Hometown Heroes (Local Footballers in Profile) - No. 13 – Willie Paterson

WILLIE Paterson, is No 13 in David Allan's series on Hometown Football Heroes.

Willie was born at Hill of Beath on March 5 1897. His father Sandy Paterson was Cowdenbeath secretary/manager between 1906 and 1924 and also for a short time in the 1930s.

Sandy had been a goalkeeper for Hearts of Beath and then secretary/manager there. He also had a few years in charge of Dunfermline. Willie played with Foulford White Rose and then for the shopkeeper's side Cowdenbeath Wednesday.

In 1914, his father signed him for Cowdenbeath and he played a small part in Cowden's 1914/15 2nd Division championship success.

Soon Willie became the first choice centre forward and in the space of 2 years won winners medals for the Penman, Fife, Wemyss and West Fife Charity Cups, together with an Eastern League championship medal.

Rangers then came in to sign him in 1916. Willie scored 3 goals in 5 games at Ibrox but with the Great War raging, Willie decided to 'do his bit' and enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery. Gunner Paterson spent the next 15 months in France.

Willie was demobbed in 1919 and returned to Central Park. He was in the Cowden side which lost 2-0 to Bathgate at Ibrox in the 1919/20 Scottish Qualifying Cup final. In 1920/21, in the Central League, he became one of the hottest properties in Scottish football and a host of clubs were clamouring to sign him.

Paterson had scored 30 goals in 22 League matches (including 5 in a game v East Stirling) when Derby's bid of £3,500 was accepted in January 1921.

Paterson scored on his debut for Derby and spent 3 years at the Baseball Ground where he scored 24 goals in 66 League appearances. In 1924 he jumped at the chance to rejoin Cowdenbeath on the eve of their first Division 1 campaign. Willie Paterson, however, could not win back his old berth from the scoring sensation, Willie Devlin. His first team appearances were therefore limited with his best display being a 2 goal performance v Hearts at Tynecastle whilst occupying the outside-right position.

In the reserves, Paterson remained a regular scorer and offers from both Falkirk and Dunfermline were rejected. He had a spell on loan with 2nd Division Armadale.

Just prior to the start of season 1925/26, Willie was transferred to Coventry City. Willie scored 25 league goals in this solitary season back in the Midlands. A year later and he was off on his travels again. This time Willie headed 'across the dub' to play in the USA. Willie played for Springfield and then moved on to Fall River.

He made a significant impact on the US soccer scene and became player/manager of Providence. In 1929/30, he took up the post of player/manager of the Gold-Bugs and scored 44 goals in 36 games. His next move was then to the big city club, New York Nationals. Willie scored 152 goals in 196 games in the American Soccer League and was the 4th top scorer of all time in that competition.

A couple of years later, Willie Paterson's playing career came to a close and he returned to Fife. In December 1933, after his father died, Willie enjoyed a short spell as caretaker boss at Central Park.

For the rest of his days, Willie lived in Saline and remained an avid Cowdenbeath supporter. He died on July 31 1970 and was remembered with a 2 minute silence at Central Park before the opening game of the season. His younger brother Archie Paterson played senior with Dunfermline Athletic, Forfar and Montrose.