Frank Carlow
Frank Carlow
A. Player

born in Scotland

Francis William Carlow was born on Thursday, 14th May, 1903, in Renton, West Dunbartonshire.

The forward signed for George Easton's Thistle on Friday, 1st September, 1922, having most recently been with Petershill.

Aged 19, he made his debut appearance on Saturday, 25th November, 1922, in a 2-1 win at home to Aberdeen in the SFL First Division.

That day, Frank became a member of our scoring debutant's club.

He scored the last of his 3 goals on Tuesday, 21st August, 1923, in a 1-0 friendly win at home to Nithsdale Wanderers.

That turned out to be his last game for the club, having appeared as a Jag on 3 occasions.

His club-list included Petershill, Partick Thistle and Dumbarton.

Frank died on Thursday, 8th July, 1976, in Kirkcaldy, Fife, aged 73.

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Bio Extra

As a boy in Renton, Frank was a keen sportsman and was actually a Scottish Schools sprint champion. As a footballer, he could play on the right wing or at centre forward, and had been playing in the juniors with Petershill when he arrived at Firhill in his late teens. Almost 3 months after signing, he got his first start in late November 1922, in a home League game versus Aberdeen. He was one of a number of new faces introduced in the search for a settled forward line. Aberdeen, big and strong, took a deserved lead (18) but Kinloch levelled (42) with a header close in. The re-jigged forward line brought much improvement and Carlow (on his debut) scored the winner when he pounced on a poor defensive header (77).

Surprisingly, two whole months passed before he played again, this time versus Alloa at Firhill. The visitors, bottom of the league, started brightly. They were the equal of Thistle except up front, where their forwards were poor and made little impact. Blair gave Thistle the lead with “a swift drive from an acute angle” (15) then Carlow headed in (22). The 2nd half saw Thistle largely in control but it finished 2-0.

So, two games, two goals. And yet, still Frank could not find favour with the executive in charge of team selection. In fact, he never played another competitive fixture for Thistle again! His third and final appearance came early in the new season in August 1923, a Firhill friendly versus Nithsdale Wanderers, arranged as part of the Davie Ness transfer deal. It was a sedate and friendly affair, with Thistle having 2 ex-Wanderers in the team (Ness and Crichton). The non-league side gave a good account of themselves but Ferguson thwarted their efforts. A goal by Carlow made the difference but a draw would have been fairer.

And that was that for Frank as a first-team Jag. Three games, three goals, who could ask for more? We can only imagine the sense of frustration he must have felt. Something had to give and, in early December 1923, it was announced that Frank, together with Bob McFarlane, Albert Cable & Albert Ferguson, had been given 30 days notice on economic grounds, and that free transfers had been granted to all. Within a matter of weeks, Frank was fixed up at Second Division Dumbarton, where he was much more prolific in terms of game time. He made around 50 first class appearances with the Sons in a relatively short time frame, with a scoring ratio of 1 every 2 games. It seems like he gave up the Scottish game, certainly in senior terms, after just 2 years at Boghead.

As we understand it, he had a short spell coaching in South Africa, so perhaps he played there too? Despite this diversion, it seems entrepreneurial ambitions took precedent for Frank; he was involved in cinema from 1920. In 1931, he moved to Kirkcaldy with his brother, William. Together, they started showing 'talkies' in the Pathhead Hall and one thing led to another. Cinemas and picture houses became the family business (see 'Scrapbook' tab). In 1970, after 50 years of service, Frank was given life membership of the Cinematographic Exhibitor's Association, regarded as a high privilege in the entertainment world.

Frank married and had a son and a daughter. He was a keen bowler and was president of his local club in Kirkcaldy. His wife died in 1974 and he himself passed away at his Kirkcaldy home two years later.

(WS/AFK/AM/SD)



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