Stephen Dobbie has of course recently departed from Palmerston for Swansea City. However, Dobbie is by no means the first forward to move between the two clubs.
In the Summer of 1938, Tommy Lang returned to Scotland from his career playing down South. 5 foot 7 tall and born on 3rd April 1906 in Larkhall, Lang played at 3 clubs who were in England’s top tier; Newcastle, Huddersfield and Manchester United. He then joined Swansea Town as the South Wales club were named at the time. Swansea were then, as they are today, placed in the second tier of the English football divisional structure. It was however at Newcastle where Lang enjoyed his greatest moment in football.
Lang played for the Geordies in the 1932 FA Cup semi final in a game with plenty of Doonhamer related connections. Lang created one goal and scored the other as Newcastle went 2-0 up against the David Calderhead managed Chelsea side featuring Willie Ferguson. After his decade at Stamford Bridge, Ferguson played for Queens for four seasons with the highlight being the Doonhamers’ best ever top division finish – the fourth place finish in 1933/34. Ferguson then became manager during which he masterminded Queens’ first ever away victory against Rangers.
Chelsea pulled a second half goal back in the semi final against Newcastle. The Chelsea scorer had begun his professional career at Queens - one of UK football’s genuine all time great players, Hughie Gallacher. Despite Gallacher and Ferguson’s efforts it was Lang’s Newcastle who won the day with the 2-1 final score.
Lang played at left wing in the final in a game of some controversy. Bob John put Arsenal ahead in the 15th minute. In the 38th minute a long ball down the right for Newcastle appeared to cross the goal line to go out of play. Regardless, Jimmy Richardson played on and crossed the ball back into play from which Jack Allen equalised. The referee awarded a goal. In the 72nd minute Allen scored a second goal to give the trophy to Lang and his Newcastle team mates with a repeat of the score from the semi final.
(1932 FA Cup Final. While this image is somewhat grainy, it still clearly suggests the referee was wrong to award a goal)
Lang played for a Queens team that, like the team including Ferguson in ‘34, goes down in history as one of the greatest Doonhamer sides in history – Queens finished the season in sixth place in the top flight in 1939. Lang was joint top scorer with 16 goals.
After the war Land spent his last season as a player at Ipswich Town in 1946/47 before becoming the club’s trainer.
More info on Lang and Queens’ exploits of season 1938/39 are included in the Queens Legends article on Jackie Oakes. While there are also Queens Legends articles on Hughie Gallacher and Willie Ferguson among others, the details of the 1933/34 season and the fourth place finish are listed in the feature on Willie Savage.