James Barry
James Barry
A. Player

probably born in Scotland

James David Barry was born on Saturday, 8th August, 1868, in Maryhill, Glasgow.

The defender signed for Thistle on Thursday, 4th October, 1894 (after a trial game), having most recently been with Duntocher Harp.

Aged 26, he made his first known appearance on Saturday, 29th September, 1894, in a 4-4 draw at home to Morton in the SFL Second Division.

There were no known goals for James during his spell with Thistle.

He made his second and final known appearance on Saturday, 6th October, 1894, in a 4-4 friendly draw at home to Dykehead.

His club-list included Duntocher Harp and Partick Thistle.

James died on Monday, 13th August, 1945, in Dalmuir, West Dunbartonshire, aged 77.

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Bio Extra

The son of John Barry (soldier) and Honora Barry (nÊe Leonard) who were married in Limerick in February 1859. When James was born in Maryhill in 1868, his father (b.1832) was described as a Chelsea Pensioner, so was probably in receipt of some sort of payment afforded to injured veterans. Mum occasionally styled herself as Leonora Barry!

James' elder brother, John George, was the original "match Secretary" for Duntocher Harp (founded 1888) and he may well be a contender for co-founder of that club. John George was a local big fish in a small pond, being a county councillor in Dunbartonshire, and on the committee of the Irish National Foresters. Interestingly, James's son, Dan, would also serve on that same committee.

James and his brothers thought of themselves as Irish. There is more of a historical footprint for John George with speeches recorded in the press and, we paraphrase, “Duntocher can be the place where Irishmen stick fast regardless of creed or class.”

In footballing terms, James was a right back who had been playing with Duntocher Harp when he got a trial game for Partick Thistle. 3,000 were at Inchview on 29th September 1894 and bore witness to a 4-4 draw at home to Morton in the League. The great Willie Paul put Thistle 4-2 up in the second half, but two goals from former Jag Robert Melrose meant that the spoils were shared. James impressed enough that he was signed a few days later, and he featured again the following week in a home friendly versus Dykehead. Remarkably, that match also finished 4-4, although this time Thistle fought back from 2-4 down to earn the draw. The concession of 8 goals in 8 days seems to have went against James at this point, for he was very soon back playing in Duntocher with the Harp.

However, James landed in hot water as a result of turning out in a Dumbartonshire cup tie for Duntocher Harp against Dalmuir Thistle (won 4-2) on 20th October 1894, whilst a registered Thistle player. Reporting on an SFA meeting, the Scottish Referee (16/11/1894) wrote that James had written a letter to explain himself. In it he admitted the offence, but stated that he'd only played for 35 minutes in the game and that his transfer from the Thistle to the Harp (ratified on 24th October 1894, 4 days after the game) was pending. It was decided that he had committed a breach of the professional rule and the matter was referred to the Dumbartonshire Association for their consideration. At their committee meeting held at the Lennox Temperance Hotel in Dumbarton (15th November 1894) they ordered that the Dalmuir Thistle v Duntocher Harp tie be replayed in Dalmuir on 24th November. In any case, the Harp prevailed by 3 goals to 2!

One of James's sons, Dan Berry (b. 1911, d. 1967), coached Duntocher Harp in the early to mid 1950s. As his son Raymond (b. 1954, grandson of James) tells, “there was a spare maroon top in the house that was the Harp colours which as a wee boy made me like Hearts.”

In his personal life, James was a small boat builder according to the 1891 census, and was later described as a shipwright to trade. He married Mary Mackie in 1895 and they had 13 children, but 4 died in childhood. Grandson Raymond explains a little about the long time span between them: “He had my dad in 1911 at the age of 43. My dad had me in 1954 aged 43 and both went on to have further children. As you can see, the Barry men had their kids late!”

Raymond, who resides in the Canberra territory of Australia with his own kids and grandson, tells us that he once enjoyed a great corporate hospitality package at Firhill when the enigmatic John Lambie was manager. Thank you Raymond - it's always a positive delight to bring our old Jagsmen alive - and what an incredible timeline stretch!


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