Jamestown Amateurs FC.
Jamestown village has a long tradition of producing different football clubs and a number of fine players, particularly in the golden era of Vale football 1872-1900. However, there was no great continuity of any of these clubs, their typical longevity being about 5 years, although that wasn’t helped in the first part of the twentieth century by two World Wars as well as the Great Depression which saw many young men leave the area in search of work. So the present Jamestown Amateurs are by far the longest-lasting of any of the Jamestown clubs. They date back to 1955 and not the 1870s, but of course that’s a lifetime to the players from the early years.
We are fortunate to have received an account of the founding of Jamestown Amateurs FC from one of the founders, James Porter and also a photograph and information about the Jamestown team which won the McTaggart Trophy in 1972 from Benjy Boyle. We are grateful to both of them for making the material available to the web-site.
Obviously the founders did a good job in setting the club up because it has not only survived longer than most other amateur football teams in the area, but it is still flourishing as its successful performances this season (2012-13) show.
The Founding of Jamestown Amateurs FC.
James Porter, one of the members of the first Jamestown Amateurs team of 1955 has written this account of the team’s early years.
“It was all started by a group of lads going to the Inler Park at the week-end for a kickabout. After doing that for a number of weeks with the same people being there every week-end, heads got together and Billy Cunningham and Bill Carr got in touch with the West of Scotland Amateurs people regarding entry to the West of Scotland League. The thing was that we needed changing and cleaning facilities. We got the Clarion Club shed across the road from Elliot’s Garage to change in. We washed in the Burn going through the Inler Park.
We were accepted anyway and our first game against the Shieldhall Dockers ended 2-2. There was a bit of crowd trouble that involved some guys who were members of our newly-formed committee. Billy Cunningham and Bill Carr who started the team both played, so we needed people to run the Club. A committee was formed whose members were
Davie Porter (who was James’s father)
In our first and second seasons we had Top Ten finishes.
In 1957 we had the best Jamestown team ever. We were
- Champions of the 3rd Division of the West of Scotland League
- Semi-finalists of the West of Scotland Amateur Cup
- Quarter-finalists of the Scottish Amateur Cup
Pretty good for a Third Division Club!
I was 16 when we started. I’m 73 now but I still never miss the Jamestown results in the local paper. I’m dead chuffed to see that Jamestown are doing so well and I’d like to pay respects to my team mates of the 1957 team. The team was
Can you imagine asking a team to wash in a burn these days? They bred hardier boys in the 1950s.
The McTaggart Trophy Winners - 1972
Thanks to Benjy Boyle we have a photograph of the Jamestown Amateurs team which won the McTaggart Trophy about 1972. By that time the Club was managed by Ian Gallacher, John O’Reilly and Bill Cunningham, who continued to run it for many years.
Jamestown beat Cardross Rock 3-1 in the final, which was played at the Inler Park.
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Back Row: ?..Bill Cunningham, Ken Bradley, Davie Kerr, Eric Cameron, Danny Wallace, Robert Young, Eck Cunningham, Ian Gallagher
Middle Row: Ian “Fergie” Ferguson, Denis McLaughlin, Benjy Boyle, Frank Young, Denis Harkins, Mandy Frew, Pat O’Reilly, Ben McAlpine
Front Row: Danny Todd, Eric Turner, Gus Donaldson, Ian Leitch, John O Reilly
The photo is a happy reminder of the days when footballers spent as much time and money in hairdressing salons as they did in pubs and clubs.
The eternally young Ben McAlpine had already retired from years of keeping goal for the Vale Academy FP when he started to play for Jamestown Amateurs. No wonder he was known as 'The Best Wee Goalie in the West'.
The Jamestown Supporters
Benjy Boyle has a tale which bears out James Porter’s story of the early Jamestown supporters, although it happened nearly 20 years after the one James remembers. Benjy was sitting in the Departure Lounge at Glasgow Airport a few years ago and he got chatting to the guy sitting next to him, who came from Glasgow. Benjy mentioned that he came from the Vale of Leven and right away the guy’s reaction was of the “are they still eating their weans down there?” variety. He told Benjy about a game he had played in for a team called Morrison's, as far as Benjy can remember, against a team which the guy called Jamieson Amateurs at the Inler Park and which descended into a general melee.
A Jamestown committee man, who was a well known Vale character at the time and whose name many would still recognise, was going round the touch-line spectators with an old-style heavy wooden collection box, complete with handle, collecting funds for the Amateurs. Something was said to him by a visiting supporter fan to which he took exception and he promptly walloped this stranger with the collection box, laying him out. Mayhem followed, with the Glasgow team leaving the field to help out their supporters. One or two Jamestown players joined in the fighting, but most were too bemused to do anything. After some time order was restored, the game was resumed and it was played out to a finish. As far as Benjy can remember there were no repercussions from officialdom.
Benjy had to admit to the guy that not only had he played for the Jamieson Amateurs, as he had called it, but he had also played in that game and remembered it well. The long arm of coincidence had to be recognised with a drink together before they went their separate ways again. Benjy says it was like wartime enemies meeting up years later and agreeing that the other was 'just like them', although he does say that this punch-up was an isolated incident.