Johnstone, Renfrewshire born inside forward Bob Buchanan joined hometown professional club Johnstone in 1889, moving to Abercorn in 1890. Whilst on the books of Abercorn, he made his solitary international appearance for Scotland scoring in a 4-3 victory over Wales at The Racecourse Ground, Wrexham on 21st March 1891 before coming to England later in 1891 to join Sunderland Albion. In the 1892 close season he joined First Division Burnley making his Football League debut against Newton Heath (now Manchester United) in September, and spending two seasons at Turf Moor, scoring 12 goals in 42 appearances.
He then joined Woolwich Arsenal in September 1894 and was a hit on his debut, proving the perfect foil for Paddy O’Brien, Peter Mortimer and Harry Boyd. Although the trio took the majority of the goalscoring plaudits, Buchanan did score 16 times in 44 appearances for The Gunners. Buchanan then joined Southern League Southampton St. Mary’s in search of regular first-team football in summer 1896.
The Southampton public took to him immediately and his “never-give-up” attitude earned him the nickname “Death or Glory Bob”. In his first season with The Saints he was ever present, scoring eleven League goals as Southampton took the Southern League Championship for the first time. He scored a hat-trick in his second appearance, a 6-1 victory over Sheppey United on 26th September 1896. He also helped Southampton reach the Second Round of the FA Cup for the first time, where they went out to Newton Heath (now Manchester United) after a replay.
The following season, he was the club’s top scorer with ten League and six FA Cup goals as The Saints again took the Southern League Championship. Southampton also had a superb run in the FA Cup reaching the semi final where they went out in a replay 2-0 to eventual winners Nottingham Forest losing 2-0 at The Crystal Palace in March 1898. In the Cup run he scored “unlikely goals” against Leicester Fosse and Newcastle United. Although he remained with Southampton for the 1898-98 season, he only played twice. After 57 appearances for The Saints having scored 33 goals, he moved back to south east London to join Southern League Sheppey United in 1899, where he finished his career.
NB this incredible and remarkable early action photograph shows Buchanan in the net in the act of scoring the only goal of the match for Southampton in their FA Cup Second Round tie against Newcastle United at The County Ground, Southampton on 12th February 1898.