By Tony Attwood
Bob Buchanan (full name Robert John Buchanan) was born in 1868 in Johnstone (Paisley).
He started out with his local team Johnstone (not to be confused with St Johnstone who played in Perth), before moving to Abercom (a Scottish League team until 1915, local rivals to St Mirren), Sunderland Albion (a breakaway from Sunderland), Burnley and then Woolwich Arsenal.
While playing for Abercorn he also played for Scotland, on 21 March 1891 scoring in a 4–3 win against Wales.
He is recorded on the Arsenal.com site as having played for Arsenal in the 20th century – but in fact they mean the 19th. He played for two seasons: 25 games (9 goals) in 1894/5 and 17 games (7 goals) in 1895/6.
Bob Buchanan signed on 21 September 1894 and played his first game on 29 September 1894 – a 4-2 win over Manchester City. This was in a period in which Arsenal, having lost the first three games of the season, scoring 3 and conceding 11, then went on to three consecutive wins, scoring 13 and conceding six.
It is said on Wikipedia that he scored on his debut match for Woolwich Arsenal but Ollier gives the scorers in that game as Boyd (3) and Mortimer. It looks to me like his first goal came against Newcastle on 24 November 1894. Perhaps the confusion comes from the fact that this match also was a 4-2 win.
Buchanan was obviously a success in the squad, for having started out as an inside right he went on and played at centre forward, missing only one match between his initial game and the end of the season. Indeed Arsenal only lost one match in the first 10 he played.
In 1896 he moved to Southampton St. Mary’s who were in the Southern League, and won the Southern League 1st Division unbeaten with them in his first season. It was the first of three successive wins of the title for Southampton and Bob shared in the first two.
However although he played throughout the first two of those seasons, he only played twice in the final season and moved then to Sheppey United. They were relegated from division 1 to division 2 of the Southern League in 1900, but recovered to come third in the second division in 1901.
I am not at all sure when he retired from football; he would have been 31 on joining Sheppey – but players did go on playing into their late 30s at this time.
There is information that he settled in South East London and we know he died aged just 40 on 21 December 1907 at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington; but why he went to Paddington in West London is not clear. Wiki quotes an article attributed to the Dundee Courier on 25 December 1907 that he was buried in Willesden Cemetery, implying that his body was taken to the local cemetery of the hospital rather than one close to his home.
Here is his playing record.
|Years||Team||Lge games||Lge goals|
|1896/99||Southampton St Mary’s||41||(21)|
- Indexes to many of the articles on the site are on the home page
- Events are cross referenced in the Arsenal Anniversary files
- The day’s anniversaries are published in full each morning on Untold Arsenal
- We have also published five books on Arsenal, and details are here.
- Arsenal from 1953 to 1980, the overview of an era.
- Arsenal in the 70s the overview & what happened next
- Arsenal in the 70s part 25: Jan to June 1980. Farewell Liam Brady.
- How long does it take a new manager to win the league at Arsenal?