Jack Fraser

John "Jack" Fraser was a Bridgend-man, that is he was one of the small number of Dumbarton players to be born across the bridge in question and on the west side of the Leven. However, the family, he in his teens, soon moved across the river to McLeans Place, which no longer exists but was by the prison and is now where the Courts stand. 

He was the youngest of four children, of whom the three boys survived, but with his eldest brother seemingly born blind. His father, also John, was an "Iron-Ship Fitter", born just up the Vale in Renton and his mother from a little further up still, in Jamestown cum Balloch.  

And that seems to be it. Between four years old in 1881 and twenty-four 1901 in Newcastle and a professional footballer he seems simply to disappear, at least officially. It is only through his football that we can trace him. At eighteen he is said to have joined Dumbarton. At twenty he, like Jack Bell before him a tall, powerful winger, was in the first team for the 1896-7 season. With and despite it being a Second Division team that finished bottom of it and resigned from the League altogether that same year he reached the 1897 Scottish Cup Final, lost to a powerful Rangers team. He was then snapped up by Motherwell in the same division for another season before Notts County came in for him. 

However, he didn't settle in England first time around, came back to Morton before a more permanent move South once more to a very Scots Newcastle United for very successful campaign and a bit. However, still he did not put down Southern roots, returning to Scotland to St. Mirren before in 1902 finally finding a more permanent "home" over the Border. It was at Southampton, then still and powerful in the Southern League.

There he joined three other First Team Scots. Indeed, with The Saints, he remaining for three seasons, they would win the Southern League title in 1903 and 1904. That is before once more at twenty-nine returning North, this time to Dundee, where he was to team up once more with Sandy McFarlane. They had played together as a left-wing partnership at The Toon,  Jack out, Sandy inside. In fact McFarlane's move to Tayside in 1901 could well also have been the catalyst to Jack's departure from Tyneside that same year. 

Sandy McFarlane would spend twelve years at Dens Park, Fraser for him a remarkable seven full seasons in the process making almost two hundred starts, in 1907 winning a Scotland cap and as team-mates they would take the Scottish Cup in 1910. And it was also from Dundee that Jack would that same year marry at the age of thirty-four. But he would return to Dumbarton for his bride, Wilhelmina Anderson, and his wedding, only then settling in Dundee, where they would have two sons, he first and until 1912 as a player but recorded as the Shipwright he had been back in the home-town, then as Dundee manager for the war years, when he also worked in the city's ship-yards. In fact on Christmas Day 1915 he was injured there in an industrial accident that fully finished his playing career.    

However, at the end of the Great War Sandy McFarlane was appointed Dundee's permanent manager and the Frasers moved on. They went to London, Jack, although now recorded as a Masseur, to become Chief Scout at David Calderhead's Chelsea and eventually Assistant Manager to Calderhead and his successor, Les Knighton. It may even have been that again McFarlane was instrumental in the Fraser move. He had been at Chelsea with Calderhead for the 1913-4 season. In any case Fraser was at the club until interrupted by war years once more. In the meantime he had lost Wilhemina in 1933 at just fifty-three years of age. And he himself would retire, living on at their house in Fulham. But he would not die there. His passing would be at Northumberland House in North London in 1952 at the age of seventy-five and possibly with some form of dementia. Northumberland House, which is no longer there, was a private lunatic hospital cum asylum.       

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