John M. Harvey
John M. Harvey
A. Player

born in Scotland

John McDonald Harvey was born on Monday, 4th December, 1871, in Whiteinch, Glasgow.

The midfielder signed for Thistle in August, 1892, having most recently been with Minerva.

Aged 20, he made his first known appearance on Saturday, 6th August, 1892, in a 5-2 friendly win at home to Celtic.

John scored his first known goal for Thistle on Saturday, 6th August, 1892, in a 5-2 friendly win at home to Celtic, joining our scoring debutants club in the process.

He scored the last of his 12 known goals on Saturday, 10th March, 1894, in a 13-1 win at home to Glasgow Thistle in the SFL Second Division.

He played his last known game for the club on Monday, 3rd January, 1898, in a 6-1 defeat away to Rangers in the SFL First Division, having appeared for the Thistle on at least 67 occasions.

His club-list included Minerva, Partick Thistle, Third Lanark, Derby County, Ilkeston Town (old) and Abercorn.

John died on Sunday, 14th December, 1941, in Yorkhill, Glasgow, aged 70.

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Bio Extra

The son of George Harvey (b. 1846 Glasgow, house joiner) and Helen Harvey (b. 1849 Denny, née McDonald). Sadly, their first-born (named John) died soon after birth in November 1870. It'd be fair to say, our John carried his unknown wee brother's name well.

John took his father's profession as a house joiner, and played as a footballer for fitness and to supplement his income. The half-back played with Minerva as a teenager, where he enjoyed some considerable success and gained noteriety. They had risen to become Glasgow's leading junior club, but folded at the end of season 1891-92, homeless and strapped for cash. Their record that season speaks for itself: P36, W28, D6, L2, F154, A39. It was a season in which they won the Glasgow Junior Cup and the Maryhill Charity Cup but, most impressively of all, they won the Scottish Junior Cup, beating Benhar Violet (Harthill) 5-2 at Cathkin Park. John captained the team and won representative honours with the Glasgow Junior FA, also serving as captain. Thistle signed eight Minervans for the 1892-93 season, namely William Alder, Andrew Stewart, James Mulvey, Robert Currie, Jacky Robertson, John Harvey, Maurice White and Joe Leiper. Between them they would make around 330 appearances and score some 50 goals.

The first game of that 1892-93 season, a friendly, saw an excellent crowd of 2,600 at Inchview for a game against Celtic, which had been advertised as being against the Celtic first XI. However, a weakened side was sent to Whiteinch, still expected by Celtic to be good enough to win. Through goals from Ingram, Murray, Bruce and Paul, and fine performances from Leiper and Harvey, Thistle recorded their first-ever win over Celtic, by 5-2. Thistle were playing their second season of League football, in the Scottish Alliance, and results were fairly patchy. Luckily for Thistle, you didn't actually need to win matches to make progress in the Scottish Cup, as John would find out. Motherwell visited Inchview in the third preliminary round of the Scottish Cup and took a 2-0 lead before goals from Willie Paul and John Harvey took the game to a replay. The following week Thistle arranged for one-shilling rail tickets to the game in the hope that a good support would travel. The supporters were rewarded when the team fought out a 3-3 draw. There being no provision for second replays, both teams progressed to the fourth round draw!

John was joint-top of the competitive appearances list (24) in his first season, but sat out of the end-of-season Greenock Charity Cup, a tournament which was won by Thistle. Thistle resigned from the Scottish Alliance at the end of the campaign to become a founding member of the Scottish Football League Second Division in 1893-94. It was another mid-table season, but there were some memorable wins on the way; John played (and scored) in the club's all-time record League victory – a 13-1 win at home to Glasgow Thistle in March 1894! John also obliged Third Lanark as a guest during this season.

Following the trend of chasing a lucrative season down south, John played with First Division Derby County in 1894-95, along with former Jags Watty Keay and Joe Leiper. John found it hard to register regular game time at that level, and made a short term move to Ilkeston Town before the season was through. Getting wind of his imminent return to Scotland, Thistle made an approach in the close season of 1895, but John opted to join his old Thistle teammate, Willie Freebairn, at Abercorn. John enjoyed his two seasons with the Abbies, winning the Second Division title in 1896 and subsequently experiencing top-flight football with them in 1896-97. He wasn't getting a regular game towards the end of that season however, so when Thistle renewed their interest in the summer of 1897, John jumped at the chance to join the 'Meadowside revolution'. The Jags were flying the Second Division flag at their new ground in 1897-98 and were looking forward to their first-ever season as a top-flight club. Unfortunately for John he had next to no involvement in the first team, a 6-1 league defeat at Ibrox in January representing his sole contribution at that level. 5 days later he had a chance at revenge as the Thistle reserves squared up to Rangers in the Scottish Cup final… a 0-6 loss this time. It was not the best week of John's life!

We get a sense that John had a strong affinity with Partick Thistle. They were his local team after all, and he had two spells at the club. In the 1910s, with Thistle now at Firhill, he was serving as a director, a measure of his prominence as a respected player too. At this time, some of the more football-minded directors were trusted to have a hand in team selection, and John did some scouting for the club, usually on his old juniors turf.

John married and raised a family with Violet Craig. Some sort of terrible head injury seems to have led to his demise just after his 70th birthday in 1941, a fractured skull being the stated cause. His son, also John, signed the registry entry. Had John lived another 10 years or so, he'd have seen his grandson, also John, make his debut for Partick Thistle. Grandson John would become a Partick Thistle legend, winning cups, playing and scoring in Europe, and clocking up a mighty 434 appearances as a Jag, from 1951 to 1965. Done his Grandad proud!


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