The Leven Trails
The Dunbartonshire village of Renton should be seen, indeed treasured, as iconic in World football. It was from 1884 without exaggeration the source of the game we know globally today. And this after it had a decade earlier provided the doyen of Scottish clubs and its mentor, Queen's Park, with its first real opposition. Yet for all its import and the exceptional players it produced Renton F.C. no longer exists and its original ground, Tontine Park, is a housing estate. Such is progress.
Yet the lives of the players remain, those who went on not just to play for the village club in the first successes to 1888 that saw two Scottish Cup wins, one defeat and the World Championship, a dozen or so, and those who over the next decade stepped into their shoes. Of the former nine would also play for Scotland. Of the 1888 team only Donald McKechnie, perhaps because he was too old, and Johnny Campbell, because he was too young, were to miss out but both were to make their contributions Down South, and with the same team, Sunderland. And to trace all their early steps into the game, some to legend-status, a simple Walk-Through the village has been created.
However, there were to be more to follow, about twenty in all. Some would become first-team players. Some would be capped. But just as many others were never to play for their country because of age, timing or regulation or be reserves, who with the club's footballing style already absorbed were tempted South before their full talent was enjoyed by the game in Scotland yet would have an impact on English clubs and on the English Football League that cannot be underestimated. They were to emerge from a village of just 4,000 and what was essentially a communal youth-system. They came in two more waves, approximately five year apart, totalling, including the first, perhaps 10% of the of-age, male locals overall. And for them two further Walk-Throughs have also been created to be followed separately or as one.
Milburn Churchyard, Renton
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