Obituary: Former ’Shire director passes away

The death has occurred of Alex Forsyth, known to many as ‘Wee Alex’, one of the last surviving veterans of the ‘Steedman Affair’ when the brothers tried to take the ’Shire away from Falkirk and remove them to Clydebank.

By Martyn Simpson
Monday, 13th April 2020, 10:46 am
Updated Monday, 13th April 2020, 10:48 am
Alex Forsyth (front row, second from left) during his playing days with The Shire
Alex Forsyth (front row, second from left) during his playing days with The Shire

After Lord Hunter found in the minority shareholder’s favour their shares were returned to the company and offered to the supporters to affirm their attachment to their favourites.

The take-up was slow and a chance meeting between secretary Willie Muirhead and Alex led to him taking as many shares as he could at that time afford.

He soon found himself drafted on to the board of directors running the second XI, a position from which he brought many young players into the club who soon found themselves being promoted to the first team.

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However, it was on the fund-raising side that he was to excel.

Shirepools had started with a flourish, but it had lost its way by the time he took over.

Alex rejuvenated it and soon had money rolling in from bingo at the Social Club, bingo cards and lottery tickets giving the club sufficient funds to buy Firs Park from British Railways.

Although this was an astute piece of business which gave ’Shire security of tenure it was to become a cause of aggravation many years later.

For tax reasons the pools which many teams at the time ran were run separately from the club, and when his fellow directors fell out with him he took the pools operation away from the club and changed the beneficiaries to the youth clubs in the east of Scotland.

Alex was subsequently removed from the board.

Even then he still worked for ’Shire, producing the programme and running the refreshment hut.

He returned to the board in the 1990s but his determination to sell the ground and divide the proceeds among the shareholders led to a falling out with his fellow directors and his teaming up with Alan Mackin and an injunction being taken out with the board members and a board takeover in 2000.

Alex quickly became disillusioned with the new regime and he was eventually sidelined by the Paisley board members.

Alexander Simpson Hutchison Forsyth was born in Maryfield Place on September 29, 1928.

The family soon moved to Camelon Main Street where he was educated at Camelon Public School where he caught the football bug which he never lost.

During the war he worked at Sunnyside Foundry producing hand grenades and in his spare time he joined the Sea Scouts who just happened to run a good football team.

His ability as a winger soon attracted the Junior League scouts and he turned out for Linlithgow Rose, Parkhead and Camelon Juniors before he caught the senior scouts’ eye and moved to Darlington who played in the Third Division North.

He became homesick and soon returned north to play for Albion Rovers and finally to East Stirlingshire.

By then he had joined GR Stein at Whitecross as the mine electrician, which he was to occupy until the Shirepools took over his life.

Alex was married to Morag who predeceased him and is survived by a son, Alex Junior and a daughter, Janice as well as four grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

WORDS by Ross Strang