Soye Jimmy Image 2 Belfast Distillery 1905

Soye Jimmy Image 2 Belfast Distillery 1905


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Govan, Glasgow born inside forward Jimmy Soye played junior football for Rutherglen Glencairn in 1901, and was on the books of Glasgow Celtic in 1902 without making their first eleven. He also had a trial with Hibernian before moving to Belfast joining Distillery in the 1904 close season. In his one season at Distillery, his 14 goals helped the Whites win three trophies, the Irish Cup, the City Cup and the County Antrim Shield when he scored in the Final.
In the summer of 1905, he moved to England to join Southern League Southampton. The Saints were anxious to regain the Southern League title which they had taken six times in the eight years up to 1904, but had finished in a disappointing third place at the end of the 1904-05 season. He made his debut away to Norwich City on 9th September 1905 when he played at inside-right in a 1-1 draw. Although Soye was only 5 ft 8 in tall, he was “muscular and clever enough to avoid the more robust challenges”. He soon became an established member of the side, helping the forwards Fred Harrison and Harry Brown to score, as well as contributing the occasional goal himself, including both goals in a 2-1 victory against Queens Park Rangers on 4th November. As the season progressed, his form trailed off and by the end of January, he had lost his place to Frank Jefferis. At the end of the season, Southampton finished as League runners-up, five points behind champions Fulham, Soye having scored 5 times in 18 appearances

In May 1906, he moved to First Division high flyers Newcastle United, together with his Southampton team-mate, Harry Brown. He made his Football League debut against Everton in September 1906, but Soye was unable to break into the first-team on a regular basis at St James’ Park, with Scotland international James Howie well settled in the inside-right berth. Although Newcastle won the League Championship in the 1905-06 season, Soye made only his debut appearance, followed the next season by 6 further appearances, scoring twice. He spent the entire 1909-09 season in the reserves and, after only seven first-team appearances in three years, he returned to Scotland in May 1909, when he was part of the deal which brought Wilf Low to St James’ Park for a fee of £800 from Aberdeen.

At Pittodrie, Soye made his debut scoring in a 3-0 defeat of Port Glasgow Athletic and soon became an established member of the team, settling into the right-wing position. Over the next six seasons, Soye made 201 League and Cup appearances for The Dons, scoring 26 goals, and also represented The Scottish Football League against the Southern League in a 3-2 victory at Shawfield on 2nd October 1911.

He returned to Distillery in 1915 and played for Glenavon in 1917-18 before playing non league football in Scotland after the end of the First World War.

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