James Morton Maxwell was born at 18, John Dickie Street, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, the second son of James Morton Maxwell (1887-1917) and Helen Thomson McCulloch (1888-1970).
Like his father before him he was a talented footballer (centre forward) and a quite exceptional goalscorer. James attended Loanhead School, Dick Road, Kilmarnock. If he shone at anything at school he shone at playing football. More importantly, he delighted in scoring goals. He first made his mark in the Loanhead School team. In the fullness of time he was to strike a chord with football enthusiasts, gaining their admiration, respect, even their love. James Morton Maxwell, his father's namesake, was later to be nicknamed 'Bud', out of fondness, by an appreciative, and often adoring, footballing public. Developing, maturing, through local, district, and regional schoolboy football he applied himself to the single driven ambition of becoming a professional player - a player his father, (the father he never knew), would have been applauded, and a son of whom his father would have been proud.
During April, 1927, a series of schoolboy trial matches were played at different venues between teams representing the West and East of Scotland. Selections to represent Scotland in the forthcoming schoolboy international matches would be made. "Maxwell seems to be assured of a place, as he is a goal-getter..." (An Old Boy - "The Evening Telegraph, Wednesday, 13th. April, 1927.) "Maxwell (Kilmarnock), the West centre, was the best of ten fairly moderate players." (An Old Boy - "The Evening Telegraph", Wednesday, 20th. April, 1927.) "Maxwell (Kilmarnock) was an unanimous selection for centre forward .." (An Old Boy - April 27th.). Bud got the nod.
Ebbw Vale (v Wales 14/5/27; Result: 1-3; Attendance: 7,000), "Maxwell led the Scots' forwards splendidly, and he was always a source of trouble to Colvin, the Welsh custodian, who brought off some remarkable saves." (The Sunday Post, 15th. May); Belfast (v Ireland 21/5/27 Result: 0-5; Attendance: 4,000),"At Belfast (Cliftonville) on Saturday the Scottish schoolboys defeated the Irish schoolboys by five goals to nil. Maxwell of Kilmarnock was in great form for the Scottish boys and scored three of the goals." (Evening Telegraph, Mon., 23rd. May); Hampden (v England 28/5/27 Result: 3-1). Three Scots victories and an international hat-trick for the 14 year old!
On leaving school he initially entered employment in Kilmarnock's boot & shoe manufacturing industry (probably Saxone). In 1929 he went on to more agreeable work when invited to join the groundstaff at Kilmarnock F.C., Rugby Park. Now he was on the path. Now he was on his way.
He signed professional forms.
On Saturday, 10th. May, 1930, James accompanied the team at the start of their visit to Canada on their first ever overseas tour on board R.M.S. Duchess of Atholl, Greenock/Montreal. The tour was organised by ex-Killie outside right, Robert B. Muir (1897-1901), secretary and treasurer of the Ontario Football Association. What an adventure that must have been. From the welcoming hospitality provided by Canadian Pacific while still at Greenock the club were royally treated wherever they went in the Dominion. The Rangers F.C. were also on tour in Canada having sailed from Greenock at the same time. There was press speculation that a game between the two Scottish clubs might be arranged but the demands of the schedules meant that was not a realistic proposal, not that it was ever an appropriate one.
Killie played 17 games in Ontario, Quebec and three in the United States (Cleveland, Massachusetts, New York) during a relentless six week period, Monday, 19th May/Thursday, 26th June. A visit to Niagara Falls on the United States side of the border is documented on 1st. June: "MAXWELL, James. 17 years old. Shoe Operator. Blue eyes, brown hair, fair complexion. c/o Kilmarnock Football Club." ($20 pocket money in his pocket.)
Bud played in three tour matches, the first of which was against London & District (Ontario on 26th. May (1-3). A record crowd of 3,000 saw a "brilliant display of team-play and organised attack" (Montreal Gazette, 27th. May). He found the net twice in his second match - 12th. June, versus St. Catherine's (Ontario) 1-4, and scored again in his last tour appearance on 25th. June when Killie were defeated 4-3 by Toronto Ulster United (Ontario), a team they faced three times during the tour. The defeat was reported nationwide, The Vancouver Sun saying that Kilmarnock looked "leg-weary". The following day, Thursday 26th., Kilmarnock played the their final tour fixture versus Montreal Canadian National Railway at Alexandra Park, Montreal, winning by a single penalty goal. The Gazette, Montreal, (Friday, 27th.) reporter was critical, despite the fact that this was Killie's third match in as many days:"..even allowing for leg-weariness, much travel and feasting - the visitors were disappointing as a professional club and members of the Scottish first division." Tour statistics: P17 W11 D3 L3 F50 A16.
Ship departures, Montreal, St. Lawrence - GB, Shed 8, 28th. June, 1930, 7 p.m. S.S. Duchess of Richmond (Canadian Pacific). 1300 passengers aboard (which was a record for the season and the largest ever number on one vessel on the route since 1914). Football fans and representatives of the Caledonian Society attended at the pier to wish "the victorious Kilmarnock football team .." Godspeed. "The players were tired from their strenuous weeks in Canada but happy in the new associations that they had made. Many of them expressed a desire to return again." The Gazette, Montreal.
The tour party returned to Princes Pier, Greenock, aboard Canadian Pacific liner S.S. Duchess of Richmond, on Friday, 4th. July. Hugh Spence (club manager) told the waiting press that the Canadians and Americans were enthusiastic but the standard of play did not reach that of the Scottish Second Division. He went on the describe the refereeing as "Terrible." One player (apparently) was quoted: "A successful tour, but jolly hard work." (The Courier and Advertiser, Saturday, 5th. July, 1930.) The correct version surrounding Spence's remarks appeared in The Glasgow Herald (page 13), whose intrepid correspondent had boarded the liner at the Tail o' The Bank and interviewed Hugh Spence at leisure: "Throughout the tour of Canada...kindnesses were lavished on the party... Spence declared that American football followers were bad sportsmen and that the standard of refereeing was terrible." The Kilmarnock officials had returned with a silver telephone presented to the club by the Burns Club of Brantford (Ontario).
The Evening Telegraph, Friday, 5th. September, 1930: "The Killie team for tomorrow .. a new centre forward, James Maxwell, a schoolboy international, is to make his début." Some 4,000 rain-drenched supporters turned out at Fir Park, Motherwell, and enjoyed a keenly contested match. (Result, 1-1.) He scored his first Kilmarnock league goal in the home 2-4 defeat to St. Mirren on 20th. September (outside left). He scored his first league hat trick away to Hibernian in a 0-4 drubbing on 4th. April, 1931 before a crowd of 4,000.
In under four years at Killie he became the club's second top goalscorer in League and Cup with an astonishing strike-rate. He scored 103 goals in 126 League appearances. 1930-31 he scored 18 from 27 games. 1931-32 it was 20 goals from 31 games. But it was in 1932-33 he really got going, hitting hat-tricks in the first two games, missing the third through injury then scoring in the next five games. With eight games to play he was on 30 league goals, four short of 'Peerie' Cunningham's club record but injury forced him to sit out four games and he finished the season on 32 from 33 appearances.
Maxwell was highly rated by a number of football correspondents of the time. Following his performance in the drawn Cup match at Rugby Park against Motherwell, 'The Major', writing in The Courier and Advertiser of Monday, 6th. March, 1933, under the headline "Maxwell The Man Of The Moment - ..He was really ripping on Saturday. I'm sure the selectors present were delighted with his display. If not then they are desperately hard to please. I regard Maxwell as equal to Jimmy McGrory at Jimmy's best, and we know what that is. His play on Saturday was snappy, shrewd, skilful and incisive. His goals were great - models of accuracy, power and timing. High praise? Yes, but 'Bud' is entitled to it." (Attendance, 20,686. Receipts, £820.)
In September, 1933 he scored a hat-trick inside five minutes as Killie came back from a goal down to beat Airdrie 7-1 at Rugby Park. That season he scored 33 times in 35 outings.
In the Scottish Cup Bud scored a hat-trick on his début in the competition in a 7-0 home demolition of Inverness Citadel on 17th. January, 1931. He also scored vital goals against Hearts and Bo'ness as Killie reached the last four but was missing through injury from the team which lost to Celtic in the semi-finals. Still, he scored six times in five cup ties.
In 1931-32 he again scored six times in all. He didn't hit the target in the opening rounds against East Fife and Albion Rovers but he grabbed the equaliser at Tannadice in the third round and scored at home as Killie beat Dundee United in the replay. He scored twice at Dunfermline in the quarter-finals and once against Airdrie in the semi-final at Firhill.
Saturday, 16th. April, 1932, Hampden Park, Glasgow. Kilmarnock faced Rangers. Killie won the toss - Rangers would kick-off against the strong wind. In their third appearance in the Scottish Cup Final in 12 years Killie fielded a side with five previous winners in their ranks - unusual for any team outside the Old Firm - and there was little to choose between them and the Light Blues until Maxwell put Killie ahead three minutes from the break, scrambling the ball home in a goalmouth mêlée.
Bob McPhail equalised six minutes into the second half then - an amazing occurrence in a Scottish Cup Final for Rangers - had another effort chalked off for offside. A late attempt by Maxwell was cleared off the line. The game finished 1-1. (Attendance, 111,982.)
The Glasgow Herald (Monday, 18th. April): "English (Rangers) got few opportunities and of the two centre forwards Maxwell was the more impressive on the day's play.....Then Maxwell had two chances to make history; he missed both. On the first occasion, evidently blinded by the sun, he over-ran the ball; on the second he was charged down by Simpson.... Aitken shot the ball strongly along the ground into(wards the) goal. Maxwell had no time to turn, so he back-heeled the ball, which seemed to strike a defender, rise into the air, and rebound from the crossbar. A scrimmage followed, from which Maxwell sent the ball into the net." Killie had chances as the second half progressed but it was not to be. "Maxwell diddled McAulay and Simpson, and as he ran in on goal, the latter gripped his ankle and brought him down." The Glasgow press concluded that Rangers had played far below form remarking, essentially, that with more composure the Ayrshire outfit could have "easily ... repeated their surprise (win) of three years ago." Kilmarnock share of the "gate" of the two games would "put them on their feet financially."
The Hampden replay kicked off the following Wednesday evening, the 20th. Rangers scored early but the game was always in doubt until they added a second twenty minutes from the end. A third goal five minutes later completed the scoring. The Glasgow Herald, 21st. April: "Kilmarnock were well beaten... Rangers played a far better game ... Maxwell showed some clever touches but he suffered from lack of support." Rangers won the Cup - McEwan, Kilmarnock captain, claimed the match ball. (Attendance, 105,695 - a record on the day for a mid-week match.)
In Scottish F. A. Cup competitions Bud Maxwell scored 19 goals in 21 Cup ties while at Rugby Park. Only 19th century Killie legend James 'Bummer' Campbell has scored more.
He appeared for the Scottish League against the Irish League in 1933-34, emulating his father who had played against the English League in 1906-07. The game took place at Windsor Park, Belfast on Saturday, 30th. September, 1933 resulting in a 3-0 home win. Aberdeen Press & Journal, Monday, 2nd. October: "Scotland Humbled Once More .. Of the forwards Maxwell (Kilmarnock) was the best, but he received little support from the other members of the line." 'Rambler', writing in the Evening Telegraph the following day, commented that Maxwell was "under a cloud" in the Irish match - more or less, blanked by his team-mates; not a good experience, especially in his first international. (Attendance, 15,357. Receipts, £1,023.)
Yet there were always good days ahead: "St. Johnstone won't readily forget the Kilmarnock visit- or 'Bud' Maxwell. If the Muirton followers didn't sleep soundly on Saturday night (21st. October, 1933) the elusive Rugby Park leader would almost certainly obtrude his presence on their nightmare recollections of a tragic day for the Saints.
"In the story of this game three snap goals by the Killie centre were punctuation marks in long and fruitless spells of Perth pressure. Eighteen minutes, 24 minutes and 68 minutes. That was when they came; all interruptions to periods of home attack which should have been bringing goals at the other end.
"And here's how. The first, a through pass from the left and a left foot shot to the corner of the net. The second a disputed foul-kick, a penalty area scramble and a snap shot through a crowd of players. The third a thirty yard run, staving off defending challenge, and another cutely placed counter.
"And so St. Johnstone retired whacked by three clear goals in a game in which they had three-fourths of the exchanges." 'Master Marksman', The Evening Telegraph, Monday, October 23rd., 1933. It was the highest individual goal tally of all Scottish games played that day.
On 22nd. November, 1933, Maxwell was listed among the Reserves for the Scotland team set to play Austria the following Wednesday (29th.) at Hampden. The match ended 2-2. Unfortunately Bud wasn't selected to play. Tainted by the poor Scottish League team showing against the Irish in September. That whole Scottish team had been brushed aside. He would never get a full international "cap".
Football can be an unforgiving sport; physically demanding, especially during Maxwell's days when there were no player substitutions during games. In the Cup replay against Motherwell (referred to above) on Wednesday, 8th. March, 1933, Killie were swept away, smashed 8-3 at Fir Park. They lost the toss and started against a strong wind; Milliken, their goalkeeper, was injured early on; Maxwell was playing under the handicap of a "dicky" leg; Smith's (centre half) injured eye bothered him so much he had to leave the field before the finish; Leslie put through his own goal; and a defender gave away a penalty kick. Goals from Maxwell and Glass (2) during a 15 minute second half revival proved too little and too late as Killie faded completely. (Attendance about 23,000. Receipts £943. And a remarkable 17 goal encounter over the two games.)
During his time at Kilmarnock Bud was often the subject of eager press speculation about who was interested in signing him and which English team would prise him away from Rugby Park - Aston Villa, Manchester City, Newcastle United, Leicester City, Liverpool - all were linked with him. "And, whisper it, Rangers themselves think a lot of 'Bud'. Hush!" ('The Major', Dundee Courier, Monday, 20th. February, 1933).
In October, 1933 Notts County came a-calling. "They want a centre forward who is ripe and ready to go into the league team........ All hope of getting 'Bud' Maxwell of Kilmarnock has been abandoned. 'Bud' himself is the chief stumbling block. He just does not wish to relinquish a good situation for the vicissitudes of English professional football. A sound judge!" (The Courier and Advertiser. Monday, October 16, 1933.)
Matches between Kilmarnock and Ayr United are eagerly anticipated and hotly contested, as Derby matches tend to be in any competitive sport. "Kilmarnock's K.O. for Ayr U. Maxwell's Sparkling Forward Play. In a typical local "Derby," Kilmarnock proved superior to Ayr in both defence and attack at Rugby Park." Ayr opened the scoring after 15mins. but "The equaliser came in two minutes, Maxwell scoring a great goal from a pass by Lansborough. Kilmarnock were now definitely on top .....Maxwell was the outstanding forward on the field, and it was only just that Killie's fourth goal should fall to him. He dribbled through the defence and walked the ball into the net." Result: 4-2. (Aberdeen Press & Journal, Wednesday, 3rd. January, 1934.)
Preston North End F.C. - Dundee Courier, Friday, 20th. July, 1934: "Bud Maxwell goes to Preston. A transfer that has been in the air for many moons took place yesterday. It was a big deal involving, I should imagine, a matter of £5,000, but it will come as no surprise to football followers. Kilmarnock have at long last parted with Bud Maxwell, who next season will sport the colours of Preston North End. Standing 5 feet, 8 inches, he weighs 11 stone." Newly promoted to Division 1, PNE were intent on hitting the ground at the trot. The fee was £4,000 (of which Bud received £200 for signing-on - £32,900 in 2010 terms). Killie fans were not pleased to see him go, the Rugby Park club said they could not refuse the offer, but the signs of Bud's departure had already been hinted at in the press: 'The Major', Courier and Advertiser, Monday, 11th. June, "Football Transfers to Look For. Killie supporters are wondering about .. 'Bud' Maxwell still unsigned. Maxwell wants his wages to be not less than they were last season, when he had £7 per week. He has been offered £6 10s. to re-engage." In fact 'The Major' had intimated Maxwell's restive frame of mind at Killie as early as February, 1934.
Bud made his PNE début in the 1-0 home win versus Grimsby on 25th. August and also featured in the 1-2 away victory to Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on 27th. August. His first goal for PNE came on his third appearance with the 4-1 defeat at Everton on 1st. September. He scored a goal in 4 of his next 5 appearances. The 1934-35 season saw Maxwell net 23 league goals in 41 matches, joint tenth top scorer in the English First Division. This included 3 braces and 2 hat-tricks, the hat-tricks came in a 3-4 victory at Huddersfield on 19th. January and a 5-2 home win over Stoke on 13th. April, 1935. He finished the top goalscorer with Preston that season with the next highest league scorer being John Friar with 8.
1935 was the Silver Jubilee year of King George V and two Representative Games were played between the home countries. Bud played for an Anglo-Scots team which defeated an England 0-1 at Highbury on Wednesday, 8th. May before a disappointing crowd of only 8,944 (Receipts of £698, went towards the Prince of Wales' National Jubilee Fund). George Mutch, the former Banks o' Dee player (then of Man. Utd.) and a former Scottish schoolboy internationalist who had played alongside Maxwell in the 1927 internationals, was "the successful marksman, and his goal five minutes before the end was in reply to the crowd's jeering remarks about shooting .... The Scottish forwards played delightful football at times without exerting themselves a great deal ... The game was noteworthy for the number of occasions on which both goals had narrow escapes.... Maxwell (PNE) put in a shot which Hapgood headed from under the bar.." (W. Capel Kirby, Aberdeen Press & Journal, Thursday, 9 May, 1935.)
Maxwell was Preston's top scorer again in 1935-36 with 17 goals from 37 matches, 2 more than Hugh O'Donnell. He scored a brace on 3 occasions in wins over Huddersfield, Sunderland and Everton in the FA Cup.
He was limited to 12 goals in 26 matches in 1936-37 when he missed 2 months from the start of 1937. Maxwell did score one hat-trick in a 3-2 win at home to West Brom on 5th. December.
In 1938 Maxwell played in the Preston team which won the FA Cup. Alongside him were two former Killie team-mates Tom Smith and Robert Beattie. The 1-0 victory over Huddersfield on 30th. April at Wembley was his first cup match of the season. Maxwell had netted 8 goals in 24 matches including a hat-trick on his first match of the season as the Lilywhites beat Liverpool 4-1 on 11th. September, 1937.
After the 2-1 defeat in the Charity Shield to Arsenal on 26th. September, 1938 his last PNE match was a 0-0 draw at Everton on 15th. April, 1939. Maxwell had been transfer listed together with three other PNE Scots in February. His effectiveness was dampened by a recurring groin problem which had first arisen while at Kilmarnock, but he still scored 60 goals in 129 league matches during his time at Preston. Bud would have liked a return to Scottish football (Queen of the South) but a deal wasn't concluded.
In a player plus cash deal PNE attracted Emlyn Williams. The Daily Mirror, Wednesday, 14th. June, 1939: "Another batch of signings yesterday ... Fee for Williams is stated to be big and the deal is part of the one involving transfer of Maxwell .." Thus Bud signed for Barnsley F. C. for the start of the 1939-1940 season. He made 3 appearances, débuting in the 4-1 win over Nottingham Forest on 26th. August when he scored a hat-trick. His last match was a 4-2 defeat at Coventry on 2nd. September (the day before the start of WW2) in which he scored one of the goals.
The outbreak of WW2 resulted in the abandonment of the 1939-40 season in England. Players contracts were set aside for the duration of hostilities. Maxwell made one "guest" appearance for PNE at this time, before a brief return to Kilmarnock. His last appearance for the club was on March 16th. 1940 in a 3-1 home defeat against Queen of the South. Fittingly, Bud Maxwell scored his 124th and last goal for the Rugby Park outfit that day. During the game he was crocked and limped along at outside right. (Killie closed down in May, 1940 when Rugby Park was requisitioned for fuel storage use.)
Served with the Royal Navy throughout WW2 in the North Atlantic on submarine hunting/convoy escort duty. Played as a guest for Greenock Morton in the Scottish Southern League a number of times on leave from the navy, scoring on his début for the Renfrewshire outfit, despite not being fully fit, in the 2-1 home win versus Third Lanark (Sat., 25/9/1943).
"Bud Burst The Bubble!" was the headline in The Sunday Post, 31st. October, 1943, referring to Morton's 1-4 result against Dumbarton in which Maxwell was at his aggressive best. "Sailor Bud Maxwell's harassing tactics often had the Boghead defenders groggy. Although hotly challenged by three opponents, Maxwell opened the scoring (32mins.) and made the second goal for White (35mins.)." He scored his second and Morton's fourth in 63mins. (Attendance, 6,000.)
On convoy escort duty to Veanga, northern Russia, in the winter of 1943-44, Gordon Johnson, R.N. (HMS Tasker), recording some memories in his essay "Musings of a Sparker in the Andrew":- "Veanga was a miserable place, very desolate and poverty stricken. Toilets were in the middle of a square and communal. There were thousands of women prisoners on the outskirts, all guarded by soldiers with loaded rifles.
"The lads played one game of football on an icy pitch at about minus 20 degrees. The Russians were tapping their heads as if to say we must be mad. We had Bud Maxwell on our team, the 1930s Scottish centre forward, who used to play for Kilmarnock and Preston North End. I got on well with him ... Bud was a fine chap."
After the war Bud turned out "on loan" for Preston Reserves 1945-1946, hoping to restart his career there, but Barnsley, who yet claimed his player registration, refused to co-operate, despite Maxwell being on their "open to transfer" list. Had a Scottish club stepped forward Barnsley would not have stood in his way but they would not contemplate selling to a rival outfit in the same English League North and in the close season of 1946 he transferred to non-league side Shrewsbury Town.
Maxwell featured for less than three months in the Midland League, starting in 13 of the first 14 games of the 1946-47 season - but what an impact he made. He débuted on the 31st. August, 1946 and was immediately on fire, netting a hat trick in the 6-3 home tie demolition of Bradford City Reserves. He continued the goalscoring in the next four games which followed and notched up a total of 10 goals from the 13 starts with Shrewsbury. His last appearance was 9th. November, 1946.
A skilful player, artistic, elusive and with a "never say die" attitude to his game, Maxwell was a thorn in the side of the best defences and always gave of his best. As a prolific goalscorer he was a hero to young Killie fans of his era. One of those (Robert Runcie) grew up to become Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1980 Runcie, newly appointed head of The Church of England, was invited to address the General Assembly of The Church of Scotland in Edinburgh that summer. In his speech he remembered with enthusiasm Killie's Scottish Cup-winning team of 1929 and also his boyhood idol - James Morton (Bud) Maxwell.
1926-27 Scotland International Elementary Schools Cap - 3.
1931-32 Scottish F.A. Challenge Cup Runner's Up medal.
1933-34 Scottish League Cap.
1937-38 F.A. Challenge Cup Winner's medal.
James died on Sunday, 22nd. April, 1990, at home, 75B, Alexandra Road, Parkstone, Poole, Dorset.