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Falkirk Football Historian



Research into the history of Football in Falkirk district : mainly concentrating on the the period up to 1945 I like to dig through the newspapers from the days of yore to find little vignettes that were rarely included in the published histories. From



Last Build Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2018 22:19:22 +0000

 



Charles Edward Napier

Sun, 11 Feb 2018 23:12:00 +0000

Last summer, when I was out and about in Grandsable Cemetery I found the stone of a man that was far more famed in Scotland when playing in the Green & White Hoops than in Falkirk's Navy Blue [never mind his time in England]. Such is the manner of Scottish Football.I am talking about Charles Edward Napier, son of the former Falkirk FC Secretary Charles Edward Napier. Yes, he had Falkirk FC in his blood before he left Alva Albion Rovers for Celtic. Not saying a word against our brothers in Glasgow but Chic Napier was a Falkirk boy, and when European conflict sent him home he came to Falkirk.Picture 'thefted' from the Celtikwiki: I hope they forgive me.All in all Charles [as the local Falkirk Herald respectfully called him] played in more than a hundred matches and scored [from midfield] nearly 50 goals for Falkirk: these are figures that shame some of our best centre-forwards of recent years [written 2018]. There are those out there that might say his 'home club' was East Stirlingshire, but as the 'shire 'wound up for the war we were the local team.We can say very little about Charles' time at Falkirk as, as anyone who has tried to research football during the War will know football reporting was limited from both sides, both from physical limitations on the amount of paper and from the Home Office limiting the facts that could be said.But facts speak more than my words and these are the facts of Charles Napiers' time at Falkirk.Charles Edward Napierb 8th October 1910, Falkirk, Stirlingshired 5th September 1973, Laurieston, StirlingshireLeague Debut – Saturday October 28th 1939 v Cowdenbeath (H) Scottish League [N/E]Positions – Inside-Left, Centre-Forward, Right-HalfClub Honours – Scottish League RU 1939/40, Scottish League [North/East] W 1939/40,Southern League Matches/Goals [64/17]North/East League Matches/Goals [23/21]Southern League Cup Matches/Goals [6/1]Dewar Shield Matches/Goals [5/-]Emergency Cup Matches/Goals [4/2]Other Matches/Goals [5/2]North Eastern League Matches/Goals [2/-]North Eastern League Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]Hat-Tricks – 3 [North/East League [3]]Known Career – Grangemouth Sacred Heart [School], Cowie Thistle [Juvenile], Alva Albion Rangers [Junior], Maryhill Hibernian [Loan from Celtic], Celtic [1928/29-1934/35], Derby County [1935/36-1937/38], Sheffield Wednesday [1938/39-1945/46], Falkirk [1939/40-1940/41, 1943/1944, 1945/46], Stenhousemuir [1946/47-1947/48]Played for Scotland v England, Wartime International at St James' Park, Newcastle, 2nd December 1939Son of Charles Napier [Falkirk FC Secretary 1898/99-1899/00][...]



Lost football Grounds of Falkirk - Randyford

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 16:42:00 +0000

Nobody knew where Randyford was, for a long time I believed Randyford was the same as Woodburn Park which was a Junior ground in the Modern Day Boag used by several minor teams in the 1890s.But I have been convinced otherwise. The term Randyford means little in modern Falkirk parlance, but is mostly guided by Randyford Street in the Boag [which I might as well add runs parrallel with the Grangemouth Rd. But to understand Falkirk Football Club in 1878 we have to understand Falkirk in 1878.The earliest I can reel it back without going too far is the map of Falkirk created for the Great Reform Act of 1832. There, on the Grangemouth Road is the Randyford Farm. The next record of Randyford is in Scotland's record Books.In case you are not good at Copperplate, that says:"A farmsteading one storey high. slated and in good repair Property of William Forbes Esq. Callendar Ho [House] Falkirk"The farm had moved place by the 1890s to across the road.But this doesn't prove where Falkirk FC played,I mean I can't prove Falkirk FC played here.Now there is no doubt that both Falkirk & East Stirlingshire played at Randyford [historical record], but this does not tell us where, then the actual ground was.Then Drummond of the Shire sent me a copy of a letter sent in to the Falkirk Herald in 1948... The letter resolves some issues, but also raises some, for example the dates are wrong. However, given that this letter was published some 65 years after the very facts we can give a bit of leeway on the odd year.The most important fact is that a player then states what was there in 1948, "where the Ice Rink now was [sic]" This places Falkirk & East Stirlingshire Ground North of the Grangemouth and between the Burn and the farm track to Middlefield.As to its alignment?[...]



The Curious Case of Johnny Dora

Sun, 03 Dec 2017 13:39:00 +0000

I wrote a blog post about John Dora a long time back, he was a Centre-Forward Falkirk signed from Arbroath who scored 2 goals in 3 games before breaking his leg and disappearing from the game.The very little information about him was confusing, for example the Falkirk Herald said he was Italian, while the Arbroath Herald had stated he was born in Arbroath but his parents were from Italy.Anyway, since his playing career was just under a century ago, this means that most of the usual sources [censuses etc] are still confidential, so I had sort of given up on finding more details without stumbling over it.So I was a bit surprised when I was sent an e-mail the other day, written in Italian and titled "John Dora o Giovanni Dorà" it linked to an article on the history of Borgotaro Football.In one of the chapters it tells the story of Borgotarese player Giovanni 'Johnny' Dorà being called up to play in the Italian Championship for Parma in 1925.In the text of the article Johnny is described as "Tall, wiry, in his long stays in Scotland [he] had learned the game of foot-ball managing to graft into his Latin fantasy, the solidity and the concreteness of the British style." and that "Some time later, while in the newspapers there was talk of the interest of Bologna and Inter, Dorà returned to Scotland." [apologies for the translation].So the Dorà that played for Borgotarese and Parma certainly had Scottish Connections but it is unclear where he was from, and even if this was the same person. but there is clearly something there.Crucially in the article there was a picture of a Johnny wearing a Parma top.The best picture I have of John Dora was from 1930 and there are certainly facial similarities, although this could just be a family likeness.Last night I had a good dig about the internet looking for more info, and luckily Italian wikipedia had more, though it is interesting to note that the Italian Wiki is as flawed as the English one.Giovanni Dorà it claims was born in Borgo Val di Taro [Borgotaro] on the 29th of May 1905, and that he was a defender, however on a website on the history of Serie A where line-ups are given, he is only ever listed in the Inside-Left or Centre-Forward positions [even though by this time Italian Football was under the influence of the Danubian School, it was not so radically different that a number 10 was playing in defence].So there we are, in 1925 the Arbroath papers said that John Dora had joined Ardenlea from Parkhouse Half-Holiday, while the Italian papers are carrying reports of Giovanni Dorà joining Parma from Borgotarese: it was not unknown for Scottish-Italians to split their time between the two countries back then, it is well documented that Peter Cabrelli split his time between Scottish & Italian football. Until I find something definitive it will have to remain in the possibly category.UPDATEI had a wider root about in the newspapers for more information, and found an obituary in the Press &  Journal of 8 February 1971. Although it doesn't really clear things up, it backs up his birthplace as being Arbroath, but it claims that he ended his football career with Parma, rather than the other way around, of course he could have had two different spells at Parma!I have now had confirmation from the family that the date of birth on the Italian Wikipedia page is correct, however the place of birth was incorrect, he was indeed born in Arbroath. John Paul Dorab 29th May 1905, Arbroath, Forfarshired February 1971, Arbroath, AngusKnown Career – Parkhead Half-Holiday, Arbroath Ardenlea [1925/26-1928/29], Borgotarese [1925/26], Parma [1925/26], Arbroath [1929/30], Falkirk [1929/30]Parma Debut – Sunday October 25th 1925 v Reggiana (H) Campionato Italiano, Lega Nord, Girone B Positions - Inside-Left, Centre-ForwardCampionato Italiano Matches/Goals [12/-]Arbroath Debut – Saturday August 10th 1929 v Clydebank (H) Scottish League Division 2Positions – Centre-ForwardScottish League Division 2 Matches/Goals [21/15]Sco[...]



Falkirk FC Graves - Patrick McKay

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 22:52:00 +0000

I cannot take credit for finding this grave other than coming across it when searching his name on the internet, in fact I do not believe I have ever been to Kilsyth Cemetery so someone else found it for me. However I do not believe the person who added it to 'find a grave' knew it was the grave of a former footballer.

Patrick McKay was a deadly Centre-Forward for Kilsyth Emmet, in time earning him a Scottish Junior cap v England in Birmingham, this was good enough to raise the interest of Celtic, and not long after his international appearance he was given an opportunity to play for the Bhoys in the Glasgow League. He scored both of the goals his debut, Celtic's 2-2 draw with Third Lanark at Cathkin Park. That brace probably earned him a contract, but earning a contract does not mean an automatic place in the first team.

So by October he was transferred to Bolton Wanderers, where it seems he rapidly dissapeared into the reserves: by the end of the 1898/99 season the Kirkintilloch Herald repord he had been re-instated as an amateur, and was playing again with the Emmet.

Over the next season and a bit I have found him playing with Clydebank, Falkirk and Aberdeen before finally signing full-time with Bo'ness.



Patrick McKay

b c1876 Kirkintilloch, Dunbartonshire
d 25th January 1916, Kilsyth, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday December 2nd 1899 v Clackmannan (H) Central Combination

Positions – Centre-Forward

Known Career, Kilsyth Emmet, Celtic, Bolton Wanderers, Clydebank, Falkirk, Aberdeen, Bo'ness

Falkirk Career

Scottish Cup Matches/Goals 1/-
Scottish Federation Matches/Goals 3/1
Falkirk District League Matches/Goals 2/2
Other Matches/Goals 4/-






John MacIntosh

Sat, 02 Sep 2017 15:51:00 +0000

Falkirk player from way back then, seems to have been done a slight injustice by the Falkirk Herald, I have gone through the usual places, and it seems that the MacIntosh Family were only ever McIntosh in the Census. Anyway, John MacIntosh played for Falkirk for a remarkably long time, given the era. Which means either he was good enough a player to go to Glasgow/Edinburgh but remained because of his job in the real world, or that he was just good enough, but kept his head under the parapets.

I don't know, he seems to have done the usual thing, just at one club, he started as a sparkling Outside-Left, in the early 1880s, retiring as a classy Left-Half in the early 1890s. But due to his employment never having played the decades worth of matches we expect from modern professionals.


John MacIntosh

b 19th March 1865, Larbert, Stirlingshire
d 9th March 1925, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday September 27th 1884 v King's Park (A) Friendly
Competitive Debut – Saturday October 4th 1884 v Grasshoppers (A) Scottish Cup 2nd Rd

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

Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup RU 1886/87, Falkirk District Charity Cup W 1889/90

Scottish Cup Matches/Goals 7/4
Scottish Federation Matches/Goals 1/-
Stirlingshire Cup Matches/Goals 7/5
Falkirk District Charity Cup Matches/Goals 4/-
Other Matches/Goals 35/9

Known Career – Falkirk [1883/84-1892/93], Comely Park [1885/86]

Falkirk FC Club Treasurer 1890/91
Falkirk FC Committee Member 1892/93

Played for Falkirk District XI v Partick Thistle, Benefit Match at Tannery Pk, Falkirk, 22nd May 1886
Played for Falkirk Swifts v Carron Athletic, Friendly at Inns Pk, Carron, 8th June 1887

Brother of Gilbert MacIntosh [Falkirk FC 2nd XI]





Lost Football Grounds of Falkirk District - Inns Park

Fri, 25 Aug 2017 11:47:00 +0000

The home ground of Carron FC [1884-1888] was Inns Park, neither of which names have remained with us through history. To be fair Carron were never a great club, I'm not sure most people would class them as a Senior Club since they never played in the Scottish Cup. But they did play with the 'big boys' in the Stirlingshire Cup & Falkirk District Cup, so I would err in their favour.

Inns Park though, was not just the ground of Carron FC though, the inter-office matches of the Carron Works were also played there, and for a while these were very popular. Which leads to the possibility that Carron FC, if not a works team, was heavily linked with the Iron works. It was a major employer in the town and a disproportionately large number of players came through the ranks of Carron FC to the bigger clubs than other clubs of a similar size.

I am not 100% sure that the earliest recorded matches in Carron were played at this ground, but there are not many other places in Carron where a game of football could easily have been played, so it is probable. The only thing that caused the local press to mention Inns Park was when Brockville Park & Merchiston Park were occuped by the First Team and Reserve matches, Inns Park often hosted the 3rd XI fixture.





Lost Football Grounds of Falkirk District - Muirhead Park

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 11:13:00 +0000

Grangemouth Football Club, never world-beaters, nonetheless had one of most centrally located and easily accessable grounds in all of Stirlingshire. Their home for most of their history was Caledonian Park, in the centre of town and most importantly only yards away from Grangemouth Train Station. But for a couple of years before this they had played at just the other side of the Grange Burn at Muirhead Park.Grangemouth FC started in January 1886 as most clubs did, playing on the local public park, but the Portonians had ambition, and in order to compete, SFA rules stated that clubs had to have their own enclosed ground. So the committee started to look for a potential site of their own. Just in time for the start of the 1886/87 season the Club announced that it had secured the lease of a field from Peter Muirhead Esq. of Grangemouth for £15 per annum. This ground, which came to be known as Muirhead Park, has been erased from the face of Grangemouth, making it very hard to locate exactly. It seems to have been placed between the South Shore Road and Grangemouth's "New Dock": The Falkirk Herald [14th Aug 1886] stated that "their new field ... is situated at the back of Muirhead's Buildings". The big problem being that Muirhead's Buildings also no longer exist.I had always suspected that Muirhead Park was under the BP for some reason, not quite, but I was in the right direction. First I had to find some clue about it's whereabouts, it came in a notice in the Herald earlier that year that the Surveyor General of the Post Office in Edinburgh was to include "the Hospital, Muirhead's Buildings, Grangemouth Saw Mill, and Grangemouth Iron Works" in the Grangemouth postal delivery. Since I have looked at the 1897 OS map of Grangemouth several times, I knew there was a huge foundry just to the east of the town, and checking it again I noticed it was situated in between a hospital and a saw mill, with the buildings on Zetland Street, presumably Muirhead's Buildings.Grangemouth Foundry, Saw Mills and the previous site of Muirhead Park 1897This leaves me with a final problem, from the only locator I have, the ground was 'at the back of Muirhead's Buildings" which to me looks like the Hospital and Foundry, so I can only suppose it really meant at the back of the foundry, just to the north of 'Saw Mills' on the map. But without some other clues I will be tantalisingly close whilst never completely sure of the exact location, and of whether it was aligned North-South or East-West [or even on a diagonal!].Current site of the Foundry, Saw Mills and Muirhead Park from NLS Maps [click to explore] The ground was 'christened' with a friendly visit from Camelon on the 4th of September, a 3-3 draw, and was celebrated by the Zetland Brass Band playing the players on to the pitch, the Falkirk Herald's only reference to the ground itself being that it was too narrow.However the biggest game at Muirhead Park was undoubtedly when Grangemouth somehow contrived to get the full Rangers side down to the Port for a friendly in March 1887, and although only 300 hardy souls turned up, and Grangemouth were beaten, though at 4-1 not hammered it still stands as an impressive coup for the club.However, only one match that could in anyway be considered official for the purpose of records took place on the ground, when East Stirlingshire defeated Grangemouth 5-2 in the First round of the Scottish Cup Matches on the 3rd September 1887, strangely all four of Grangemouth's Stirlingshire Cup matches at the time were drawn away, and the Falkirk District Charity Cup matches were always played at neutral venues.In June of 1888 Grangemouth FC were informed that the ground was needed 'for storing purposes' in future, and that they would have to find a new park.Lost Football Grounds of Falkirk District [...]



Falkirk Amateurs FC Graves : Peter Auchinachie

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 15:11:00 +0000

Falkirk Herald - Wednesday May 4th 1910 Another chap who was better known locally for his place in the upper echelons of civic society than for his youthful exploits on the football field, was Peter Auchinachie, for many a year Rector of Grangemouth High School and a Justice of the Peace to boot. Although born in Banff, Peter's family moved first to the Glen Village then to Falkirk when he was but a lad, and it was at Falkirk High School that his twin loves of education and football were kindled.But in 1893 his services were to be temporarily lost to local clubs as he went up to Glasgow University to undertake his masters [I believe it was in economics but I am not sure]. At the same time he qualified 4th in his class at the CoS Training College [the institution that became Jordanhill College]. In a later commemoration of him it was stated that he played for the University's football club during his time but I have found no evidence of this from the time.The first time I have found him relating to football is from Falkirk Amateur's first ever match a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Camelon's 2nd XI right at the tail-end of the 1896/97 season. And although I have never found anything to tie down the formation of Falkirk Ams it is not too far to surmise that most, if not all, of the players in that match were among the founders of the club.Although he was a stalwart of Falkirk Amateurs for it's first two full seasons, his appointment as Assistant Headmaster of Grangemouth High effectively ended his playing days. During this time he managed to play the one match for Falkirk FC [he played in the last Central Combination match of the 1897/98 season as Thomas Turnbull had made it clear that he was leaving for East Stirlingshire as soon as possible], yet his association with the town's professional club was not over, as Peter served on the committee between 1901 and 1904, as well as temporarily holding the post of treasurer in 1903 when Harry McNaught emigrated to the USA.After this point though the only references to him are to do with his educational career, Falkirk FC in 1905 became a PLC, and there was no need for a committee, and certainly not a committee made up of gentlemanly amateurs with a love of the game, and his attentention seem to have shifted toward the Grangemouth Burns Club.The Scotsman - Saturday January 16th 1937Peter's Grave in Grandsable Cemetery Peter Auchinachieb 16th April, 1874, Banff, Banffshired 15th January 1937, Grangemouth, StirlingshireDebut – Saturday April 3 1897 Falkirk Amateurs v Camelon 2nd XI (A) FriendlyCompetitive Debut - Sat September 11 1897 Falkirk Amateurs v East Stirlingshire (A) Scottish Qualifying Cup 1st RdPositions – Right-Back, Right-HalfKnown Career – Falkirk High School, Whitefield Swifts, Dalbeattie Star, Glasgow University, Falkirk Amateurs [1896/97-1898/99], Falkirk [1897/98]Known CareerGlasgow UniversityUnknownFalkirk AmateursScottish Qualifying Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]Falkirk & District League Matches/Goals [5/-]Stirlingshire Cup Matches/Goals [2/-]Stirlingshire Consolation Cup Matches/Goals [4/-]Falkirk Hospitals Shield Matches/Goals [2/-]Other Matches/Goals [9/-]Nota Bene - Falkirk Amateurs suffered from a lack of indepth reporting in its very early years so this only represents matches with team line-ups, he probably played in a good number more.FalkirkCentral Combination Matches/Goals [1/-][...]



Falkirk FC Graves - Archie Jack

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 10:41:00 +0000

Signed from prominent Grangemouth junior club Forth Rangers, Archibald Jack was a promising Outside-Left who Falkirk signed at the beginning of the 1913/14 season, but who seemed to have made a good enough impression in his first two reserve matches to be given a shot in a relatively minor match for the first team.Kilsyth Chronicle - 29th Aug 1913Jack made his full Falkirk debut against Hearts in the Semi-Final [2nd Rd] of the Dunedin Cup [the Dunedin Cup if you didn't know was a Cup for Edinburgh clubs, plus for some reason never explained Falkirk & Raith Rovers], and Falkirk got a pasting, but luckily for the club with nine minutes to play, the referee stopped the game because of bad light [Falkirk won the 'replay'].The Scotsman [London Hearts]Apart from a couple of appearances in early season benefit matches Archie remained solidly in the 'A' side for the next couple of weeks, making his League debut at Pittodrie in a scoreless draw, Archie apparently missing an open goal.....But, this was not the reason he made so few appearances for the club, it was mainly because Falkirk stuck with Robert Terris at Outside-Left [a move vindicated by the fact that Liverpool signed Terris in February] and already had a replacement for Terris in William Lennie of Aberdeen.So Archie played out the season in the reserves, winning the Stirlingshire Consolation Cup [Final held over from 1912/13], and being a Runner-Up in the Stirlingshire Cup, making only occasional first team appearances when Terris or Lennie were indisposed, before moving on to Armadale at the end of the season.After a season and a bit with Armadale he moved on to Leith Athletic until he was called up for the war effort.It was while he was at Aldershot that he seems to have played occasionally with Tottenham [and indeed it seems preferred playing football to messing about with that army business.Pall Mall Gazette - April 2nd 1918I cannot find much information about his time at Spurs [English Football Historians do not seem to pay much heed to their wartime football for some reason], nor have I found any documentation from his time in the army: after Spurs he moved on to South Shields for a time before seemingly drifting off the footballing map.It was only because I recognised his name whilst checking through Grandsable Cemetery that I was able to confirm that it was him from the papers.Falkirk Herald - Saturday 3rd December 1938 ARCHIBALD JACKb 15th August 1889, Grangemouth, Stirlingshired 26th November 1938, Grangemouth, StirlingshireDebut – Monday August 25th 1913 Falkirk v Heart of Midlothian (A) Dunedin Cup 1st Rd [Abandoned]League Debut – Saturday September 13th 1913 Falkirk v Aberdeen (H) Scottish League Division 1Known Career – Forth Rangers, Falkirk [1913/14], Armadale [1914/15-1915/16], Leith Athletic [1915/16-1917/18], Tottenham Hotspur [1917/18-1918/19], South Shields [1919/20].FalkirkScottish League Division 1 Matches/Goals [8/1]North-Eastern Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]Stirlingshire Cup Matches/Goals [3/-]Stirlingshire Consolation Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]Other Matches/Goals [4/-]ArmadaleUnknownLeith AthleticUnknownTottenham HotspurLondon Combination Matches/Goals [19/7]South ShieldsEnglish League Division 2 Matches/Goals [7/1][...]



Grandsable Cemetery

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 20:32:00 +0000

Having finally got my bike back into working order, I decided to get out again and look for more gravestones of footballers from the district. Since I have almost exhausted Camelon this time I decided to turn my attention to Grandsable Cemetery.


Although nominally the Cemetery for Grangemouth, Grandsable is not really in any particular place, and the villages of Polmont, Westquarter, Redding & Laurieston are probably closer to it than Grangemouth. But as "The Port" is the largest town in the area it is generally seen as being the Grangemouth Cemetery.

The cemetery has a weird layout, it was built on a undulating slope [which doesn't seem the wisest place to place large stone blocks, but they never do ask me about these things], and seems to have been designed radiating out from a central area, but has been cramped in by both roads and natural limitations, making the graves at the outer parts of the cemetery in quite irregular formations.


From the earliest days of football in the district, players were sought from Grangemouth and the Lower Braes [especially when Grangemouth was a staunchly Rugby town] so there ought to be a fair few in there, over and above the couple I know about from their obits. So there will be a couple more Falkirk FC graves posts soon.

Known players commemorated in Grandsable Cemetery:

Peter Auchinachie
[Falkirk Amateurs, Falkirk]

Archibald Jack
[Falkirk, Armadale, Leith Athletic, Tottenham Hotspur, South Shields]

George Mason
[Falkirk, Dundee United, Stranraer, Montrose, Alloa Athletic, East Stirlingshire, St Johnstone]

Charles Napier
[Celtic, Derby County, Sheffield Wednesday, Falkirk, Stenhousemuir]

William Orrock
[East Stirlingshire]

John Ramsay
[Falkirk]

Clyde Skene
[Falkirk Amateurs, Stenhousemuir, Queen's Park, Falkirk, Dundee, Dunfermline Athletic, Montrose]




George Thallon

Sat, 01 Jul 2017 18:56:00 +0000

Edinburgh Evening News - Tuesday June 19th 1894This is the closest thing to an obituary I have found for the former King's Park & Falkirk FC centre-forward George Thallon. His inclusion in the papers [it was also in the Scotsman] leaves a lot of questions unanswered. I won't even go there, although I'm pretty sure there is a report I'd like to read somewhere in the archives of the Glasgow Police.Born in Stirling to a Railway family, George was however brought up in Leith, and soon after school became a clerk with the North British Railway Company. It was through this employment, as Goods Clerk, that he moved first to Stirling Station, then to Falkirk Grahamston Station. In 1889 it was reported that the NBR had moved him back to Edinburgh.During his time in Falkirk not only did he play football, but was active with the two main cross-country clubs, Clydesdale Harriers and Falkirk Heavy Weather Club, even playing football for both against senior opposition.Which brings me back to his end, I mean he was missing for more than a month, then dead, says neither suicide nor homicide, more like misadventure.The only picture I have of him, from an 1885/86 King's Park team photo.George Thallonb 23rd January 1863, Stirling, Stirlingshired 17th June 1894, GlasgowKnown Debut - Saturday September 5th 1885 King's Park v Partick Thistle (H) FriendlyCompetitive Debut – Saturday September 12th 1885 King's Park v Campsie Avondale (H) Scottish Cup 1st RdFalkirk Debut – Saturday April 16th 1887 v Alloa Athletic (H) FriendlyFalkirk Competitive Debut – Saturday May 4th 1887 v East Stirlingshire (A) Falkirk District Charity Cup Semi-FinalPositions – Centre-Forward [occ Goalkeeper]Known King's Park CareerScottish Cup Matches/Goals 2/1Stirlingshire Cup Matches/Goals 5/5Other Matches/Goals 7/1Known Norton Park CareerOther Matches/Goals 1/-Known Falkirk CareerScottish Cup Matches/Goals 2/1Falkirk District Charity Cup Matches/Goals 2/1Other Matches/Goals 11/7Known East Stirlingshire Career2nd XI matches only.Known CareerScottish Cup Matches/Goals 4/2Stirlingshire Cup Matches/Goals 5/5Falkirk District Charity Cup Matches/Goals 2/1Other Matches/Goals 21/8Known Career – King's Park [1885/86], Norton Park [1886/87], Falkirk [1886/87-1888/89], East Stirlingshire [1888/89]Played for Falkirk Heavy Weather v Kilsyth Wanderers XI, Friendly at Garrell Garden Pk, Kilsyth, 12th May 1888Played for Clydesdale Harriers [Falkirk] v Falkirk FC, Friendly at Brockville Pk, Falkirk, 5th January 1889[...]



Football and Drunkenness

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 07:18:00 +0000

As I have previously noted, James 'Midgy' Tennant liked a drink, so much so it often got in the way of his football career. I just found this article about his 'exploits' being reported as far away as Angus.



Montrose, Arbroath & Brechin Review - November 27th 1896



1900 - East Stirlingshire's Summer of Cricket

Tue, 30 May 2017 07:02:00 +0000

During the football off-season of 1900, just on the brink of their entry into the Scottish League, East Stirlingshire decided to convert their ground, Merchiston Park, into a cricket ground for the summer. Eh?Now, all of us who know, know East Stirlingshire were formed out of a cricket team, but like most professional club had long forsaken the summer game in favour the people's game. What is fascinating to me is the shockingly low scoring [by both teams], and since I seriously doubt it was due to the bowlers being at the top level, it must be down to playing the matches on a converted football ground which had just been through a long season. It was not until the last match for which there is a scorecard that any of the sides made a total of more than 50 [and then only just]. The matches were all one innings games, but it seems that if there was enough time, they would bat again.All the matches were against members of the Falkirk & District Cricket League, and I can't help wondering if East Stirlingshire were shadowing the league with ideas of entering a side in future, however with their joining the ranks of the Scottish League, this was never going to work out.25th? June East Stirlingshire v Falkirk Central at Merchiston Pk, Bainsford?No Scorecard found"Last week they had a defeat from Falkirk Central."Mon 25th June East Stirlingshire v Thornbank at Merchiston Pk, Bainsford  East StirlingshireG.McGregor b Haig 23R.Clark b Haig 0J.Shirra c McVey b Haig 5W.Wright b McVey 0P.Stewart c Walker b McVey 4W.Allan b McVey 2J.C.Johnstone b McVey 0J.Williamson b Haig 0J.Graham b McVey 1D.Alexander not out 0A.Scott b Haig 0 Extras 3Total 38BowlingMcVey ?-?-17-5Haig ?-?-21-5ThornbankA.Walker c Clark b Wright 8G.Allan c Scott b Allan 4E.McPhie c & b Wright 12D.Mullholland c Shirra b Wright 0W.McVey b Wright 0T.Haig b McGregor 5R.Bell b Wright 0J.Stewart b McGregor 0J.Bellingham c McGregor b Wright 3J.McVey b Wright 0J.Forrester not out 2 Extras 4Total 38BowlingWright ?-?-13-7McGregor ?-?-11-2Allan ?-?-7-1Match TiedThu 12th July East Stirlingshire v Invergrange at Merchiston Pk, Bainsford  East StirlingshireG.McGregor b Aitken 13R.Wilson b Whittock 7P.Stewart b Flannigan 2W.Wright b Aitken 5W.Allan b Aitken 2James Mitchell b Aitken 0J.C.Johnstone b Aitken 0R.Clark b Aitken 0J.Graham c Milne b Whittock 2J.Williamson not out 0J.Mitchell b Whittock 0 Extras 3Total 34BowlingAitken ?-?-?-6Whittock ?-?-?-3Flannigan ?-?-?-1InvergrangeJ.Flannigan b Wright 8R.Whittock b McGregor 1D.Millan b McGregor 2W.Smith hit wkt b Wright 0Hill Aitken c Wilson b Wright 2R.McColl c Clark b McGregor 0N.Whitehead b McGregor 0J.S.Knowles b Wright 0D.Rigg b Wright 1J.Scarborough c Clark b McGregor 1J.Smith not out 0 Extra 1Total 16BowlingWright ?-?-?-5McGregor ?-?-?-5 East Stirlingshire won by 18 runs.NotesThe match ended early so ES went in for a second innings, they had reached 82-8 before rain[...]



Lost Football Grounds of Falkirk District - Blinkbonny Park

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 18:07:00 +0000

For most of this week I have been looking for the location of Falkirk FC's second permanent home: Blinkbonny Park. All of my life the only Blinkbonny Parkin Falkirk has been a public space between Gartcows Road and the railway line close to the High Station. Now there is a substantial problem with this being the ground where Falkirk played teams such as Dumbarton and Renton in Scottish Cup matches over nearly three and a half seasons, namely that most of the sporting references to this Blinkbonny Park in the local press are about tobogganing!Yes, it has a very pronounced slope.The biggest problem that we have is that Falkirk played at Blinkbonny almost exactly halfway between the 1860 and 1896 OS surveys, so the ground is missing from the best sources available. A secondary problem is that Blinkbonny [and variant spellings] is a somewhat common name, so much so that there was another one [and another Blinkbonny Park] in the district, in Slamannan. So sorting out which references were to which Blinkbonny/ie took time and patience, plus the multiple references to sales of Turnips at Blinkbonny Farm never once mentioned its location.Blinkbonnie, and Blinkbonnie Park, Slamannan 1896. Therefore, as ever, you have to look wider than the football to find the parts of the jigsaw puzzle not staring you in the face. And so some five years after Falkirk FC had moved to Brockville, in 1890, Falkirk Town Council started looking for a suitable piece of land in order to create a public park for the residents of the town. In the reports of the Falkirk Herald of the time it was reported that they had had several possibilities and had sounded out the landowners as to the terms were a purchase to be necessary: among the possibilities was Blinkbonny.On Saturday April 19th 1890 the FH reported that "... the committee were strongly of opinion that they could not get a better site for a park than the ground at Blinkbonny. It was splendidly situated, and its only drawback was its distance from the town. The Committee had visited Blinkbonny, and they were of opinion that if they could get that part lying to the west of the road leading to Greenhorn's Well, it would make a splendid park. The land was very similar to the town's muir, and if they could make arrangements with Mr Forbes [of Callendar] in the way of excambion, they might get the one for the other. The land had special advantages for a public park. In one corner was situated Greenhorn's Well, and near it was a natural hollow, which by being flooded, would make a splendid skating pond. ... The northern boundary ran along the Bantaskin wall, and formed a natural boundary".The simple fact that they were looking at the land west of Greenhorn's Well, and that Blinkbonny was bounded to the South by the Railway Line and to the North by the Bantaskine Estate, and stretching from Drossie Road presumably to the estate of Glenfuir House means that Blinkbonny (Park) in the 1880s and 1890s was much bigger than the current park. The area known to Falkirk Bairns as Blinkbonny in the late 19th CenturyThis, though, is still a huge piece of land, and just because a passer-by in 1882 would notice the throng of a football match, means nothing to anybody nowadays, the entire area is built over by the Windsor Road housing estate, and very little of it looks remotely suitable for a Scottish Cup Match.And it was here that I was incredibly fortunate in coming across an article about a dispute over several 'rights of way' which were regularly used by Camelonites going to and from the different parts of Falkirk. In the summer of 1891 some of these 'rights of way' were blocked by the landowners and it took the law to settle which parties were in t[...]



Alva, Stirlingshire?

Sat, 15 Oct 2016 15:48:00 +0000

You often hear about people's favourite moment in sport, whether it be a player droning on about such and such a goal, or a fan droning on about how [insert team/player] beat [insert team/player] and it is frankly dull IMHO.

I am a bit weird that way, I like interesting things, so I cannot relate first hand about my favourite moment in sport, partially because I have considered it, but mainly because I was not there, and it happened nearly a hundred years before I was born.

In August 1891 the Boundary Commission for Scotland transferred Alva, previously an enclave of Stirlingshire, to Clackmannanshire [where it now resides].

This, I hear no-one say, does not seem like one of the most important anythings in anything. Perhaps not, but it was pretty important for the Stirlingshire FA.

It was implicit in the Stirlingshire F.A.'s rules, that not only must the clubs be within Stirlingshire, but that the players be born in, or reside within the county to be eligible for matches.

This would be fine, had the Boundary Commission made their decision even a month previously, but now the season had started, Alva were members of the Stirlingshire FA, Alva had been drawn against Campsie in the first Round of the Cup, but Alva were not eligible to compete in the cup, yet most of their players were.


In the end it was simple for the Stirlingshire FA, they ruled that since the Glebe Park [below] was now in Clackmannanshire, the club [who were the members of the Association] could not play, Campsie [from Lennoxtown [yes, Lennoxtown was in Stirlingshire back then]] were awarded the win in the First Round, and Alva never re-entered the Stirlingshire Cup.


Glebe Park, at the East End of Stirling Street, Alva, as of 1891 now definitely NOT in Stirlingshire.



Plagiarism

Sun, 09 Oct 2016 23:09:00 +0000

I find it frankly sad when the supposedly educated people at Edinburgh University take my own, shoddy, work and try and pass it off as their own.

The devil is in the very last sentence of both articles, which I added to this blog beyond the article.

Me http://www.falkirk-football-history.co.uk/2013/06/charlie-stirling-prisoner-of-war.html

Edinburgh University http://archive.is/Irtw9

Never trust one of their history degrees, they probably read it on the internet.

(Hey, Kids at Edinburgh, a reference would have done it) 

NB - Edinburgh University has removed the plagiarist article from their site [but I link to the archived version above], good, but this ought never have happened.



James Laing WWI

Sun, 09 Oct 2016 22:25:00 +0000

I haven't posted anything in a while mainly because I like to space posts out and because I have been taking advantage of Ancestry's free weekend to look up stuff [for example I found four Falkirk players that served in WWI that I never knew about].

I mean who would have known that Peter Gardiner was in the Army Pay Corp 1914-1918?, or that Thomas Bellingham [who played in the 1880s] at the age of 58 signed up for the Royal Defence Corps, or that Robert Terris was a mechanic in the Fleet Air Arm at HMS Daedalus?

Anyway I'm posting now because I found one of the worst examples of beaurocracy from the Army, ever, on James Higgins Laing's record:

On his conduct sheet, under "Offence"


I'm pretty sure, with a bit of thought, N/A, would have been applicable.

NB - Just for accuracy the other one was John Hotchkies in the A & S Highlanders.



Eben Taylor - Falkirk FC 1902-1903

Sat, 17 Sep 2016 15:49:00 +0000

When researching football players in the dim and distant past I often have to try to find out about their lives outside of football, this can help since it adds more than just puting a players name and clubs into your friendly search engine. When you throw in an adress/spouse's name/employment it just gives more options to explore.Which is why I was very impressed when I stumbled across the army record of Ebenezer Taylor on one of those stupidly expensive genealogy sites [however I was "researching" on a day when they were giving free access to their military papers last week ;)], and most impressed when I found a letter from his employers Aitken's Brewery to the Army stating that they would re-employ him upon his demobilisation.From his papers also came lots of biographical details, including his family, and, interestingly [to me anyway], a paper stating that he had been a P.O.W. towards the end of the War.Now this has got me puzzled, it has the date and place of capture 28th March 1918 at Monchy [which I assume is Monchy-le-Preux], and that he was last interned at what looks like "Wallers", and it is this last name that puzzles me, I can find nothing like this name in the list of Prisoner of War centres used during the War....As a player he seems to have been good enough, if not setting the world ablaze, and dissapeared from the team as quickly and as anonymously as he appeared. All I know about his past was a throw-away remark on his debut match about him being "a Stirling Junior", and as far as I'm aware he never kicked a ball in anger after leaving Falkirk.He is occasionally mentioned in the Falkirk Herald, living in Penders Lane,  usually in connection with the brewery, up until 1934, when he simply dissapears, and then in 1943 he is noted as the Late E.Taylor on the occasion of the marriage of his youngest daughter. But in between I have found nothing. Looks like I'm going to have to look to the Falkirk Mail to save the day [again].Ebenezer Taylorb c1882, Stirling, StirlingshireDebut – Monday August 4th 1902 v Alloa Athletic (A) Stirlingshire Coronation Cup 1st Rd replayLeague Debut – Saturday August 16th 1902 v Clyde (A) Scottish League Division 2Positions – Inside-Right, Inside-Left, Centre-ForwardClub Honours – Stirlingshire Consolation Cup W 1902/03Scottish League Div 2 Matches/Goals  12/2Scottish Qualifying Cup Matches/Goals  1/-Stirlingshire Cup Matches/Goals  1/1Stirlingshire Consolation Cup Matches/Goals  2/-Stirlingshire Coronation Cup Matches/Goals  1/-Falkirk Hospitals Shield Matches/Goals  1/-Other Matches/Goals  1/1Total Matches/Goals  19/4Known Career – Falkirk [1902/03-1903/04]Played in Falkirk's first ever Scottish League Match v Clyde (A) Scottish League Division 2, 16th August 1902[...]



Robert Godfrey signs up for McCrae's Battalion 1914

Thu, 15 Sep 2016 21:06:00 +0000

After digging about on the internet today, I came across the attestation papers of Falkirk FC's Robert "Bob" Godfrey, one of the Falkirk players who joined the 16th Royal Scots in the very early days of the war.


A local lad, the family living on the Tryst Road, 'Bob' had just made the step up from junior football in 1912, and was begining to settle into the Falkirk side as a regular as war was breaking out.

Although normally a centre-half, he occasionally played at right-half, and was Falkirk's emergency goalkeeper [in fact he played a number of games between the sticks for the reserves].

After eventually being given a medeical discharge for having "hammer toe", Bob assisted Stenhousemuir before rejoining the Bairns for a season or two. Then he set off on a journey round many of the Scottish Second Division in the immediate post-war years.

Robert Godfrey

b c1891, Larbert, Stirlingshire

Falkirk Debut – Wednesday September 4th 1912 v Heart of Midlothian (H) Benefit Match
Falkirk League Debut – Saturday April 11th 1914 v St Mirren (A) Scottish League Division 1

Positions – Centre-Half, Right-Half, Goalkeeper [occ]

Falkirk Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup RU 1913/14, 1914/15, Stirlingshire Consolation Cup W 1912/13

Known Career – Longcroft, Kirkintilloch Rob Roy, Banknock Juniors, Falkirk [1912/13-1914/15], Stenhousemuir [WWI], Falkirk [1918/19], Bathgate [1919/20], East Stirlingshire [1919/20-1920/21], Bathgate [1920/21], Ayr United [1920/21], Alloa Athletic [1920/21], Dumbarton [1921/22], St Bernards [1921/22], Vale of Leven [1922/23], Clackmannan [1922/23], East Stirlingshire [1922/23]

NB- I have read that Robert was the Grandfather of St Mirren & Falkirk's Peter Godfrey, but have been unable to find any definitive proof of the link.



John Rattray - Falkirk FC 1910-1913

Sat, 03 Sep 2016 16:28:00 +0000


John Rattray

b c1891, Ballingry, Fife
d c1958

Debut – Saturday December 24th 1910 v Raith Rovers (A) Scottish League Division 1
Positions – Centre-Forward
Known Career – Lumphinnans Swifts, Falkirk [1910/11-1912/13], Raith Rovers [1913/14-1914/15], Dunfermline Athletic [1915/16], Ayr United [1915/16], Raith Rovers [1915/16-1920/21], Dumbarton [1918/19], Bethlehem Steel (USA) [1921/22-1923/24], Raith Rovers [1924/25], Dumbarton [1925/26]
Notes – Scored on his League Debut
Height - 5 ft 7½ in: Weight 12 st 0 lbs [1913]





Archie Waugh - Falkirk FC Graves

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 16:37:00 +0000

Whilst out and about perusing my local Cemetery [Camelon] recently I happened across another name from the past that I recognised.


I humbly apologise for my reflection ;(

I will not bluster, Archie Waugh was an average defender, but was a local lad, and son of Thomas a former secretary: after not being able to find a guaranteed spot at Falkirk he moved around before coming back to end his career as a reserve/cover in the late twenties.


Archibald Waugh

b c1899, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
d 5th July 1962, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Wednesday April 30th 1919 v Cowie Wanderers (H) Benefit Match
League Debut – Saturday September 27th 1919 v Airdrieonians (H) Scottish League
Positions – Right-Half

Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1919/20, RU 1920/21, Stirlingshire Consolation Cup W 1921/22, Falkirk Infirmary Shield W 1927/28

Known Career – Gairdoch Thistle, Falkirk [1918/19-1921/22], Cowdenbeath [1922/23], King's Park [1922/23-1925/26], Falkirk [1926/27-1929/30]




Robert Parlane - Falkirk FC - 1895-97

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 10:47:00 +0000

Some obituaries you just come across, others you have to look for, this is in the latter camp.


Robert Parlane

b 29th March 1871, Camelon, Stirlingshire
d 9th March 1934, Camelon, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday August 24th 1895 v Kilsyth Wanderers (A) Midland League
Positions – Goalkeeper

Club Honours – Midland League RU 1895/96, Stirlingshire CupW 1895/96, Falkirk Infirmary Shield RU 1895/96
Scottish Qualifying Cup Matches/Goals [9/-]
Midland League Matches/Goals [14/-]
Scottish Combination Matches/Goals [1/-]
Stirlingshire Cup Matches/Goals [6/-]
Falkirk Infirmary Shield Matches/Goals [2/-]
Other Matches/Goals [20/-]
Known Career – Camelon [1893/94-1895/96], Falkirk [1895/96-1896/97], Camelon [1897/98-1898/99]




David McNair - Falkirk FC 1879-1881

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 01:34:00 +0000

Now, every so often I come across an obituary of a Falkirk player, it makes me smile.


Well, yes he played for Falkirk, back in 1879, he played.I have always hated the Post-war glitterati, those who loved Pele because he played in the sixties, without recognising Artur Friedenreich who came before.

I have huge appreciation for playeys who played for Falkirk before Professionalism.



Dan Kirkwood as a Reason against Wikipedia

Mon, 08 Aug 2016 16:26:00 +0000

The above is the Wikipedia entry on Dan Kirkwood, and whilst it it is not wholly wrong, it is wrong.For one Dan Kirkwood was born in Uphall, Linlithgowshire, not Linlithgow. Now I really don't care if you agree with me, but look at his Birth Certificate:


Dan Kirkwood was one of the great players of the great East Stirlingshire teams of the 1880s, but according to wikipedia he only played for Everton, never mind the three years he spent with Broxburn Shamrock before he moved to the Zebras. And never mind the time he spent with Sunderland Albion. And never mind the season he spent with Broxburn Athletic after Everton. He played for Everton. Endy Story.




Pen Pic - Robert Stirling - East Stirlingshire FC -1907

Fri, 05 Aug 2016 17:11:00 +0000

Yet another East Stirlingshire starlet I know little about, yet featured in the Falkirk Herald's "Prominent Players" series.

As far as I can ascertain, Robert also succumbed to the curse of ESFC players apperaring in this series, because from what I can see of his career after this point, he went out on loan to Alloa Athletic for the next season [1907/08], then dissappears.