John "Jocky" Johnstone

John "Jocky" Johnstone was quite simply a Killy stalwart. He came from a weaving family from the town. He was born there in 1868. He married a girl from Riccarton, Jane "Jeanie" Watson. The year was 1891. Their four children, three boys and a girl, were born in the town. He lived there throughout his life and he would die there. And from early manhood in 1889, so aged twenty, for a dozen years, he was, having played for Riccarton Victoria as a junior, a top choice as a senior, a half-back, albeit at five feet five inches a diminutive one, at Rugby Park. 

As such his was a considerable part of the consolidation of the Kilmarnock club as not just the oldest one in the town, indeed one of the oldest in Scotland, but the one that, in the face of a strong challenge in the early days from Kilmarnock Athletic, continues to this day. He was there in 1895 as Killy entered at Second Division level the Scottish League, as the following year it won the Scottish Qualifying Cup, in 1898 it reached the full Scottish Cup Final, he playing at right-half, and in 1898 once more and again in 1899 as it topped that second tier and was eventually promoted to the top flight. And he left it 1901, safely mid-table with perhaps the greatest measure of his influence that within three seasons it would fortuitously avoid relegation despite finishing in last place. Indeed, such was his esteem in the game that in 1894 he was awarded a single Scottish cap, in victory over Wales, and by the club on final retiral would be made an honorary life-member.

Outside football Jocky Johnstone was a "Brass-Finisher. And here again he was the epitome of loyalty. As a player he must have been tempted to take the Road South. There must have been offers, with perhaps only size a drawback, but none was taken up. Similarly in his working life he worked for much of it for one local firm. Moreover, beyond work he had a long retirement. He lived until eighty-four, dying in 1953 and by then a widower for more than fifteen years. Jeanie had passed away at the age of sixty-seven in 1938.

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