James "Jimmy" Robertson

There are very few of the biographies of Scottish international players that form part of the SFHG trails that are frustrated but this is one of them. Even despite having a picture of him his life before and after football remains elusive. And we are not alone. 

The Scottish Football Association, offers literally nothing, despite his two caps and they both being on a European summer tour so certainly having required passports and perhaps even visas. Wikipedia does offer a version but it suggests junior football in the city at seventeen and senior at Dundee itself at nineteen, which is not impossible but unlikely for an inside-left acknowledged as robust.

But there is a third offering, that from the inestimable Andy Mitchell. He suggests a different year of birth, 1906 instead of 1909, therefore a different person with a very different life, not a quiet passing in Cupar in Fife in 1979 but decline in possible destitution before death in England in 1982. Yet even here there are problems, not least definitive corroborations and the unreliability of possible victim in an attempted murder-trial. 

But there are known knowns. On joining Dundee Jimmy made ten starts with one goal in his first campaign then for the next five was first-choice, hitting, now at centre-forward, twenty-two in his final season before transfer South. He went to Birmingham City in the English First Division but it was not a success for either party. The club just avoided relegation, he played just eight times, scoring twice and was said to be homesick. It is known he married because he was also divorced, it is just that the date and the bride are unknown. It is known he had children. Perhaps they or the separation from were the reason for his distress.

Birmingham released him at the end of the season. He returned to Scotland but slightly curiously not to Dundee but Kilmarnock, ending his first season as leading scorer. However from that point there was decline, on the field and behaviourally. He made his last appearance in late 1937. He left the club in 1938 and, although there was a brief attempt at a restart the following year at Elgin City the outbreak of war put an end to it. Which takes us to the attempted murder. 

In 1947 he was shot in a Glasgow street during what was clearly a night out. He survived. The incident was said to be accidental but nevertheless went to court, where it was stated he stayed in Kilmarnock still and was forty-one so born in 1906. And that is about it. 

Birth Locator:

 1906/9 - Dundee


Residence Locations:

1911 - N/A

1921- N/A

1931 - Dundee

1941 - Kilmarnock


Death Locator:

1979/82 - N/A


Grave Locator:



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