Open main menu

Christopher Robin Anthony Napier (26 September 1943 – 31 March 2019) was a Scottish professional footballer who scored 119 goals from 379 appearances in the Football League playing as a forward for Blackpool, Preston North End, Workington, Newcastle United, Brighton & Hove Albion and Blackburn Rovers.[4]

Kit Napier
Personal information
Full name Christopher Robin Anthony Napier[1]
Date of birth (1943-09-26)26 September 1943[1]
Place of birth Dunblane, Scotland
Date of death 31 March 2019(2019-03-31) (aged 75)[2]
Place of death Durban, South Africa
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)[3]
Playing position Forward
Youth career
Blackpool
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1960–1963 Blackpool 2 (0)
1963–1964 Preston North End 1 (0)
1964–1965 Workington 58 (25)
1965–1966 Newcastle United 8 (0)
1966–1972 Brighton & Hove Albion 256 (84)
1972–1974 Blackburn Rovers 54 (10)
Durban United
Total 379 (119)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

CareerEdit

Napier was born in Dunblane and raised in West Linton, which was then in Peeblesshire. He was a nephew of Celtic player Tommy McInally. He played youth football with Linton Hotspur before joining Blackpool's ground staff straight from school and turning professional in 1960.[2] He played twice in the Football League before joining their arch-rivals, Preston North End, for the 1963–64 season. After a single appearance in the Second Division, and still only 20 years old, he moved on to his third club, Workington, newly promoted to the Third Division. He scored twice as Workington eliminated First Division Blackburn Rovers from the 1964–65 League Cup by five goals to one,[5] and scored the equaliser as his club earned a deserved replay against eventual winners Chelsea in the quarter-final.[6][7]

Such results, added to 25 goals from 58 League matches, attracted attention. In November 1965, First Division club Newcastle United paid £18,000 for Napier's services,[3] but at the end of the season, having struggled to adapt to the higher level,[8] he returned to Division Three with Brighton & Hove Albion, for an £8,500 fee.[3] At Brighton he finally found some stability; of the six seasons he spent with the club, he was their top scorer in all but 1969–70,[9] and helped them to runners-up spot in 1972. Though his club were promoted, Napier spent two further seasons in Division Three, with Blackburn Rovers. He then moved to South Africa, where he played for Durban United and then made a career in the motor trade.[3]

He died in Durban, South Africa, at the age of 75.[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Kit Napier". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Obituary: Christopher Napier, footballer who was always in demand in the lower leagues". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. 5 April 2019. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d Carder, Tim & Harris, Roger (1997). Albion A–Z: A Who's Who of Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. Hove: Goldstone Books. p. 181. ISBN 0-9521337-1-7.
  4. ^ "Kit Napier". UK A–Z Transfers. Neil Brown. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
  5. ^ "1960's – League Cup 50th Vote". The Football League. Archived from the original on 22 January 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
  6. ^ "News Archive 2007". Workington A.F.C. 25 November 2007. Archived from the original on 23 August 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
  7. ^ "Workington Earn Replay". The Times. 26 November 1964. p. 4. ... soon after the restart Napier equalized after good work by Martin and Moran. Then Workington really set the pace, and at times three Chelsea forwards were defending in the penalty area.
  8. ^ "Player Profile: Christopher 'Kit' Napier". Toon1892. Ken Scott. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
  9. ^ Carder & Harris, Albion A–Z, p. 338.