Archie Freebairn
Archie Freebairn
Archie Freebairn
• Archie Freebairn, 1904 (GI)

born in Scotland

Archibald Freebairn was born on Monday, 2nd August, 1869, in Whiteinch, Glasgow.

The 5' 7 (12st 0lbs) midfielder joined Thistle in 1889, having most recently been with Westburn.

Aged 19, he made his first known appearance on Saturday, 13th July, 1889, in a 4-1 neutral-venue defeat against Cowlairs in the Sir William Cunningham Cup.

Archie scored his first known goal for Thistle on Saturday, 14th September, 1889, in a 3-2 friendly win at home to Cambuslang.

He scored the last of his 4 known goals on Saturday, 15th March, 1890, in a 3-1 friendly win away to Linthouse.

He played his last known game for the club on Wednesday, 13th June, 1894, in a 5-4 defeat at home to Govan Select in a benefit match, having appeared for the Thistle on at least 58 occasions.

His club-list included Westburn, Partick Thistle and Bolton Wanderers.

Archie died on Monday, 27th August, 1917, in Bolton, Greater Manchester, aged 48.

Archie Freebairn's Summary Totals
appearances position won drew lost goals
League 11 5 0 6 0
Competitive 19 8 1 10 0
All Games 58 30 5 23 4

Bio Extra

The son of Archibald Freebairn (blacksmith) & Mary Freebairn (née Young), who married in 1863 in Renfrew. They had at least seven children including Robert, Mary, Archibald, David, William, Janet & James. Three of the brothers - Archie, David & William - all played for Thistle, and all worked in the shipyards too! Archie would go on to be a Bolton stalwart, spending 14 seasons with the Trotters. He played in the FA Cup final of 1904, Bolton losing by one to nil vs. Manchester City in front of 61,374 at the Crystal Palace.

Standing at 5’ 7” tall and solidly built, he began his football at local club Westburn in Cambuslang as a midfielder. He was signed by Partick Thistle in 1889, making his first appearance on the 13th July in the Cunningham Cup. In 1891, the family were residing in Dumbarton Road, Partick. Archie married Mary Duncan Anderson in July 1891 in Whiteinch, and this co-incided with a 2 season break from Inchview, as they set up home together. The couple had two children - Archibald and Mary - though Archibald died in 1895. After his break, Archie returned in 1893-94 for the club's inaugural campaign in the Scottish Football League Second Division. In all he played in around 60 known games for the club, with 4 goals being reported to his credit.

After making his last appearance for Thistle in a June 1894 charity match, Archie signed for Bolton Wanderers where he'd be utilized mainly as a half-back. A resolute reliable player, he was one of the goal scorers in the 5-0 win against West Bromwich Albion in the last-ever game at Pikes Lane before the move to Burnden Park in 1895. He eventually gained the captaincy in 1899. From 1894 to 1899 he played 135 consecutive league games which is still a club record to this day, though played a lot more with other Cup competitions and organized games. In 1898-99 Bolton were relegated to Division Two, but gained promotion back the following season with Archie playing his part in this. In 1901 he was living in Hebden Street, Bolton with his wife, Mary.

Bolton were relegated again in season 1902-03 back into Division Two and in 1904, still in that Division, they reached the FA Cup final. Although Archie had some injury issues he was still in the side and played his part in the cup campaign, scoring a goal in the Round 1 replay at Reading in a 3-2 win. The final at Crystal Palace on the 23rd April 1904, was played before a crowd 61,374 against Manchester City. A disputed Billy Meredith goal was the decider in a hard fought 1-0 defeat. The club gained promotion again in 1904-05 finishing 2nd behind Liverpool, though Archie now in his thirties was playing in the reserves. He retired at the end of the 1906-07 season.

During his career at Bolton, they won the Manchester Cup 1894-95 and 1905-06 and finished runners-up in 1896-97, 1899-1900. He was a runner-up in the Lancashire Cup in 1898-99. He remained in Bolton and became an Insurance Agent, registered living at 78 Mornington Road, Bolton with his family. His wife Mary died in October 1916, age 47 years. Archie died the following year on the 27th August 1917 at his home, age 48 years. They are both buried in Heaton Cemetery, Bolton, alas with no headstone in place in the 21st century.

(JW/WS)



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