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When Andrew Watson became the first black international footballer

March 12, 2017

This day in football history

On 12 March 1881, Queen’s Park fullback Andrew Watson became the world’s first black international footballer when he received his first cap for Scotland.

Born in British Guiana as the son of a Scottish sugar planter, Watson (pictured, center) enrolled at the University of Glasgow, where his studies included math and engineering. While there, he developed a love of football.

He first played for Maxwell FC, then Parkgrove FC and, eventually, Queen’s Park (he also served as a club administrator for the latter two). While at Queen’s Park, he earned high accolades, with the 1880–81 Scottish Football Association Annual calling him “one of the very best backs we have; since joining Queen’s Park [he] has made rapid strides to the front as a player; has great speed and tackles splendidly; powerful and sure kick; well worthy of a place in any representative team.”

He got his first call-up to the national team for a friendly against England, captaining Scotland in their 6–1 win. He earned two other caps in his career; both were victories, as well.

After retiring in 1887 after spells with Swifts, Corinthians, and a second stint at Queen’s Park, Watson moved to Australia, remaining there until his death in 1902.



Brian Seal


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