6 August 2006

Bobby Braithwaite

Exciting winger in Linfield's 1961/62 Clean-Sweep team, Bobby Braithwaite went on to make his name in England with Middlesbrough...

Name: Robert Munn Braithwaite
Born: 24 February 1937, Belfast
Died: 14 October 2015, South Africa
Height: 5.08 ft
Weight: 10.11 st
Position: Outside-Left

Representative Honours: Northern Ireland: 10 Full Caps (1962-1965), 6 Amateur Caps (1955-1957), 6 Youth Caps, 2 Schools Caps (1951); Irish League: 8 Caps (1956-1963).
Club Honours: (with Linfield) Irish League Champion 1958/59, 1960/61, 1961/62; Irish Cup Winner 1959/60, 1961/62, 1962/63, Runner-Up 1957/58, 1960/61; Ulster Cup Winner 1961/62; Gold Cup Winner 1961/62, 1962/63; City Cup 1958/59, 1961/62; Co. Antrim Shield Winner 1957/58, 1960/61, 1961/62, 1962/63; North-South Cup Winner 1961/62.

Club Career:
Teams
Seasons
Signed
Fee
League
FA Cup
FL Cup
Europe
Other
Crusaders
-
-
Amateur
-
-
-
-
-
Linfield
57/58-62/63
Apr-57
£400
270(-)/69
*
*
4(0)/0
*
Middlesbrough
63/64-66/67
Jun-63
£10,000
67(1)/12
1(0)/0
3(0)/0
-
-
Durban City
-
Dec-67
-
(South Africa)
Bloemfontein.City
-
-
-
(South Africa)
TOTALS
-
£-
-
-
-
4(0)/0
-
* All domestic game

Biography:
Bobby Braithwaite was amongst the most exciting attacking talents in the Irish League through the late-1950s and early-1960s, testament to this was his nickname, “Gento”, after the famous Real Madrid wing wizard. Brought up on the Shore Road, he came through the ranks as a teenager with Crusaders before being signed-up by Linfield. It was a glorious time at Windsor Park, and Braithwaite played in five Irish Cup Finals in a six year spell.

Among three Irish Cup successes was the 1962 final, Braithwaite scoring in a 4-0 win over Portadown that placed Linfield well on the way to a seven trophy haul. Braithwaite played fifty of Linfield’s 59 games, and scored twelve goals, as the Gibson Cup (Irish League), Irish Cup, Ulster Cup, Gold Cup, City Cup, Co. Antrim Shield and North-South Cup all ended the season in the Linfield trophy cabinet for a domestic clean-sweep.

It was during the “Clean-Sweep” season that Braithwaite won his first international cap, in a 4-0 reverse against Wales in Cardiff, as Peter Doherty searched for a successor to Peter McParland in the number eleven shirt. The following season Braithwaite added two further caps, in European Nations Cup ties with Poland and Spain, but new manager Bertie Peacock was still experimenting with the outside-left role, and Billy Bingham, Jimmy Hill and Jimmy McLaughlin were all tried there.

In 1963 Braithwaite left Windsor Park - with his third Irish Cup medal following a 2-1 Final victory over Distillery - and his job in the shipyard, for full-time football with Middlesbrough. At Ayresome Park Braithwaite developed into a firm crowd favourite, but his effective use of the ball and a keen eye for goal couldn't help Boro out of the Second Division. He had however cemented his place in the Northern Ireland eleven, his forays down the left mirroring George Best’s efforts on the right, until he was struck down with injury.

It was a broken leg suffered in a clash with Newcastle’s Jim Iley that brought an end to Braithwaite at his best. He spent three seasons trying to re-build his fitness but was a shadow of his former self and could do little to prevent Boro's relegation to Division Three in 1966. After just a handful of appearances in the third tier, Braithwaite decided to emigrate to South Africa where he retired as a player in 1974.

After settling in South Africa, Braithwaite took to coaching and kept in regular contact with his former clubs. He passed away in October 2015 aged 78.

Irish FA Tribute
Linfield Tribute

Northern Ireland Cap Details:
11-04-1962 Wales...... A L 0-4 BC
28-11-1962 Poland..... H W 2-0 ENC
30-05-1963 Spain...... A D 1-1 ENC
15-04-1964 Wales...... A W 3-2 BC
29-04-1964 Uruguay.... H W 3-0 FR
03-10-1964 England.... H L 3-4 BC
14-10-1964 Switzerland H W 1-0 WCQ
14-11-1964 Switzerland A L 1-2 WCQ
25-11-1964 Scotland... A L 2-3 BC
07-04-1965 Netherlands A D 0-0 WCQ


Summary: 10/0. Won 4, Drew 2, Lost 4.

Northern Ireland Amateur Cap Details:
17-09-1955 England.... H L 1-4
21-01-1956 Wales...... H W 2-1
25-02-1956 Scotland... A W 3-1
15-09-1956 England.... A L 2-5
19-01-1957 Wales...... A L 1-3
23-02-1957 Scotland... H W 4-1

Summary: 6/0. Won 3, Drew 0, Lost 3.

13 comments:

John Garrity said...

My name is John Garrity and I played under Bobby when he was manager of Bloemfontein City,South Africa (1965).
He would from time to time play on the left wing when we had an important game.
I pitied the right fullbacks as Bobby always really turned it on.
I highly respected him as a manager,player and a person.

Ulster said...

Bobby is my Dads cousin, still living near Port Elizabeth in South Africa - great winger in his day.

Anonymous said...

Bobby's son Paul is my coach now at Tech All Stars in East London. Bobby is always at our game giving us his support.

Dennis Meharchand said...

As a Durban United fan (South Africa) we knew in the Derby's against Durban City that we were going to be in a bit of trouble when Bobby came on.

JD DUCKETT said...

AS AN ARDENT LINFIELD FAN OF THE DAYS WHEN BOBBY (GENTO)BRAITHWAITE PLAYED FOR THE BLUES HE WAS A GIANT IN THE GAME I PLAYED FOR CLIFTONVILLE AT THE TIME AND I CAN TELL YOU THE GUY WAS FROM A DIFFERENT PLANET LOVED HIM TO BITS HE WAS THE CLOSEST TO GEORGE BEST I HAVE EVER SEEN A REAL TWINKLE TOES.

Anonymous said...

My name is Derek Oates and I played against Bobby in the Castle Cup. He played for Bloemfontein, I played for Shamrocks. He was so talented and mostly responsible for the 5-1 drubbing we received, but he was also complimentary when we did something good, even encouraging us to try harder. Good player, good man.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Bobby played against Brazil at some point, because I remember seeing the jersey among his collection when I was at his house.

His son Paul would know if he reads this.

jcd said...

Well, he started out with the "Shore Road Brazilians" (aka Crusaders)!

NI definitely didn't play against Brazil at any level prior to the 86 World Cup. I wonder did Brazil tour England while he was with Middlesbrough?

JCD

Anonymous said...



Did Bobby go to Primary School in York Roar, if so was it called Alexandra!

Cheers!

Martin Cole said...

RIP Bobby Braithwaite... From All at Beacon Bay Country Club and All Stars FC

Abel Iglesias said...

RIP Bobby

From all the clubs and members of Bunkers West LFA

Ed Strang said...

RIP Bobby.
Condolences to Paul and Bobbyy's family.
I played for Bobby (and with Paul) with Grand All Stars, East London, SA in 1981 - 1983.
Lovely man.

Edwin Strang

Ed Strang said...

RIP Bobby.
Condolences to Paul and all the family.
I played for Bobby (and with Paul) for Grand All Stars in East London, SA in 1981 - 1983.
Lovely man.

Edwin Strang

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