|Date Of Birth:||1906|
|Place Of Birth:||Comber, Co Down|
|Debut:||26-Aug-28, League, (A) v. St James's Gate|
From the mid 1920s to the end of the 1930s Sam Patton, whose career with both Distillery and Dundalk aggregated to over 500 games in total, was acknowledged as one of the finest halfbacks on either side of the Border. A powerful wing half (“sleeves up to his armpits and energy to spare” Dundalk Democrat), who was capped for Inter League honours by both the League of Ireland and the Irish League, he was equally at home in any of the half back positions.
Born in Comber, his first team was the Comber Reading Room XI. He was planning to join Dundela but its secretary was about to become the Distillery secretary so Sam joined him and was with the Whites before the end of the 1923-24 year.After five Distillery seasons, playing mainly as an inside forward, he came to Dundalk for the 1928-29 year and filled the centre half spot for the season.
Following a poor start to the following year, Sam was moved to centre forward and immediately scored a hat trick, stayed upfront for the rest of the year, finishing the year with 15 goals, and just one goal behind leading marksman Jack Aitken.
At the end of the season he returned to Distillery and was re-signed by Dundalk in time to play in the last match of the 1930-31 year against FAI Cup conquerors Shamrock Rovers in the drawn President’s Cup final.
In the third match of the new season he played a major part, at right half, in the club’s first trophy success when Shamrock Rovers were defeated 7-3 in the replayed President’s Cup. “Two-footed, a magnificent header of the ball, a terror for work, worth two men when the team looks like been beaten” was the Dundalk Democrat’s pen picture of Sam, now settled at left-half back, after the 1932-33 League Championship win, when Dundalk became the first provincial winners of the League Pennant.
Always fit and injury free he missed few games in his five seasons with the club and was the supporters’ choice in 1956 for the right half position on the Best Ever Dundalk XI during its first 30 years in the League.
At the end of the 1933-34 year he made his third return to Distillery and within weeks of the new season opening he was selected on the Irish League team to play the Football League. With Dundalk he had twice been capped for the League of Ireland in 1932 against the Welsh League. He was selected as reserve to the Irish team for the Oct 1937 clash with England. For his testimonial in May 1938 Dundalk played Distillery at Grosvenor Park Belfast and Sam then moved to Ards as player-manager.
After one season with Ards he joined Coleraine for the 1939-40 season, returning to Ards for the 1940-41 year. Unfortunately after defeating Glentoran Seconds in the Steel and Sons Cup it transpired that Sam’s Inter-League cap in 1934 made him ineligible to play in this competition and after Ards were expelled from the competition he resigned.
He spent the War years in Canada with the RAF as a physical instructor, where he was reported as ‘winning many trophies’. On his return in 1946 he was appointed secretary-manager of Coleraine and was still turning out for first team duty in the 1946-47 season, more than 20 years after he had made his Irish League debut with Distillery in May 1924.
He finally settled in Bedford and while home on holidays in 1966, he visited Dundalk and looked up his many local friends and former teammates.
What They Said About Him
“Untiring energy…a master of defensive tactics…puts teamwork before individualism…strong and virile in attack…a steadying influence on the rear division…enthusiastic and wholehearted…popular…” according to Ireland’s Saturday Night.
2 Wins: League 1932-33, Presidents Cup 1931-32.
3 Runners Up: Leinster Cup 1928-29, Shield 1932-33, Presidents Cup 1933-34.
2 League of Ireland Caps
|Irish League and League of Ireland Career|