Jimmy Howie

Eight years apart two brothers were born, who would both go on to play professional football. For the younger one, Davie, an inside-left it would mean five years and a century and half at Kilmarnock from 1906 followed by over three hundred games for Bradford Park Avenue. For the older Jimmy, at inside-right, there would be a senior start at Killy also, then Kettering Town, Bristol Rovers, the Newcastle of the 1900s and Huddersfield over fifteen season from 1898, over three hundred and fifty appearances at senior level in all. And it would also lead to three Scottish caps between 1905 and 1908 and then a decade of management, in London at Queens Park Rangers and then at Middlesbrough. The two laddies were the Howie, sons of a Galston coal-miner father and a Darvel-born mother.

James "Jimmy" Howie was born in 1880, not 1878 as often reported. Therefore at eighteen and not twenty he stepped up the road from the local, junior club, Galston Athletic. With him in the team Kilmarnock as it moved to Rugby Park was promoted to the First Division. Jimmy was staying with his married sister, recorded as an apprentice bricklayer. At twenty-one he moved down south but only to the Midland League and then the Southern League. But with ten goals in twenty-six appearances he must have attracted the attention the then largely Scots Newcastle and there for seven seasons he would average thirty games a campaign. At St. James's Park he was known as "Gentleman James", noted for a peculiar running action, which nevertheless got him to where he needed to be to score at the top of the top-flight at the rate of a goal every three games. And it was with The Toon, living in Gosforth, now openly as a professional footballer, with wife, Jeanie, and their two children, he picked up his three caps, scoring twice. Jeanie, Jeanie Williams, too was Galston-born. They had been married in the town in 1903, he still describing himself as a bricklayer, and, whilst their elder child, David, named for his father, had been born on Tyneside, the birth in 1910 of their daughter, Lillias, after his mother, was back home in Ayrshire.  

Jimmy Howie would retire on-field in 1913, aged thirty-three not thirty-five and interestingly stepped immediately and comparatively young into management, not in the North. but initially in London and with some success. In his first season at QPR his team reached the FA Cup Quarter-Finals. And despite then three years from 1920-23 at Middlesbrough it was to London that he returned for the rest of his life. He is said to have run a tobacconist in the City, living, certainly in last years, on the border of Kensal Green and Harlesden and dying aged eighty-two in 1962 in the nearby Central Middlesex Hospital. And, whilst parents and siblings of his are buried in Galston cemetery, where he, and indeed Jean, are buried remains as yet unknown.

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