James "Jimmy" Stark

Jimmy Stark's successes as a footballer were in sharp contrast to what much have been a difficult childhood. The youngest of three children he lost his father at aged just three and his mother too died relatively young.

Jimmy was born in then rural Cardowan by Ruchazie north-east of Glasgow but his widowed mother moved the family to Pollokshaws in the city's south-west. And it was there he learned the game, a Scottish centre-half, first at Mansewood, then at twenty moving to Pollokshaws Eastwood and at twenty-one to Glasgow Perthshire. 

And it was his form at the Perthshire in April 1900 got him trial and an immediate contract at Rangers, where in his first two seasons the League title was won, in the third the Cup, followed by two runners-up medals and a League play-off. He had by then set up home  in Govan, recorded there as a "Shipyard Worker", staying with his elder sister and younger brother, their mother having passed away in 1900. And obviously he attracted interest from Down South. Sunderland tried to buy him but he did not go however in 1907 as the Ibrox team stuttered he finally accepted an offer from newly promoted Chelsea.

But London would not last long. He was minded or persuaded North once more and it was back to his former club for the best part of two more personally highly successful seasons, during which he won two Scotland caps, both as captain. He also captained the Scottish League in a win over its English equivalent and took part in 1909 in both the Scottish Cup Final, its replay before its eventual riot-provoked abandonment.

By then he was thirty-one with one more season at Ibrox but still the boots were not hung up. He simply moved to Morton, also in the top-flight, for five more years, during which his new club twice finished fourth, even defeating his old one, away, 1-5, before final retirement at not far short of forty. He then stayed back in Glasgow, at least he was recorded there in 1920, when, described as a Foreman Contractor, he married in Blythswood. His wife was Elizabeth Gilchrist, a farmer's daughter from by Renfrew and it was there the couple settled, Jimmy said to have worked as a gardener. In fact they lived, seemingly childless, in the same house until Elizabeth's death in 1961 with Jimmy staying on until his own passing in 1969 at the age of over ninety. He is buried in Woodside Cemetery, Paisley.

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