Andrew McCombie (30 June 1876 – 28 March 1952) was a Scottish international footballer who played at right back for North East England rival clubs Sunderland and Newcastle United. He won the Football League championship with both clubs, and was twice on the losing side in the FA Cup final. He went on to have a long career as a coach with Newcastle.
|Full name||Andrew McCombie|
|Date of birth||30 June 1876|
|Place of birth||Inverness, Scotland|
|Date of death||28 March 1952(aged 75)|
|Playing position||Right back|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
McCombie was born in Inverness and started his career at Inverness Thistle before moving south of the border to join Sunderland in December 1898. He made his first team debut away to Sheffield Wednesday on 18 February 1899, while regular right-back Philip Bach was playing for England at Roker Park, Sunderland. In Bach's absence on international duty, McCombie took over at right-back in a 1–0 victory. Bach was unable to regain his place, making only two further appearances before he was transferred to Middlesbrough.
McCombie was an ever-present in his first full season, with Sunderland finishing third in the League table. The following season McCombie only missed one game as Sunderland finished runners-up, with McCombie and Jimmy Watson teaming up in front of goal-keeper Ned Doig. The three Scottish internationals appeared in a notable total of 109 league and cup games between February 1900 and February 1904 when McCombie was transferred to Newcastle United.
His first international appearance for Scotland came in a 1–0 victory over Wales on 9 March 1903. In the next match, against England on 4 April, McCombie was teamed in defence with his Sunderland colleagues, Doig and Watson, resulting in a Scottish victory by 2 goals to 1.
In 1903, Sunderland were rocked by a financial scandal involving McCombie. Sunderland's board of Directors gave the player £100 to start up in business, with the view that his benefit game would see him repay the money. McCombie however saw the money as a gift and refused to pay back the club. The Football Association launched an inquiry and agreed with McCombie, stating that it was a "resigning/win/draw bonus" and furthermore the books of Sunderland showed financial irregularities, and so violating the rules of the game. Sunderland were fined £250, with six directors being suspended for two and a half years, and manager Alex Mackie receiving a suspension.
Shortly afterwards, McCombie was transferred to arch-rivals Newcastle United signing for them in February 1904. His final appearance for Sunderland was in a 6–0 victory over Bury on 23 January 1904. In his 5 years with Sunderland, he made a total of 164 appearances in all competitions, scoring six goals. His last goal came against his future employers, a penalty in a 1–1 draw at Roker Park on 1 January 1904.
He is reported to have joined Newcastle United for a fee of £700. If correct this would have been a world record transfer fee, exceeding the fee of £520 paid by Sunderland in June 1904 for Alf Common. He was to remain on the payroll at Newcastle until shortly before his death.
He made his Newcastle debut in a 4–1 victory over Notts County on 13 February 1904. In his first match back at Roker Park for his new employers on 24 December 1904 he scored a first-minute own goal as Sunderland ran out 3–1 victors. In his first full season at St James' Park he missed only three games as Newcastle claimed the Football League title for the first time by a single point margin over Everton. He capped this with two further appearances for Scotland with a 3–1 victory over Wales on 6 March 1905 and a 1–0 defeat by England on 1 April. In the last match, played at Crystal Palace, he was joined by Newcastle colleagues Andy Aitken, Peter McWilliam and James Howie.
A fortnight after his final Scotland appearance, he was part of the Newcastle United team which was beaten at the Crystal Palace ground 2–0 in the cup final by Aston Villa. He was to return to Crystal Palace for the 1906 FA Cup Final, when he was again on the losing side as Newcastle went down 1–0 to Everton.
Newcastle claimed the title for a second time in 1907 with McCombie making 26 appearances. In Newcastle's third championship season, 1908–09, McCombie only made one appearance. He remained as a player at St James' Park until 1910, with his final game being a 4–0 defeat at Aston Villa on 27 April 1910.
In his six years at Newcastle, he made a total of 132 first team appearances, never scoring.
After retiring, he remained on Newcastle United's coaching staff, rising to become the first team trainer by the time he retired in 1950 and died two years later in 1952.
- (Smith 2013, p. 175)
- "Sheffield Wednesday 0 Sunderland 1, 18 February 1899". thestatcat.co.uk. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
- Article on Ned Doig
- England 1 Scotland 2, 4 April 1903 (Match summary) Archived 3 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- Sunderland 6 Bury 0, 23 January 1904 (Match summary) Archived 23 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Sunderland 1 Bury 1, 1 January 1904 (Match summary) Archived 16 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Newcastle United 4 Notts Conty 1, 13 February 1904 (Match summary)[permanent dead link]
- Sunderland 3 Newcastle United 1, 24 December 1904 (Match summary) Archived 17 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Aston Villa 4 Newcastle United 0, 27 April 1910 (Match summary)[permanent dead link]