Category Archives: History

The Season of 1898-99.

The 7th January is home to a unique record registered in the Scottish football history books.

120 years past, Rangers embarked on one of their most successful seasons in their history, for in the 1898-99 season, the club’s 26th season in football and the ninth season of the Scottish Football League, Rangers went on to achieve a one hundred percent record of 18 wins from 18 matches.

It is a record which, in the matter of hard, actual results, has never, or may possibly ever be equalled. On the question of intrinsic value, there is no immediate necessity to dilate or discuss. For this title remains unique in the annuals of British football.

Governed by match secretary, William Wilton, the quest for the league title would commence at home to Partick Thistle – winning 6-2 at Ibrox – on 20th August 1898 and finally achieved on 7th January 1899. Commanding victories, such as 10-0 over Hibernian, an 8-0 win against Clyde and 4-0 performance away to Celtic Park, ensured confidence amongst the Ibrox faithful that a special season was in their grasp.  The Championship was eventually decided by a 7-0 win over Dundee at Ibrox but the players continued their glittering league form and finished the season to claim the 100% winning record. The team averaged more than four goals per match, 79 goals were scored by Rangers in the league with only 18 conceded. Club captain, Robert Cumming Hamilton, would finish as Scotland’s top goalscorer – finding the net 21 times during the league campaign.

Above: William Wilton

An instructive discussion could be carried on for a long time regarding the comparative merits of the achievements of teams which may have represented the club, and there would be found many ready to motion certain other achievements of Rangers’ more modern history as second to none. However, whatever may be the opinions or prejudices of individuals, nothing can deprive the 1898-99 team of the unique distinction of having gone through an entire League competition without losing a single point. Looked at from any angle, it is one a performance great in the extreme, testimony at once to the endurance, the enthusiasm, and the skill of the players who accomplished it.

On the day when Rangers completed the record by defeating Clyde, at Shawfield Park, R.C. Hamilton, the captain, speaking at the tea party which always followed the matches played in Glasgow, said their success was due:

“Largely to the splendid esprit de corps that had animated the team. They were heart and soul for the club, prepared to fight out every match to the last second; and, indeed, the story of their victories shows that without indomitable courage this unmatched record could never have been created.”

Outwith the Scottish league, the men in Royal Blue seen off Hearts, Ayr Parkhouse, Clyde and St Mirren to reach the Scottish Cup Final. Though they would narrowly miss out on a domestic double losing 2-0 to Celtic at Hampden. As well as this disappointment, Rangers would crash out of the Glasgow and Charity Cups, a feat in itself as some merit, but were unable to success on all fronts. Though the lack of an additional trophy does not take away the gloss of a monumental season for the Glasgow club.

Above: Rangers 1899 star John McPherson’s Glasgow cap in our museum.

In the same year, after achieving the record, Rangers would move to their current location of Ibrox Stadium and appoint their first ever manager in match secretary, William Wilton. The rest, as they say, is history.

  

Above: Wilton’s signature, on Rangers documentation dated from 1899, in our museum store.

 

Rangers team of 1898/99.
Matthew Dickie
David Crawford
Neilly Gibson
Robert Neil
David Mitchell
James Miller
Robert Hamilton
John McPherson
John Campbell
Alex Smith
Jock Drummond
Nicol Smith
JE Miller
James Wilkie
Andrew Sharp
James Sharp
Tommy Low
Jimmy Oswald

Douglas Smith: The Founder of Drumchapel Amateurs.

The beginning of one of Scotland’s famous amateur football teams starts with a Cambridge graduate and high-powered businessman whose family owned one of Clydeside’s most beautiful estates on Ardmore peninsula, near Cardross.

The man with the vision to construct one of the best amateur teams in the country was a Mr Douglas Smith, an inspirational pioneer in boys’ club football, introducing to the youth grade a level of organization, vision and dedication more than many associated with the professional game. As a hobby, he founded the club as a Boys’ Brigade team, and their original strips, donated by the Clydebank Singer factory, were the Celtic colours of green and white hoops. Smith reasoned it was unlikely there would be a colour clash with other west of Scotland Boys’ Brigade sides. Eventually settling at Duntocher, they changed to become Drumchapel Amateurs.
He officially established Drumchapel Amateurs in 1950 – having transformed a Boys’ Brigade team that had never won a match – and steered the club unerringly towards excellence in every aspect of the sport. Ultimately the club emerged as the best known Scottish amateur side other than Queen’s Park, and earned an international reputation, regularly representing Scotland in tournaments throughout Europe – setting up matches against the youths of AC Milan and Barcelona – picking up the odd win or two.

But Smith’s legacy and belief in football ran deeper than caps, titles and medals. Under his tutelage, Drumchapel players were no ordinary footballers; they were always instilled with universal qualities such as self-discipline, self-belief and respect for others, which prepared them as much for life outside the game as it did on the football pitch. Hundreds of boys were transformed into respectable young men with values thanks to Mr Smith’s strong beliefs of manners and sportsmanship.
Everything was done in a professional manner. Itineraries were sent to each player, receiving a time-table for the following Saturday informing them who they were playing, where they were to meet and who would collect them if they needed a lift after playing for their schools in the morning. If you represented ‘The Drum’, you wouldn’t dare let the club or Douglas Smith down.

Under Smith’s guidance, many young players progressed to become professional footballers, and some even achieved international status, including Sir Alex Ferguson as Aberdeen, Scotland and Manchester United manager, and players such as Archie Gemmill, Asa Hartford, David Moyes, John Wark, Andy Gray, Alex Willoughby and Mo Johnston to name a few. In Fact, more than 300 players came through the ranks of this unique amateur team. At least 4-5 professional club scouts would observe Drumchapel’s matches.

The most famous ex-Drummie is indeed the former manager of Manchester United, who is always happy to acknowledge the grounding given to him by the club and, above all, Mr Smith. As Sir Alex would testify, Douglas Smith’s benign influence continued on at Old Trafford, Goodison Park and many other football places.

In January 2003 Smith finally handed over the reins of the club he had run for more than half a century. Shortly after, Smith stated: “I only feel two or three years older than the boys I work with. That’s what working with youngsters does for you. They’re my life and I’ve been a very fortunate man.”

Douglas Smith sadly passed away in February 2004. A portrait of Mr Smith hangs in our museum in recognition of his contribution to the club and the development of young footballers. It was unveiled in 2014 by former Drumchapel player, Sir Alex Ferguson.

‘The Drum’ Roll of Honour

Asa Hartford (West Brom, Everton & Man City)
Archie Gemmill (Derby & Nottingham Forest)
John Wark (Ipswich & Liverpool)
John Robertson (Nottingham Forest)
Eddie McCreadie (Chelsea)
Pat Crerand (Celtic & Man Utd)
Mo Johnston (Watford, Nantes, Celtic & Rangers)
John O’Hare (Derby)
Alan Brazil (Ipswich, Tottenham, Man Utd)
Bobby Hope (West Brom)
Jim Forrest (Rangers)
Jim Cruikshank (Hearts)
George McLean (Dundee)
Ally Hunter (Celtic)
Iain Munro (St Mirren)
Tony Green (Blackpool & Newcastle)
Tommy Craig (Sheffield Wed & Newcastle)
Andy Gray (Aston Villa, Wolves, Everton)
Jim Kennedy (Celtic)
Paul Wilson (Celtic)
Francis Munro (Wolves)
Frank McAvennie (West Ham & Celtic)
Ally Dawson (Rangers)

George Ramsay – The World’s First Football Manager

One of the most important, and stressful, jobs in the game of football is the position of club manager. Now, more than ever due to intense pressure, ‘the gaffer’ can be removed from their position in just a matter of weeks from monumental success.
The job role has modernised and redeveloped through time, though where did the role of a manager come into place? Which point in the national sport timeline did a manager have responsibility in overlooking football players? And who even was the first ever football manager?
The world’s first ever appointed, paid football manager, in 1886, was a Scot called George Ramsay; who would become a formidable force in English football.
George Ramsay was born in Glasgow on 3rd March 1855. It was at the age of 21 years old when he made the trip south, arriving in Birmingham to work as a clerk in a brass foundry. His first interaction with Aston Villa was completely accidental. Had the rough Scotsman not come across a practice football match – in 1876 – between a bunch of ill-organised, inexperienced cricketers, it is unlikely that the name Aston Villa would be a household name today.
Walking past a Villa players’ practice match in Aston Park, he was asked to make up the numbers, taking them up on the invitation. Impressed by his incredible skills, the Villa players invited him to join the club; to which he agreed to sign. Shortly after signing for Villa he was appointed captain of the club.

A number of prominent Scots were associated with Villa at the time, including star player Archie Hunter,and, of course, William McGregor: the club president. In addition, the committee had also decided to adopt the Scottish Lion Rampant for the club crest.

Word spread about how fine a player George was, spectators began turning up to watch the little man nicknamed ‘Scotty’. In 1880, Ramsay led Villa to their first trophy – the Birmingham Senior Cup. The following season Aston Villa won 21 of their 25 games also winning the Staffordshire Cup in the same year. George Ramsay was in outstanding form. Unfortunately, a serious injury forced Ramsay to retire from first-class football in June 1882. Two years later, he was appointed as club secretary.

His influence wasn’t restricted to the pitch. He also negotiated the purchase of Villa’s new ground at Wellington Road, Perry Barr. Villa played at Perry Barr until 1897 when the club moved to the Aston Lower Grounds, next to Aston Hall, which later became known as Villa Park. According to club folklore, it has been stated that Ramsay was the first man to kick a ball at Villa Park.

The club decided to convert from amateurism to professionalism in 1885. The committee decided that, in order to maintain their recent risen status, developments and procedures must be changed.
What seemed such a small, unremarkable advertisement appeared in the pages of a local newspaper in the English midlands days later…

‘Wanted: manager for Aston Villa Football Club, who will be required to devote his whole time under direction of the committee. Salary £100 per annum. Applications with reference must be made not later than June 23rd to Chairman of the Committee, Aston Villa Club House, 6 Witton Road, Aston’

Villa would then make a landmark appointment, in 1886, 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. In the end, the outcome was that the role was to be handed to their club secretary, George Ramsay. This decision meant that technically Ramsay, a Scot, was the first paid manager anywhere in world football.
Although the wording of the advertisement described the position as ‘manager’ the convention of the time was followed and Ramsay was generally referred to as the club’s secretary. The committee would pick the team but it was Ramsay who taught them how to play beautiful football.
In all Ramsay’s association with the football club lasted 59 years, there is a time, particularly at the start of his tenure, which will always be known as Aston Villa’s ‘Golden Age’. The great Scot led his teams to an astonishing six league titles and six FA Cups between 1893 and 1920, a managerial record that stands today.
In terms of winning titles, he is ranked 3rd behind Sir Alex Ferguson and Bob Paisley. Break those titles down and it shows his record of six League Championships and six FA Cups is second only to Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger respectively.

What is more impressive is the 49.59 per cent win ratio he achieved during his remarkable tenure at Villa Park that has Ramsay ranked above some of the football’s biggest names. In 2014,  it emerged his relentless success leaves him ninth in a table ranking Premier League/First Division managers through history on their overall win percentage records. This puts him ahead of Liverpool legend Bill Shankly on 49.31 per cent, double winning Spurs coach Bill Nicholson on 48.72, and Nottingham Forest’s Brian Clough, who had a 45.03 win rate during a trophy-laden career, including two European Cups.

Ramsay held his position as secretary of Villa until 1926, when he was 71, then becoming an advisor and vice-president. He died in October 1935 and was laid to rest in St Mary’s churchyard, Handsworth Wood. His gravestone reads “Founder of Aston Villa”.

The Scot who Invented the Dugout

They are almost recognisable in every football stadium. Pretty much every manager in the beautiful game has stood in them. They entail praise and abuse by supporters hurled towards them. They are, at times, the location where the eureka moment arrives for a manager to win a match. They come in all different shapes and sizes, becoming a place to seek photo opportunity during stadium tours.
They are one of the many important footnotes of football and it was a Scot who invented them: the dugout.
Donald Colman was his name, though he was born ‘Donald Cunningham’ in Renton in 1878 but changed his surname to ‘Colman’ so that his father, a deeply religious man who opposed the idea of professional football, would not be aware of his son’s defiance.
Colman began as a footballer for Glasgow Perthshire, playing for a few junior clubs including Maryhill Juniors. However, it was not until the age of 27 that he made the step up to professional football – signing for Motherwell as a full-back.
Shortly after two years at The Steelmen, he was released and later headhunted by Aberdeen; later becoming captain of The Dons in 1909. Colman initially suffered the now old, tired cliche of “being too small” as well as being too old.  Yet Colman defied peoples’ opinions and, at 33 years old, fully overcame such  ludicrous claims by winning his first out of his four full Scotland caps and continued to play for Aberdeen until he reached 42, and then Dumbarton until 47 – during which time he was also coaching and alleged to still be an active player.
As a coach Colman was ahead, possibly even decades, ahead of his time. In the 1930’s he lectured on the benefits of keeping possession, of running off the ball, of finding open space. Donald also designed football boots, gave them to players one boot at a time to encourage them to play using their weaker foot.

Above: Donald Colman

Whilst at Dumbarton he spent his summers in Norway coaching the team SK Brann of Bergen, where he saw Scandinavian managers huddling for shelter while trying to get near the pitch to shout instructions to their teams. Colman had an idea. Why wouldn’t a covered area be built so that managers were close enough to be heard by their players without sacrificing the shelter of a stand? Colman set forth to devise this idea – a sheltered area, set below pitch level which allowed him to observe his players’ feet as they played. An ever-lasting piece of football fabric was born. The Dugout had arrived.
When Colman became trainer-coach at Aberdeen under manager Paddy Travers in 1931 it followed that Pittodrie would be the first stadium in the history of football to install dugouts. It was from that innovative position that their next manager, Dave Halliday, improved Aberdeen to the point they won their first ever Scottish Cup in 1947 and their first Scottish title in 1955.
From then on other team’s would follow Colman’s idea. Everton made the journey north of the border to play a friendly against Aberdeen in 1938 and shortly after installed the first dugouts in England. Colman’s simple, excellent idea spread around the world, leaving behind an ever-lasting legacy in football.

Interestingly, Donald’s great-granddaughter, Rachel Corsie, is also a footballer who currently plays for American side: Utah Royals FC and is captain of the Scotland’s  Women National team.

Danny McLennan: The Explorer.

International football has returned this weekend which see players receive the greatest honour of being selected to play for their respected country.
As told from the galleries within the museum, many fortunate players and managers have been involved in the Scotland National team.
Besides the Scotland side, in relation to football, there has been cases where few Scots decided to be bold and work overseas: Archie McLean, John Madden, John Harley to name a few. One Scot, in particular, named Danny McLennan would have an incredible career in football management; for Mr McLennan would go on to manage a total of ten International countries.

The extraordinary tale of this football coach spans four decades, taking him all across the globe, often to places where those with fainter hearts might have feared to tread. A man who’s love for football, travel and adventure led him to skip country to country. The countries he would take the national team hot-seat were: the Philippines, Mauritius (twice), Rhodesia, Iran, Bahrain, Iraq, Malawi, Jordan, Fiji and Lybia. Not only that Danny would take on challenges at club level vacating posts in Africa, Scandinavia and the Middle East, to then finish up in India, with a club called the Churchill Brothers.
If the man from Stirling was to walk down any street in Scotland, not one person would know who he was. To thousands of others in different corners of the earth, he was ‘Mr Danny’ and a respected leader.

Born in Stirling in 1925, McLennan started out as a 17-year-old apprentice left-half with Rangers under manager, Bill Struth. When it became apparent that Danny would struggle to break through into the famous ‘Iron Curtain’ defence he dropped down the leagues to play for the likes of Falkirk, East Fife, Dundee and Berwick Rangers. It was at East Fife after the Second World War that he enjoyed his most successful spell as a player, helping them to a famous Scottish League Cup victory over Partick Thistle in 1953. When his career at the Fifers came to an end, in 1957, a move to Berwick Rangers would see him appointed as the player-manager; before hanging up his playing boots in 1959.
A respected career as a footballer but it was not until he fully retired from the field of play to focus on pursuing a managerial career that his life took an very unusual path.

In 1961, McLennan applied for the Dunfermline managerial position – to then lose out to the emerging Jock Stein. McLennan started to feel that a change from the Scottish football scene was required. Fresh challenges were ones that Danny excelled at conquering. A new, exciting quest across the globe was soon to be calling.
Danny decided to take on the coaching role at Stirling Albion, the Albion were bottom of the Second Division and on the verge of bankruptcy, but he quickly helped them to promotion and even, in 1962, for the first time in their history, to the semi-finals of the League Cup. Yet, soon after, boardroom machinations saw him inexplicably sacked.

The sacking from the Albion, as well as a tame spell at Worcester City, would be the final straw for him. The adventure was about to begin.

In 1963, through the British consul in Manila, he got the job as national coach of the Philippines. A year long contract where he never once returned home to see his wife, Ruth. Excruciatingly high levels of crime made it difficult for McLennan to settle or have his wife to come over to settle. A country where he noticed that the linesman happened to be the local chief of police, running the line with a gun on his hip. Another occasion the pitch was entirely washed away due to a typhoon.
What would follow his year stint at the Philippines was twelve months at the helm of national side, Mauritius. Once Danny decided that another change was needed, his wife Ruth and daughter Rosemary moved with him to Africa, in 1968, where Sir Stanley Rous, the FIFA President, helped McLennan land the Rhodesia post – a position he held for five years during which his second daughter, Louise, was born there in 1972. With Rhodesia, in 1970, he almost achieved World Cup qualification, but lost each time in the play-offs.
His popularity reached top heights that his name was used in an advertising campaign slogan in Africa which instructed, ‘Drink Pepsi, Danny Does…’
Whilst in Africa Danny would write newspaper columns to spread the word wherever he went. In Africa he would have film reels of Match of the Day sent by a contact at the BBC and would show them on outdoor screens. Large crowds would gather to watch.
Interestingly Danny’s wife, Ruth McLennan, did not content herself with playing the ex-pat wife indoors. A trained opera singer, in Zimbabwe she made several recordings with the state orchestra. Also, in  Zimbabwe and Jordan, she also revived early ambitions to be a tennis pro and became the national champion in each country.

Another job prospect came calling and the McLennans were on the move – this time to take the hot seat of Iran national team boss in 1973. Again, surroundings restricted activity to daily life. Spies and informers followed his every move as westerners were deemed as strangers to the country. Despite Danny and his family experiencing tough conditions in the one year stay in the country, he played a major role in shaping and developing footballers. In fact, McLennan knew all the players that would go on to play against Scotland at the Argentina World Cup in 1978, even writing to Ally MacLeod and gave him information on all of the players though it is not known if McLeod acknowledged this advice.

Above: Danny McLennan

A year later Danny was managing the country of Bahrain before setting sights on the Iraq national team job. This would be his ‘golden years’ according to his wife, forming a close friendship with Ammo Baba: Iraq’s finest ever footballer. In the Gulf Cup semi-finals of 1976, his side thrashed the regional powerhouses Saudi Arabia 7-1.  Saddam Hussein, although not then installed as Iraqi president, was already making his presence felt. McLennan recalled in an interview, “Before we played Bahrain in the final play-off (of the 1976 Gulf Cup), word reached the players that Saddam was going to give each player a new house if they won. It clearly unsettled them.” They would lose the final 4-2 in extra-time.

After leaving Baghdad McLennan spent 1978 coaching the Norwegian side, Kongsvinger, and then the family would move to Jordan when Danny took charge of the country’s national side. They spent two years there before moving to Saudi Arabia, in 1980, when Danny accepted the job with a leading club side. Even though he enjoyed new experiences in different countries while managing club teams, to Danny they were simply just a stop gap until a job in international football became vacant.
He then moved to Malawi for a year in 1984 where Danny would have one of his proudest managerial moments. Though they had no significant pedigree, McLennan took them into the African Nations Cup finals for the first time, and had it not been for a blatantly rigged drawn game between Nigeria and Algeria, to ensure that both teams qualified, Malawi might have progressed further. Such techniques in Africa were telling that McLennan was far away from home but, in a way, ahead of its time to what would be introduced in football years later. He shared in one interview that, “Many of the teams I worked with had witch-doctors, you just learnt to accept they were important. It’s not so different from football in these parts really, is it? All the teams use psychologists these days – and they are just witch-doctors under a different name!”
The family moved back to Jordan and then Malta for Danny to manage club sides, the Mauritius job (for a second spell) between 1986-1988, two years with the Kenya Breweries club in Kenya and then the same spell in charge of National side of Fiji.
Despite his short stays, in particular countries, such was the man of McLennan that, as shared by his wife Ruth, he would make sure each side under his guidance had in place the tools and mechanisms.
At the age of 67, McLennan agreed to manage Lybia in 1992. A pivotal time for the nation’s football as matches were cancelled because of the Lockerbie bombing in 1988. Two UN Security Council Resolutions were passed to impose sanctions against Lybia. McLennan’s team were not allowed to play anyone.

Danny looked upon a new challenge, at 70 years old, and took over at the Churchill Brothers Club in Goa, India. Four enjoyable years for the family before deciding to take up a managerial post in Tanzania. The move back to Africa would be badly judged, however, as the climate was unsafe. Robberies, gang crime was rife, the McLennans spent a year in the country before returning for a second crack at the whip at Churchill Brothers in India. Although, after a while the globetrotter and co returned to Scotland in Crail, Fife – a permanent base for Danny and the family between jobs – in 2004. Unfortunately, in the midst of planning a trip to Mauritius,  Danny suffered a massive stroke and died a week later at the age of 79 on 11th May 2004.
What’s left of his football collection (few club records are non-existent in the McLennan household) can be found with his daughters who are proud of their father’s adventures.

Danny McLennan: a forward-thinking, free spirit aware before almost anyone else of the new global nature of the game. A man who gained huge respect in every country he set up as a temporary home. A visionary that, undoubtedly, was a loss to Scottish football.

Kirk Minister Complaint Confirms 390th Anniversary of Women’s Football in Europe

A KIRK Minister’s objection to women playing football on the Sabbath, reveals that a game in Carstairs, Scotland is the first recorded evidence of the women’s game in Europe. A church document dated Sunday 21st August 1628 condemns women and men playing football on the Sabbath was expected to be a religious day devoted to solemn reflection and worship.

Left to right: Vivian McLaren, Rose Reilly, Aileen Campbell and Karen Grunwell.

To mark the historic 390th anniversary, Aileen Campbell, MSP for Clydesdale, whose constituency includes Carstairs, Scottish Women’s Football (SWF) Chairperson Vivienne MacLaren and World Cup winner and Scotland’s most successful female footballer Rose Reilly met in Carstairs to commemorate the date, the earliest known record of women’s football in Europe.

While the specific location of the football activity is not mentioned in the document, the Minister’s church in Carstairs is situated at the head of the Village Green with a church having stood on that site long before the seventeenth century (although the current church building dates from the eighteenth century). Historians believe it is reasonable to suggest that the Village Green was the likely focal point for the football activity in 1628.

The text from the image above reads: 1628 21 August – The same day, Mr John Lindsay, minister at Carstairs, having regretted the break of the Sabbath by the insolent behaviour of men and women in footballing, dancing and Barley Breaks, ordains every Brother (Minister) to labour to restrain the foresaid insolence and break of Sabbath, and to that effect to make intimation thereof into their several kirks next Sabbath day.

The transcript from the Presbytery of Lanark Registers – the original register is held at the National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Aileen Campbell MSP, SWF Chairperson Vivienne MacLaren and Rose Reilly were joined by Karen Grunwell who is currently researching the history of women’s football in Scotland funded by the University of Stirling.  Karen, a postgraduate researcher, announced the launch of the inaugural seminar on women’s football in Scotland which will take place at Hampden Park on March 8th, 2019 to coincide with International Women’s Day.

Rose Reilly, an an inductee of the Scottish Football Hall of Fame, is widely considered to be Scotland’s most successful female footballer. Born in Kilmarnock she is best known for her time playing in Italy where she won eight Serie A titles and the World Cup with the Italian national team.

Karen is managing the seminar in collaboration with the Scottish Football Museum & Scottish Women’s Football (SWF). The seminar will bring together interested parties from across women’s football to discuss the development of the game and to share best practice. Registration details will be confirmed in due course.

 Aileen Campbell MSP expressed delight saying: “As Clydesdale’s MSP, I am thrilled that Carstairs in my constituency is the location of the first recorded Women’s football game in Europe. It is therefore fitting to be welcoming the game ‘home’ as we promote Women’s football and encourage Women and Girls to take up sport. As a football fan, I am delighted to see Women’s football continue to grow and develop. This is a sport which has an illustrious and very local history, and I congratulate everyone who has helped bring this commemoration together.”

 Vivienne MacLaren, Chairperson of Scottish Women’s Football added: “Scotland has a proud history within the women’s game and we are delighted to acknowledge that women’s football has been present in Scotland for 390 years, far longer than most people would imagine. As custodians of women’s football in Scotland we also welcome the launch of the first seminar to be held to share ideas and develop the game in Scotland.”

Robert Craig, Chair of the Scottish Football Museum also shared: “Scotland is well-known and respected for its long and pioneering history in the world of men’s football. But perhaps less well known is the rich and longstanding history of women’s football in Scotland. Women’s football is often regarded as a relatively new sport, so we are delighted to highlight this written evidence tracing its roots back to the seventeenth century.”

Karen Grunwell, Postgraduate researcher, University of Stirling spoke of her delight of the recognition: “It is fitting to announce the launch of the inaugural seminar on women’s football in Scotland on the anniversary on the first-known record of women playing the game. The seminar on March 8 will explore the rich history of women’s football and the bright future of the game here in Scotland.”

New Exhibition: The Internationalists- Scotland’s Story on the World Stage.

Take a walk down to Scotland’s National Stadium and gaze upon our latest gallery, displaying remarkable items and memorabilia of Scotland on the world stage.
At the turn of the century, international football became increasingly popular and the need for a single body to oversee association football became more apparent. The Federation International de Football Association (FIFA) was founded in 1904 to organise international competition among national associations. FIFA membership currently currently stands at 211 national associations. This newly governed body would go on to host the inaugural World Cup in 1930- where 13 nations participated with no qualification phase; compare that to the upcoming 2026 World Cup which will see 48 nations play in the finals.

The World Cup is regarded as the most prestigious association football tournament and has grown to be the most widely viewed and supported event in the world.

Each of the national associations of FIFA must also be members of six continental confederations; Africa, Asia, Europe, North & Central America and the Caribbean, Oceania and South America. Scotland holds membership with the union of European Football Associations which organises club and national competitions in professional and amateur associations- such as the European Championships.
In September 2018, UEFA will launch the Nation’s league which will largely replace international friendly matches and improve the quality of football. The Nation’s League will provide an added route to the UEFA European Championship and allow for more competition for lower ranked nations.

The Scotland men’s national football team played its first official match against England, in 1872. This is the oldest official international  fixture in the world and, since then, the Scotland national team has experienced the highs and lows of competitive tournaments. The men is navy blue first participated at a World Cup finals tournament in 1954. The longest period of success was between 1974 and 1990 when the team qualified for five successive World Cup finals tournaments. The men’s national team did not qualify for their first European finals tournament until reaching UEFA Euro 92. Qualification was also achieved for the European Championships in England in 1996. The last major tournament involving the men’s national team was the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. With Hampden Park being a host stadium for UEFA Euro 202 matches, there is much hope and anticipation that the Scotland men’s national team will play in a major international tournament on home soil.

A wide range of items on display in the new exhibition.

The Scotland women’s national team played its first official match in 1972 against England. The Scottish FA took formal control over the team in 1998 and with a gradual restructuring of the women’s game in Scotland and some added investment, the women’s national team pushed for a place at a major tournament. The team would reach the play-off stage for Euro 2009 and Euro 2013 but narrowly missed out on qualifications on each occasion. However, the team bounced back in style, qualifying for the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 tournament in the Netherlands. Many of the history makers of 2017 are still with the side and, so far, have enjoyed a strong qualifying campaign for the 2019 FIFA World Cup finals in France.

A signed Scotland Women’s jersey from the 2017 UEFA European Championships.

Scottish Influence on Spanish Football.

Did you know that there was influential Scottish presence as Spain began to impose the beautiful game to their population?
During the latter half of the 1890’s, textile workers sent from Newmilns- in Ayrshire- to a factory in Barcelona, would form the Escoces Football Club. The club competed in local competitions and a number of its players would go on to play for FC Barcelona after the Catalan giant was founded in 1899. Glasgow born forward, George Pattullo, signed for Barcelona in 1910 and was a revelation; scoring 41 goals in just 20 matches during season 1910-11. He would refuse to sign for city rivals Espanyol due to his loyalty to Barcelona. Pattullo, who returned to Scotland the following year, would make a brief return in 1912 and was revered as the greatest goal-scorer of his generation. He also briefly managed Mallorcan side Club Baleares in 1930.

Above: George Pattullo

More so, dating from 1890, Sevilla FC is the oldest club in Spain dedicated solely to football. The club was formed by Scottish migrants. A number of the Scots may have been connected to Dundee as the story of the birth of the team was reported in a local newspaper, the Dundee Courier on the 17th March 1890. An extract from one of the paragraphs in the article reads:
“‘Some six weeks ago a few enthusiastic young residents of British origin met in one of the cafés for the purpose of considering a proposal that we should start an Athletic Association, the want of exercise being greatly felt by the majority of us, who are chiefly engaged in mercantile pursuits. After a deal of talk and a limited consumption of small beer, the “Club de Football de Sevilla” was duly formed and office-bearers elected. It was decided we should play Association rules (…) We were about half and half Spanish and British”.
Edward Farquharson Johnston, originally from Elgin, was the first President of the club. He was the British vice-consul in Sevilla and co-proprietor of the firm MacAndrews & Co, ship-owners with commercial lines between Spain and the UK. Glasgow born Hugh MacColl, a marine engineer, who at that time had moved to Seville to work as the technical manager of Portilla White foundry, was the club’s first captain. One of MacColl’s partners in the Portilla White foundry in Seville, Isaias White Junior, was also the club’s first secretary.
The first match they played was against the Huelva Recreation Club taking place on 8th March 1890. Sevilla FC won the game 2–0, with the first goal in an official match in Spanish football history scored by Sevilla’s player Ritson.

Above: Edward Farquharson Johnston and Hugh MacColl.

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.

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.