Jimmy McMullan
Jimmy McMullan
Jimmy McMullan
● Jimmy McMullan, 1914 (LLF)

born in Scotland

James McMullan was born on Wednesday, 7th February, 1894, in Dunipace, Stirlingshire.

The 5' 6 (11st 7lbs) midfielder signed for George Easton's Thistle on Saturday, 4th October, 1913, having most recently been with Denny Hibernian.

Aged 19, he made his debut appearance on Saturday, 22nd November, 1913, in a 4-2 win at home to Kilmarnock in the SFL First Division.

Jimmy scored his first goal for Thistle on Saturday, 21st February, 1914, in a 4-1 win away to Kilmarnock in the Scottish Cup.

He scored the last of his 15 goals on Saturday, 7th February, 1925, in a 5-1 win at home to Dundee United in the Scottish Cup.

He played his last game for the club on Saturday, 6th February, 1926, in a 4-1 win at home to King's Park in the Scottish Cup, having clocked up an impressive 355 appearances as a Jag.

His club-list included Denny Hibernian, Partick Thistle, Maidstone United, Manchester City and Oldham Athletic.

Jimmy died on Friday, 27th November, 1964, in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, aged 70.

Bio Extra

What this 5' 6 left half lacked in height, he more than made up for with brawn, brain and tenacity. He was a sturdy and clever wee guy who had all the key attributes necessary for a first class midfielder, being a strong tackler, an astute reader of the play, and gifted in the art of finding the perfect pass. He was regarded as one of Scotland's finest half-backs of the 1920s, attaining infamy by captaining the "Wembley Wizards" in THAT 5-1 triumph of March, 1928. He was described as a quiet man, but always had a humorous twinkle in his eye, wise of mind and clear in purpose. Addressing his team-mates and countrymen in their hotel the night before the game at Wembley, Jimmy left them with one final instruction before bed - "pray for rain". Lo and behold, a steady drizzle the following day was just as the captain had ordered and his boys duly delivered!

Like many of his Thistle team-mates of the 1910s, Jimmy was familiar with the runners up medal, adding several of these to his silver badge gained with Denny Hibs in the Junior Cup final of 1912. However, greater prizes lay in store for this special player. Unfortunately, a Scottish Cup winners medal wasn't one of them! Jimmy missed two games of our eleven Cup ties, being injured for the Semi Final replay against Hearts and, heartbreakingly, the final itself against Rangers, having been injured whilst on national duty against England the week before. By way of some compensation, his international career was positively glittering. He would earn 16 full international caps for Scotland (8 whilst at Partick Thistle and 8 at Manchester City), captaining the country on several occasions. Following on from Neilly Gibson (1905) and Kenny Campbell (1921), Jimmy became the third player to captain Scotland whilst a Jag, doing so in a 1-1 draw at Wembley in 1924. In the final tally-up, he won FIVE British Championships with his country; in 1921, 1925, 1926, 1927 and 1929. This was a fair old twist from his unofficial international debut at Celtic Park on the 8th June, 1918, when Jimmy was the sole Scot to play FOR ENGLAND in a charity match AGAINST SCOTLAND. The English had suffered from call-offs and Jimmy was coaxed into playing. Scotland won 2-0, so our man was still a winner, despite being on the losing side!

The 26-year-old was given a mid-career boost in April, 1920, when he received a benefit, 5,000 turning out to see Thistle in a 4-4 thriller against an International Select. Although Jimmy had recently made his 250th appearance for the club in the Motherwell replay just 4 weeks earlier, no-one could possibly have dreamt that tonight might be his last game for the club but, as it soon transpired, that very much appeared to be the case. As previously stated, he missed the final through injury, and actually never appeared again in the 5 games which followed. What went on there, I cannot say, but Thistle supporters would have been dismayed to read the close season reports which emerged, intimating a financial dispute between he and the club. Disgusted, Jimmy refused to play the transfer game, despite an eye-watering sum of £5,000 being on the table from Newcastle. On a point of principle, Jimmy signed (as a player/manager) for non-League Maidstone United in Kent, where he was free of his senior registration papers, at once depriving Thistle of their best player and prize asset. In doing so, he sacrificed his international career, but got an early taste of management as compensation.

Thankfully, the Jimmy McMullan / Partick Thistle love/hate relationship didn't end there, an armistice being declared in the summer of 1923, whereafter Jimmy racked up another 100 appearances over the course of the next few seasons, naturally assuming the captain's role along the way. In February, 1926, Jimmy made a big money move to Manchester City, this time leaving with a great deal of goodwill and best wishes. He'd been a great servant to Thistle, and the club did very well to receive such a handsome fee of almost £5,000 for a 32-year-old player. Within a couple of months, Jimmy became the 13th Jag to play in an FA Cup final, but it was a runners-up medal again, Bolton winning the Cup for the second time in four seasons. Compounding the heartache, Jimmy arrived too late to save City from relegation. The Citizens bounced-back at the second time of asking though, and Jimmy added a Division 2 winners medal to his collection in 1928. He served at Maine Road until he was nearly 40, becoming a bit of a club legend as they re-established themselves in the top-flight, notably finishing 3rd in 1930. He never did win an FA Cup gold, again losing out (as a 39-year-old) in the 1933 final to Everton, three to nil.

Almost inevitably, Jimmy went on to manage a number of famous old clubs including Oldham Athletic, Aston Villa, Notts County and Sheffield Wednesday, eventually retiring from the game during the second World War. What a career, and what a character. 'The Rainmaker' was a Thistle man of the highest order.

(WS)



Historian's note: For decades, there's been a consensus amongst sources that Jimmy was born on Tuesday, 26th March, 1895 in Denny, Stirlingshire. However, new research in 2018 by Andy Mitchell showed that, in fact, he was born on Wednesday, 7th February, 1894, in Dunipace, Stirlingshire. It's also commonly reported that Jimmy started his career with Third Lanark but, as yet, we can find no contemporary source to back that up. We know from newspaper accounts that he signed for Thistle straight from Denny Hibernian, for whom he had played since 1911.

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