John Dewar

Tony Onslow   13/02/2021 4comments  |  Jump to last

Thanks to the British Newspaper Archive website, the mystery of John Dewar, who made a single appearance for Everton, can be revealed. He was born in September 1867 in the Renfrewshire village of Strathbungo (today part of the City of Glasgow) and was the second child of Andrew, a stonemason, and his wife Janet. The family had relocated to the Kinning Park area of Glasgow when John became an apprentice to his Father and play junior football with Well Park with whom he won the Glasgow Junior Cup.

Around 1882 he progressed to senior football with Thistle FC (once a Scottish League club) before moving to Third Lanark (dissolved in 1967) with whom he represented the Glasgow FA against their counterparts from Dunbartonshire and Lanarkshire. He next became the club secretary of Glasgow Wanderers and oversaw their election into the newly formed Scottish Federation League before crossing the Border to join Sunderland Albion during the late summer of 1891.

This now defunct organisation had been formed in 1888 after Sunderland AFC had decided to turn professional and move to a new home on Newcastle Road. Albion took over their old Blue House ground, improved the facilities, and became a founder member of the Football Alliance one year later. However, due to the lack of support and Sunderland AFC becoming Football League champions, they withdrew after two seasons and had transferred to the Northern Alliance League when Dewar took up a permanent position in the side.

The league season began badly for the Albion committee who, after a 6-0 defeat by Stockton, detailed Dewar back to Scotland with licence to return with several new players. This gesture convinced the FA committee that Sunderland Albion should be excused from the qualifying rounds of the national knockout and begin the campaign in Round One where they defeated Football Alliance side Birmingham St George 4-0. The victory granted them a home draw with Nottingham Forest who produced a record crowd of 8,000 people to the Blue House Ground. The visitors won the game 1-0.

With local rivals, now branded the Team of all Talents, going from strength to strength, Sunderland Albion slowly faded and went into oblivion. Next August, John Dewar was granted a trial period with Everton.

His arrival in Liverpool was overshadowed by the opening of Goodison Park but he took part in the celebrations which coincided with a game against Bolton Wanderers. The next day, Dewar took part in the Football League game against Nottingham Forest in front of a crowd of 12,000 people and “acquitted himself well” as the game ended in a 2-2 draw. The Scot then took his place in the Combination X1 where he made 5 appearances. On the 29th of October he “signed off” his Football League papers, for which he received a compensation fee of £27, before returning to Scotland.

The 1901 census finds John Dewar, now married to Janet Rowat, living in the Cathcart area of Glasgow with a family of 4 children. He had achieved the rank of master builder when he died on 12th of September, 1948 at his home at Kendal Avenue in Giffnock and was buried at Newton Means Cemetery in East Renfrewshire.

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Alan J Thompson
1 Posted 14/02/2021 at 05:51:36
Received compensation for signing off, the modern day equivalent might be signing with a new club after being out of contract at the last one or a form of testimonial albeit John Dewar would have been about 30 years old at the time and only played one game for Everton.

There was a time when retiring Everton players seemed to be found a pub to run; I remember Alex Parker running one in Runcorn. It might be interesting to see where and how players from before the 1970s ended up in retirement.

David Greenwood
2 Posted 14/02/2021 at 18:49:35
Thanks Tony,

Another great read about very different times.

Tony Onslow
3 Posted 14/02/2021 at 20:05:45
AJ: Answers to what became of the Everton championship winning side of 1891,

Dave Jardine returned to the Scottish Lowlands where he ran a Tailoring Business. He is buried near Lockerbie.

A Hannah returned to Scotland and ended his working days as a Security Officer at the John Brown Shipyard; he is buried in Clydebank.

Danny Doyle returned to Celtic, where he ran a Whiskey Business; he is buried in Glasgow.

Danny Kirkwood remain in Liverpool and ran his own business; he died in Wallasey.

John Holt, after joining Reading, was a partner in a Mineral Water business and died at Haywards Heath, Sussex.

Wattie Campbell became a Chief Engineer in the Merchant Navy; he died in Liverpool.

Alex Latta worked in the shipbuilding business; he died on the Wirral.

Alec Brady returned to Scotland, worked at the Singer Sawing Machine factory in Clydebank and died at Renton.

Fred Geary remained in Liverpool, ran a Public House, and is buried in Anfield Cemetery.

Alf Millward moved to Southampton, ran a Public House, and died in Winchester.

Edgar Chadwick returned to the family Grocery business in Blackburn and worked there until he died.

Alan J Thompson
4 Posted 15/02/2021 at 05:11:39
Tony (#3); Thanks for that and it makes me wonder if they were a talented set of people in life in general or was a case of how life was then, succeed or perish.

Again, many thanks, most illuminating.


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