Showing posts with label Research. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Research. Show all posts

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Falkirk District Works Cup 1898

There have been many football competitions in Scotland from the international to the ultra-local, the best overall coverage of these competitions is on the Scottish Football Historical Archive. Research into these cups is ongoing, and in many places patchy is about the best compliment that can be paid. This is not to cast aspersions upon the many researchers and local historians beavering away at the coalface of Scottish Football History, the fact is that most of the games were simply not reported, and even when they were they were not reported adequately.

Which brings me to the latest obscure competition that I have been looking into, the rather clumsily titled Falkirk & District Junior Works Cup [I think]. Like I said coverage was patchy, it was reported that a Falkirk Works Junior Association had been formed in order to have a competition between the major companies in the district. The Falkirk Herald reported that the new FA was to be affiliated to the Falkirk & District Junior FA and the Competition would be played to their rules.

This brings up many unanswerable questions: since the Falkirk Junior FA was affiliated to the Stirlingshire Junior FA and therefore in turn also affliated to the Scottish Junior FA, were the players not cup tied by the tail-end of the season, or were they given an exemption, or did the teams only use players not already with the Junior Clubs of the District?

Like I said, this is completely unaswerable from this remove, since there were no reports as such, most of the games were only mentioned in passing in the Junior part of the 'Football Intelligence' columns [read 'Gossip columns'] of the local papers. I am not even completely sure that I have been able to find the complete competition since none of the draws were reported, however the matches that I have found do not bring up any glaring problems to what I believe the basic structure of the Cup was, though there is the possibility that some of the games here may have been replays of previous unreported matches.

First Round

Apr 12    Falkirk Foundry             3      Larbert Foundry             3
Apr 19    Abbots Foundry              5      Springfield Foundry         0
     Played at Merchiston Park, Bainsford [ESFC]

There is clearly something missing from this round, most probably a replay for the Falkirk Foundry v Larbert Foundry match, however it is also possible that Larbert Foundry withdrew or were thrown out for an infringement, either way only Falkirk Foundry made it through to the next round.
I presume that Carron Foundry & Castlelaurie Foundry were given byes, however there is the possibility that they played [and won] matches against two [as yet] unknown opponents.


May 11    Carron Foundry              5      Abbots Foundry              6
     Played at Merchiston Park, Bainsford [ESFC]
May 16    Falkirk Foundry             0      Castlelaurie Foundry        0

May 23    Falkirk Foundry             3      Castlelaurie Foundry        4
     Replay, Played at Merchiston Park, Bainsford [ESFC]

Slight clarification needed here, the first two of these matches were referred to as Second Round matches, it was only in the replay that the papers stated Semi-Final, but it seems most likely that was just poor word choice.


Jun 6     Abbots Foundry              3      Castlelaurie Foundry        2
     Played at Merchiston Park, Bainsford [ESFC]

One last thing to touch upon, of the six matches I can trace, four were reported to have taken place at Merchiston Park, for the other two there was no mention of the ground, I think it was quite likely that all the matches were played at Merchiston Park, the fact that none of the known matches took place on the same date gives this some traction, but I doubt if that will ever become clear, or will ever be relevant.

Friday, 28 November 2014


I am sorry, I have not posted in quite a while, I am sad to say I took my eye off the ball, I am glad to say that I took my eye off the ball because the GF gave me the book of all the English League players from 1888/89 to 1938/39, and I have been busy cross-referencing it with the other info that I have.

Mostly it has been about adding dates of birth/death that I did not know, but it has also revealed the identities of several trialists, who although only playing in one friendly, or minor cup match, still played for Falkirk FC [which is one more match than I will ever get]. It is a big book and it will take me some time [since after I go through the book looking for players who played for Falkirk, I will then go through it looking for the names of known Falkirk players].

But bear with me, I will be back writing about the more pointless [yet interesting to me] points of fact in the history of football in Falkirk District.

Then I will do it all again looking for 'shire players [I love it really].

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Internet Research

I just found this on the web, it is an account of John Gillespie being sent off in a pre-season Tournament in Alloa, for attacking the referee [he got a six month ban for it.]

He soon joined Queen's Park, and got capped for Scotland.

The great thing is I had never seen this before because it was not in the Falkirk Herald.

It was reported in "The Manaro Mercury and Cooma & Bombala Advertiser" Queensland, Australia on the 14th of July 1891.

John Gillespie.

John Gillespie was one of five brothers that turned out for Falkirk FC back in the days before we joined the League. A fairly well-to-do family living in Campfield House on Wellside Place, the family ran a 'carrier' business between Falkirk & Glasgow.

Making his debut in goal in an emergency v Queen's Park Strollers in 1889, John was soon to appear in his 'proper' position in the centre of the half-back line [though like many centre-halves of the time it seems he could 'function' adequately as a centre-forward], where he soon came to the attention of the Glasgow clubs.

He had been on the fringes of the club for a while playing, like his other brothers with minor club Comely Park, and was active with the local harriers. So was not a completely unknown figure.

All in all, John did not stay long with the club before leaving for the heady climes of Glasgow, and national fame with the 'Spiders'

John spent nearly a decade with Queen's Park before signing up and shipping out to serve the Queen in protecting some diamonds from the descendants of Dutch farmers somewhere irrelevant. When he came back he had almost completely retired from full time football, drifting about guesting for teams, until he played out his final games with Falkirk Amateurs.

John Gillespie [with Queen's Park]

b 15th November 1870, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
d 4th September 1933, Edinburgh

Debut – Saturday January 19th 1889 v Queen's Park Strollers (H) Friendly
Positions – Centre-Half
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1889/90, Falkirk District Charity Cup W 1889/90, RU 1890/91, Falkirk Infirmary Shield RU 1889/90, 1890/91

Falkirk FC known career
Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [4/-]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [17/-]
Other Matches/Goals [45/3]
Total Matches/Goals [66/3]

Known Career – Comely Park, Falkirk [1888/89-1891/92], Queen’s Park [1891/92-1900/01, 1903/04], Camelon [1893/94], Partick Thistle [1904/05], Falkirk Amateurs

Played for Clydesdale Harriers v Falkirk, Friendly at Brockville Pk, Falkirk, 5th January 1889

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Mistakes get Expanded

I was reminded by my fellow historian/researcher Drummond Calder the other day what we are often up against. We take books written by other people as sources for our research, but from knowledge, even those who get published make huge mistakes, and these get spread.

Now I am not asking for a system of references [by s**t, I hardly ever reference where I 'borrow' information from, but Drummond is better at that than me.] I have, on my own file [which I shared with Drummond] that Hugh McKinnon played for ESFC. For this assertation I was reliant upon George Park's "St Bernard's Football Club: or when the well ran dry".

Drummond disputes there was such a player for ESFC in this era, and thinks it might be getting mixed up with a back called McKinnie. All I can say is I have already spread the myth that Hugh McKinnon played for ESFC, and now I have to check things more, because I don't know. These mistakes grow, and are repeated by people who do something similar for other clubs. Douglas Lamming's book is a great source of information, but it wasn't until I came across Jock McTavish's Obituaries in the Falkirk Herald and Falkirk Mail that anyone pointed out that the date he supplied was ridiculous. I was not the first to find an error, and I am sure I will not be the last. This does not decry the importance of Douglas Lamming's book. It is hugely important. If I were to claim never to have made a mistake, then I would properly be ridiculed. I have made many [I once mixed up the brothers Gibson [1880s] with a whole different family], it happens. What I am saying is that, we who trawl archives, are in a trusted position, and we trust each other, but we are simply human, we make mistakes. But these mistakes have repercussions which are hard to fix [especially when they get on wikipedia].

It seems when we do this stuff without proper research we are only spreading misinformation. Myself, I like to be corrected, but that is because it allows me to change my spreadsheets [there is always a first name of a reserve player to be altered, always a newly discovered middle name [I hate to use the word discover as it was obviously known before, yet do not feel "find" is good enough]].

In the way that neither Amerigo di Vespucci, not Cristoforro di Colombo 'discovered' South America [the fact being given away by the fact that there were people living there [who had presumably 'discovered' it earlier]] I do not discover biographical details of Falkirk players: it is just new to me. I suppose in thinking "find" is about the best the English language can offer. In Spanish there is a word more like 'uncover' = to make clear something which has been obscured. But I do not wish to write this blog in Spanish quite yet ¡ojala!.