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Ich heiße John Meffen - Part Time Historian/Researcher, blogger, work in online marketing, but rarely blog about it here: I have worked for Equator in Glesga and then for Caliber Interactive in Embra, but prefer to write a blog about the history of Falkirk Football Club in Fa'kirk. You can contact me through John Meffen [me!] on Google+

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Equator, Glasgow

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OCD like will to research

Falkirk Football Historian

Town v County - 1902

In the aftermath of the Ibrox disaster nearly all of Scottish Football pulled together in aid of the benevolent fund and the Stirlingshire Association did their bit along with the others. A while back I wrote a weepost about the tournament at the start of the 1902/03 season, which was in effect an extra Stirlingshire Cup, the proceeds going to the fund. But before that there was a match played at the tail end of the 1901/02 Season for the same cause.

On Tuesday 15th April 1902 at Merchiston Park [the home of East Stirlingshire FC] the Stirlingshire FA organised two representative teams for a challenge match. Unlike previous matches this was not played by a Stirlingshire XI against a large club or another representative team, instead the sides were chosen along the lines of Town v County, in other words Falkirk against the Rest of Stirlingshire.

Besides the football entertainment was provided by the Carron Works, the Wright Memorial and the Falkirk Burgh Brass Bands, and a there was a "very large attendance of spectators". On the field the Town side wore the Black & White of East Stirlingshire, while County wore Red Jerseys and White shorts.

Town - Allan [FFC]; Hill [FFC] & Gillespie [FAFC]; Scott [FFC], Fish [ESFC] & Rae [ESFC]; Low [FFC] & Kellock [FFC], Leishman [FFC], Dobbie [ESFC] & White [ESFC].

County - McCrory [KPFC], Leishman [CFC] & McLeod [SFC]; Reid [CFC], McBride [SFC] & Campbell [CFC]; McNair [SFC] & Clarkson [SFC], Baird [SFC], Carrigan [CFC] & Rae [CFC].

The match itself was very competitive, although I suppose the tackling was less intense than in a more competitive fixture, and was very end to end. The first side to strike was County, who on the counter attack passed the ball to Baird who hit the leather so hard that Allan could not hold on to to it and let it slip over the line. However within three minutes Town had equalised, scorer missing. For the rest of the half County were on the ascendancy but the Town defence stood form. Half Time 1-1.

Within three minutes of the resumption Town's Centre-Forward Robert Leishman nipped in behind his wee brother William Leishman on the County side to sent Town into the lead. After some exciting goalmouth skirmishes at both ends Baird again put the teams level. But almost straight from the kick-off Dobbie took a long shot that slipped between McCrory's hands and put Town back ahead. For most of the remaining time play was camped in the Town half, but this time William Allan was on the form that was to become common for the next two decades between the sticks. Failing light brought the players off some ten minutes before the scheduled 45 minutes had been played; the result standing Town 3 County 2.

The gate reciepts were reported as £18 6s 1d, but collections made in the ground added to the sum to be given over to the Ibrox Fund.

This is the last time that I have come across a representative Falkirk [geographical] side, but I dare say that were one to compete against the County today an FFC/ESFC XI could have a decent tussle against a SAFC/SFC XI, but I am a hopless romantic and think such matches are the best way to play Benefits, Testimonials & Charity matches, far better than the same two clubs who might have played several times within the last year. I live in hope.

Clubs in Falkirk District - Gairdoch

Long before the current situation, in about the 1880s/90s if you were to ask a local who was the third biggest team in Falkirk District [clearly 'Shire then Falkirk [in that order] would be 1 & 2] they would probably look at you then say "Camelon" with the unsaid "ya div" left hanging in the ether.

If you were to ask who was fourth, it would be murkier, but I would lay a bet that they would more likely say Gairdoch before Stenhousemuir.

The village of Carronshore is not where you might find a really good football team [do not get me wrong shoreites, the village produced many good footballers, many who eventually joined other, bigger clubs] but it is too small to attract a big enough crowd to pay them players. They were helped by the fact that T.D.Brodie [their Patron] let them play at Dovecote Park without paying rent.

But even that could not stem the tide of professionalism, eventually FFC, ESFC & clubs further afeild pilfering their best players meant they collapsed into nothingness: they were reborn into a junior side, but even that could not sutain itself.

It is sad, as they really did produce some good players.

I have never tracked down the exact location of Dovecote Pk, but get the feeling that it might have been somewhere close to the Dovecote.

Falkirk FC 1919?

I have this picture in my possession, it purports to be Falkirk FC in 1919 [and I have no reason to doubt it, but cannot substantiate it either]. I can tell some of the players, Tom Scott [Back row, second left], Tom Ferguson [goalie], Robert McDougall [Front Row, Centre [and with the ball, so Captain, which surprised me]]. But I do not know most of these people.

I suspect it was taken before the match v Raith Rovers on the 16th August 1919, and the players I know fit into that, but I cannot be sure. If you can shed any light, or help me in any way, please get in touch.

The Youngest Falkirk Player ... ever?

If you look up your Rothmans [or whatever it is called now], and look at the Falkirk FC pages it will tell you that the youngest Falkirk Player (post-war) is Gary Gillespie, but we who know stuff know that the World & Football, did actually exist in the time before 1945.

So, some of us know James McPhie was younger than Gary when he played just before the War broke out. However, in my researches into the murky past of 19th Century Football has unearthed a potential rival: William Lees.

William Lees, and his uncle James [who also turned out for Falkirk FC], was from Blackbraes. This is difficult for people to get their head round nowadays, but, there was a substantial village called Blackbraes just South of California until the turn of the 19th/20th Century, California was almost non-existent then. I believe [from my reading of the 1891 Census that the family Lees lived somewhere between the only houses remaining in Blackbraes & the Greyrigg Inn [ie on the way from California to Avonbridge/Standburn].

Anyway, I digress, William had clearly been making noises in the junior scene, so was filched by Falkirk, and thrown into the mix v Grangemouth in a Stirlingshire Cup match in 1892. In the 1891 Census he is listed only as being born in Carnwath, Lanarkshire, and being 14 Years Old. The next year he was in the Falkirk FC 1st XI .... Now, I know, he may have had two birthdays between the Census & his Debut, and since I am yet to trace his exact Date of Birth I do not know for sure. But there is a chance he may have only been fifteen when he first played.

William Lees

b c1877, Carnwath, Lanarkshire
d ????

Debut – Saturday October 29th 1892 v Grangemouth (H) Stirlingshire Cup 1st Rd
Positions – Centre-Forward
Minor League Matches/Goals [2/-]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [3/3]
Other Matches/Goals [10/1]

Known Career – Falkirk [1892/93]

Nephew of James Lees [Falkirk 1892/93]

Jock Drummond

Jock Drummond was not properly a Falkirk Bairn, but he was good enough for me, the family was living here by the time of the 1881 Census. he was originally from the Hillfoots. But it would seem he grew up in the town [so if it was up to me I would give him a passport]. Like many of the great players for Falkirk FC he seems to come out of nowhere, but this is more to to do with the lack of 2nd XI matches being reported, then, as now, in the local press.

In his time at Falkirk Jock spent a lot of time at left back, but I suspect this may be more to do do with the fact his partner would have been worse. He was a class above Stirlingshire football. He even extendended his range to play when needed, at Left-Half. In his memoirs [published in the Rangers Historian [a surprisingly un-bigoted publication]] he remembered learning under Pat Murphy to play LB.

According to the Falkirk Herald, before he moved to Rangers [you must remember this was a time before the current nonsense] he was scouted & tempted by English clubs like Wolves, Preston etc, but he stayed in Scotland. But not because he was a hun, because he had a fine job as a Bank Clerk in Falkirk, and refused to leave the town, he would travel to the match on Saturday, but he would never leave the town.

After a long career with Rangers he returned to Falkirk, but not really as a player, but a director, well more as a director who would play when needed. He did not play much second time around, but must have been a great boon to the others about him.

John Drummond has a few things about him which will never go away, he was the first Falkirk player to play for Scotland: he is the first player known to have scored a goal from a Penalty Kick for the Club [Falkirk scored another two weeks before, but the scorer was not recorded], he is another who played before his 18th birthday.

When it came for him to eventually hang up his boots he was was only playing in goals [but still playing] he played for Falkirk FC in a post-season tour of 'the North' when he played against a Morayshire XI on the 7th May 1907 [this being the 20 years & 21 Days after the first time he turned out for that amateur team].

[I like this pic, aged 16 from the 2nd XI before he even played a First XI Match]
[Sorry about the quality, but, I was not there]

John Drummond

b 13th April 1870, Alva, Stirlingshire
d 23rd January 1935, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday April 16th 1887 v Alloa Athletic (H) Friendly

Positions – Left-Back, Centre-Half, Left-Half, Right-Back
Representative Honours – Scotland v Ireland 1891/92, Stirlingshire v Linlithgowshire 1888/89, v Fife 1890/91, vForfarshire v 1890/91, 1891/92

Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1889/90, RU 1891/92, Falkirk District Charity Cup W 1889/90, 1891/92, RU1890/91, Falkirk Infirmary Shield W 1891/92, RU 1889/90, 1890/91

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [12/-]
Scottish Qualifying Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]
Minor League Matches/Goals [11/1]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [30/1]
Other Matches/Goals [87/4]

Known Career – Falkirk [1886/87-1892/93], Rangers [1891/92-1903/04], Falkirk [1904/05-1906/07]

Selected for the 1891/92 International Trials.

Played for Zingari v Falkirk Excelsior, Friendly at Tannery Pk, Falkirk, 28th April 1887
Played for Falkirk Caledonians v Redding Athletic, Friendly at Redding, 5th May 1887
Played for Redding Athletic v Vale of Avon, Friendly at Redding, 8th June 1887
Played for Redding Athletic v Kilsyth Wanderers, Friendly at Garrell Garden Pk, Kilsyth, 10th September 1887
Played for Falkirk District XI v Rangers Ibroxonians, Benefit Match at Brockville Pk, Falkirk, 11th June 1889
Played for Dunblane 2nd XI v Falkirk 2nd XI, Friendly at Brockville Pk, Falkirk, 18th January 1890
Played for King's Park v Hurlford, Friendly at Forthbank Pk, Stirling, 1st January 1891

Scored Falkirk's first recorded goal from a penalty kick, v Glasgow Wanderers (H) September 12th 1891, Scottish Federation

Cousin of George Drummond. [Falkirk 1899/00-1901/02]

Made his League debut for Falkirk 17 Years 126 Days after his Falkirk 1st XI debut