Archie Waterston: Family of former Edinburgh City, Newport, and Southport striker sought ahead of Hall of Fame induction

English football club Southport FC have launched an appeal to trace the family of a Musselburgh-born striker who helped the Merseyside club to their only ever FA Cup quarter-final appearance in the 1930s.

By Patrick McPartlin
Friday, 15th October 2021, 11:16 am
Archie Waterston in Southport colours in December 1931
Archie Waterston in Southport colours in December 1931

Archibald ‘Archie’ Waterston was born in Musselburgh in 1902 and played for a handful of clubs in Scotland, England, and Wales during his career including stints with Leicester City, Southampton, Cowdenbeath, and the original Edinburgh City.

When he retired from the game he assisted his daughter and grandson with their grocery shop in Tranent, passing away in May 1982 at the age of 79.

Southport Former Players Association has announced plans to posthumously induct Waterston into the club’s hall of fame next month and club historian and archivist Michael Braham is keen to trace the player’s family in the hopes of inviting them to the ceremony at Southport’s Haig Avenue ground on November 13.

Team photo of Southport FC in 1931 featuring Archie Waterston, front row third from left

Waterston began his career with local side Musselburgh Bruntonians in 1922, helping them to win the Scottish Junior Cup.

By 1923 he signed for Leicester City but struggled to break into the first team despite performing well for the reserves, and he returned to Scotland with Cowdenbeath in 1926, finding the net 11 times in 18 games before moving to Wales to sign for Newport County, then playing in the third tier of English football.

His exploits for The Exiles did not go unnoticed and his 36 goals in just 44 league matches attracted the attention of Southampton, who brought Waterston to The Dell for £300 (almost £20,000 in today’s money) in December 1928.

With the Saints, Waterston was used mainly as back-up for first-choice centre-forwards Willie Haines and Dick Rowley, and featured just six times during his time on the south coast, scoring once against Hull City.

The Scot was then sold to Tranmere Rovers, returning to the third tier, but despite hitting 18 goals in 30 matches he was released in the summer of 1930.

As a free agent, Waterston took the step of advertising his services in the Athletic News newspaper’s ‘Situations Wanted’ column: “A. Waterston, centre or left-forward, last season Tranmere Rovers; free transfer; play trial – 20, Eskside, Musselburgh, Scotland.”

Another English Third Division side in Southport invited Waterston for a trial and it was at Haig Avenue that the East Lothian native shone.

Approaching his 30th birthday, Waterston set a club league record of 31 goals in 29 games, helping the side to fifth in the table, and scored six times in the 1930/31 FA Cup competition as the Sandgrounders reached the quarter-finals for the only time in their history, succumbing 9-1 to a superior Dixie Deans-inspired Everton side at Goodison Park with Waterston scoring the consolation goal.

After Southport he spent two seasons with Doncaster Rovers, hitting 29 goals in 48 games in all competitions. A season with Aldershot followed before he returned to his homeland with the original Edinburgh City, playing with the Capital club until the summer of 1936.

After hanging up his boots he resumed his former job as a die-maker in Musselburgh, and would spend 30 years at Brunton’s Wire Mills as foreman in the tungsten die department before retiring to Tranent and helping his daughter and grandson with their grocery shop in the town’s Winton Place.

Any family members, or those with information, are asked to contact Southport FC on [email protected].

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