Preston, Lancashire born right back Bob Holmes began his football career playing for Preston Olympic in 1883 before joining Preston North End in 1884. He was part of their 1888 FA Cup Final team that lost 2-1 to West Bromwich Albion at The Kennington Oval, and later the same year he played in Preston’s inaugural Football League match, a 5-2 win over Burnley in September 1888, being ever present in their inaugural League season.
He was in their victorious 1889 FA Cup winning side that won the 1889 FA Cup Final beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-0 at The Kennington Oval, which also completed the first League and Cup double that year, the inaugural year of The Football League, when they went unbeaten so earning the title “The Invincibles”. He also won a League Championship medal in 1889-90 and was twice a runner up in 1891 and 1892. His League career for Preston spanned 14 seasons and by the time he played his last game for Preston in December 1902 he had scored twice in 334 League and Cup appearances for Preston from the start of the Football League era, being an ever present for Preston in four of those seasons.
Holmes won 7 caps for England, he was captain in 3 of those matches, making his international debut against Ireland in a 5-1 victory at The Ulster Cricket Ground, Belfast in April 1888, winning his final cap in a 9-0 win over Ireland at the Baseball Ground, Derby in March 1895. He also played 3 times for The Football League.
After retirement from playing, Holmes became a football trainer, initially of Bradford City from May 1904 through 1905, and he was the trainer when Blackburn Rovers won their first League title in 1912, being at the club from January 1909 to November 1913. He was England’s trainer in 1906 and also for their 1908 Continental Tour.
Holmes went on to become known as the “Last of the Invincibles” when he was the only surviving member of the 1889 FA Cup Final team by the time Preston reached the 1954 Final, already aged 85, and he lived another three years.