Friday, 6 June 2014
If you look up your Rothmans [or whatever it is called now], and look at the Falkirk FC pages it will tell you that the youngest Falkirk Player (post-war) is Gary Gillespie, but we who know stuff know that the World & Football, did actually exist in the time before 1945.
So, some of us know James McPhie was younger than Gary when he played just before the War broke out. However, in my researches into the murky past of 19th Century Football has unearthed a potential rival: William Lees.
William Lees, and his uncle James [who also turned out for Falkirk FC], was from Blackbraes. This is difficult for people to get their head round nowadays, but, there was a substantial village called Blackbraes just South of California until the turn of the 19th/20th Century, California was almost non-existent then. I believe [from my reading of the 1891 Census that the family Lees lived somewhere between the only houses remaining in Blackbraes & the Greyrigg Inn [ie on the way from California to Avonbridge/Standburn].
Anyway, I digress, William had clearly been making noises in the junior scene, so was filched by Falkirk, and thrown into the mix v Grangemouth in a Stirlingshire Cup match in 1892. In the 1891 Census he is listed only as being born in Carnwath, Lanarkshire, and being 14 Years Old. The next year he was in the Falkirk FC 1st XI .... Now, I know, he may have had two birthdays between the Census & his Debut, and since I am yet to trace his exact Date of Birth I do not know for sure. But there is a chance he may have only been fifteen when he first played.
b c1877, Carnwath, Lanarkshire
Debut – Saturday October 29th 1892 v Grangemouth (H) Stirlingshire Cup 1st Rd
Positions – Centre-Forward
Minor League Matches/Goals [2/-]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [3/3]
Other Matches/Goals [10/1]
Known Career – Falkirk [1892/93]
Nephew of James Lees [Falkirk 1892/93]