Amateurs are a rare and fascinating concept in the age of professional football, I could not tell you the last amateur who played for Falkirk FC, but once upon a time they were common in the game. For some reason the term 'amateur' has come to mean something lesser than professional, but this divergence in meaning is flawed. The word 'amateur' in its proper sense means 'one who does it out of love', the fact that they are not remunerated for their effort being the sole difference between them and professional footballers.
The reasons for amateurism were also wide, James Callander played football at weekends, but professionally he was a much more successful architect, it would be sheer folly to abandon his practice; Leslie Skene was a GP which goes a long way to explaining his peripatetic club career, Wiliam Davidson had the luck to come from a well off family, he probably decided not to allow any club to decide what he could and could not do [if you read your contract of work it will likely say that your employer decides whether or not you can have another job] if you get me.
The playing careers of the amateurs were also more interesting, occasionally, they just did not turn up, sometime due to their other committments, sometimes because they were busy doing something in the real world, sometimes they might have simply been otherwise inclined. I was such that in 1909, in the middle of the football season William Davidson just upped and left Falkirk FC to go on a tour of the USA with the Pilgrims. Now good outside-lefts are hard enough to find, and harder to replace at the best of times, but William was an amateur, and had every right to bugger off to the US [I would have done the same thing].
William Davidson [Middle Row, Right]
I think it is a shame that we no longer have the amateurs in our game, if only because all the players are now so samey, it would be nice to think of players playing at a high level because they liked it! But I am a romanticist!
b Langside, Glasgow c1883
Debut – Saturday April 14th 1906 v Forfar Athletic (H) Dewar Shield Semi-Final
League Debut – Saturday August 18th 1906 v Rangers (A) Scottish League Division 1
Positions – Outside-Left
Club Honours – Scottish League Division 1 RU 1907/08, 1909/10, Stirlingshire Consolation Cup W 1906/07,
Falkirk Infirmary Shield W 1906/07, 1907/08
Scottish League Division 1 Matches/Goals [109/7]
Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [8/-]
Minor League Matches/Goals [6/2]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [9/3]
Known Career – Queen's Park [1903/04-1905/06], Falkirk [1905/06-1909/10], Pilgrims [1909 tour of North America], Middlesbrough [1910/11], Airdrieonians [1910/11], Everton [1911/12-1912/13], St Mirren [1913/14]