Allan Scally

Allan Scally is pictured here with two athletes he coached to success. On the left is Graham Everett, the 1958 AAA 1 mile champion, and on the right Joe McGhee, the 1954 Empire Games marathon champion. The photograpgh was taken at the S.A.A.A. championships at Meadowbank in 1956.

Family & Friends & Community Life

Allan Scally was born on the 26th January 1904 at 909 Great Eastern Road, Glasgow, and died on April 7th 1966. His parents were William and Jane Anderson (known as Jean) . Great Eastern Road was later known as Camlachie Street.

Allan was oldest in a large family, with 8 children living to old age. Allan was born in 1904. John was born in 1905. Elizabeth (known as Lizzie) was born in 1907. William was born in 1910 but died in 1911. James was born in 1912. Robert (Bob) was born in 1915. Grace was born in 1918. William (Bill) was born in 1921. Mary (known as May) and Jeannie were born in 1925 but died that same year.

At some time the family moved to Broomhouse and in 1932 when Allan and Elizabeth Robinson (known as Lizzie) were married they set up home in Camp Road, Baillieston. On 3/5/1933 twins Frank and William were born but William only survived for a few weeks. Frank died on 16/8/2002. Later two further sons Allan and Bill joined the family.

Sometime later in the 30s, they all moved to Dolan Street, along with Lizzie's father, Francis Robinson. Bill was born in Dolan St. on 13/11/1941.

Brothers in arms
Frank 3/5/1933 - 16/8/2002. Allan 1938 - 18/5/2019, Bill 13/11/1941 - 4/8/2013.

The family information is provided by Sue Walker, daughter of Frank and Susan, and therefore granddaughter of Allan and Lizzie. She attributes the data to Ian Scally's family tree. Ian's father was Allan's brother John.

The period of Allan's running success coincided with "the depression" of the late twenties and early thirties and many people in the mining community of Broomhouse where Allan lived were grateful for the money generated by Allan's ability as a professional athlete to help fund the soup kitchens especially during the General Strike of 1926.

When Allan moved house to Baillieston he spent a lot of his time encouraging the youth of the area to take part in athletics by organising training and meetings. The sessions at Maxwell Pk were supported by Lanarkshire Council for the youth at St Bridget's school. The success of the venture led to the removal of a football pitch and the installation of a running track.

Running Career

Allan Scally's running career as a professional athlete spanned the period from 1925 to 1935. During that time he competed as "Allan Scally of Broomhouse" and made his name in the professional ranks, winning the Powderhall Marathon title (a ten mile track race) a record 5 times between 1927 and 1932. They were 1927 (53.43), 1928 (54.25), 1929 (54.36), 1931 (54.26) and 1932 (57.09). A newsreel of Allan winning in 1932 can be found here and finishing 2nd to James Campbell in 1933. The 1st prize in 1933 was the cosiderable sum of £75 in an era where the average wage was £125 per annum.

In winning the Powderhall 10, Allan held the title of World Professional 10 miles champion, a title that could only be contested by a challenge match. Allan was challenged frequently over the years, the most memorable being from R.E.Cole of Hereford. Races were held at White City Racecourse, Glasgow, and on 7th July 1928 before a capacity crowd, Allan retained the title of World 10 mile champion.

As was customary at the time Allan competed at Sports meetings and Highland Games throughout the country invariably being "scratch" man on most occasions. He ran at "Royal Braemar" and was chastised by the commentator for "warming up" before the race which was apparently not allowed when the King and Queen were present.

At Powderhall in 1933 and 1934, Allan finished second and third, the winner being James Campbell, a pupil of Allan's. This fact so impressed Allan that it pointed his way in athletics finding and helping youth. Thus ended the professional career of Scally of Broomhouse and what Powderhall lost, Shettleston gained. As he considered his own running career over by then, he poured all his energy and experience into coaching and was main contributor to the clubs success in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Shettleston Harriers

Is it a coincidence that Allan Scally was born in 1904 the same year that Shettleston Harriers was founded. Perhaps it was meant as they were perfect for each other. In January 1928 Allan was appointed coach to Shettleston Harriers. His professional running career, excluded him from joining an amateur athletic club, so although he spent 35 years assisting Shettleston Harriers he was never a member of the club.

It was a great regret to Allan that he never wore the famous blue and gold vest of Shettleston Harriers, so as he considered his own running career to be over, he poured all his energy and experience into coaching and played a key role in the great success achieved by the club in the late 1940's and early 1950's. As can be seen from the 1936-7 press report here the distinction between the definition of an amateur and professional athlete status was hotly defended by the National Governing Body, the National Cross Country Union of Scotland. It reports that Allan Scally had applied for re–instatement as an amateur and presumably had been turned. Shettleston Harriers were then charged with suspension by the N.C.C.U. when it was discovered that the paid coach Allan Scally went on training runs with the athletes he was coaching. Fascinating and changed days – thank goodness.

Coaching

The Champions coached by Allan Scally are too numerous to mention, but some who did benefit from his advice include Jim Flockhart who won the National in 1932-3, 1933-4, 1935-6 and 1938-7. In 1937 Jim become the first Scot to win the International Cross Country title. Allan Watt, won the English 100 yards title in 1947 and 1948 came to Shettleston as a high jumper and was turned into a sprinter by Allan. Graham Everett, the 1958 AAA 1 mile champion and Joe McGhee, the 1954 Empire Games marathon champion benefitted greatly from Allan's coaching. In praising Allan Scally's contribution to athletics Joe McGhee described Mr Scally as the "the finest amateur I ever knew".

What were the characteristics to be found in one so influential? Some will say a great runner in his own right, the urge to win, or a rare genius for transmitting ideas and motivation to those around him. Undoubtedly his most outstanding qualities was the uncanny ability to see potential in young athletes in Track or Country. Allan also acted for many years as coach and official for the SAAA and was widely known across athletics in Scotland.