Monday May 15th 2023
From left to right: Loanhead Gala Day Chiarman Ross Perfect, Loanhead Gala Queen Elect 2023 Amy McWilliams, Rangers and Scotland footballer Chelsea Cornet, St Mirren footballer Ryan Flynn, Loanhead Gala Day Herald 2023 Zak Robertson. Loanhead Youth football co-ordinator Peter Frame. Photo credit Joe Gilhooley LRPS
For a relatively small community, Loanhead has a long history of producing talented footballers, many of whom have gone on to join the professional ranks and with several enjoying distinguished careers. In recognition of this part of Loanhead’s history, a Loanhead Football Heritage Banner was introduced as part of the town’s gala procession in 2016. The banner originally featured the names of 12 outstanding players from Loanhead and, as such, has become something of a Hall of Fame for Loanhead footballers.
This year, the names of two further footballers from Loanhead, Ryan Flynn and Chelsea Cornet, have been added to the banner, with Chelsea being the first women’s footballer to join Loanhead’s Football Hall of Fame.
Ryan Flynn began his football career at Loanhead Miners’ Youth FC. After a spell as a youth player at Liverpool, he has played for Wrexham, Falkirk, Sheffield United, Oldham Athletic and is currently with St Mirren.
Chelsea Cornet started out at Loanhead Miners’ Youth FC at age 5. After a highly successful period at Hibernian where she was part of the side which won the Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup and the Scottish Women’s Cup on multiple occasions, Chelsea moved to her current club, Rangers, where the Scottish Women’s Premier League Championship was secured in season 2021 – 22. In April 2023 Chelsea gained her first full Scotland cap in a 1-0 win against Australia.
Both Ryan and Chelsea have strong Loanhead Gala connections. Ryan was Herald in 2000 and Chelsea was a Lady in Waiting in 2010.
Amongst the 12 footballers who originally featured on the banner are:-
Gary Naysmith – of Hearts, Everton and Scotland. A member of Hearts’ Scottish Cup winning side of 1998, Gary then moved to Everton in 2000 for a fee of £1.7 million and during a seven year stay made over 150 appearances. Gary earned 46 full Scotland caps between 2000 and 2009.
Tommy Johnston – a centre forward of many clubs including Kilmarnock, Darlington, Oldham Athletic, Norwich City, Orient, Blackburn Rovers, Gillingham and Newport County in a career spanning from the 1940’s to the early 1960’s. Voted Orient’s greatest ever player in a fan poll to mark the millennium, Tommy is one of the top all time goal-scorers in the English football league.
Jim Steele – after beginning his senior career at Dundee, Jim moved to Southampton in 1972, for whom he made over 200 appearances. His career highlight came as a member of Southampton’s FA Cup winning team in 1976, defeating Manchester United in the final.
Alex Young – Alex made 243 appearances for Hearts between 1955 and 1960 in the club’s most successful ever spell, during which time he won two League Championship, plus Scottish Cup and League Cup medals, scoring 158 goals. He then moved to Everton where he quickly became established as a fans’ favourite. He made 273 appearances and scored 87 goals for Everton, being a member of their League Championship winning side in 1962-63 and their FA Cup winning team of 1966. Alex was capped by Scotland on 8 occasions, scoring 5 goals for the national side.
The others featured on the banner are :-
Ally Donaldson, Bobby Forrest, James “Tuck” Hodge, Ian King, David Roseburgh, Harry Thomson, Jason Thomson and John Thomson.
The banner, with its 2 added names, will be a prominent feature in the processions at this year’s Loanhead Children’s Gala Day on Saturday 24 June 2023.Tweet Share on Facebook