Pendleton, Salford born outside right Jock Simpson is to this day probably the greatest player to ever play for Falkirk, and a major star of the period immediately prior to the First World War. Lancashire born of Scottish parents, Simpson grew up in Laurieston and played junior football in Falkirk, assisting Grange Rovers in 1902 and Laurieston Juniors from 1903, from where he had a trial with Rangers during 1904-05. Rangers did not sign him, so instead he joined Scottish League Falkirk later that season. In 1907 it was said of him “He has a fine turn of speed, and is an expert in centring the ball from the corner flag. The precision and accuracy of his drives, combined with his speed, has been the means of many unlikely goals being registered for The Brockvillers, and, well backed up by McTavish on the left, he has proved himself a source of much danger to opposing teams.” With Simpson in the team, Falkirk finished as Scottish League runners up in 1907-08 and 1909-10.
In November 1907, Blackburn Rovers offered £1,000, then Chelsea offered £1,500 for Simpson, a forward who could play anywhere across the front line, but stating he was ‘staying with Falkirk’, he went on to make 269 Scottish League appearances, scoring 166 goals. He did however leave eventually and was transferred on a three-year contract to Blackburn Rovers on the evening of 23rd January 1911 for a £1,850 transfer fee plus James Roberston, despite an offer from both Everton and Newcastle United.
Described as “undoubtedly the cleverest outside right of the present day”, Simpson was a significant star of football in the next few seasons, during which he completed 169 appearances, scoring 23 goals, prior to the suspension of football due to the First World War. By that time Blackburn had won the League Championship in Simpson’s first full season, 1911-12, and they won it again in 1913-14 with Simpson playing most of the games in each campaign. He made his England international debut in February 1911 at The Baseball Ground in a 2-1 win over Ireland and went on to win a total of 8 caps over the next 3 years, scoring once in a 6-1 drubbing of Ireland in Dublin in 1912. He also represented The Football League 5 times having previously played once for The Scottish League in October 1910 when he played in a 1-0 defeat to The Southern League at Millwall.
During the War, Simpson returned to play for Falkirk. On 16th October 1919, Simpson retired from playing because of a kidney illness. During 1921, in April, Simpson played for the Falkirk reserves, after he had been playing for Falkirk Orients, a Wednesday team set up by Falkirk shop assistants. In August, East Stirling wrote to Blackburn Rovers for permission to play him. It is unsure whether they were successful.
NB in this image published in 1912 he wears a Falkirk shirt, the same image as was published in 1909, see Image 1.