High flying Albion Rovers are our visitors to Bayview Stadium tomorrow, bringing the curtain down on the first quarter of the campaign. The men from Cliftonhill currently occupy third place in the league, three points ahead of East Fife. Manager Brian Kerr has seen his side record some impressive victories, including a 2-1 success against league leaders Raith Rovers a fortnight ago. Rovers have brought in a number of new players since the sides last met, notably Alan Trouten, who has been in fine form so far, finding the net on a regular basis. Other new signings include former Clyde trio Sean Higgins, Ross Perry and Scott McLaughlin.
Bayview boss Darren Young used the international break to rest a few players, whilst also providing game time for others in the Fife Cup tie at home to Cowdenbeath. Particularly pleasing was the return of club captain Kevin Smith to action for the first time this season after undergoing an operation during the summer.
Smith could be looking at a return to the squad for tomorrow’s match, with Jonathan Page missing out through suspension after receiving a red card two weeks ago at Somerset Park against Ayr United.
The Fifers managed two wins to Albion Rovers’ one in the meetings between the sides last season, with all four games keenly contested.
Supporters of both clubs are reminded that they are welcome to enjoy refreshments at the stadium bars before and after the game.
What was the name of the footballer who scored a hat-trick on his international debut but was never selected to play for his country again? This question has undoubtedly cropped up in pub quizzes all over the country, and the answer, if you didn’t already know, is East Fife’s Henry Morris!
Henry was born in Dundee on 17th December 1919, and was relatively late in stepping up to the Senior game at the age of twenty-six; his football development having been delayed by active service during World War Two.
Before the war, Henry had turned out for Lochee Central, where he formed a striking partnership with inside-forwards Jake and Dougie Davidson, a trio which was destined to fill the same role at Bayview during East Fife’s Halcyon days. Indeed, all three were transferred from Lochee to Dundee Violet during the summer of 1939, where the lethal striking force scored an incredible 36 goals in just four games, with Morris netting four times and the Davidson brothers a goal apiece in a league match against East Craigie at Glenesk Park on 11th August. Such was the attraction of the high-scoring Violet team at this time, an incredible crowd of 6,270 paid to see the ‘Pansies’ take on Dundee Harp at Glenesk Park that same month!
After being de-mobbed at the end of the Second World War, all three players teamed up once again at Dundee Violet, but it wasn’t long before the senior talent scouts came calling. On Friday 7th June 1946, East Fife fought off a host of Scottish and English clubs, including Dundee United and Blackpool, to land the signature of Henry Morris, who was joined a week later by Violet team-mate Dougie Davidson. Doug’s brother Jake, however, opted instead to sign for Dundee United, thus breaking up the striking partnership.
In Henry’s first season at Bayview, 1946/47, the centre-forward scored an amazing 36 goals in 37 competitive appearances; but things were to get even better the following season following the signing of old partner Jake Davidson, who had failed to hold down a regular place in the Dundee United first team during his year at Tannadice. The old trio were now back together again, and season 1947/48 saw Henry Morris score 59 goals in 48 appearances with the Davidson brothers weighing in with 32 goals between them; all three ending the campaign with a League Cup winners’ medal and a ‘B’ Division Championship medal to show for their efforts!
Although playing against tougher opposition in the top flight during season 1948/49, and without the assistance of Doug Davidson for most of the campaign following the player’s transfer to Blackpool in October 1948, Henry Morris still managed to find the net no fewer than 25 times in 37 appearances. It was inevitable that Henry’s scoring exploits would come to the attention of the international selectors, and the player was finally called up for international duty for the Home International Championship match against Ireland at Windsor Park in Belfast on 1st October 1949, which was also to double as a qualifying match for the 1950 World Cup in Brazil.
On the Tuesday preceding the match, Henry and East Fife team-mate George Aitken met up with the rest of the Scotland party at Broomielaw Quay in the centre of Glasgow, where they battled their way through hordes of young autograph hunters and newspaper reporters before boarding the steamer Royal Ulsterman, bound for Belfast. Asked on the quayside how he felt about getting called up to the national team, Henry modestly replied: “I’ll do my best not to let Scotland down”.
Henry certainly didn’t let the team down, as after just two minutes’ play he got his head on to a cross from Willie Waddell to put the Scots ahead. It was a dream start to his Scotland debut and, into the bargain, Henry had written himself into the history books as the first British player to score a World Cup qualifying goal! And it wasn’t to end there, with Henry Morris scoring another two second half goals to complete a debut hat-trick which, along with two goals from Rangers’ Willie Waddell and further strikes from Derby’s Billy Steel, Hibs’ Lawrie Reilly and Third Lanark’s Jimmy Mason, was more than enough to sweep the Irish aside and record a remarkable 8-2 victory.
Having made such an impressive Scotland debut, one would naturally assume that Henry Morris would once again line up alongside East Fife team-mate George Aitken in Scotland’s next international at Hampden on 9th November 1949. Morris was not in the team that beat Wales 2-0, however, and it was assumed by many that the player had been snubbed by the international selection committee, but this is not quite true. The facts of the matter are that Henry picked up an injury in a league match against Motherwell just days before the Wales match, which effectively ruled him out. By the time he had regained his form, the Scotland centre-forward position had been claimed by Hearts’ Willie Bauld, which effectively spelled the end of Henry’s international career.
Despite a fall-out with East Fife just weeks after playing for his country, during which speculation was rife that he had played his last match for the club, Henry remained at Bayview until April 1953, during which time he picked up a second League Cup winner’s medal in 1949 and made an appearance in the 1950 Scottish Cup Final. He ended his senior career following brief spells at Dundee United and Portadown in Northern Ireland.
Henry passed away in Kirkcaldy in March 1993, aged 73.
East Fife are back on the road this weekend as we make the trip to the west coast to face Ayr United.
The Fifers are on a good run of form at the moment with back-to-back wins against Airdrieonians and Forfar Athletic who were comfortably dispatched last time out. Kyle Wilkie, Mark Lamont and Paul Willis are in line for a return to the squad for this weekend after missing the last match with captain Kevin Smith the only player unavailable to manager Darren Young. Ayr United got back to winning ways last weekend with 2-0 victory over Queen’s Park after 4 defeats on the bounce.
Recent meeting between the sides don’t make for easy reading for the Fifers. The last meeting between the sides was on the final day of the 2013/2014 season at Somerset Park. East Fife were sitting second bottom of League 1 going into the match, one point ahead of 10th placed Arbroath, and to match their result to avoid automatic relegation. Things didn’t go to plan with Ayr running out 4-1 winners thanks to a hattrick from Craig Malcolm and a 75 minutes strike from Brian Gilmour with Liam Buchanan grabbing a late consolation for the visitors. East Fife were saved from automatic relegation on this occasion as Arbroath failed to take anything from their match with Airdrieonians.
Our last win over Ayr United was back in December 2012 when, after being 2-0 down at the break, a tremendous second half comeback saw us claim a 3-2 victory at Somerset Park curtesy of a double from Scott McBride and a last-minute winner from centre-half David White.
The hosts are holding their annual armed forced day tomorrow and invite service personnel to the game for free on production of a valid ID and if they are in uniform.
Our award-winning match day programme, The Bayview, will be interviewing supporters for our returning feature “Meet The Fans”. Up next is Niall Anderson from Windygates. Nialll’s article originally featured in the Forfar programme on the 23rd of September.
How long have you been an East Fife supporter and what was your first game?
I’ve supported East Fife for about 20 years. I can’t quite remember my first home game, but my first away game was against Brechin City at Glebe Park in 2001. I had begged my Dad to take me to an away game for ages and when the chance finally came we got beat 6-0!
Most memorable moment following East Fife?
There’s quite a few – winning the League at East Stirling (I was first on the pitch that day!!!), Kenny Deuchar’s last minute goal vs Queen’s Park, “Away you go Charlston ya haddy!”, Buchanan’s looping drive, Willie McCulloch’s penalty saves at Stark’s Park and watching a Rovers ball boy running the length of the pitch twice to watch his team miss a penalty…twice!! I think beating Aberdeen in the League Cup on penalties just beats them all though. Cheeseburger/pie-gate at Gretna is also a highlight!
Least favourite moment following East Fife?
There’s quite a few… Relegation at Stenhousemuir in 2004, Kenny Deuchar scoring against us for Gretna. However, the absolute drubbing against Raith Rovers a couple of weeks ago will keep me awake at night!
Favourite player (present)?
Jonathan Page. Out and out leader. I’ve called a few young centre-halfs “young Colin Hendrys” but he stands head and shoulders above them all.
Favourite player (all-time)?
Again, there’s a few. Stevie Campbell, Div Muir, Tweedy, Willie McCulloch, Scott Fox, Mark Ridgers, Kenny Deuchar, this list goes on…
Best East Fife goal you’ve seen?
There’s a theme running here! Fash’s v Motherwell, Buchanan’s looping drive, Kevin Fotheringham’s at Stark’s Park. All-time favourite however is Paul Stewart’s in either a friendly or Fife Cup tie. Can’t remember who against but I remember it being at the Sea End and it was a half-volley from the corner of the box into the opposite tap bin! The Klinsman celebration after it also sticks out. Scott Thomson’s volley too.
Favourite Goal Celebration?
Either of Paul McManus’ at East Stirling the day we won the League. Also, Jonny Smart’s knee-slide against Arbroath.
Pick your all-time East Fife 11
Here we go… (5-3-2)
Mark Ridgers, Greig McDoanld, Steven Tweed, Jonny Smart, Jonathan Page, Gary Naysmith, Kyle Wilkie, Bobby Linn (before arguing with the fans), Div Muir, King Kenny and Nathan Austin.
Favourite Scotland game?
I have three. Scotland vs Spain where we go beat 3-2. We had done so well to get it back to 2-2 and Hampden was absolutely rocking. If it weren’t for that diddy McManus then that would have been the favourite. 2-1 vs Lichtenstein when Kenny Miller scored an absolute stonker before Steven McManus headed home in the 97th minute. That game was also noted for me winding my pal Kieran with a right jab to the chest after we scored.
Favourite Scotland player (all-time)?
James McFadden. Hands down. Greatest player to have never played at a World Cup by a country mile.
When do you think Scotland will next qualify for a major tournament?
Give it 10 years. Belgium used to be a team on nobodies but now they’ve got arguably one of the best teams in the world. Robertson and Tierney will guide us to international stardom.
Ronaldo or Messi?
If I had to choose, I think it would be Ronaldo. I don’t buy into the hype though.
Favourite away ground?
If you could change one football rule what would it be?
Not necessarily a rule but I wish referees would stop trying to even up games.
The latest Goldmine Jackpot Winner, Barry Wilson, received his cheque for £2,050.00 on Saturday, 23rd September 2017 at the match against Forfar Athletic. The ticket agent was Mr Mechanics of Buckhaven. Ken Henderson, Commercial Director, of East Fife FC presented the cheque.