Allan Craig

Allan Craig seemed to be destined to be a one-club man, with seven years from aged twenty and three hundred plus appearances as Motherwell's centre-half. That is until in 1933 he wasn't. Under pressure for his place from Johnny Blair, seven years his junior, he simply took himself to Chelsea, from where and after two hundred odd starts and the captaincy he was at the age of thirty-five more or less retired by the outbreak of World War II. 

In part the move South was aided by his playing style. Physically powerful, brave and a great header but not the best passer of the ball he was perhaps more suited to the English-game and less the distributive Scottish pivot that speedy Blair epitomised.

Not that Craig was actually a Well-boy. He had been born in 1904 but in Paisley, playing the junior game locally and at Saltcoats and seeming to have been initially a reluctant professional. "Sailor" Hunter, a Johnstone-boy himself, who was ten years into thirty-five from 1911 as manager of The Well, had already tried to recruit the young man but without success. Perhaps Allan was already courting. He would in Paisley marry Annie Stevenson in 1926 and they would have two children, both Paisley-born. But Hunter's team was struggling so he persisted and finally Allan gave in. He stepped up, Motherwell just avoided relegation, and then would not finish outwith the League top-three for the duration of his stay, winning it in 1932 when he had been allowed to play more adventurously. Additionally he personally would win three caps, two in the first fixtures that in 1929 Scotland ever played against non-British opposition. The only blots were the own goal that lost the 1931 Cup Final replay to Celtic and a losing international recall in 1932 against England.    

And it would be back to Paisley that Craig, after playing, would return to live, working as a lorry driver and labourer, the equivalent, the best part of two decades on, of the carter he had been as a reluctant twenty-year old. And in 1983 at the age of seventy-nine he would die in the town's Royal Alexandra Hospital, pre-deceased by Annie in 1974 and his ashes were scattered in its Woodside Cemetery. 

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