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PersonalFullname: Joseph Cassidy
aka: Joe Cassidy
Nickname: Trooper Joe
Born: 10 October 1896
Died: 21 July 1949
Birthplace: Cadder, Lanarkshire
Signed: 16 Oct 1912
Left: 1915 (Black Watch (HLI)), 9 Aug 1924 (to Bolton Wanderers)
Position: Forward, Inside-left
Debut: Motherwell 1-0 Celtic, League, 15 Mar 1913
International Caps: 4 caps
International Goals: 1 goal
BiogCadder-born Joseph Cassidy signed for Celtic in October 1912 from Vale of Clyde and made his debut in March the next year in a 1-0 league defeat at Mothewell.
The son of James and Bridget Cassidy, Joe was a clever and gifted inside-left. Diminutive in stature, Cassidy was a massive favourite with the Celtic support and his wonderful attacking skills were right at home at Parkhead.
His Celtic career was interrupted by World War I in which Cassidy won a Military Medal whilst with the Black Watch. It was after the war when the man now nicknamed 'Trooper Joe' really came to prominence as a Celt.
He first made his name in the second match of the famous 'two games in a day' on 15 April 1916. He'd actually missed the first match (arrived late from Perth Barracks).
Despite his small stature Cassidy was a great header of the ball and he had a keen eye for goal. His deadly instinct in front of goal was perfectly illustrated in the 1921 Ne'erday game with Rangers at Ibrox when Joe stole the show with both goals in a 2-0 victory for the Bhoys. It was a performance that had the travelling Celtic support dancing through the streets of Glasgow on their way home. The problem was that he was dubbed the unenviable tag of 'The New Quinn'. Quite a burden to carry. However, he fought well to meet this.
Originally was an inside-left but the departure of the mercurial Tommy McInally opened the door to allow Cassidy to move to centre-forward.
Almost single handedly Cassidy inspired Celtic to Scottish Cup victory in 1923 hitting an amazing eleven goals on the Bhoys run to glory, in what was otherwise a poor season for Celtic. Notably, he scored in every match in that campaign except one, and even then he had a shot off the post.
A great goal scorer and creator, Joe was ranked by Jimmy McGrory as the best inside-left he ever played with. McGrory rated him as his mentor in the art of heading the ball and picked him in his all-time XI. Cassidy actually played a strong role in McGrory's development.
Renowned for his sense of fair play, off the pitch Joe is described as being a polite and modest gentleman with manners as abundant as his scoring skills.
Sadly, 1923/24 was another poor season for Celtic, and Cassidy was unfairly scapegoated for this this.
This hero of the trenches and terraces eventually left Parkhead for good in 1924 - to Bolton - having made 204 appearances and scoring an impressive 104 goals. It was said that "[Joe had] left home when he left Celtic".
The truth is that his loss was greater in retrospect than at first seems. His transfer, following on from John Gilchrist's, turned Celtic into a club prepared to sell and embrace mediocrity. Something that we were to pay the price for from the late 1930's right through to early 1960's. When he was at Celtic, we were always guaranteed some entertainment. The club had begun a slow decline around the 1920's. The loss of Cassidy was another marker down this road.
Cassidy went on to have spells with Cardiff, Clyde, Dundee, Ballymena, Morton and Dundalk. While at Dundee Cassidy lined up for the Dens Park club against the Bhoys and was given rousing reception from a Celtic support which held an eternal affection for 'Trooper Joe'. Even after the game had started Joe's every touch was greeted with applause from the Hoops faithful.
Joe must also be one of the most (if not the most) loaned out player in Celtic's history. Loan spells at: Value of Atholl, Kilmarnock, Abercorn, Ayr Utd (x2), Reading & Clydebank, plus time in the army forces!
Joe's untimely death in July 1949 was met with great sadness by Celtic fans distraught at the early passing of an all time great. Joe Cassidy will always be remembered as a Celtic hero.
| APPEARANCES ||LEAGUE||SCOTTISH CUP||LEAGUE CUP||EUROPE||TOTAL|
Honours with CelticLeague
Newspaper cuttings in an elastoplast tin
WHEN CELTIC HISTORY WAS MADE
By David Potter (from KeepTheFaith website)
Celtic author and historian David W Potter tells the story of Joe ‘Trooper' Cassidy, whose Celtic life and times were the stuff of a Hollywood hero. Decorated with the Military Medal for gallantry in World War I, ‘Trooper' Cassidy became a Celtic Legend whose goals and footballing ability helped win Leagues and Cups for Celtic. Another MUST READ for Tims that want to know their history.
Joe Cassidy (who really should be called Joe Cassidy II, for there was an earlier one who played in the 1890s) was only 16 when he joined Celtic in 1912. He looked as if he had the ability as an inside forward, but he was painfully slight of build. Maley decided that the lad was worth keeping, but that he needed to be farmed out to various clubs. So Joe learned his trade before the War at Vale of Atholl, Kilmarnock, Abercorn and Ayr, while still being a registered Celtic player, before he fell under the spell of Kitchener's pointing finger and joined the Black Watch in 1915.
“Trooper” Joe Cassidy played sporadically for various Army and other teams during the War, and now and again for Celtic when he was home on leave, notably in the second of the “two in a day” games on April 15 th 1916. He was fortunate to avoid shells and bullets at the Somme and Ypres, and his greatest moment came not on the football field but on the battlefield, when days before the War ended in November 1918, Joe won the Military Medal for gallantry. This usually means saving someone's life in circumstances of great danger to oneself, and the Military Medal is the highest award that a private or a trooper can win.
Joe suddenly appeared home on leave on Hogmanay 1918 and was fit enough to be put into the Celtic team which earned a 1-1 draw at Ibrox on New Year's Day, 1919. Thus Joe helped to win the flag in 1919. But it was another New Year Day game at Ibrox which really won him a place in the hearts of the Celtic Faithful. This was when he scored the two great goals in 1921 which won the game 2-0 before 70,000 fans. Contemporary accounts are rich in their descriptions of the Celtic Brake Clubs, after the game returning to the East End and the Celtic heartlands, with Cassidy 2 Rangers 0 chalked on them, as well as others which said Sinn Fein 2 Black and Tans 0 – a reference to the War of Independence which was going on in Ireland!
Joe, a tricky and resourceful inside forward with an eye for goal, was part of the mighty forward line of McAtee, Gallacher, McInally, Cassidy and McLean which won the League in 1922. But it was the departure of Tommy McInally to Third Lanark which freed the centre forward spot for Joe Cassidy in 1922-23. In spite of a broken jaw, Cassidy played brilliantly in that role hitting 22 League goals.
But it was the Scottish Cup that everyone wanted to win in 1923, and in Celtic's case particularly so, for they had not won it since the Great War. It was Cassidy who did the needful with 11 goals in 6 games, scoring in every round except the Quarter Final against Raith Rovers when Dave Morris managed, for once, to keep him quiet, although it was Cassidy's pass to Adam McLean which scored the only goal of the game.
Joe scored in the first minute of the game against Motherwell in the Semi Final, and his was the goal which beat Hibs in the Final. It was a drab Final until late in the game when a long through ball from Jean McFarlane found Joe Cassidy unmarked and he headed the winner, which was greeted with a huge cheer from inside the ground and an answering one from outside the ground where gathered the limbless War veterans and the poverty stricken urchins who could not afford the entrance. But they did get a glimpse of Joe Cassidy with the Scottish Cup as the team came out at the end!
But, however much Cassidy was adulated and adored, the team fell apart through endless bickering and the departure of high profile players, like captain Willie Cringan, the following season. Even though Cassidy scored 25 goals in that ill-fated season of 1923-24, Maley thought that Cassidy was also dispensable and allowed him to go to Bolton Wanderers in August 1924, convinced that the young McGrory would take over the goal scoring mantle of Joe Cassidy, whom the young McGrory idolised.
Joe “left home when he left Celtic” and there followed a long period of unsettled football for Bolton Wanderers, Cardiff City, Dundee, Clyde, Ballymena, Dundalk and Morton, before he retired in 1932. He actually won an Irish Cup medal with Ballymena in 1929, and he was well thought of in his brief spell at Dens Park. On the day of John Thomson's Celtic debut in February 1927, Joe, now over 30, was visibly toiling and clearly losing out to the brilliant play of Celtic's excellent Peter Wilson, his direct opponent. The Celtic fans sang the old American slave song “Poor Old Joe” – but this was no mockery of the great Cassidy. Rather it was sung in affection and love for one of Celtic's greatest players and the hero of a whole generation in those desperate years after the Great War.
Joe died in 1949 at the early age of 52, and he was much remembered.
In the early 1990s, the Celtic Board in their wisdom (or lack of it) appointed a man called Terry Cassidy to be the front man. Embarrassingly incompetent and bumblingly inept, Terry was not well regarded by Celtic fans, and one old fan said that he disgraced the name Cassidy. “It would have been far better if they could have resurrected old Joe…"
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