Suter Fergus Image 1 Blackburn Rovers 1884

Suter Fergus Image 1 Blackburn Rovers 1884


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Arguably the first recognised professional footballer, Blythswood, Glasgow born goalkeeper Fergus Suter began his football career with Partick Thistle in 1876 and also played for Glasgow Rangers in 1877.

His first moves below the border into English football were with Partick, and on 1st January 1878 he played for them against Darwen at Barley Bank, and against Blackburn Rovers at Alexandra Meadows the following day. He then played for Turton later in the year, and towards the end of that year he began to play for the Lancashire club Darwen, following shortly after the arrival of fellow Partick player James Love.

Although the game was officially amateur at the time, Suter’s move to England to play for Darwen in 1878 was shortly followed by him giving up his job as a stonemason, allegedly claiming that English stone was too difficult to work, and fuelling criticism that he was being paid to play. During the summer of 1880 he caused still more controversy by moving to Blackburn Rovers, a local rival of Darwen. The move again stirred up accusations of professionalism amid claims that Blackburn had offered him improved terms. Suter’s move inflamed an already testy local rivalry, and bitter games and crowd trouble dogged future Darwen/Blackburn matches for years. He appeared in four FA Cup Finals, and after Blackburn were runners-up to Old Etonians in 1882, he collected three winner’s medals in 1884, 1885 and 1886, twice beating Queen’s Park and in 1886 beating West Bromwich Albion in a replay at The Racecourse Ground, Derby.

His career was all but over by the time the Football League formed in 1888 but he made one appearance for Blackburn Rovers in that competition, on 22nd December 1888 at West Bromwich Albion as a replacement for goalkeeper Herbie Arthur.

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