October 15, 1910
One of a famous football family is our subject, for four brothers have made their names in English and Scottish circles. The eldest played for Bolton Wanderers, whilst the next in order of age assisted Bolton and Derby County. Sam was the third of the quartet, and his younger brother was a member of the Clyde club.
Some confusion has been caused with regard to the difference organisations that the Gilligan brothers have been connected with, but the present Liverpool player has never figured in the Bolton Wanderers’ ranks, and he himself is naturally desirous that this fact should be generally known.
Born at Dundee, Gilligan started to play football at the age of fourteen, and joined a local club called Belmont Athletic. Here he remained for three seasons, and usually figured at inside right, though he was often requisitioned to fill a vacancy created in any part of the forward or half-back divisions.
His club fared remarkably well in their engagements, for they won the Dundee Junior League, and were the joint holders another year. They also secured the Brown Cup and Johnston Cup – local competitions – the same season they won the League, and Gilligan was prominent among the goal scorers.
His next move was to one of the Dundee and District league teams – Violet – and he assisted them for 4 months on their inside right. He shaped so creditably that the senior club of the town – Dundee – approached him, and signed him on as a centre forward.
With this Scottish First Division League eleven he played for a season, being the pivot of their attack, and in the Cup Ties, they reached the semi-finals, only to be beaten by the Hearts after a draw on their own ground.
The next year, Gilligan joined the Celtic organisation, and was their centre forward for a “twelve month.” From there he migrated to Bristol City, where he settled down. His stay at the Western seaport extended over six years, and during this period Gilligan occupied every position in the team at one time or other, except that of goalkeeper. He was the general utility man of the side, and no matter what post was allotted to him, he invariably gave a capital account of himself.
His club enjoyed many successes during the time he was connected with them, for the City secured the championship of the Second Division, and nearly equalled Liverpool’s feat the following season, when they gained second place in the premier league. They also won their way to the English Cup final, only to be beaten by the United of Manchester 0-1. That day Gilligan was centre forward, though in the previous ties he had played at inside right.
Gilligan was the most prolific goal scorer in the City eleven, and while with them credited himself with upwards of hundred goals. He was the top scorer each year, with one exception, when in the season Bristol gained promotion, the veteran Maxwell beat him by six points. In his last campaign with them he only figured in about eighteen games, so that it would be unfair to institute comparisons for that year.
The Westerners granted him a benefit last winter, and it was rather strange that Liverpool, whose player he now is, should have been beaten in their English Cup Tie, at Bristol, by the only goal of the match which he obtained, last January. Goals are badly needed at Anfield at present.
We have not seen the best of Gilligan yet, for the grounds have been too hard for him to show to advantage. On a heavy turf such as we may expect later in the season he should prove a useful forward, and his wide experience must be of benefit to the Reds in an exacting engagement. Though not so nimble as of yore, he possesses a thorough knowledge of the game, and under suitable conditions would, we feel assured, proved a dangerous forward.
Standing 5 ft 9½in and weighing 12st 2lbs, he is well equipped from a physical standpoint, and is remarkably fit. In the summer months he devotes his time to gold and fishing in his native country. A player who can adapt himself to any position on the field is a useful asset to a club, and the varied experience he has undergone in first class football should provide Gilligan with plenty of League football in the future, either as forward, half- or full back.
(Joint Everton and Liverpool Match Programme: October 15, 1910)