Bobby Ancell
Manager Profile

Manager Details

  • Full Name: Robert Francis Dudgeon Ancell
  • Born: June 16th, 1911 (Dumfries )
  • Died: July 5th, 1987
  • Former Player: Bobby Ancell
  • First Appointed: March 29th, 1965

Managerial History

Mar 29th, 1965 to Sep 28th, 1968

Most Appearances Top Scorers
1. Steve Murray - 146
2. Jim Easton - 125
3. Alex Stuart - 125
4. Jim McLean - 120
5. Ally Donaldson - 101
6. Bobby Wilson - 93
7. Billy Campbell - 89
8. Doug Houston - 86
9. Bobby Cox - 83
10. Jocky Scott - 83
1. George McLean - 43
2. Jim McLean - 43
3. Andy Penman - 37
4. Kenny Cameron - 34
5. Jocky Scott - 33
6. Sammy Wilson - 25
7. Alex Stuart - 20
8. Billy Campbell - 17
9. Steve Murray - 11
10. John Duncan - 9

First Match In Charge
Apr 3rd, 1965 2 - 1 vs. Hibernian, League (Division One)

Last Match In Charge
Sep 25th, 1968 6 - 0 vs. Stranraer, League Cup (Quarter Final 2nd Leg)

Total Players Used:
33 (34 including unused subs)

Biggest Win(s)
Feb 9th, 1966 9 - 1 vs. East Fife, Scottish Cup (1st Round)

Heaviest Defeat(s)
Jan 28th, 1967 0 - 5 vs. Aberdeen, Scottish Cup (1st Round)
Feb 28th, 1966 0 - 5 vs. Celtic, League (Division One)
Sep 11th, 1965 0 - 5 vs. Dundee United, League (Division One)

Overall Record

Games Won Drawn Lost For Against
160 70 33 57 317 257
(43.8%) (20.6%) (35.6%) 1.98 pg 1.61 pg

At Home

Games Won Drawn Lost For Against
84 41 17 26 184 129
(48.8%) (20.2%) (31.0%) 2.19 pg 1.54 pg


As a player Bobby Ancell arrived at Dens as football restarted towards the end of the war. Like many of his era, the war cut deeply into his career, hostilities commencing just as he was at the peak of his footballing life. Indeed, the stylish left-back who hailed from Dumfries had won two caps for Scotland whilst with Newcastle to whom he moved in 1936 after starting his senior career with St Mirren in 1930. During the war, he guested for a plethora of clubs before arriving at Dens in July 1944 for £150.

Despite being 33 then, he was attached to Dundee for six seasons, picking up a Second Division Championship medal in 1947 and going on to make 90 competitive appearances in addition to being a regular during two wartime campaigns.

Although 39 when freed in 1950, Aberdeen profited from his experience for a year before he went on to spend two seasons as player/manager of Berwick Rangers, then in the C Division, before finally bowing to the passage of time and hanging up his boots.

From Berwick, he aspired to manage Dunfermline in 1952 and three years later took over at Motherwell where his attractive young Motherwell side which included lan St John and Willie Hunter became known as 'Ancell's Babes'.

After a decade at Fir Park, he returned to Dens as Bob Shankly's successor. Again, it was relatively late in life, being 54 at the start of 1965-66, his first season in charge.

He first accepted the job on th 24th February 1965 before it was made official on the 29th March.

The three years under his stewardship were largely transitional after the break up of the championship side. In terms of tangible success, Bobby steered Dundee to the 1967 League Cup Final but were beaten 5-3 by Celtic, During his tenure, Dundee played a lot of attractive football, but with the likes of Charlie Cooke and George McLean in the side, that will not come as a surprise.

Perhaps the highlight of his reign was to guide the Dark Blues to the semi-final of the Fairs Cup where Leeds United only narrowly defeated 2-1 on aggregate in May 1968.

Four months later he resigned as manager, but remained at Dens first as reserve team coach, and then in a scouting capacity before severing his connection in October 1969.

He continued to live in the city, going on to scout for Nottingham Forest before his retirement.

From one Dundee boss, we jump to another and the man behind the highly successful Dark Blue side of the early post-war era.

Players Signed

New Players Transferred In
Player Date Signed Fee
1. Carl Bertelsen Jul 29th, 1965 £10,000
2. Alex Bryce
3. Sammy Wilson £12,000
4. Bobby Rough
5. Bobby Wilson Mar 9th, 1966 £5,000
6. George McLean Apr 4th, 1967
7. Jim Steele Apr 27th, 1967

Youth Players Signed on Professional Terms
Player Pro Terms Signed
1. John Duncan Jul 30th, 1966
First Signing

Carl Bertelsen
on Jul 29th, 1965