Showing posts with label James McDonald. Show all posts
Showing posts with label James McDonald. Show all posts

Friday, 28 February 2014

The Unknown Sodger

"Sodger" was the nickname of one of Falkirk FC's longest serving, consistent, yet hardest to pin down players of the pre-league era. "Sodger" was James McDonald, but that is about all I know. I have no picture of him [that I know of], and match reports never gave a clue as to his life outwith the game, and, of course, his name is so common as to stand out in the normal places of research [censuses, voting rolls etc].

[NB - I have now found a picture of Sodger]

James McDonald 1889

I can surmise a bit, he played for a season with Grahamston FC before joining Falkirk, so he probably came from from north of the High Street. The nickname "Sodger" might suggest membership of the Rifle Volunteers [a forerunner of the TA], he might even be the big brother of Thomas McDonald. But in all truth, I do not have any real idea of the man outwith the match reports, and so it probably will ever be.

As a player I know a lot more, he was versatile [so versatile as to never make any one position his own], he played all over the front five, he was a regular scorer [if never getting to the levels of some our great goalscorers], but he soon became an old version of a supersub, as in he played regularly, but only when the first choice was not available.

Yet he continued, even when he was not in contention for a first team place, he was there in the 2nd XI, just waiting to take his chance, and he lasted longer than most, only Jock Drummond's career spanned longer in this era [and Jock was a professional, when 'sodger' was ever the amateur], from the first to the last his career spanned 12 years with the club.

Of course, since I do not know of either his birth or his death I can not find a grave, as I don't know where to start looking, however, if you are a relative, and you are reading this, please get in touch, I would be immensely grateful!

James 'Sodger' McDonald

Debut – Saturday January 24th 1885 v Campsie (H) Friendly

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

Representative Honours – Stirlingshire v Fife 1885/86, v Forfarshire 1886/87, v Renfrewshire 1886/87

Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup RU 1886/87, 1887/88, Falkirk District Charity Cup W 1889/90, RU 1885/86, 1890/91, Falkirk Infirmary Shield - RU 1889/90, 1890/91

Falkirk FC Career

Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [14/3]
Minor League Matches/Goals [1/-]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [32/21]
Other Matches/Goals [117/39]
Known Matches/goals [164/63]

Hat-Tricks – 3 [Stirlingshire Cup [1] Other [2]]

Known Career – Falkirk Rangers, Grahamston [1883/84], Falkirk [1884/85-1895/96]

Played for Falkirk District XI v St Mirren, Friendly at Victoria Pk, Camelon, 12th June 1886
Played for Grahamston 2nd XI v Camelon 2nd XI, Friendly at Crichton Pk, Falkirk, 18th December 1886
Played for Falkirk Caledonians v Falkirk Jubileeans, Friendly at Brockville Pk, Falkirk, 20th April 1887
Played for Falkirk Caledonians v Redding Athletic, Friendly at Redding, 5th May 1887
Played for Grahamston Strollers v Grange Athletic, Friendly at Bo'ness, 14th May 1887
Played for Redding Athletic v Falkirk Swifts, Friendly at Redding, 18th May 1887
Played for Arbroath Wanderers v Falkirk, Friendly at Brockville Pk, Falkirk, 16th April 1894