James Smart

James Young Smart was born in 1862 in Dundee, the son of a linen loom-manager and later jute-manufacturer from Monikie just north of the city, his mother from the city itself. And it was in Dundee that he grew up and as football took root in the city in 1876, he aged just fourteen, became instrumental in founding the Strathmore Football Club, playing regularly, a forward, for the team. Indeed, at 16 was elected secretary and treasurer of the club, and became chairman in 1882, remaining in position until 1885, when as a clerk he moved to Denmark, to Copenhagen, where he joined Boldklub.

Boldklub had been founded in 1876 and had played some form of football from 1878 but Smart was in the year after his arrival instrumental in the translation of the Association Rules into Danish and their adoption. And in 1888 the club, Smart again at the forefront instigated the "Medaille Football Competition" along the lines of the Scottish Cup and in which 15 teams participated and Bold would win without conceding a goal and adopting the Scottish-style coached by the Scot. And he would there again in 1889 when the first league in Denmark was founded, and whilst Boldklub would finish as runners-up, he would over the season be top-scorer. 

And here we have a description of how James Smart was viewed. "In the Englishman (sic), James Smart," K. B." an excellent player in virtually all positions. He had played football in his homeland from a young boy and was in possession of an eminent handling of the ball. Smart was the favourite of the audience and of course especially the boys. He was extremely jovial and played with us boys at the same time as he taught us a lot of ball handling and tricks when we flocked around him."

By 1891 Smart, at the age of almost thirty, was playing as a reserve, where he was also occasionally a goalkeeper. That is until 1892 when he moved to the USA before moving back to Dundee in 1896 on the death of his father to take over the family business. In 1891 he was living, unmarried, with two of his sisters across the river in Wormit. But the business seems to have failed and James to have disappeared for a number a years before re-emerging in 1921 in Glasgow and working as a clerk once more, this time with the Sheriff's Office. By then he was fifty-eight and staying, still unmarried, at the city's Great Eastern Hotel on Duke St., from where in May he was taken to the nearby Duke St. Hospital and there passed away from a combination of heart and bronchial problems. 

Birth Locator:

1862 - Dundee


Residence Locations:

1871 - Morrisons Court, 59, Wellgate St., Dundee

1881 - Balgray Cottage, Mains, Angus

1891 - Copenhagen, Denmark

1892-6 - USA

1901 - Wormit Road, Forgan, Fife 

1911 - N/A

1921 - Great Eastern Hotel, 100, Duke St., Glasgow


Death Locator:

1921 - 253, Duke St., Glasgow


Grave Locator:



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