Andrew Watson:


Image courtesy of Garry Templeman. Artist: Paul Town

The history of football had forgotten Andrew Watson.

His fame and celebrity in the 1880s had long since been lost to the passing of time. Only recently has he been rediscovered and his influence in the evolution of association football recognised.

Andrew Watson is one of the most important football players in the game's early history. He championed the game on both sides of the Border and helped share innovations that would change how the game was played. Why his memory was allowed to fade is mystifying, but his achievements must be fully acknowledged.

Having had a very successful football career in Scotland, Watson came to England and played for several top English amateur teams, sharing the superior Scottish football style.

Having been a member of the Scottish National teams that crushed the English 6-1 at The Oval in London, and then a 5-1 at Hampden, the English F.A were desperate to find a solution. Identifying that Queen's Park's had historically made up the backbone of the Scottish team, the English F.A. decided to create a team in their mould, and the Corinthian Football Club was born.

The Corinthians would significantly impact football's evolution in the late Victorian era and over the first decades of the new century. They would inspire the foundation of clubs and football associations in many countries and popularise the game where ever they went.

Watson had played and captained the Scottish teams that had compelled the English F.A. to create the Corinthians. He then moved to England and joined the team he helped inspire, captaining them in the early years and teaching by example.

Watson would be the first true 'Scotch Professor' to play for Corinthian, making him immensely important to the English plan to learn the Scottish football style. He would also influence other Scottish players to come South. He would play alongside and become friends with many talented English players of the period, helping change how they played. Many of these players would be selected to play for England, and when they retired, some would join the English F.A. and govern the game for years after.

Watson has been considered a Scottish phenomenon, but his impact on English football has been overlooked and undervalued. It is time to rectify that. Fundraising has begun to erect a memorial to recognise Andrew Watson's services not only to Scottish football, but English football and, via the Corinthians, football worldwide.