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GCR Books

The sad history of Jimmy Blair

James “Jimmy” Blair was born in Dumfries in 1885, and plauyed for Dumfries Volunteer, 5th Kings Own Highlanders, and Kilmarnock before coming to Woolwich Arsenal for the 1905/6 season in May 1905.

He was obviously seen as a transfer of some significance as he was in the line up for the opening game of the new season on 2 September 1905 in which Woolwich Arsenal beat Liverpool 3-1.

This was Arsenal’s second season in the first division and the season in which Arsenal reached the cup semi-final for the first time ever, but Blair did not make it through the season.  He played the first 11 games, then missed one match, before playing what was to be his final game of the season – a home defeat to Sheffield W.

Now Blair might have been injured – I don’t know – but another explanation for his departure from the line ups is that the defeat to Sheffield W. was the fourth defeat in succession, and the fact that by that game (the 13th of the season) Arsenal had only won three league matches.

Bigden, Freeman and Neave came in, over the coming weeks, things picked up, and on 10 February 1906 Arsenal started a run of 10 wins in 11 games, and of course the run to the Cup semi-final, but Blair played no part in this.

In 1906/7 Jimmy Blair made one start for Woolwich Arsenal – on 3 September – a 4-1 away defeat to Bury.  It was his last game for the club and meant that of the 13 starts he made, only three were victories.  He scored three goals.

In this partial picture below he is on the far right of the front row.

woolwich arsenal football club 1905

Jimmy was transferred to Manchester City in 1906

A solitary appearance would follow in the next season before Blair transferred to Manchester City in November 1906 for whom he made 76 appearances in the League and 5 in the Cup.  He then went on to play for Bradford City (39 league games and 3 FA Cup matches) and finally Stockport County.

Tragically he took his own life on 12 March 1913 aged just 28.

I regret that is all I have on Jimmy Blair – if you have more information please do write in.

The books
The complete Arsenal Anniversary series is to be found on the Arsenal History Society site.

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