Showing posts with label John Dora. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Dora. Show all posts

Sunday, 3 December 2017

The Curious Case of Johnny Dora

I wrote a blog post about John Dora a long time back, he was a Centre-Forward Falkirk signed from Arbroath who scored 2 goals in 3 games before breaking his leg and disappearing from the game.

The very little information about him was confusing, for example the Falkirk Herald said he was Italian, while the Arbroath Herald had stated he was born in Arbroath but his parents were from Italy.

Anyway, since his playing career was just under a century ago, this means that most of the usual sources [censuses etc] are still confidential, so I had sort of given up on finding more details without stumbling over it.

So I was a bit surprised when I was sent an e-mail the other day, written in Italian and titled "John Dora o Giovanni Dorà" it linked to an article on the history of Borgotaro Football.

In one of the chapters it tells the story of Borgotarese player Giovanni 'Johnny' Dorà being called up to play in the Italian Championship for Parma in 1925.

In the text of the article Johnny is described as "Tall, wiry, in his long stays in Scotland [he] had learned the game of foot-ball managing to graft into his Latin fantasy, the solidity and the concreteness of the British style." and that "Some time later, while in the newspapers there was talk of the interest of Bologna and Inter, Dorà returned to Scotland." [apologies for the translation].

So the Dorà that played for Borgotarese and Parma certainly had Scottish Connections but it is unclear where he was from, and even if this was the same person. but there is clearly something there.

Crucially in the article there was a picture of a Johnny wearing a Parma top.


The best picture I have of John Dora was from 1930 and there are certainly facial similarities, although this could just be a family likeness.


Last night I had a good dig about the internet looking for more info, and luckily Italian wikipedia had more, though it is interesting to note that the Italian Wiki is as flawed as the English one.

Giovanni Dorà it claims was born in Borgo Val di Taro [Borgotaro] on the 29th of May 1905, and that he was a defender, however on a website on the history of Serie A where line-ups are given, he is only ever listed in the Inside-Left or Centre-Forward positions [even though by this time Italian Football was under the influence of the Danubian School, it was not so radically different that a number 10 was playing in defence].

So there we are, in 1925 the Arbroath papers said that John Dora had joined Ardenlea from Parkhouse Half-Holiday, while the Italian papers are carrying reports of Giovanni Dorà joining Parma from Borgotarese: it was not unknown for Scottish-Italians to split their time between the two countries back then, it is well documented that Peter Cabrelli split his time between Scottish & Italian football. Until I find something definitive it will have to remain in the possibly category.

UPDATE

I had a wider root about in the newspapers for more information, and found an obituary in the Press &  Journal of 8 February 1971. Although it doesn't really clear things up, it backs up his birthplace as being Arbroath, but it claims that he ended his football career with Parma, rather than the other way around, of course he could have had two different spells at Parma!

I have now had confirmation from the family that the date of birth on the Italian Wikipedia page is correct, however the place of birth was incorrect, he was indeed born in Arbroath.


John Paul Dora

b 29th May 1905, Arbroath, Forfarshire
d February 1971, Arbroath, Angus

Known Career – Parkhead Half-Holiday, Arbroath Ardenlea [1925/26-1928/29], Borgotarese [1925/26], Parma [1925/26], Arbroath [1929/30], Falkirk [1929/30]

Parma Debut – Sunday October 25th 1925 v Reggiana (H) Campionato Italiano, Lega Nord, Girone B
Positions - Inside-Left, Centre-Forward
Campionato Italiano Matches/Goals [12/-]

Arbroath Debut – Saturday August 10th 1929 v Clydebank (H) Scottish League Division 2
Positions – Centre-Forward
Scottish League Division 2 Matches/Goals [21/15]
Scored a Hat-Trick on his Debut.

Falkirk Debut – Saturday January 18th 1930 v Buckie Thistle (A) Scottish Cup 1st Rd
Falkirk League Debut – Saturday January 25th 1930 v Morton (A) Scottish League Division 1
Positions – Centre-Forward
Scottish League Division 1 Matches/Goals [1/1]
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [2/1]

NB - Thanks to Arbroath FC for putting this on their Facebook page, without which ...

Monday, 7 October 2013

John Dora - What if?




In 1929, Falkirk having sold the record breaking Centre-Forward Evelyn Morrison were looking about for somebody who could replace the 40+ goals Morrison had scored the season before. Not an easy task in anybody's book, but Falkirk's eyes were upon a new young Arbroath Centre-Forward John Dora who was just fresh from Junior Football himself.

Having caught the eye with Arbroath Victoria and previously with Arbroath Ardenlea, Dora was trialled with Arbroath towards the end of the 1928/29 season impressing enough to be signed by for his hometown club for the next season. By the time Falkirk came looking for their replacement John had scored 15 goals in 21 games in Division 2 which is pretty impressive for someone so new to the senior game. No sums were mentioned in the press for the transfer so it was probably nominal if anything.


John got off to a flying start scoring on his debut match for his new club away at Buckie Thistle in the First Round of the Scottish Cup [Jan 18th 1930], a week later at Greenock he scored again on his League debut, it looked like Falkirk had done a bit of remarkably astute transfer wheeler-dealing for a change. The following week he was again included at number 9, this time his first match at Brockville Park, and for the only time in his time at Falkirk he failed to score. Because this was the last match he played for the club, and it would seem the last game of football he ever played: in a midweek Reserves Match he broke his leg which seems to have ended his playing days.

He remained nominally on the playing staff until 1932/33 and there were rumours in some of the Angus press of an attempted comeback but his playing days were over.

From an Italian background it would seem he returned to Arbroath to work in the family restaurant on Arbroath High Street. After serving his time in the Navy during WWII John [in common with his father] divided his time between the restaurant and pidgeon racing at which he seems to have been quite successful.

All in all his senior career lasted less than a complete season, less than a callendar year, but he managed to score 18 goals in only 27 games, when only just out of the juniors. Like I said in the title, what if? Of course it is a stupid question, but who can say.


Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Bairns Abroad

It is often thought in Falkirk circles that Falkirk FC's first truly foreign player [excluding James Richardson below] was John Richardson [no relation as far as I know]. John Richardson, b Johannesburg, South Africa, c1909, [Lea 60/-, SCu 33/-, Oth 10/-], made his debut for Falkirk in the end of season Charity Matches in 1930/31, and was a regular centre-half from 1931/32 to 1933/34, having signed from Bristol Rovers, he later had spells with Alloa Athletic [1934/35 to 1935/36], Leith Athletic [1936/37 to 1938/39] and East Stirlingshire [1938/39].

Though born in South Africa, he was obviously an adopted local [or had family in the area] as in his obituary from 1977 it was said that he was a resident of Westquarter, and had long been involved in the doings of Westquarter Cricket Club.

However, it is the question of whether or not he was the first that is thrown into confusion by a throwaway comment in the Falkirk Herald from January 1930 with the signing of John Dora. Dora was a centre-forward signed from Arbroath [I have no record of any career outside these two clubs and this season], he scored a goal on his debut [Scottish Cup], on his league debut [his only league match], played in another Scottish Cup match, and was never heard of again! Which, even though there was only one centre-forward spot on offer seems rash.

However the point in question was that when he was signed, the journalist for the 'Herald' clearly stated that he was Italian. This may just have been lazy journalism, his name suggests an italian background, but it also stated that he came from the Arbroath region. This could all be a red herring, there is every chance he was born John Dora in Arbroath [with or without an Italian background] and is unremarkable. But then again he may have been born in Italy and moved [with or without family] to Forfarshire [possibly just after WWI], I keep looking.

Which brings me onto another point, neither John nor Dora are particularly Italian names, so I have tried searches for variations [based upon my knowledge of Italian] such as D'Ora, Giovanni, Gianni etc, none of which have ever borne any fruit. And none of this answers the quistion as to why a centre-forward with a Division 1 team who had scored two goals in three games just seems to have disappeared from the game so completely, needless to say if anyone can clear up anything don't hesitate to get in touch.