James (Jimmy) Scoular was born in Livingston, Scotland, on 11th January 1925. He played local football until the outbreak of the Second World War. During the conflict he served in the Royal Navy on HMS Dolphin based at Gosport.
In December 1945 Scoular joined Portsmouth. He was a great success and played an important role in the club winning the First Division title in the 1948-49 and the 1949-50 seasons. During his time at the club he scored 8 goals in 247 games. At the time he was considered to be one of the best wing-halves playing in the Football League.
On the 12th May 1951 Scoular won his first international cap for Scotland against Denmark. Scotland won the game 3-1. Over the next two seasons Scoular also played in the games against France (1-0), Austria (0-4), England (1-2), USA (6-0), Denmark (2-1), Sweden (3-1), Wales (2-1) and Northern Ireland (1-1).
In June 1953, Stan Seymour, the manager of Newcastle United, paid £22,250 for Scoular. He joined a team that included Jackie Milburn, Bobby Cowell, Frank Brennan, Alf McMichael, Tommy Walker, Bob Stokoe, Ronnie Simpson, Bobby Mitchell, George Hannah, Vic Keeble and Len White.
Newcastle United had a good FA Cup run in the 1954-55 season, Plymouth Argyle (1-0), Brentford (3-2), Nottingham Forest (2-1), Huddersfield Town (2-0), York City (2-0) to reach the final against Manchester City. Newcastle's star player, Jackie Milburn, later recalled how the game started: "I won a corner on the right and Len White ran over to take it. Manchester City's captain, Roy Paul, was standing next to me as Len placed the ball, but he suddenly yelled, 'Bloody hell, I should be marking Keeble,' so off he darted to find big Vic, who was more widely noted for his prowess in the air. Len fired the ball in my direction and there was I standing all alone like Grey's Monument. I headed the ball past their keeper, Bert Trautmann and that was it."
The situation got worse for City when Jimmy Meadows suffered a serious knee injury in the 18th minute. Just as in 1952 Newcastle had just ten men to beat. Despite this disadvantage City equalized when Bobby Johnstone beat Ronnie Simpson with a diving header after good work from Joe Hayes.
In the second-half Newcastle United made their numerical advantage count. According to Jackie Milburn, the Newcastle captain, Jimmy Scouler, was the best player on the pitch: "Scoular kept spraying great crossfield balls to Bobby Mitchell and between them they tore City apart." Charlie Buchan later commented: "I have never previously seen a wing-half display as good as that of Scoular's in any big game."
In the 53rd minute Bobby Mitchell made a run down the wing before scoring from an acute angle. Soon afterwards George Hannah scored from a pass from Mitchell. Newcastle United had won the FA Cup for the third time in five years.
Scoular was a great success at Newcastle. As Paul Joannou points out in The Black 'n' White Alphabet: "He was as tough as they come, but also possessed dainty skills and the expert passing ability to send a perfect 40 yard cross field pass." Teammate Vic Keeble added: "Jimmy was a hard man and terrific to have in your side. He was determined, took no prisoners and having him in our side gave you such confidence. I was one of his mates but he even kicked me in training but after a match was one of the nicest guys you could meet."
Scoular played in 247 games for Newcastle United until joining Bradford Park Avenue as player manager in January 1961. He also was manager of Cardiff City (June 1964 to November 1973) and Newport County (February 1976 to January 1977).
Jimmy Scoular died in 1998.
Jimmy Scoular was right-half and brilliant at finding Mitchell with a pass. Jimmy was a hard man and terrific to have in your side. He was determined, took no prisoners and having him in our side gave you such confidence. I was one of his mates but he even kicked me in training but after a match was one of the nicest guys you could meet.
One of the biggest characters of the immediate post-war years, Jimmy Scoular was a daunting midfield player to oppose. He was as tough as they come, but also possessed dainty skills and the expert passing ability to send a perfect 40 yard cross field pass.