Published: 20/11/2009 00:00 - Updated: 30/11/2011 11:56

Argentinians pay tribute to their 'father' from Ross

Argentinian international footballer Mario Kempes is one of the most famous players of the Rosario club founded by Dingwall native Colin Bain Calder.
Argentinian international footballer Mario Kempes is one of the most famous players of the Rosario club founded by Dingwall native Colin Bain Calder.

AN intriguing link between a Ross-shire town and a football club that spawned a World Cup winner has paved the way for a potentially tantalising hook-up.

Civic leaders in Dingwall were stunned to receive an e-mail out of the blue from the descendant of a local man who was the first president of Argentinian Premier Division outfit Rosario Central.

Dingwall native Colin Bain Calder, who was born in 1860, helped to spearhead the club that went on to nurture stars like Mario Kempes, who was the leading goalscorer in the 1978 World Cup, won by Argentina.

His great-grandson, Federico J Bollero Calder, has made contact with community leaders in Dingwall to draw attention to the link and invite the town to share in the celebration of the 120th anniversary of the founding of Rosario Central.

Federico's letter stated that his great-great-grandfather had gone to Rosario City in Santa Fe Province to work for the Central Argentine Railway and was subsequently elected first president and involved in the foundation of Rosario Central FC in December 1889.

He went on, "It would be a pleasure for us to receive some comments from Dingwall's local authorities.

"I had the chance to visit many years ago and found my great-great grandfather's gravestone in St Clement's graveyard."

Local councillor Margaret Paterson told the Ross-shire Journal, "This is exciting news and it could lead to a very pleasant relationship.

"It would be good to build up a friendship with the football club. Unfortunately due to the timescale we were unable to send an official parchment in time for the celebrations.

"We only received his e-mail a few days ago.

"But all the councillors have agreed to send Ross County memorabilia once we have an address."

She added, "This is just another of Dingwall's sons who has gone overseas and done well. In fact, we have been talking about a Wall of Honour for sons and daughters of Dingwall to be erected to them.

"There are quite a number of names that could go on the plaque - the Town House would probably be the best location for it."

In their response to the email from Argentina, ward councillors said, "It is a great honour to know that one of Dingwall's sons founded the Rosario Central Football Club, especially as Dingwall is very proud of its own football team, Ross County.

"We would be very interested to find out more about your football team as we have a strong tradition of football in our own town at various levels."

Mr Paterson said, "It would be fascinating to know if there are any relatives of Mr Calder still living in the area I would like them to get in touch, either with me or with the Ross-shire Journal."

She was also excited about the prospect of 'friendly' matches with Ross County. "The idea of linking Dingwall with Rosario is probably a non-starter due to the cost, but you never know we can maybe suggest Rosario Central come over to play Ross County in a glamour friendly match."

Rosario Central were founded in 1889 by workers of the British-owned Central Argentina Railway company. When the company took over the Buenos Aires and Rosario Railway company in 1903 it changed its name to Club Atlético Rosario Central.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi, who played for rivals Newell's Old Boys, was born in Rosario.

Contacted for comment, Ross County head of administration Ranald Gilbert, said, "Whilst the practicalities of travel - not to mention visas and work permits - make it unlikely we will be able to develop any relationship with regard to players or matches with Rosario, it is great to hear that Dingwall has such a long and distinguished tradition in football.

"Derek Adams and the team are working hard to ensure it has both a present and a future to live up to this fine history!"

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