The Joseph Taylor Grave Appeal
Filming is currently taking place in South Glasgow by 14th Floor Productions, on behalf of BBC Scotland, of a TV programme on "How Scots Took Football Round the World". It is being promoted as a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the first Scotland-England international but bizarrely will be a year late. The original game took place on 30th November 1872.
On and around that correct anniversary date programmes were made and transmitted not least from the original venue, Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow. You may remember them from the BBC. Members of the SFHG took part as did members of Joseph Taylor's family, the SFHG having traced and invited them, Joseph Taylor being one of the full-back backs in 1872, a winner in all of six caps, when it was an international a year, and later Scotland captain. Moreover, he lived out the rest of his life, died and is buried in Scotland, in Cathcart Cemetery, also in South Glasgow in a grave in need of some restoration.
The original idea for the 14th Floor programme was first suggested to the BBC and high-up in June this year by one member of the SFHG, based on almost ten years work by another, Scotland's and therefore the World's expert in this field. They and it were knocked back but with it only to re- emerge a matter of month's later clearly "passed on" by the BBC to "friends" outwith. We have the names of all involved. Two of our members were then approached by 14th Floor to contribute, script suggestions were made by us, whilst meanwhile, judging by traffic to our web-sites, our on-line resources were being deeply "mined". It was also explained to 14th Floor what we do, how much it costs, about £2500 a grave restoration, the example being the first Black international player and Scotland captain, Andrew Watson, which another of our members largely crowd-funded and from which 14th Floor had, of course, already profited, and that we are non-profit. Fees were suggested to 14th Floor for our information and two interviews. In response we were offered £100 and £200 respectively. We did not accept.
And it now happens that we have just received the quotations for restoration of Joseph Taylor's grave, £1,800 for the stone-masonry, £600 for a plaque, £2,400 in total. Now had the BBC and 14th Floor been, frankly, honest in not initially "passing-on" and now "passing-off" we would now have prospect of funds simply to say to the restorers via the Taylor family to go ahead. The BBC and 14th Floor might even have got thanks on the plaque. Instead they find themselves exposed and we have to appeal to your goodness. So, if you are Press or media with, unlike others, conscience enough to pay for research done by us out of interest and altruism, and/or are a true football fan and would like to help the memory of Joe Taylor with a donation, call UK ,07904-244554, for details of how. Many thanks.
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,
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 do this final one we begin with the creation of a series of virtual, footballing trails, The History Trails, and, within some, community Walk-Throughs, that can be followed on foot 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 six cemeteries/crematoriums, where more are buried or were cremated than any others. They are:
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:
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.
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 Dundee Trail
The Fife Trail
The Perthshire Trail
The Greenock Trail
The Killy Trail
The Loudoun Trail (Galston, Newmilns and Darvel)
The Anfield Trail
The Kearny/New Jersey Trail
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:
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
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