1919/20

The following is taken from our 2016/17 home programmes in which East Stirlingshire club historian, Drummond Calder, wrote a series of articles regarding our seasons 1919/20 and 1920/21.

East Stirlingshire had been elected to the Scottish League for Season 1900/01 and until the end of season 2015/16 we had had virtually continuous membership of the Scottish League and latterly of the Scottish Professional League. That all changed with the club’s relegation to the Lowland League for the season 2016/17.  The only two seasons in that time (outwith the war years) that the club did not play in the Scottish Leagues were in 1919/20 and 1920/21. This is the story of season 1919/20.

Following the end of the Great War hostilities in 1918 the Scottish League took the unpopular step of not re-instating Division Two. The top Division had continued throughout the War but after season 1914/15 Division Two had gone into abeyance and the member clubs, including East Stirlingshire had been left without a league to play in. So in 1915/16 East Stirlingshire joined the Eastern League and during that season and the next they plied their trade there waiting for the end of the War. However, at the turn of the year in season 1916/17 the government dramatically increased the price of train fares and at the club’s AGM on 23rd July, 1917 it was agreed that the club would stop playing football until the “termination of the war due the heavy travel costs in the Eastern League”. The armistice that ended the War was called on 11/11/1918 and it wasn’t until the start of season 1919/20 that East Stirlingshire were able to re-commence playing, some players not being demobbed until then. East Stirlingshire, like other clubs during the war, had seen a good number of their players sign up for military service and sadly a number never made it home.

When the Scottish League failed to re-start after the War Division Two East Stirlingshire, along with other displaced teams and non-league teams who would gain League status in a few short years later, reformed the Central league for season 1919/20. East Stirlingshire’s 1st recorded game since they had last played on 5th May, 1917 was an internal practice game on 9th August. Without further ado it was then straight into League matches. That 1st Central League game took place on 16th August away to Clackmannan. A good number of ES fans travelled to the match and saw the Shire go 1 goal up in 10 minutes through Logan. However, ES went down to 10 men in the 1st half when Malcolm went off injured and in the end lost the game 1-2. The East Stirlingshire Team for that 1st game was:

Peter Walls; Adam Mitchell, James Reynolds, Charlie Stirling, Leishman (from Kilsyth), Joe Allan, Logan, William Horne, Malcolm (from Gairdoch), Heggie (from Clyde), John Corbett

Of the starting 11 only Walls, Malcolm, Heggie and Corbett had definitely not played for the club pre-war.

The next Saturday, away in the league to Dunfermline Athletic and in front of a crowd of over 2000, ES recorded an impressive 2-1 win, goals coming from a 1st half penalty from Dan McNeilage and 50th minute strike from Henry Brown. Both the goalscorers and Willie Gracie returned to the ES team that day, all previously having played with the club pre-War. The most noted or the 3 was fans favourite, Donald McNeilage, known variously as “Mac”, “Dan” or “Danny”.

Dan McNeilage was returning to East Stirlingshire for his 3rd spell. He originally had been signed by ES from Kilsyth Emmet in 1909/10 and during that 1st period at the club he was a member of the Scottish Qualifying Winning team of 1910/11 and scored the winning goal v Johnstone.  It is unrecorded why he was able to play again in 1919 as in January 1916 he had been suspended “Sine die” by the Scottish Football Association for apparently playing some games under the name of “Henry” and “Hendry” when he shouldn’t have played. An appeal re this decision 1 month later had been dismissed.

 

Following on the heels of the Dunfermline Athletic win East Stirlingshire and Stenhousemuir met in Friendly match at Merchiston Park on 28th August. This was the first meeting of the club’s since 1st May, 1915 when ES had edged the Stirlingshire Consolation Cup Final at Brockville Park, 2-1.  Stenhousemuir had stopped playing at the end  season for the duration of the War. This would turn out to be the only Friendly game Shire would play in 1919/20. The crowd of between 600 to 700 was a reasonable one. In what was an experimental team six of the players that lined up for the Shire would only ever play for the club in this game. However, two other debutants that day would play a further part on the coming season, Alex G, Stuppart at Back and James Monteith in the Forward line, though his regular place would be at Half. The game itself ended in a 2-2 draw with all the goals coming in the 2nd half.

On 30th August Shire travelled to Stirling to play King’s Park in the League. Although the club’s were old foes, first playing each other in February 1883, this was 1st league game they had met in since a Falkirk & District League match in January 1901. The interest in the game was huge and a record crowd for Forthbank turned up, paying £67 gate receipts. Although ES were at full strength they when down to three 2nd half KP goals, despite the home team having a player sent off in the 2nd half.

In an attempt to strengthen the team the club signed two players on 4th September. The first was ex-Preston North End, Albion Rovers and Airdieonians Forward, David Galbraith. The other was goalkeeper Jamie Caldwell. On a side matter, it was also announced that week that local club Grahamston Thistle would play at Merchiston Park when East Stirlingshire were away.

Jamie Caldwell was born in Carronshore in 1884 and starting playing with local club Carron Thistle in 1901/02. He then spend one season at Gairdoch Juniors before his talents were recognised by Dunipace Juniors. He would play with them for 5 seasons, winning many Junior medals including a Scottish Junior Cup Winners medal in 1905/06. East Stirlingshire signed him in 1906/07 and his performance between the sticks for the Shire during the next two seasons brought him to the attention of the clubs down south. Tottenham Hotspur were the 1st team to employ his talents and he later went onto to play for Reading, Everton and Woolwich Arsenal.

 

For the next three Saturdays Shire were involved in a Scottish Qualifying Cup 1st Round tie against fellow Central League team, Alloa Athletic. The original tie at Alloa and return match in front of a 4000 crowd at Merchiston Park were goalless so a 2nd Replay was played at Brockville Park. In that replay a huge 6000 crowd saw East Stirlingshire lose 0-2.

East Stirlingshire ended September on 27th with a League match away to local rivals Bo’ness. Although they had starting playing each other as far back as 1881/82 games between the clubs had been sparse over the years with only the occasional Friendly or club match. It had been 10 years since then clubs had last met and ES had never lost any Cup match against Bo’ness. However, in this 1st ever League meeting between the teams Bo’ness were by far the stronger unit and ran out convincing 6-0 winners.

It was two weeks later when Shire played their next game in the League away at Armadale. East Stirlingshire had played the original Armadale in the 1880s before they folded and had last played the current Armadale team in the Eastern League in 1916/17.  The game started 15 minutes late due to the late arrival of the East Stirlingshire team and in fact the “Zebras” had to start the game with only 9 men. The club’s poor form was to continue as the 2000 crowd would witness Armadale winning 2-0 after being up 1 goal at the break.

CENTRAL LEAGUE AS AT 15/10/1919
P W D L F A
Shire had now only won 1 game so far in season 1919/20 and had not scored in any game since the end of August. As the League table across shows the club were now both of the league albeit in goal average. Like the other clubs in the league the War had hit them hard and season 1919/20 was all about re-establishing the club. However, despite bringing in a lot of the old guard from previous seasons their form had been very poor and goalscoring nearly none existent.

Pts

Bo’ness 6 4 2 0 20 1 10
St. Bernard’s 7 4 2 1 15 7 10
Dunfermline Athletic 6 4 1 1 17 7 9
East Fife 5 4 0 1 14 5 8
Heart of Midlothian A 8 2 3 3 16 14 7
Broxburn Utd 7 2 2 3 12 11 6
Alloa Athletic 5 3 0 2 7 7 6
Bathgate 6 2 1 3 7 10 5
Stenhousemuir 5 2 1 2 4 11 5
Armadale 4 1 2 1 4 5 4
King’s Park 6 1 2 3 5 7 4
Falkirk A 6 1 0 5 7 21 2
Clackmannan 4 1 0 3 3 14 2
East Stirlingshire 5 1 0 4 3 14 2

On 18th October East Stirlingshire took on their Scottish Qualifying Cup conquers Alloa Athletic in a Central League match at Merchiston Park. Although the regular teamline up was becoming more settled, during the week the club had added McLaren of King’s Park and Willie McNair the old ES player to their squad.  McLaren went straight into the team for the game in the forward line. The Shire’s terrible run of form was to continue that Saturday with the Wasps scoring twice in the 2nd half to win 2-0.

McNair, William - Pic
34 year old Willie McNair had started his playing career in 1904/05 with Forth Rangers of Grangemouth. He moved into Celtic and Hamilton Academical before joining East Stirlingshire in season 1906/07. His debut for the Shire was in the Friendly game against Clyde to open New Merchiston Park on 16th August. His football talents that season were spotted and he moved to Tottenham Hotspur for the next season. After this he played for Aberdeen, Reading and Alloa Athletic. Unfortunately this end of his career return to East Stirlingshire didn’t work out and he only played 1 game for the club on 8th November.

 

Picture from http://www.thecelticwiki.com

The next Saturday ES travelled to Mill Park to play Bathgate in the League. Prior to the game the Shire had re-signed Patsy McCabe following his demobbed from the Royal Scots. He had previous been with the club from 1910/11 and played with ES for the majority of seasons up until 1916/17, though he did have spells at other clubs most notably Celtic during the War period. Of interest is when he was previously with the club in March 1914 he had refused an offer to play for Portsmouth on 7/3/1914 despite the Portsmouth manager and a director having travelled North to watch him play. The left winger went straight into the ES team against Bathgate. Another new signing Monteith from St. Ninians Thistle (a Stirling Junior team) was also included in the team at Half-Back. It was now 8 games without a win, including the Stenhousemuir Friendly, but the poor form did not change against Bathgate and the Zebras went down to another defeat, this time 2-3 after drawing 0-0 at half-time. At least Shire had at least finally scored after 7 goalless games through McNeilage and Scott. Jock Scott had made his debut in the Scottish Qualifying Cup 2nd Replay v Alloa Athletic in September and had been signed from Norwich City for whom he had played with during the War when he had been stationed there.

On 1st November East Stirlingshire were back at Merchiston Park in a league game against Heart of Midlothian A. Going into the game Shire were still bottom of the league jointly with Falkirk A on 2 points apiece whilst the Hearts Reserve team were 7 points better off in 5th place. The long wait for a win was finally ended. The Shire were the better team on the day and won 1-0 through a 2nd half John Scott goal. It was only the club’s 2nd win of the season so far.

One week later the visitors to Merchiston Park were Broxburn United. A good attendance turned out to watch the league encounter, no doubt cheered by the previous week’s result and that the West Lothian team were only 3 places higher in the in the league table. However, the optimism was to be misplaced as United went 2 nil up in 8 minutes and despite dominating the rest of the 1st half Shire failed to score, even missing a penalty through McNeilage. The home continued to keep up the pressure at the start of the 2nd half but gradually United got back into the game and added a 3rd goal before full-time. Shire had replaced regular goalkeeper Caldwell with Peter Walls for the match.

Due to wintry winter the 15th November Central league game away to mid-table Stenhousemuir was postponed and was subsequently played on the next Saturday. The game was played in front a 2000 crowd, the largest crowd of the season so far at Ochilview, Shire had a strong wind advantage in the 1st half and started well, scoring through a great solo effort by Patsy McCabe in 10 minutes. The same player nearly scored again 2 minutes later. For the remained of the half ES continued to press but Stenhousemuir came back into the game and equalised before the break. In the 2nd half there was no further scoring and the game ended 1-1.

East Sirlingshire’s final match in November was on the 29th in the Central League away to 2nd top Dunfermline Athletic. Despite a strong counter attraction at Cowdenbeath (Cowdenbeath were playing Royal Albert in the Scottish Qualifying Cup Semi-Final in front of a crowd in excess of 12000) 3000 fans turned up to watch the match. ES played a new Centre Forward in the game called Russell, this proved to be only time he played for the club. The game was close in the 1st half and it wasn’t until well into the 2nd half when the home team scored 2 goals in a minute to win the game 2-0.

On 24th January 1920 East Stirlingshire met Thornhill at Merchiston Park in the 1st Round of the Scottish Cup in front of a large 3000 crowd.  The game kicked off 20 minutes late from the planned 2.45pm start due to the late arrival or Thornhill. Six of the Thornhill players and their fans had left Thornhill at 6am and travelled to Bainsford by motor bus but had got lost repeatedly on the way. The game was a poor one due to the soft condition of the pitch, both as a result of the recent rains and a strong wind on the day. The game was straight forward for the Shire, they were 5-0 up at half time, scoring 3 goals in 4 minutes midway during the half through Scott and two from David Coid, Henry Brown and James Monteith added the other 2 later in the half. Thornhill went down to 9 men during the half due to illness and injury in the 2nd period. Dan McNeilage added a further goal in the 2nd half and ES ran on 6-0 winners.

The next Saturday the Zebras travelled to Methil to play East Fife in the League. In a top v bottom clash the game was surprisingly close. The kick-off was delayed by a ”hurricane”. Despite being 1 goal down at the break Shire scored an equaliser through Stirling to draw the game 1-1. Unfortunately the point didn’t move ES off the bottom of the league.

On the 7th February East Stirlingshire were back in Scottish Cup action in the 2nd Round against Raith Rovers. ES had refused an offer of £200 from Raith Rovers to switch the tie to Stark’s Park and the game went ahead in front of a huge crowd of 6000 at Merchiston Park. Note, the crowd was elsewhere given as 5000. A lot of fans travelled from Kirkcaldy for the game. The Shire put up at great performance to hold the Scottish League side to a 0-0 draw.

One week later the Cup Replay took place at Stark’s Park in front of a 7500 crowd. Over 500 Shire fans travelled by “relief train” and several motor cars of fans also travelled. ES received £166 or so for their share of the gate. It was reported that East Stirlingshire had signed Fred Croot from Clydebank on 11th February. However, he declined to play for ES in this game and that was the end of his brief career with the club. In another close game the teams drew again 1-1, both goals were scored in the 2nd half with Shire scoring through Thomas Sime in 75 minutes. Raith Rovers also had a 2nd half goal disallowed for an infringement when the score was 0-0.

So the Cup tie went into a 2nd Replay on Wednesday 18th at neutral Tynecastle. The interest in the game was huge and the crowd was reported as 10000 and also 12000, it had been swelled by the Edinburgh half-holiday. A lot of ES fans travelled by train and motor cars. The gate receipts were around £400. Yet again the teams were inseparable and despite a period of extra time the game ended a 0-0 draw.

One day later the clubs met again in the 3rd Replay at Tynecastle in front of a crowd between 5000 and 6000 paying gate receipts of £195. East Stirlingshire were finally put to the sword by the Scottish League team, losing 0-4 after being down 2 goals at the break.

Only two days later ES were again action, this time in the League, at Merchiston against local rivals King’s Park. The Zebras played in Royal Blue jerseys which had been presented to them by Mr Penman, of the Cross Roads Inn. In the 1st half David Coid missed a penalty for ES and neither team managed a goal. However, in the 2nd half goals from Crawford in 50 minutes and David Coid in 85 minutes helped the Shire to a much needed 2-1 win.

On 23rd February Tom Turnbull, a Shire great from the previous century, died aged 44. He had played at Right Back for East Stirlingshire against Arthurlie on 17/12/1898 when the club won the Scottish Qualifying Cup for the 1st time.  Tom had started his career at Whitefield Swifts before joining Falkirk in 1893/94 when he played for 5 seasons. He then joined ES for one season in 1898/99 before moving onto Leeds, Celtic, Partick Thistle, Sheffield United, Stenhousemuir and ending his career at Partick Thistle in 1903/04. Tom’s brother Jimmy had also played with the Shire before going south where he won the English Division One Title and FA Cup with Manchester United. After his football career one of his business interests was a cinema which he built and ran in Denny. Only a few months before he died he sold that business and bought the Star Inn on Graham’s Road and for then until recently a photograph of that winning team adorned one of the pub’s. The picture of Tom shown here is from that photograph.

Shire’s final game in February was played on 28th against Clackmannan at home in the League. The game ended in a 0-0 draw though both teams had had a player sent off, Frank Taylor for ES. Both players were subsequently suspended for several weeks. The Shire goalkeeper trialist was Robert Godfrey from Gairdoch Hibs who normally played at a Centre Half, he had previously playing with Falkirk and Bathgate.

During the first week of March local lad Davie Barker returned to the club, he had played for ES from 1914/15 to 1916/17. Davie had just being demobilised and had been serving in the East for the previous 3 years. However, it wouldn’t be until later in the month before he returned to play for the team.

East Stirlingshire’s 1st game in March took place on the 6th at home against King’s Park in the Semi-Final of the Stirlingshire Cup in front of a 2000 crowd. Even in the 1920s the ‘Shire Cup was still a huge event for the club and fans.  In a decent game neither were able to score.  The ES team was James Caldwell, Adam Mitchell, William Adams, Frank Taylor, James Monteith, Charlie Stirling, David Galbraith, Dan McNeilage, David Coid, Henry Brown, Thomas Sim

One week later the Stirlingshire Cup Semi-Final Replay took place against King’s Park at Forthbank. Again the fans turned up and £128 was paid at the gate to watch the game. Neither team scored in the 1st half but in the 2nd period King’s Park took the lead and it wasn’t until the 86th minute that the Shire equalised to draw the game.

So on 20th March the two teams met again to decide the tie. There had been no suitable neutral ground available for the game so the venue was decided by a coin toss. Shire lost that toss and therefore travelled to Stirling for the match. Despite a period of extra time the teams once again failed to be separated with no team registering a goal though King’s Park had come closest with a missed 1st half penalty.

On the last Saturday of the month the Zebras were back in Cup action, this time in the Semi-Final of the Central League Cup against Heart of Midlothian ‘A’ at Tynecastle. ES had been due to play East Fife in the 2nd Round but the Fife team had scratched to concentrate on the league. Shire were very poor in the 1st half but neither team scored and although they improved in the 2nd 45 minutes the home team ran out winners 2-0.

Despite the poor weather a good crowd turned out at Merchiston Park on the 31st March for the Central League evening game against Armadale. The West Lothian team were mid-table going into the game with the home club tied with Falkirk ‘A’ and Clackmannan for bottom place. Both teams weren’t fully represented and ES had Cowan of Cowie Wanderers and Reid of Dunipace playing in the forward line. Armadale had a 1 goal advantage at the break but a 2nd half penalty from John Scott earned the Shire a  much needed 1-1 draw.

Into April and on Saturday 3rd the Stirlingshire Cup Semi-Final 3rd Replay against King’s Park took place at neutral Brockville Park. Again the game was tight with no goals in the 1st half, but the tie finally turned in favour of the Shire when David Coid scored in the 47th minute and then King’s Park went down to 10 men due to an injury (note it would be decades before substitutes were allowed). ES pressed home their advantage and David Coid added a 2nd goal and Shire won the tie 2-0.

Two days later Bathgate were Shire’s Central League opponents at Merchiston Park for an evening match. Neither team put out their full 1st team, with ES getting the help of 4 local juniors; Cowan and Hannah of Cowie Wanderers, Penman of St. Ninians Thistle and Reid of Dunipace Juniors. James Sommerville scored 2 goals for the Shire, 1 in each half, Bathgate’s only reply was a last minute consolation goal. The result took the Zebras off the bottom of the league.

Saturday 10th April was Stirlingshire Cup Final day against Falkirk ‘A’ at Brockville Park. A huge 6000 crowd were present for the much anticipated game (the gate receipts were £200 odd of which the Shire’s share was £76). The ES team for the Final was the same as the previous Saturday:- James Caldwell, Adam Mitchell, William Adams, Henry Brown, James Monteith, Alex Stupart, John Scott, Dan McNeilage, David Coid, David Galbraith, James Somerville. In a fast game Falkirk ‘A’ dominated the 1st half but the break was reached with no scoring. The 2nd period was controlled by the Shire though it was Falkirk ‘A’ who opened the scoring and it wasn’t until a few minutes before full-time that ES equalised through a penalty. The game ended 1-1. The Shire’s request that the Replay be played at a neutral ground due to the bad behaviour of the home fans during the game was rejected as Brockville Park had already been selected for the Replay.

The club secretary during 1919/20 was one of the club’s greatest ever servants, Walter Clarkston. He was a Bainsford Laddie. In Seasons 1905/06 and 1906/07 he was the club secretary for Vale of Carron, who played at Merchiston Park when ES were away. At the 1/4/1907 ESFC AGM he was elected as ES Secretary and he would remain this position well into the 1920s. At that time at the club there was no manager and the team was selected by committee. The secretary’s roll was the running of the club and signing of players. It is no exaggeration that he was “the Shire” for many years and was instrumental in club’s continuation and revival during and after WW1. The picture of Walter here is from the start of season 1922/23.

 

Following on from the Stirlingshire Cup Final East Stirlingshire were back in mid-week action on the 13th April away to Alloa Athletic in the Central League. The Shire team was mainly a “scratch” team and it was no surprise that they lost the game 0-2.

East Stirlingshire had no game that Saturday but met Bo’ness in a Central League game on Monday 19th. Bo’ness were going for the League title and played their full 1st team and ES also put out the following strong team: Jamie Caldwell, Adam Mitchell, William Adams, Frank Taylor, Charlie Stirling, Alex Stupart, John Cowan (of Cowie Wanderers), Danny McNeilage, David Coid, Thomas Gilchrist, David Galbraith. There was a large crowd of 3000 which included many away fans who had travelled through by motor bus, horse bus and cycle. In a hard and close fought game neither team were able to find the net in the 90 minutes.

During that week it was reported that East Stirlingshire had started organising their team for season 1920/21 and had re-signed Adam Mitchell, Frank Taylor and James Monteith. Also East Stirlingshire and Raith Rovers had been fined £25 each by the Scottish League by refusing to play their Scottish Cup 2nd Round Replay in February on a mid-week date. East Stirlingshire’s appeal against this decision was rejected.

All roads lead to Brockville Park on Saturday 24th April for the Stirlingshire Cup Final Replay between the Shire and Falkirk ‘A’. Another huge crowd 6000 turned up to watch the encounter. ES lined up with the following team: Jamie Caldwell, Adam Mitchell, William Adams, Frank Taylor, Charlie Stirling, Alex Stupart, John Scott, Danny McNeilage, David Coid, David Galbraith, James Somerville. In a good game the home team went into a 13th minute lead but the Zebras deservedly equalised through David Galbraith before half-time. In the 2nd half Falkirk ‘A’ took control and scored 2 further goals to win the Cup 3-1. ES unfortunately had to play part of the 2nd half with 10 men when Alex Stupart went off with a cut just over an eye which required stitches to stop the heavy bleeding.

On the Tuesday evening of that week the Shire travelled to Edinburgh to play Heart of Midlothian ‘A’ in a Central League game. Shire fielded a weak team, which included a number of Juniors, but they held out well and only lost to a single 2nd half goal.

Friday 30th saw yet another game this time an evening Benefit Match at Merchiston Park for Danny McNeilage, the East Stirlingshire Inside Right, who had played on and off with the club since 1909/10. The opponents were local rivals Falkirk who played nearly their full 1st team for the encounter. The game was a typical Benefit Match and was fairly tame with Falkirk winning by 3-2, the ES goals coming from Stewart and Jock Morrison. After the game the shire players went to the Oddfellows Hall where they held their annual supper and dance.

The next day East Stirlingshire were back in action against Stenhousemuir in Central League match at Merchiston Park. Incredibly this was the club’s 5th game in 8 days. This proved to be a game where the defences were at their best, a 1st half goal through David Coid won the game for the Shire. Note that on the same day Bo’ness won the Central League Title with a 1-0 win against Falkirk ‘A’ at Brockville Park in front of a 5000 crowd.

Two days later on the 3rd May the Shire played St. Bernard’s at home in a Central League match. A moderate crowd turned out to watch the evening game. The visitors lead by 2 goals to nil at the break but goals by Danny McNeilage and Alex Johnston in the 2nd half earned East Stirlingshire a draw. Due to the large number of games in such a short period of days ES had once again mixed up their team and included a number of Juniors and trialists. The ES team was: Robert Godfrey, Frank Taylor, Charlie Stirling, ? McNeilage, Walker, Alex Johnston (a Glasgow Junior), John Scott, Danny McNeilage, David Coid, David Galbraith, Dixon.

On 5th May East Stirlingshire and Falkirk ‘A’ played off their outstanding Central League match. There was an agreement made between the teams to play this return league game at Brockville Park instead of Merchiston Park. Both teams were under strength with the Shire again making use of a number Junior players. Although it was an even 1st half Falkirk A” were 2-0 up at half-time. In the 2nd period the Shire completely dominated the match but failed to score, even missing two penalties. The game ended 2-0 in favour of Falkirk “A”.

Saturday 8th May saw the end to the marathon spell of games for the Shire with what proved to be their final game of the season. They met Falkirk in the Falkirk Infirmary Shield Semi-Final at Brockville Park in front of a large 5000 crowd.  The ES team was: Jamie Caldwell, William Adams, Alex Stupart, Frank Taylor, James Monteith, Charlie Stirling, David Galbraith, Danny McNeilage, David Coid, Henry Brown, James Somerville The Falkirk Infirmary Shield, previously called the Falkirk Cottage Hospitals Shield, was originally subscribed for by the football club Presidents of Falkirk, East Stirlingshire and Laurieston and had been revived after a break of 3 years. In a one sided game Falkirk won 5-0 after being 3 goals up in the 1st half. ES and Falkirk had had one player each sent off in the 2nd half when the score was 0-4 due to a fight, William Adams was the ES player who had been sent off. Of note is that if the game had ended in a draw corners would have counted and Shire had won the corner count.

OFFICIAL FINAL CENTRAL LEAGUE TABLE 1919/20
P W D L F A
The final table across is the Official Table per http://www.scottish-football-historical-archive.co.uk and the known results do not balance with the table. For example the actual East Stirlingshire final standing was as below. Note that that the club at their June AGM stated that they have ended in 3rd bottom place in the League:

P W D L F A Pts
26 6 6 14 20 45 18

 

 

Pts

Bo’ness 26 16 6 4 43 11 38
Dunfermline Athletic 26 15 6 5 59 28 36
East Fife 26 16 4 5 47 28 36
Alloa Athletic 25 15 1 9 40 24 31
Heart of Midlothian A 26 13 5 8 43 24 31
Armadale 24 11 6 7 33 28 28
St. Bernard’s 25 11 6 8 43 32 28
Bathgate 25 9 4 12 34 39 22
Stenhousemuir 25 6 7 12 24 43 19
Falkirk A 23 8 1 4 38 43 17
Broxburn United 24 7 3 14 39 41 17
East Stirlingshire 24 6 5 13 18 41 17
King’s Park 26 5 7 14 22 48 17
Clackmannan 25 4 5 16 18 61 13

 

Close season Notes

During May and June 1920 East Stirlingshire continued to rebuild their team for the season 1920/21. David Coid, Henry Brown and Jamie Caldwell, John Scott and Alex Stuppart left the club to play for Cowdenbeath, Alloa Athletic, Ayr United and Bo’ness respectively. The club signed Goalkeeper Archibald “Bauldie” Buchanan who have previously played for ES in seasons 1914/15 to 1915/16 before joining the forces, and also Alex Johnston the Glasgow Junior who had played a number of games for the Shire during the last few weeks of the season 1919/20.

On 5th June  the Central League teams met to form a stronger League than both the current Central and Eastern Leagues. However,  it was decided instead to increase the Central League size from 14 teams to 16 teams. Clackmannan & King’s Park, the bottom 2 teams in season 1919/20, were re-elected and 2 new teams Cowdenbeath & Lochgelly United were voted in.  St. Johnstone, Arbroath, Raith Rovers “A”, Montrose, and Dundee Hibernian had also applied to join the League but they did not receive enough votes.  The East Stirlingshire secretary Walter Clarkson was elected president of the League.

On 23rd June East Stirlingshire held their AGM in John Street Hall, Grahamston and a fair number of shareholders were in attendance, club president Charles Scott presiding. Due to railway and Foundry extensions and also the club’s lease for Merchiston Park having expired the club were now having to look for a new ground. It was announced that the club had made an application to the Town Council for part of the Dawson Public Park in Bainsford and although they were agreeable the Council would firstly have to discuss the matter with the Dawson trustees. The ES directors had also been in discussion with the Dawson trustees in respect of securing Gairdoch Park (this had 4 main entrances and therefore was considered very suitable) and they were still awaiting a reply. Gairdoch Park was situated opposite the Carron Iron Works in Carronshore and have previously been used by the senior club Gairdoch FC. The club also confirmed that the last year have been a financial successful one and after clearing off the former liabilities and expenses they had finished with a £333 12s 11d profit. The total year income was £3019 15s 5 1/2d and expenses £2739 4s 01/2d. The Home gate receipts were £1558 9s 3d and away gate receipts £1205 1s 3 1/2d. The net Away gate receipts were greater than the home receipts as ES had to pay a share to visiting teams of £378  4s 10d. The players wages & bonuses and signing fees amounted to £895 7s 6d. Costs for players lost working time etc totalled £179 11s 3d. The club also confirmed that that they have secured the following players for next season: Archibald Buchanan, Robert Godfrey, Adam Mitchell, William Adams, Frank Taylor, James Monteith, Alex Johnston, Robert Shearer. Charles Scott was re-elected East Stirlingshire president and Findlay Potter treasurer. Club secretary Walter Clarkson had been going to resign at the meeting due to business and family commitments but agreed to stay on for a further year. David Mitchell and Archibald Brown were also elected club directors. It was agreed at the meeting that each of the directors would receive £5 for their “excellent services” in the last season.

New signing Robert (Bob) Godfrey was unusually both a Centre Half and Goalkeeper who had previously played with Longcroft, Kirkintilloch Rob Roy, Banknock Juniors and Falkirk before the war. After hostilities had stopped he returned to the game and had spells with Stenhousemuir, Falkirk and Bathgate. In Season 1919/20 he turned out for East Stirlingshire in a couple of games as Goalkeeper to help out when he was with Gairdoch Hibs.

 

The Central League clubs still weren’t unhappy with the make-up of League for season 1920/21 and so a Special General Meeting was held mid July with a view to extending the League yet further. It was agreed at the meeting that the League would be extended to 18 teams and Arbroath, Dundee Hibernian, St. Johnstone and Gala Fairydean applied for the 2 vacant places. A vote was taken and St. Johnstone and Dundee Hibernian were elected to the further expanded League. The vote result had been as follows: St. Johnstone 28 votes, Dundee Hibernian 20 votes, Arbroath 14 votes, Gala Fairydean 2 votes. It was also agreed at the meeting that the match guarantees for the visiting teams would be increased from £10 to £15. At the meeting the Calder Shield was formally handed over to Bo’ness for winning the League in season 1919/20.

At the end of July East Stirlingshire started advertising their 1920/21 season tickets for sale at 12s including tax. Also John Cowan of Cowie Wanderers/Longcroft Juniors signed for Falkirk, he had played 5 games for the Shire at the end of season 1920/21. The new season 1920/21 was now only just around the corner.