William Wallace
William Wallace
William Wallace
● William Wallace (ANC)

born in Scotland

William Wallace was born on Saturday, 16th October, 1875, in Dunoon, Argyll and Bute.

The goalkeeper joined Thistle for a trial period in February, 1900, having most recently been with Third Lanark.

Aged 24, he made his debut appearance on Saturday, 10th March, 1900, in a 1-0 friendly win away to East Stirlingshire.

In doing so, William joined the goalies' clean-sheet debutant's club.

He kept his second and last clean-sheet on Saturday, 17th March, 1900, in a 4-0 win away to Clyde in the Western League.

He played his last game for the club on Saturday, 31st March, 1900, in a 4-2 win away to Hamilton Academical in the SFL Second Division, having appeared as a Jag on 4 occasions.

His club-list included Dunoon, Morton, Port Glasgow Athletic, Third Lanark, Partick Thistle, Heart of Midlothian, Abercorn and Rangers.

William died on Wednesday, 9th May, 1934, in Dunoon, Argyll and Bute, aged 58.

Bio Extra

At Partick Thistle we carry the flower of Scotland as a badge of honour, and it's therefore only right that two of our goalkeepers from the early years were WILLIAM WALLACE and ROBERT BRUCE! William's early claim to footballing fame was that he played his part in Morton's run to the Scottish cup semi final in 1897. He signed for Port Glasgow Athletic a few months later and was a regular in their Second Division campaign of 1897-98. William earned himself a winners medal in the Scottish Qualifying Cup that season. His good form took him to Third Lanark in August 1898, but there he was only ever back-up, initially to Alex Milne, and then to future-internationalist, Jimmy Raeside.

In the springtime of 1900, the Jags were going for the Second Division flag but the regular keeper, Archie McDonald, was out of form and low on confidence. John C. Spence stood in, but proceeded to concede 9 in 2 games against Hamilton (in a friendly) and Kilmarnock (in the Western League). With two vital League games to play, the committee were spooked into seeking an alternative, and the clarion call went out to Third Lanark's William Wallace, who was only too happy to get a chance to shine again in a big game environment. In no time at all, the quick-thinking decision was confirmed as an excellent move. Not only did the 24-year-old keep a rare clean-sheet (in those days) on his winning debut (a 1-0 friendly win away to East Stirlingshire) he did so again 7 days later in a 4-0 Western League win at home to Clyde.

Next up for William was the big one that he'd been looking forward to; the game which could have been a title-clincher. On 24th March 1900, 3,000 Partickonians were at Meadowside, all set to roar them to victory over Abercorn. However, the whole ground was stunned when the players retired at half-time with the score standing; Partick Thistle 1, Abercorn 3. Such a result was unforeseen – nerves were jangling. The second half was really the stuff of legend though, Willie Freebairn and Willie Paul - in Thistle’s hour of need - stole the show in a 5-3 win. The Sport reported that Paul and Freebairn were carried off the field “amid hilarious merriment. There was great reason for the demonstration, as the game has been pulled out of the fire, and at a time, too, when all seemed lost. The timeous fright will make the Thistle go all the way in future, and stimulate them to do what should have been done long ago.” The importance of Thistle’s win was underlined by events in Leith. In a tough battle, a solitary second half goal was enough to give our title rivals, Morton, their sixth consecutive League win. This race was going to the wire.

The following Saturday, on the 31st March 1900, 1500 members of the dark blue army travelled on special trains to Hamilton, hoping to see Thistle clinch the championship. Morton’s final game was scheduled for the following Saturday. No doubt, all from Greenock would be fully focused on events at Douglas Park. The Jags fans were stunned when the home team scored, with barely a few minutes on the clock. For the second week in a row we were throwing a wobbler – just at the wrong moment. Why do they do that to us? It would be John Blackwood who would save us on this most important of days, cementing himself in eternal glory at this excellent moment in the club’s history. He grabbed an equaliser without too much fuss, and settled everyone’s nerves. He then added two further goals in the last ten minutes of the half to grab himself an ultra-rare “45 hat-trick”. Partick Thistle were now within touching distance of their second League title in four seasons. Willie Paul shot home the best goal of the game in the second half. Final score; Hamilton 2, Partick Thistle 4. The title was ours – it mattered not a jot what Morton did next week for they were now 3 points behind. In those days, winning a title was one thing, but gaining promotion was another challenge altogether. In a dramatic turn of events at the First Division election meeting in May, Thistle's place in the top-flight was only confirmed after the drawing of lots with Clyde!

So that was it for William, played 4, won 4, 2 clean-sheets, 1 League title! The committee wanted to keep him for the following season, but a deal could not be reached with Third Lanark who would, of course, be First Division rivals in the season ahead. Aside from his time at Port Glasgow, William had never really claimed a first-team jersey for his own, and this pattern continued for the rest of his career, although his fringe presence took him to some of the most prominent clubs in the country, latterly Hearts and Rangers. Bet he had great some stories to tell!


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