James "Sunny Jim" Young

James "Sunny Jim" Young's story is of a player, who was to begin with a marginal professional player but one who matured into a fourteen years career with Celtic. He was born, the penultimate of eight, in 1882 in Kilmarnock, his mother from the town but his father from Newmilns and a warehouse-man. 

He himself began work as a Iron Turner, playing football with three local, junior clubs and another, Stewarton, outwith the town and failing a Kilmarnock trial. But at twenty he managed to find senior, albeit probably only semi-professional employment down South but outwith the League with Barrow, just as it had been founded as a club.

However, he must have impressed somehow because he was recruited, a reliable right-half, by Bristol Rovers, then in the Southern League and there he both very quickly met a lass from Gloucester, Florence Kate Coombs, and was signed by Celtic. The story is that the Glasgow club came to recruit a team-mate, the outside-right, Bob Muir, Sunny Jim professed home-sickness to the representative so Parkhead hired them both. Muir would stay a Bhoy for a season, Young rather more but not before in June 1903 in Bristol he and Kate were married, he recorded still as an Iron Turner.

At Celtic Jim Young won the Scottish Cup in his first season. He was a leading member of the squad that would take the League titles in a row. In fact he was to win a total of six Cups and nine Leagues, playing on until 1916 when injury forced retirement at the age of thirty-four. And by that time he had in 1906 won a single cap but also represent the Scottish League six times. 

On hanging up his boots Sunny Jim took over the tenancy of the Royal Hotel in Killy, recorded as a Spirits Merchant. By then he and Kate had had two daughters and a son and they were seventeen, thirteen and nine respectively when in 1920 their father would be fatally hurt in an road-traffic accident, the motor-bike, on which he was riding pillion, in collision with a tram. As a result he was to die in hospital, aged just forty to be buried in Kilmarnock New Cemetery. Many former football colleagues and fans attended. Moreover, he would be followed only a little over decade later by his wife. Her passing would be in 1931, she just forty-eight and interred alongside him. 

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