Around a year ago, BwB carried a story which told of how former Dundee schoolboy Jimmy McEwan became Aston Villa’s oldest living player.
His brother-in-law Fergus Baird gave us all the details at the time – and it was very interesting tale.
Recently, a friend gave me a copy of the Summer 2018 edition of a booklet called Evergreen and he alerted me that Jimmy’s story is also in there, but with much more detail.
Written by author Sheila Pennell, it tells of Jimmy being brought up in a two-bedroom apartment in Baffin Street, Dundee, the only son of Betsy and docker Jimmy Sr.
Jimmy tells of his time at Glebelands Primary School and Stobswell Secondary and confesses to starting smoking at the age of 10.
“I would be smoking around a dozen of my dad’s dogends in the morning before going to school,” he confessed.
Jimmy’s amateur football career consisted on turning out for Ashdale before being signed by East Craigie juniors.
“Sadly, no cash involved,” he bemoaned.
He then signed for Arbroath in 1946 “for the princely sum of £156 per year” before, four years later, joining Raith Rovers.
He said of the move: “That was a first! £4000 was the most Raith Rovers had ever paid for anyone.
“I still lived in Dundee and made the arduous journey to Kirkcaldy by ferry and car.”
His displays attracted clubs, but it was not until after his 30th birthday that Aston Villa boss Joe Mercer signed him and took him south.
He observed: “Joe spotted my powerful bandy legs. I was whisked away and played outside-right for Villa between 1959 and 1966.
“I made more than 150 appearances and scored 31 goals.
“I helped Villa win the Second Division title in my first year, then the following season won the 1961 League Cup when we beat Rotherham in the final.”
Jimmy also made another revelation: “There was a time, too, when I could have had a free transfer back to Dundee United for £25 a week and £1000 in my pocket.
“But wife Mabel was happy and she felt there were better opportunities for our sons in Brum.
“I would have loved to have played for Rangers as that would have probably guaranteed me a Scotland cap.”
Jimmy McEwan died aged 88 in November 2017.
I’ve passed the booklet on to Fergus for the family to enjoy.