STORY OF EX FALKIRK PLAYER 'THE GHOST OF WHITE HART LANE' PLAYING AT EDINBURGH FRINGE

Any Falkirk fans looking through the programme for the forthcoming Edinburgh Fringe Festival would spot a production of special interest to all Falkirk supporters.

It is “The Ghost of White Hart Lane”, which is based on the 2011 book of the same name by John’s son, Rob, and Julie Welch. Written and directed by Martin Murphy, the play is on at the Underbelly in Bristo Square, Edinburgh, from July 31st to August 26th. The play was premiered at the home of Tottenham Hotspur and was a sell-out.

The performances start at 1:25 pm and tickets are available from £7.00. John White was tragically killed in a lightning storm in 1964, 60 years ago next month and the play is a fitting tribute to a player who is fondly remembered by all Alloa, Falkirk, Spurs and Scotland fans.

John won four of his 22 Scotland caps while playing for Falkirk. He played in a Falkirk side that struggled to stay in the top flight and, despite this, his talent was recognised by those who played with and against him. He was the first of a new breed, a midfielder as opposed to a traditional inside-forward. It was only when he established himself at Spurs, and as a Scotland regular, that his talent was fully appreciated.

John White was one of many talented youngsters from Musselburgh who came to prominence in local football with Musselburgh Union. He signed professional forms with Alloa Athletic in November 1956 and quickly attracted the attention of scouts from several teams. Rangers reportedly had him watched on many occasions but were put off by reports of his frailty and fragility. This was despite the fact that he won national cross-country championships with the British Army.

He was an immediate success on his first full Scotland International appearance, scoring in the first minute against West Germany on May 6th 1959. As a Falkirk player, he scored twice from his four appearances, and was only once on the losing side. He also earned honours at League and Under-23 level as a Falkirk player.

In October 1959, he was transferred to Spurs for a fee of £22,000 and went on to have a stellar career with club and country, earning 18 more Scotland caps. He was a key member of the Spurs side of the early 60s and won league, cup and European Cup-winners medals. His style of play was appreciated at Spurs and his uncanny ability to anticipate play earned him the nickname ‘The Ghost’. John sadly died at the age of 27 while out on a golf course.

The play is sure to attract large audiences, both of football fans and those interested in a fascinating story which combines elements of tragedy and some humour. The book was well received and the play looks likely to attract similar praise. The theatre recommends that the play is suitable for audiences over 12 years old. Well worth a trip through on a summer’s afternoon to the capital city. For more information on tickets and accessibility see boxoffice@underbelly.co.uk and access@underbelly.co.uk.

 

Michael White

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