Fergie Suter 1857 - 1916

Fergie Suter is going to be one of the first great Scottish Professors to be truly famous, thanks to the Netflix football series: the English game. Leaving aside the title, which implies that football belongs to England and is therefore a flat lie, the series goes some way to explaining by people like Fergie Suter and Jimmy Love change the game for ever.

Suter played for Partick FC (not Partick Thistle) in the 1870s. He moved down to Darwen, to play for them. How did they know about Fergie Suter? Partick played an away game against Darwen on New Year’s Day 1876. The first passing and running combination game that Fergie played, will have amazed the Darwen team, who lost 7-0. Partick also played against Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers. It is no surprise that scotch professors started turning up although the Lancashire even after professionalism was officially banned in 1882. One of the pioneers of Lancashire football was Turton outside Bolton. It is alleged that Fergie Suter was paid £3 to play for them in the Turton Challenge Cup.

If you are wondering how players like Fergie could bounce around different clubs, remember that there was no system of registration at that time. If you were not being paid (I know, I know) then you could play for anyone who asked. Registration only mattered if you had a contract with the player and you wanted him to honour it.

Fergie Suter was a stone mason who did not work with stone. The dogs in the street knew that, as a Scotch professor, he was getting paid to play football spending nothing else. His excuse as to why he did not appear to be working the Lancashire stone? It was too hard for his hands. A stonemason who had not realised that stone was quite hard. Aye right.

Fergie Suter appeared for Darwen in 1878, with his pal Jimmy Love. He was paid to play football. When he had retired, he told people that he never had any difficulty getting cash from the treasurer. He knew that he could ask for £10 at any time. Darwen was too small for him and he moved to Blackburn Rovers. Blackburn’s investment paid off very nicely. They won the English cup three years in succession between 1883 and 1885 thanks to Suter and his fellow Scotch Professors.


Giving History a Sporting Chance