The honour of a Knighthood eluded former Burnley, Blackburn Rovers and Southampton football star Tom Nicol.
Unlike, football legends Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Bobby Robson, Sir Matt Busby, Sir Geoff Hurst, Sir Sir Tom Finney, Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Alf Ramsey, Sir Stanley Matthews and Sir Kenny Dalglish, amongst others.
It was only when Nicol turned his hands to bowls that he became a ‘sir’, when winning an historical bowls competition in Southampton – 113 years ago.
Nicol, who joined Burnley in 1891, is still remembered in the Clarets annuls after scoring four goals against arch Lancashire rivals Preston North End in a 6-2 win on March 7, 1891.
Nicol, a miner by trade, married Miss Mary Bates, a Burnley barmaid at the Bull Hotel, while with the Clarets.
Versatile Nicol, who played striker, outside right, back, wing, and stood in as keeper, departed Turf Moor, when moving to Blackburn Rovers in 1896, after five years at the Clarets.
Nicol switched to Southampton in the latter part of his career, and became the licensee of the Kingsland Tavern in St Mary’s Street, after hanging up his boots in 1899, having made 39 appearances for The Saints.
After a period in Southampton, Nicol took charge of a hotel at Portsmouth, returning to Southampton, and ran the London Hotel, Woolston.
It was while residing in Southampton that Nicol joined Southampton Old Bowling Green, deemed the oldest bowling green in the world, circa.1299.
Southampton Old Bowling Green, established during the reign of Richard I the Lionheart, was first used for a game of bowls in 1299, at the Lower Canal Walk and Platform Road club.
The record book shows sir Tom Nicol received his ‘Knighthood’ in 1907, the 133rd Championship.
In 2019 the 245th Knighthood competition was staged.
Nicol, born in Whitburn, West Lothian, Scotland, died, aged 45, on June 10, 1915, at the London Hotel, Woolston, Southampton, after suffering from ill health.