John Hughes of the SFA

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bluedragon
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John Hughes of the SFA

Post by bluedragon » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:37 am

Can anyone help please? I am trying to establish what office/job a John Hughes held in the SFA around 1953/54? I am tracing some players who moved from Scotland to England to play non-league football. John Hughes' name has come up as someone who helped players find clubs south of the border through his connections with some managers in the English non-league game.

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Re: John Hughes of the SFA

Post by Scottish » Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:02 pm

John, or Johnny, Hughes wasn't with the SFA, he was secretary of the SPFA - the players union - which was re-formed in 1946 after a 23-year long hiatus with Alec Miller of Dundee United as its secretary. I'm not sure when Hughes took over that position but he remained in it until IIRC some time in the 1970s.

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Re: John Hughes of the SFA

Post by bluedragon » Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:37 pm

scottish wrote:John, or Johnny, Hughes wasn't with the SFA, he was secretary of the SPFA - the players union - which was re-formed in 1946 after a 23-year long hiatus with Alec Miller of Dundee United as its secretary. I'm not sure when Hughes took over that position but he remained in it until IIRC some time in the 1970s.
Many thanks for the answer and the background. I wonder if you know the general details of his own playing career and whether he had a spell in England?

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Re: John Hughes of the SFA

Post by Scottish » Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:45 pm

There were two players of that name around the same time, one with Ayr United and the other with Raith Rovers. I think it was the Raith man but I'm not certain. Neither played in England and no other Scots-born player of that name did so at that time either.

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Re: John Hughes of the SFA

Post by bluedragon » Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:56 pm

Great - thank you for your help - it's much appreciated.

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Re: John Hughes of the SFA

Post by Rob R » Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:03 pm

John Hughes was killed in a car accident around the early seventies, he played junior football for possibly Petershill around wartime. I knew someone out here in New Zealand who knew and played along side him, but this person has since passed away. I seem to remember Alex Ferguson having something to do with the Union after Hughes's death.

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Re: John Hughes of the SFA

Post by Scottish » Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:43 pm

Alex Ferguson became chairman of the union in 1970. The chairman's post was held by a player but the secretary was a full-time official. Sometimes gamekeepers turned poachers as Archie Wright, ex-Airdrie & Clyde boss (who I think succeeded Johnny Hughes) and sometimes poachers turned gamekeepers like Willie McLean who succeeded Wright in 1972 before going on to a long career in management.

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Re: John Hughes of the SFA

Post by bluedragon » Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:22 am

Thanks for the additional information. Johnny Hughes clearly looked after his members and used his contacts in the game to do just that. I am just looking at one contact he had with Bill Jones who played all his own football in Wales and also coached and managed Cardiff City. He had two spells managing Worcester City FC in non-league football. In his first spell his legendary wheeling/dealing skils and football contacts included tapping into a rich vein of Scottish players courtesy of his contact with Johnny Hughes. The information I have suggest that the two of them had struck up a friendship but there is nothing to suggest that their paths had crossed earlier in their careers.

The Scots who moved included young players not offered full-time contracts in Scotland, players at the end of their careers, players trying to kick-start their careers, etc. Some players moved on to greater things, some stayed for a few seasons and some moved back to Scottish clubs. Each one seems to have an interesting story!

This was not quite the downward step it might appear! With the Maximum Wage operating in the Football and Scottish Leagues but crucially not in non-league football they could get offered part-time wages very close to the Football League Maximum Wage, a signing-on fee, a club flat and jobs for themselves and their wife.

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Re: John Hughes of the SFA

Post by Scottish » Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:33 pm

bluedragon wrote: This was not quite the downward step it might appear! With the Maximum Wage operating in the Football and Scottish Leagues but crucially not in non-league football they could get offered part-time wages very close to the Football League Maximum Wage, a signing-on fee, a club flat and jobs for themselves and their wife.
Whilst that's true, it's worth pointing out the maximum wage never applied in Scotland. There was never a need for it as the bulk of players were part-time.

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Re: John Hughes of the SFA

Post by gogsy1968 » Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:09 pm

The Herald dated 17th March 1969 has the car crash as Saturday 15th March 1969. His passengers in the car included Dundee United manager Jerry Kerr and Dundee United chairman Johnstone Grant. According to the newspaper he had been secretary of the SPFA for 19 years and had been the vice president of the International Federation of Professional Footballers Association since 1965 and the secretary of that association since 1967. He was 49 years old, an junior internationalist and had played for Morton and Third Lanark.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=G ... page&hl=en

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Re: John Hughes of the SFA

Post by Rob R » Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:13 am

Thanks gogsy, since I replied to this post ,I've been trawling the Herald for the car crash report but the old grey matter was a couple of years out and I couldn't find it until now. Hughes, being a Junior Internationalist sent me rummaging through my copy of The Juniors 100 Years and there is a Hughes listed as a Junior Internationalist with Petershill, but it doesn't give you what time frame. the person out here in New Zealand who played with him at Petrshill was Matt Bennie from the Garngad in Glasgow . Matt was a plumber by trade but joined HMPS before emigrating to NZ and was a warden at Barlinnie. he became a successful business man out here , starting a plumbing firm that still carries his name today although the family sold out years ago.. Sadly Matt died about 12 years or so ago after a series of strokes.. He was a life member and former committee man of the former New Brighton club which merged 3 years ago with Christchurch Rangers to become Costal Spirit.

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Re: John Hughes of the SFA

Post by bluedragon » Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:42 pm

Thanks for the further update it is very much appreciated. I have been doing some further research and found that Johnny Hughes was probably behind Worcester City FC signing an amazing 9 Scots out of a squad of 22 for season 1956/57. As I said in an earlier post I understand he was a great help to young players trying to find clubs. Of the 9 Scots one was the son of a Wembley Wizard (Jimmy Dunn Junior) and one (Harry Lawrie) eventually succeeded Johnny Hughes at the SPFA.

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Re: John Hughes of the SFA

Post by Boris57 » Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:18 pm

During his PFA stewardship John Hughes also had a short spell as manager of Leith Athletic & indeed he was in charge for the club's final game. Due to ongoing financial difficulties Leith Athletic refused to take part in Division C for season 1953/54 & were subsequently expelled from the Scottish League. They initially retained their SFA membership though & decided to take part in the 1953/54 season Scottish Cup. The dream was to draw a big club & possibly get enough of a pay day to keep the club running. Their bad luck continued though & the Round 1 draw saw them drawn away to Highland League Fraserburgh. Having released all their players at the start of the season they had to recruit a team quickly using free agents, trialists, etc & the man they turned to was PFA secretary John Hughes. In the press of the time he was described as "honorary manager" & "acting unpaid manager" & his first task was to whittle a list of 50 possibles down to a squad of 13 for the Cup tie.

He was effectively the club's manager for the 4 matches played in January 1954, the club's only games that season - 3 friendlies in the Cup tie build-up against Edinburgh City, Dunfermline Athletic 'A' & Berwick Rangers & then the Cup tie itself. Sadly though there was to be no happy ending. The team of "volunteers" gave it their all but narrowly lost 4-5 to Fraserburgh & the club's costs including travel & an overnight stay in Aberdeen reulted in a financial loss. Insult was added to injury when Fraserburgh drew a home tie against Hearts in R2, a tie that had it involved Leith Athletic might well have kept the club going for another season at least & with the Scottish League Divisions reformed at the end of the 1954/55 season - something Leith Athletic had campaigned for since football recommenced after the War - it might well have been the salvation of the club. It was to be Leith Athletic's last ever game though. The club did enter the 1954/55 Scottish Cup but withdrew before playing against R1 opponents Selkirk which resulted in them losing their SFA membership. That was effectively the death of the club although the Limited Company lingered on until being formally wound up in May 1957.

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Re: John Hughes of the SFA

Post by Scottish » Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:09 am

Boris57 wrote: In the press of the time he was described as "honorary manager" & "acting unpaid manager" & his first task was to whittle a list of 50 possibles down to a squad of 13 for the Cup tie.

He was effectively the club's manager for the 4 matches played in January 1954, the club's only games that season - 3 friendlies in the Cup tie build-up against Edinburgh City, Dunfermline Athletic 'A' & Berwick Rangers & then the Cup tie itself.
Do you have a link to that? I'd love to include him in the next edition of 'GAFFERS.' I've searched around the time of the cup tie in The Herald, Evening Times and Bulletin but can't find anything, other than references to the game and the line-up.

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Re: John Hughes of the SFA

Post by Scottish » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:37 am

There's a death notice in The Herald, Tues Mar 18th 1969 (pg 22) http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=G ... page&hl=en

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