John Ritchie

John Lindsay Ritchie was born in Renton, grew up there, worked there and died there. And for much of his time in football he played for the village teams, first Tontine Juveniles, Tontine Park being Renton's ground, and then at the start and the end of his senior career as a right-back for Renton itself. Born in 1875 he was one of seven children of a Colour Mixer, who became the Manager of the Cordale Dye Works in the village, where he was surrounded by extended family and the game. Indeed one of his cousins, Duncan Ritchie, would a decade later also begin with their local club and go on have a good, wider career in the professional game north, including a brief spell at Hibernian also, and south of the border but without the one cap that in 1897 John would win. 

But Ritchie's football career would mid-term see him also turn out for two seasons for Queen's Park, 1896-98, clearly amateur and therefore outwith the league, and for Hibernian for the following one and St. Mirren the next and within it. That was before returning to Renton, with it having dropped definitively out of the league two seasons before, and playing there until at least 1907, he aged thirty-two. Indeed that season he was in the team that not only went to the quarter-final of the Scottish Cup but it was done with young Duncan at outside-right.       

And all the time John Ritchie seems to have worked as a Clerk in a local Renton print-works and later at an Engine Works. He never married and lived with his mother in Bonhill until her death in 1919 before back in Renton once more sharing a house with yet another cousin, younger brother of Duncan and also a professional footballer, William Ritchie. 

In 1921 William was registered as living in the same house in Renton as John but as a professional footballer with Bury in the English Second Division. In fact he would between 1915 and 1919 make over one hundred and twenty appearances not for Renton but Dumbarton, also at outside-right, like his brother, then move South to Lancashire and finally to Grimsby before in 1923 becoming involved in a match-fixing scandal that would see him banned from the game for life. 

John Ritchie would die in 1943 at the age of sixty-seven, still in harness and, whilst his home address was in Renton, it would be in Old Kilpatrick. It being the war years he was probably staying there with a brother-in-law and, whilst working as a "Detective" at a local shipyard, suffered a heart-attack. he is buried with his father, mother and a sister in Vale of Leven Cemetery

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