Blantyre Vics – Part 4 The 30’s & 40s

Continued from Part 3…..

In the 1930’s players included Burns, Lyle, Fletcher, Towers, Williamson, Lindsay, Picken, Russell, Tarbert, McPhail, Howitt, McQuarter, Mr. Richard Black, Law, McKay, Stirling, Wallace, Bimbi and Geators.

Vics Honours since 1930 wm

In early October 1931, Mr. Jimmy Walsh the international junior league goalkeeper of Blantyre Vics was invited to trial for Charlton Athletic.

Spectator Injury: On Saturday 26th November 1932, one man was killed and 5 people injured when a car collided with a group of football supporters on their way to the Blantyre Vics game at Castle Park. A motorcar had swerved on to the pavement at the junction of Glasgow Road and Forrest Street, to avoid colliding with a double decker bus carrying the Strathclyde Football team, who were to play the Vics at that location, that same day. A general stampede followed, the pedestrians all on their way to the game but the car ploughed into the back of them.

The car continued on down the pavement, crashing and coming to a stop against the gable end of a property on Forrest Street. Alexander White Bone, a clerk from Motherwell, owned the car. He was not injured, but his sister who had been sitting beside him, was thrown through the windscreen, suffering cuts to her head. The injured were immediately carried into a chemist’s shop nearby, and, until the arrival of doctor, valuable Mr Gavin Paterson, the trainer of the Strathclyde team, rendered assistance. The six injured people were then taken to hospital, but Mr John Corrigan, an aged man of 104 Forrest Street later died just before midnight from his injuries.

At Hogmanay 1933, Blantyre Vics played away at Glenesk Park, to Dundee Violets. Blantyre won the match 3-2, with one of the goals scored by Black. The home ground, Castle Park initially had a capacity of 6,000 but imrovements to the ground over the year, including the addition of terraces, now means capacity sits at 23,584. The record pre-WW2 attendance was 6,000 capacity in 1945 for a Scottish Junior Cup tie against Fauldhouse. Mr. Archie Peat was President of the Blantyre Vics from 1933 to 1946.

Saturday 9th February 1935 saw a football match in Glasgow that was remembered for some time. Blantyre Vics had travelled the few miles to Parkhead, to play against that team, of the same name. Parkhead Football Club was a founding member of the Scottish Junior Football League but the team no longer exists. Whilst the team played in traditional Celtic hoops, it should not be confused with being Celtic Football Club. Parkhead Football Club played at Helenslea Park in Parkhead, Glasgow and was dissolved in June 1963.

On that fateful day in 1935, Blantyre Vics were losing 3-0 at half time. The game looked over and it had been a half of casualties, misfortune and bad luck for the Vics. A Vics player, Murray was injured, the keeper soon followed and rarely had any football match in Scotland up until that point, seen so many players disrupting and contesting the decisions by the referee. Shaw, the Parkhead keeper had been outstanding and made some excellent saves. However, things took a turn for the better for Blantyre Victoria in the second half, when they came from behind to score THREE goals, levelling a draw by full time! Scorers Geator, Lindsay and Murray.

The excitement sent shockwaves back to Blantyre where the game was a talking point in pubs for many a year to come.

1935 Blantyre Vics wm

In Season 1935/1936, the club were Central League Champions. Their winning team were W. Ayres, D.Fletcher, W.Lindsay, J.Lyle, J.Welsh, A.Little, J.Richardson, A.Williamson, J.Ayres, J.Clark, T.McGhie, W.Moffat, W.Towers, C.McNee and W.Reid. On 1st February 1944, Vics beat Vale of Level 10-3. The following week they beat Vale of Clyde 10-0. That same year Vics won a unique double by lifting “The Slute of Soldier” and “Prisoner of War” Cups. These competitions were open to all Junior Clubs in Scotland.

Vics also that year were the first Scottish Club to have a match broadcast on Radio, namely the Cup Final of 1943/1944 against Glasgow Perthshire.

Continued on Part 5….

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016

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