goals [5/1]
Known Career – Captain Colt's Rovers, Airdrie St Margarets, Cambuslang Hibernian, Falkirk [1899/00-1900/01], Albion Rovers [1900/01-1904/05], Bradford City [1904/05-1905/06], Manchester City [1906/07-1910/11], Birmingham City [1911/12], Airdrieonians [1912/13], Broxburn Athletic [1913/14]
Falkirk FC in the Great War