Pre-War Jewish players

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Pre-War Jewish players

Post by soccerhistory » Wed Sep 15, 2010 9:39 pm

With the exception of Sam Latter (Third Lanark), who eventually attained the title of Scotland's Oldest Man, is anyone aware of any other Jewish players who appeared in the Scottish League pre-1939?

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Post by ScottishFA » Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:03 am

The answer is 'probably', but it would be very hard to come up with definitive answer. From a quick online search of the Scotsman, there is no mention of any pre-1940 footballer being Jewish, nor for that matter any mention of Sam Latter's religion.

There was, and still is, a fairly sizeable (and well integrated) Jewish community in Glasgow so it would be reasonable to assume some of them were good at football.

John Meffen

Re: Pre-War Jewish players

Post by John Meffen » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:30 am

soccerhistory wrote:With the exception of Sam Latter (Third Lanark), who eventually attained the title of Scotland's Oldest Man, is anyone aware of any other Jewish players who appeared in the Scottish League pre-1939?
Lots of *whispers*, though who knows why, about Isaac Begbie.

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Re: Pre-War Jewish players

Post by Scottish » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:21 pm

John Meffen wrote:
Lots of *whispers*, though who knows why, about Isaac Begbie.
If it was on account of his "christian" name then that alone wouldn't identify his religion. Names come into and go out of fashion and those which are nowadays regarded as "jewish" such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob & Moses weren't necessarily thought of the same way in the past. For a long time there was a tendency for parents of a Protestant denomination to name their children after Old Testament figures so as to avoid the 'taint' of saints names while Catholic parents named their children after the apostles and saints. Many of these are still common - though they have largely lost any religious significance - such as David, Samuel, Ruth, Sarah from the OT and Matthew, Stephen, Julia and Mary from the NT/saints, while others have faded. There aren't that many Calebs and Restitutas around these days.

Begbie was born in 1868 so if anyone cares enough his birth certificate and his parents marriage certificate should be easily searchable on Scotlandspeople.

Indeed at the time of Begbie's birth one of the most prominent figures of the age was Isaac Butt - Irish, Protestant, Home Ruler and ex-Orangeman. And just a few years earlier there was the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, whose parents were baptists.

I think ScottishFA has hit the nail on the head. Given that there would be no religious objections to the days and times on which over 99% of football matches were played there was no reason for a player's religion to come to light unless the player himself chose to do so.

It is - and was - also the case that, with one particularly well-known exception, clubs and fans had absolutely no interest in players' faiths or lack thereof.

There is another factor and that is the tendency among immigrants of all backgrounds to adapt to their surroundings by changing their name to something more 'local' sounding and it would be the 'local' name which appeared on birth certificates.

This was particularly prevalent during WW1 when many people with German-sounding names (and many Jewish names would sound German) rushed to change their names to something more 'appropriate.' The most prominent of course being the Saxe-Coburg Gothas.

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Post by soccerhistory » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:33 pm

There is information about his religion here:
http://thejc.com/community/community-li ... n-106-dies

John Meffen

Post by John Meffen » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:52 pm

Completely concur with everything above "I was only saying", that's all.

[slightly off topic] what's more important to me is why every account of his career seems to miss out his glory days at Falkirk FC

Isaac Begbie (19)

Debut – Saturday November 22nd 1902 v Arthurlie (A) Scottish League Division 2
Positions – Right-Half
Scottish League Division 2 Matches/Goals [6/1]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [2/-]
Scored on League Debut
Known Career – Pentland FC, Western FC, Dalry Albert, Heart of Midlothian [1888/89-1899/00],
St Bernards [1892/93], Leith Athletic [1900/01], Bathgate [1901/02], Falkirk [1902/03]

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pre=war jewish players

Post by Snuff » Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:19 pm

He is most-definitely not, but with the given first name Israel and his surname, Campell Money perhaps ought to be.

He once told me the "Israel" was after his father's favourite uncle.
Snuff

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Post by soccerhistory » Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:01 am

The issue of Jewish players is a little more complex than other religions - Saturday was the main day for professional football and this is also the Jewish Sabbath. This explains partly why there were so few Jewish players, particularly in the pre-WW2 period when most were from families that had migrated here in relatively recent times.

John Meffen

Post by John Meffen » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:17 am

Another problem is that the media at the time [far better imho] seemed to concentrate on the football, the most striking example being that in the many match QP reports A.Watson is only mentioned in passing, and then as a footballer, nothing else.

In all my time looking up FFC players I have never even seen inferences to religion pre-WWII.

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Post by Scottish » Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:27 am

soccerhistory wrote:The issue of Jewish players is a little more complex than other religions - Saturday was the main day for professional football and this is also the Jewish Sabbath.
Sunday is the Christian sabbath but even in countries generally regarded as being more observant of religion than the UK football was played with few players missing - Spain & Italy being the most obvious examples.

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Post by nightfire » Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:36 pm

The Alphabet of Celts states that at the time Jerome Solis was reputedly Celtic's solitary Jewish player.

He played for Celtic in Season 1931/32

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Post by Scottish » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:47 pm

nightfire wrote:The Alphabet of Celts states that at the time Jerome Solis was reputedly Celtic's solitary Jewish player.

He played for Celtic in Season 1931/32
Admittedly this is going purely by the surname but there was a player called Joseph Coen who was with Clydebank, Celtic and Stenhousemur in the early 1930s. He made three appearances for Celtic in the same season as Solis.

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Re: Pre-War Jewish players

Post by soccerhistory » Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:20 pm

There is a discussion on Kerrydale Street about the two Celtic players. This is what is posted:
Geronimo Felix Vincent Solis
Sometimes referred to as Jerome and Jerry, but the records suggest his actual first name was Geronimo!
From the Wiki: Signed from Maryhill Hibs in 1931 as outside left and understudy to Charlie 'Happy Feet' Napier. Scored on debut at home v Cowdengelly (7-0) making 9 appearances before leaving to join Coleraine in February 1932.

The Alphabet of the Celts claims that Jerry was Celtic's first Jewish player and Willie Maley's biography in 1938 claimed that Celtic had already had a Jewish player in their ranks by that date. However, the Glasgow Hebrew Society advise: His father was an engineer's draughtsman and his mother was a housekeeper called Margaret Healey. Nothing so far to suggest he was Jewish (although I understand that Solis was an old Sephardi Jewish surname, but that could just be a coincidence in this case - and anyway, the Jewish status would have to come from his mother).

Joseph Leo Coen
From ra Wiki: Born in Glasgow 1911, Joe joined Celtic in 1931 as goalkeeper and cover for John Thomson. Played 3 games (100% shut out rate) before being freed in May 1932. Joined Luton Town in 1934, became the first choice keeper before his tragic death, aged 29, while training to be a pilot after WW2 broke out. On the Footballers' Roll of Honour.

The only suggestion that Joe was Jewish is the surname: Coen Brothers, Avi Cohen, you get the drift. Flimsy at best and there are suggestions that Coen may in fact be an Irish name: http://www.houseofnames.com/xq/asp.fc/q ... -crest.htm
There is also a reference to further references on the the Celtic Graves Society forum, but I can't find this.

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Re: Pre-War Jewish players

Post by Scottish » Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:16 pm

Geronimo Felix Vincent Solis
Sometimes referred to as Jerome and Jerry, but the records suggest his actual first name was Geronimo!
Jerome is Geronimo (or, more often, Jeronimo) in Spanish and a very common name at that. Solis sounds Spanish as well (there are quite a few in the telephone directory) so there might actually be a Spanish connection there.

Apropos of nothing the Cortes, the Spanish parliament, is situated on the Calle de San Jeronimo in Madrid.

The Names profiler websitebears out the suggestion that Coen - minus the h - is a celtic, Irish name while Cohen - with an h - is Jewish.

A search on the world version of the same site shows more Coens in Ireland than anywhere else while Solis is most common in Argentina and Spain.

It's an interesting site though I take with a pinch of salt the assertion that after Ireland the country with the biggest number of Coens is Belgium. I'm sure this is the literal-mindedness of computer searches in action here where names with the same spelling are bundled together despite their different roots. I'm also sure the same doesn't apply to Solis which shows Argentina as the country with the most per million but Spain's Extremadura as the biggest region and Barcelona as the top city. That seems about right.

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