Watty Keay
Watty Keay
Watty Keay
● Watty Keay, c1896 (WIK)

born in Scotland

Walter Keay was born on Monday, 16th January, 1871, in Whiteinch, Glasgow.

The forward joined Thistle in 1890, having most recently been with Whiteinch.

Aged 19, he made his first known appearance on Saturday, 29th November, 1890, in a 6-3 friendly defeat away to Mossend Swifts.

That day, Watty became a member of our scoring debutant's club, and even added a second for good measure.

He scored the last of his 18 known goals on Saturday, 30th January, 1892, in a 3-1 defeat away to Morton in the Scottish Alliance League.

He played his last known game for the club on Saturday, 6th February, 1892, in a 5-3 defeat at home to Linthouse in the Scottish Alliance League, having appeared for the Thistle on at least 41 occasions.

His club-list included Whitefield, Whiteinch, Partick Thistle, Darlington, Derby County and Southampton St Mary's.

Watty died on Saturday, 16th January, 1943, in Winchester, Hampshire, aged 72.

Bio Extra

Forward Watty started his football career with Whitefield, and then Whiteinch. He joined Thistle in 1890, scoring in his first known appearance against Mossend Swifts in a friendly, and ended the match scoring a brace of goals. The Jags though, lost by 6 goals to 3. The 1890-91 season was a season of friendlies, interspersed with cup competition ties. The friendlies included matches against The Wednesday (a forerunner of Sheffield Wednesday), Linfield and Aston Villa. Watty scored 11 goals for the season. 1891-92 saw the club take part in the Alliance League as founder members. In that season Watty played on 14 occasions, scoring 5 goals. Top scorer for the season was Willie Paul on 8 goals, in a difficult league baptism, the Jags finishing 9th in a league of 12. In total Watty pulled on a Thistle jersey on at least 41 occasions.

The player moved on to Darlington, before joining Derby County in July 1893. He played for the Rams for 2 seasons, and the club were very successful in finishing 3rd in the English First Division after he joined. In early 1885 the then Southampton St Mary’s secretary/manager, on a scouting trip to the Midlands, took back 6 players, including Watty. Southampton St Mary’s won the Southern League in seasons 1896-97 and 1897-98, with Watty in the side. Saintsplayers.co.uk explain how Watty didn’t play so frequently thereafter, but won his place in the club’s history by scoring the first Saints goal at the club’s new stadium, The Dell, on 3rd September 1898.

He retired from playing football to run the Bell and Crown pub in Melbourne Street Southampton from 1904-1915. He then worked as a shipwright in Camper and Nicholsons’ yard at Southampton’s Shamrock Quay. The company originated in Gosport designing and constructing yachts for more than 200 years. He coached the Southampton reserve side, and in the 1930’s he was a club scout. Watty died in nearby Winchester in January 1943, aged 72.


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