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Bobby Irvine

Name: Robert William Irvine
Born: 29 April 1900, Lisburn
Died: 1979, Leicester (England)
Position: Centre/Inside-Forward

Representative Honours: Ireland: 15 Full Caps/3 Goals (1922-1931); Irish League: 2 Caps (1932).
Club Honours: (with Derry) North-West Senior Cup Winner 1931/32.

Club Career:
FA Cup
(Irish Intermediate League)
(Cheshire County League)
Connah's Quay & Shotton
(Cheshire County League)
Derry City
22/ 2

A sublime dribbler and a master of ball control, Bobby Irvine was amongst the most gifted attacking players of his generation. Signed by Everton for £500 in September 1921, he made his Football League debut in a 1-1 draw against Liverpool in November 1921 at Anfield. He quickly became a crowd favourite at Goodison, his bravery and determination coupled with his thrilling skills entertained the fans for six seasons. More of a creator than a scorer, Irvine normally played at inside-right, but when deployed at centre-forward he proved an effective goal-getter, best illustrated by a hat-trick against Aston Villa in January 1922.

First selected for Ireland in March 1922, Irvine played at centre-forward in a 2-1 defeat by Scotland, indeed five of his first six caps were won leading the attack. An early personal best performance came with two goals in a 3-0 win over Wales in Wrexham, but he will be best remembered for his role in 2-1 and 2-0 defeats of England at Windsor Park in 1923 and 1927, and for his goal that gave Ireland a 3-2 lead at Anfield in 1926, only for the game to finish 3-3.

Troubled by injuries through a number of spells of his career, Irvine left Everton in March 1928 having made just nine appearances in what was a title winning campaign for the Toffees. Snapped up by Portsmouth, he made his Fratton Park debut in a 1-0 win over Manchester United on 17th March. He helped his new-club to the FA Cup Final in 1929, but injury robbed him of a place in the final line-up as they lost 2-0 to Bolton. In August 1929 Irvine joined Welsh club, Connah’s Quay, where he became the only player from that club to be capped for Ireland.

With Connah’s Quay suffering severe financial difficulties, Irvine returned to Ireland, signing for Derry City. He marked his Brandywell debut with a goal in a 1-0 Gold Cup quarter-final win over Larne on 3rd September 1931. With Derry, Irvine took his caps total to 15, and in October 1932 he also played twice for the Irish League, in 5-2 and 4-1 defeats by the English and Scottish Leagues respectively.

Irvine returned to the England in May 1933 with Division Three (South) club, Watford. He played his last Football League match in spring 1934. In November 1934 he was one of five Waterford players reportedly suspended "sine die" after refusing to return on the bus following a match in Sligo. Other later clubs were Brideville (February 1936) and Leicester Post Office Engineers (November 1936). With his playing days on the wane, it was written of him: “There is no man who takes harder knocks and squeal less than Irvine.”

Ireland Cap Details:

04-03-1922 Scotland A L 1-2 BC
21-10-1922 England. A L 0-2 BC
14-04-1923 Wales... A W 3-0 BC 2 Goals
20-10-1923 England. H W 2-1 BC
01-03-1924 Scotland A L 0-2 BC
22-10-1924 England. A L 1-3 BC
24-10-1925 England. H D 0-0 BC
20-10-1926 England. A D 3-3 BC
1 Goal
09-04-1927 Wales... A D 2-2 BC
22-10-1927 England. H W 2-0 BC
25-02-1928 Scotland A W 1-0 BC
22-10-1928 England. A L 1-2 BC
22-02-1930 Scotland A L 1-3 BC
20-10-1930 England. A L 1-5 BC
05-12-1931 Wales... H W 4-0 BC

Summary: 15/3. Won 5, Drew 3, Lost 7.


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