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Other Cups may include: Anglo-Scottish Cup, Challenge Cup, Cup Winners' Cup, Drybrough Cup, International Soccer League, League Cup, Summer Cup, Texaco Cup.
Bobby Henderson played in an era when Dundee enjoyed several fine keepers and he held his own winning the League Cup with The Dark Blues in 1952 and playing in the Scottish Cup Final the same year.
Bobby career ‘between the sticks’ started when he played in goal for the 69th (Glasgow) Boys’ Brigade team where he was spotted by Junior side Glasgow Perthshire, based in the north of the city in Possilpark. It was from Perthshire that he joined Partick Thistle in 1937 and it was a dream come true for Bobby as he was a boyhood Jags’ fan and had been a ball boy at Firhill.
Between 1937 and 1951, he turned out 324 times for Thistle and was quickly taken to the hearts of the Jags’ fans as a local lad from Amisfield Road in Maryhill. He was chosen six times to be a Scotland reserve in his time at Firhill but unfortunately never won a cap. His greatest performance for the ‘Maryhill Magyars’ was in a Scottish Cup first round match against Hibernian at Easter Road in 1950 when he repeatedly defied their ‘Famous Five’ forward line as Partick pulled off a shock 1-0 win.
Just over twelve months later in May 1950, he was on his way to Dens after he was surprisingly given a free transfer by The Jags and Dundee manager George Anderson signed him up a competition for youngster Bill Brown who had broken into the first team that year. Brown had taken over the first team goalkeeping duties from Johnny Lynch towards the end of the season and when Lynch was freed after settling a dispute, Anderson brought Henderson in to replace him.
There was much speculation in the press as to who would start the 1951/52 season as Dundee’s number one and on August 11th it was Henderson who was given the nod and made his Dark Blue debut against St Mirren in Paisley in a League Cup sectional tie. The game finished 2-2 after Dundee had been 2-0 up and Henderson kept his place to make his home debut against Hearts four days later.
Bobby’s first clean sheet for Dundee came in the next League Cup tie; a 5-0 home win over Raith Rovers but after defeat to St Mirren in the next match, the Dark Blues themselves let in five in a 5-2 defeat in the return match with Hearts at Tynecastle.
With Dundee’s qualification from their League Cup section hanging in the balance, Anderson made four changes for the last match at Stark’s Park and Henderson was one of those dropped and was replaced by Brown.
It was a move which paid dividends as Dundee won 3-1 against Raith to top their group and with Brown getting plaudits for his performance, which including saving a penalty at 0-0, he kept his place in the side when the league campaign kicked off seven days later at Stirling.
Unfortunately for Bobby this meant that he would miss out on a League Cup winners’ medal when Dundee went all the way in the competition with Brown in goal. He made a couple of appearances in the team when Brown was injured but was unable to reclaim the number one jersey permanently until a Scottish Cup first round tie against Ayr in January when Brown was called up for his National Service.
Dundee had hoped that Brown would be given permission to play in the game by the R.A.F. but they turned down the Dark Blues’ request and Brown did not play again for The Dee for another twelve months. This meant that Bobby lined up in every match until the end of the season, including every game in a Scottish Cup run which took Dundee all the way to Hampden for the second time in six months.
Henderson was hoping to make up for missing the League Cup Final with a Scottish Cup winners’ medal but it wasn’t to be as Motherwell ran out 4-0 winners to take the trophy back to Lanarkshire.
Bobby wasn’t very tall for a goalkeeper but his handling and reflexes were second to none and his popularity at Dens began to grow as the season progressed. When the new campaign in August, Henderson was still first choice keeper and in the traditional League Cup openers, played in all six group matches against Clyde, Raith and Airdrie as Dundee won their group at a canter.
Dundee had been drawn in ‘A’ Division, Group D alongside Raith Rovers, Clyde and Airdrieonians and the game against Raith was the first in the defence of the trophy they had won at Hampden the previous season and Dundee kicked off as holders in the white kit they had worn in the Scottish Cup Final in April. It was the first time therefore that a club badge had been worn in a match at Dens and a healthy crowd of 20,000 turned up for the new campaign.
Dundee made a bright start to the new season with a 2-1 win against a side they had faced in the League Cup sectional ties last season. Goals from Burrell and Steel secured the win and after the match Anderson said he had had doubts about his new half-back line of Ziesing, Boyd and Cowie but they had not let him down. After a powerful display from the trio, the manager said his selection and the dropping of Tommy Gallacher had been justified and would be chosen again at Airdrie four days later, which The Dee won 3-1 thanks to a Bobby Flavell hat-trick.
Dundee’s next match was against Clyde at Dens three days later and the Glasgow side were suffering from plenty of knocks from their midweek trip to Fife where they had been 3-0 up but lost 4-3 to Raith.
Bobby Flavell and Billy Steel scored Dundee’s goals in a 2-2 draw and coupled with Raith’s 1-0 win at Broomfield, it meant that the next match at Stark’s Park was a potential section decider with a big crowd expected.
Dundee were one point ahead of Rovers going into the match and for the visit of the holders, Raith manager Bert Herdman decided to move Willie Penman to the wing in an attempt to get the win they needed to keep their League Cup hopes alive. Penman was Rovers’ second longest servant and had scored more than 300 goals in eleven seasons but Herdman felt that Penman could become provider and put pressure on Dundee’s full-backs.
Alfie Boyd also came back into the match for Dundee, taking his number five shirt back from George Merchant and his experience was vital in a bruising encounter. Boyd received a cut eyebrow on his comeback, Gerry Follon got a knock on the forehead which gave him slight concussion and impaired his sight, Gerry Burrell had a suspected fractured rib and Bobby Flavell was booked after a melee in the Raith penalty area with Colville. Bookings were so rare in football in the Fifties that the caution received a sub-headline in most of the newspapers on the Sunday.
What made the main headlines however was the reaction of Raith Rovers’ directors who were to write to the Scottish League and SFA. to complain about the referee and ask for a replay after The Dee won 2-1 with a double from Steel. The Raith directors and manager expressed dissatisfaction with the handling of the game by referee J. Walker of Aberdeen and they wrote to both Scottish footballing bodies to ask that he not officiate any Raith Rovers game in the future.
They alleged that poor decisions cost Rovers the points and placed emphasis on two particular incidents in the Dundee goalmouth before Steel opened the scoring. Raith claimed that both Ziesing and Cowan handled in the penalty area and that spot kicks should have been awarded and further alleged that Gallacher had fouled a Raith player before Steel scored Dundee’s winning goal.
The Raith directorate were aware that a referee supervisor was at the game and asked if it was in order for the Stark’s Park club to have a copy of his report. “There is nothing in the rules which says we should not have it,” said Bert Herdman the following day. “We want a copy. We want the Scottish League to deal with this and would have said nothing if we were beaten on merit.”
Rovers asked the Scottish League if their management committee would hear a deputation from the management of Raith Rovers F.C. and asked if the League would consider the possibility of the match with Dundee being replayed.
George Anderson was unconcerned and said, “I’m sure the League and the SF. will defend the honour of the officials,” and in the event the Scottish League refused the deputation from Kirkcaldy and the 2-1 win for the Dark Blues stood.
Dundee would finish their section with a 3-2 win over Airdrie at Dens and another draw with Clyde at Shawfield to top Group D with ten points.
After dispatching ‘B’ Division Stirling Albion over two legs in the quarter-final, Dundee were up against League champions Hibernian in the semi-final and Henderson produced another fabulous performance against their ‘Famous Five’ forward line to help Dundee secure a 2-1 win and a trip to Hampden for the third cup final in a row.
He had played in every match on ‘The Road to Hampden’ and it was a chance for Bobby to put the disappointments of the last two behind him by this time picking up a winners’ medal.
Standing between him and the winners’ podium was ‘B’ Division Kilmarnock and it soon became evident that the Ayrshire part-timers were not just there to make up the numbers. Backed by a swirling Hampden breeze and roared on by their fans in the 51,000 crowd, they gave Dundee a first half pounding and it was largely thanks to an inspired display by Bobby Henderson that the score remained 0-0 at the interval.
The pattern continued in the second half but with ten minutes left, Dundee got the vital breakthrough when Jimmy Toner sent a perfect pass through to Bobby Flavell who fired low past Niven to give Dundee the lead. Six minutes later Dundee made certain when Bobby’s long kick from hand reached the Killie penalty area and as centre-half Thyne hesitated, Flavell raced in and thumped the bouncing ball into the corner of the net.
The game finished 2-0 and Dundee were League Cup winners for the second time in twelve months. Bobby at last got his winners’ medal with a terrific display and an assist to boot and now looked to cement his position as Dundee’s number one.
In the New Year however Bill Brown was available again and he shared the goalkeeping duties with Henderson for the rest of the season while still completing his National Service. His experience stood Bobby in good stead in season 1952/53 as he let in fewer goals than any other regular goalkeeper in Scotland.
Brown wasn’t available to go on the two month end of season tour to South Africa, allowing Bobby to be first choice keeper on the trip but at the start of the new season, Brown was back in possession of the yellow jersey meaning Bobby would only play ten times that year.
It was much the same for season 1954/55 with Bobby only appearing twice and then only four times the year after and at the end of the season was given a free transfer by manager Willie Thornton, who had taken over from George Anderson in the summer of 1954.
In his final season, Henderson came back into the side for a Scottish Cup fifth round tie with Dundee United and after a 2-2 draw at a snow covered Tannadice, he kept his place for the 3-0 replay win at Dens four days later.
That game was his penultimate appearance for The Dee and by coincidence he made the shortest walk in football when he left the Dark Blues to sign up for ‘B’ Division Dundee United who were now managed by Bobby’s former Dens Park trainer Reggie Smith.
He made his debut for United on August 11th 1956 in a League Cup tie at home to Ayr United but unfortunately for Bobby his Tannadice career was restricted to just ten matches after he broke his leg against Arbroath on September 5th. The game against The Red Litchies was United’s last League Cup sectional tie when they qualified with a 5-0 win but in the quarter-final they drew Dundee and badly missed Bobby’s experience as they went down 7-3 at Dens; the game which inspired the Johnnie Scobie song.
Bobby made just one more appearance for United in a 5-1 defeat away to Albion Rovers and at the end of the following year decided to hang up his gloves. After retiring he would regularly go and watch his beloved Partick Thistle but would also proudly boast of winning the League Cup with Dundee and sadly died in May 2006 aged eighty.
At Dundee he kept nineteen clean sheets in seventy-five appearances and had the honour of keeping goal for Dundee in two cup finals at Hampden in front of almost 190,000 fans; a feat that no other goalkeeper in the history of Dundee Football Club can claim.
August 11th, 1951
St Mirren 2 - 2 Dundee
League Cup (Group 3)
|Competition||NPS||G2G||Win %||Draw %||Loss %|
|Recent Starting Appearances (First Team Competitive matches)|
|Feb 11th, 1956||11/02/56||League||Division One||vs. Raith Rovers (A)||1 - 1|
|Feb 8th, 1956||08/02/56||Scottish Cup||5th Round Replay||vs. Dundee Utd (H)||3 - 0|
|Feb 4th, 1956||04/02/56||Scottish Cup||5th Round||vs. Dundee Utd (A)||2 - 2|
|Jan 21st, 1956||21/01/56||League||Division One||vs. Clyde (A)||1 - 4|
|Jan 14th, 1956||14/01/56||League||Division One||vs. Hearts (H)||0 - 2|
|Recent Goals Scored (First Team Competitive matches)|
|List of First Team Competitive matches played (click to expand)|
|List of First Team Competitive goals scored|
|= Starting Appearances (Sub Appearances) | = Goals | NPS = Squad Appearances (as Non-Playing Sub) | GtGR = Goals to Games Ratio|
|Yel = Yellow Cards/Cautions | Red = Red Cards/Dismissals | W/D/L - Games won, drawn or lost as percentage of games played in|
Bobby was born on this date in Maryhill, Scotland.
St Mirren 2 - 2 Dundee
League Cup (Group 3)
Dundee 3 - 4 East Fife
League (A Division)
Aberdeen 2 - 2 Dundee
League (A Division)
Clyde 4 - 1 Dundee
League (Division One)
Raith Rovers 1 - 1 Dundee
League (Division One)