Bob Findlay

The Findlays of Galston were to provide two international footballers, father and son, and a third prominent professional. The former international, Robert, "Bob" was for Scotland in 1898, albeit just once, and the latter, William, his eldest son, for the United States, three times more, at not just one but two Olympics, in 1924 and 1928. And the pro was Tom, Bob's younger brother.

Robert "Bob" Findlay had been born in 1877, the son of a local joiner, William, and his equally local wife, Margaret. Both are buried in Galston Cemetery. And in 1881 their boy was probably working with his father as joiner's apprentice. However, William Snr. then died and by 1901 Robert had officially become a Iron Turner. But in fact he had for five seasons been a professional footballer, an outside-left, initially at Kilmarnock, to where the family had moved when he was a young child, then an injury-interrupted season at Celtic and was about to return to Killy for three more, now literally alongside inside-left Tom.

And the knee-injury picked up as early as 1899 was to blight somewhat Bob's further footballing career, in 1904-5 at Dundee, and then at Motherwell, with Tom once more, and Hamilton before, at the age of thirty-one, a final two season but still in the top-flight, at Port Glasgow, again with Tom. By then, 1910, Bob had been married for the decade and with three boys. He had wed in 1902 to an Ayrshire girl with William born in Kilmarnock and John and Robert Jnr. in Dalziel, so The Well. 

However, with the family still living in Motherwell and Bob having failed in 1911 to get the managership of the town's club a decision was made to leave Scotland, he arriving in the USA in late 1913/early 1914. There he was soon joined by the rest of the family and ostensibly found work with Babcock and Wilcox at its American yard in Bayonne in New Jersey. However, B & W was establishing its sponsored "soccer" club at precisely that time with Bob brought in as its manager and with some success. As a team it would be prominent for seven seasons, even reaching the final of the American Cup in 1918, this while footballing and family links with the old country were still maintained. Young William Jnr. would begin his footballing career in 1921, but it was back in Scotland with two seasons in Glasgow at Third Lanark. Moreover, it appears by 1920 Tom might too have crossed the pond also to settle with his equally Scots-born family initially at least in Bayonne, working once more for B & W and likely to have been brought in to assist by his elder brother.  

Yet, whatever the cooperation, it was not to be very long term. In 1926, still in Bayonne and not quite fifty Bob passed away. He left a widow, Helen, who would survive him by forty-four years, they having been married in Kilmarnock in 1902. William would move to Georgia and die there but there other children would remain in the Bayonne area.       

Birth Locator:

Orchard St., Galston


Residence Locations:

1881 - 19, Armour St., Kilmarnock

1891 - 1901 - 24, High Glencairn St., Kilmarnock 

1911 - 5, Ferguson St., Dalziel, Motherwell

1918-20 - 294, Broadway, Bayonne, N.J., USA


Death Locator:

1926 - Bayonne, New Jersey, USA


Burial Locator:



Other Sources:

Babcock and Wilcox (Soccer)


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