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Full Name: James McCormick
Born: 28 April 1883
1. Came from: Sheffield United Went to: Sheffield United
1. First game: 02 September 1907 Last game: 30 April 1910
2. Came from: Sheffield United Went to: Career interrupted by WW1
2. First game: 29 September 1909 Last game: 01 May 1915
3. Came from: Career interrupted by WW1 Went to: Retired
3. First game: 30 August 1919 Last game: 01 May 1920
Appearances: 310 (310/0) Goals: 26
Born in Rotherham, McCormick was brought up with football in the family: his uncle, Johnny McCormick, was a well known player for Rotherham Town. James McCormick started his working life as a steel worker in Sheffield and played for the Steel, Peach & Tozer works team and then Attercliffe United. He was a big lad for the time, strong and quite prepared to get stuck in, and it wasn't long before he was spotted by Sheffield United, where he played 22 times over at least two years.
Joining Argyle in 1907, McCormick made the right-half position his own for most of the following three seasons. In May 1910 he returned to his former club, but played just one game for the Blades before rejoining his Argyle team-mates that December, much to the delight of the home fans. He went on to maintain a regular place in the side for the following five seasons, until the outbreak of the Great War ended football across the country.
In January 1915 James McCormick joined the 17th Middlesex - the so-called Footballers' Battalion (Argyle's Billy Baker joined around this time too). The battalion became popular for professional footballers and enthusiastic amateurs, together with supporters who wanted to serve alongside their football heroes. For the rest of the 1914-15 season the professionals were allowed some Saturdays off to play for their clubs, which was also seen as a recruitment opportunity: the battalion made the most of it to get men in the crowds to join up. Trained NCOs were scarce and, because McCormick had seen part-time service some ten years earlier with the York and Lancaster regiment, he became a sergeant soon after enlisting.
The battalion went to France in November 1915 and soon experienced life in the trenches. Months of sometimes heavy fighting culminated in the Battle of the Somme, during which, in one offensive, McCormick was wounded by shrapnel in the forehead and temporarily blinded by skin and blood. He picked up a wounded comrade whose legs had been shattered, who guided him the wrong way down the trench and they were captured. He ended up four days later in a prisoner of war camp in Saxony.
When the First World War ended, McCormick was repatriated and spent some time in hospital recovering from malnutrition. He played again for Argyle through the 1919-20 season, taking over at centre-half and captain after Harry Wilcox retired early in the season. Then in June 1920 he emigrated to Canada, where later he was hired to captain Ladysmith Football Club on Vancouver Island. As he got older he was troubled by tinnitus and deteriorating eyesight as a result of his wound. He retired to Kimberley BC in about 1930, where he died of cancer in 1935.
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APPEARANCE DETAILS [reselect competitions]
The details below reflect appearances in all first-team competitions.
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