James "Jimmy" Sharp

Jimmy Sharp was born in 1880 on the Jordanstone estate, the first child of a local girl and a father, working there as a farm labourer. But the family was soon to move back to Dundee, the father's birth-place, and where he became a warehouse porter. Thus it was the young Sharp learnt his football in the city, as a left full-back, starting at East Craigie but at eighteen joining Dundee itself, going straight into the first team. And he was to remain at Dens Park for five years, over a hundred starts and one cap, in 1904, against Wales, captaining on home ground in a 1-1 draw. Scotland had gone ahead on five minutes. The equaliser came in sixty-five scored Bobby Atherton, himself born a North Walian but raised a Scot in Leith.

Dundee had in 1902-3 finished as runners-up to Hibernian in the Scottish League. In 1903-4 they were to be fifth as from mid-table Third Lanark swept past everyone. And those performances plus international recognition clearly attracted attention from Down South. But it was not initially from the usual sources. He joined Fulham, then still in the Southern League, albeit the lower reaches, but, being outwith the wage-cap, probably paying more. And there he stayed for a season and mid-table safety before a move to Arsenal in the English top-flight, three more campaigns and three more caps, including two against England, both draws. 

However, in 1908 for some reason Jimmy returned to Scotland,. It was to Glasgow and Rangers but for only a few, short months. By January he was back in London, indeed back at Fulham but seemingly still not settled. Out of contract between seasons in 1910 he took himself off to the USA and did not return until October. But once back he seemed to settle, re-joining Fulham once more for two seasons and a half and a final of five caps, living right by the ground, before, aged thirty-one, transferring a mile up the road and actually up a level to Chelsea for a final three. That was until football was eventually suspended in 1915 and then returned to Scotland, to Dundee and to sign on with the Black Watch. 

In the Great War Jimmy Sharp served in France and was wounded and captured in early 1918, spending eight months as a POW before returning home, to the game and to Craven Cottage once more but this time as a trainer under Scottish managers, Phil Kelso and then Andy Ducat. However, with the arrival of Joe Bradshaw he was on his way, to Walsall until 1928, to Cliftonville in Belfast for 1928-29, then in a final move out of the game altogether. However, it was not across the North Channel but to Hammersmith. 

Back in London Jimmy Sharp would now work as a general/builders' labourer and he would also by 1939 marry, his wife, Mary, about whom nothing more is known than she was twenty-years younger than he and would outlive him by thirty-five years, dying, still locally, in 1984. Jimmy himself had by then passed away, in 1949 at the age of sixty-nine to be buried across the Thames in Fulham Cemetery (North Sheen). Mary would join him there on her death. 

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