Andrew Watson: The First Black Footballer to Play Internationally

0 Posted by - March 26, 2021 - BLACK MEN, SPORTS

Andrew Watson was a pioneer in association football being best known as the first Black player to compete internationally.


Early Years

Born May 24, 1856, he was the son of Peter Miller Watson, a Scottish sugar planter of means and Hannah Rose, a woman from what is now Guyana. He and his sister Annetta arrived in England with their father and at the age of 13, he inherited some wealth when his father passed.

In 1871, he would attend King’s College School where he pursued soccer and the high jump. While his record here wasn’t documented it was said that he was a standout athlete. At the University of Glasgow, he studied natural philosophy, engineering, and mathematics. It was at the University of Glasgow where he truly pursued football and played as a fullback. During his college years, he played for both Parkgrove and Maxwell.


Soccer Career

He wouldn’t be in college long as he left a year later to enter the warehouse business with two others. His business life weaved with his time in football as he would play for Glasgow in a match against Sheffield and was to tour with the club later in 1880 after that victory. The tour never materialized as the Scottish Football Association’s secretary passed.

While playing for Glasgow he signed with the country’s biggest club Queen’s Park where he became the club secretary in the fall of 1881. It would be the second time he accepted the role, the first being with Parkgrove. He remained with “The Spiders” for two years and assisted the team in winning two Scottish Cups.

As 1882 rolled around, Andrew Watson would head to London and join the Swifts Football Team. Two years later he would play for the Corinthian Football Club. As a member of both teams he would play in the English Cup, holding the distinction as the first Black player to do so.

During this time, he would play for Scotland in matches against England and Wales where he led them to victory on three accounts. It would be 120 years later that Scotland’s national team had a Black player with Nigel Quashie.

He wrapped up his time as an amateur player with Bootle Football Club where he would play from 1887 to 1892. Watson would return to his business affairs in London before passing in 1921 as a result of pneumonia. He left four children and a second wife.


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