Felix ReillyWednesday, 10th Jan 2018
Everyone at Dunfermline Athletic Football Club was deeply saddened to hear of the death of former player Felix Reilly who passed away peacefully at his home in Comrie, Perthshire in the early hours of Tuesday 2 January.
12 September 1933 – 2 January 2018
Felix was an important and in some ways unique player at East End Park in the 1950s and in October 2017, despite being seriously ill at the time, gave a very full and interesting interview to the Dunfermline Athletic Heritage Trust. The interview can be viewed on the Heritage Trust website, www.daht.org.uk.
Felix was born at Annathill, near Coatbridge and he came from a footballing family – his father had been on trial with Hibernian and his older brother Terry also went on to play professionally in England. Starting life as a winger, Felix played for his school team and with juvenile side Cardowan United, before stepping up to play junior football with Rosyth Recreation and then Shotts Bon Accord. Felix was attracting the attention of a number of clubs, which prompted then Pars manager Bobby Ancell and Chairman Hugh McMillan to travel to his house in February 1954 to secure his signature.
Bobby Ancell moved Felix to an inside forward role and that combined with full-time football brought the best out in him. He became a regular in the side that won promotion to Division One in 1954/55, and he maintained that in the top league where his strong build, clever ball skills and goalscoring ability marked him out as a very talented player. He scored goals regularly but also helped as provider to a young Charlie Dickson in the early stages of his career. None of this went unnoticed and following a trial, became the first-ever Dunfermline player to be selected to play for Scotland at Under 23 level. On 26th February 1957, accompanied by the likes of Alex Parker, Dave Mackay and Eric Caldow, Felix played really well in a 1-1 draw against England, a scoreline that was lauded after Scotland had previously been well beaten by England at this level.
The Pars unfortunately found the season too much for them and were relegated to Division Two so after 110 appearances and 30 goals for Dunfermline, Felix was transferred to Dundee for a fee of £3250, a considerable sum at that time. Things didn’t work out at Dens Park and after a season Felix moved to East Fife. Deciding to emigrate to Canada, Felix returned to East Fife but left in 1960 after an altercation with the manager.
Felix signed for Bradford Park Avenue and helped them to gain promotion from the Fourth Division in season 1960/61, before moving to Crewe Alexandra in November 1961. From there he became player-manager of Winsford United for eighteen months then signed for Altrincham, before taking on his final post in football as player-manager of Northwich Victoria.
Felix will go down in history as Dunfermline’s first Under 23 international player but also the first Pars player to be captured on live TV, courtesy of that match against England.
Our thoughts and condolences are with Felix’s wife Rosina, daughters Mary and Agnes, and all of the family.