All posts by Stuart Spencer

Scottish Influence in Shaping Uruguayan Football.

Uruguay, a country with such impressive footballing history and success, have a strong chance of achieving World Cup glory in Russia. Their nation is incredibly passionate about the game, and offer undying loyalty to anyone who wears the famous Sky Blue jersey. If you were to investigate the origins of Uruguayan football, you would find some rather fascinating information and stories that reveal the substantial Scottish presence which helped shape Uruguayan football.

Above: William Poole.

One single, charismatic individual provided the impetus for turning kick-abouts into regular, professional competition.  Anglo-Scot, William Leslie Poole, considered the ‘Father of Uruguayan Football’ was a school teacher and founder of the English High School of Montevideo. Pupils of his school created the ‘Albion Football Club’, Uruguay’s first football club, in 1891.  At the time of his arrival, there were already some clubs practicing football informally in Uruguay such as the Montevideo Cricket Club, founded in 1861 (the first rugby club outside the United Kingdom), and the Montevideo Rowing Club, founded in 1874, though none as formal as Ablion. This new football club would play their games across the Rio del la Plata region against Argentine teams in Buenos Aires and Rosario. The club would also be originally chaired by a Scot called: Willie J. MacLean.
Initially, no foreign players were allowed to participate in the sport. Yet, Poole insisted on the participation of both nationals and foreigners with no distinction of race, language, religion, political opinion or economic position. This open-minded approach would change the mindset of the locals and fans of the game. Footballtuned into an instant success in the country, becoming a shining light for communities; allowing people of different nationalities, social class and ethnicity to come together in competition.
Poole himself played for Albion FC but is best remembered as an influential administrator and referee. He was then elected as President of the Uruguay Association Football League (Uruguayan FA) in 1901.
The Montevideo City Hall paid honor to Poole by dedicating a place called “Espacio Libre William Leslie Poole” between Constituyente and Vásquez avenues in the Uruguayan capital.

Above: John Harley

Aged only 19, John Harley, a railway engineer from Springburn, arrived in Argentina in 1906 to work for the Buenos Aires Western Railway company. The Scot was soon lining up for the club of the company’s employees, Ferro Carril Oeste; introducing a distinct, Scottish passing game from the position of centre-half. Not before long, Harley was persuaded to join C.U.R.C.C. (Peñarol) seeing him to make the journey across the river to Montevideo to sign for the club in 1909.
Upon his arrival, Harley sparked a footballing revolution, replacing a largely dis-organised, direct style with what came to be known as cortita y al pie, a game of short passes to the feet. Immediately, he was appointed the captain and skippered his side for ten seasons, becoming an idol with the supporters. Playing at centre-half, Harley offered a natural and effective link between defence and attack, re-organising his team into an intelligent unit based on a collective, combination style of play being the main focus.
Harley was thus approached and called up to the national team, making his Uruguay debut less than six months after arriving at Peñarol.  His introduction to the national side had not long passed though that did not stop the Uruguayan FA to hesitate approaching Harley to become Player/Manager of La Celeste as well. From there, the national team’s transformation mirrored that of Peñarol. The country would define its footballing identity with players encouraged to keep the ball, play it along the ground and combine more with their teammates. They were different, and they were proud. Harley would represent  La Celeste a total of seventeen occasions.
This new style introduced by Harley is often referred as to as the catalyst which brought both Peñarol and Uruguay significant success in the domestic leagues, Olympics and World Cups as time passed. Uruguay’s rise owed much to Harley. In the book titled ‘100 Years of Glory: The True History of Uruguayan Football’, the author refers to Harley as the man who taught the nation to perform “with a fluidity that we still see today in the modern possession based philosophies.”
Once Harley retired from the game in 1917, he would then become manager of Peñarol.
In 1951, over 40,000 spectators came to honour Harley with a match between Peñarol and Rampla Juniors at the Estadio Centenario; including many former colleagues and members of successful Uruguayan teams, turning out to pay tribute to Harley’s incredible contribution to Uruguayan football.

The Scottish Influence at the Beginning of English Football.

Our respected neighbours may enjoy participating in the Major Tournaments much more than ourselves these days, and have a fantastic, rich history of establishing the rules and regulations of the footballing sport.
However, it is important to remember the importance of Scottish influence in helping England produce fantastic football structures and heritage.
By the late 1870’s, a number of Scots were being enticed over the border earning the nickname the ‘Scotch Professors’ due to their advanced style of play. No such standard of player could be found in England at that time. James Joseph Lang, who moved to Sheffield Wednesday in 1876, is believed to be the first professional player even though the payment of players was illegal. When professionalism was eventually legalised in 1885, a floodgate was opened, an example being Liverpool’s first team of 1892 consisted entirely of Scottish players and was known as the ‘Team of the Macs’.

Above: Lord Kinnaird.

A leading player south of the border, Lord Kinnaird, from a Perthshire family, would play in an incredible nine FA Cup Finals between 1873 and 1883, winning five times (three times with Wanderers FC and twice with Old Etonians), and represented Scotland in 1873. He first joined the FA committee in 1868, to then holding the office of President from 1890 until his death in 1923. In 1884 when clubs from the north of England broke away to set up a ‘British FA’, due to a bitter dispute over the payment of players, Kinnaird played an important role in persuading them to re-join the FA. Along with Charles W. Alcock, Kinnaird convinced the FA to introduce professionalism in 1885 and helped to end the split.
In 1877, the ‘Father of the Football League’, William McGregor moved to Birmingham from Perthshire and first became involved with Aston Villa in 1877; serving on the club committee he was elected President in 1880. A number of prominent Scots were associated with Villa at the time, including captain George Ramsay and star player Archie Hunter, and under McGregor’s influence, the Scottish Lion Rampant was adopted for the club crest.
Villa would then make a landmark appointment, in 1886, by creating a position which would become the very norm to every club in the world for the foreseeable. They would appoint a ‘manager’ of the football team, appointing Glaswegian captain, George Ramsay. This decision meant that technically Ramsay, a Scot, was the first paid manager anywhere in world football.
In March 1888, McGregor suggested that England’s leading clubs form an ‘Association Football Union’, which would later be renamed’The Football League’.  The first matches commenced on 8th September 1888, this also led to McGregor becoming Chairman of the Football League and Chairman of the FA.

Above: Will McGregor

Along with William McGregor and Arthur Kinnaird, many other Scots played a role in shaping Association football in England. When the Birmingham FA was founded in 1875, five out of six men involved originally came from Scotland. The Lancashire FA was then established in 1878 adopting the rules of the Scottish Association. Scottish Internationalists John Cameron and John Bell were involved in setting up a Players Union in England in 1897 with Bell being appointed its first chairman.  In 1886 David Danskin, a Fife mechanical engineer, founded Dial Square FC; a club better known today as Arsenal.

Above: David Danskin

In addition, Scottish school teacher, David Allan, established Sunderland AFC in 1879 whilst Aston Villa’s first rivals were Calthorpe FC, founded by a Scot: Campbell Orr.
In 1892, the double winning ‘Invincibles’ of Preston North End regularly fielded seven Scots such as..
A number of English players were influenced by the short-passing style that emerged from Scotland and added such unique style of play to their coaching when travelling abroad. High regarded managers from Fred Pentland, Jimmy Hogan to William Townley, in particular, take the football style with them across Europe.


Scottish links to Belgian Football.

History archives reveal some interesting stories which show the presence of Scots in the early stages of Belgian football.
During a leisure holiday, two affluent Scottish families, the Blairs and Fairlies, decided to potentially create “The Foot Ball Club Spa” near the Belgian region of Liege in 1863.
Both families, according to research, appear to originate from Ayrshire.
There was Sir Edward Hunter Blair, a gentleman, justice of the peace, lieutenant of the Royal Navy, born in 1818, having thirteen children with Helen Hunter. There was also the Fairlie clan of nine people; Colonel James Ogilvy Fairlie, born in 1815, his wife and their children. Roles such as Treasurer and Secretary were to potentially be passed onto both children of the families. The pursuit of trying to create club appears to have been due to the formation of the English FA, producing a strong desire, from both families, to form a football club in their country of holiday. Although this was not a formal creation of a football club, it does appear to be one of the first pieces of documentation of its kind, that shows a potential desire for football clubs to be formed in Belgium.
In addition, a former Scottish international, William Maxwell, was the first coach to manage the Belgium National team. He initially went to Leopold FC before enjoying two periods as coach of the Belgian national team, from 1910 to 1913 and 1920 to 1938. Maxwell would lead the Belgians to Olympic Gold at the 1920 Antwerp Games. Opponents, Czechoslovakia, were unhappy with the performance of the 65-year-old English referee, John Lewis. Their protests were dismissed, leading to an eventual disqualified from the tournament without receiving any medal.

Above: Doug Livingstone.

Another Scot, Doug Livingstone, from Alexandria, West Dumbartonshire, would later manage the Belgian national team in 1953.  Before this stint, Livingstone took charge of the Republic of Ireland from 1951 to 1953. He would guide The Red Devils to the 1954 FIFA World Cup and notably was in charge for the thrilling 4–4 draw with England in the group stages.
Indeed,  former Scottish coach, John Dick, is better remembered in Czech football, he also enjoyed a successful spell in Belgium as manager of Antwerp side: K Beerschot VAC.

Above: John Dick.

The Scottish Influence in Swedish Football.

Similar to other countries around the world, the nation of Sweden, who begin their Russia 2018 World Cup journey today,  would see help from Scottish migrants in introducing football to their country.
During the early 1890’s, a group of textile workers from Newmilns in Ayrshire were sent to Gothenburg to work at a sister factory. One of the workers, a lacemaker called John Lawson, set up a football section of Gothenburg Sports Club, Orgyte Idrottsallskap in 1892: making them the the oldest in Sweden.
The first ever game of Association football took place on 22nd May 1892 when Örgryte FC (ÖIS) took on I.S. Lyckans Soldater where Örgryte would win the match 1-0 fielding a team that included six Scots. By 1893 Örgryte were being referred to as Skottelaget (the Scottish team) fielding no less than seven players from across the North Sea.
The club would dominate the early years of Swedish football and were nicknamed ‘Skottelaget’ (Scottish team). At one point the team was so successful it was banned from playing in the local league. Eventually the Scottish workers went back home and Orgyte re-entered local competition.
Football remains a popular sport in Sweden and in 1958, the country hosted the World Cup, reaching the final- losing 5-2 to Brazil.

Above: John Lawson, centre of the seated row, along with the Örgryte squad.

How Scotland brought football to Brazil.

Many consider Brazil to be the best football nation in terms of rich history and brilliant past players- such as Pele, Zico, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. The country is often referred as the template of how football should be played using flare, dribbling, attractive football.
Yet, such lessons and teachings are always passed on by previous generations and key individuals, who are up-held as pioneers of the game. These worshipped, influential figures that paved the way for successful Brazilian football were, indeed, Scottish immigrants.

Charles Miller

Scot Charles Miller, who is widely recognised as ‘the Father of Brazilian football’, was the son of John Miller, a Scottish railway engineer, who lived in Sao Paulo. Miller was sent to Southampton for an education and would go on to play football at County level for Hampshire. In October 1894, he famously returned to Sao Paulo carrying two footballs and a set of playing rules, which led to him organising a famous match between the Sao Paolo Railway Company and the Gas Company on April 14, 1895. Miller helped set-up the football club: Sao Paulo Athletic Cluc (SPAC), and was a founder of the Liga Paulista. As a player he won three League Championships with SPAC and was also a successful referee and administrator.

Thomas Donohoe

In May 1894, a few months before his arrival of Charles Miller, Thomas Donohoe, a textile worker from Busby in East Renfrewshire, arrived in the Bangu district of Rio de Janeiro. It is understood that Donohoe organized the first ever football match in the history of Brazilian football. The match was a five-a-side game which took place in April 1894, six months before Charles Miller’s match, previously recorded as the first in Brazil. Local football historians attribute Donohoe and fellow Scottish workers connected to the Bangu textile factory as introducing football to the area. Initially lacking support from the factory owners, local football activity appeared to have been loosely organised until 1904 when Donohoe was involved in founding the Bagu Athletic Club. This club has an important place within the history of Brazilian football as it was the first to allow black Brazilian footballers to join. In 2013, the town of Bagu erected a statue of Donohoe in honour of his contribution to football in Brazil.

Archie McLean

Archie McLean, a Paisley textile engineer, who played with Ayr FC and St Johnstone, was sent by J&P Coats to work in São Paulo. Upon arrival in 1912, McLean founded an ex-pats’ football team,  the Scottish Wanderers; with their matches being played in the local São Paulo State League. McLean’s performances caught the attention of the Brazilian public within a year. He was also picked for the São Paulo state team against Rio de Janeiro. Prior to the creation of a Brazilian National side, this call-up was the highest accolade for players from the region. McLean introduced Scottish short-passing tactics to his resident city. As an outside left he would play short passes on the run with his inside forward, weaving the ball up the field. The Brazilians called this ‘Tabelinha’ (little chart) and adopted the style.

Jock Hamilton

Ayr’s Jock Hamilton had been a Scotch Professor spending most of his playing career in England- playing for Wolverhampton Wanderers, Loughborough, Bristol City, Leicester Fosse, Watford, Wellingborough and Fulham. At Fulham, he would coach Jimmy Hogan, who in later years would become an influential coach in Continental Europe.
In 1907, the Brazilian side Club Atletico Paulistano secured the services of Hamilton, partly due to the recommendations of Sir Fredrick Wall, secretary of the FA. Hamilton introduced the team to new training methods and even coached the sons of club members- becoming the first appointed professional coach in Brazilian football. Jock introduced what is known as ‘Systema Ingleza’ – the short passing game, as well as a systematic programme of training and preparation. This would be the platform of success for C.A. Paulistano; the club would go on to win the League the following season after his departure.

Scottish Influence in Mexican Football

The nation of Mexico is very contrasting to Scotland in many ways but there is one thing the Scots and Mexicans have in common: a passion for football. This passion from both countries is visible for all to see.
Interestingly, Mexican football archives would reveal the story of how Scottish immigrants would help shape the game in in their country in the late 19th century.
Scottish Steel Industry arrived in the Veracruz region of Mexico when the Santa Gertrudis factory opened at Orizaba. A small Scottish colony was well established by 1894 when the Santa Gertrudis Golf Club opened its doors.
One important factory was the Santa Gertrudis Fabrica de Yute, which was founded and owned by Scottish migrants Duncan Macomish and Thomas Hanghey- who had a long football background.  After settling in Mexico, both men decided, along with other local factory owners and English migrant Percy C. Clifford: a pioneer in the sport in Mexico City, to establish a local football league in 1886; having the first game played in the old ‘Campo El Yute.  The league would include clubs from the capital in from Providence. This then brought the introduction of Orizaba Athletic Club, who would be founded by Macomish in 1898, which also included practising cricket among other sports in Orizaba.
Orizaba AC became a founder member of the Mexican Football League and would go on to win the first championship title in 1903.

Above: David Macomish.

Scottish Influence in Danish Football.

The Scandinavian country of Denmark are a fast, footballing team, who will go into their World Cup Finals matches high on confidence. The history of football being developed in the Northern Europe nation points towards the presence of Scottish individuals and football clubs.

The Scottish influence of Denmark reveals a James Young Smart, born in Dundee on 18 March 1862, the son of a jute mill manager, and former player of Strathmore FC-founded in 1877, left his native Scotland to play football as he was the top scorer in Denmark’s first league tournament in 1889-90, with 12 goals for KB who finished second behind Akademisk.
Whilst Smart’s presence and flare was important, the country would accelerate the introduction of Association football after a visit from Queen’s Park.
Queen’s Park were invited to a Festival for the purpose of popularising and improving football in Denmark; where already there were quite a number of good clubs.
The men in the black and white hoops were the first club to visit Denmark in 1898; making it the first recorded time a Scottish club visited continental Europe. The Spiders were invited to give an exhibition of football with a Danish select team at the International Festival of Sports and Gymnastics (Den Internationale Gymnastik- og Idrætsfest). Their short passing game made a big impression on local enthusiasts, leading to football taking off in the country.
Indeed, Scotland international David Mitchell, who had also captained Rangers, was commissioned to coach the Danish FA team (DBU) when Queen’s Park returned to Copenhagen in 1900. Queen’s Park’s early visits to Denmark seemed to have helped to affirm the perceived positive contributions of amateurism by strengthening Denmark’s incongruous relationship with British professional football.
As well as the regular visits of Queen’s Park, Hearts would visit Denmark in 1912 and Rangers would also tour to Denmark one year later.

Above: A cartoon in the Scottish press of Queen’s Park’s tour to Denmark.

Above: Queen’s Park Squad photo in Denmark 1898.

Scottish Influence in Argentina and Iceland

Two other nations, Argentina and Iceland, will kick-start their World Cup journey today in Russia. Similar to other nations, history reveals that in both of these countries, when football was being introduced, it was, once again, Scottish participation that was deemed influential.

The decedents of a Mr. James Brown, one of the original Scottish settlers to Argentina in 1824, would have a significant impact on football in the country. Seven brothers and a cousin, all grandchildren of James Brown, would play for Argentinean clubs. Six of them would also play for the Argentinian national team. The most famous was Jorge Gibson Brown who captained Argentina from 1908 to 1913. A subsequent descendant of the Brown dynasty was Jose Luis Brown who scored one of the goals as Argentina won the World Cup in 1986.

Above: Jose Luis Brown

Another Scot, Alexander Watson Hutton, dubbed ‘the father of Argentine football’, introduced football at the St Andrews Scotch School in Buenos Aires in 1882. Two years later he established the Buenos Aires English High School and a former pupil’s team was founded in 1898; which became known as the Alumni Athletic Club. Alumni would win 10 out of 12 Argentine League titles between 1900 and 1911. After serving as a successful administrator and referee, Hutton re-established the Argentine Association Football League in 1893, becoming its President.
In addition, in 1891, an Alec Lamont, a head teacher from St Andrews, set up the Argentine Association Football League, the earliest known league out-with the United Kingdom. Five teams originally took part with two teams called St Andrews and old Caledonians vying for the title on 13 points apiece. A play-off was ordered and St Andrews won the match 3-1. The league stopped after just one season but was restarted by Scottish School master Alexander Watson Hutton in 1893.

 Above: Alexander Watson Hutton

As international football matches were established between Argentina and Uruguay, Glasgow tea magnate, Thomas Lipton, donated the Copa Lipton trophy in 1905 for competition between both nations. The trophy was contested between the countries 29 times between 1905 and 1992. Watson Hutton’s son, Arnold Hutton, starred for Alumni and scored in Argentina’s 2-0 Copa Lipton win over Uruguay in 1906.
More so, 1901, two Scot’s, William Leslie and his brother George, whose family originally came from Glasgow, lined up for Argentina in an unofficial match against Uruguay in Montevideo. The brothers helped the Argentina side win 3-2 and the following year, Willie was picked to play in the first official international match between both nations- with Argentina winning 6-0. The two brothers were also associated with the Lomas Athletic Club in Argentina- which won the first official league title of 1893. They also played in ‘ex-pat’ matches which involved teams representing Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland. Similar to Hutton, Willie later became a referee and, in 1907, was elected Vice President of the Argentine FA.

In terms of the Scottish influence in Iceland, the year 1895 seen the owner of the Isafold printing company in Raykjavik writing to the Scottish Typographical Association asking for a qualified printer and demanding that the chosen candidate ‘must be a strict temperance man’. The person chosen for the post was a Mr. James Ferguson, a skilled printer and keen athlete from Glasgow. On arriving in Reykjavik, Ferguson soon became involved in sports and introduced local enthusiasts to gymnastics and football. He founded the Reykjavik Gymnastic Club; also organising and encouraging football activity. The game swiftly took root and, in 1899, Iceland’s first football club Fotbaltafelag Reykjavikur was formed.


Scottish Influence Implementing Football in Australia and France

France and Australia kick off their Russia 2018 World Cup campaign today. An interesting coincidence is that the football structure in both countries was constructed with the help of Scottish immigrants.

Indeed, Scottish immigrants had an influential role in promoting football in Australia during the 1880’s. The Scots were particularly prominent in the establishment of the Anglo-Queenland Football Association at Brisbane in 1884. Early teams within this Association included clubs with Scottish names- such as St Andrews FC, Rangers FC and Queens Park FC. An addition, an early football club in Sydney was called Caledonians. In New South Wales, Minmi Rangers were founded by Scots, during the year of 1884, and would dominate the early years of the Newcastle and District League. They would be the most successful club in the competition in the 1880s and 1890s, winning the premierships of 1887, 1888, 1889, 1891, 1892 and 1893. At the time, the Gardiner Cup was, from 1885 to 1928, the biggest prize in New South Wales football. Minmi 3-0 triumphed in the final against Sydney namesakes, Pyrmont Rangers. Another club called Balgownie Rangers, who are Australia’s oldest existing Association football club at 135 years old, was founded in 1883 by Peter Hunter, a miner who had played junior football back in Scotland.






Above: Peter Hunter

This was also the case for Australia’s opponents today, France. Scottish residents in Paris helped advance the Association game during the late nineteenth century. Gordon F.C., dating from 1891, was essentially a French club with Scottish heritage while, in the same year, two founding members of White Rovers FC were Scots by name of McBain and McQueen. More so,  Frenchman Charles Bernat, who helped to establish Club Francais in 1892, had played football during his time studying at St Joseph’s College in Dumfries.
Very interestingly, it was a whisky magnate Scot called Thomas Dewar who donated the Coupe de Sheriff in 1899 as a competition open to all clubs. More so, Scottish clubs would tour the country such as Rangers (the Scottish club) who visited France on tour in 1923, while Scottish coaches made the journey to coach football. An example being Scottish manager Billy Aitken who coached a number of French clubs during the 1930’s.

Scottish Influence on Russian Football

Did you know that the formation of  Russia’s football was aided by Scots?

Yes, it’s true. St Petersburg had a thriving football community by the 1890’s which included a club called the ‘Scottish Circle of Amateurs’. A team of Scots from the Sampson Weaving Mill formed Nevka FC, named after a local river, and won the inaugural St Petersburg League Championship in 1901. Arthur MacPherson, would play an influential role. A Russian/Scot born in St Petersburg in 1870 after his grandfather Murdoch MacPherson emigrated from Perth in the late 1830s. A timber merchant to trade,  he twice became chairman of the St Petersburg Football League and would also become the first President of the Russian Football Union when that body was established in 1912.

MacPherson, a keen rower, also led the All-Russian Union of lawn tennis clubs from 1908 until the revolution and organised the first international tennis tournament in Russia. In 1911 he was elected a member of the Russian Olympic Committee.

It was alleged that MacPherson was arrested by the Bolsheviks following the October Revolution in 1917 and imprisoned; reporting he had been shot for serving British interests but he had been taken from St Petersburg to a Moscow jail for several months, where he contracted typhoid. His body is buried in the Smolensk Lutheran Cemetery in St Petersburg in a humble plot for a Scottish and Russian sporting giant.

Above: Arthur MacPherson

In addition, in 1910, another Scot from Montrose called John S Urquhart organised and encouraged football at Reval (Tallin) in Estonia and would later promote the game in the Russian city of Smolensk.