IN the series Home Town Heroes, Cowdenbeath football historian, David Allan, looks this week at two players who made a real impact on the senior ranks, defender Bobby Ross and striker Eric Addison.

Bobby ran his own taxi business in the town and when he transferred to Millwall he had to come home to run it and it was then that the English would not let go of him.

Bobby Ross was born in Lochgelly Road, Cowdenbeath, in December 1926. His father, Hugh Ross, was originally a miner. Sometime in the early 1930s, Hugh opened up a garage down at the end of Auchterderran Road in Lochgelly.

David recalled: "Bobby began as a player in the juvenile ranks with Crosshill Hearts during the War. Crosshill won the Dunfermline and District Juvenile League Championship in both 1943 and 1944. Bobby then assisted Dundee United as a trialist in match v Rangers in January 1945 and did so well that the Tannadice club signed him in a Glasgow restaurant after the game.

"Bobby was a United regular from day one and for the next seven and a half years. He went on to become United’s skipper and was first name on the team sheet every week at centre half.

"Bobby lived in Lochgelly for a time but moved back to live in Cowdenbeath at 133 Stenhouse Street when he married in 1948. At that time, Bobby was working as a joiner. He soon though became a motor hirer and went on to start up his own taxi business in Cowdenbeath.

"Many reckoned Bobby Ross was the best centre half in the 2nd Division, or ‘B’ Division as it was then. He was at his masterly best in January 1949 when lowly United amazed Scottish football by beating the mighty Celtic 4-3 in the Scottish Cup at Tannadice.

"He was to play in 219 games for United but only scored twice. Both his goals came in 1950 and he was delighted to break his duck with a free kick in a match v Cowden in Dundee. A month later he scored with a long range lob v Dunfermline".

David added: "In August 1952, he requested a transfer to a London club as he wanted to start a taxi business down there. There thus was a surprise announcement from Tannadice Park that Bobby Ross had been transferred to Millwall.

"Bobby only made one appearance for Millwall and a year later the press reported, ‘The Bobby Ross story is not such a happy one, through no fault of the player or the club. Bobby has a taxi-hiring business in Cowdenbeath. During last season he told Charlie Hewitt, the Millwall manager, that while he enjoyed playing with Millwall he would like to get back to Scotland because of his business. Millwall refused to listen to his request for a transfer back home, so at the end of the season Bobby returned home to Cowdenbeath, telling the manager before he left that he wasn't going back south. Ross has been training at Central Park and would like to be back in the game. He's too good a centre-half to be idle’.

"Millwall though wouldn’t release Bobby and he was effectively frozen out of the game. He did indeed keep fit by training with Cowden but it was five long years before Millwall released him from his contract.

"Bobby at the age of 31 then made a playing comeback as an old head at the heart of the Cowdenbeath defence in 1958/59 occupying the berth that had recently been vacated by Roy Erskine, grandfather of future tennis star Andy Murray.

"Bobby knew all the tricks and enjoyed playing for his home town club for a year before finally hanging up his boots. Bobby also scored with a 35 yard wind assisted lob v Alloa at Central Park.

"He thereafter carried on with his successful Cowdenbeath taxi business based at the old ambulance station at the foot of Broad Street. He died at a fairly young age on holiday in Blackpool in 1984. The sign for Ross Taxis (tel. 510900) is still to be seen at 17 Broad Street at the business now run by Buckle’s Taxis".

Hometown Heroes (Local Footballers in Profile) – Eric Addison

JOHN Eric Lamond Addison was born in Dunfermline Maternity Hospital in December 1937. He was the son of local Stationmaster James Addison and lived at Braeside Cottage in Lochgelly Road.

Eric Addison first made his mark in schoolboy football in Cowdenbeath. When at Lumphinnans Primary he represented Cowdenbeath & District Schools in the Wilson Cup (the Scottish Cup for primary school level). Eric was at inside right with Jon Miller (Foulford) at centre forward. Then he played for Beath High School.

Eric was outside right in the Beath team which won the Dick Cup in 1951 by beating Torryburn 7-2 in the final. His inside man in that game was Bill Livingstone, who at the time had garnered a record number of Scottish schoolboy caps.

In 1952/53, playing at inside right, Eric captained the Beath High 1st XI. The Coronation Year School Magazine records, ‘The side has been captained by Eric Addison, who has developed into a strong forceful player whose scheming and shooting powers have paved the way to many of our successes. He has played in several international trials this season’. Beath High didn’t lose a game all season and Addison’s team mates included several future seniors. Eric also played for East of Scotland Schools v Sunderland Schools at Roker Park. He was also a ballboy at East End Park.

Said David Allan: "Eric Addison carried on his footballing progress with Cowdenbeath Royals and then Kelty Spartans. However, National Service loomed and Eric Addison served at RAF Boulmer, near Alnwic,k in Northumberland. The 6ft tall airman made a big impression playing in local football and Berwick Rangers persuaded him to sign on the dotted line in November 1957. "Berwick climbed the table as Addison racked up the goals. His finest ever performance came on 21st February 1959. Dundee United came to Shielfield and Addison faced off against the giant United centre half Ronnie Yeats – later to find fame with Liverpool and Scotland.

"Yeats was left absolutely bemused and bewildered by Addison. 8-2 was the score at time up and Eric Addison had scored six of them. Form like that had scouts flocking to Berwick. Rangers were interested, Tommy Walker of Hearts was watching Addison, Luton Town were on the scene and Blackpool made an offer. Keenest of all were Falkirk. Eric finished season 1958/59 as 4th top scorer in Division 2 with 34 goals in 32 appearances for a mid-table outfit.

"In the close season, Addison confirmed he fancied a move to a club like Dunfermline where he trained. He was by then working as a clerk for the NCB in Lochgelly.

"However, Falkirk were determined to get their man and a £5,000 fee took Eric to Brockville in August 1959. Eric Addison was to line up at centre forward flanked by two great inside men in Dougie Moran and John White. He continued to score goals but just didn’t seem to fit in at Falkirk. Soon he moved on to Stirling Albion.

"At Annfield though, Addison was used as a right winger and Stirling Albion ended up as 2nd Division champions in 1961. Eric thus was playing in the top flight the following year. In 1962, he was freed and decided to relaunch his career back at Berwick.

"It wasn’t a totally successful return and he moved to Montrose for season 1963/64. It was to prove Eric’s last senior campaign as he was injured in a Scottish Cup tie v Alloa. He would never recover from this injury albeit Archie Robertson sounded him out about turning out for Cowdenbeath.

"In just under 7 years he had played in 133 matches and scored no less than 81 times - a record that speaks for itself. Off the field, he went on to be in charge of HR for the NCB in Scotland based in Edinburgh. Eric when last I heard was living in Crossford".