Johnny Deakin

It seems two brothers, Arthur and William, from Lichfield in Staffordshire came north to Shettleson to work. In 1919 both were miners, both married to English girls, Ruth and Eva, who both gave birth to sons they called John. And Arthur and Ruth's son went on to become an international footballer, for Scotland, one of the few examples of a flow north- rather than south-wards.

In fact John the footballer probably grew up at least in part in Camlachie. Certainly in 1921 the family was living there, his father now working in a bottle factory. But in spite of proximity then to Parkhead the young Johnny was not picked up by Celtic. His junior career was with Johnstone Burgh, suggesting a further family move, from where he graduated to Paisley and St. Mirren. 

He joined the Love St. club at the age of eighteen in 1937 and, as an left-sided inside-forward, would play two hundred and eighty times over thirteen seasons less five for the War, when he served in the army. During that period he also played a number of guest games, one of which, whist in Ireland, was for Belfast's Glentoran. 

It was just after the War that Deakin won his single cap, in 1946, aged twenty-seven, in a 2-2 home-draw with Belgium. But he was never picked again and as he passed thirty the wind-down of what had till then been a one-club career began. He joined Clyde for a season, scoring a goal every other game. But he made only seventeen appearances and was unable to prevent narrow relegation before once more moving on, this time crossing the water as he did so. 

He returned to Belfast joining Linfield for part of the 1951-52 but he also spent time at Bangor as both teams struggled. Linfield finished tenth of twelve, Bangor 11th. Yet he was clearly seen as having something still to offer, joining Glentoran, as it topped the Irish League in 1953. And it was at The Glens' Oval that he remained until retirement aged thirty-six in 1955. 

In fact Johnny Deakin's life after football was to be short. He would die in 1963 a week after his forty-fourth birthday, collapsing at work at a foundry, where he was a storeman. He was survived by his wife, Annie, who he appears to have married in Northern Ireland, and his child or children and is buried in Belfast's City Cemetery.  

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