Edwin Latheron

Edwin Latheron : Blackburn Rovers

George Dewar was born in Dunbarton, Scotland on 20th July, 1867. A centre-half, he played local football before signing for Dunbarton in the Scottish League in September, 1887.

On 24th March 1888 he won his first international cap playing for Scotland against Ireland. Scotland won 10-2 and Dewar scored one of the goals. The following year he played in Scotland's 3-2 victory over England.

One of the people watching this game in April 1889 was Tom Mitchell, the secretary of Blackburn Rovers. He was looking to strengthen his side by buying the best players from Scotland. Mitchell persuaded Dewar to join Blackburn. In doing so, he brought an end to his international career as at this time Scotland did not select men playing in England.

At the beginning of the 1889-90 season Tom Mitchell, the club secretary, recruited Tom Brandon, Johnny Forbes and Harry Campbell from Scotland. These players joined local men, James Forrest, Herbie Arthur, John Barton, Billy Townley, Nathan Walton, Joseph Lofthouse, Jack Southworth, John Horne and James Southworth.

Tom Mitchell was particularly concerned with the position of goalkeeper. Herbie Arthur, at 36, was coming to the end of his playing days. Mitchell initially signed Ted Doig from Arbroath. However, he found it difficult to settle and after playing only one game he returned to Scotland. Eventually, John Horne took over as Blackburn's goalkeeper. The defence did not perform well that season letting in 45 goals in 22 games.

Blackburn Rovers had little difficulty scoring goals. The team beat Notts County (9-1), Stoke (8-0), Aston Villa (7-0), Bolton Wanderers (7-1) and Burnley (7-1). Top scorers that season were Jack Southworth (22), Harry Campbell (15), Nathan Walton (14) and Joseph Lofthouse (11).

In the 1889-90 season Blackburn Rovers finished in 3rd place, six points behind Preston North End. They did even better in the FA Cup. On the way to the final they beat Sunderland (4-2), Grimsby Town (3-0), Bootle (7-0) and Wolverhampton Wanderers (1-0).

Blackburn were odds-on favourites to win the cup against Sheffield Wednesday, who played in the Football Alliance league. Blackburn selected the following players: (G) John Horne, (2) Johnny Forbes, (3) James Southworth, (4) John Barton, (5) George Dewar, (6) James Forrest, (7) Joseph Lofthouse, (8) Harry Campbell, (9) Jack Southworth, (10) Nathan Walton and (11) Billy Townley.

Blackburn took the lead in the 6th minute when a shot from Townley was deflected past the Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper. Campbell hit the post before Walton converted a pass from Townley. Blackburn scored a third before half-time when Southworth scored from another of Townley's dangerous crosses from the wing.

Townley scored his second, and Blackburn's fourth goal in the 50th minute. Bennett got one back for the Sheffield side when Bennett headed past the advancing Horne. Townley completed his hat-trick when he converted a pass from Lofthouse. Ten minutes before the end of the game, Lofthouse completed the scoring and Blackburn had won the cup 6-1. As Philip Gibbons pointed out in his book Association Football in Victorian England: "The Blackburn side had given one of the finest exhibitions of attacking football in an FA Cup Final, with England internationals, Walton, Townley, Lofthouse and John Southworth at the peak of their form."

In an effort to improve the quality of Blackburn's defence, Tom Mitchell signed a new goalkeeper, John Gow from Scottish club Renton. However, he was eventually lost his place to local lad, Rowland Pennington.

Although the defence did slightly improve that year, Blackburn Rovers was not as successful in front of goal and the club finished in 6th place in the league. However, Blackburn had another good run in the FA Cup and beat Middlesborough Ironopolis (3-0), Chester (7-0), Wolverhampton Wanderers (2-0), West Bromwich Albion (3-2) to reach their second successive final.

Notts County were their opponents. Blackburn selected the following players: (G) Rowland Pennington, (2) Tom Brandon, (3) Johnny Forbes, (4) John Barton, (5) George Dewar, (6) James Forrest, (7) Joseph Lofthouse, (8) Nathan Walton, (9) Jack Southworth, (10) Conrad Hall and (11) Billy Townley.

Blackburn Rovers put Notts County under pressure from the beginning and in the 8th minute, Dewar scored from a Townley corner. Before the end of the first-half, Southworth and Townley added further goals. Jimmy Oswald of Notts County did score a late consolation goal but Blackburn finished comfortable 3-1 winners and won the FA Cup for the 5th time in 8 years.

Dewar left Blackburn Rovers in 1896. In the seven years at the club Dewar scored seven goals in 174 games. Dewar also played for New Brighton Tower and Southampton before retiring from football.

George Dewar died on 2nd September, 1915.

© , September 1997 - April 2014

Primary Sources

(1) Mike Jackman, Blackburn Rovers : An Illustrated History (1995)

The Rovers were overwhelming favourites to lift the trophy as all of their team, bar Jimmy Southworth and Jack Horne, were of international status. Jack Southworth, Jack Barton, Jimmy Forrest, Joe Lofthouse, Billy Townley and Nat Walton were all English internationals, while John Forbes, Geordie Dewar and Henry Campbell had represented Scotland.

The rovers looked immaculate when they took to the field, being attired in white dress shirts that had been hastily acquired from a London outfitters once it was realised that Sheffield would be turning out in blue jerseys. Prior to the match a representative of the Blackburn Times spoke to someone who had been in the dressing room area and he had reported that while the Rovers players were singing and laughing the men from Sheffield were fraught with nerves. He predicted an easy victory for the Rovers and so it turned out. Billy Townley was undoubtedly the star of the show and he became the first man to score a hat-trick in the FA Cup Final as the Rovers romped to a 6-1 win.

(2) Philip Gibbons, Association Football in Victorian England (2001)

It was generally agreed that Blackburn had a little too much FA Cup experience for Wednesday, for whom Morley, Brayshaw, Mumford and Bennett performed splendidly. However, the Blackburn side had given one of the finest exhibitions of attacking football in an FA Cup Final, with England internationals, Walton, Townley, Lofthouse and John Southworth at the peak of their form.