Ronnie Orr
(Ronald Guiness (Orr) Gunion)

Ronnie Orr aka Ronald Orr Gun(n)ion or as he was actually born Ronald Guiness Gunion was another product of Ayrshire pit-villages, like Glenbuck, that have now faded from the map but in their day produced a flow of sportsmen. In Orr's case the birth-place was Bartonholm between Kilwinning and Irvine, the year 1876, he was the sole footballer but there would be three champion amateur golfers to emerge from the colliers rows. 

The name complications are due to both parents. His father, John, was Irish-born, with his surname spelt several ways. She, his mother, Catherine, appears to have been born a McGinnis in Arisaig in the Highlands, hence Guiness Gunion. 

However, John Gunion's middle name was Orr. We know this because, as already a father of at least two children by Catherine, in 1874 he was cited under both names in a paternity suit in Irvine brought by a second lady in his life called Thomson. Moreover, we also know that as a Gunnion he died in 1885 at the age of just forty-six, at which point for reasons unknown Catherine then at some point decided to adopt the family name of Orr, since in 1901 she is recorded as such. And Ronnie just seems to have followed suit, at least as he embarked on a professional footballing career that would last over a decade and a half.

In fact football had begun as a winger at Kilwinning junior side, Monkcastle, for two seasons before in 1896 an ill-fated one Down South with Glossop and a return again to Kilwinning but this time to Eglinton and eventually to marriage. In February 1898 in the Catholic Church in Irvine and for that moment as Orr Gunion he wed Margaret Cairney, a mill-worker, also from Bartonholm. A son would be born the following year. And it was still from Eglinton, as a twenty-two year old, small but powerful, that that same year Ronnie was signed by St. Mirren. 

There, moving more centrally, he quickly became the club's leading scorer and in 1901, with Bob Bennie, was signed by Newcastle as it began the building of its great teams of the first decade of the 20th Century. Bennie would stay three seasons on Tyneside, making thirty-odd appearances. Orr would be there for seven campaigns, over one hundred and sixty starts, sixty goals, so better than one every three, winning the League in 1905 and 1907 and also being capped twice, both against England, an away draw but a home loss. Yet he remained a favourite neither with Toon fans or the selectors with the former in 1908 prompting a move to Liverpool. By then he was thirty-two and the Merseyside Reds were near the bottom of the First Division but with Raisbeck out with injury that would end his career Orr "navigated" firstly the team to second in the table and then the following season was top-scorer. 

However, time was catching up. In the second half of 1911-1912 he returned North for an unsuccessful few games with Raith Rovers, then did not play for six months before a season back on Tyneside but at South Shields outwith the League. It was followed by final retirement and a return in 1914 to Bartonholm and mining once more, he working as a Steamer Fireman. And it would be there in 1924, at just forty seven, that he once more as a Gunion would pass away of heart disease and already a widower. In 1919 Maggie, recorded as Margaret Orr, had simply been found dead at their house, aged only forty-two. 

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