Jimmy Bonthrone

11Jun08

Jimmy Bonthrone was one of the stars of the successful East Fife team of the 1950s and went on to serve the club in a number of different capacities for a total of more than 30 years.

Born in the Fife village of Kinglassie in 1929, Jimmy left school at the age of 13 to become an apprentice with a local grocer. His career in professional football began when he joined East Fife from Kinglassie Colliery in the summer of 1947, but soon afterwards he was called up for National Service and it was not until November 1949 that he made his first-team debut, turning out in a 4-1 defeat by Hibernian. Once established in the line-up, Jimmy became one of the key forwards for the Methil outfit, one of the leading clubs in Scotland at the time. In March 1953 he played for Scotland B against England B at Easter Road, and in October of the same year he was a member of the East Fife team that defetaed Partick Thistle 3-2 to win the Scottish League Cup. Jimmy saved the Fifers from relegation in 1956-57 by netting all five goals in a crucial end-of-season victory over St Mirren, but left soon afterwards following the club’s decision to revert to part-time status to save costs.

Thereafter Jimmy spent three seasons with Dundee and a further three with Stirling Albion, contributing to the club’s success in winning the Second Division title in 1960-61, before winding down his career with a spell at Queen of the South. In total he made 373 senior appearances, scoring 153 goals.

In April 1963 Jimmy returned to Methil as manager of East Fife, a post he held until July 1969 when he moved to Abderdeen as coach under Eddie Turnbull. he was also heavily involved with Scotland U23s at this time. When Turnbull left for Hibernian in the summer of 1971 Jimmy took charge of the Dons. He achieved instant success with victory in the inaugural Drybrough Cup, but there were to be no more trophies and he eventually left his post shortly after the start of the 1975-76 campaign. A calm, friendly figure, he earned respect from his players due to his coaching abilities, but never quite made the transition from successful coach to successful manager.

After leaving Pittodrie Jimmy spent five years working as a car salesman before accepting an invitation to become general and commercial manager of East Fife in 1980, a post he held until his retirement in 1994.

Jimmy Bonthrone passed away on Saturday 7 June at the age of 79.

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