A footballing legend’s name will live on in the Falkirk area he was brought up in after a street in a new housing estate was named in his honour.
John Blackley (66), who made 279 appearances for Hibernian and won seven caps for Scotland, now has a special place in Reddingmuirhead – Blackley Place.
John was born in Westquarter and raised in Redding, where he still lives. The former centre-half - known by Hibs fans as ‘Sloop’ - started his career at local boys club Gairdoch Juveniles before moving to Hibs in 1967 for 11 years. He also played for Newcastle United and Preston North End in England before moving to Hamilton Academical and another stint at Hibs, ending his playing career in 1983-84.
Modest John said: “It is a great honour for me, very nice. I don’t really know if it’s deserved but it is much appreciated.”
One of his career highlights was playing at the 1974 World Cup in West Germany in a 2-0 win over Zaire. While Scotland were unlucky to exit the ‘74 World Cup on goal difference after only beating Zaire 2-0, it wasn’t that game that left him deflated.
He added: “My biggest disappointment was not beating Brazil. We drew 0-0 but I felt they were a poor Brazil side and we should have beat them. They kicked us off the park instead of the other way round.”
Braes Councillor Steven Jackson, who nominated the street name, said: “During his successful playing and coaching career he only moved from the area when he moved south, but he always returned home to the Braes.”
“He has played in several challenge matches in the area for charity events and I remember playing in goals with him and his friend John Brownlie as the two centre-halfs. Not many people can say the played with two Scotland internationals, even if it was a charity game.
“It is always good to see successful people never forgetting their home area and this is a way back of supporting John.”
A Hibernian club spokesman said: “It’s absolutely fantastic that John, or Sloop as he is universally known at Hibernian, has been recognised with a street being named after him. His contribution to Scottish football has been huge.
“As player, captain, coach and manager John served Hibernian with distinction for over a decade and he is rightly considered to be one of the club’s all-time greats.
“He represented Scotland in the 1974 World Cup Finals and also followed in the footsteps of his mentor and manager Eddie Turnbull by coming from the Falkirk area and making such a colossal contribution at Hibernian.
“His heart may always be at Easter Road, but his name will now always be at Blackley Place at Reddingmuirhead – a fitting achievement for a fantastic footballer and an absolute gentleman.”