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12 March 2009

On this day in history: First black international footballer, 1881

Andrew Watson was born in the British colony of Demerara (modern day Guyana) in May 1857. His father was a Scottish sugar planter called Peter Miller; his mother was a local girl named Rose Watson. He attended an English public school before studying Natural Philosophy, Mathematics and Civil Engineering at the University of Glasgow.

Watson excelled at association football while at school playing as a full back on either flank. While at university he became an amateur player for Maxwell F.C. before signing for Parkgrove F.C. in 1876 where he also became the match secretary. During the 1880s he played for and was secretary of the prestigious Glasgow club, Queen's Park. During his time there, Queen's Park won a number of Scottish Cup finals.

On 12th March 1881, Andrew Watson received his first Scotland cap in a game against England at Kennington Oval in London. Watson captained his side to a 6-1 victory. He represented his country on two other occasions against Wales a few days after his debut and again against England a year later at Hampden Park in Glasgow. Scotland won both matches 5-1.

In 1882 he joined Swifts F.C., a team based in Slough, England where he became the first black player to compete in the F.A. Cup. Two years later he transferred to the elite Corinthians team. After the end of his footballing career Watson emigrated to Australia where he died just after the turn of the century.

3 comments:

Alicia aka "Fashiona" said...

I learn something new every time I visit.

Historic said...

That was pretty progressive for 1881, much better than the US.

Stepterix said...

Alicia: I learn something new every time I write a post. Thanks for the comment.

Historic: I read the reports of the games in the Times newspaper and there was no mention of Watson's ethnicity; perhaps it just wasn't an issue then. How the times change.