Showing posts with label M.Cowan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label M.Cowan. Show all posts

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Missing Players

In my files of Falkirk matches there are three people who are never listed as Falkirk players, but may have been so. The problem is the usual: lack of contemporary match reports in the local media. Most books about the history of Falkirk FC state that the first ever football match played by the club was against the Bonnybridge club Grasshoppers. I have no reason to disbelieve, but I have no evidence. The earliest extant information about this game was published in the first half of the 20th Century, even then fifty plus years after the game was supposed to have been played.

But even then it is not so simple, because both reports were, at least second hand. One came from the memoirs of Robert Bishop [Falkirk FC Secretary 1883-1896] published in the Falkirk Herald during WWII, the other from the notes of George Richardson [Falkirk FC Secretary 1878-1883] via Thomas Mackie [FFC Committee 1890s and Editor of the Falkirk Mail] some years earlier.

Line-ups

Bishop – A.McEwen; J.Richardson & R.Walker; G.Richardson & R.Service; Cowan & Fleming, Thomson & Walker, Malcolm & Leishman.

Richardson – A.McEwen; J.Walker & G.Richardson; W.Carmichael & W.Gentleman; J.Leishman & R.Service, J.Fleming & M.Cowan, T.Taylor & W.Johnston.

You can understand why I do not include this match in my spreadsheets, from such a distance of history. Both sources have credentials and flaws. Bishop would have been in his mid 70s when his memoirs were published and while he may have been compis mentis his line-up has a couple of problematic issues- although James Richardson was from Falkirk, at the time he was living & working in Glasgow [and playing for Kelvinbank], it names two Walkers but only gives the initials of one. Whereas Richardson's line-up includes william Carmichael [who played in goal the next season] it looks much more likely, however it would have been given more gravitas if written in George Richardson's name [possibly editorial integrity by Tom Mackie]

NB - I should have said if James Richardson played in the first match, I think George Richardson [his wee brother] would have remembered.

The issue is further muddied by the fact that whilst the Falkirk Herald article stated the score as a 7-0 defeat the articles in the Falkirk Mail put the score as 8-1 to Grasshoppers.

Anyway in the match are three people who were never mentioned in Falkirk teams ever again

M??? Cowan

Debut – Saturday? March? ??th 1877 v Grasshoppers (A) Friendly
Positions – Forward

I know nothing about Mr. Cowan, his name is too common to make any possible research impossible without further clues.

John Fleming

b 9th October 1858, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday? March? ??th 1877 v Grasshoppers (A) Friendly
Positions – Forward

John Fleming was definitely the first ever secretary of the club, at the time he was a baker on the High Street [near where McDonalds is today [2013] but difficult to tell as the High Street has since been rebuilt], he lived in Burnhead Lane just round the corner. I do not know if it is the same but a J.Fleming also appeared for the 2nd XI v Lenzie 2nd XI the following season, perhaps he was too busy to play regularly. Soon dissappeared from the Club

Charles Malcolm

b 5th September 1856, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday? March? ??th 1877 v Grasshoppers (A) Friendly
Positions – Forward

Manager of the Crown Hotel [not Landlord, that was his Mum] on the Corner of Manse Place and the High Street [Bank of Scotland] he also seemed to live there [possibly in rooms above], though never noted again in a Falkirk team was Club Vice-President in the early 1880s.



All in all, I have no idea whether or not these three actually played for Falkirk FC. However I do believe to a certain degree that there is usually a kernel of truth in handed down local knowledge, so there is a good possibility. Like I always say, I am ever looking, if any relatives of these players are reading this, please get in touch, I would love to know more.