Bob McGlashan by Fraser Clyne
Few people can claim to have enjoyed as long and active an association with Arbroath Football Club as Bob McGlashan. The locally born man joined the club as a player in 1895 and subsequently filled the role of secretary and manager for a continuous period up to his retirement in 1946. McGlashan, who was considered to be a sincere and honest man devoted to looking after the interests of his club, continued to attend Gayfield until shortly before his death at the age of 74 in 1949.
In his playing days, between 1895 and 1903, McGlashan established a fine reputation as an accomplished half back and featured in many successful Red Lichties line-ups. He was in the side that reached the semi-final of the first ever Scottish Qualifying Cup, losing out to eventual winners Annbank in a replay at the Ayrshire club’s infamous Pebble Park. Contemporary reports of the match refer to “the wild sort of spectators – men and women alike” who made life somewhat tricky for the visiting Lichties.
McGlashan’s clubmates at this time included goalkeeper George McWattie and half-back Albert Buick, both of whom went on to play for Scotland not long after leaving Gayfield. The Arbroath side of that era was highly regarded throughout the country and many players progressed to achieve top honours.
Bob stayed with Arbroath, however, and was a member of the Maroons team that lost the 1899 Qualifying Cup Final by 5-2 to Galston at Hampden Park.
He eventually struck gold in this competition when he was in charge of the Arbroath side that won the national tournament for the one and only time, in 1903, when Albion Rovers were beaten 4-2 in front of 7000 spectators in the final at Dens Park. Neave and Willocks scored two apiece for the victorious Gayfielders.
McGlashan also enjoyed success at county level as a player, winning the Forfarshire Cup four times from six final appearances in a seven year period. In these days the Forfarshire Cup was seen as the premier competition in which Arbroath played, with games often attracting far bigger crowds than Scottish Cup matches. McGlashan also represented Forfarshire five times in Inter-County competitions.
He took over as match secretary in 1903 and held that post until 1927 when he was appointed secretary-manager. McGlashan also held posts as President of the Northern and Central Leagues and represented the Second Division on the Scottish League Management Committee.
He led Arbroath into the Scottish League in 1921 and guided the club to promotion to the old First Division for the first time in season 1934-35. The Lichties stayed there until the outbreak of World War Two in 1939.
The club was inactive during much of the wartime period but McGlashan continued to look after Arbroath’s interests and in 1945 a dinner was held to celebrate his 50 years of loyal service to the Lichties. Many of the top footballing personalities of the day attended the occasion and the two testimonial matches which were also played in his honour that year.
McGlashan stepped down from the manger’s post shortly after league football began again in 1946 when Arbroath were placed back in the Second Division.
Article contributed by Fraser Clyne author of The History of Arbroath Football Club