Hope Robertson

Hope Robertson
Hope Robertson
● Hope Robertson, 1890 (TOF)

born in Scotland

Hope Ramsay Robertson was born on Friday, 17th January, 1868, in Govan, Glasgow.

The 12st 0lbs defender joined Thistle in 1889, having most recently been with Morton.

Aged 21, he made his first known appearance on Saturday, 10th August, 1889, in a 3-3 friendly draw away to Kilbirnie.

Hope scored his first known goal for Thistle on Saturday, 4th October, 1890, in a 2-2 friendly draw at home to Hibernian.

He scored the last of his 3 known goals on Saturday, 23rd September, 1893, in a 2-0 friendly win at home to Northern.

He played his last known game for the club on Saturday, 19th May, 1894, in a 3-0 friendly defeat at home to Dumbarton, having appeared for the Thistle on at least 39 occasions.

His club-list included Minerva, Westburn, Morton, Partick Thistle, Woolwich Arsenal, Everton, Bootle, Airdrieonians, Walsall Town Swifts and Liverpool Police Athletic.

Hope died on Saturday, 27th September, 1947, in Goole, Yorkshire, aged 79.

Bio Extra

It’s commonly reported that he started out with Minerva (a junior team from Partick) and, whilst we have no contemporary supporting evidence, we see no reason to doubt this. His first known ‘senior’ club appears to be Morton in season 1888-89, and this is backed up by respected historian, John Litster. A quick check of their Scottish Cup line ups of 1 Sep 1888 (a 7-3 win at Port Glasgow) and 22 Sep 1888 (a 1-4 defeat at home to Abercorn) backs that up.

The Middlesbrough Daily Gazette in late October 1890 suggests that he was tempted away from Morton by an English club as yet unspecified, but it's likely to have been in season 1888-89. What we do know for certain is that he was in Scotland for the start of season 1889-90, and we’re fairly confident in saying that he made his first known Thistle appearance on 10th August 1889 as a 21-year-old in a 3-3 thriller at Milton Park, the home of Kilbirnie.

He was then lured away to play for Woolwich Arsenal in September, 1889, endearing himself to the Londoners by scoring twice in their first-ever FA Cup game. He did well at Arsenal, appearing around 30 times in all games and averaging almost a goal-per-game. Hope then returned to Glasgow again at some point, and was once again in place at Inchview for the start of 1890-91, seeking to make the centre-forward position his own. At the start of October, he scored his first known goal for the club in a 2-2 friendly draw at home to Hibernian. However, after just 6 games, he was approached in person by Everton’s club-captain, Andrew Hannah, who was on a covert mission to find new recruits. Hope found the attraction of English football (£50 down and £3 10s a week) too much to resist and, for the third time, headed for England’s green and pleasant land.

The ambitious Everton were one of the biggest spenders in the League and Hope was by no means guaranteed a first-team place, although he would later play in the first match at Goodison Park (2 September 1892). The Everton centre forward was English internationalist Fred Geary, alongside Edgar Chadwick and Alfred Millard, fellow England internationalists. Also playing for Everton at that time was Dan Doyle the Scottish Internationalist, who would later join Celtic FC. High company. Hope did appear more than 30 times for the first team, but the majority of his appearances were made with the (very successful) Everton Reserve side. Everton Reserves joined The Combination in 1891, where they began a remarkable period of domination, sweeping all aside with three successive championships.

After some considerable time with Everton and Bootle, Hope rejoined Thistle for a third spell in 1893-94, marking his return brilliantly with a goal in our very first game in the Scottish Football League – a 3-2 win at Cappielow on 19th August 1893. There are a couple of reports that he joined Airdrie later in this season, but we rather feel this may have only been for a guest/trial appearance at Dundonians on 10 March 1894. By season’s end, our man was off on his southwardly travels yet again, joining Walsall Town Swifts for the start of season 1894-95, making his debut in the opening game of the season against Burslam Port Vale in Division 2.

His long and winding footballing road seems to have ended with Liverpool Police Athletic, for whom he signed in April, 1895. Hope and his wife, Elizabeth, had their first child, Hope Junior, in Liverpool in 1905. Historian Tony Onslow tells that the family later moved to the Humberside town of Goole, where Hope found work as a plater in a local shipyard. The year of death seems to be causing some confusion, with reports conflicted between 1927 or 1947; the latter is correct per the Church of Latter Day Saints database, and great grandson Anthony Whiteley (for Wikipedia) confirmed the death date as 1947, adding that the aforementioned Hope Robertson Jr. passed away in 1989.


Historian's note: We speculate that Robertson [ii] and the here-profiled Hope Robertson may be one and the same. If that were to be the case, Hope's debut would have been as a trialist 18 months earlier than currently thought.


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