Club News

Jim McFadzean

29th February 2016

A minute's applause was held at Tynecastle on Saturday in memory of the late Jim McFadzean.

A minute's applause was held at Tynecastle on Saturday in memory of former Hearts player Jim McFadzean, who sadly passed away last week.

Players and fans joined in on a minute's applause prior to Hearts' Ladbrokes Premiership match against Kilmarnock on Saturday. The club would like to extend its sincere condolences to Jim's family and friends.

Below is an in-depth summary of McFadzean's career, courtesy of Hearts' club historians. 

Jim McFadzean

It is with deep regret that we have to advise the death of a former Hearts player, Jim McFadzean, who passed away on Wednesday in Kilmarnock. He is fondly remembered as a whole-hearted, versatile, and totally reliable cover-man, during some successful years in the late fifties.

Jim was born on 20 August 1938 in Kilmarnock and he was brought up in the Ayrshire town where his father, George, worked as a carpet weaver. On the football field, he developed a powerful presence in the midfield area where his Jim’s sturdy 6’1” frame, and huge energy levels, denied opponents any time on the ball. As a result, Jim attracted senior clubs while playing for Kilmarnock YMCA and indeed, in May 1955, Jim represented the Scottish YMCA in a major fixture against the Scotland Amateur XI.

He was still at Kilmarnock Academy and also playing for the YMCA when Jim was signed by Heart of Midlothian in October 1955, following a successful trial in the reserves. The inside-forward was subsequently farmed out to Troon Juniors, before being called-up by manager, Tommy Walker, in August 1956.

The young midfielder made seven appearances in his first season with Hearts, his debut coming on 19 September 1956 when he scored in the 2-1 victory over Newcastle United at St. James’ Park. Jim’s competitive debut was on 10 November 1956 when Hearts won 3-2 against Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park.

In addition to his football, Jim had commenced a Physical Education Course at Jordanhill Teacher Training College and unfortunately, in December 1956, he was injured playing rugby. This resulted in a cartilage operation at Kilmarnock Infirmary in April 1957 and twelve months later, further surgery was required.

This was a set-back that would have ended many a player’s career, but not Jim McFadzean. He was a strong and determined character and Jim went on to earn a place in the Scottish Championship-winning squad in 1959-60, scoring one goal in five appearances, and being the regular travelling reserve. His appearances included the famous 4-4 draw against St.Mirren in Paisley on 16 April 1960, a result that sealed the title for Hearts. 

In the summer of 1960, Jim was a member of the Hearts squad that toured Canada and the USA, and the following season, operating at inside-left, he made a significant breakthrough, playing in fourteen competitive games. Jim was now a PE teacher in the west and he was pleased to join St.Mirren in February 1961 for a fee of £3,000. He had scored eight goals in 28 competitive games for Hearts, nine goals in an overall total of 32.

Jim moved from St.Mirren to Raith Rovers in March 1962 and he was then recruited by his home-town club in May 1963. Playing in at least seven different positions, Jim went on to make 178 competitive appearances for Kilmarnock, including 15 in Europe. He was, of course, a regular member of the team that won the Scottish Championship in 1964-65, just ahead of Hearts. Together with his colleagues from that outstanding Kilmarnock side, Jim McFadzean was inducted into the Rugby Park Hall of Fame in September 2014.  

Jim rounded off his playing career with Ayr United, moving to Somerset Park in June 1969. He started coaching with United and then in 1979, Jim moved to Motherwell in a similar capacity. He also had a spell as assistant manager at Fir Park before concentrating on his career as a much-respected physical education teacher in Ayrshire.

Our sincere condolences are extended to his family.