The First World War had been raging for over a year when the funeral cortege of 17-year-old Robert Goldie brought the small Ayrshire town of Hurlford to a halt. Born in Liverpool, he was the son of well-known local man who had once played football for Everton.
Hugh Goldie was born, 10th of February 1874, at 32, The Vennal in the Ayrshire town of Dalry where his Father Hugh worked as a Coal Miner while his Mother Janet, had worked in a Textile Mill. The family later moved to the Riccarton area of Kilmarnock where Hugh, after completing his education, began work in a Bonded Store Warehouse while playing football for a local club, Hurlford Thistle. He represented them, on the 13th of February 1892, in the Ayrshire Cup Final that was played at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock but their opponent’s, Annbank, beat them 3-0. In July of the that year Hugh Goldie married local Textile Worker Grace McGinn and the couple found a home at Mauchline Road in Hurlford where their first 2 children, Hugh and Grace, were born.
The strong half back play of Goldie soon caught the eye of a talent scout who acted on behalf of Scottish Division 1 side St Mirren, and he signed for the Paisley club just before they moved to a new home at Love Street. Goldie took part in the inaugural match at this location where a crowd of 9,000 people watched the home side lose, against Celtic, by 3 goals to 2.
In February 1895 he was selected to represent the Scottish League, against the Irish League, along with club mate John Patrick. Also, in the side were Jack Taylor of Dumbarton and Laurie Bell of 3rd Lanark. (These 3 men were also destined to play for Everton.) The match took place, in atrocious conditions, on the home of the Distillery club at Grosvenor Park in Belfast. The visitors won 4-1. Goldie, who got on the scoresheet, had an outstanding game and this prompted a visiting journalist to make the following remarks…
The greatest game in the visiting half back line was played by that young and promising player, Goldie of St Mirren who revelled in the mud, tackled with great vigour and banged the ball very cleverly to the man in front. The wing he had to meet was exceedingly smart, in fact, there was not a better combination on the field. Goldie has enhanced his reputation 50% and is in the running for further honours. (Glasgow Evening News 4th of February 1895.) He completed the season with St Mirren, and played in every competitive match, before excepting an offer to move to England and turn professional with Everton. The Goldie family, on arriving in Liverpool, took up residence at 10 Gilman Street off Walton Breck Road.
The Scot attended the annual sports day, which this year took place at the Grapes Hotel in Freshfield, where he won, with a handicap of 60 yards, the 1-mile race. He made his Football League debut, playing at half back, on the 9th of September 1895 against a Bury team who had reached the top flight of English football for the first time. Everton won the game, 3-2. He made another 15 appearances, scoring 1 goal, and accepted the offer to stay for another 12 months. Next season Goldie made only 3 appearances in the Everton first X1 and, at the end of the season, was put on the transfer list for a fee of £100. Nevertheless, while residing at Gilman Street, Grace had given birth, on the 24th of December 1896, to a 3rd child, a boy, who was given the name of Robert
On the 1st of May 1897, Hugh Goldie joined Glasgow Celtic and played a big part in them reclaiming the Scottish League championship. He went on to play 27 matches, and score 1 goal, for the Parkhead club before being released, on the 7th of January 1899, as part of cost cutting exercise. He next played for Dundee, whose home ground was then at Carolina Port, where he spent the remained of the season before returning to England.
On the 15th of September 1899 Hugh Goldie joined Southern League side Millwall Athletic where he teamed-up with former Everton player, Jack Brearley. He played a big part when the Londoners went on an FA Cup run that saw them reach the semi-final and face Southampton. The game, watched by a crowd of 50,000 people, took place at Crystal Palace and it ended in 0-0 draw. Southampton won the replay, which took place at Reading, by 3 goals to 0. Goldie went on the make 45 competitive games for the London side, and score 3 goals, before re-joining Dundee in June 1900.His arrival was noted a local newspaper… A couple of seasons ago Goldie played for a while at Carolina Port and at the end of that year Dundee were desirous of obtaining his transfer from Everton. The Liverpool clubs’ terms were too high and Hugh left for Millwall. However, Everton and Dundee have now come to an understanding in regards to the transfer fee. (Dundee Evening Times, 1st of June 1900.) Hugh Goldie spent 2 seasons on Tayside before ending his football career, again playing in the Southern League, with New Brompton in 1903.
When the 1911 census was recorded, Hugh and Grace Goldie are holding the Licensee of the Thistle Hotel, Brick Row, Kilmarnock and they now have 8 children. In later life the family settled at 23, Armour Street in Kilmarnock. and the head of the Household returned to his job in a Bonded Warehouse.
The male members of Goldie family, when growing up, took a great interest in the game of football and Robert appeared in the second X1 of the Kilmarnock club. He had started work as an Apprentice Engineer, in a local firm that made Water Values, when World War 1 broke out. Young Robert, despite being only 17, enlisted in the 8th Battalion of Seaforth Highlanders and was sent to Aldershot to do his basic training where he received a Bayonet Wound and was admitted to Cambridge Military Hospital. The wound, sadly, turned septic and, despite efforts to save him, he died of blood poisoning on the 19th of January 1915. The news of his death shocked the community at Hurlford because he was the first local man to die in the conflict. The body of Robert Goldie was returned to his family and was given a full military funeral with Pipes and Drums as well as a full military escort to Kilmarnock Cemetery where he was buried along with his Grandparents. Thousands of people turned out to pay their respects and lined the 3-mile route from his home to the graveside. His name may be seen today on the local War Memorial in Kilmarnock. The head of the family lived the rest of his days at 23 Armour Street where he died, 1 year after his Wife Grace, on the 1st of September 1935.
Dave Sullivan, Millwall FC.
John Stewart, the Great Grandson of Hugh Goldie.