John McGregor

John Cunningham McGregor was another, who not only in footballing terms lived and died for Vale of Leven but also did so entirely in Alexandria and Bonhill curiously apart from the period immediately before the arrival of football at Park Neuk in 1872. In fact he was born and would die not just in the same town but on the same street and even when married live just two doors down from his parents, whilst they were still alive. 

His birth was in 1851, the second son of a Drymen-born father and Dunbartonshire-born mother, his father a print-field carter and later potato-merchant. He himself would be in the print-fields all his working life, latterly as a foreman. 

At twenty-four in 1874 he would marry Maggie McGowan, also a print-field worker and the daughter of a local carter. They would have seven children, six girls and a single boy. In the meantime from 1872 he had taken up and to the newly-arrived game of football as a player, a right-sided forward, until 1881, aged thirty, and then as a referee. In 1873 he was in a demonstration eleven, which launched the game in Edinburgh. He was in the Vale teams, which took three successive Scottish Cups from 1877 to 1879, as he was in those that went down to London and beat FA Cup-winners Wanderers and Old Etonians. And he would win four caps, scoring in the 7-2 victory over England in 1878.    

After football he would take up cricket, golf and politics. In 1895 he became a Liberal councillor. Heavily locally engaged all his life he died in 1930 at his home for fifty years in the heart of Alexandria, indeed of Alexandria and Bonhill. He was on death seventy-eight years of age; in fact just a few weeks short of his seventy-ninth birthday. He would be buried in Vale of Leven Cemetery but with, as yet, no gravestone located, his own death having been preceded by less than a year by that of his wife.

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