Jacky Robertson
Jacky Robertson
A. Player

probably born in Scotland

John Law Robertson was born on Monday, 1st March, 1869, in Partick, Glasgow.

The midfielder signed for Thistle in August, 1892, having most recently been with Minerva.

Aged 23, he made his first known appearance on Saturday, 6th August, 1892, in a 5-2 friendly win at home to Celtic.

Jacky scored his first goal for Thistle on Saturday, 22nd October, 1892, in a 3-3 draw away to Motherwell in the Scottish Cup, netting a brace on the day.

He scored the last of his 4 known goals on Saturday, 28th April, 1894, in a 3-1 friendly defeat at home to Battlefield.

He played his last known game for the club on Saturday, 20th February, 1897, in a 6-2 win at home to Motherwell in the SFL Second Division, having appeared for the Thistle on at least 52 occasions.

His club-list included Minerva and Partick Thistle.

Jacky died on Sunday, 14th July, 1940, in Hillhead, Glasgow, aged 71.

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Bio Extra

The son of William Robertson (ship joiner) and Annie Robertson (née Law) who were married in July 1865 in Maryhill.

Minerva had risen to become Glasgow's leading junior club, but folded at the end of season 1891/92, homeless and strapped for cash. Their record that season speaks for itself: P36, W28, D6, L2, F154, A39. It was a season in which they won the Glasgow Junior Cup and the Maryhill Charity Cup but, most impressively of all, they won the Scottish Junior Cup, beating Benhar Violet (Harthill) 5-2 at Cathkin Park. Thistle signed eight of them for the new season, namely William Alder, Andrew Stewart, James Mulvey, Robert Currie, Jacky Robertson, John Harvey, Maurice White and Joe Leiper. Between them they made around 330 appearances and scored 50 goals.

Jacky was primarily a half-back who was fully involved for two whole seasons after his arrival in August 1892. This was Thistle's second season in the Scottish Alliance, a body from which Thistle would resign at the end of the campaign to become a founding member of the Scottish Football League Second Division in 1893-94. Thistle were mid-table in both of these seasons, but held their own with some memorable wins on the way, and the popular Jacky was a regular throughout this time.

Jacky played only once the following term - a 4-4 friendly draw vs. Dykehead in October 1894 - and fell away from football altogether on account of work/business consuming his time. However, Thistle fans were pleased to hear that he'd re-surfaced as a player two years later, his attributes as a full-back or half-back being seen as ideal for providing cover and competition for places. Being so long away took its toll though, and Jacky couldn't get back up to speed, making only 4 appearances during 1896-97, a momentous season for the club in which the sixth trophy was won, the first League title being secured. Frustrated at not getting a game for the first team, Jacky wanted away, but was given a run out in a 6-2 League win over Motherwell in February which seemed to keep him satisfied for a while.

With his accumen, Jacky went on to support the club in other ways, in line with so many other Partick Thistle players of the day. He became match secretary for 1898-99. At this time, one of the main issues troubling Scottish football was the increasing wages paid by some clubs – “extravagant money to secure the best players” – and the inability of other clubs to match them. Jacky, as club secretary, agreed that wages were far too high and if reductions were not made then some clubs would go to the wall. Robertson was in favour of a maximum wage although he couldn’t see how it could be enforced – some clubs would always find loopholes and pay whatever sum they chose. All Thistle players worked away from football, and were encouraged to do so.

Thistle, in their second season as a top-flight club, were struggling on and off the park. Press reports suggested that if results didn’t improve the future of the club was in jeopardy. Frustration was being shown, not just by supporters invading the pitch, but also by members towards the match committee. President Mitchell and match secretary Robertson both resigned their posts but that didn’t placate members furious about the poor showings of the team. The Daily Record reported that a crisis meeting would be held with the purpose of taking the committee to task. Ructions were fully expected, and there was a considerable attendance, but the meeting passed without any great unpleasantness. Explanations were demanded and provided with the result that the management secured a vote of confidence by a small majority.

The Sport reported on the outcome of the meeting that could have ripped the club apart:


An official of Partick Thistle expressed his annoyance at the unsympathetic attitude from press and public in general at the trying ordeal his club are passing through. There is always a storm before a calm – after the entente cordiale of the members meeting he has confidence that if members stick with management, and players make effort, all will eventually come right. Financial difficulties prevent securing new players but the present XI should improve before end of season.

There is not a player in Scotland that will not sympathise with the plight of Partick Thistle. This at one time promising club finds itself almost half way through the league season with not a single victory to its credit, not even a solitary draw, burdened with debt and with dissention in the team and membership. There is time yet for both (club & team) to retrieve their reputations and the members have given evidence of a desire to assist by agreeing to subscribe £1. If the money is carefully expended the Thistle should begin to rise again.

The détente between ordinary and committee members didn’t bring immediate success to the team and Thistle, who finished second bottom at the end of 1898-99, were not re-elected come the end of the season. As we've seen time and time again down throughout the decades, Thistle bounced back - don't they always? At the first time of asking, the Second Division title was won in 1899-00 and the club - who actually hesitated to apply for re-election - were re-elected to the First Division.

The club committee kept themselves occupied waiting for the league meeting by playing a match against their Clyde counterparts on 30th April 1900. It was a sad occasion – a benefit match for the widow of Clyde goalkeeper Dick Wilson who died on active service in Pietmaritzburg fighting the Boer War. It was an opportunity for some of the men who had served the club as players to relive their past. Jacky played at right back, whilst George Easton, the legendary managerial figure to be, played at centre forward. The Thistle team was: President Connell; J. Robertson, R. Robertson; D. Gow, J. Waddell, John Gilchrist; J. L. Bennett, James Gilchrist, G. Easton, J. McColl, T. Robertson.

At the club’s AGM (for 1901-02) the following men were elected: William Ward (President), Richie Robertson (Vice-President), George Easton (Treasurer), John Gilchrist (General Secretary), James Gilchrist (Match Secretary, 13 Crow Rd). Committee: R. Little, Andrew M.Smith, John McColl, W. R. Mitchell, John L. Robertson. Jacky was bitten by the bug - he couldn't keep away!

By 1901, Jacky had married Elizabeth Clark Currie and they were living at 85 Byres Road with their two children, 5-year-old William and a 3-month-old daughter (whose name is undecipherable in the census). He was employed as an assistant manager at that time. The 71-year-old Jacky, who had become a journeyman blacksmith by profession, died at the Western Infirmary in the summer of 1940, having suffered from a cancer of the bladder. His first-born son, William, signed the death register entry.


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