|

Andrew Watson

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Born in British Guiana was a young lad,
His Mum Guianese and a Scotsman his Dad,
Taken to Britain, went to King’s College School,
Plus University of Glasgow, he was no fool!
And for Andrew Watson football was delight,
He played as a back on the left or the right,
While still in his ‘teens’ joined Maxwell FC,
Then on to Parkgrove as player and secretary.

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 In 1880 he signed for famous Queens Park,
Where nobody cared that his skin was dark,
Being more intrigued by his skill at fullback,
Which showed “A Man’s a Man for a’ that”…
He was “The Spiders’” secretary too,
Then was chosen to play in his country’s blue,
(Well not blue entirely and it seems strange to think,
That Scotland wore shirts hooped in yellow and pink!)

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 Come ’82 he joined Swifts, down London way,
Next thing Corinthians asked him to play,
Moved on to Bootle in ’87/’88,
Where it is possible that he got paid.
Bootle supporters took Andrew to heart,
But injury tore his career apart,
So he settled in Liverpool with Eliza his wife,
And proceeded to lead a ‘conventional’ life.

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 Fathered a family over the years,
Worked on ships as a Marine Engineer,
Retired and lived with wife, daughter and son,
Until he passed away in 1921…
In Richmond Cemetery is Andrew’s grave,
Captain Courageous of Scotland the Brave,
He holds a historic place in our World Game,
Does this Black player with saintly Scots name.

Andrew Watson, born in 1856, was the son of a Scottish ‘sugar baron’ and a Guianese woman.

He played for Queens Park and London Swifts (among other teams) and was sufficiently well regarded as a player and ‘gentleman amateur’ to be invited to play for the Corinthians.

He toured with them twice.

In 1881 on international debut he captained Scotland to a 6 – 1 win over England at Kennington Oval.

It was during the short period of time when Scotland wore primrose yellow and rose pink shirts, being the racing colours of Archibald Primrose, Earl of Rosebery, a patron of the Scottish FA. Their (long) shorts and stockings were dark blue.

Bootle, who he joined in 1887, paid signing on fees and wages to a number of their players.

If Andrew Watson was one of those paid, then it appears that he, not Arthur Wharton, was the first Black professional footballer, but so far there is no documented proof of this.

According to available information, Andrew Watson was the first Black player to play in an international match and the first Black captain of an international team.

He was also the first Black player to be in a team that won a major competition (Queens Park – Scottish Cup), the first to play in the English FA Cup (Swifts 1882) and the first Black football administrator (Secretary at Parkgrove and Queens Park).

It seems however that he was not the first Black player to take part in a major competition, because Robert Walker played for Third Lanark Rifle Volunteers in the 1876 Scottish Cup.

Andrew Watson was inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame in 2012.

With acknowledgment to Robert Burns for the line “A Man’s a Man for a’ that”.

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/andrew-watson/