Bobby Black: Footballer considered unlucky not to be capped by Scotland

 

Bobby Black was a master craftsman who looked after his tools. The goal-scoring winger stuck to the same pair of football boots throughout his entire professional career, opting for repair over replacement whenever the trusty leather showed signs of wear and tear.

It was a policy which paid off for both his clubs, East Fife and Queen of the South. The Fifers enjoyed the most successful period in their history when the tenacious attacker was patrolling their right flank in the first six seasons after the war, then he sparkled for the Doonhamers for nearly a decade from the early 1950s. Black could be considered unfortunate never to win a full cap, particularly after he scored twice for the Scottish League in their 3-1 victory over the League of Ireland in Dublin in 1954.

The teenage Black made a few appearances for Queen of the South, his local Scottish League club, in unofficial wartime competition, and it seemed likely that he would forge a professional future at Palmerston Park. But in 1945 he signed for East Fife, then a force to be reckoned with in Scotland's second tier.

In the spring of 1948, manager Scot Symon, who would go on to untold glories ay Rangers, called Black into an enterprising side which had just won both their divisional championship and the League Cup, and the rookie impressed in the season's last two games. He became a regular for the Methil men as their golden era gathered pace. Black was a key contributor as East Fife finished fourth in the top flight in 1948-49. That was a mammoth achievement for the unfashionable Fifers, but they exceeded it in 1949-50 retaining their top-four berth and winning the League Cup for the second time, beating Rangers 2-0 in the semi-final, then Dunfermline Athletic 3-0 in the final, both at Hampden Park.

Black was was approaching his prime, a gifted ball-player whose twinkling skills were spiced by a feisty edge in the tackle, a shrewd positional sense which brought him plenty of goals and boundless energy. Thus the leg injury which sabotaged his season in 1951-52 was a blow to East Fife, whose third place might have been even better but for his lengthy absence.

The following summer the ebullient 25-year-old returned to his roots with Queen of the South and went on to forge productive links with inside-forwards Jimmy McGill and Wattie Rothera, and centre-forward Jim Patterson. Highlights for Black were his call-up for the Scottish League and a barnstorming effort in 1955-56, when he scored 14 times as the Doonhamers came sixth in the top division.

His 120 goals in 346 games making him the second most prolific marksman in the club's history. Later, he played non-League football for Bath City and Bridgwater Town, while earning his living as an accountant and analyst for a footwear company. He also excelled at bowls, playing for Somerset alongside the many-times world champion David Bryant, helping to lift national titles on several occasions.

Both Black's sons played for a living, Bobby for Queen of the South and Russell for Sheffield United, Dundee and Halifax Town. Next came grandsons Toby and Jamie Paterson, who both turned professional, and then two great-grandsons; Brodie Paterson has been capped for Australia's youth team while Denny Johnstone is on the verge of breaking through at Celtic.

Robert Black, footballer: born Thornhill 1927; played for East Fife 1946-52, Queen of the South 1952-61; married (two sons); died Bristol 4 June 2012

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - SQL Server, T-SQL

£28000 - £32000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Data Analyst (SQL Server, T-SQL, data)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst...

Day In a Page

Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

How Etsy became a crafty little earner

The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

Don't fear the artichoke

Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
11 best men's socks

11 best men's socks

Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

Paul Scholes column

Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

Frank Warren's Ringside

Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

Khorasan is back in Syria

America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

On the campaign trail with Ukip

Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

Expect a rush on men's tights

Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions
Peter Kay's Car Share: BBC show is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade

In the driving seat: Peter Kay

Car Share is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade. The programme's co-creator Paul Coleman reveals the challenges of getting the show on the road