Andrew Watson is a player who deserves to be remembered as an important part of the story of black footballers. The first black footballer in Scotland, it can be argued that he is therefore the first black player to represent Britain internationally. He was playing even earlier than Arthur Wharton, but as an amateur, whereas Arthur Wharton was the first black professional footballer.
Born in Demerara, part of the British Guiana, in 1857, Andrew Watson came to England to complete his schooling at a public school in Halifax and this is when his football career began. He became a successful player for Scotland’s Queens Park and then began studying at Glasgow University aged 19, in November 1875. Watson enrolled to take classes in Natural Philosophy, Maths,Civil Engineering and Mechanics.
Among some of the landmark achievements of Andrew Watson, he can possibly claim to be:
- the first black player to play for Scotland, whom he represented 3 times between 1881 and 1882. He played for Queens Park, the top Scottish team of the day.
- the first black captain of an International team (v England 1881)
- the first black player to win a major competition (Scottish Cup 1881)
- the first black player to play in the English FA Cup (London Swifts 1882)
- the first black football administrator (he was Match Secretary for 5 years at Parkgrove and Queens Park FC)
"Watson, Andrew: One of the very best backs we have; since joining Queen's Park has made rapid strides to the front as a player; has great speed and tackles splendidly; powerful and sure kick; well worthy of a place in any representative team."
Scottish Football Association Annual of 1880-81
Watson married, had children and later emigrated to Australia where he lived for the rest of his life. He is buried in Sydney.
(Image reproduced with the permission of the Scottish Football Museum)