The Strange Football Life – And Tragic Death – Of A Cup Final Hero
BY Vince Cooper
IN 1894 2nd Division Notts County caused a shock by winning the F. A. Cup, and the man they had to thank was Jimmy Logan.
County, relegated at the end of the previous season, had beaten top flight Burnley and Burton Wanderers in the first two rounds before claiming another 1st Division scalp, along with local bragging rights ,when knocking out Nottingham Forest, winning the replay 4-1 at their Trent Bridge home after a 1-1 draw in the first match.
In the semi-final, the ‘Lacemen’ as they were then known, came up with another upset with a single goal victory over Blackburn Rovers who would go on to finish 4th in the 1st Division.
Knocking Rovers out was a form of revenge for County who had lost to them in the F. A. Cup final at Kennington Oval three years before.
The semi, which was played at Bramall Lane in front of 20,000 fans, was a tight encounter with left winger Harry Daft scoring the only goal to see County through to their first final after three defeats at the last-four stage.
Daft, like many in his day, was equally proficient at summer and winter sports having made over 200 appearances for Nottinghamshire in County Championship cricket as well as winning five caps, and scoring three times for England at football, as well as running a sporting goods business.
The other semi-final was an all-1st Division match-up and it saw Bolton Wanderers overcame The Wednesday 2-1. This meant that there would be a new name on the cup as neither County nor Bolton had yet won the competition.
The County players received sad news on the morning of the big match when they learned of the sudden death of former teammate Sandy Ferguson who had been in the line-up for the final loss to Blackburn three years before.
The venue for the final was Goodison Park. The previous year the match had been played at Manchester’s Fallowfield ground, but trouble in controlling the crowd who were continually encroaching onto the pitch had the F. A. looking elsewhere and they settled on Everton’s home.
A disappointing crowd said to be around 23,000 were present on 31st March with gate receipts almost halving from the £2,550 of twelve months before to £1,300. But those that were present saw a virtuoso performance from one player.
After right winger Arthur Wharton had given County the lead Scottish centre-forward James Logan took over.
Logan, after playing a key role in Wharton’s opener, scored in the 29th, 67th and 70th minutes and although Jim Cassidy got a late consolation, being left with an easy tap-in after goalkeeper George Toone slipped when trying to clear it was County all the way.
County returned to Nottingham with the cup on the evening of the final and there was, reportedly, ‘a mass of people as dense as concrete on hand to cheer the players from the station to their Clumber St. headquarters’.
A brass band entertained the team and their fans with popular hits of the day such as ‘The Man that Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo’ and ‘Linger Longer Lou’ as the carriage carrying the team and the cup made their way through the city.
There was a strong Scottish influence throughout the County team that day with five of the line-up from north of the border including captain David Calderhead who would later go on to manage Chelsea for 27 years and international inside forward Daniel Bruce. The team also included England international Alf Shelton who won six caps for his country so the men from Meadow Lane were clearly a talented XI. But among these, Logan was clearly the star man.
The hat trick feat had been achieved for just the second time in the final following William Townley’s triple for Blackburn Rovers four years before. It would be 59 years until the next, when Stan Mortensen got three for Blackpool, coincidentally also against Bolton.
George Toone’s winners medal
Logan was clearly County’s danger man having scored in every round except the semi final and he lived up to expectations. All three of his goals were reportedly; ‘cleverly taken’, and the third sent the County fans present; ‘wild with joy at the amazing success of the black and whites’ according to one contemporary report.
County with the cup
A year later Logan surprisingly left Notts County and a year after that he was dead in tragic circumstances.
James ‘Jimmy’ Logan was born in Troon in 1870 and soon after the family moved to Ayr where he would later join the ranks of the local team Ayr United.
In March 1891 he was picked for the Scottish national team to play Wales, scoring in the 4-3 win and shortly after that he made the move south, joining Sunderland.
Logan spent just three months at Sunderland, playing a handful of games for the team that would go on to win the First Division title, before returning to Ayr.
Logan was quickly on the move again, this time to Aston Villa who paid Ayr £30 for his services in October 1892 but it was another spell where he was often out of the line up.
The 1892-93 season seemed promising enough when Logan broke into the team and made 11 appearances, scoring six times.
The following campaign saw a solitary strike in four matches before he was on the move again, this time to Notts County – and glory. As with his time at Sunderland, Villa, the club Logan left would go on to capture the 1st Division title but the player got himself a decent ‘consolation’ with his cup final hat-trick and winners’ medal.
After his hat-trick heroics at Goodison one would have thought that Logan, still only 23-years-old, might have found a happy home. But the seemingly constantly-unsettled player was soon on the move yet again, making brief stops at Dundee and Newcastle United where he found the net eight times in nine matches.
In 1896, Loughborough, newly elected to the Football League and struggling at the foot of the 2nd Division, signed Logan for ‘a large fee’. Still only 26 years old, he was joining his eighth team and made an immediate impact, scoring on his debut and going on to find the net four times in ten games to help lift the club clear of the bottom.
At Easter in 1896 Loughborough played twice in two days. The first was against Crewe but the match was switched to Sandbach because of the ‘misconduct of the Crewe people’ in a previous match.
Following a 2-1 win the team travelled on to play Newton Heath 24 hours later. The team turned up but without their kit which had gone astray.
They delayed kick-off for half an hour but with no sign of the kit arriving a number of the players, including Logan, played in their street clothes while others used borrowed jerseys.
The match, which Newton Heath won 2-0, was played in driving rain and Logan and his teammates had to return to Loughborough in the same soaked clothes they had played in.
Logan missed Loughborough’s next two matches, the Easter Monday win over Rotherham and a draw at Burslem Port Vale suffering from a heavy cold.
He was back in the line up on Saturday 11 April for the return against Burslem Port Vale. Loughborough won the match 3-0 although Logan was criticised in one report and said to have been ‘very slow’.
Loughborough’s last match of the season was the return against Crewe Alexandra and Logan seemed back to his best, scoring in a 4-1 win that saw them finish the season 12th in the 16-team second tier.
With the season over Logan finally seemed to be recovering from his cold. But, his health deteriorated, the cold developed into pneumonia and he passed away on the 25th aged just 25.
Jimmy Logan;s headstone
Logan was buried in a pauper’s grave at Loughborough Cemetery and aside from a road in Nottingham called ‘James Logan Way’ he was a largely forgotten piece of football history until two Notts County fans, Andy Black and Jimmy Willian discovered it and created the ‘James Logan Headstone Trust’ to raise funds. The money raised was used to place a new stone on the grave which was unveiled in 2016 by the Mayor of Charnwood.
In an awful twist, Logan wasn’t the only player from the 1894 final to die in tragic circumstances. Bolton’s Welsh international full-back Di Jones, capped 14 times by his country made over 200 appearances for Wanderers.
Jones later moved on to Manchester City and played a major role in their promotion to the 1st Division.
Whilst playing in a trial match at Hyde Road in 1902, he fell heavily and cut his knee on an errant piece of glass which was on the pitch. A horse ambulance was called for but the player insisted on leaving the pitch unaided.
The cut was examined and deemed serious enough for Jones to be taken to hospital but he discharged himself, walked to Manchester Victoria Station and journeyed home to Bolton.
Within days the wound had become infected and Jones died from blood poisoning 10 days later aged just 35.
It is symptomatic of the times that injuries and illnesses might go untreated. But for not one, but two players who appeared in the same Cup final to pass away in bizarre ‘football-related’ circumstances is a sad, strange and undoubtedly unprecedented occurrence.