This story is a tragedy. A life cut short, but a life brilliantly lived. Only 23 years of age, Eadie Fraser landed in Sydney, in 1886. His time there was brief, for he died 8th January. It was so sudden, his burial was hasty and almost unnoticed. A local Presbyterian clergyman the Rev. Alex Miller, accompanied Eadie on his last journey, to Rookwood Cemetery. There he was laid down, in a pauper’s grave where he might lie with another seven comrades.
Why should we care about a young man who emigrated for a new life, and suffered a tragedy which was all too common, in those days? It is because he was one of the Scotch Professors who showed the world how to play the Scotch Professor short passing, logical and scientific Combination Game - invented by the Scots.
Eadie’s achievements are brief, but impressive. He played for Queen’s Park FC: then the biggest team in the world. He won the Scottish Cup with the spiders in 1881 and 1882. He won three Glasgow Charity Cups and was Club Secretary 1882-83. Club Secretary was a big deal, in those days. In a time of few competitive matches, friendlies were all-important. The Club Secretary would have been responsible for ensuring that Queen’s had a fixture list worthy of their status as the world’s most influential club.
Eadie Fraser appeared only five times for Scotland, but what games they were! Of most importance is the England game played at the First Hampden 11th March 1882. In front of about 10,000 in the ground and thousands on Prospect Hill, Scotland tore England apart, winning 5-1 with goals from George Ker (2), William Harrower, John Leck Kay and Robert McPherson. It was the game which forced Pa Jackson of the English FA, to accept that the dribbling dodoball of southern England was the wrong game to play. He went home, to found the Corinthian FC. He was dedicated to bringing together the best amateurs in England, so that they could learn the game of the Scotch Professor.
Eadie Fraser was quickly forgotten. The Rev Miller tried to get a memorial for the grave but his efforts petered out. If he did collect anything, it came to nothing. On a fine day in July I went out to Rookwood Cemetery with Paul Nicholls, Stuart
I am indebted to the work of Andy Mitchell on Eadie Fraser, whose work can be found here and here and Paul Nicholls, who first visited the grave and wrote about it on Shoot Farken!