26 August 1893: James Tennant tricked into signing for East Stirlingshire (when drunk)

James Tennant played outside left for Woolwich Arsenal in 51 league matches, scoring 8 goals.

He was born in Parkhead, Glasgow in 1878, and his clubs are listed as Linton Villa, Parkhead, St Bernard’s, Woolwich Arsenal, Middlesbrough, Watford and Stenhousemuir.  

In 1899/1900 he played in 26 league games and scored 6 goals, and in the following season 25 games and scored 2.

On 2 September 1899 Tennant made his first appearance (along with James Jackson).  It was the first game of the season – Arsenal’s seventh in the league and the first under Harry Bradshaw – the man who gave Arsenal promotion.  

Although the match resulted in the club starting the season with a 0-2 defeat at home to Leicester Fosse, Tennant kept his position for the first four games (the fall guy was another Glaswegian, Hannigan at outside right, for whom that match was his first and last).

But Tennant returned at the end of the year and then kept his place until the end of the season in which Arsenal finished 8th.

His second season was much the same – in the starting XI for the first five games, then a few intermittent appearances, and then a run from January to the end of the season, in which we came 7th.

27 April 1901 saw his final game, a 0-1 defeat to New Brighton Tower. He also made three cup appearances, all in his second season, and scored two goals.

But there is one more thing – and I found this on the Falkirk Football History site and for which I have taken the information mostly verbatim from the site.  I am writing to them today to express my thanks.

In essence, a couple of Falkirk players mistakenly signed for East Stirlingshire.  Both players, through the secretary of the Falkirk club (Mr Robert Bishop) desired East Stirlingshire to release them, which E.S. refused.

Macfarlane and Tennant afterwards made application to the Scottish Football Association for reinstatement as amateurs, which was rejected on the ground that it was the duty of the players to get the professional forms reduced.

Then followed an action by Macfarlane and Tennant in the Court of Session against E.S.F.C., and several of the office bearers, members of committee, and two of the members, to have the professional forms reduced, in which action defences were lodged and expensive and prolonged litigation was in prospect which no one wanted.  Eventually an agreement was reached which read…

First The Falkirk Football Club shall unreservedly withdraw and apologise for, in writing, all insinuations and imputations contained in the various letters sent by their Secretary to the East Stirlingshire Football Club anent the circumstances and others, under which the said Thomas McFarlane and James Tennant signed foresaid professional forms; and the said Thomas McFarlane and James Tennant and the said Falkirk Football Club, for their Interest, shall unreservedly withdraw and apologise for, in writing, all insinuations and imputations contained in foresaid summons and reduction against the East Stirlingshire Football Club and their members.

Second- In consideration thereof the East Stirlingshire Football Club shall, so far as they can competently do so, grant release to the said Thomas McFarlane and James Tennant of their professional engagements with them.

Third- The Falkirk Football Club and the East Stirlingshire Football Club shall play a friendly game at football at Brockville Park, Falkirk, on the afternoon of Saturday, ninth December, eighteen hundred and ninety three, at half-past two o’clock; the game to be suitably advertised. The price of admission shall be sixpence per head. The members of both clubs shall be admitted free on showing their membership cards. The free proceeds of the gate money shall be divided equally between the two clubs. Out of the share falling to the Falkirk Football Club there shall be paid to East Stirlingshire Football Club the sum of seven pounds ten shillings sterling.

Fourth- Both parties shall concur in having the action of reduction before referred to taken out of court with all convenient speed. The pursuers and defenders in said action shall each pay their own expenses.

Fifth- The Falkirk Football Club and the East Stirlingshire Football Club shall pay the expenses of this agreement equally.