Jim Irvine (footballer)

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Jim Irvine
Personal information
Full name James Irvine[1]
Date of birth (1940-08-17) 17 August 1940 (age 76)
Place of birth Whitburn, Scotland
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Playing position Forward
Youth career
Edinburgh Athletic
Whitburn Juniors
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1959–1964 Dundee United 125 (62)
1964–1967 Middlesbrough 91 (37)
1967–1970 Hearts 34 (11)
1970–1972 Barrow 67 (17)
Total 317 (127)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

James Irvine (born 17 August 1940) is a Scottish former footballer who played as a forward.

Irvine was raised in West Lothian, where he attended St Mary's School in Bathgate. He showed early footballing promise and was capped by Scotland at Schoolboy level.[2] He started his senior football career with Dundee United, then in the Second Division, initially on a part-time basis as he completed a motor mechanic apprenticeship.[2] Under the stewardship of Jerry Kerr United gained promotion and Irvine's striking partnership with Denis Gillespie provided more than 150 goals as they consolidated a position in the Scottish top flight over the following seasons. In 1961 his goalscoring attracted the attention of Bill Shankly who was desperate to sign a striker but injury at acrucial time put paid to any transfer and Shankly instead bought Ian St John from Motherwell.

However at the end of the 1963-64 season, Middlesbrough manager Raich Carter bid £25,000 for Irvine's services and he moved to Teesside.[3] Boro were a mid-table Division Two at the time but despite Irvine becoming a regular goalscorer, they slumped to relegation in 1965-66. An instant return to Division Two was secured the following season, although QPR won the league title.

A bust-up with then manager Stan Anderson over him being rushed back too soon after injury (including an appearance in a specially arranged friendly for Irvine's benefit against Brian Clough's Hartlepool United at Hutton Road, Middlesbrough's training ground) led Irvine to return to Scotland in 1967, joining John Harvey's Heart of Midlothianfor £10,000. A coachload of Middlesbrough FC Jim Irvine fans went to Hearts to see his debut for the Edinburgh side. He appeared in his first major final in his first season with the Maroons, after playing in every match en route to the 1967-68 Scottish Cup final. However, Dunfermline proved too strong in the Hampden showpiece, winning 3-1. His following two seasons were decimated by a series of injuries [2] and he was released in 1970. He joined Division Four Barrow but retired when they were voted out of the Football League in 1972.

After his playing retirement he returned to Bathgate, where he found work as a spray-painter.[2] His son Alan later played with Falkirk, Liverpool, Dundee United and Shrewsbury Town in the mid-1980s.


  1. ^ "Jim Irvine". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 2 April 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d Hoggan, Andrew (1995). Hearts in Art. Mainstream. pp. 89–90. ISBN 1-85158-736-5. 
  3. ^ Watson, Mike (1985). Rags to Riches: Official History of Dundee United. David Winter & Son. p. 146. ISBN 1-85158-736-5. 

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