The Perfect Terror – Hugh Galbraith
We have been fortunate to have some great goal scorers since 1885, Joe Payne, Andy Rennie, Ernie Simms, Herbert Moody, Mick Harford, Malcolm Macdonald, Steve Howard, Alexander “Sandy” Brown, Brian Stein, Jesse Pye, Hugh Billington and Hugh Galbraith. The latter player might not be well known to us today but the following statistics should raise his status. Hugh Galbraith, born in Govan, Scotland, was signed from Burnley in 1892. He was the second fully professional player to turn out for the Straw Plaiters and was paid 30/- a week (£1.50 in today’s money). The club minute book also notes that they promised to help him look for employment in the town.
In his first game against Millwall he was immediately surrounded by three “Dockers” every time he received the ball. Having such a reputation from the off, it is a wonder that he scored so many goals. While only of medium build, he was strong on the ball, fast and ran with his elbows out. He had a fierce shot and when he got 25 yards from goal the cry of “Shoot Gally” went up from the Luton fans.
Gally’s goalscoring record was impressive – all the following are first team goals;
1892/93 – 30 goals
1893/94 – 32 goals
1894/95 – 42 goals
1895/96 – 46 goals
1896/97 – 28 goals
1897/98 – missed the entire season due to rheumatism.
1898/99 – 3 goals – 1 in the F.A. Cup and two against Watford in a first team friendly. Hugh played mainly in the reserves this season. His health broken, he retired from “futba” at the end of the season.
Gordon Turner scored 276 in 450 matches. Gally is second with 181 goals.
Games include the Southern League, United League, F.A. Cup, Luton Charity Cup, Kettering Charity Cup and first team friendlies. The latter category were very important as there were only 18 Southern League games in a season and the players needed other games to keep them sharp. The friendlies included games against some of the top league clubs in the country such as Nottingham Forest, Newcastle United, Wolves, Preston, Derby County, Everton and Sheffield United (whose goalkeeper Bill “Fatty” Foulkes broke the crossbar making a save).
178 goals in just 5 seasons is the best scoring ratio the club has ever had over such a period. When Gally arrived, the club was a middling ranker, in the pack along with many other clubs. It was said that Gally above all others helped raise the club to one of the leading clubs in the South of England. He helped the club win the Luton Charity Cup in 1894,1896 and 1897 and the Kettering Charity Cup in 1897.
Gally, described by the Luton press as the “Perfect Terror,” died in Luton in March 1930 aged 62.
See Gally’s Hall of Fame entry here