Friday, 4 November 2011

Old Falkirk FC Photograph?

I was recently sent this photograph via a relative of an old Falkirk FC goalkeeper [Alex Thomson] to see if I could shed any light on it, but I'm afraid I failed.

I am of the opinion that it might be Falkirk as the second on the left looks very much like the old Falkirk FC inside-left Alex Burt, but other than that I am stumped.

Alex Thomson's career as far as I know was St Ninians Thistle [????], St Bernards [1896/97-1897/98], Falkirk [1897/98-1901/02], King's Park [????] but I may have missed some of it out.

The flag might be a clue, but I can not really make out what flag it is, and the buildings in the background may shed some light if that is Brockville Park, of course it may be a completely different team altogether, if anybody could be of help please get in touch.

falkirk fc, alex thomson,

Alex is wearing the cap, with the ball at his feet.

Thanks in advance

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Stirlingshire Cup - 2011

If I have made any errors or omissions please get in touch, and I shall try to correct any of my faults as soon as possible.

First Round

Aug 2nd 2011 at Ochilview Park, Stenhousemuir
Stenhousemuir 4 Stirling Albion 0
Stenhousemuir – Shaw, Hamilton, Lawson, Welsh, Nelson (S.Docherty 72), McCafferty, Wilson, Burns (Duncan 80), Love, Quinn and McGuire (O’Grady 70). Subs not used – Taylor and C.Docherty.
Stirling Albion – Booth , McGeachie, Cross (Bennett h/t), Stickler, Clark, Danks, Forbes (Sharp 65), Cooper, Crane, Malley (Desmond 2) and Day. Subs not used – Jarvie and Kelsal
Scorers: Burns 2 (P), Quinn 3, Love 18,75
Sent Off – Booth 2
Referee – Craig Charleston Attendance – 267

Aug 30th 2011 at Recreation Pk, Alloa
Alloa Athletic 0 Falkirk 1
Alloa Athletic: McDowall, Trialist (Craig Donaldson) (Howarth 46), Docherty, Doyle, McCullagh, Innes, Caddis (McCaughie 46), Locke, Trialist 2 (Robbie Winters), Campbell (One 46), Wright. Sub. not used : Bain (GK)
Falkirk: Bowman, Rowan, Dick, D.Fulton, Wallace, Comrie (Munn 88), Brisbane (McGrandles 79), Faulds, Graham, Kelly (Grant 78), Millar. Sub. not used : Small.
Scorer – M.Wallace (34)
Referee: Stephen Finnie Attendance: 290

Byes – East Stirlingshire & Dumbarton


Aug 30th 2011 at Strathclyde Homes Stadium, Dumbarton
Dumbarton 6 Stenhousemuir 2
Dumbarton: Grindlay, Lyden, McKinnon, Lithgow, McNiff, Brannan (Pearson 76), McBride (Walker 58), Wallace, Winters, McLeish, Ramage (Metcalfe, 58). Unused subs: Connolly, Ewings.
Stenhousemuir: Diamond, Hamilton, Lawson, Welsh, Nelson, Brash (Wilson 76), Plenderleith (McGuire 76), McCafferty, Quinn, Love, Burns (O’Grady 76). Subs: Docherty, Shaw.
Scorers- McBride (27, 55), Metcalfe (88), Walker (61), Wallace (68), Winters (32) : Penderleith (25), Quinn (82 P)
Referee: Euan Anderson Attendance: 223

Sep 27th 2011 at Falkirk Stadium, Falkirk
East Stirlingshire 0 Falkirk 2
East Stirlingshire – Antell, Jackson, S.Fulton, Cane, Frances, Maxwell, Scott, Stirling, Savage (Benton 60), Team, Gibson (Glasgow 70). Subs. Dingwall, Chisholm, Hay (GK)
Falkirk - Bowman, Rowan, Dick, Bennett, Turnbull, Comrie (Small 89), McGrandles (Brisbane 81), D.Fulton, Graham, Kelly (Grant 61), R.Millar. Subs. Munn, Amos (GK)
Scorers – A.Graham 38 [P], 45
Sent Off – A.Graham 82
Referee – Craig Charleston Attendance – 274
Note- East Stirlingshire home fixture, switched due to unavailability of Ochilview Pk.


Nov 1st 2011 at Falkirk Stadium, Falkirk
Falkirk 1 Dumbarton 1
Falkirk won 5-4 on Penalties
Falkirk - Bowman, Rowan, Dick, D.Fulton, Turnbull (Brisbane 84), Comrie, Faulds, J.Fulton, Graham, Kelly (Grant 65), R.Millar.Subs. Munn, McGrandles, Amos.
Dumbarton - Ewings, Lyden, Creaney, Kennedy, McNiff, Brannan, Borris, Ramage, Metcalfe (McKell 55) Wallace, Winters.Subs.Howarth, Pearson, Thomson, Mailey.
Scorers – A.Graham 9, D.Winters 39
Penalty Takers - Borris 0-0 - D.Fulton 0-1 - Ramage 1-1 Rowan 1-2 - McNiff 2-2 - R.Millar 3-2 - Brannan 3-3 - Comrie 4-3 - Winters 4-4 - Graham 4-4 - Lyden 4-4 - J.Fulton 5-4
Referee – Stephen Finnie Attendance – 923
Note- Neutral fixture, hosted by Falkirk FC for the Stirlingshire FA.


Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Falkirk FC - Formation

I once wrote a little piece for the Soccer History Quarterly magazine about the formation of my beloved Falkirk FC. It was mainly a refutation of the oft cited date of 1876 for the formation of Falkirk Football Club and my arguments as to why I think the club was actually formed in 1877. I'm not going to republish that article here [no, if you want to read it, buy the magazine [or at least read the copy in Falkirk Library, then subscribe to the magazine]], no, here I am just going to reproduce two articles from the local press which lend much credence to my argument, and leave you to consider which date seems most likely.

"Falkirk Football Club: Celebration of Semi-Jubilee"

Published in the Falkirk Mail on Saturday the 15th of March 1902

"Last night, in the Falkirk Town Hall, the Falkirk Football Club celebrated their semi-jubilee, when a social, concert, and dance were held when Mr Murdoch McIntyre, president of the club presided over an attendance of about 300. The chairman was supported by the following :- Councillor Stevenson, hon. president: Mr Thomas Waugh, vice president: Mr Wm. Nicol, secretary of the club: Mr D.M. Reid, secretary of the Stirlingshire Football Association: Mr J. Morrison (Falkirk Amateurs), Mr Martin (Camelon), Mr McNicol (King's Park), Mr McLaren (Alloa Athletic), and Mr F. Lindsay (Dunipace).

After tea had been partaken of the Chairman addressed the audience and gave a brief resume of the club's history. In 1877 the club was inaugurated, and their first ground was Brockville Park. After being there for a few years they removed to Randyford. Subsequently they removed their camp to Blinkbonny, where they remained for a few years. They ultimately returned to their old quarters at Brockville Park. When they first occupied the park they paid in rental £12, while today they paid £50, which showed how the value of the land had increased, and gave some indication of the efforts they had to make to meet the rental. They had always been able to keep the old ship rolling, and he hoped they would continue to do so for a great number of years (applause.) He mentioned that they had had three leases of of five years each of Brockville, and they had now entered their fourth lease of five years, and hoped they would be able to continue there for another term of five years at least (applause.) He did not see many of the old members present that evening who were at the institution of the club. he had expected another gentleman [illegible word] who was one of three who held a meeting about the cross in the High Street, when there was some talk of the club being formed. A meeeting [sic] was held in the Newmarket Inn, which used to be the club headquarters, and they decided to advertise the matter. They did so and the result was that a large meeting of the young men of the town was held and the club was formed. Although they had had many years of ups and downs, the club had always been kept going, and it was now for the members of the club to rally round the committee and make it a better success than ever next year (applause.) They had every prospect of it being better than it had been last year (applause.) In regard to the "gates" in the early days, they used to draw £1 or 25s, while recently they realised £150 in a Scottish Cup tie. Their lub had always had a sort of middle class team. They had never been able to raise many stars. They had, however, given to the football world John Drummond of the Rangers (applause) and John Prey [sic] of Bury (applause.) They had also as a player Alexander Stark (applause.) He was never able to get an international cap, but he was chosen to play in the trial teams. As for playing for the Falkirk Club he was always willing to give them a helping hand (applause.) He mentioned that during the year they had played 32 matches, of which they had won 18, lost 10, and drawn 4. That was a very good record (applause.) Although they did not lift the Qualifying Cup they hoped that next year they would be able to do so (loud applause.)

An enjoyable programme was thereafter submitted. Songs were contributed by Misses Helen Henderson and Nimmo, and Messrs Geo. Mallice, Robert Walker, D. Grant (comic) and Wm. Nicol the popular club secretary: while recitations were given by Mr Will. Stevenson. At an interval Mr J. Malcolm gave an interesting display with the indian clubs.

There was a large number at the dance which followed. The music was supplied by mr Fleming's orchestra, and the duties of M.C. were discharged by Mr Wm. Allan (the club's goalkeeper.) Messrs R. Mathieson & Sons, High Street, purveyed, and the refreshments were supplied by Mr George D. Wright, High Street. The function throughout was of a very enjoyable and most successful kind."

And a second piece by 'Scrutator' (the sports editor of the Herald) on the same day

"Athletic Notes by Scrutator"

Published in the Falkirk Herald on Saturday the 15th of March 1902

"Last night the Falkirk Club celebrated their semi-jubilee with a soiree, concert and ball in the Town Hall. The club has seen a few ups and downs since 1877, and there has been many a change since I witnessed one of the first practice games on the slope where the present Brockville Park now stands. That game stands out in my memory as being noteworthy for the play of two Kelvingrove players, who came from Glasgow to give the Falkirk players a lesson - one of the two being a brother of Geordie Richardson's an old Falkirk player"

There you go, both local newspapers said the date, however I am not trying to start a campaign to rewrite history [again] just pointing out that this kind of thing is not always so straight forward all the time, not long after 1902 there was an 'accident' at Brockville Park, and many of the club's records and ledgers were lost forever. Thus I have had to research individually players from before centralised player registration. But if it was so easy it wouldn't be half as much fun, would it?

Monday, 14 February 2011

Stirlingshire Cup - 1883/84

As I have said before I sometimes stray outside of the history of Falkirk FC to go into local football, I think this, though, might cover both [since it was Falkirk's first honour]. The Stirlingshire Cup, though often derided today, was only the second competition the teams of Falkirk & district had the opportunity to enter [if we exclude the 2nd XI Cup], so at the time it was taken very seriously. At points during the late 1880s and early 1890s there were reaching on thirty teams entering the first round. Of course back then the only other competitive fixtures were the Scottish Cup and the Falkirk & District Charity Cup until the minor leages were instituted in 1892 or so, but all the same it was taken seriously.

Formed on Christmas Day of 1883, the Stirlingshire FA immediately announced the aim to institute a cup for the teams of Stirlingshire. The initial seven teams - Campsie, Dunipace, East Stirlingshire, Falkirk, King's Park, Stenhousemuir [a different club from the current incarnation] and Tayavalla invited the other clubs in the county to join the fledgling organisation. Another seven teams signed up [Comely Park, Grasshoppers, Ochil Rangers, Milngavie, Strathblane, Grahamston, Vale of Bannock] and in early January the FA announced the first round of the new competition.

I shan't go through the games match by match, mainly because good match reports were sparse in those days, but shall just give a summary. Luckily Ochil Rangers and Milngavie played out two draws in the first round [back then it was the norm for both teams to go through to the next round in such circumstances], this meant there were a round eight teams in the second Round. Dunipace elected to abandon the game at half-time due to the weather [when winning 2-0] only to be roundly thrashed by king's Park 13-0 when the game was finally played. A similar tale was played out between Vale of Bannock and Campsie, except Campsie won by [only!] 5-0. Comely Park's 9-1 drubbing by East Stirlingshire was a surprise to no one, Laurence McLachlan [ESFC] was one of the greatest forwards outside of the big city teams at the time].

Little is of particular note from the second and third rounds, the favourites went through, which brought to the fore the first proper East Stirlingshire-Falkirk derby. East Stirlingshire if they had not quite caught up with Falkirk in the four years since their formation had certainly been pressing ahead at a far quicker rate than Falkirk had. In 1884 East Stirlingshire were a team that were going places. But in the end Falkirk still had the edge, it took a replay, but Falkirk were proclaimed the champions of Stirlingshire in the end. It took the club a good few years to win the cup back, but that is a good way to show how much other clubs [especially the 'shire] were on our tails.

The Cup expanded the next year, and of course the competition exists to this day, but of course it is not the same thing as it is not taken as seriously. Possibly this stems back as far as 1908 and Falkirk [*shame*] entering their Falkirk A team instead of the first team, but of course it does not help that nowadays only four senior clubs still exist in Stirlingshire [East Stirlingshire, Falkirk, Stenhousemuir and Stirling Albion] [note Stirling University are a Senior team in Stirlingshire but are members of the East of Scotland FA], the amalgamations with the Clackmannanshire FA, the Linlithgowshire FA [now East Lothian] and the Dunbartonshire FA have added, eventually, a total of two teams. I say scrap the amalgamations and invite the amateur & junior teams of Stirlingshire making it a true and broad Stirlingshire Cup again [but how do we define Stirlingshire when it no longer exists as a political entity anymore?].

Anyway enough of my rambling, here's the details of the first Stirlingshire Cup

1st Round

19th Jan Ochil Rangers 2-2 Milngavie
26th Jan King’s Park 0-2 Dunipace [Match abandoned at half-time]
26th Jan Vale of Bannock 2-1 Campsie [Match abandoned after 75 minutes]
2nd Feb Falkirk 1-0 Grasshoppers
9th Feb Comely Park 1-9 East Stirlingshire
9th Feb King’s Park 13-0 Dunipace
9th Feb Strathblane 1-0 Grahamston
9th Feb Tayavalla 5-2 Stenhousemuir
9th Feb Vale of Bannock 0-5 Campsie

1st Round Replay

26th Jan Milngavie 0-0 Ochil Rangers [Both teams went through]

2nd Round

23rd Feb Campsie 4-1 King’s Park
23rd Feb Milngavie 0-5 Falkirk
23rd Feb Ochil Rangers 2-4 Strathblane
23rd Feb Tayavalla 1-7 East Stirlingshire


8th Mar Falkirk 2-1 Campsie
8th Mar Strathblane 1-2 East Stirlingshire

Final [Lock 16 Ground [Tayavalla FC]]

29th Mar Falkirk 1-1 East Stirlingshire

Final Replay [Lock 16 Ground [Tayavalla FC]]

5th Apr Falkirk 3-1 East Stirlingshire

Clubs and their respective locations [needless to say the boundaries of Stirlingshire have changed greatly in the last 125 odd years, so some of these teams don't seem very Stirlingshire any more]

Club - Locality
Campsie - Lennoxtown"
Comely Park - Falkirk
Dunipace - Dunipace
East Stirlingshire - Bainsford
Falkirk - Falkirk+
Grahamston - Falkirk#
Grasshoppers - Bonnybridge
King’s Park - Stirling
Milngavie - Milngavie
Ochil Rangers - Alva
Stenhousemuir - Stenhousemuir
Strathblane - Blanefield
Tayavalla - Camelon*
Vale of Bannock - Bannockburn

" Campsie played at Alum Works Park, since my knowledge of the area is somewhat lacking I have asked Lennoxtonians about this, but to no success. I know from match reports that it was on the banks of the Glazert, but can not be 100% sure it was Lennoxtown at all where they played, and not one of the several **** of Campsies.

+ of course, in 1884 Falkirk were not playing at their spiritual home of Brockville Park yet, but at the leafy surrounds of modern Bantaskine at the Mayfield Ground, the housing estate was, of course, yet to be built.

#Grahamston played specifically in the Grahamston part of Falkirk, the exact location of their original ground is unknown, but somewhere on Thornhill Road is most Likely.

* Tayavalla were originally a works team of the Tar Works in Lime Road [next to the Falkirk Wheel nowadays] so started life playing 'at Lime Road' which is in modern day Tamfourhill, back then there were virtually no houses there [apart from the house of the manager of the Tar Works: Tay-a-valla [roughly "house on the [Antonine] Wall", in Gaelic], shortly after forming Tayavalla moved to the 'Lock 16 Ground', but it was never made clear on which side of the Forth & Clyde Canal that this ground was situated, thus I have said that the team were from Camelon, but reservedly.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Falkirk FC - Scarlet & White Stripes

On Saturday the 21st of January 1888, Falkirk FC did something that, for many, seems not only ridiculous, but impossible. In a friendly match [there was no League] against local minnows [sorry..] Laurieston at Zetland Pk, Laurieston, the team took the field in their new tops of 'Scarlet & white stripes': ridiculous I hear you say to yourself. The team had decided the change in December 1887 and plans were afoot to debut the new strips in the two match 'northern tour' against Coupar-Angus and Fair City Athletic in the New Year. Nothing was mentioned in the match reports of those two games, nor in the following two matches, v West Carron [Falkirk Charity Cup] and Hibernian [Friendly], it was only after the Laurieston match that it was noted 'Falkirk looked well in their new colours last Saturday, and appeared to be a much heavier team when dressed in shirts than when they had jerseys.'

Very little was mentioned of it [match reports were often so small that such peripheral issues as colours, attendances, teams & scorers were often omitted], but it certainly seemed to be unpopular with the fans. I have never seen a good reason why such a move was made, there were several other teams locally which wore similar colours, but Falkirk were much more prominant, so distinction cannot be the reason [especially as Stirling's King's Park wore Scarlet & White], perhaps it was as simple as them being cheaper, I doubt we will never know.

This 'experiment' was lasted just over a year, Falkirk last donning the strips in a Friendly against Bo'ness on Saturday 16th of March 1889, I was going to put a list of matches in which Falkirk may have possibly played in 'those' strips but it I thought I had too little evidence, instead I shall leave you with two things.

1) The quote from the Falkirk Herald of 1st June 1889: 'It was decided to change the club colours to all navy blue.'

2) The representationof the strip [look away] in the website Historical Kits.

Let's just hope such blasphemy never happens again! [I have erased the memory of 1996/97's apart from a Cup Final where Falkirk wore a mainly red away top]

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Football Greats & Television

I'm back from the break, this isn't a real post only the best quote from my readings over the hols: not about Falkirk but it does sum up the feelings of those of us who rake through the past.

From 'The ball is Round' by David Goldblatt about how seemingly all the great players just happened to play during the televisual era.

"... consequently our collective memory of football before this is essentially blind, dependent on the vagaries of radio, still photography and reportage - which for all their strengths simply cannot capture the game like motion pictures. It is no coincidence that the standard canon of great players barely extends before this era. Pichichi, Friedenreich, Sindelar, Bloomer, Andrade, Scarone, Mazzola and Piola - th greatest players of their cultures and eras are barely known beyond the smallest circles of bookish devotees. By contrast, the period between 1954 and 1974 offers a whole slew of candidates for every list of greats."

For somebody who reads a bit much about the history of the game this speaks volumes: where Pele's 1200+ goals were mainly scored for Santos in their innumerable globetrotting [and money-spinning] friendlies, Friedenreich's were scored in Brazilian domestic competition, his light mestizo complexion eventually allowed him into the national team as long as he straightened his hair before every match, such were the times. Central Europe has no comparison to the beating heart of Austria's Wunderteam, Mattias Sindelar, the ugly parts being his inclusion into the post-anschluss german team and his 'mysterious' early death. Even England will look more towards the 'exploits' of David Beckham, but where does he stand next to Stephen 'Pale Face' Bloomer [who?].

I implore everybody who reads this to look into the careers of the players mentioned above [and beyond], all they did was stand out above the crowd in their time, there was a good reason that they stood out.

Polemic over