John Cameron was a Scottish footballer and manager. Born in 1872, he was a native of the Town of Ayr and began his playing career with local side, Ayr Parkhouse before going on to play for Queen’s Park and eventually to he moved to Liverpool to work in a shipping office and initially joined Everton on amateur terms but later signed a professional deal.
He was also involved in the early unionisation of professional footballers and became the first secretary of the Professional Footballers Union (a predecessor of the Professional Footballers Association) in 1898 which defied the Football League directives which they were not willing to negotiate on. Thus he went on to sign for Tottenham Hotspur in the Southern Football League where he was appointed player manager in 1899 and lead them to the Southern Football League title in 1900 and the FA Cup in 1901, becoming the first and only non-league club to win the competition and scored in the final.
In 1896, Cameron was capped for Scotland in a 3-3 draw with Ireland, which secured the 1896 British Home Championship.
After leaving Tottenham, Cameron moved to Germany, initially working as a sports journalist, before being appointed as manager of Dresdner SC in 1907. When World War I broke out, Cameron was interned at Ruhleben, a civilian detention camp..
After the war, he returned home to Scotland, and Ayr in January 1918, but had not fully recovered from the effects of his lengthy captivity. The vacancy at Somerset Park was advertised at a seemingly good period as it had afforded him several months of recuperation from his war years. He was appointed and managed Ayr United between August 1918 and July 1919 having probably the worst start of any Ayr United manager failing to win any of his first 8 matches, but finally took the Honest Men to a honourable fifth place finish in the First Tier.
After leaving Ayr United, his career in shipping was resumed which is why he had moved to Leith. Cameron also worked as a sports journalist, as he had done previously as well as a publisher and author and wrote the first written history of Tottenham Hotspur. Cameron died in Glasgow in 1935 at the age of 63.
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