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Bobby Johnstone: The Passing of an Age

John Leigh

Half a century ago, Bobby Johnstone became the first player to score in consecutive F.A. Cup finals at Wembley. Today such an achievement would bring worldwide fame, whilst fortunes are available to rather ordinary footballers. Yet Bobby Johnstone did not earn his fortune.

Born at the end of the 1920’s, at Selkirk, in the Scottish borders, his early life was tough. After the war, Bobby’s began his football career with Selkirk F.C., but the mighty Hibernian soon noticed. Hibs had not won a major trophy for over forty years, but they assembled the all-international forward line of Smith, Johnstone, Reilly, Turnbull and Ormond, known as the “Famous Five”, and their golden age began. He went on to play for Manchester City and Oldham Athletic.
He left a rich sporting legacy; his were the days of the heavy leather football, the heaving terraces, and the true unpredictability of the outcome; wingers like Matthews, terraced club-houses, and the maximum wage.

The book tells Bobby’s footballing story, from time he followed his father as a player for Selkirk, through his fabulous career, and onto retirement. The stories of his progress are illuminated in interviews with those who played alongside Bobby at every stage of his career. The town of Selkirk provides a historical backdrop to the story, as it did to Bobby’s life, and his death in 2001.

These and others contribute to the fascinating story of the type of footballer whose day is seemingly gone – it is the story of the passing of an age.




About the Author

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