John McLeod

John McLeod was another of the cohort of Dumbarton footballers born in 1866. And again like many of the others place of birth was the High St., in his case No. 143. But, the family soon moved on to the Glasgow Rd., to the Market Garden that his father certainly worked and probably owned and it was there he spent his childhood and youth.

As to football, both club and international, McLeod's route began at nineteen in 1885 and at Dumbarton Athletic. There he soon showed himself to be a reliable 'keeper, the following year being chosen for the county and, whilst still there, winning his first two of Scottish caps. Only the final three were won whilst at Dumbarton, which he joined in 1889 and as a result was between the sticks for almost all the games that won the club the first two Scottish Football League.

Meantime he was in 1890 awarded a third cap and made captain and kept goal against England in 1892. That was also the year, in which he almost went South to Everton. It was a move that eventually fell through but did allow a final cap against Wales in 1893. And that too was the year in Dumbarton he married Catherine Ledgett, he recorded as a naval architect, the profession he was to pursue for the remainder of his working-life, she living literally round the corner on Leven St.

John would remain with Dumbarton until 1895, he just shy of thirty and by which time the team had slipped to second to last league place. In fact it only avoided relegation on goal -difference with fifty-eight put past him in just eighteen matches, more than three a game and Leith, the relegated club, whilst letting in six more had also scored five more. So the final outcome hung on a single shot or better still a single, McLeod save.

Certainly John was clearly not seen at all personally responsible for Dumbarton's remarkable decline in performance. Indeed there were to be final twists. For the 1895-6 season he joined Rangers and, although he stayed for just a single campaign and made but five appearances, the result was that his new team rose a place, finishing second; this as his old one finally dropped to the Second Division and the following season would, albeit temporarily, drop out of the League altogether.  

John and Catherine McLeod were to have four children, two boys, two girls, and the family was to settle in East Dumbarton, where for Catherine it would be home for forty years until her death in 1948 at the age of seventy-eight. And it would also be where he stayed, although his final moments would be in the town's Cottage Hospital, until his passing in 1953 at just short of eighty-seventh birthday. Both are buried in Dumbarton Cemetery.

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