His name was JG Cruickshank, and he was much praised in the local press for his publishing efforts with the Perthshire FA around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, when he was honorary secretary of the association. Unfortunately, he met a tragic end.
Football programmes - as opposed to team match cards - originated with a few English clubs during the 1890s. But in Scotland, the trend did not really get going until the 1920s, so it is quite a surprise to find the above drawing in the Dundee Courier in November 1899, above a lengthy appreciation of his work: 'Than Mr JG Cruickshank, the energetic secretary of the Perthshire Football Association, there are few gentlemen better known in the realms of sport in Scotland or more highly esteemed.' The article went on to say that Cruickshank had been on the PFA committee for three years and was also secretary of the Perthshire 2nd XI Association, the Perth City and County League and the newly founded Dewar Shield.
It comments that he had taken the initiative to launch the Perthshire Football Annual, and the following year the Northern Football Annual, then adds: 'Mention ought to be made of the official guides which he prepares for every important event which falls to be decided. He handed over the proceeds of three of his programmes to the war fund (ie Boer War) - something like £4 after clearing all expenses.'
Clearly programme publishing had already become a regular occurrence at major matches in Perthshire.
Further mention of his editing skills came in the Dundee Evening Post in February 1900: 'We have just received the official programme of the inter-county match between Forfarshire and Perthshire which takes place on the Recreation Grounds, Perth, on Saturday. The programme is tastefully got up and contains, besides other information of interest to footballers, portraits of the rival captains, Mr James Eadie, Dunblane and Mr G Bowman, Montrose. It may be added that the official programmes are to be sold, and the proceeds are to be handed over to the local fund in aid of the wives and families of reservists. The programmes may be had for the humble 'brown' (ie a penny).'
Described as 'Perthshire's Scribe', Cruickshank continued producing annuals and programmes until 1905, when he stepped down from his duties, again with much positive comment in the press. He was presented with a silver salver and a purse of sovereigns by the President of the Scottish FA, as well as a gold brooch for his wife. In fact, he was then prevailed upon to continue for another season before finally retiring.
So, who was he? Born in Edinburgh in 1869, James Cruickshank moved to Perth and worked as a salesman for Macnaughtons of Pitlochry, a prominent woollen manufacturer, running their shop in St John's Place. His home was in Craigie, Perth, but his connections to his employers were so strong that he actually represented Vale of Atholl, the Pitlochry club, despite not living there.
After stepping down from his Perthshire FA posts, he moved to Dundee and set up a drapery shop in Hawkhill. However, his life ended in tragedy and the Dundee Courier reported his suicide in November 1924, aged 55. He was found in his back shop, having poisoned himself with a pipe running from the gas oven. He left a wife and a son.
The hope remains that something will turn up in a pile of old papers, but nonetheless this programme pioneer of Perth deserves to be remembered for the work he did to publicise the game.
James Gordon Cruickshank, born Edinburgh 9 May 1869, died Dundee 12 November 1924. (NB at death his middle name was recorded as 'Gardner')