Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Death of a goalkeeper

So come all you Glasgow Celtic,
Stand up and play the game,
For between your posts a spirit stands,
Johnny Thomson is his name.

The injuries suffered by Carlo Cudicini and, in particular, Petr Cech at Reading on Saturday recall the sad story of the Celtic keeper John Thomson. As the club's official site tells the story:
On Saturday, September 5th, 1931, the Celtic goalkeeper John Thomson received a serious head injury while playing against Rangers at Ibrox. He died later in hospital, having never regained consciousness after the incident.

The death of a footballer in his prime is thankfully rare, and even rarer on the field of play. Even after this length of time, John Thomson's untimely death at the age of just 22 remains one of football's great tragedies. A young goalkeeper, already the first choice for his club and country, with a long and distinguished career seemingly ahead of him, dead as a result of an accident during a game.

Thomson was renowned for his bravery and fearlessness, and his dive at the feet of the Rangers forward Sam English as the player went to shoot was visible evidence of those virtues. As English shot, John Thomson's head took the full impact of the Rangers player's knee, leaving the goalkeeper unconscious and his head bleeding.


Anonymous said...

IIRC there is a small exhibition on John Thomson in Kirkcaldy Museum ( He was born locally)

I remember a single case with an international cap and a few photos, but it may have changed since last i was in.

Jock Coats said...

No doubt of course that the local Govan operator took thirty minutes to connect the ambulance call and when the horse turned up it took another hour to trot to the Southern General where they were waiting with a cold compress. Terrible service.