The days immediately prior to the First World War were some of the most successful during Swindon Town’s long history.

Inside-forward Harold Fleming was undoubtedly a great influence as the then non-League club reached two FA Cup semi-finals. Left-back Jock Walker was another and the two, who both gained full international caps for their countries while with Town, arrived within four months of each other in 1907. Fleming was to stay until 1924, but in 1913 – 99 years ago this week – Walker was signed by Middlesbrough for a fee that was close to a British record.

The fair-haired Scot had been plying his trade in and around Glasgow before being signed by Raith Rovers at 21. Rangers then took him on, but he made little progress at Ibrox and was loaned back to his home-town club Beith before moving on again in August 1906 to Cowdenbeath.

Walker signed a £4 per week contract at Swindon in June 1907, making his debut in an opening day fixture at West Ham, where he gave a solid performance in a 2-1 victory for Town.

In the January, he played a major part in Swindon’s first ever giant-killing feat, against top flight Sheffield United. Having failed to beat the Blades in a home tie, they now had to make the journey to Bramall Lane for a replay.

With Town leading 1-0 at half-time, Walker then suffered a badly bruised thigh and had to go off. With no substitutes in those days, his side had to carry on a man down and soon conceded two goals. But Billy Tout hit one of his piledrivers from 30 yards to put Swindon level.

Hearing from the dressing room that Town had equalised, Walker decided that he could still assist his comrades. According to secretary-manager Sam Allen, he stood on the table while trainer Fred Wiltshire rubbed whisky into his thigh and pummelled it with his fist. And Walker returned to the fray at the start of extra-time, which saw a third goal from Jimmy Johnston seal a memorable victory.

Apart from his Scotland call-ups, Walker missed only a handful of games during his six year stay with Town, registering almost 250 appearances.

Middlesbrough paid £1,376 for his transfer but a replacement full-back, Allan McRobbie, came as part of the deal and was valued at £250. Town also had to pay Rangers a £250 ‘sell-on’ fee. Walker returned to Swindon to play about 40 games as a wartime guest between 1915 and 1917, before joining Reading in May 1921, making his final League appearance aged 40.

He later unsuccessfully applied to join Town’s board of directors but for many years could be seen at his shop in Manchester Road, where he sold fish and chips – or a healthy option from his greengrocers next door!

Sadly he did not quite survive to see another of the club’s finest achievements, the League Cup victory. He died in December 1968, just two days before Town’s epic semi-final replay win at The Hawthorns. He was 86. - Paul Plowman