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Sam McAllister

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There always seems to be a big outcry when FC Halifax Town sign a player with a criminal record. Until they start delivering on the field, of course, then everything is forgotten. Back in November 1912 Halifax Town signed a player who was possibly the first to arrive with a criminal record to his name, although the local paper stated that that 'the directors divulged little" about him. Perhaps they wanted to keep it quiet, to stop the supporters venting their anger in the social media outlets of the time (aka known as the tap room). Or perhaps they just didn't know, although his case was mentioned in many papers across the country. In January 1907 he'd been found guilty of stealing a pair of boots in Accrington. This is SAM McALLISTER;



Born: Kilmarnock, 14 August 1881.

Died: Toronto, Ontario, 14 October 1950.

Height: 5ft 7in.

Weight: 11st 4lb.

Halifax Town debut: v Chesterfield Town (h), Midland League, 21 December 1912. Drew 0-0.

Career: Galston; Motherwell September 1901; Grimsby Town June 1903; West Ham United August 1905; Barrow October 1906; St Helens Recreation December 1906; Blackburn Rovers trialist December 1906; Burnley December 1906; Rossendale United February 1907; Huddersfield Town August 1908; Stoke City November 1908; Wrexham cs 1909; Aberdare Town February 1910; Denaby United August 1910; Halifax Town December 1912 to cs 1913.


It could be said of Sam McAllister that he was an unfortunate footballer, one certainly the victim of the system of the time. When a proposed move to Burnley in December 1906 never materialised, he resorted to crime, and though he joined several clubs he never actually made an appearance in the Football League. McAllister could never have envisaged any of this when he started out his career with his local Galston club, near Kilmarnock. Employed as a pressman in a boot factory, he earned rave reviews on the left wing which secured him a move to Motherwell, then of the Scottish Second Division. He spent two seasons with the club, making 35 League appearances and scoring seven goals, helping the side to runners-up position in 1902-03. It was after he joined Grimsby Town that his troubles began. He failed to graduate to the first team and tried his luck with several non-league clubs. In December 1906 McAllister played in a match for Burnley and the Turf Moor outfit were keen to sign the player only to discover that Grimsby still held his registration. Grimsby slapped a £30 price tag on his head, a figure much greater than Burnley were willing to pay, and a deal was never done. Later, McAllister journeyed in the hope of securing a move to Accrington Stanley, but whilst in the town stole a pair of boots from a shop doorway, a crime for which he was convicted on 7 January 1907. His tale of woe suggested that his landlady had threatened to force him, his wife and young son out of their home, and McAllister was fined by the court 10s (money which was paid for by a delegation of sympathisers). He did eventually leave Grimsby Town, securing a move to Rossendale United, then later joining the newly formed Huddersfield Town. In fact, he played in their historic first match at centre-forward, a 2-0 defeat at South Shields on 5 September 1908. But that would be his only appearance for the club. Later that season, McAllister joined Stoke City, then of the Birmingham & District League, making sixteen league and cup appearances and scoring four goals. At the start of the following season, McAllister joined rivals Wrexham, making fourteen league appearances and scoring three goals, two of which came in the 8-0 defeat of Burton United on 23 October 1909. Mid-way through the season he joined Welsh League side Aberdare Town, with whom he played the remainder of the season. In August 1910 McAllister signed for Midland League side Denaby United whilst employed as a coal mine hewer. He finished his playing days with Halifax Town, making the first of two league appearances at inside-right in the goalless draw with Chesterfield Town shortly after his arrival at Sandhall. On 4 January 1913 he was deployed at centre-forward for the match at Leeds City Reserves, which Town lost 3-2. McAllister then faded from the scene but was known to have emigrated to Montreal in 1926.


McAllister, Sam.jpg

Edited by Shaymus
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