James "Bummer" Campbell

James  "Bummer" Campbell was already at eighteen an "accomplished" player, with junior side Kilmarnock Thistle, when in 1888 he stepped up to the town's senior team. A forward originally he was there initially used at centre-half, very much a Scottish, attacking centre-half, but rather than with age going the way of most, that is deeper, he was by 1994 pushed back up-field to centre-forward and doing not badly at all.

It seemed it really did not matter where he played and thus must have been on the shopping-list of teams Down South. But he was always loyal to club, semi-pro, also working as boiler-maker, and to town. He was born, had a family of six and died Killy. 

Born in 1869 Bummer was one of seven, all boys but only one a player, their father local, working as a Skinner and their mother from Galston. He was raised in Kilmarnock, apart from seemingly a short period in Galashiels, and initially in the house next to Johnnie Auld. He was apprenticed in the Ayrshire town. At twenty-five in 1894 he married, in Riccarton, his bride Agnes Brodie. They were to have six children, three boys and three girls, all born there. Meantime Bummer had in 1891 had won the first of his two caps, the second the following year, the former a little out of position at left-half, the latter as a clearly effective centre-half. Scotland won 6-1, Wales only scoring in the 87th minute. And then in 1895 he was there as his club achieved League status, was promoted at second time of being eligible to the First Division and in 1898 reached but lost the Scottish Cup Final to Rangers. In 1900 he would be awarded a benefit, the opposition Celtic, and when he hung up his boots in 1901 his team would be safely exactly mid-table. 

However, there was to be a low-point in a life that seemed if otherwise not charmed but smooth. In 1920 at the age of just forty-seven Agnes died of heart failure and from then Bummer seems to have struggled somewhat. In later years, when in poor health and thus financially struggling, a second and equally prestigious benefit-match was arranged for him, the opposition this time Rangers. And his death came at just three weeks after his sixty-ninth birthday. He is buried in Kilmarnock Cemetery.

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