New Info on goalkeeper Joe Kennaway’s life after Celtic

I am writing from the State of Maine, USA. I read with great interest David Potter’s recent article on Joe Kennaway, the former Celtic goalkeeper. I had the good fortune during my undergraduate years at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island to play for Joe, who was Brown’s part-time soccer coach from 1946-1959.

You acknowledge that little is known of Joe’s post-Celtic career. The following information might help fill-in some of the gaps for the Celtic support.

After WWII, Joe returned to the US and settled in Providence, Rhode Island, his wife Loretta’s home town. He was employed by Brown and Sharpe, the famous Providence machine tool builders firm.

Joe became a U.S. citizen in 1948. He was inducted into the inaugural class of the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame in 2000. As you most likely know, he was one of the rare international soccer players who had caps for two national teams — the Canadians (against the US. in Brooklyn in 1926) and Scotland (against Austria at Hampden Park in 1933).

Joe died in Johnston, Rhode Island on 7 March 1969, regrettably to little notice here in the US and even in Canada.

One of the highlights of the Kennaway era at Brown was the annual invite to the varsity players to his favorite pub in Central Falls, Rhode Island. He brought his huge scrapbook from his Celtic playing days and regaled us with stories of his celebrated career. We were all spellbound and enjoyed interacting with his drinking buddies.

Thank you so very much for writing this very informative article on Joe’s storied career with the Celtic. For your interest, I am attaching a 2018 posting by Frank Dell’ Apa on the Fall River FC’s 1-nil victory over the Celtic in May of 1931.

P.S. On a personal note, I scored the lone goal in the last victory of Joe’s coaching career — a shot off the right post in the waning minutes of the match at Cornell University in the fall of 1959.

Howard R Whitcomb

31 May, 1931 – Fall River FC 1:0 Glasgow Celtic at Mark’s Stadium (Att.: 7,000)

31 May, 2018
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This match proved to be a showcase for Fall River’s Joe Kennaway, who became Celtic FC’s starting goalkeeper from 1931-39, after John Thomson, 22, sustained a fatal injury in a game against Rangers.

Billy Watson’s 88th-minute free kick made the difference, Celtic losing for the second time in two nights. Fall River Mayor Dan F. Sullivan kicked off. “To Johnny Thomson, Scottish international goalie, must be chalked up this second downfall of the wonder team from Parkhead. He misjudged a free kick from 30 yards out taken by Billy Watson from a foul called on McGonagle, the ball curling under the bar, to his great astonishment … Kennaway, goalkeeper of the winners, was the shining light. He nailed everything that came his way in masterly fashion. [Jimmy] Montgomerie held on to the great [Jimmy] McGrory … the latter seldom getting an opening.” (The Boston Globe)

The press cutting below is from Celtic Wiki – who will be very interested in Howard’s information. We have also passed his email to David Potter and the Celtic Historian is going to contact Howard for further details and to enjoy a chat about a pre-WW2 Celtic Hero.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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