John Baker Muir

Dec 2, 2021 | News


NOVEMBER 18TH 1903 – APRIL 29TH 1959

Next, we move on to the Muirs; John Baker Muir was a Bristol Rovers player from March 1931 to November 1932 during which time he appeared in 21 league games and scored three goals.

Born on November 18th, 1903 in Coatbridge, Scotland, he played for Queen of the South and Bo’ness, helping the former win the Scottish Qualifying Cup in 1924.

His next port of call was another Scottish side, Broxburn United and he was in their side that reached the quarter final of the Scottish Cup just a year after his cup exploits with Queen of the South.

A move to Stockport County in June 1925 failed to see him make his mark in English football and in 1926 he rejoined Queen of the South for a second spell.

That was followed by a move to Dumbarton, for whom he made his Scottish League debut in a game against Armadale who, by a strange coincidence, were his next club.

After just over a year with Armadale, for whom he played five years before John Hamilton, he was on the move again, this time to Falkirk and he would go on to score a solitary goal for them in a total of 44 Scottish League games.

In July 1930 he moved back down south and signed for Luton Town and went on to appear in four league games for them.

It was in March 1931 that he pitched up at Rovers and, on the 14th of that month he made his Rovers league debut in a 2-1 win against Fulham at Eastville, in front of a crowd of 9,000. He became the 151st player to represent Bristol Rovers in the league.

He appears to have replaced John Hamilton in the Rovers lineup and wore the same number six shirt that Hamilton had worn up until that point in the season.

The official attendance, given as 9,000 by Rovers’ historians Mike Jay and Stephen Byrne, is the highest of the three I’ve seen for the game. One newspaper gave the figure as 8,000 and another 7,000!

The reports from back then certainly make for interesting reading! This, for example, is the opening paragraph from one of them; ‘Fulham had a bad day against Bristol Rovers at Eastville on Saturday and lost 2-1.

‘Showing effortless control of the ball, they made the sorry blunder of imagining goals would fall to them ready made so that when Berry, the Rovers’ goalkeeper, beat them in point blank shooting, they were in an obvious dilemma.

When a team occupying a really good position in the Third Division beat the defence and cannot score with only the goalkeeper in front of the star goal getters, they deserve to lose handsomely. In administering a severe lesson, Bristol Rovers will probably do Fulham a really good turn.’

Arthur Attwood scored both Rovers goals that day; ‘He was, at all times, the most dangerous forward on the field. A remarkable and interesting feature of the Rovers’ display was that with a new half back line, including a local junior, a team like Fulham should have been so well held even when they showed second half desperation.’

John was one of three Rovers players making their debuts in that game; ‘They were Clifford Bryant from Wesley Rangers, a Kingswood club, and he played at right half while John Muir the left half and James Armstrong the inside right, had been obtained from Luton. In Muir, the Rovers seem to have found another good one.’

The game was Bryant’s only first team appearance in the league for Rovers and he later played for Blackburn Rovers, Wrexham, Cheltenham Town and Glastonbury. Armstrong scored twice in nine league appearances whilst at Eastville, so of the three players who made their debuts against Fulham, Muir made the most appearances for the club.

The side for the game against the team from Craven Cottage was as follows.

Berry, Russell, Haydon, Bryant, Cooper, Forbes, Armstrong, Muir, Attwood, Dix, Young.

Muir went on to feature in another seven league games before the season ended and scored his first goal for the club in a 3-1 Easter Monday win against Torquay United, also at Eastville.

The report for this game began as follows; ‘It was very unfortunate for Bristol Rovers that wet weather was served out for their only match at Eastville this Easter.

‘In what should have been a big holiday crowd, boiled down to fewer that 6,000 yesterday afternoon when Torquay United were at the Stapleton Road and Bristol Rovers beat them by three goals to one.

‘Clayson scored for the visitors after six minutes but a quarter of an hour later Attwood equalised from a corner well placed by Forbes, and that ended the scoring before the change of ends.

‘The first five minutes of the second half settled the verdict as it carried with it two excellent goals, the first being obtained by Dix after Wright had cleared from Forbes. The second was obtained by Muir from a free kick that Wright knew very little about.’

Rovers: Boyce, Russell, Haydon, Black, Cooper, Muir, Forbes, Armstrong, Attwood, Dix, Young.

Guided by manager Captain Albert Prince-Cox, the manager throughout John’s Eastville career, Rovers finished the 1930/31 season in 15th place in Division Three (South).

Team photo from 1931; John is seated on the far right of the front row

Keith Brookman