Bobby Waddell Obituary
Bobby Waddell 1939 - 2021
The club was saddened to learn of the very sudden death on Tuesday of this week of club legend and an honorary vice-president, Bobby Waddell, one week short of his 82nd birthday. Although originally from Kennoway, Bobby has lived in Tayport for over 50 years and was first involved with Tayport FC as coach during the 1970s where his influence and work ethic rubbed off on not only the players, but also the committee to help build the foundations of the club we know today.
Bobby kicked off his career with St Andrews Swifts Secondary Juveniles and was a member of the side which swept the boards in 1958/59, winning every competition entered, including the Scottish Juvenile Cup. The side was unbeaten and Bobby scored 104 goals that season including two in the Scottish final.
This led to a trial match with East Fife, but in the summer of 1959, Bobby signed for Dundee FC and in August made a scoring debut for the Dark Blues in a League Cup-tie v Rangers before a crowd of 20,000 at Dens Park. Deedle would also make a scoring debut on his first League start v Aberdeen the following month.
In 1961/62 when Dundee FC were Scottish Champions, the same 11 players played in 41 matches with only 4 other players, including Bobby, being called on to play. Alan Gilzean was the main striker but Bobby was to play a crucial role during Gilly’s absence, playing four games in March and scoring the goal in a 1-0 win over Hibs as Dundee homed in on the title.
A knee injury suffered v Zaragoza in a European Cup Winners Cup tie in November1964 put Bobby out of action for six weeks. When Dundee signed centre forward Alex Harley from Birmingham City, Bobby asked for a transfer. After rejecting offers from St Johnstone, Falkirk and Preston North End, he signed for Blackpool, then in the top tier of the English game, for £8,000 in March 1965.
Bobby had played 84 games for Dundee and scored 43 goals, a scoring rate of 51% which will rarely have been bettered at Dens Park.
Among his new teammates at Blackpool were Alan Ball and Jimmy Armfield, both of whom would be World Cup winners with England 15 months later. Bobby again scored on his debut with two goals against West Bromwich Albion in a 3-0 win. During his time at Blackpool he scored in a 2-1 defeat by then League Champions Liverpool and played in a 5-1 win over Manchester United, George Best et al, in a league cup-tie.
18 months later Bobby was on the move again, signing for Bradford Park Avenue for £10,000 as a replacement for Kevin Hector who had just been signed by Derby County. Then it was back to Scotland for two seasons with his first love East Fife. By now playing in midfield, he had a season with Montrose before a knee injury effectively ended his Senior career.
In 1974 and now living in Tayport, it wasn’t any surprise when Bobby became involved with Tayport FC. It was a perfect match. The committee’s efforts to develop the club off the field were matched by Bobby’s coaching as he moulded enthusiastic amateur players into a pretty decent side, as a conversation related by John Brown in the Evening Telegraph’s Blether with Brown some time ago reminds us. Said Blether – “I bumped into Bobby Waddell just recently in the Matalan car park. As I’ve said before, Bobby was the Senior professional at Bayview when I arrived and he went out of his way to make you feel at ease. I’ve met him again many times at various Dundee FC functions. And he never tires of reminding me that he was part of the Tayport FC management team which masterminded the Midlands AFA Gray Trophy Final victory over my Auchterhouse side in the late 1970s” [5-0].
When Tayport decided to enter a team in the East Fife Amateur FA in 1980, Bobby, now aged 40 and reinstated as an amateur, couldn’t resist pulling his boots back on. He played 25 games, scored 16 goals, and helped the team win the Division 2 title, reach two cup finals and won the team’s Player of the Year award. Bobby would later ‘move upstairs’ and was a Tayport FC committee member when the club won its first Scottish Junior Cup in 1996.
Football was Bobby’s life and he would always find a football match whether at Dens, on TV or on the public parks on a Saturday morning. He was a season ticket holder at Bayview and also took in games on East Fife TV. He was delighted recently to have realised an ambition by visiting all Scotland’s League grounds, completing that tour literally on the eve of the pandemic, ticking off Aberdeen’s Balmoral Stadium as Cove Rangers met Brechin City.
We offer our sincere condolences to Madge, Jeffrey and Jessica.
Bobby Waddell belatedly receives his 1961/62 Championship medal at Dundee FC’s 50th Anniversary Dinner
in 2012 after the Scottish Football League agreed that the other 4 players, Bobby, Alex Stuart, Craig Brown and George McGeachie, as well as the 11 who played in the title winning season, should also receive medals.