By Tony Attwood
Bobby was first spotted in 1931, playing for local club a Fife team called Bowhill Rovers. He moved on to St Bernards in Edinburgh, who, according to the site St Johnston Legends was thought to be “the next Alex James”.
In March 1933 Saint Johnston bought him, although local commentaries noted he was only five feet five inches tall. The St Johnston site also notes that he had “outstanding skills. In addition, he had a kick like a mule and long-range shooting was a speciality which made him particularly popular with the Muirton fans and not very popular with opposing goalkeepers.”
Bobby played against Arsenal in the friendly at Muirton in September 1934 and was selected for the Scottish League team against the Irish League a few weeks later.
Arsenal offered £4,000 and on 1st February 1935 he moved to Arsenal.
He made his first appearance on 20 February 1935 against Stoke and his last appearance on 30 October 1937 against Middlesbrough. (This last was a bit of a clear-out game for Herbie Roberts also made his last appearance that day as did Ray Bowden.
All in all Bobby played 63 games and scored 15 goals for Arsenal during his short spell with the club and played his part in the 1935 league championship side under George Allison. The high point of his career at Arsenal was four goals in the 5-1 victory over Portsmouth in December 1936.
He was transferred to Coventry City in exchange for Leslie Jones.
We may wonder why such a promising player was transferred so readily. The answer may be in his personality. The St Johnston site notes that he had quite a mouth on him, and that he was constantly in trouble with refs. Maybe Arsenal had the same problem with him.
Goalkeeper Frank Moss
Full back George Male
Left back Eddie Hapgood
Right half Jack Crayston
Centre half Norman William Sidey
Left half Wilf Copping
Wing half Frank Hill (1 goal)
Outside right Ralph Birkett
Centre forward Ted Drake
Inside forward Robert Trimming Davidson (1 goal)
Inside left Peter Dougall
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal FC: crowd behaviour at the early matches
The sites from the same team…
- Referee Decisions – just what are the refs up to this season?
- Parent News – what is going on in schools these days?
- The weight loss programme: The only guaranteed way to stay fit
- The Arsenal History Blog from the AISA Arsenal History Society
- The Bob Dylan Reviews – the music, the lyrics, the meaning