Friday, 8 November 2013

Falkirk FC's First Captain

In the first two seasons of the existence of Falkirk, match reports said remarkably little, often giving more space to the conditions under which the match was played rather than giving the details of the game itself [for example it is not until the final match of the 1878/79 Season that any scorers are recorded]. Often full teams are not given, only the players who were deemed to play well are named.

However in those reports with full teams and where there is a captain indicated on every occasion in those first two seasons the Falkirk captain is given as R.Peddie. He was not club captain as this was not yet an official position in the club, and there was no named Club Captain appointed at an AGM until Walter Gibson in 1882, but here was clearly the player who lead the team on the field of play.

R.Peddie was Richard Peddie, and in every match that R.Peddie there was also a W.Peddie [William Peddie] alongside him, yes here in the very first season was Falkirk FC's first set of brothers playing in the same side. The Falkirk club in 1878 was almost completely a team full of 'Bairns' which is why these two should be seen as interesting, for not only did they live in Grangemouth, they were both actually born in Sunderland. [Falkirk FC's first 'foreigners']. Of course it was not strange to have people born all over the place living in a major port, and the fact that Peddie is a very common name in Grangemouth suggests that they were born in Sunderland while the family was living there pro tempore, so we can't hold that against them.

Before turning up in the Falkirk ranks both brothers were noted in the Grangemouth annual Sports Day [though curiously in the rowing events], and in the Rifle Volunteers events, but neither of these seem particularly prescient for future football players. This came when both players started appearing in the reports of Grangemouth [rugby] football matches. Interestingly in a match between the Captain's Side and the Vice-Captain's Side of Grangemouth Football Club William Peddie is noted as Captain [with Richard playing on the other side], so why Richard was chosen as Falkirk's first captain is mysterious.

According to the rugby reports both players had an impressive turn of pace, and this was before the gap between the two codes of football had widened to the seemingly unbridgeable gap of today, so the skill of a winger in rugby would be just as useful in football [apart from the obvious difference] so why not?

The known Falkirk careers of the two players are incredibly similar, the only difference being William appearing in a friendly against Lenzie when Richard was absent [no captain being named], both brothers played in the club's first match [and victory] in the Scottish Cup v Campsie Glen on Saturday the 28th of September 1878, but both came before any goals were recorded, so although forwards no goals are attributed to them.

After the 1878/79 season both brothers disappear from Falkirk FC & football without a mention, and usually players like this just completely leave my radar, except that I stumbled across the gravestone of Richard in Camelon Cemetery.

I did not expect to find this here [Grandsable if anywhere..], and it took me a bit digging to assert that it was the same person. After football William continued with his Rifle Volunteers [representing Stirlingshire in the National Games in the 1890s] while Richard almost completely disappeared except for one little instance. In June 1882 he was named as one of the founders of Zetland Football Club, the first Association club from Grangemouth. There was extremely little published at the time about the exploits of Zetland FC and they soon seem to have been replaced by Grangemouth FC [I suspect though that they were one and the same club], I can not tell if Richard actually played for Zetland/Grangemouth, or if he had given up the game in the intervening three years.

No pictures of either brother seem to exist, but I am forever searching for these little things, until then a place in the history books of the club should be given to Falkirk's first brothers, Falkirk's first Englishmen, and most importantly, Falkirk's first Captain.

Richard Dawes Peddie

b c1857, Sunderland, Durham
d 11th February 1905, Grangemouth, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday March 23rd 1878 vGrasshoppers (H) Friendly
Competitive Debut – Saturday September 28th 1878 v Campsie Glen (H) Scottish Cup 1st Rd
Positions – Inside-Left

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [1/-]
Other Matches/Goals [7/-]
Known Career – Falkirk [1877/78-1878/79], Zetland? [1882/83]

William Bertram Peddie

b c1855, Sunderland, Durham
d 6th July 1926, Grangemouth, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday March 23rd 1878 vGrasshoppers (H) Friendly
Competitive Debut – Saturday September 28th 1878 v Campsie Glen (H) Scottish Cup 1st Rd
Positions – Outside-Left

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [1/-]
Other Matches/Goals [8/-]
Known Career – Falkirk [1877/78-1878/79]


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Thomas Townsley

Ah, Thomas Townsley, okay not quite a Falkirk-ite [he came from a couple of miles outside the town, he was from California] I like him for many reasons [not least of which is the fact I am vagueley related to him, he was the uncle of my uncle's wife [I don't know what that is called]], he only played one match for Scotland [for which he was captain], but I like the most that when Falkirk got a penalty, he whistled for Thomas Scott to run up from right-back to bluter the ball in, in one movement, I can imagine that.

He started and ended his career at Falkirk, spending a couple of seasons at Leeds in between, it is the way of things. I hope he earned lots of money at Leeds.

As a player, he seems to have been the controlling midfielder type of Centre-Half than a stopper, he scored, if not prolifically. In pictures he is instantly recognisable by his 'lugs'.

He seemed like a decent chap was probably undervalued by Scotland because of his club.

Thomas Townsley

b 28th April 1898, Polmont, Stirlingshire
d 10th April 1976

Debut – Saturday April 26th 1919 v Vale of Leven (H) Friendly
League Debut – Monday September 8th 1919 v Ayr United (H) Scottish League
Positions – Centre-Half, Right-Half
Representative Honours – Scotland v Wales 1925/26, Scottish League v English League 1922/23, 1923/24, 1924/25, v Irish League 1924/25

Falkirk FC Club Honours – Dunedin Cup W 1922/23, RU 1921/22, 1931/32, Stirlingshire Cup W 1922/23, Falkirk Infirmary Shield W 1919/20, 1920/21, 1921/22, 1922/23, 1923/24, 1924/25, 1930/31

Known Career – Laurieston Villa, Cowie Wanderers, California Celtic, Falkirk [1918/19-1925/26], Leeds United [1925/26-1930/31], Falkirk [1931/32-1932/33], Bo'ness [1933/34]

Scottish League Division 1 Matches/Goals [267/12]
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [17/-]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [28/2]

Monday, 14 October 2013

Falkirk v Celtic Feb 28th 1914

Yes, I am biased, I like it when Falkirk win, but I like it more when Falkirk is shown in the backdrop, again, this shows Watson Street whilst we thump Celtic 1-0 to a James Robertson Goal

It doesn't happen all the time, let me enjoy those rare occasions.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

"New" Falkirk Match

Researching the past can be a pretty hit or miss occupation. If it was all available to see in a book, or on a website there would be no point in researching it ...

It is hit or miss because reporting of football was so patchwork back in the earliest days of the game. Take for example my latest find, Falkirk v Glasgow Caledonians on the 1st November 1879. Yesterday I did not know this match existed, it was not reported in the Falkirk Herald [where it should have been] but in the Glasgow Herald on the following Monday [so the Falkirk Herald people had time to read it for the next Saturday edition] but that is the way it was back then.

Sadly the report doesn't tell me much, but it is another match and it makes the 1879/80 season slightly less 'patchy'.But if I have to check the local papers for every place Falkirk could concievably have played a football match it might take an awfy long time getting through them all.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Falkirk v Aberdeen, 1946

Have nothing to add, except it was George Brookes [not Brooks]

Firs Park 1928

The home of the 'Shire for so many a season, Firs Park was always an interesting ground [the last time I was there was for an ESFC v QP match a couple of years ago] it has the famous 'wall'.

Anyway, an 'associate' Alan McCabe put me on to this website 'Britain from Above' where I found a pic of Firs Park from 1928. [top-left]

Original here

For those who do not know, East Stirlingshire had only relatively recently moved into this ground, their spiritual home "Merchiston Park' no longer in use. Previously Firs Park was used by Junior Clubs big enough to pay for its upkeep [most Minor/Junior/Juvenile clubs played on Victoria Park just round the corner].

This explains why the ground doesn't look particularly like a League Ground, over the years it got developed. It is still there, but no longer used, for the reasons you would have to ask shirey people ....

Friday, 11 October 2013

Hibernian v Falkirk - Easter Road - Oct 1913

No real reason for posting this, just another picture of a Falkirk match, this goes out to Jason Urquhart & Bobby Sinnet.

Oh and we cuffed you 3-0 on your own patch ;)

Falkirk v Aberdeen, Brockville Pk 1914

Another pic from the past, [there are lots of them out there if you are willing to dig] this one [according to the caption] is from the Falkirk v Aberdeen Division 1 Match at Brockville Pk on the 14th of March 1914: 2-0 to Falkirk, and the houses in the background certainly appear to be those in Watson Street.

I am somewhat perturbed by this picture. The two players named as Falkirk players seem to be wearing a lighter coloured top than the Aberdeen player; I do not know what the Aberdeen change strip was this season, but at this point Aberdeen wore Black & Gold stripes so it is definitely not that; to my knowledge there has never been a Falkirk player by the name of Templeton; to the right the player may or may not be Robert Orrock [I'm not sure though]; the player named as Wylie looks awfy like Thomas Glancy of Falkirk to me. That and the fact there is no way to be 100% sure that the goalie is Alex Stewart, makes me think something has gone wrong up Dundee Courier way.

I'm also interested in what that advert might be "NE..." could be anything.

Note - I was contacted recently [Apr 2014] by Alex Blackwood from "right" 'darn sarf' as in South Australia south, who married into the Neilson Family from Falkirk, and it was their advert shown - well in this picture from c1907

I ought to have looked at the Falkirk Council site too, but I always look for the obscure. On reading more Neilson's had the privilege of creating that horrid drink "Coca-Cola" for you people in Falkirk, until the massive giant that was Barr's swallowed them up. Based in the Pleasance, I have today also noted a junior team by the name Rosehall Swifts, who may, or may not, have been their works team ..... so much to explore .... every answer brings me more questions!!!!!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Reading Beyond the Sports Columns Pt II

Apropos yesterdays post about East Stirlingshire players/fans beating up defenceless people as is their nature, I came across this too.

Of course I can hear people saying that Thomas was also a Falkirk FC player, but I counter that by saying he only played a handful of games for Falkirk when he played for many a season in the Black & White.

Thomas McCall looking guilty in the Black & White of the 'Shire.

Besides, no proper Falkirk player would beat up an "imbecile" whilst too drunk to remember, would they?

Reading beyond the Sporting Columns

I must admit, when researching the game in the past, when it is a paper I know well, for example the Falkirk Herald I often skip most of the paper, I read the sports columns, and I read the local news. I know I should read every line of both the Saturday and Wednesday Editions [as it used to be], but that takes so much time, and it makes your eyes hurt, and it makes you never want to read another paper for the rest of your life.

This gets me through seasons much more rapidly, but it means I miss a lot of little things, it also means I can not take in the game in the wider context of society, if I had more time/patience I would do so. But every so often something just catches my eye, a name I recognise, or something and I get an insight into the world of football in Falkirk beyond twenty two men chasing the leather.

Towards the end of the 1889/90 season Falkirk & East Stirlingshire were as ever in contention for the local cups on offer, and this season the two clubs were again having one of their on-off lover's tiffs and refusing to play each other in friendly matches [even though the match was always a big draw]. The first meeting of the two teams that season was to be the final of the Falkirk Cottage Hospital Shield held, as usual, at Camelon's Victoria Pk. East Stirlingshire won 5-3 and that is all I had in my notes.

Then a couple of years on looking for something else completely I just noticed a little article in the papers not in the Sports column but surrounding the game, well more the aftermath of the game. It seems that at least some of the 'Shire lads went out that night to celebrate their victory. There is very little of concrete to go on, it would seem [to my biased eyes] that in their revelry four "shireites" [at least two of them [Thomas Dunn & Andrew inches] seem to have been ESFC players] having lost an argument on the relative merits of the two teams with a single Falkirk fan decided to beat the crap out of him. What else do you expect from Bainsford?

Whether Andrew Inches was ESFC's legendary half or not I can't say, but it is not a common name ... and there is a problem with the change of name from Dunn to Burns in the two reports so it might not have been the Thomas Dunn. Millar/Miller and Chestnut I do not know, but they may have been in the reserves .... and, of course Falkirk had a forward called Nimmo at the time...

All in all I think we should just learn the lesson not to be around the same pub the next time ESFC win something, just to make sure.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Andrew Prentice

Andrew Prentice was a stalwart of the East Stirlingshire Half-Back line at the turn of the 19th-20th Centuries, he was helped in no little way by the fact that he was accompanied by those other 'Shire perennials Thomas Fish and Peter Steele. But he might just have become a Falkirk player....

Andrew grew up on the 'Shire's home patch, his mother was in the employ of the Merchiston Hall Gardens [roughly somewhere on the grounds of St Mungo's Secondary School], and this is where the family are listed in the 1881 census. However he played his juvenile football for Falkirk sides and this is where Falkirk got most of their young locals, but upon progressing to junior football he moved definitively into the East Stirlingshire sphere of influence.

He joined Vale of Carron who were based in Carron. True they were a very successful junior team in their own right, but most importantly it was virtually East stirlingshire's nursery club. The two teams had a very close bond, Vale played their home matches at Merchiston Park whenever it was available [in the same way Falkirk had relations with Falkirk Exselsior & Falkirk Hawthorn and later Falkirk Juniors].

Of course, Andrew might have been a Zebra himself, or perhaps he had just been looking at the results and the Silverware won by the two clubs and decided on which side his bread would best be buttered. There is no getting away from the fact that until Falkirk's promotion to Division 1 in 1905 East Stirlingshire were seen as by far the bigger & more successful club in the District.

But strangely enough, before Andrew became a regular down Bainsford way he actually made his debut in senior club football for Falkirk FC, he only played the once in a friendly at Stenhousemuir. Perhaps he was giving Falkirk a trial than the other way around, if he was, then Falkirk failed miserably. Falkirk were going through they all too common reorganisations on-field [trying to replace players pilfered by bigger clubs by local juniors] an quite simply the side Falkirk put out on that Monday Afternoon in Stenhousemuir were cuffed. It is a hideous sight to this day - Stenhousemuir 8 Falkirk 2.

It is no surprise he soon signed pro forms with East Stirlingshire, and stayed with them for nearly a decade, probably never looking back. Last laugh to Falkirk though, a couple of seasons later Falkirk 'pinched' "Punkie" Reid from the Vale a couple of season's later, but more on him another time.

NB - I recently stumbled across his grave in Camelon Cemetery

Andrew Prentice

b c1875
d 10th Jun 1931, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Falkirk Debut – Monday August 17th 1896 v Stenhousemuir (A) Friendly
East Stirlingshire Debut - Saturday November 28th 1896 v Royal Albert (H) Scottish Combination

Known Matches

Scottish League Division 2 Matches/Goals [107/1]
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [16/-]
Scottish Qualifying Cup Matches/Goals [28/1]
Minor League Matches/Goals [68/1]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [20/-]
Other Matches/Goals [39/2]
Total Matches/Goals [278/5]

Known Career – Falkirk Alert, Falkirk Northern, Vale of Carron, Falkirk [1896/97], East Stirlingshire [1896/97-1904/05]

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Peter Cabrelli

Yet another Italo-Scot from North of the Tay [I have a certain fondness for Italo-Scots by virtue of 'being one' just the grandparents were the wrong way round for me to get a cool name], who came south to play for Falkirk.

Peter Cabrelli started off as a nippy wee Inside-Left in School football in Dundee before moving swiftly into the Tayside junior scene with Dundee Osborne. He was soon picked up by Dundee FC but never managed to break into the first team. He knew the score and quickly moved onto Forfar where he started to show what he could do. During his period at Forfar Peter also spent time with family back in Italy where he played matches with Borgotaro, Genoa & Ambrosiana Milano [better know today as Inter, but Mussolini had impelled clubs to use 'Italian' names], it was reported in the Courier at the time that the Milan club offered him profesional terms as a player/coach but he turned them down due to commitments at home.

Peter Cabrelli after signing for Dundee in 1930

Soon the clubs came scouting in Forfar trying to lure him down South, Chelsea and Manchester United being amongst the big names mentioned, but when it came to signing his first full-time deal he made the only obvious choice: turning down such fly-by-night teams to take a chance at being allowed to play on the hallowed turf that was Brockville Park.

Peter Cabrelli with Falkirk in 1935

Peter was moderately succesful in a pretty poor Falkirk side which was facing what would be their first ever relegation. Peter started the next season at Inside-Left but soon found his place being taken by David Cowan [who was it must be said a more consistent scorer] and instead of staying on the sidelines Peter finished the season on loan to King's Park.

Falkirk had signed more forwards for the next season and knowing he could not be guaranteed a first team place Peter moved on to Raith Rovers, who crucially moved him to the position he would later become better known for, they played him as a Left-Half. Peter remained with Raith until the war, when he was called up for national service.

Throughout the war he seems to have played a lot of football, not all of which I have been able to track down. Along with Raith and a season with St Mirren, he played throughout the length & breadth of the UK depending on where he was stationed or when he was on leave. The clubs he played for that I have come across were Dundee United, Consett, Halifax Town, Millwall, Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Bradford City, Bradford Park Avenue & Reading.

After the war Peter played the first full peacetime season with Dundee United before winding down with Arbroath then Montrose. But although ending senior profesional football in the 40s Peter continued playing. In particular with the lovely named Dundee Juventus in the Dundee Half-Holiday League

Peter Cabrelli

b 23rd October 1910, Dundee, Angus
d 14th December 1994, Dundee, Angus

Height - 5 ft 7½ in: Weight 11 st 6 lbs [1935]

Forfar Athletic
Scottish League Division 2 Matches/Goals [96/19]
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [4/-]

Scottish League Division 1 Matches/Goals [11/-]
Scottish League Division 2 Matches/Goals [9/2]
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [6/1]

King's Park
Scottish League Division 2 Matches/Goals [9/4]
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [2/1]

Raith Rovers
Scottish League Division 1 Matches/Goals [37/1]
Scottish League Division 2 Matches/Goals [66/-]
Scottish League Division East Matches/Goals [27/1]
Scottish North-Eastern League Matches/Goals [1/-]
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [7/-]
Other Matches/Goals [4/4]

Dundee United
Scottish League Division East Matches/Goals [3/1]
Scottish North-Eastern League Matches/Goals [2/-]
Scottish League Division B Matches/Goals [14/1]
Southern League Cup Matches/Goals [4/-]
Victory Cup Matches/Goals [1/1]

St Mirren
Scottish Southern League Matches/Goals [30/1]

Scottish League Division B Matches/Goals [1/-]

Known Career
Scottish League Division 1 Matches/Goals [48/1]
Scottish League Division 2 Matches/Goals [195/27]
Scottish League Division East Matches/Goals [30/2]
Scottish North-Eastern League Matches/Goals [3/-]
Scottish Southern League Matches/Goals [30/1]
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [14/1]
Southern League Cup Matches/Goals [4/-]
Victory Cup Matches/Goals [1/1]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [6/1]
Other Matches/Goals [4/4]
Known Matches/Goals [335/38]

Known Career – Dundee Crescent, Dundee Osborne, Dundee [1929/30-1930/31], Forfar Athletic [1931/32-1934/35], Borgotaro, Genoa, Ambrosiana Milano, Falkirk [1934/35-1935/36], King's Park [1935/36], Raith Rovers [1936/37-1945/46], Dundee United [1939/40], St Mirren [1942/43], Consett [WWII], Halifax Town [WWII], Millwall [WWII], Arsenal [WWII], Crystal Palace [WWII], Bradford City [WWII], Bradford Park Avenue [WWII], Reading [WWII], Dundee United [1945/46], Arbroath [1946/47], Montrose [1946/47-1947/48], Dundee Juventus.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Falkirk FC 1908

What can I say? This was simply one of Falkirk FC's greatest ever sides, not often would a Falkirk side challenge for the League title so effectively, there are some legends of Falkirk in this picture, nice they were appreciated in the National Media.

From January 1908. William Allan; William Leishman & Robert Gibson; Harry Collins, John Anderson & James Reid [sic]; John Simpson & John McTavish, Clyde Skene, Andrew Mitchell & William Davidson.

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.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Falkirk District Clubs 1900/01

We are all used to seeing the previews of the up and coming season in our press, this of course is nothing new. Way back in the day these were as popular [if not as lengthy] as they are today.

Way back at the start of the last century there was an article in the Evening Telegragh giving a brief sketch on the clubs in Scotland and what they were up to for the new season. The big difference for the clubs in Falkirk District was that there were five clubs included then instead of the modern three.

First up, of course, were East Stirlingshire, as the biggest and most successful team in the district they got the biggest article [and a player pic]. East Stirling though going through what was relatively their strongest era tended to overstretch themselves, playing far too many competitive matches in the season, this was of course partly due to being good in local cups, partly joining new leagues looking for a better standard of opponent.

Stenhousemuir were reviewed next, Stenhousemuir were then as now a village team that occasionally punched above their weight, but inevitably lost their players almost as soon as they unearthed them. They were ambling along just fine competing in the local competitions and more often than not progressing far enough in the national cups to keep themselves noticed.

Falkirk were severely underperforming at this point, they had been struggling with the transition to professionalism for nearly a decade and there were strong calls from within the club for a return to amateurism [as King's Park of Stirling had recently done] costs were outstripping incomes and the [largely] Glaswegian journeymen pros had frankly not cut the mustard. Things were now turning as the club had cast its eyes upon largely local talent for the future.

Camelon FC were an enigma, as strong as the 'shire or Falkirk in their day, they suffered from the village club malaise even more than Stenhousemuir due to their closer proximity to Falkirk. They struggled mainly with keeping hold of enough players especially after the advent of professionalism, they simply could not afford to keep any of their good players for more than a season at most.

Last of all was the newest of the Falkirk District clubs, the Ams, Falkirk Amateurs were a completely different kettle of fish to the other four as they showed no inclination towards the dog eat dog world of league football. They were members of the Falkirk & District League, but as this was just a competition put on top of the already exisiting regular friendlies it hardly counts. The Ams plied away in every cup they could enter [usually not lasting very long] and friendlies.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Aftermath of a Penalty

Just a quick little post because I found this picture of the Dundee players picking the ball out of the net after a John Simpson penalty from September 1908, the game was a 1-1 draw at Dundee.

I know there are no Falkirk players in the photo but I still like it because I am very biased.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Action Photo - Falkirk v Queen's Park 1914

You how it is with digging out old pictures of football matches from the archives, they are quite impressive in their poor quality retro-coolness. I wish there were so many more of them available [and of course there might be and I have not been looking in the right place yet] but for the moment I will be thankful for what I find.

This picture is from the Falkirk v Queen's Park Scottish Cup match in January 1914, Falkirk's first Cup game since winning the season before. It has a strange caption as it states that the players are [William] Lennie of Falkirk then Todd, Garvie, Young & Kerr [QP] from left to right, whilst it is clearly a Falkirk player at the right [Blue Shirt], so it probably means right to left....

I suppose that since cameras were much more basic than today it must have been very difficult to get a good action photo, therefore many of the other ones taken at the time were blurry and unuseable, so presumeably destroyed.

But what I like most about this picture is that in the background you can clearly see the houses in Watson Street so it was taken before the Shed was built [those very houses are still there a hundred years later]. Well I always like to come across pictures which have new [to me anyway] images of Brockville Park.

The match itself is quite annoying as Falkirk were beaten; the holders knocked out in the First Round. That sort of thing just doesn't happen anymore, and it is a shame it happened to Falkirk on this occasion, as [due to the war] the club would not have the chance to avenge it until 1920 [when Falkirk were beaten again in the First Round].

Will get back to looking through lots and lots of newspapers now, will be back when I find something of interest.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Obscure Matches : Stirlingshire Juniors v Stirlingshire Seniors

Junior Football in Falkirk has always been a very haphazard affair, there is no really strong tradition in the town. There is a long tradition in some of the outlying areas, but never really strong unlike say in Glasgow, Ayrshire or East Lothian. In Falkirk it has always been overshadowed by the senior clubs [few other 'conurbations' in Scotland carry three League sides in such proximity].

But right back in 1890s there were plenty of junior sides in Falkirk alone. For the most part they played on Victoria Public Park, but some had their own grounds, Falkirk Hawthorn played at Firs Park when East Stirlingshire were still playing in Bainsford, and Falkirk Thistle played on Princes Park to the South of Town. This along with borrowing Brockville for the big games [and Saturdays when Falkirk were away] they struggled through.

But although there were plenty of clubs, not all were big enough to make the local leagues strong enough. Every year they were re-organised, and every year it would struggle to be completed, both through lack of interest. Some problems were obvious, four big local sides Denny Athletic, Dunipace, Heather Rangers [Stenhousemuir] & Broomage Albion [Larbert] played in the Stirling & District Junior League. These would have been better off playing with the Falkirk, Grangemouth & Bainsford sides, alas they did not.

On top of this even back then there were so many Cups that the end of seasons were just, well, like they are now, there were many moves towards a Stirlingshire League before the main one was eventually set up, but more often as an afterthought, often concocted by the teams left out. Sometimes, like the Midland Junior League it was run alongside the Stirling & Falkirk Junior Leagues with the best teams from both, of course this meant two sets of home & away matches over & above cups & replays, so inevitably led to chaos.

What this meant was that both the leagues & the clubs themselves struggled to survive and had to play even more 'benefit' games to keep going. The point of this post, played on Tuesday 26th April 1898 for the Falkirk & District Junior League for the first time a representative side of Stirlingshire Juniors met a Senior Stirlingshire side [though made up solely of amateur players in the seniors] and did pretty well all told drawing on the hallowed turf of Brockville Park.

Of interest, is that this was probably the only time in their careers that the juniors got to play against a full international [David Alexander of ESFC]

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

New Blog Name

Hey people, been a while since I posted anything here, pure laziness on my part I'm afraid. I haven't been doing nothing though, I have largely been reading several years worth of match reports from really old newspapers and doing a bit of spreadsheet tidying [the glamorous bit], so I'll probably write something soonish.

On other news I also decided [eventually] to get me my own site, bought it this morning, took about five minutes to transfer and whala, it seems to work. If it doesn't give me a shout.

Well, I have nothing to say now, should write something randomly obscure & parochial by the weekend. I think it will be about junior football, because the juniors are always a bit mad.

Monday, 9 September 2013

The first former Falkirk player to fall in combat - John Devlin

Yet another incredibly obscure Falkirk player from the dim and distant past, one nobody else but I has probably heard of, mainly because he did very little for the club. In fact I can only find him playing in one match for the first team, in an end of season Benefit Match for Stenhousemuir FC in 1886/87 [he scored]. But John Devlin was the first Falkirk FC player that I have found that fell in combat, in the Battle of Atbara, Sudan in 1898.

Very little is known of his football career, and it is blurred by there being other players by the name of Devlin playing in minor Falkirk clubs at the time, but it is known that John played for both Falkirk & Falkirk Excelsior, but he may also have played for Falkirk Harp, Black Watch and Erin Rovers [but he would have been very young].

It is known he played for Falkirk because luckily he is in a picture of the Second XI which somehow survived from 1886.

It was also noted in his obituary in the Falkirk Herald that he had won the Falkirk & District Junior Cup with Falkirk Excelsior in 1889 [though it was not mentioned at the time].

He is honored on the family gravestone in Camelon Cemetery although I do not know whether he is interred there, as he was also commemorated on the British War Memorial in Sudan and the Seaforth Highlanders Memorial in Malta.

John Devlin

b c1870, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
d 8th April 1898, Atbara, Sudan

Debut – Saturday May 7th 1887 v Stenhousemuir (A) Benefit Match

Positions – Forward

Other Matches/Goals [1/1]

Known Career – Falkirk [1886/87], Falkirk Excelsior [1888/89]

Falkirk FC's first ground was probably not Brockville Park

There, I said it. Even though it says in nearly every history book about the Club beginning life at Brockville, moving around several local grounds, before finally returning to Brockville in the mid 1880s. In a previous post about Falkirk's first home game I brought up how the match report stated the match was played at 'Campfield' and this brought up some quesions, but felt it was probably the same piece of ground as Brockville.

Well I decided to look into it a bit further, so looking for references to Campfield in the Falkirk Herald in 1877 I came across several interesting bits & pieces which have caused me to question my previous thinking.

Firstly that regularly "Athetics" and other events were held at Campfield

for example these games in June 1877

and this Running Competition in December 1877

This running match puts sporting competitions in a vague geographical context, however as many of you will know Brockville Park was close to Grahamston Station, so I had to try to avoid sports and look for Campfield in the wider context of Falkirk/Grahamston and quickly came up with some more references.

In a report on the poor state of local drainage in September 1877 Campfield was mentioned again

This mentions the drain flowing into a burn behind the houses on Graham's Road, this is not so close to Brockville Park, but still there was open land behind the housing on both sides of Graham's Road, so it was not inconceivable that a very large area was known as Campfield.

However, a couple of weeks later [still in September 1877] in a report on the beginning of public works on these sewerages  locates Campfield more firmly.

"... Campfield to the east of Graham's Road". This is pretty definitive, Brockville Park, by any definition was to the west of Grahams Road [the road has lost the apostrophe through time], the place referred to in the Falkirk Herald as 'Campfield' was not Brockville Park.

Whether or not there was a mistake in the contemporary report I cannot say, but I doubt it.

Soon after the land was bought and the Springfield Foundry was built along with a great number of railway sidings and associated facilities for the running of the foundry, so sports could no longer be held there. Falkirk FC moved to Randyford on Grangemouth Road.

The ground referred to above as Campfield was derelict wasteland when I was growing up, but now is largely taken up by the carpark of the Falkirk Central Retail Park.

Addendum - Date = 6th December 2013

As a slight addition to my non-proof [but circumstantial evidence] I would add this report from the Glasgow Herald from June 1879. Herein the Falkirk & East Stirlingshire Annual Games are reported as having taken place in Springfield Park. Note the name of the foundry being built.

But of more interest to me is that J.Richardson's team won the Football Competition [it must be James Richardson of Falkirk FC, whose family home backed onto the land.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Jock Anderson - Captain

Whilst Falkirk were languishing in the lower leagues, then in the Second Division Captains seemed to be pretty arbitrary, Club Captains were sometimes recorded, but not always. Then in 1905 two important things  happened to the club, we signed Jock Simpson as a terrific new Outside-Right, and we signed John Anderson at Centre-Half [our new Captain]

Every Falkirk fan should fall to his knees upon reading this, Jock Anderson was the guiding light on the field. Signed from Heart of Midlothian [I won't hold that against him] but originally from Perth, Jock fitted the bill for the spot as Captain.

Fans of other clubs will dismiss this as nonsense, but Anderson took us from 2nd Division Team to Cup Winners. A nasty knee injury forced him to retire just before the Cup Final, but by then he had already done his job.

John Anderson

b c1882, Wester Fowlis, Perthshire
d 11th May 1942, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Wednesday August 16th 1905 v Cowdenbeath (A) Friendly
League Debut – Saturday August 19th 1905 v Port Glasgow Athletic (A) Scottish League Division 1

Positions – Centre-Half

Representative Honours – Scottish League v Irish League 1911/12

Club Honours – Scottish League Division 1 RU 1907/08, 1909/10, North-Eastern Cup W 1911/12, RU 1910/11, Dunedin Cup RU 1910/11, Dewar Shield W 1905/06, Stirlingshire Cup W 1905/06, Stirlingshire Consolation Cup W 1906/07, Falkirk Infirmary Shield W 1905/06, 1906/07, 1907/08, 1908/09

Scottish League Division 1 Matches/Goals [211/6]
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [12/1]
Minor League Matches/Goals [6/-]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [43/2]
Other Matches/Goals [26/1]
Total Matches/Goals [298/10]

Known Career – Dunfermline Athletic Juniors, Dunfermline Athletic [1900/01], Heart of Midlothian [1901/02-1904/05], Falkirk [1905/06-1912/13]

Played for Team 'B' v Team 'A', League International Trial at Glasgow, 16th February 1910
Played for White v Blue, Stirlingshire FA Benefit Match at Brockville Pk, Falkirk, 27th April 1910

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Some Stuff from WWII

Some historians [not all I know] tend to think that football just stopped upon Germany invading Poland, now that is just a silly notion, but it is one that seems to have permeated into large sections of the population.

You now get [allegedly] serious historical books which give players' matches played with the except Wartime Football tag. Now what is that about? Yes football was reorganised, yes some cubs decided not to operate during the War, but football continued.

For the majority of WWII in Scotland the Scottish Southern League was in existence [southern because there were travel restrictions in place] and it was largely the same as the old First Division, a bit smaller [no Aberdeen or Dundee] and the Scottish Cup was replaced by the Southern League Cup [with group stages as it was limited to the sixteen Southern League Clubs].

The major change was in personnel, many players signed up and were sent to their regimental bases for training, this meant that they were no longer available for their clubs. But the converse was that many other players moved to other areas and were available [occasionally] for their new local clubs.

All in all, football in Scotland got very makeshift, but football continued no matter what. To prove something of the continuity here are some stats from Falkirk FC during WWI, most matches played and most goals scored.

Leading Competitive Scorers [Excl Falkirk 'A' matches]
Player                Lea    Cup    Oth    Tot
Kenneth Dawson        76     7      11     94
John Fitzsimmons      66     6      11     83
James Inglis          39     12     10     61
Charles Napier        38     3      2      43
Robert Keyes          30     4      7      41
Alex Carruthers       16     4      7      37
Thomas Brady          20     5      8      33
Robert Campbell       30     1      1      32
George Brookes        27     1      3      31
Alex Stewart          9      5      15     29

Most Competitive Appearances [Excl Falkirk 'A' matches]
Player                Lea    Cup    Oth    Tot
Robert Shankly        114    31     25     170
Hugh Murray           121    22     19     162
John Fitzsimmons      105    29     19     153
Kenneth Dawson        106    23     18     147
Duncan Ogilvie        94     27     21     142
Gilbert McKie         88     16     21     125
Charles Napier        87     10     10     107
James Stewart         81     15     8      104
James McPhie          58     13     24     95
Alex Peat             62     11     19     92

Scottish Cup Final 1913

I rarely publish much about the great moments in the history of Falkirk FC, if you really want you can generally find it somewhere else, I like the slightly out of the ordinary to the outright obscure. But I was asked today which coloured shirts Falkirk & Raith Rovers wore in the 1913 Cup Final, and I simply did not know: so I found out.

Falkirk's attempt at this silly trophy [well admit it, it is hardly the Stirlingshire or the Falkirk Charity Cup] in 1913, it could be said, went very well smiting all and sundry along the way. The reason I am posting this is because I found this lovely picture of Jimmy Robertson in the act of scoring Falkirk's first goal in the final.

I love this, bit weird Falkirk FC wearing all white, but hey. James Robertson was one of our best Centre-Forwards ever, but now, more than a hundred years ago, is remembered by few.

Here is to Jimmy Robertson.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Falkirk FC 1906/07

Another old picture of Falkirk FC, this time from 1906/07 I believe [if not then from 1905/06]. This is a strange one as the team are not in proper formation, and there is no John Simpson. I will take time out tomorrow and go through the matches one by one to see which match this is [usual method excluding matches where the players I know were not playing, and excluding the matches where the players I know [but not here] were playing].

I will get it down to a reasonable number then see from then.

They are not in the right formation because it should be five in front and six at back, with the Captain [John Anderson] front and centre.

William Raisbeck, ????, William Allan, ????[not stripped], ????, Dan Gordon, Harry Collins [not stripped]

John McTavish, John Anderson, Alex Logan, ????, William Davidson, ????

Falkirk v Sunderland AFC 1896

I don't know why, but it took Falkirk FC a long time to host an English Club side at Brockville, I mean, East Stirlingshire had played several [including the World famous Corinthians] at Merchiston Park; East Stirlingshire had gone on tours down South while we contented ourselves with tours to the Highlands. I just have no answers.

The first club proper English Club side to play at Brockville Pk was Sunderland AFC, on Thursday 23rd April 1896. Of course part of Sunderland's tour of Scotland, but hey. Falkirk got rightly thumped, the final score being 5-3 to the Black Cats. Of Falkirk's three goals Andrew Hamilton scored two of them, strangely Sunderland signed him at the end of the season [wonder how...]

Anyway three days later Falkirk played Bury [with John Pray] and we resolved our demons by beating them 6-2 [of course in a return match they beat us 9-0 the next season]

Falkirk 3 Sunderland 5

Falkirk - Parlane; Turnbull & McFarlane; McLaughlan, Rae & Fearns; Glegg & Tennant, McDonald, Burt & Hamilton.

Sunderland - Doig; McNeil & Gow; Wilson, Gibson & Johnston; Gillespie & Harvey, Miller, McKenzie & Scott.

H-T 1-0

Scorers - Tennant, Hamilton [2] : Miller [2], Scott, OG [McFarlane], Gillespie.

Attendance - c1800

Match report

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Falkirk's Other Club

A long, long time ago Falkirk had another, proper, second club. I don't mean East Stirlingshire who were from Bainsford. I am talking about Falkirk Amateurs Athletic Club.

Unlike other clubs with Athletic in their name Falkirk Amateurs were a true Athletic Club, they had no off-season, they played football through the winter and cricket through the summer, as well as anything else they wanted to put their hands to throughout the year [track & field, bowling, curling, quoits].

Being amateurs they had a somewhat nomadic existence, I know they played on Bell's Meadow, Tannery Park [the car park on Kemper Avenue], Castings Cricket Club, Sunnyside and when it was free Brockville Park.

The original Falkirk Amateurs were, of course, mainly manned by the well to do, the educated, professional classes, but they wanted to play for the love of the game.

Falkirk FC used them as a kind of feeder, not like the reserves, but a team to pick up unregistered players when a half-decent player was needed for the club.

I recently came across their first ever football match, I still have not pinned town a date of formation.

In this first XI they ever put on the sporting field of play, fully eight played for Falkirk FC at a later date -

Camelon FC 2nd XI 2 Falkirk Amateurs 4
Played at Victoria Pk, Camelon, Saturday 3rd April 1897

Falkirk Amateurs - Elliot; Auchinachie & Livingstone Rae; G.Gillespie, Adam & Barr; Higgins & Henderson, R.Gillespie, James Callander & Comrie

Scorers - Unknown

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Falkirk FC & Northern Ireland

Falkirk & Northern Ireland have had a long & interesting history.

From one of the earliest players Tom Bellingham, to those capped in the later years, we like many clubs have relied on NI for players.

& I won't get into the politics of it [because I don't care enough] but our history goes before partition.

The first Irish [note the adjective] who played for Falkirk was Thomas Bellingham [click the link to read about him], but he was really from Falkirk having moved here by the time he was four.

The first 'Irish player' I have ever found was John Meaney [he scored 5 goals in his second match] ex of Hibernian, I know little of him.

The first proper 'professional' player we signed from NI was Joe Gowdy, I am not sure about Joe, he was either a HB or a CF, but within weeks he left Scotland to go play for Queen's Island in NI, negotiations went on & finally Falkirk relented & QI loaned Gowdy from Falkirk. during this time he played for Ireland twice, but since I claim schmeichel's U-2 matches when he was with FFC I must give them to QI.

Joe, eventually came back, and was a superb CH in his second Spell.

Third comes William Moore, about a month after Joe Gowdy, this was different, 'Pal' Moore slotted straight into the OL position, kids these days don't remember but 'Pal' Moore was a hero into the 50s.

Next came Alex 'Hugh' Patton, we signed him from Forfar, he had potential [he showed it in the Stirlingshire Cup Matches etc] but he failed in the League.

Patsy Gallacher

There is little I can write about this player that has not been written before, the scorer of the best goal EVER, Celtic thought he was past it, we got anotherfive seasons out of him.

Last but not least, Ned Weir.

Ned was born over there, but brought up in Bonnybridge, he never spent much time at the club, moving quickly to St Bernards, he played into the 1950s.

We also had players from Dublin, when Ireland was all UK but I don't want the opprobrium.

This could not be done without the help of I thank you

Friday, 16 August 2013

To Falkirk FC's Eternal Shame

On the 9th of March 1935 Falkirk played a League Match against Ayr United. You will not find this match in the records.

The simple fact is that the Falkirk Manager, William Orr, gave money to one of his underlings [he worked at Alexander's Bus factory in Camelon] to play below par. The player just happened to play for Ayr United at weekends.

*Hangs head in Shame*

This is the reason I always have "other matches" in my lists of matches players played and not 'friendlies', this match cannot count in the League record, but was clearly not a friendly. But I am sure the players tried their best [hoping they did not know what Mr Orr was up to].

The Falkirk Team on the day was

James Milton
Robert Nisbet
Hugh Hamill
Thomas Batchelor
Alex Lowe
Robert Shankly
Frank Wilson
John Ballantyne
Robert Keyes
David Cowan
William Walker

Subsequently William Orr was suspended 'sine die' from all involvement with football [rescinded in 1937]

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Falkirk Juniors v Stirling Juniors 1896

From the Falkirk Herald - Saturday March the 21st 1896

Just admit it Stirling, you are rubbish at football at every level.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

I have recently decided to give Andrew Hulett all my pre-WWII spreadsheets so hopefully soon there will be as complete a record of Falkirk FC matches/players on, as is possible.

I will keep blogging about the obscurantia of Falkirk FC anyway, but check out the Andrew's site.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Falkirk Excelsior & the Falkirk Junior Cup 1889

In 1889 a junior football club appeared in Falkirk and were instantly quite successful at the their level, then suddenly dissappeared. The club was called Falkirk Excelsior and there is very little solid information about them to go on, however I have a theory. But first I need to ramble on with a little bit of background info.

The junior Football scene in the district was up until 1889 thriving, but unorganised. There were plenty of clubs with their usual plethora of obscure names [why was there a Barracks Rovers from Camelon?, why Rising Star from Skinflats?, why Bullet Rangers of Grahamston? why Heather Bell of Bainsford? why Royal Oak of Grangemouth?] they played regularly between one another, and against the 2nd XIs of the senior clubs, but the limited coverage they recieved in the papers was usually just a score.

It was out of this that a letter was published in the Falkirk Herald of 16th February 1889, adressed to 'Scrutator' the sports columnist of the paper back then.

"Dear Sir, - I take the liberty of writing to you to see if you could assist in getting a Junior Cup for Falkirk and District, as I am sure it would greatly encourage junior football in this district. I don't see how Falkirk should be behind other towns as it is at present. For instance, in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and also in Paisley, Greenock and Dumbarton, they have more cups than they know what to do with; and, in fact, all the large towns in Scotland have a Junior Cup, with the exception of Falkirk. I am sure there is some gentlemen in the district would present a cup for competition if the matter brought to their notice - the cup to be named after the gentleman presenting it. I am sure it is time something was done, as who is to fill the places of the senior teams? Is it not the present juniors?

James Graham, 11 Graham's Road"

I am not sure whether Mr Graham was involved with a junior club, or just an interested spectator, but he seems to have started something. A couple of weeks later a meeting was announced to be held in Ross's Restaurant, Newmarket Street, Falkirk on Wednesday 6th March between 'represtentatives' from the various villages of the district, however nothing was reported in the following Saturday's paper. It seemed almost as if the whole thing had been forgotten until the end of the month when fixtures were announced for a new Falkirk District Junior Cup with fourteen teams entering. The draw for the first round was - Larbert v Carron Rangers, Our Boys v Falkirk Excelsior, Royal Albert v Carronshore Pates, Slamannan Rovers v Burnhouse, Falkirk Central v Zetland Star, Royal Oak v Falkirk Athletic, Vale of Grange & Falkirk Emmet - byes.

I have already published the details of the competition on the Scottish Football Historical Archive Website so I won't repeat it here, but will say that it was a slightly messy affair, the clubs being new to competition seemed to protest the most trivial of matters, but, in the end the Cup was completed [for its one and only season] with Falkirk Excelsior coming out the eventual victors.

This brings me back to my original point - Excelsior. There was no mention of Falkirk Excelsior until that Falkirk and District Junior Cup draw, and nothing much written after the final. I never noticed this when first reading the reports but later on it started to dawn on me that something was not quite right.

It seems to me quite likely that Excelsior were Falkirk Reserves in disguise, all the players mentioned in the few reports went on to play for Falkirk: James Callander, Daniel Daye, John Devlin, Thomas McFarlane, John Pray, David Ross.

Falkirk Excelsior Matches

30th Mar 1889 v Bainsford Our Boys (H) 7-2 Falkirk District Junior Cup 1st Rd [Protested]
 6th Apr 1889 v Bainsford Our Boys (H) 7-0 Falkirk District Junior Cup 1st Rd
13th Apr 1889 v Falkirk Emmett (H) 5-5 Falkirk District Junior Cup 2nd Rd
20th Apr 1889 v Falkirk Emmet (A) 2-1 Falkirk District Junior Cup 2nd Rd Replay
11th May 1889 v Slamannan Rovers (N) 9-2 Falkirk District Junior Cup Semi-Final [protested] played at Brockville Pk, Falkirk.
25th May 1889 v Slamannan Rovers (N) 7-2 Falkirk District Junior Cup Semi-Final played at Crichton Pk, Falkirk.
 7th Jun 1889 v Falkirk Athletic (N) 7-3 Falkirk District Junior Cup Final played at Brockville Pk, Falkirk

Note - Another Falkirk Excelsior who played in the mid-1890s were a completely different club.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Falkirk FC Players - Alex Ferguson

Way back in the dim and distant past Falkirk FC had a centre-forward by the name of Alex Ferguson, as centre-forward his job was to put the ball in the goal.

Those of you who have read this blog before will know that I could never write about the anybody from so modern an era as the 1970 - no, this is about the original Alex 'Sandy' Ferguson of the 1870s-1880s.

Like nearly everyone in the very early teams, Sandy was a Bairn and lived in Meeks Road, which must have been handy on a match day at Brockville. He was among the first scorers for the club I have ever found, scoring v Bathgate (A) on the 14th of June 1879 [along with Thomas Hamilton & Thomas Taylor] in a 3-1 victory.

His career is blighted by the same problem as everyone who played in this era, newspaper coverage was just so poor in comparison with today. But he scored more than any other in his period at Falkirk [then again he was CF]

After he retired he became the groundsman at Brockville Pk [again Meeks Rd would have helped], but then it gets a bit murky. The Falkirk Herald reported that he had moved to Colorado to live with his sister due to an 'ailment' then about a year later it reported he had died, in Falkirk. I don't know maybe both are true, maybe he went then came back. I just don't know.

Sandy Ferguson 1880

Alexander Ferguson

b 8th May 1859, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
d 1st December 1892, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday June 14th 1879 v Bathgate (A) Friendly

Positions – Centre-Forward, Inside-Left, Outside-Left

Representative Honours – Stirlingshire v Lanarkshire 1883/84
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1883/84, Falkirk District Charity Cup RU 1885/86

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [11/2]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [11/7]
Other Matches/Goals [62/19]
Total Matches/Goals [84/28]

Hat-Tricks – 1 [Falkirk District Charity Cup [1]]

Known Career – Falkirk [1878/79-1885/86]

Played for Falkirk District XI v Rangers, Benefit Match at Brockville Pk, Falkirk, 30th May 1885
Brother of William Ferguson [Falkirk 1879/80-1882/83, 1885/86]

Oh, and there was another Alex Ferguson who played in 1938/39. 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Obscure Falkirk Matches - FFC Veterans v ESFC Veterans

Falkirk Veterans 2 East Stirlingshire Veterans 2

Played at Brockville Park, Falkirk on 17th March 1894

This match was played to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first Stirlingshire Cup Final between these two teams. It was endeavoured to regather the actual players who played in that match, but inevitably several players were unavailable so substitutes of the time filled their places.

Falkirk Veterans

Alex Turnbull - Goalkeeper
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1883/84

James Liddell - Right-Back
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1889/90, RU 1887/88, Falkirk District Charity Cup W 1889/90, RU 1890/91, Falkirk Infirmary Shield RU 1889/90, 1890/91

James Murphy - Left-Back
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1883/84, Falkirk District Charity Cup RU 1885/86

James Balloch - Right-Half
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1883/84, RU 1886/87, Falkirk District Charity Cup RU 1885/86

Robert Bishop - Centre-Half
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1883/84, RU 1886/87, Falkirk District Charity Cup RU 1885/86

Henry Hendry - Left-Half
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1883/84

William Ferguson - Outside-Right
Club Honours - None

Thomas Bellingham - Inside-Right
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup RU 1887/88

David Fleming - Centre-Forward
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup RU 1886/87, Falkirk District Charity Cup RU 1885/56

John McIntosh - Inside-Left
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup RU 1886/87, Falkirk District Charity Cup W 1889/90

William Hamilton.
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1883/84, RU 1886/87, 1887/88, Falkirk District Charity Cup RU 1885/86

East Stirlingshire Veterans

J??? Shirra - Goalkeeper
Club Honours - None

Peter Mitchell - Right-Back
Club Honours - Stirlingshire Cup W 1885/86, 1886/87, RU 1883/84, Falkirk Charity CupW 1884/85, 1885/86, 1886/87

Thomas Williamson - Left-Back
Club Honours - Stirlingshire Cup - RU 1883/84

Andrew Inches - Right-Half
Club Honours - Stirlingshire Cup W 1885/86, 1886/87, 1887/88, 1888/89, RU 1883/84, Falkirk Charity Cup W 1884/85, 1885/86, 1886/87, RU 1888/89, 1889/90.

Robert Johnston - Centre-Half
Club Honours - Stirlingshire Cup W 1885/86, 1886/87, 1887/88, Falkirk Charity Cup W 1884/85, 18885/86, 1886/87, 1887/88

???? Law - Left-Half
Club Honours - None

Peter McGregor - Outside-Right
Club Honours - Stirlingshire Cup RU 1883/84

Harry Simpson - Inside-Right
Club Honours - Stirlingshire Cup W 1887/88, 1888/89, Falkirk Charity Cup W 1887/88

Lawrence McLachlan - Centre-Forward
Club Honours - Stirlingshire Cup W 1885/86, 1886/87, 1887/88, 1888/89, RU 1883/84 Falkirk Charity Cup - 1884/85, 1886/87, 1887/88, RU 1888/89, 1889/90

J??? Taylor - Inside-Left
Club Honours - None

Alex Cockburn - Outside-Left
Club Honours - Stirlingshire Cup RU 1883/84

Referee - J.Burns [Camelon FC]

Scorers - Falkirk Veterans [W.Hamilton [20], J.McIntosh [67]] - East Stirlingshire Veterans [L.McLachlan [65], ?.Law [8?]]

Notes -
Attendance - 250+ [£6+ was taken at the gate [3d entry]]

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

Monday, 29 July 2013

Falkirk FC Graves - Robert Gibson

I recently wrote a blog post about the earliest grave I have found yet of a Falkirk FC player, [Thomas Smith], then I come across an earlier one [I will find James 'Jamie' Neil eventually, he was the first to die as far as I know, 1888], hey that is the way it goes [until I get my way and there is a special Falkirk FC players section, I will always be hunting].

Robert Gibson played centre-forward for Falkirk for much of the early part of the 1880s, sadly, no matter how much I look, many of the matches in this period were poorly reported, therefore my spreadsheets have lots of blank cells. Which means in a career of over five years with the club I only know of thirty games in which he played. Doubtless he played more games, but I have no evidence.

Camelon Cemetery

He was a bricklayer by trade, and died in Glebe Street [just round the corner from where I am writing this now]. On the following Saturday Falkirk FC played Burnbank Swifts. The team wore black armbands and the flag was flown at half-mast [the first time it is noted of this happening with Falkirk FC]

In some places his birth is listed as taking place in Eastwood, Renfrewshire, however  in the 'Births, Deaths and Marriages' part of the Falkirk Herald it said he was born in Pollockshaws, Renfrewshire.

Robert Gibson

b 18th July 1855, Eastwood, Renfrewshire
d 16th April 1892, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday September 18th 1880 v Queen's Park (Hampden XI) (H) Friendly

Positions – Centre-Forward
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1883/84

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [5/1]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [3/-]
Other Matches/Goals [22/5]
Other Matches/Goals [30/6]

Known Career – Falkirk [1880/81-1885/86]

Played for East Stirlingshire v Vale of Teith, Friendly at Merchiston Pk, Bainsford, 10th March 1883
Played for Alloa Athletic XI v Queen's Park, Friendly at West End Pk, Alloa, 28th April 1883
Brother of Walter Gibson [Falkirk 1880/81-1885/86]