Dan Bruce

Daniel "Dan" Bruce spent all his life in Bonhill, except for a month at Rangers before turning professional for the best part of three seasons at Notts County in Nottingham and a season at Small Heath, now Birmingham City. Both his parents were local too. He was born at Braehead in 1868, the son of a Carrier cum Grocer cum Yarn Baler and the elder brother of Walter "Wattie" Bruce, who would also play for The Vale and Renton and become a pro-footballer with St. Mirren. And Dan would die in hospital of pneumonia in 1931, whilst living on Bonhill Main St.. Moreover, meantime he had in 1899 married again in Bonhill, to Mary Cameron from Cardross and they had had two Bonhill-born children, a boy and a girl.   

But back to the football. Dan would begin his career as a speedy left-winger with Bonhill's local club before spending four seasons from 1888 across the river at Vale of Leven, in 1890 winning his sole Scotland cap. The beginning of the 1892-3 season then saw him joining the Gers for two months before being tempted south to Nottingham, part of the flow of local talent into the English, professional game that would emaciate both The Vale and Renton clubs. With the Magpies he would feature in someone hundred games and in 1894 be at inside-left in the team that won the FA Cup Final, defeating Bolton 4-1. In the game he hit the woodwork as was foiled several times by good goal-keeping, as, inside him, Troon-born Jcentre-forward, immy Logan, scored a hat-trick.       

But from there his footballing career went into decline, despite being notionally in his peak years and a move to Birmingham he never settled at the club. And even on return north of the border he again failed to fit back into the Scottish game, flitting between teams including The Vale once more. Indeed, by thirty he had dropped out of football altogether, returning to Bonhill to his former work as a labourer, print-field and other, and as a dye-works fireman. And Dan probably continued to work right up until his death, since it was at the age of just sixty-two, whereupon he was buried in Vale of Leven Cemetery alongside his wife, who, again relatively young,, had predeceased him in 1925 aged a mere fifty-five. 

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