Corbett Brothers

'C' Division.








Q Roy Shoesmith asks “Can anybody advise me of how many games the brothers Corbett played for Heart of Midlothian during the late 1930's? The brothers' names were Willie, David and Norman.

I would appreciate the dates of birth of the three...if that is available too”

A David John Corbett born Camelon 01/02/1910, died 1995, was the oldest. His clubs were Old Plean Amateurs, Linlithgow Rose, Hearts, Camelon Juniors, Ayr United, Dundee United, West Ham, Southport, Dumbarton and St Mirren. It seems he didn't make the grade with Hearts and returned to the juniors for a spell.

He played First Division football with Ayr, making six League appearances in 1932-33 but turned out on a more regular basis for Dundee United in Division Two, making 32 League appearances in 1933-34. He joined West Ham in 1936 and played four times for them and once for Southport in 1938.

During the war he played six times at right-back for Dumbarton in 1941-42. No trace after that and he definitely wasn't in the St Mirren team that won the Summer Cup in 1943, nor did he appear in post-war football.

Norman George Corbett born Falkirk 23/06/1919, died 1990, also joined West Ham in 1936, from Hearts. He would have been 17 at the time and thus unlikely to have featured in the first team. He was more successful down south and played in 166 League games for the Hammers between 1936-49, scoring three times.

The third brother, William R Corbett, born Falkirk 31/08/1922, doesn't appear to have featured for Hearts at all. He signed for Celtic from Maryhill in 1941 and made 48 League appearances for them in the first two post-war seasons, 46-47 and 47-48, scoring three goals. He also made seven League Cup and five Scottish Cup appearances before joining Preston in 1948. He made 19 League appearances there in 48-49 then moved on to Leicester where he played 16 times in 1949-50.

He then joined non-league Yeovil Town in 1950, returning to Scotland in November 1951 when he signed for Dunfermline where he played 19 League, five League Cup and three Scottish Cup games.

He joined Morton in November 1952 and turned out in 11 League matches for them in 1952-53.

So while all three played for plenty of clubs and two were on Hearts books it seems they didn't make any actual first-team outings for the Tynecastle side, certainly not in the period Roy mentions. None of the Corbetts played a League game for Hearts at any time in the 1930s.

Incidentally, Roy tells us he saw Norman play for West Ham in 1948-49 and that he was a long throw-in expert, a real rarity in those days

Q Stephen Mitchell wants to know: “Where can I find a copy of the 1953-54 C Division League Table?

A There were two C Divisions that season - North East & South West.

Best place to find them in print is a publication like the Sunday Chronicle Football Annual for 1954-55. A recent search on abebooks showed two available - one at £6 and the other at £12, both exclusive of postage and packing.

That season was notable as it was the only occasion after the division was regionalised in 1949 that a team won promotion when Brechin City won the NE section.

Actually, Stephen's query gives us the chance to examine this Division which existed between 1946-55.

After the war, Scottish football was re-organised into two main divisions - 'A' and 'B' - consisting of sixteen and fourteen teams respectively.

This was controversial as 'A' Division contained teams that had been in the Division Two in 1939, like Queen's Park and Morton, while SIX First Division sides went into the 'B' Division!

The 'C' Division consisted of the five lowest placed teams in 1939, new members Stirling Albion (who had replaced King's Park) and - controversially - Brechin City. I say controversially, as Brechin had actually finished above Morton in 1939 and the Greenock team were put into the top flight!

Three reserve teams - those of St Johnstone and the two Dundee sides - made up the numbers.

At the end of 1946-47 the 'B' Division was increased to sixteen teams with 'C' Division champions Stirling Albion and third-placed Leith Athletic (Dundee Reserves were second) promoted. The 'C' division added reserve teams from East Fife, Kilmarnock, Arbroath, Leith and Raith (while losing Dundee) so reserves now outnumbered first elevens by seven to five

For the next two seasons there was promotion and relegation between 'B' and 'C' on the basis of one up, one down with East Stirling replacing Leith then being replaced in turn by Forfar.

The top four in 'C' Division in 1948-49 were all first elevens. Only bottom club Edinburgh City (who resigned from the League) finished below the reserve teams. Nevertheless the division was regionalised for 1949-50 into South East and South West sections. Stranraer joined the latter and were the only non-reserve side of the 18 teams in the division while four first elevens - those of Brechin, East Stirling, Leith and Montrose played alongside twelve reserve teams in the other section.

Promotion and relegation still theoretically applied but only if one of the sections was won by a non-reserve outfit. This was to prove virtually impossible.

In 1950-51 the South East section was renamed North East and East Stirling joined the South West section. In 1951-52 Berwick Rangers (not even in Scotland, let alone the North) joined the North East section!

In 1952-53 Leith Athletic finished bottom of the NE section and dropped out of the League. But in 1953-54 Brechin City upset the applecart by winning the NE section, finishing a point ahead of Aberdeen and Dundee's reserves. In the SW section, Stranraer almost equalled Brechin but ended up third, two behind Rangers reserves and one behind Partick Thistle's second eleven.

There was an almighty scramble to avoid relegation to this twilight zone of Scottish football with only two points separating six clubs at the foot of the Second Division. Dumbarton were ultimately the unlucky losers, being relegated by virtue of a worse goal average than Dundee United.

The Sons joined the SW section with East Stirling moving to the NE for 1954-55. At the end of that season the 'A' division was increased to 18 clubs and the five first elevens in the two 'C' Divisions - Berwick, Dumbarton, East Stirling, Montrose and Stranraer - all joined 'B' Division at the start of 1955-56 bringing the number of clubs there to nineteen.

For the record Stirling Albion, East Stirling and Forfar Athletic were the champions of the unified 'C' Division. The winners of the SE/NE section from 1949-50 onwards were the reserve teams of Hibs, Hearts, Dundee, Aberdeen, then Brechin City and finally Aberdeen Reserves again. In the SW Clyde Reserves won the first two titles, Rangers the next three and Partick Thistle the last one.

The only side - first eleven or reserve - to maintain continuous membership of 'C' Division 1946-55 were Montrose.

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