A Wiseman from the east
Updated: Jan 2, 2021
“Left back. A hefty defender, robust in style. Had no great finesse but his effectiveness did not suffer on that score.”
The Press and Journal of 4 August 2018 carried news of an auction of football memorabilia belonging to William Wiseman, the former Scottish internationalist and Queen’s Park captain. The prized medals and an embroidered Scotland cap presented to him in 1930 were sold at Lyon & Turnbull’s Broughton Place saleroom in Edinburgh on August 15 for £1,188.
William Wiseman was born in the village of Meikle Wartle, near Turriff in Aberdeenshire on 18 October 1896 and was educated at Fordyce Academy in Portsoy, Aberdeenshire and at Aberdeen University, which he left in 1916.
Signing up to the local regiment, The Gordon Highlanders, during the First World War, he served on the Western Front and was wounded, gassed and reported missing in action. On his return from the war he trained as an engineer and worked with the British Army in India. His career in engineering continued in Banffshire (as a roads surveyor with the county council), Glasgow and Dumbarton. By the time of the Second World War he was recruited as a Major in the Royal Engineer Corps and worked recruiting and training with recruits on large scale engineering projects towards the war effort.
Wiseman’s football career was spent with Queen’s Park, making his debut in an away draw against Airdrieonians on 29 April 1922. He went on to play a further 263 league games for Queen’s (including some as captain) and took part in fifty-one cup ties plus numerous challenge matches and minor cup ties in a distinguished career which ended in 1930. His highlights included being part of the QP team that won the Second Division in season 1922- 23 – he appeared in thirty-one of the thirty-eight fixtures – and playing against Rangers in a first round Scottish Cup tie on 18 January 1930 before a QP club record attendance of 95,772.
He played six times for Scotland at amateur level, having been part of the Scottish eleven which defeated England 4-1 at Leicester in the inaugural amateur international in 1926-27. His total of amateur caps would surely have been much greater if amateur internationals had been instigated earlier in his football career. The left back also played twice for Scotland at full level, against Wales in 1927 and Ireland in 1930, and also represented the Scottish League on one occasion.
In Douglas Lamming’s A Scottish Internationalists’ Who’s Who, 1872-1986, the 5ft 11inch Wiseman, whose weight in 1928 was 13 stone, is described thus: “Left back. A hefty defender, robust in style. Had no great finesse but his effectiveness did not suffer on that score.”
William Wiseman, who died in 1981 at the age of 84, remains the only Scottish international footballer to have been born in tiny Meikle Wartle but deservedly he will be remembered for much more than that.
Wiseman’s Amateur International Record 1926-27 v England (a) W4-1 1927-28 v England (h) W 3-2 1928-29 v England (a) L 3-1 1929-30 v England (h) W 1-0 1929-30 v Ireland (a) W 3-0 1929-30 v Wales (h) W 1-0
The items which were auctioned comprised a blue cap with gilt emblem and dated 1929 – 30; a yellow felt blazer badge 1929-30; a group of 9ct gold medals, PBC Messrs Wilks and Jacks Hong Kong Cup 1909; Ayr Charity Cup 1923; Paisley Charity Cup 1925; Scottish Football Association Scotland vs Wales 1926-27; Scotland vs England (amateur) 1929; Scottish Football Association Scotland vs Ireland 22nd February 1930; N.E Sector Football Winners of League II – Iceland 1931; and a Queens Park F.C. Life Members badge
Note 1: Queen’s Park won the 1922-23 Ayr Charity Cup Note 2: If the 1925 date is correct, the Paisley Charity Cup medal is likely to be a runners-up medal; Queen’s were beaten 4-2 by St. Mirren on 9 May 1925.