Alfie Conn Sr.

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Alfie Conn
Personal information
Full name Alfred Conn
Date of birth (1926-10-02)2 October 1926
Place of birth Prestonpans, Scotland
Date of death 7 January 2009(2009-01-07) (aged 82)
Place of death Glenrothes, Scotland
Height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Playing position Inside Right[1]
Youth career
Prestonpans YMCA
Inveresk Athletic
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1944–1958 Hearts 223 (115)
1958–1960 Raith Rovers 34 (15)
1960 Johnannesburg Ramblers
National team
1948–1955 Scottish League XI[2] 3 (2)
1956 Scotland 1 (1)
Teams managed
1960 Johnannesburg Ramblers
1960–1962 Gala Fairydean
1962–1963 Raith Rovers
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Alfred "Alfie" Conn (2 October 1926 – 7 January 2009) was a Scottish internationalist footballer best remembered as part of the Terrible Trio of the Heart of Midlothian side of the late 40s and 1950s with Willie Bauld and Jimmy Wardhaugh.

Heart of Midlothian and Scotland[edit]

Conn was born in Prestonpans, East Lothian. He joined Hearts from Inveresk Athletic in 1944, making his debut later that year in a 4–0 win over Dumbarton in a wartime Southern League match.[3]

On 9 October 1948 after a mediocre start to the 1948–49 season, Hearts' manager Davie McLean gave a competitive first team debut to 20 year old [4] centre forward Willie Bauld.[5] 19 year old inside left, Jimmy Wardhaugh,[6] and 22 year old inside right, Alfie Conn, [3] had already broken through to the first team so this game marked the first time all three were deployed as a combined attacking force.[7] They became dubbed the Terrible Trio and scored over 900 Hearts goals between them[8] (Wardhaugh 376, Bauld 355, Conn 221).[9] As a unit they played 242 games together.[10] The combination of Wardhaugh's dribbling skills and non-stop running, Bauld's cerebral play and prodigious aerial ability, and Conn's energetic, tenacious style and powerful shooting complemented each other well.[11] Their first match as a forward combination ended in a 6–1 defeat of Scot Symon's impressive East Fife team of the era.[12] This was notable as Symon's team had defeated the Maroons 4–0 three weeks earlier.[13]

Tangible progress was made in the League Championship in 1949–50 when Hearts finished third.[14][12][9] McLean's death on 14 February 1951 saw Tommy Walker promoted to the new manager of Conn and his Hearts team mates. The important foundations Walker inherited from McLean included the Terrible Trio forwards. Walker managed Hearts for the rest of the time Conn was there.[15][12][9]

In 1953–54, Wardhaugh became the A Division's top scorer with 27 goals as Hearts appeared set to win the League championship. However, on 13 March 1954 in the Scottish Cup quarter final 3–0 defeat away to Aberdeen, Bobby Parker broke his jaw, Conn injured his back, and Wardhaugh collected a serious shin bone injury. Bobby Dougan already had a lengthy knee injury meaning 9 November 1953 was his last competitive Hearts first team gam. A stuttering end to their season saw Celtic overtake them.[16]

Dave Mackay was given his extended place in the team beside John Cumming in the 1954–55 season immediately after Davie Laing's 5 September transfer to Clyde.[17] Seven weeks later Hearts became a trophy winning force lifting the first of seven trophies over nine seasons between 1954 and 1963 (their first trophy since 1906). Conn was there for the first three of those. In October of the 1954–55 they beat Motherwell 4–2 in the 1954 Scottish League Cup Final. Bauld scored three and Wardhaugh scored one in the final giving the team their break through trophy. Hearts gained some recompense against Celtic from the season before by beating them home and away in that 1954–55 Scottish League Cup group stage.[18][9]

After signing Alex Young, Hearts proceeded to win the 1955–56 Scottish Cup.[19] They thrashed Rangers 4–0 in the quarter finals with goals from Crawford, Conn and a Bauld double.[20][21][18][9] Wardhaugh was the top tier's leading scorer again that season. The scorers in the cup final win over Celtic were Crawford with two and one from Conn. Conn ended that 1955–56 season at the peak of his powers aged 29 with a career best 29 goals from 41 games.[22]

On 2 May 1956 two weeks after the cup win Conn became the third of the terrible trio to collect a full Scotland cap. At Hampden Park he put his side ahead after 12 minutes in a 1–1 draw with Austria. However the following September he suffered a broken jaw playing against Hibernian keeping him out til January.[23][24] The days of the Terrible Trio as a combined force were nearing their end.[3][18][9]

Hearts led the Scottish League for most of the 1956–57 season. The title hinged on Rangers visit to Tynecastle on 13 April. A capacity crowd watched a tense game in which Rangers keeper, George Niven, was man of the match. Hearts could not beat him and the only goal came from Billy Simpson of Rangers who scored on the break in 35 minutes. Rangers had games in hand which they won to overtake Hearts and lift the trophy.[18][9]

Conn completed the set of having won all three major Scottish football trophies with the League Championship in 1957–58. However he suffered a serious ankle injury meaning he only played in five league games all season.[18][9][3]

Injury hit Conn left Hearts for Raith Rovers in September 1958 just two years after his 1956 zenith. He did so after 408 first team games and 221 goals.[9][3]

Raith Rovers[edit]

Conn transferred to Raith Rovers in search of regular first team football. Over two seasons he scored 15 times in the 34 league games he played. He retired from playing in 1960.

After playing[edit]

Conn had a brief spell as manager of both Gala Fairydean and Raith Rovers.[24]

Conn Sr. died on 7 January 2009, at the age of 82.[25]

Conn's son, Alfie Conn Jr., played football for both Rangers and Celtic.

References[edit]

Sources

External links[edit]