Roddy McEachrane

Three players emerged from nascent football in Inverness and through the Highland League from its foundation in 1893. Two of the them went on to play for Scotland. One, Roddy McEachrane, did not yet remains a pivotal figure in the London game and one club in particular, Arsenal. In England's capital he would over a decade and a half notch up over four hundred first-team appearances at left-half for the Gunners, where he was an absolute  stalwart for ten seasons and whilst they were still in Woolwich, and before that, at Thames Ironworks. And for the former he still retains one distinction, if distinction it be, of never scoring a goal for the club and one record still  - as the Arsenal player, who has played the most games without winning either medal or cup.    

It is know that Roderick, "Roddy" for short and born in 1877, arrived in London aged twenty to work in Canning Town at the Ironworks shipyard there. It is unclear if he came south to look for work and found football or was hired by the firm because of known existing football prowess, although, curiously and unlike his two contemporaries, he has no apparent playing-record in the Highland capital. That is apart from a possible connection with the same pair and their club, Thistle, albeit from his birth-place and later residence in the now city Clachnacuddin, "Clach", might be more likely.      

It so happened that the start of the Great War coincided with McEachane's footballing career coming to an end. He was thirty-six when he played his last game in November 1913 as Arsenal moved north of the river, after which he faded from the picture. In fact much more is known of him that is shown. His father, Peter and Indian-born, was a Smithy Hammerman and it may have been the metal trade that started the young Roddy on his road south. In 1891 he is recorded aged fourteen already as a railway rivet-boy now living a hundred and fifty yards from the "Clach" ground. In 1901 he is boarding in London's East End in Bromley-by-Bow as a boiler-maker. In 1906 on his marriage his address, listed as a professional footballer, is given as 35, Vambery Rd. in Plumstead near the then Arsenal Manor Ground and in 1911 it is still in Plumstead at 25, Leghorn Rd.. And it was there he remained, in 1918, 1939 still on Leghorn Rd., with his wife, Bertha, two of their three children and back boiler-making, and on his death at the aged of seventy-four in 1952. 

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