Short-cut to the The John Harley Appeal


The Scots Football Historians' Group

This site is dedicated to the exploration of Scottish football, that is the modern game largely created within our Scotland, and Scots football, taken to the World in passion, minds and feet by our forebears, fellow countrymen, largely amateurs in the true sense, who in so doing created the beautiful, global game. Our aim is to uncover and relate the real stories of and backgrounds to this passion for the World' game and to preserve the legacies no matter what and where they are globally. We research. We spotlight. We advocate. We mark. We preserve. We restore, all voluntarily, so before scrolling down
Please Read the Appeals Below, One, Joe Taylor, Completed and One, John Harley, Ongoing to Understand What We Face and Do.

The Joseph Taylor Grave

Restoration work on the grave of Joseph Taylor has been completed. And it and a new, marble plaque were unveiled on 13th April by two of his great-grandsons, Colin and Alex Taylor, in a ceremony at Glasgow's Cathcart Cemetery, also attended by SFHG members. The Daily Record was there too and the following day it published the excellent "Memory of Scottish football legend protected after revamp of historic grave".

And for correct understanding of how football, firstly, came to Scotland and how it was then taken by Scots to the World, the latter with an appeal to mark the contribution of Cathcart's John Harley, and other matters, see below:

(English version)  The Harley Bust  (Versión Español)


How Football Came to Scotland

How Scots took Football to the World

The Fight to Save and Protect Our Sporting Heritage

On 30th November 2022 the Scots Football Historians' Group became "live" and development began. The date was deliberately chosen, for two reasons, both symbolic. The first is that it is St. Andrews Day, with Burns Night one of two that are uniquely both Scottish at home and Scots elsewhere. The second is that, as the twenty-second World Cup with its sixty-four international encounters is taking place three and half thousand miles away, precisely one hundred and fifty years ago the first such meeting of footballing nations took place and in Scotland, in Glasgow at the still existing Hamilton Crescent cricket ground. Indeed, although it was a 0-0 draw, the first of many since, it can easily be argued that without that specific game none of what is taking place over a month in the Middle East would be happening at all. Whilst the birthplace of Association Football, forever England, could even then have raised a representative team in a moment, without opposition the game might have withered on a still very slender vine. That it survived is very largely due to a group of eleven young men, amateurs all, a Glasgow-suburbs club team in essence, who were ploughing a very lone furrow North of the Border, which took on the challenge from the South, were expected to be dubbed, with tactical nous acquitted themselves remarkably and instead sparked an explosion in enthusiasm that continues to this day worldwide. Those eleven young men were, 

Robert Gardner

William Ker and Joseph Taylor,

James Thomson and James Smith

Robert Smith, Robert Leckie, Alex Rhind, Billy Mackinnon, Jerry Weir and David Wotherspoon

and with them the story of the SFHG begins. Over the last few years through the worldwide research of a small number of thorough football historians in Scotland and elsewhere a deeper understanding and therefore an alternative interpretation of the history of the "Beautiful Game", of Soccer has emerged. There is no doubt that Association Football was an English invention, an amalgam of several traditions and codes from various parts of that country. But it was in large measure not the versions, albeit to the same rules, that became firstly that of the working-man and was within two generations taken round much of the World and within little more than a third to the entire globe. That was the then very much pre-eminent "Scottish Game", the seeds of which were actually sown on that day at the very end of November 1872. 

We know, through research old and modern, where all of the "Class of 72" were born. They came from a number of corners of our country. We know where all but one of them rest, five in home soil from Cambuslang to Inverness, five like so many of our fellow countrymen in foreign fields, England, the United States, Australia and South Africa. But each one deserves to be properly recognised and physically honoured as a group and individually and that at least in spirit that is what we did last evening. In these modern times where communication is more often than not virtual we all sat down together for the first time and had a dinner to mark the importance of the event of precisely a century and half ago, all those in football that have followed on since and what might be described as our formal foundation. And we did it in the presence of special guests, Colin and Alex Taylor, the great-great grandsons of Joseph Taylor, on the right of the unprecedented full-back pairing in that first Scotland team and later President of the club team that formed it, not the first but arguably the footballing World's most important club team, Queen's Park.    

So what now? The object of the SFHG is three-fold: 

  • - to continue, aid and enlarge the research done by us and serious others on the Scots contribution home and abroad to the World game and post it here on-line, a site which, as our own time allows, we are constantly building.
  • - to honour on-line and in the media with biographies and articles by us and significant others and wherever possible physically, at home and abroad with plaques and restorations, those many Scots who have made important contributions at all levels to that same World game.

SFHG Articles

  • - in Scotland itself to encourage the exploration by all those with interest of Scotland's remarkable, indeed pivotal, global contribution to that same World game. 

To do this final one we begin with the creation of a series of virtual, footballing trails, The History Trails, and, within some, community Rambles, Strolls and Drive-Throughs, that can be followed on foot or by car just as we have done. See below.  

And finally we hope that our work will catch the attention, as it has already again both at home and abroad, of still more descendants of those same contributors, and encourage them to come forward to accept proudly the accolades due to their forebears.



Just under six hundred Scots have until the Second World War, the football history, in which we are most interested, played for the national team. But, of course, not at the same time. They were days when international games took place but in nothing like modern numbers. Today Kenny Dalglish hold the record for appearances with 102 but then it was Alan Morton with thirty-one. His was an international career that lasted twelve seasons but it is just one of the stories that we consider still worth telling. For others, click HERE.


It can never be said that Scots football, that is the game in Scotland, the Scottish game, and the sport as carried by Scots round the globe in head and feet, was a slow burner. It exploded both here and there. Within half a decade of 1872 and one club at home teams were numbered in hundreds and within another five years Scotsmen were playing and, importantly, organising football from Wales to Canada in one direction and China in the other. It was a contagion and stories of its spread are HERE.


PThe story of Scots and football, indeed of Scots and soccer more generally, is littered with games literally of pivotal consequence. The Glasgow international of 1872 was just the first. But there would be many others, several of those of the first World Cups to 1950 and in between many more, in Britain and Europe but notably also in Africa and the Americas, both South and North. As we and football historians around the World uncover more and more detail accounts are added to and can be found HERE.


Where they are

From the World's first official football international played in Glasgow in 1872 and the beginning of the Second World War almost six hundred Scots-born players turned out for the national team plus a number who were born elsewhere. Most lived out their lives on and are buried in Scottish soil and one of our aims here at the SGHG has been to trace and track them and their last resting places so that the contributions of as many as possible to our national game can continue to be recognised, honoured, marked, maintained and, perhaps, become places of quiet pilgrimage. To that end we begin with the seven cemeteries/crematoriums, where more are buried or were cremated than any others. They are:

Woodside, Paisley 

Warriston, Edinburgh

Vale of Leven, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire 

Cathcart and Linn, South Glasgow

Dumbarton, Dunbartonshire

St. Peter's, Dalbeth, Glasgow

Craigton Cemetery

But, of course, as has been the way of Scots from all walks of life movement abroad has been frequent and in many cases permanent so trace and track is not confined to our immediate frontiers. Indeed, two English locations stand out as the final resting place, the burial or cremation, of a remarkably large number of our own. Those places are:

Liverpool and Greater Merseyside

Tyne-, Wear- and Tees-side   

 To see who is to be found where simply click on the individual resting-place and then, for their personal stories, on the names listed.


History Trails

And across Scotland and, indeed, the World the origins and influences of Scots and their football at home and abroad are to be found everywhere. And sometimes they are in concentrations that can be linked to form a series of trails that will lead you both though histories and places that are unique to our and the World game, to us, ours, you and yours. 


The Highland and Moray Trail


The Dundee Trail


The Fife Trail


The Perthshire Trail


The Gareloch to Cardross Trail


The Leven Trails

(Alexandria, Renton & Dumbarton)


The Partick Trail


The Cart Trails

(From Eaglesham to Hampden

Kilbarchan via Paisley to the Clyde

and the Glasgow Southern Suburbs in-between)


The Glasgow Southside Trail


The Greenock (& Gourock) Trail


The Killy Trail


The Loudoun Trail

(Galston, Newmilns and Darvel)


Scottish Sport History   

If there is one there is one web-site that has been an inspiration for what the SFHG is trying to provide, comprehensive research into fitba', our football, at home at abroad, it is Andy Mitchell's Scottish Sport History. Since 2012, so for more than a decade, he has produced a veritable stream of impeccably accurate articles and books on many aspects of Scottish sport and Scots in it. It is he, for example, who rediscovered the grave in London's Kew of Andrew Watson. And, although he is not a member of the SFHG, he is seen by us with regard to football as very much a "fellow traveller". So, if you have not done so, please visit his site now by clicking below on: 

Andy Mitchell's Scottish Sport History

And we avidly recommend you purchase his definitive Who's Who of all the players, who represented Scotland from the first International game in 1872 to the start of the Second World War. See, buy and read

The Men Who Made Scotland

And there is more.............

For up to two decades a small, dedicated group of enthusiasts has worked away largely without the recognition they deserve compiling data on both Scottish senior and junior football, male and female. They have delved into every aspect of each - clubs, games, players, crowds, trophies - and it is equally available to all for use, support and admiration on:

The Scottish Football Historical Results Archive

And perhaps you also have more information to add or personal stories to relate. If so, please contact us on:

E-mail: contact@thescotsfootballhistoriansgroup.org

Or outwith Scotland you might like to pass on that information or perhaps put a question to a reputable historian in the country in question. If so, please see our list of Associate Members. 


Short-cut to the The John Harley Appeal

© Copyright. All rights reserved/Todos los derechos reservados.


Any use of material created by the SFHG for this web-site will be subject to an agreed donation or donations to an SFHG appeal/Cualquier uso del material creado por SFHG para este sitio web estará sujeto a una donación acordada o donaciones a una apelación de SFHG.

We need your consent to load the translations

We use a third-party service to translate the website content that may collect data about your activity. Please review the details in the privacy policy and accept the service to view the translations.