London Hearts Supporters Club

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Mr John Urquhart

It is with deep regret and great sadness that we have to report the death of Mr John Urquhart who passed away on Saturday 13th December.

Johnny Urquhart served Raith Rovers as a player in the fifties, and he also served the club as a Director, Chairman and President.

Club historian John Litster, author of 'Raith Rovers Centenary History' and 'Always Next Season - 125 years of Raith Rovers FC', recently wrote of John Urquhart -

J Urquhart Few individuals in the club’s history served for so long, and with such distinction, and indeed in so many capacities, as Johnny Urquhart.

A prominent player in local schools and Boys Brigade circles, the outbreak of the Second World War curtailed his options when it came to junior or juvenile football. He maintained his links with the Boys Brigade, playing for Kirkcaldy Old Boys in the Juvenile League, and played trial matches for Rovers and East Fife during the war.

Towards the close of hostilities, he signed for Hearts, lured by the promise of regular football, as the Tynecastle club had a reserve team, whereas his local club did not.

An early place in the first team was conceded to a succession of big money signings, and towards the end of 1949/50 he spent a fruitful loan spell at Stark’s Park, helping Rovers to retain their cherished A Division status.

For four years, from 1951, he was the established outside left to Hearts’ legendary “Terrible Trio” of Conn, Bauld and Wardhaugh. In 1954 he played in the team which won the League Cup, breaking a long trophy drought for the Tynecastle Club, and he won a Scottish League cap in the same season.

In 1955/56 he lost his first team place, and in April 1956 he was transferred to Raith Rovers, where he enjoyed an Indian Summer to his playing career. He was a key component of what is arguably the club’s greatest ever team in 1956/57, and he retained his first team place until midway through 1961/62.

John UrquhartHe became a coach, firstly with the reserves, and in that capacity he re-registered as a player in 1963/64. When he reluctantly hung up his boots, he was appointed to the Board of Directors, where he served, latterly as Chairman, until 1994, when he accepted the position of Club President.

His early years as a director were characterised by unpublicised, selfless work in scouting and assessing players, and nurturing the young reserves.

As chairman, he presided over some difficult years, and his legacy in that respect would have been very different but for the failed promotion bid in 1980.
Very few men could match his service in Raith Rovers’ 125 year history, and his surpasses all others in its longevity ; truly one of the club’s ‘Greats’.

Johnny Urquhart continued to support Rovers home and away until a few years ago when illness restricted his visits to Stark's Park, but his many years of sterling service to the club in various capacities will never be surpassed or forgotten, and his photograph continues to take pride of place on the boardroom wall at Stark’s Park.

Everyone associated with Raith Rovers Football Club would like to express their sincere condolences to Johnny’s family and friends at this very sad time. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
written by Jim Foy
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