Footballer and legendary goal scorer at Queen of the South
Born: August 17, 1928; Died: December 17, 2012.
"Big Jim" Patterson, who has died aged 84, was the cornerstone of the Scottish second division club Queen of the South throughout the middle of the century. When the club set up a Hall of Fame, there was no argument when Patterson was unveiled as one of their five inaugural legends – he was the club's all-time record goalscorer.
In his 14 seasons at Palmerston following his debut in 1949, Patterson notched up a total of 251 goals which many – if not all – of the more elderly fans at the Dumfries ground will still rattle off with a tremendous sense of pride. One of the arguably greatest feats of Patterson, who was a centre forward rather than a striker, came in the twilight of his career when he scored six goals in a 7-1 victory over Cowdenbeath at Palmerston in December 1961.
An unassuming man of few words, he shunned publicity and continued to live in Dumfries after retiring from the game. The respect in which he was held was demonstrated by the massive turnout at his funeral.
Born in Luncarty, Perthshire, in 1928, he trained as a motor mechanic before completing his National Service. He was spotted by Queens while playing for the local Luncarty Juniors.
Although Queen of the South was his only senior side, he did have an invitation of a trial with Manchester City prior to moving to Palmerston, but decided to remain in Scotland and signed for the Dumfries club which at that time was in the old Division A – the premier league of its day.
He made his debut in November1949 against Dundee and immediately became a favourite with the fans, initially playing up front in the number 8 jersey alongside another well-known favourite, Billy Houliston. Within six months, he turned out in the Dumfries club's first ever Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden when they held Rangers to a 1-1 draw, but lost the replay 3-0. Despite that highlight, Patterson saw his team relegated to Division B, but they returned to the top division in just one season. It was then that the fans saw the beginning of a team that would prove itself to be probably the finest in the club's history.
By this time Patterson, one of the club's few full-time players of that era, was ensconced as a favourite with the fans and the reason was illustrated only too well on their return to the top tier with another feat in March 1952, when he scored four goals in a 5-2 win over a Hibs side that boasted their Famous Five forward line. But despite his league performances, his sole international honour came in 1953 when he led the Scotland attack against the Army in an era when Lawrie Reilly and Willie Bauld were leading the Scottish forward line.
Patterson made his home in Dumfries when he married a local lass and his career with the Dumfries club continued into the 1960s, before he retired from the game at the end of the season in 1963.
One of his former teammates, Charlie Brown, who still lives in Dumfries, is on record as describing Patterson as so strong it was like running into a tree trunk. "He was a well-built fellow who could withstand all these knocks, and had the ability to score all those goals – quite phenomenal."
Patterson continued his connection with the club as a spectator until having to give up through ill health, while his interest in sport saw him out on the golf course when not working as a storeman at a factory.
Tributes came from far and wide on the death of the former centre forward. The Dumfries club's website said: "The word legend is used too freely in football these days but Jim Patterson was truly one with Queen of the South."
He is survived by his wife Avril and daughter Laura.
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