John Tait Robertson

John Tait Robertson (25 February 1877 – 24 January 1935)[2] was a Scottish football player and manager who played as a central defender. He won 16 caps for his country, scoring three goals.

John Robertson
Personal information
Full name John Tait Robertson[1]
Date of birth (1877-02-25)25 February 1877
Place of birth Dumbarton, Scotland
Date of death 24 January 1935(1935-01-24) (aged 57)
Place of death Milton, Scotland
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)[2]
Position(s) Half-back
Youth career
Sinclair Swifts
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1894–1896 Morton 33 (0)
1896–1898 Everton 26 (1)
1898–1899 Southampton 19 (0)
1899–1905 Rangers 101 (16)
1905–1906 Chelsea 36 (7)
1907–1909 Glossop 45 (10)
National team
1898–1905 Scotland 16 (3)
1900–1905[3] Scottish League XI 6 (1)
Teams managed
1905–1906 Chelsea
1907–1909 Glossop
1911–1913 MTK Budapest
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Having started his career at Morton, Robertson moved to Everton of the English Football League in 1895, and then Southampton in 1898, with whom he won the Southern Football League in his only season. He then returned to his homeland with Rangers, where he won three consecutive league titles in his first three seasons. Robertson was the first player signed to Chelsea in 1905, and served as their player-manager in their first-ever season, in addition to scoring their first competitive goal. He finished his career in the same role at Glossop North End.

Playing careerEdit


Robertson began his career at Morton,[4] and moved to Everton in 1896. He spent a single season at Southampton in 1898–99, winning the Southern League. Following that, he returned to Scotland and won three consecutive Scottish Football League championships at Rangers in his first three seasons, plus a Scottish Cup in the fourth; his last of 178 appearances for the club in all competitions was a play-off for the 1904–05 Scottish Division One title, lost to Celtic.[5]

In April 1905, Robertson was the first player to be signed by the newly-formed Chelsea Football Club for the role of manager, but continued to play as well (he was 28 years old at the time).[6] It was Robertson who scored Chelsea's first competitive goal, in a 1–0 win at Blackpool on 9 September 1905.[7] In his first season, he led the club to a third-place finish in the Second Division, one place off promotion.[8] Robertson then surprisingly resigned from the club (third in the table at the time) on 27 November 1906. Chelsea were promoted to the top flight at the end of that season under caretaker secretary-manager William Lewis. Soon afterwards Robertson became player-manager of Glossop, where he remained until summer 1909, when he became reserve-team manager at Manchester United.


Robertson made his debut for Scotland on 2 April 1898 while at Everton, in a 3–1 home defeat to England in the Home Nations Championship. His second cap came on 8 April of the following year, while at Southampton. All of his 14 remaining caps came during his spell at Rangers.

He captained the Scots in his fourth match, as they beat England 4–1 at home on 7 April 1900. His first goal came in his sixth match, on 2 March 1901, in a 1–1 draw with Wales, again as captain. Robertson was Scotland's captain in five matches, and scored two more goals, both against Wales. The last was in his last international on 6 March 1905, in a 3–1 away defeat in Wrexham.[9]


He died at the Royal Cancer Hospital, Milton in January 1935.




See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Brown, Alan; Tossani, Gabriele (17 October 2019). "Scotland - International Matches 1901-1910". RSSSF. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  2. ^ a b Chalk, Gary; Holley, Duncan; Bull, David (2013). All the Saints: A Complete Players' Who's Who of Southampton FC. Southampton: Hagiology Publishing. p. 107. ISBN 978-0-9926-8640-6.
  3. ^ "[SFL player] John Tait Robertson". London Hearts Supporters' Club. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  4. ^ John Litster (October 2012). "A Record of pre-war Scottish League Players". Scottish Football Historian magazine. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ a b (Rangers player) Robertson, Jacky, FitbaStats
  6. ^ The Chelsea Club 1905-06, Penny Illustrated Paper, 9 September 1905, via Play Up Liverpool
  7. ^ "Blackpool v Chelsea, 09 September 1905 - 11v11 match report". Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  8. ^ "Football League Division 2 table 1905/06". Footballsite. 18 November 1905. Archived from the original on 17 September 2017. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  9. ^ "John Robertson - national football team player". Retrieved 27 September 2016.

External linksEdit