Wednesday, January 23 – 1907
Footballers will regret to learn of the tragic death of Willie Walker, the veteran Leith Athletic player which took place in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary yesterday afternoon. Walker, who was playing forward, was injured in an attack on the Vale of Leven goal. Walker had then to be taken to the Infirmary where he was detained for a wee, but recovering somewhat he was allowed to be conveyed to his home in Broxburn. He took a turn for the worse, however, and had to be taken to the Infirmary.
Incidents In His Career.
Walker was a native of Broxburn, and played for over twelve years with Leith Athletic. He learned his football in a junior team in Broxburn named Cardross Swifts, then served with Broxburn Athletic, and soon afterwards joined the senior club, Broxburn. The first match he took part in as a senior was in Dundee against the Harp. He was then in first class company with Broxburn. Prominent amongst his colleagues were Tom Chambers (late Hearts), George Fleming (Liverpool), and J. Bryce (Southport Central).
Walker’s first connection with Leith was in season 1893-94. These were the days of the famous McQueens and of “Dod” Anderson, and many a good man had come and gone since then. Willie Anderson and Bob McCartney, afterwards of the Hearts, were the backs, and at that time they were considered the best pair of club defenders in the East.
Broxburn has produced many a good player. Notable amongst these was Dan Doyle, the famous ex-Celt, who played centre forward for the Shamrock under the name of “Paddy” Nash and “Danny” Kirkwood. They left Broxburn about 1887, the time of the big shale strikes.
A Good Story.
Walker had one season across the Border with Liverpool. He went south with Bob Marshall, who was outside to him in the Leith team. He played outside right for the Anfielders.
Walker told a rather interesting story about his connection with Liverpool. During his brief stay with that club the transfer system came into operation, and a sum of £100 was put on his head. Through a singular mistake, however, on the part of the English club he enjoyed a free transfer. In the list which they sent to headquarters Liverpool returned “J. Walker” instead of “W. Walker.” It was only a slip, but the wrong initial was made to stand, and the player was set free. It was then he returned to Leith, and he has remained with them ever since.
Only Twice Injured.
During all the time Walker played he was only twice injured. His first mishap was received two years ago while playing against Raith Rovers. He had the cartilage of one of his knees removed, and at one time it looked as if it would end his football career, but Willie soon fully recovered and was as lively as ever. His second injury, received against Vale of Leven in a League match three weeks ago, unfortunately proved fatal to him.
(Dundee Courier, 24-01-1907)