Alexander "Sandy" Higgins Jnr.

Like his father, Alex Higgins Snr., Sandy Higgins was born in Kilmarnock in 1885. Indeed the senior debuts of both would be with the home-town club, although good parts of their respective careers, indeed in Sandy's case, life, were spent in England. In fact Sandy, having appeared for Newcastle United for a decade and half, marrying and having a family in the city to then return north of the border only briefly, was to live out much of his all too short life back on Tyneside once more, dying in 1939 in Byker at the age of just fifty-three.   

Sandy had spent much of his childhood in the English Midlands as his father played for Derby and then Nottingham Forest but at nine he was back in Killy with no doubt he learned the game there, in this case unlike his father not a centre- but an inside forward, at least theoretically. 

He began as a junior with "Bell Vue", possibly Bellevue in Bonnyton, an old mining village now part of the larger town, from where his rise was rapid. At eighteen had moved up to senior level, albeit as a reserve, and in 1905 at already nineteen had gone South. But he went to a powerful team, one that had been for several years and for a decade would remain the best, in the English Football League at least. He had to bide his time, in fact two full years before the first of twelve appearances in 1907-8, and at centre-forward, rising to thirty-one in 1908-9, winning the League, and the following season fewer starts but from inside-forward the FA Cup. In all Sandy would make 150 League appearances for the Toon, officially still retained through The Great War when he served in the Yorkshire Regiment and the Durham Light Infantry and was awarded the Military Medal. 

Moreover, just before the war in 1913 he had married a Newcastle lass, Lillian "Lily" Watson. They were to have five children, three boys and two girls, all born in England and, although for a season on being released by Newcastle he returned to Kilmarnock, now at the age of thirty-five, he would cross the border once more. He spent a season at Nottingham Forest and a short period as player-manager of Jarrow before turning fully to coaching, at Norwich, at Wallsend, for a year back at Rugby Park once more and another in Switzerland.

But that seems to be more or less it. He then seems to step back from the game to run a grocery in Byker and a pub in Newcastle city itself. Indeed he might have been expected to settle until comfortable retirement and beyond. But the Higgins were not long lived. His father had died at fifty-six. Sandy did not even make that passing away at just fifty-three, to be buried at the local Heaton Cemetery and survived by Lilian by the best part of three decades. She would die still on Tyneside in 1978.

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