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Friday, 7 October 2016

Leigh Richmond Roose - Football's First Playboy.

  Leigh Richmond Roose - Goalkeeper 

Leigh Roose - Football's first Playboy.

Leigh Richmond "DickRoose,  (27 November 1877 – 7 October 1916) was a Welsh international footballer who kept goal for a number of professional clubs in the Football League between 1901 and 1912. A celebrated amateur at a time when the game was played largely by professionals, Roose was renowned as one of the best players in his position in the Edwardian period. He was also well known as a footballing eccentric, and many stories about him are still told today.

Roose was born in Holt, near Wrexham in Wales,[2] at a time when association football was principally confined to the north of the country.[3] Roose was raised by his father, a Presbyterian minister named Richmond Leigh Roose, following the death of his mother from cancer when he was two years old.[2][4] He was educated at Holt Academy[2] – where in the course of one violent football match, Roose's brother Edward kicked H. G. Wells, then a teacher at the school, so hard in the back that he ruptured the future novelist's kidney and left him incapacitated for several weeks.[5] On leaving school in 1895, he went on to study atAberystwyth University.[4]

After graduating from Aberystwyth, Roose studied medicine for a short period at King's College London. Although accounts of Roose often refer to him as a doctor of bacteriology, he never qualified as a doctor.

Club career

Standing 6–ft 1 in and weighing over 13 stone, Roose was well qualified to play in goal, a specialised position that was, in the Edwardian era, particularly physically challenging.[4][6]
He began his footballing career in 1895 with Aberystwyth Town, playing for the club on 85 occasions.[4] His debut came in a 6–0 win over the Shropshire team Whitchurch in October 1895,[5] and he was carried from the pitch shoulder-high following the team's 3–0 victory over Druids in the Welsh Cup final of 1900.[4][5] It was during this phase of his career that Roose was seen playing by the eminent Welsh historian Thomas Richards, who would later refer to him as Yr Ercwlff synfawr hwn ("This wondrousHercules").[6]

Roose pictured in a Stoke team photograph c.1904. From Association Football and the Men Who Made It (1906).
Signed by Stoke, Roose made 147 league appearances for the Staffordshire club from 1901–1904 and 1905–1906 – the latter spell, consisting of only three games, being terminated by a broken wrist. Roose kept 40 clean sheets (that is, did not concede a goal) during his Stoke career, a remarkable record not least because his team flirted dangerously with relegation in 1901, 1902 and 1904.
'Mond Roose punctuated his two spells at Stoke with 24 appearances for Everton, whom he helped reach the semi-final of the FA Cupin 1905. He arrived part way through the 1904–05 season and replaced the Irish goalkeeper Billy Scott, who had conceded 17 goals in the first 12 games of the season. Roose kept 8 clean sheets for Everton, a record proportionately better even than that he had set at Stoke.
After leaving Everton, Roose went on to play in 91 league matches and seven cup games for Sunderland between 1907 and 1910, helping the club to finish second in the league on two occasions, and "almost single-handedly" saving the team from relegation on a third. When his Sunderland career was terminated by a second broken wrist, there was some call for Roose's services to be recognised with a testimonial. Since the player's amateur status forbade this, an illuminated address was presented instead.
In the course of his career, Roose also turned out for Port Vale and Celtic (both 1910). He played one game for Celtic, and it was a Scottish Cup semi-final in which Celtic lost 1–3 to Clyde on 12 March 1910. He made his mark on this game by running after the goalscorer of one of the Clyde goals and shaking his hand! Other clubs he represented on at least one occasion included Druids,Huddersfield Town (1910–1911), Aston Villa (1911) and Woolwich Arsenal (1911–1912).
Roose retained his amateur status throughout his club career, but charged his clubs handsomely for his expenses.

Roose's international career began in 1900, when he played for Wales in a 2–0 defeat of Ireland. He won a total of 24 caps, turning out for his last international game againstScotland in March 1911. He was one of Wales's key players when the team won the British Home Championship for the first time in 1907. Since Wales did not play their first international match against an opponent from outside the Home Nations until 1933, all of Roose's games were played against England, Scotland or Ireland. He also appeared for Wales Amateurs.[7]

Stories told of Roose

Tales of Roose's eccentricities appeared frequently in newspapers and books published during his career. Some have been picked up by later writers and repeated many times, particularly in books concerning goalkeeping. A good deal of further research would be necessary to verify the truth of some of the stories, but the following were commonly told while Roose himself was still alive.
  • While playing for Stoke, Roose was reputed to have missed a train that was due to take him from London to a game at Aston Villa. In the years before World War I, railway companies kept private trains ready at a platform for hire by wealthy travellers. Roose engaged such a train and had it take him, in solitary splendour, all the way toBirmingham at a cost of 5/- a mile plus the ordinary fare. Upon arrival, he arranged for the resultant £31 bill – a fortune at the time – to be sent on to his club.
  • When the Football League requested a copy of the expenses claim Roose had submitted to the Sunderland club, the account that arrived at their headquarters listed, as its first item, "Using the toilet (twice), 2d." [2 old pence]
  • On 23 April 1910, Roose, by then a very famous former Stoke player, guested – along with Herbert Chapman – for Port Vale in a match against Stoke Reserves that would decide the winner of the North Staffordshire and District League. Roose not only insisted on playing against his former club while wearing his old Stoke shirt, but aroused the ire of the 7,000 strong crowd with his breathtaking play. He "saved every shot with such arrogant ease that the furious crowd spilled onto the field, only the brave intervention of the local constabulary saving him from a ducking in the River Trent." In the course of the same fracas, Stoke's chairman, the Reverend A.E. Hurst, ran onto the pitch to appeal for calm and was knocked out by one of his own forwards. The result was appealed to the Staffordshire FA, which declared the championship void, and Stoke's ground was closed for the first fortnight of the 1910–11 season. Roose is reported to have said, in his own defence, that he had believed the game to be a friendly and had not realised a championship was at stake.
  • Playing for Stoke against Liverpool at Anfield on 4 January 1902, Roose, along with his team-mates, unwittingly ate a lunch of tainted fish. By kick-off time many of the Stoke players were feeling the effects and – having conceded a goal after only eight minutes – Roose ran from the pitch in search of a toilet. He had a pulse rate of 148 and did not return to the game. At the start of the second half only seven of the Stoke players were in a fit state to continue, the dressing room resembling "the cabin of a cross-channel steamer in bad weather." Liverpool won the game 7–0.[10]
  • In March 1909, Roose travelled with Wales to play Ireland in a British Home Championship match. He appeared at Liverpool station with one hand heavily bandaged, telling the waiting press that he had broken two fingers but would nevertheless play in the match. Roose's Welsh team-mate Billy Meredith, suspecting trickery, peered through the keyhole of the goalkeeper's hotel room soon after their arrival in Belfast and saw his friend remove the bandage and wiggle his fingers with no sign of discomfort. News of Roose's disability having spread through the city, a huge and expectant crowd turned out next day in the hope of witnessing an Irish victory. Instead Wales won the game 3–2, Roose himself playing superbly.
  • Like many footballers, Roose was famously superstitious, wearing a 'lucky shirt' beneath his goalkeeping jersey throughout the course of his career. The shirt, said to have been an old black-and-green Aberystwyth top, was reputedly never washed.[11] Some support for this story comes from a contemporary article in Bolton's Cricket and Football Field (March 1904), which observed: "Roose is one of the cleanest custodians we have, but he apparently is a trifle superstitious about his football garments, for he seldom seems to trouble the charwoman with them."[11]

Personal life6

Roose enjoyed to the full the acclaim that his sporting exploits brought him. Contemporaries at Aberystwyth testified to his popularity with both men and women at the college, and in London, in 1905, he was acclaimed by the Daily Mail as one of the capital's most eligible bachelors – second, the newspaper suggested, only to the cricketer Jack Hobbs. When the Daily Mail invited nominations for a World XI to face another planet, Roose was selected as the World team's goalkeeper by a large majority.
Much of Roose's popularity stemmed from his extrovert character. He led – according to his nephew, Dr Cecil Jenkins – an extremely glamorous life, keeping an apartment in the centre of the capital and buying his suits on Savile Row.[12]
"The first thing I remember," the 101-year-old Jenkins told an interviewer,
"is him taking my mother and me just before the First World War to lunch at Scott's restaurant in Piccadilly. He was in full morning kit with a top hat – he was real man about town. I was only about five or six and it was very exciting for a young boy like me.
"He was very much a larger than life character who played to the gallery. When a carriage picked him up from the station to take him to the game, schoolboys would run after it."[12]
One newspaper voted Roose among the 10 most recognisable faces in the London of this period, and he enjoyed relationships with several women, among them the great music hall star Marie Lloyd.[13]
For all this, Leigh Roose was prone to displays of bad temper throughout his club career, and once assaulted one of the Sunderland directors, beating him so badly that the Football Association banned him for 14 days. The early sportswriter "Tityrus" (the pen-name of JAH Catton, editor of the Athletic News) recorded that during the half-time interval in Wales's heavy 1908 defeat by England, Roose – who had been injured by an opposition forward – "had an unpleasant conversation with the England selectors, who thought that the speech of the goalkeeper was not such as might be expected from a gentleman."


Although well above the age of the average recruit, Roose joined the British Army on the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, and served in the Royal Army Medical Corps in France and Gallipoli. He returned to London and enlisted as a private of the Royal Fusiliers in 1916 and then served in the First World War on the Western Front, where his goalkeeping abilities resulted in his becoming a noted grenade thrower.
He was awarded the Military Medal for his bravery on the first occasion he saw action, the regimental history recording:
"Private Leigh Roose, who had never visited the trenches before, was in the sap when the flammenwerfer attack began. He managed to get back along the trench and, though nearly choked with fumes with his clothes burnt, refused to go to the dressing station. He continued to throw bombs until his arm gave out, and then, joining the covering party, used his rifle with great effect."[4]
His award was gazetted on 21 September 1916.
Promoted to the rank of lance corporal, Roose was killed, aged 38, towards the end of the Battle of the Somme the next month. The exact location and manner of his death remain a matter of dispute.[4]
His body was not recovered, and his name appears on the war memorial to missing soldiers at Thiepval.[4] Due to a typographical error on his enlistment papers, his name is recorded as "Leigh Rouse".[14]

Career statistics

  • Sourced from his profile at the English National Football Archive 
Stoke1901–02First Division24040280
1902–03First Division25030280
1903–04First Division32010330
Everton1904–05First Division18060240
Stoke1905–06First Division33020350
1906–07First Division30020320
1907–08Second Division300030
Sunderland1907–08First Division14000140
1908–09First Division35040390
1909–10First Division31030340
1910–11First Division12000120
Celtic (loan)[15]1909–10Scottish 1st Division001010
Huddersfield Town1910–11Second Division500050
Aston Villa1911–12First Division10000100
Woolwich Arsenal1911–12First Division13000130
Career Total28502603110

Acknowledgements to Wikipedia for Some of the Text I have used.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Growing up in Glasgow in the 1950s.

Growing up in Glasgow in the 1950s.

Meadowell Street.

I have been asked by my Friend Rodney Willett to write a blog about my terrible deprived childhood in Glasgow in the 1950s.

Actually, it wasn't that bad, although in print, details such as WCs shared by three or four Families, no hot water or bath, sound really primitive, at no time did I feel deprived or hard done by.

I was born in 1950, when my parents were living with my granny in a single-end, a one roomed flat in Meadowell Street, Shettleston. After a short period there, I moved , with my parents, to another single-end at1314 Shettleston Road,

Our flat at Shettleston Road was two "Closes" to the right of the Funeral parlour.

The new flat had a single room, with a Belfast sink, and cold water. I had to have a bath in the Belfast sink when I was wee. There was a bed recess where we all slept. We shared a WC with four other families.
A bed-recess in a Glasgow Tenement.

My wee brother was born in the flat in 1953, this was one of my earliest memories, (my oldest memory was the Death of. King George). I still posses my Identity/Ration-card from 1952.
When my brother was born we moved to a Room and kitchen in Fairholm Street.

Our flat was the ground floor flat behind the blue car.

All of these photographs are modern, after the tenements were stone-cleaned and improved.

In the 1950s many tenements were demolished due to their poor condition and dirty appearance.
The homes that replaced them have now mostly been demolished, as they were not as well constructed as the Tenements.

A prefab in Glasgow (not ours).

About 1956 we moved to a prefab in Greenfield, where we lived for the rest of the 1950s
The prefab was the best house we ever lived in. It was spacious and had two bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen (with a gas fridge). We had numerous built-in cupboards throughout the house,and we even had a Garden! WE HAD ARRIVED!

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Renton FC - World Champions 1888

Renton FC - World Champions 1888

This is a First for me, writing a Blog about Football.

I heard on the TV Quiz show "Pointless" that Renton FC, a small Scottish Football Club had become World Champions in 1888.  So I thought I should investigate. 

Renton Football Club was a prominent team in the early history of Scottish football. The club was based in the village of Renton,West Dunbartonshire. They are remembered as one of the first clubs to have laid claim to the title Champions of the World when in 1888, as Scottish Cup holders, they challenged and beat the FA Cup holders West Bromwich Albion.
Dunbartonshire was a hotbed of the game in the early years of organised football in Scotland, with the county's three leading clubs of the era, Dumbarton, Renton and Vale of Leven all forming in 1872. Although not one of the founder members of the Scottish Football Association in 1873, Renton joined the body in time to enter the inaugural (1873–74) Scottish Cup tournament, and on 18 October 1873 were one of the clubs involved in the first day of competition for the new trophy. Renton faced Kilmarnock on neutral territory at CrosshillGlasgow, winning 2–0. Although full details of the matches played are difficult to ascertain, it is generally believed that this was the first of the three games played that day to kick off, and therefore the first official competitive football match to take place in Scotland. Renton went on to reach the semi final, losing to eventual winners Queen's Park.The following season they went one step further, reaching the final, but again lost to Queen's Park, by 3–0.
During the 1880s Renton were amongst the most powerful clubs in the country. They lifted the Scottish Cup for the first time in 1885, beating local rivals Vale of Leven in the final. The 1886 final once again ended in defeat against Queen's Park, but Renton lifted the trophy for a second time in 1888 with an emphatic 6–1 win over Cambuslang, a winning margin that has never been exceeded in a Scottish Cup final. During this period, Renton also lifted another prestigious trophy of the era, the Glasgow Merchants' Charity Cup, four years in succession. During season 1886-87, Renton competed in the FA Cup. They defeated Accrington 1-0 at home in the first round. Following a 2-2 draw at home in thesecond round, they beat Blackburn Rovers 2-0 in a replayPreston ended their FA Cup run in the third round, winning 2-0 at Renton.
Three months after their second Scottish Cup triumph, Renton returned to the scene, the second Hampden Park in Glasgow, to face FA Cup holders West Bromwich Albion in a challenge match billed as being for the "Championship of the United Kingdom and the World". The fixture was really no more than a friendly organised between the clubs, without any direct sanction from the respective national associations. Given there were no league competitions as yet, a meeting between the English and Scottish Cup winners could reasonably lay some claim to deciding the leading club in the UK (albeit without any opportunity for the Welsh or Irish equivalents to compete). When Renton won the World Cup, the footballing world was in its infancy in 1888, almost exclusively played by Scottish and English clubs. It was a World Cup Championship by default – nevertheless Renton’s claim is undisputed. A “Champion of the World” sign was proudly displayed on the pavilion at Tontine Park. The trophy can be found in the Hampden Park museum.
Two years later, Renton were one of the eleven founder members of the Scottish Football League, the meeting which led to the establishment of the new competition having been instigated by Renton club secretary Peter Fairly. The club's first experience of League competition was to be cut short a month into the 1890–91 season, however, when they were suspended from all football by the SFA for playing a friendly against a team billed as "Edinburgh Saints". This was in reality St Bernard's, who had themselves been suspended following allegations of professionalism, in thin disguise. Renton successfully sued the SFA to have their suspension lifted and subsequently resumed their place in the Scottish League for 1891–92. The St Bernard's case illustrated the growing creep of illegal professionalism in Scottish football, a trend no doubt encouraged by the introduction of regular league competition, and one which was to lead to the decline of small town or village clubs, who could never hope to match the financial muscle of the big city clubs.
At the end of the 1893–94 season — the first following the legalisation of professionalism — Renton were relegated to the League's Division Two, never to return to the top level. They continued to run into trouble with the authorities, failing to turn up for their away fixture against Dundee Wanderers in 1894–95, in favour of playing a more lucrative friendly against Queen's Park. The points were therefore awarded to the Wanderers. The club were more rigorous in their attention to that season's Scottish Cup, however, reaching the final for the fifth (and as it turned out, last) time. Once more pitted against the opposition that had embroiled them in their earlier brush with officialdom — St Bernard's — Renton lost out by a 2–1 scoreline.
Despite this appearance back in the national spotlight, Renton's time in the Scottish League was drawing to a close. Financial hardship began to hit deeply for a club only ever capable of drawing a few hundred spectators to home matches; at one point, the club had even considered relocating to Glasgow as a solution to their problems (where ironically their appearance had always drawn thousands). Their league career ended four games into the 1897–98 season when, unable to meet their financial guarantees, they tendered their resignation. This was accepted, with Hamilton Academical taking on Renton's remaining fixtures - less than a decade after Renton's "world championship". The club continued to play in a variety of minor senior leagues - mainly the Western League along with their derby rivals Vale of Leven before finally folding in 1922 (not 1921 as sometimes stated) - entering the 1922–23 Scottish Cup, but failing to turn up for their tie.
Their final hour of fame came in the Scottish Cup of 1906–07 when they put out St Bernard's - then leading the 2nd Division - after two draws, and then stunned Scottish football by putting out Dundee, who were to finish second in the championship that year. They finally went out to Queen's Park in the last 16 of the competition.

Throughout the club's history, their home ground was Tontine Park. After the club's demise, the ground was built over for housing, with the former location of the centre circle being commemorated in one of the gardens.

Saturday, 22 February 2014


Robert Owen - New Lanark and New Harmony.

Many of you have been on my Scottish Tours by Chauffeured car or people carrier, and will have visited New Lanark with me.

When I carried out my Tours of New Lanark, I was unaware that after he left Scotland, he moved in 1825 to Indiana USA, where he bought a former Religious Community called Harmony, which he renamed New Harmony. I was made aware of New Harmony in a rather unusual way, by Ric Savage in his TV programme Savage Family Diggers, in which Ric, and his enlightened crew salvage historical artifacts using methods most US Archaeologists will be familiar with, (the use of dynamite and heavy diggers).

New Lanark

First a short note about New Lanark. In 1799 Robert Owen married the daughter of David Dale, the owner of New Lanark, and became a business partner of his. He instigated a number of reforms, to improve living conditions for the workforce, before moving to Indiana to create a Utopian socialist community. New Lanark exists today as a Protected Village with housing, now updated by the  New Lanark Housinga Association.

New Harmony

In 1825 Owen purchased the former Religious Community of Harmony in Indiana, where he began a brave experimental society based on the Socialist principles of equality and fairness to all workers.
Renamed New Harmony, which was a society based on his theories for a perfect, society, that it should number between 1200 and 2000 people and be run on principles of fairness and equality. Unfortunately, his population was a mixture of committed and enlightened people, who were outnumbered by vagrants and self seekers, and the experiment failed after two or three years. However, Owen’s utopian dream brought significant contributions to American scientific and educational theory, study, and practice. 

Robert Owen

My thanks and acknowledgment to Richard Thornton, for his excellent article on Robert Owen and New Harmony.