This Day in History – March 12th, 1881


Andrew Watson (top centre) with the Scottish team that played England at Hampden Park on March 11th, 1882.

Andrew Watson was born May 24th, 1856 and was the son of a wealthy Scottish sugar planter Peter Miller Watson, (the son of James Watson, of Crantit, Orkney, Scotland) and a local British Guianese woman named Hannah Rose. He was educated at King’s College School, in Wimbledon, London, where records show he excelled at sports including football. He later studied natural philosophy, mathematics and engineering at the University of Glasgow when he was 19, where his love of football blossomed. He played in the full back position, on either the right or the left flank.

Watson won three international caps for Scotland. His first cap came for Scotland v. England on March 12th, 1881, in which he captained the side; Scotland won 6 – 1. A few days later Scotland played Wales where they won 5 – 1. Watson’s last cap came on Scottish soil against England on 11 March 1882. This was a 5 – 1 victory again to Scotland. Watson moved to London in the summer of 1882, which effectively ended his international career as the SFA only picked players based in Scotland at this time.

Watson  is widely considered to be the world’s first black association footballer to play at international level. He was capped three times for Scotland between 1881 and 1882. Although Arthur Wharton is commonly thought to be Britain’s first black player, Watson’s career predates him by over a decade.

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