Robert Campbell
Robert Campbell
Robert Campbell
● Robert Campbell, 1911 (PIN)

born in Scotland

Robert Cumming Campbell was born on Monday, 16th May, 1881, in Lugar, East Ayrshire.

The 5' 8 (13st 0lbs) defender signed for Thistle on Friday, 9th September, 1898.

Aged 17, he made his first known appearance on Saturday, 10th December, 1898, in a 1-1 draw away to Hibernian in the SFL First Division.

Robert scored his first known goal for Thistle on Saturday, 16th September, 1899, in a 5-1 defeat away to Celtic in the Glasgow Cup.

He scored the last of his 5 known goals on Saturday, 15th August, 1903, in a 2-1 defeat away to Celtic in the SFL First Division.

He played his last known game for the club on Saturday, 14th January, 1905, in a 6-1 defeat away to Port Glasgow Athletic in the SFL First Division, having clocked up at least 197 appearances for the Thistle.

His club-list included Lugar Boswell, Craigston Strollers, Partick Thistle, Rangers, Millwall Athletic and Bradford City.

Robert died on Friday, 13th March, 1931, in Ayr, South Ayrshire, aged 49.

Bio Extra

Son of Samuel Campbell (Pit Roadsman) & Jane Campbell (nΓ©e Cumming).

Robert, a popular man who β€œrarely had a smile off his face”, was said to be a keen angler and played cricket with the Clydesdale Cricket Club. However, football was the sport in which he made his mark.

When top-flight Thistle were short for a December 1898 game at Easter Road, 17-year-old Robert got his call-up from the reserves and did well enough to retain his place for 3 games that month. On his debut, the Daily Record noted that he β€œburst up the Hibs forwards repeatedly.” Making use of his 13 stone frame would become his hard-but-fair trademark! Hailing from the footballing hotbed of Lugar, the youngster, employed as a miner, had honed his footballing skills early with local clubs Lugar Boswell and Craigston Strollers. In 1903, the Scottish Weekly Record described him as β€œa sturdy, square-shouldered youth of 5ft 8in, who is regardless of fear”, and noted that β€œin strength of kicking and vigour in tackling he's not excelled by any right back in the country.” The wonderful piece can be read in full at ptearlyyears external-link.png. In it, Robert himself spoke a little of his career to date:

I joined Partick Thistle six years ago, and got Auchencloss’s place after serving two years in the Reserve team at Meadowside. As a member of the Thistle I was capped by the Scottish League against the Irish League last season, and I played in the Glasgow team which beat Sheffield in the Inter-City match at Ibrox Park by 3 goals to 0, a few months ago. In the season of 1889-1900 I helped Partick Thistle to win the Second League championship. We had a close run for it with Morton, and just got it by a point. Two years ago I was in the Thistle team in the final of the Glasgow Cup, when the Rangers beat us by 3 goals to 1. In five-a-side tournaments I picked up a few medals at Muirkirk, Lugar, New Cumnock and Skares, along with Stark, Brodie and the two Curraghs, all Lugar bred and born.

There was a sign of bigger things to come for Robert when under-strength Rangers made an emergency call for his services in May, 1902, for their Exhibition Cup game versus Everton, the match ending 3 to 2 in favour of the Glasgow side. The Scottish Referee noted, β€œRangers had a splendid recruit in Campbell, Partick Thistle, at back. The play of Crawford and he at back was all that could be desired.” The 23-year-old Robert would sign for Rangers proper in January, 1905, a move which proved to be short-term, the springboard landing him at Millwall Athletic of the Southern League, where he was virtually ever-present for the duration of season 1905-06.

He moved up a grade to Second Division Bradford City in the close season of 1906, making his Football League debut at Leeds City that September. There, he developed a strong partnership with Fred Farren, as the Bantams clinched the Second Division Championship in 1907-08. In what was surely his greatest day in football, Robert won the FA Cup with Bradford in 1911, when they defeated Newcastle United by one goal to nil in a replay which attracted 66,646 to Old Trafford, the highest ever crowd for a midweek match in England at that time. Defences were on top, and hard-tackles were the order of the day, so Robert was perfectly at home, not to mention the fact that there were eight Scots in that victorious City side!

Robert retired as a footballer in 1915, shortly after the suspension of first class football due to onset of the First World War. He retired a club legend. He made his way back β€œhome” and continued to earn his living as a coal miner. He was residing in Prestwick at the time of his premature death. He had been admitted to Ayr County Hospital, and there he succumbed to appendicitis, aged just 49.


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