Robert & Alexander Christie

Although now in Stirling Dunblane was in Perthshire and therefore a part of its trail. And it was also the birthplace, eight years apart, of two brothers, the Christies, Robert and Alexander, both of whom would over fully two decades play for their home-town club, then in Edinburgh, in Glasgow at Queen's Park and for Scotland; although never quite in the same elevens. Moreover, each would later have their impacts on Scottish football administration at both professional and amateur levels.

They were sons of a schoolmaster cum head-teacher in the town, although both parents hailed from Stonehaven, their father largely raising them after the death in 1879 of their mother, when Alex, the younger, was just six and Bob, not quite fourteen but already smitten by the football bug. In 1878 at still just twelve he is said to have been a founder of Dunblane F.C.. In June 1879 at thirteen he, a left-sided forward, scored his and the club's first goals, soon developing at county level into its star-player.

Bob Christie would remain with local football until in 1882 at sixteen he went up to Edinburgh to begin to study engineering but also having an immediate on-field impact. With him in its team the University would take the Scotland Shield,. He personally would also represent his adopted city twice and such was his reputation that, on moving to Glasgow the following year to take up architecture, he was a rapidly welcome addition to The Spiders.

In that first season, 1883-4, with an eighteen-year-old Bob in the team Queen's Park would win the Scottish, the fourth in five years, and finish runners-up in the FA Cup. And he personally would now be chosen for Glasgow, again twice, and also win his first cap, against England and in victory. But that was to be the more or less of it. During the course of the next season he suffered a knee-injury that kept him out until the following one, came back to help the team reach and win the Cup Final once more in 1886, but twisted the knee once again, this time irrecoverably at least for the top-flight game.

In fact, whilst Bob Christie was just twenty at the time, the injury might not have been so bad a thing in terms of his personally and the game's future, locally and nationally. Even with it he was able to return to Dunblane and play a season there at a lower level before taking himself at twenty-one to work for two years in South America, to Paraguay, at a time, coincidentally or not, football arrived in that country. Moreover, when he returned to the Perthshire town in 1889 he was able both to establish a practice there, to play on for another three more years, finally hanging up his boots in 1892 after two Perthshire Cup wins to become club secretary and also in 1894 to marry, his wife, local-girl, Jessie Macadam, with whom he was to have five children. 

Alex meantime had too begun his footballing career with Dunblane in 1992 at eighteen so a little older than his brother. But then he had been already sent earlier to Auld Reekie to Daniel Stewart's, very much a rugby-school so contagion took longer. More of an all-rounder, a forward and/or half-back, he was became a noted centre-half, an attacking Scottish centre-half, who, once back in Edinburgh initially to study Chemical Sciences and then to work towards becoming a solicitor, turned out for the three seasons from 1894 and now in the League for St. Bernard's; an amateur in an otherwise professional team. 

However, the continuation of qualifications required Alex in 1897 to move to Glasgow and there he chose to join Queen's Park outside the League but nevertheless with an undoubted higher profile with the ruling authorities. It is therefore not surprising that he was quickly to be awarded three caps that began with two hefty wins over two seasons, 5-2 and 9-1 over Wales and Ireland respectively. But this was the period, in which the Hampden club's amateur representation nationally finally slipped away. In his brother's time and a 1-0 win over England it had been five from Queen's Park in the team. In 1899 in Alex's third and final match for the national eleven, a 2-1 defeat by the same opposition, there were just two, he to be replaced the following year by professional and Diasporan Alex Raisbeck in a match that saw just one amateur retained, "Toffee" McColl, and after him none.

And it seems that this decline of the amateur made its mark particularly on Alex. Qualified as a solicitor from 1899, for professional reasons it seems he had a season still as an amateur back at St. Bernard's for 1901-2. It was then followed by two more at The Spiders from 1902 to 1904 before a final campaign aged thirty for a Perthshire Cup-winning Dunblane, a decade after his elder brother had first done much the same. Meanwhile, elder brother had by then at the club not just moved up-stairs but by 1903-4, such was his standing in the game, from club secretary and outwith the League been elected an uncontroversial SFA President. However, if tensions may not have existed under his leadership they soon would. Indeed, by 1909 resentment from the amateur/junior game at the perceived take-over of the SFA by the professional one to the detriment of the former became open with in February a meeting held with Queen's Park's President in the Chair. The results were the formation of the Scottish Amateur Football Association, Alex Christie as one of its recognised founders, and further conflict, which was resolved later that same year in part but not fully so until 1927 and Bob Campbell.

Alex Christie would in the early 1900s enter into practice in Glasgow as a solicitor with William Sellar, fellow, former international and Queen's Park playing contemporary of his brother. In fact he more or less took over the practice as Sellar had fallen ill in 1902, never really recovering and dying aged just fifty in 1914. It was just a year after Alex at almost forty had married in Edinburgh. His wife from the city was Margaret Henderson. They were immediately to settle in Bothwell, there to have a single daughter and live out the rest of their lives.

Meanwhile, brother Bob, having been a Territorial in The Black Watch in the Boer War, would at fifty be called up for The Great War, serving in France from 1915 as a Major in the Labour Corp. However, sadly in early 1918 he was caught in a gas-attack, dying from the effects in May in a Rouen Hospital at the age of fifty-two. He is buried in the St. Sever Cemetery with a memorial at the family grave at Slammanan, survived by Jessie. She would pass away still in Dunblane at the age of eighty-three in 1855. 

And Alex Christie own death's would be just a year earlier, in 1954. Whilst staying still in Bothwell he would at the age of eighty be transferred to a Glasgow nursing home there to see out the last of his days. 

And he would be outlived by Margaret by barely three years, her passing at the the same age as her husband but in 1957 and in East Kilbride. 

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