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John Thomson - "Me and John, 75 years on"
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Me and John...................... by Da J Doc
After 75 years the regard and sorrow still shown in the Celtic community towards the un-timely death of one John Murie Galloway McCallum Thomson is as strong today as it was in 1931.
Being a Celtic supporter in Kirkcaldy for the last thirty years I learned from an early age of the young goalkeeper from Cardenden who died whilst on the field of play and have always felt some kind of affinity towards him over the years.
I now know of course that John was actually born in my hometown of Kirkcaldy and latterly moved with his family to the small mining village of Cardenden some ten or so miles away. Today I decided to investigate for myself the local landmarks that surround the areas which have seen the legendary keepers travels from birth through to death.
We shall start at the beginning..............
Pictured above is 74 Balfour Street, Kirkcaldy the birth place of John a mere two streets from my own home. Either purposefully by an occupant who knows their history or simply by happy coincidence the close that separates the flats has been painted Green and White! (Look closely in the doorway)
From here we took the short trip to Kirkcaldy museum..................
The permanent John Thomson display in Kirkcaldy museum, which includes.......
Johns Scotland cap from season 1930-31.
An original Scotland goalkeepers jersey worn by John.
Medals awarded to John ThomsonFrom left to right............
- Scottish cup medal , 1927, Celtic 3 East Fife 1.
- Medal for Scotland England International, 1931.
- Glasgow football association medal, 1927/28.
- Medal for game at Newcastle, Scots Vs Anglo-Scots 1928.
- Scottish cup medal, 1931, Celtic 4 Motherwell 2.
The Scottish Cup medals on display were won under Celtic legend Willie Maley, who can be quoted as saying many things about John, some well known some not, but my favourite has always been the following:
|"Among the galaxy of talented goalkeepers whom Celtic have had, the late lamented John Thomson was the greatest."|
Next we headed west towards his hometown after his family left Kirkcaldy, Cardenden.
John’s home in Cardenden present day, where his body lay on arrival from Glasgow, the scene here on the day of his funeral must have been immense given the tightness of the small Cul-de-sac it sits in.
(If the owners of this house happen upon this I thank them for the pictures I took, I did knock on your door to ask permission but to no answer!)
From John’s house we travelled up to the site of the Lady Josephine mine where both John and his Father worked (along with his brothers).
Pictures are of the memorial to those who died in a mine collapse, it is also dedicated to all who worked there over the years.
Just before (or after depending on which way you arrive!) you reach Johns final resting place you will pass a new court of modern houses which save for the memorial at his grave, is the only permanent thing linking John and Cardenden together.
Finally we moved solemnly on to Johns final resting place...............
The inscription on the memorial reads…………………
SCOTLAND'S INTERNATIONAL GOALKEEPER
who died 5th September 1931
aged 22 years
The result of injuries received at Ibrox Park
beloved son of John and Jean Thomson.
"Honest and upright he played the game
Beloved and respected he made his name".
France 1930 England, Wales, Ireland 1931
English League 1929-30-31
Irish League 1929
WITH CELTIC FOOTBALL CLUB
Scottish Cup Medals 1927-31
Glasgow Cup Medals 1927-28-30
My son braving the elements!
The Wreaths you see are from various local CSC’s as well as one from the Celtic supporters association.
I had hoped there would have been one there from Celtic football club but maybe there would be later.
So now you have reached the end of my journey today, some 75 years on from that tragic day, but before i sum things up i would like you all to spare a thought for another man whos heart was broken along with thousands of others, Sam English, the Rangers forward that day who collided with John, it would be easy to demonise him as many at the time did but my personal feeling is one of sorrow having read many stories of what became of Mr English and the abuse his children and grandchildren suffered years after the event, I'm sure every decent Celtic fan would agree that vilification just isn't the Celtic way.
In summary i recommend taking the time to visit all the locations on the John Thomson tour, as well as taking the time to read Tom Greigs excellent "My search for Celtic's John".
I would also like to thank fitzpas and the Moderation team (past + present) in my 2000th post for providing Celtic supporters the world over with a fresh and innovative meeting place where everyone is welcome!
Da_J_Doc-~ (and Doc Jr!)
P.S. A big thanks to a fellow supporter called John, whom i met today at Johns grave and was kind enough to take some pictures of me and my son for us, hopefully he should be reading this as I made him aware of KDS!!!!!
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