Blyth Bob Image 1 Portsmouth 1902

Blyth Bob Image 1 Portsmouth 1902


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Wing half Bob Blyth was born in Glenbuck, Ayrshire and was a team member of the Glenbuck Cherrypickers, playing alongside members of his extended family, also playing for Glenbuck Athletic in 1888. In 1889 he came to England joining Middlesbrough Ironopolis, before returning to Scotland with Cowlairs in 1890. He then joined Glasgow Rangers in 1891, scoring 4 times in 12 appearances before a move to Preston North End in the 1894 close season, for whom he made his Football League debut that September at Wolverhampton Wanderers, and was an ever present for Preston during their 1895-96 and 1896-97 campaigns.

He had five seasons at Deepdale with a brief spell at Dundee during 1897 before returning to Preston North End the same November, scoring 8 times in 124 appearances for The Lambs. He then became player–manager of Portsmouth in 1901, leading them to the 1901-02 Southern League Championship. After retiring from his post as manager in 1904, he later served Portsmouth as a director and chairman. According to the Portsmouth Evening News writing immediately after his death in February 1941, Blyth was “the only man to rise from professional player to be chairman of his club through all the intermediate positions: Captain, player-manager, manager, director, and vice-chairman.”

His brother William Blyth also played for Portsmouth, and his son Robert Blyth played for both Portsmouth and Southampton in the 1920’s. His sister, Barbara, was mother of Bob Shankly and Bill Shankly. In total five of his nephews played football professionally.

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