Freebairn Willie Image 1 Leicester Fosse 1896

Freebairn Willie Image 1 Leicester Fosse 1896


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Partick, Glasgow born winger Willie Freebairn started his football career with hometown club Partick Thistle in 1892 where he scored 27 goals in 63 matches before joining Abercorn in 1895. In the summer of 1896 he moved south to join Second Division Leicester Fosse, making his Football League debut against Darwen that September. He was an ever present during his first season for The Fossils, scoring 12 goals, but he returned to Scotland to join East Stirlingshire at the end of the 1897-98 season after scoring a total of 17 goals in 48 games for The Fossils.

After a season with The Shire, he then re-joined Partick Thistle in 1899, but passed away aged 26 on 19th November 1900 after a further 36 goals in 59 matches. He had been kicked in the chest in the game against Cameronians and underwent an operation from which he didn’t recover. It was reported as follows: “A well known person in football circles in the person of William Freebairn, of the Partick Thistle FC, died on Monday. Freebairn had been suffering from some trouble which necessitated his undergoing an operation, and for this purpose he entered an infirmary [the Western Infirmary]. On Sunday he went under an operation from which he never rallied. As a player Freebairn was a skilful forward and was esteemed by all for his many good qualities.”

His brothers Archie and David also played for Partick Thistle.

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