John "Jack" McPherson

John "Jack" McPherson would at half-back play in two of the three from 1877 of Vale of Leven's consecutive Scottish Cup victories. In the second his partner in the then pairing was Will Jamieson. In the third it would be James McIntyre. He was also to win eight caps, the most of all The Vale team, and be an almost regular between 1879 and 1885, captaining the international side for his last match, in which he also score his only goal for his country. Moreover, in that same season, his last before retirement, he also captained his club side to a fifth Scottish Cup Final, having also been there in 1883, sadly defeats on both occasions.  Yet, curiously, whilst there is a photo of him in later life there seems to be none as a player, either for club or in the national jersey.

Jack McPherson had been born in 1854 on the shores of Loch Lomond on the Balloch Park Estate, where his Rhu-born father had been a gardener. In fact his mother had also been born in Rhu, which begs the question, whether they knew the McNeils, with two of the sons, Moses and Peter, going on to be founders of Rangers and a third, Henry a major player at Queen's Park. Moses and Henry indeed would both alos play for Scotlnd with their international careers overlaping that of Jack.

However, from Balloch the McPherson family would soon move south, initially to Bonhill and then across the river to Alexandria. At sixteen Jack was already working> he is described as a "Fieldworker", although whether that is print or agriculture is unclear. But by his mid-twenties he had trained to be a Brass-Finisher and his working life was more or less set. Moreover in Glasgow in 1887, by then described as a Brass Founder, he married Margaret Galbraith, a farmer's daughter from Ardoch by Kilmaronock and they were to have three childern, two daughters and a son, settled in Dumbarton and prosper. In 1891 he is a Brass Finisher once more, working, it is said in the towns shipyards. By 1901 he is managing a Brass Foundry in Dennystown.         

In later life Jack would turn his sporting attention to bowls. He was President of Dumbarton Bowling Club. He had also won the Vale of Leven Tennis Championship but that was after almost a decade on the football field. He had broken into the Vale of Leven team aged twenty-two in 1876, four years after its foundation. His arrival allowed Sandy McLintock to drop to full-back. He left the team at thirty before a period that saw the club in transition. By 1890 it had adopted the Renton 3-man half-back line.

Jack McPherson would see out his days in Dumbarton. He would die there in 1934, aged seventy-nine, outliving Margaret by thirteen years. But for burial he would return to Alexandria and its Vale of Leven Cemetery.     

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