The Scots New England-Trail

If New Jersey and particularly Kearny "soccer" was founded on the cotton thread of Clarks' of Paisley and the lino of Nairns' of Kirkcaldy so New England's game from the 1880s onward but especially the 1920s had its origins in spinning of both silk and cotton and once more thread, again from Paisley but this time Coats. Fast-flowing rivers provided the power in Fall River, just across the border in Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, in Providence, Pawtucket and Westerley and their surrounds. At one stage too there seventy mills in the coastal town of New Bedford, again in Massachusetts. And to begin with in all these placed Scotland and Lancashire provided the technical expertise and both plus Ireland the labour. 

And with the Scots and Lancastrians at first the and the Irish not far behind came football. Providence, Pawtucket and Fall River had thriving leagues from the 1880s. From 1887 clubs from all three towns took part in The American Cup, previously the reserve of New Jersey, Fall River Rovers winning it at first time of asking. And after the hiatus at the turn of the century these two regions plus the introduction of Pennsylvania, particularly the steel-town of Bethlehem, continued their rivalry right until the, as is now proven, temporary collapse of US football that came in the 1930s compounded by The Depression.    

Many Scots would from the beginning play as amateurs and officiate and administer the game in New England. They were there on the field in the joint Canadian-American party that arrived in Glasgow in late 1891 and from there toured Britain into the following year. Some others, like Jimmy Johnstone, would arrive after a career in the game at home, play on as an amateur and stay. More would come later and also stay, others still, starting with the very fly Henry Boyd, arriving and moving on, often back to Scotland. They are all now long-gone but the places where fate, their passion and/or their trade took them remain and are as good reason as any to tour, virtually or in person, an area that is both beautiful for its coast and coastal towns as it is interesting as an insight into an America of a century and a half ago, an old America that became the home of so many of our fellow Scots and out game. And, of course, Paisley's William Clark, the man who might be called "The Father of American Soccer, although starting the ball rolling in New Jersey at the first cotton-thread mill he would run, is buried in Westerley on the state-line between Rhode Island and the second just across the river in Connecticut.   

The Players

Alexander Love - Pawtucket Free Wanderers, RI

Henry Boyd 

James Johnston - Pawtucket, RI

Dougie Campbell - Fall Rver, Mass. 

Bill Paterson - Springfield Babes,, Fall River F.C., New Bedford Whalers, Fall River, all Mass. and Providence Gold Bugs, R.I.

William Clark Jnr. (ONT)

Alexander Jeffery - Pawtucket Free Wanderers, RI

Joe Kennaway - Johnston, RI et al

Tom Blair - Fall River and New Bedford, Mass. and Pawtucket, RI

Neil Munro, Abercorn and Pawtucket Free Wanderers, R.I.

Alexander Meiklejohn 
- YMCA, Pawtucket, RI

William Moore - YMCA, Pawtucket, RI

Jim Montgomerie - New Bedford, Mass.

Jack Lyons - Providence, RI

Jimmy Howieson - Various club in UK and Ireland and New Bedford Whalers


Andy Auld - Johnston, RI et al

Bob Perry - Pawtucket, RI

Tec White - Fall River, Mass.

George Aimer - Providence, RI

Jock Ferguson - Pawtucket, RI

Jimmy Oswald - Providence. RI

Charlie McGill - Fall River, Mass.

Alex Lorimer - Fall River and New Bedford, Mass. and Pawtucket, RI 

Bobby Walker - Pawtucket, RI

Denis Lawson - Providence, RI

Billy Adam - Pawtucket, RI

Gordon Burness 
- Canada, New Bedford and Fall River, Mass. and Pawtucket, RI

Jimmy Gallagher - Pawtucket, RI & Fall River, Mass.

Geordie Robertson - Motherwell and Sheffield Wednesday 

Malcolm Goldie 
- Fall River, Pawtucket, RI  & New Bedford, Mass.

Findlay Kerr - Fall River, Mass. and Pawtucket, RI

Tommy McFarlane
 - Fall River, Mass. & Pawtucket, RI.

Tommy Steel - New Bedford, Mass. & Fall River, RI.

Frank Crawley - Blackburn, Lincoln, Accrington and New Bedford Whalers

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