Kenny Campbell
Kenny Campbell
Kenny Campbell
● Kenny Campbell (LFH)

born in Scotland

Kenneth Campbell was born on Tuesday, 6th September, 1892, in Govanhill, Glasgow.

The 5' 11 (11st 10lbs) goalkeeper signed for George Easton's Thistle (following a one-off guest appearance in the previous season) on Thursday, 8th April, 1920, having most recently been with Liverpool.

Aged 26, he made his debut appearance on Saturday, 22nd February, 1919, in a 2-1 defeat away to Celtic in the Scottish Football League.

Kenny kept his first clean-sheet on Wednesday, 14th April, 1920, in a 1-0 win at home to Hibernian in the Scottish Football League.

He registered the last of his 37 clean-sheets on Wednesday, 15th March, 1922, in a 2-0 win at home to Hibernian in the SFL First Division.

He played his last game for the club on Tuesday, 2nd May, 1922, in a 3-3 defeat (on corners aet) at home to Celtic in the Glasgow Charity Cup, having clocked up 100 appearances as a Jag.

His club-list included Rutherglen Glencairn, Cambuslang Rangers, Liverpool, Southport Central, Partick Thistle, Kilmarnock, New Brighton, Stoke and Leicester City.

Kenny died on Thursday, 28th April, 1977, in Wilmslow, Cheshire, aged 84.

Bio Extra

From his earliest boyhood memories, Kenny couldn't remember a time when he wasn't throwing himself around and, for him, playing in between the sticks (or the jumpers) was an enjoyable preference. A lifetime's dedication to his goalkeeping art paid dividends at every stage, and his reputation soared at Cambuslang Rangers, culminating in the 18-year-old starring for Scotland Juniors in a 2-1 victory over the auld enemy in the early summer of 1911. The scene of this early career highlight? Firhill! Thistle were keen on securing his signature at this time, but the competition was simply too much, even for the persuasive George Easton. It was the mighty Liverpool, champions of England in 1901 and 1906, who emerged as the most attractive option for the teenager, mindful that he already had family in the city, and that he could easily settle there. At Anfield, he would come to be idolised by many, and his performances were often singled out as being one of the main reasons for preserving the club's top-flight status. Kenny earned an FA Cup runners-up medal in 1914, being thwarted for the gold badge by Burnley. By all accounts, their victory was against the run of play, and the single winning goal was unstoppable.

Kenny's career at Liverpool was greatly hampered by his war service, although this later provided an unexpected opportunity for Partick Thistle and a future-path was set. In February, 1919, goalie Alex Stewart was representing the Scottish League, and we were on the look-out for a suitable stand-in for a League trip to Celtic Park. Reading the situation, one of Kenny's friends suggested to Thistle that they should send a wire to Kenny, who was, at that time, looking for an excuse to pay a visit back to Glasgow. On the pretence of a family illness, Kenny arranged for his leave, and, sure enough, guested for the Jags in a 2-1 loss at Parkhead. With his name in the papers, he was taking a chance, but got away with it. His discharge papers finally came through in the summer of 1919, and he was able to resume his career with Liverpool, where he was now in competition with Irish internationalist Elisha Scott for the #1 jersey. In his first season back he was rewarded for his reliable form, and gained the clean-sweep of home international caps, captaining the country against England. In that April 1920 match at Hillsborough, a draw would have given Scotland the championship, but a 4-2 half-time lead was squandered in a nine goal thriller and it wasn't to be. Just days before the game, Thistle had beaten Rangers in securing the services of Scotland's new number one. It was a real statement of intent, a club-record fee of £1,750 having been paid, and Kenny Campbell was now a bona-fide Jag!

Kenny would have two full seasons at Firhill, and had a huge influence on the club's history in that short time. Until his arrival, we'd never reached the last four of the Scottish Cup, but did so in two consecutive campaigns with him as custodian. In both of those classic seasons, Thistle were in touching distance of a third placed finish in the League. With 37 clean-sheets in 100 appearances, Kenny's oustanding record was way ahead of the club's average of about 23%. 23 competitive clean-sheets in 1920-21 was a club-record at the time (equalled in 1991-92) and, personally, Kenny's tally of 14 clean-sheets stands today as the top-flight record for any Thistle 'keeper. Thistle's total of 8 clean-sheets in the Scottish Cup of 1920-21 is likely to stand forever as a record for any Scottish club, as will Kenny's personal tally of 7 in that mean run. Kenny played the lead role in the club's all-time record run of seven consecutive clean-sheets in 1920-21, and his personal run of 5-in-a-row stood alone as the 'keepers record until it was equalled by Scott Fox, more than 90 years later.

Unfortunately, Kenny was never quite settled back in Scotland (his family remained in Liverpool all the while), and he hankered after another money move down south. To do so, he had to step back to the non-League, moving to New Brighton of the Lancashire Combination, thereby circumnavigating, in the first instance, the Thistle directors, who held his senior registration papers and were reluctant to let him go. Kenny would soon open a sports outfitter store in nearby Wallasey, which was to become his home base for the rest of his life. Putting financial motives aside, Kenny readily acknowledged that Partick Thistle afforded him the greatest honour of his career:

On account of his service during WWI, Kenny is included in our feature piece, The Partick Thistle returned →.


© The Thistle Archive 2015-2024. All rights reserved. Third-party trademarks and content are the property of their respective owners, and subject to their own copyright terms and conditions. See the website links provided in each case.