Jimmy Ross – The “little demon” is dead

Thursday, June 12 – 1902
The announcement on Thursday that Jimmy Ross was dead came as a surprise, and caused a feeling of regret among followers of football.

It is little more than a week ago that he was in Preston, actively promoting a draw for the benefit of the children of his brother, the late “Nick” Ross, who lost their mother last Easter. He caught a cold and complained of a facial trouble. This developed into erysipelas, and proved fatal at Monsall Hospital on Thursday morning.

He was due to make the draw mentioned at the Working Men’s Conservative Club on Monday, and thus his somewhat sudden demise has come as a painful surprise.

Few footballers have had so lengthy and yet so brilliant a football career. For a long period Ross was one of the finest inside forwards in either England or Scotland, and such was his skill with the ball and his deadly shooting powers that wherever first-class football was played in this country he become known as “the little demon.”

He joined Preston North End about 1884, and after a number of years with the Deepdale cracks he migrated to Liverpool and led that club back through the Tests to the First Division. In 1896 he was, along with Malcolm McVean, transferred to Burnley, in the hope that their inclusion in the team would save Burnley from descending to the Second Division. However, Burnley did not attain their object.

He captained the Burnley team which worked its way back to the First Division. Along with Morrison he did splendid service on the right wing and scored nearly half the goals placed to the credit of the team, Toman also providing a tower of strength, not only in the imitation of the attack, but in registering goals, having few fewer points to his credit than the “demon.” Burnley ran up well in the First Division tourney next season, and Ross’s forwards were regarded as among the best in the League.

About New Year time there was a split in the team, and the chance of the championship honours was lost. However, Burnley wound up third, a much higher position than ever occupied. Before the end of the season Ross was transferred to Manchester City, and at the end of the season Toman joined Everton.

Ross was also a billiard player and cricketer of no mean ability, and during his stay with Burnley  he assisted the Cricket Club and earned the right to hold Sir John Thursby’s Cup, which eventually became the property of J. Allen. Ross was born in 1866.
(Burnley Express, 14-06-1902)

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