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Local celebrities: Bob McFarlane, Bootle.


December 4, 1889
Our subject this week is Mr. Robert McFarlane, the well-known full back of the Bootle Football Club, and a more jovial and pliable subject could not be. We found Mr. McFarlane and a few of his friends at home, seated round a blazing fire chatting on matters football, and we can assure our readers that ‘Bob’ can chat with a will; recalling incidents of his career and experiences as a kickist with lightning-like rapidity, and relating them all in one breath, so to speak.

Bob Macfarlane

We thought that just by way of a change we would put what is usually our last question first on this occasion, and therefore straighaway asked our friend if he professed to be a teetotaler, non-smoker, and the rest of it. We were met by a decided no, upon which we expressed our imagination that all the great associations were strict in their total abstinence. Bob, however, said the question could be easily decided in the case of himself and friends, and – well, when the pewters were filled to the brim we pulled out our pencil and got to work.

To commence with, it is necessary to state that Mr. McFarlane first saw the light among the cliffs of Airdrie in 1867, and is therefore 22 years of age. He pulls down the scales at 12 stone 2pounds, and when standing upright his scalp is 5 feet 8 inches above Mother Earth.

He very early developed a fondness for the game of games, and when a stripling of 12 summers he joined the Violet Club, in Airdrie. After two years, during which he had come along wonderfully in the quality of his play, the Violet, along with other Junior organisations in the district, was disbanded, and the players thus let loose, as it were, banded themselves together and formed the “Caledonians.”

With this club Bob played outside left wing, and got on famously. During his second year of connection with it, he received an invitation to assist the second team of the Airdrieonians in a cup-tie match against Kilmarnock Athletic. So pleased were this club with the form he showed that he was invited and consented to stay with them, playing with the second string.

The committee, however, soon recognised his merits, and the following season found him doing duty with the first eleven. There he stayed for three years, occupying the positions of left half-back, right-half-back, and left full-back. During his connection with them, the Airdrieonians won both the Lanarkshire Cup, and the Airdrie District Charity Cup three years in succession.

Next we find our subject located with the Third Lanark Club as centre half-back, for one season, during which that organisation beat Preston North End by 4 goals to 2, and West Bromwich Albion (just after they had won the English Cup) by 3 to none. In this latter game Bob played brilliantly, and scored 2 goals all to his own cheek.

Mr. Hastings, on behalf of Bootle, now cast envious eyes upon him, and, as work was found for him in Liverpool, he donned the jersey of the Bootleites, and during his connection with the club has been an immense success at full back.

Our friend has played in many county matches, and is the proud possessor of 10 gold medals, chiefly won by successes in cup-ties and five-a-side contests. He has never felt so comfortably settled with any club as he does with Bootle, and has never met two more courteous gentlemen than Messrs. McMurray and Andrews, to whom, he thinks, the club own no slight amount of success.
(Liverpool Athletic Times: December 4, 1889)

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