Dumbarton born centre forward Bobby Turnbull was a goalscorer of note for Arsenal and Chelsea, notching 28 goals in 66 matches for the Gunners between 1921 and 1924 after signing for them from Army football when he served with The Royal Engineers. Initially playing at left back, he made his Football League debut at Cardiff City in December 1921, but had quickly been moved to centre forward by November 1922, and he scored 20 goals for Arsenal in 1922-23 when he was by far the club’s leading goalscorer. This included two four goal hauls inside a week against Bolton Wanderers on Boxing Day and at Blackburn Rovers on New Year’s Day, as well as a hat-trick against Middlesbrough in March 1923, but after losing his place in January 1924 he left Arsenal in November 1924 for a very brief spell at Charlton Athletic, having scored 28 goals in 66 games for The Gunners.
He spent only three months at The Valley, scoring 4 goals in 9 games for The Addicks before Chelsea signed him in February 1925, where he scored another 58 goals in 87 games over three seasons at Chelsea, including 29 goals and 2 hat-tricks against Barnsley and Stockport County in 1925-26, when he was by far Chelsea’s leading goalscorer, and 23 goals in 1926-27 when he again topped the goalscoring list, before joining Second Division Clapton Orient in February 1928. He had a further year and a half in East London, scoring a hat-trick when he got all 3 goals in a 3-0 win over Middlesbrough in November 1928, and he was the club’s top goalscorer with 13 goals as they suffered relegation in 1928-29.
After 18 goals in 43 games for The O’s, he joined Southend United in November 1929, where he scored only once in 4 games before being released in 1930. He then joined non league Chatham but later returned to League football with Crystal Palace, when he played twice for the first eleven in December 1932 and January 1933. After retiring, he stayed on with Palace as a trainer, until his death in 1946 aged 52.
NB in the photograph Turnbull (in the dark shirt) shoots past a blocking Manchester City defender, watched by City’s Mickey Hamill, almost certainly in the match at Highbury on 20th January 1923. Turnbull scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory.