James McCall

James McCall was the half-brother of Archie McCall. Both were Renton-born and bred, sons of a Dumfriesshire stone-mason, James three and a bit years younger, born in 1865, but with a different mother, Archie's having died in 1862.  

And the parallels would continue. Both would be one-club men, integral parts of the Renton team that would win the 1888 Scottish Cup and that same year was crowned, albeit unofficially, "World Champions" by beating the then current and the next English FA Cup-holders, West Bromwich Albion and Preston North End. Moreover, both would be in the building trade as were others in the family, although Jamie started out as a Block Printer. And both would win Scottish caps, James the greater number, five in all. 

But there would also be differences. Jamie was a forward, mostly as a winger, Archie a full-back. James would never marry. He would die in 1925, back in Renton, staying in the house of his married, younger sister and her family, and outlived by his elder brother by just over the decade. And the "back in Renton" is deliberate, for there is a gap of potentially thirty years in James' timeline that might well be explained by him having moved to Glasgow for work and/or lived in the United States or Canada. The boys elder brother, William, also a builder to trade, emigrated to the States not once but twice. Having first left Scotland in 1887 he returned to live in Rhu, marrying a Renton-girl, before heading back across the pond, probably in 1907. Certainly the family is living in Buffalo, New York in 1910, bricklayer Archie and his wife visited in 1909 and Jamie is there, also as a bricklayer, in 1919 with an indication that prior to that The States might have been his place of residence for a wee while.      

But back to more important matters, football and life. Jamie McCall had first played for Renton in 1883 at the age of just eighteen. And it seems he continued to play, latterly intermittently until perhaps 1899 at the age of thirty-four. And in that time, unlike many of his teammates but interestingly like his elder brother, he was never tempted South, in spite of offers notably from Preston North End. In the 1880s he was in three Scottish Cup Finals, two wins one loss, scoring in the third. In 1895, however, he was not in the team.  He won his first cap at twenty-one and his last still young at twenty-five, probably over-looked after a suspension by the SFA for being rewarded by his club for loyalty to it. And as well as football he was also a champion bowler in the village, where on death he would also be buried, in Milburn Churchyard.  

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