Dunfermline Athletic

Bobby Calder 1947-48

A former railway signalman before becoming a well-respected first-class referee, Calder had to wait until his final season before being given the honour of officiating at a major final at HampdenPark. On 5th April 1947, he handled the first ever League Cup Final, in which Rangers defeated Aberdeen 4-0, and two weeks later returned to the national stadium to oversee Aberdeen's 2-1 win over Hibernian in the Scottish Cup Final.

Following the resignation of Willie McAndrew after a 6-1 League Cup defeat at Stark's Park in August 1947, Dunfermline created a stir by appointing Calder as their new manager.  As a referee, he had impressed the directors with his knowledge of the game and was looked on as the ideal man to lift the spirits of the team. 

One of the first Scottish managers to don a track-suit and work with his players at training sessions, Calder made some excellent signings for the Pars, including forwards Willie Keith and Tommy Wright. His two best, however, were Bobby Kirk and Jimmy Clarkson, both from Arniston Rangers and whose delayed transfers meant, ironically, that they never played for the club under Calder.

Although morale and performances improved, results did not and after a Scottish Cup defeat by Clyde in February, the support was shocked to hear that Calder had resigned due to his wife's health, according to a club statement. His popularity was such that angry fans held a demonstration outside East EndPark and demanded to know the real reason while others used the local papers to call for a boycott of matches.It emerged that Calder had earlier been reprimanded for talking to the press and banned from discussing club matters outside the boardroom. The directors decided that they had lost confidence in him and within a week he had handed in his resignation.

In January 1949 Aberdeen appointed him chief scout, a position he was to hold for the next 32 years. His first signing, Archie Glen, went on to be capped by Scotland and he developed a knack of stealing players from right under the noses of the Old Firm. The likes of Charlie Cooke, Jimmy Smith, Bobby Clark, Tommy Craig, Willie Young, Arthur Graham, Willie Miller, Alex McLeish, John McMaster and Jim Leighton are just a few of the legendary players he took to Pittodrie.

After spending his last couple of years in a PR role, Bobby Calder died in December 1983, aged 83, a few months after the club flew him to Gothenburg for the club's Cup-Winners Cup triumph, the crowning moment in his long involvement with Aberdeen.



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