Johnny Paton

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Johnny Paton
Personal information
Full name John Aloysius Paton[1]
Date of birth (1923-04-02)2 April 1923
Place of birth Glasgow, Scotland
Date of death 2 October 2015(2015-10-02) (aged 92)[1]
Place of death Stanmore, England
Playing position Outside left
Youth career
St. Mungo's Academy
St. Mary's Calton
Dennistoun Waverley
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1942–1949 Celtic 52 (12)
New York Americans (guest)
1945Leeds United (guest) 4 (0)
1946–1947Chelsea (loan) 18 (3)
1949–1952 Brentford 90 (14)
1952–1955 Watford 84 (17)
National team
Scotland Schoolboys
1940 Scotland Juniors 1 (0)
Teams managed
1955–1956 Watford
1961–1965 Arsenal 'A'
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

John Aloysius "Johnny" Paton (2 April 1923 – 2 October 2015) was a Scottish professional football player, manager, coach, scout and later a professional snooker referee. He began his career in Scotland at Celtic and played in the Football League for Chelsea, Brentford and Watford. Paton later managed Watford and Arsenal 'A'.

Club career[edit]


Born in Glasgow, Paton joined Celtic (the club he supported as a boy) during the Second World War in May 1942.[2] An outside left, he made his debut in a 2–0 Southern League win over St Mirren on 16 January 1943.[2]

During the war, Paton spent a period as a guest at American Soccer League side New York Americans while stationed in the United States and later guested for Leeds United in 1945 in England,[3] making four appearances.[4] He also guested for Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Millwall and Manchester City during the conflict.[5] Paton scored for Celtic in the Victory in Europe Cup triumph over Queens Park on 9 May 1945.[2]

Due to the suspension of competitive football for the duration of the Second World War, Paton didn't make his first professional appearances for Celtic until the 1947–48 season,[6] making 52 league appearances and scoring 12 goals before departing the Bhoys in September 1949, his last competitive game being the 1949 Glasgow Cup victory over Third Lanark.[2] A dispute with the club's management over wages in the summer of 1949 caused Paton to move. In his seven years with Celtic, Paton made 108 appearances and scored 29 goals in all competitions.[2]

Chelsea (loan)[edit]

Paton joined English Division One side Chelsea on loan in November 1946.[2] He made 23 appearances and scored three goals before returning to Celtic in May 1947.[7]


Paton signed for Division Two side Brentford in September 1949 for a £5,000 fee.[2] He had contacted London Evening Star columnist and ex-Arsenal defender Bernard Joy, asking for an advert to be placed in the paper that he was available for transfer. Brentford manager (and former Celtic player) Malcolm McDonald was the first to take up the option on Paton's services. He had a dream start to his career at Griffin Park, scoring on his debut in a 2–0 win over Bradford Park Avenue and bagging another goal against Blackburn Rovers in the following game.[8]

A knock suffered in a match versus Southampton on 29 October 1949 hampered his progress, with Paton ruing that he had a "gammy leg" for two years, from which he finally recovered after a successful operation at Brentford hospital.[9] He played on at Brentford until the end of the 1951–52 season, having made 94 appearances and scored 16 goals.[3]


Paton and Brentford teammate Jimmy Bowie joined Division Three South side Watford in July 1952,[2] to help finance a deal which had seen Tommy Lawton move to the Bees the previous year.[9] He made 91 appearances and scored 17 goals before playing his final match in 1955.[10]

International and representative career[edit]

Paton made appearances for Scotland at international level as a schoolboy and a junior.[2][11] He played for the RAF representative team during the Second World War, appearing alongside Stanley Matthews for the team.[12]

Coaching and scouting career[edit]

Paton lamented the standard of football coaching in England in the early 1950s, saying "many managers deliberately starved their players of the ball during the week, believing it made them more hungry for it out on the pitch on a Saturday".[9] Paton and Brentford teammates Ron Greenwood and Jimmy Hill enrolled on the first ever FA coaching course at Lilleshall in the early 1950s. One of the instructors was Brentford goalkeeper Ted Gaskell and Paton roomed with Greenwood, Hill and Malcolm Allison.[9]

At Watford, Paton became the club's first ever player-coach.[9] In the early 1960s, he worked as a scout for Rotherham United, focusing on Glasgow and Scotland. In 1961, Tommy Docherty offered Paton a scouting role and the position of 'A' team manager at Division One side Arsenal.[9] Paton later found out that Ron Greenwood recommended him for the role. He won the 1961–62 Metropolitan League Cup and the 1962–63 Metropolitan League title with the 'A' team.[9] He left the club in 1965.

Managerial career[edit]

Paton was appointed manager of Watford in October 1955, succeeding Len Goulden as manager.[9] He had a good start to his reign, but after entering hospital for a cartilage operation on both knees, the team's form drained away in his absence.[9] Paton was relieved of his duties only four months into his reign, after just two wins from 15 Division Three South matches.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Paton was born into a family of Celtic supporters, with his grandfather holding a season ticket at Celtic Park and his father spending time on the club's books as a player.[12] In addition to football, Paton also competed as an amateur welterweight boxer and in athletics as a youth.[14] During the Second World War, he served as a navigator in the RAF.[5] In the late 1950s, Paton turned his back on football and worked as a press photographer, snooker referee and as a sales rep,[14] selling chocolate biscuits.[9] Paton died in October 2015, aged 92.[15]


As a player[edit]

  • Victory in Europe Cup: 1945[16]

As a manager[edit]

Arsenal 'A'

Career statistics[edit]

Club Season League National Cup League Cup Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Celtic 1946–47[6] Scottish League First Division 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 4 0
1947–48[6] 28 6 4 2 5 2 2[a] 0 39 10
1948–49[6] 24 6 1 0 6 0 3[a] 0 34 6
Total 52 12 5 2 15 2 5 0 77 16
Chelsea (loan) 1946–47[7] First Division 18 3 5 0 23 3
Brentford 1949–50[8] Second Division 23 5 0 0 23 5
1950–51[8] 31 4 1 1 32 5
1951–52[8] 36 5 3 1 39 6
Total 90 14 4 2 94 16
Watford 1952–53[17] Third Division South 33 2 3 0 36 2
1953–54[17] 37 11 1 0 38 11
1954–55[17] 14 4 3 0 17 4
Total 84 17 7 0 91 17
Career total 244 46 21 4 15 2 5 0 285 52
  1. ^ a b Appearances in Glasgow Cup.


  1. ^ a b "Johnny Paton". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Leeds United F.C. History". Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  3. ^ a b Haynes, Graham; Coumbe, Frank (2006). Timeless Bees: Brentford F.C. Who's Who 1920–2006. Yore Publications. p. 122. ISBN 978-0955294914.
  4. ^ " Leeds United Season 1944 – 1945: Football League (Northern Section)". Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  5. ^ a b "The Weekend Interview part one: Johnny Paton". Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d "Celtic Player Johnny Paton Details". Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  7. ^ a b "John A Paton | Chelsea Player Profile | The History of Chelsea FC". 7 December 1946. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d White, Eric, ed. (1989). 100 Years Of Brentford. Brentford FC. pp. 380–381. ISBN 0951526200.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Griffin Gazette versus Oxford United 31/12/94. Poole: Quay Design Limited. p. 33.
  10. ^ "Watford Football Club archive 1881–2016 – Players – Pate to Pretty" (PDF). Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  11. ^ "Scottish Football Historical Archive – Scotland Junior Internationals". Retrieved 12 April 2018.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ a b "Obituary: John (Johnny) Paton, former footballer". Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  13. ^ Jones p. 272
  14. ^ a b "Johnny Paton: Energetic left-winger for Chelsea". The Independent. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  15. ^ "Johnny Paton 1923–2015". Chelsea FC. 2 October 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  16. ^ "Johnny Paton". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  17. ^ a b c "Watford Football Club archive 1881–2016 – Seasons – 1950/51 to 1959/60" (PDF). Retrieved 12 April 2018.


Jones, Trefor (1996). The Watford Football Club Illustrated Who's Who. ISBN 0-9527458-0-1.

External links[edit]