Robert "Bob" Buchanan

Robert "Bob" Buchanan's start in life was a little complicated. He was born in Johnstone, illegitimate and in 1886, the son of Thomas Blackburn, then an Apprentice Engine Smith, and a local mill-worker, Jane Allan Buchanan. He was twenty-one or twenty-two. She was nineteen. 

The couple never married. In fact Thomas seems to have wed still in Johnstone the next year, moved with his wife to Govan in Glasgow and there bring up a family. Yet Buchanan would preserve the connection by using Blackburn as his middle name. As to Jane, she stayed with her parents until her marriage in 1873, Bob remained with the grandparents until by 1891 he was living with his mother, her husband and their family in Paisley, but as a "Lodger". 

Perhaps the move to Paisley was familial, perhaps football, although he was recorded as a Steam Engine Maker Fitter. After two seasons at Johnstone until twenty-one he, a tirelessly opportunistic forward, had moved to Abercorn for four more and a cap in 1891 until later that year being enticed South by Sunderland Albion. It was the spin-off under James Allan but was dissolved in 1892 and Buchanan moved on, for two campaigns at Burnley in the First Division and two more at Arsenal in the Second. However, it was at Southampton that he found his niche and perhaps his level. The South Coast club was in the Southern League and with his input was able to win it in 1897 and 1898. 

However, Bob was now thirty-two and whilst he managed a side-ways move to Sheppey Utd. for a season he retired from playing in 1900, at which point he clearly moves at some point to London, he would die there in hospital in 1907, but there is perhaps one clue. In 1901 a Scots-born Robert Buchanan is recorded in Sheerness, so on the Isle of Sheppey, working as an Engine Fitter, married to Southampton-born Margaret and with a just one-year old son, also Robert, born Sheerness. And then it became clear that she was Margaret MacKay and they had wed in 1899, he not just as Robert Buchanan but Robert Blackburn Buchanan. The mystery of his later life and final days was at least in part solved. 

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