Thomas "Tod"


Thomas "Tod" Sloan was nicknamed for a for a famous but unstable American jockey of the era but could not have been less similar. Born in Thornliebank in 1880 he was the son of a Irish worker in the local dye-works and a local girl and all his life, personal and in football terms, would be spent in Glasgow's developing, south-western suburbs. He began in the junior game with local side, at nineteen spending a season with Glasgow Perthshire, which then played at Kelburn Park, before in 1900 signing for Third Lanark just as it was about to begin the move from the first to the second Cathkin Park, the second Hampden. And there he remained, for eleven seasons as a player, starting as a tall-long-limbed inside-forward, then centre-half and finally full-back. In 1904 from centre-half his team would win the Glasgow Cup and an only League title and he personally won an equally first and only cap. Moreover, the following year the team would take the Scottish Cup. Then after on-field retirement outwtih the club he sat on SFA committees, was also a member of the Football League management committee, whilst within it he became a director in 1919 and was elected Chairman in 1939.

Meanwhile he had been married at twenty-four to Jessie Cullen in Eastwood. They were to have two daughters. And he would tour in a way that for Scottish clubs was ground-breaking. In the summer of 1921 he went to Canada and the USA. In 1923 it was to South America. For the former Third Lanark had first been approached by the SFA but the scope was widened eventually to include other players, including internationals, who were to take part in twenty-five matches, starting in the Dominion, winning twenty-four, only drawing the last in Massachusetts to Fall River, 2-2. For the latter it was similar. The squad was mainly Third Lanark but augmented by guests from Motherwell, Hamilton, Raith, Falkirk, Clyde and Alloa. In fact Hughie Ferguson of Motherwell would be top-scorer on a trip that required journeys of three weeks each way and which, after the loss of the first game to a Buenos Aires select XI finished with four wins, two draws, against Uruguay in Montevideo and then Argentina, and two defeats. The Scots were said to have taken a little time to adjust to the hard grounds and this was the Uruguay team that a year later would win the Olympic Gold Medal. 

Outwith football Sloan was to have a number of different employments. He had as a young man worked as a joiner. He ran a restaurant of Rothesay for a while but he finished as a school teacher, subject "Manual Studies" i.e. carpentry and similar. And on retirement he and Jessie would live on the Nitshill Road until her death in 1959 at the age of eighty. His passing would be five years later, he aged eighty-three, in what looks to have been a nursing-home in Crookston. He is said to be buried Woodside Cemetery in Paisley. 

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