Andy Wilson (centre-forward) 1918
Born: Newmains, Lanarkshire, 14 February 1896
Andy Wilson was a renowned Scottish centre-forward who returned 12 goals in as many full internationals and enjoyed a successful decade with Chelsea in the inter-war years.
After beginning his career with Cambuslang Rangers, Wilson signed for Middlesbrough in 1914. He scored five times in his nine League appearances in 1914/15, after debuting on 2 January against Liverpool. He was the first player ever to be sent off at Ayresome Park, in March (also against Liverpool). He went on to earn the dubious honour of also becoming the second Boro player dismissed at the ground when sent off against Tottenham in 1921.
Wilson returned to Scotland to play for Hearts during the First World War, and was one of the Edinburgh club's star turns in the period.
He guested a couple of times for Leeds City in April 1918, scoring twice on his Peacocks debut, at Bradford Park Avenue on 6 April.
After returning to Hearts, Wilson was magnificent during the 1918/19 campaign, scoring 29 League goals, despite carrying an arm injury sustained while on military duty at Arras. However, a poor start in which the team gained only two points from five games ended any chances of a good showing.
Nevertheless, Tynecastle was in buoyant mood when the Great War ended in November 1918. Hearts celebrated with a 5-0 win over Falkirk in which Wilson scored a hat trick. It was hoped that the team would improve with the return of players from the war, but they took time to regain full fitness and Hearts ended the season seventh.
In the spring of 1919, the Scottish FA staged a Victory Cup tournament, in which Hearts were fancied to do well. In the semi-final a Tynecastle record attendance of 42,500 saw the Edinburgh side crush Airdrieonians 7-1 with Wilson scoring four times. They couldn't maintain their form in the Celtic Park final and went down 3-0 to St Mirren after extra time.
Wilson represented Scotland twice in unofficial internationals, making his debut on 22 March 1919. He scored both goals, the first from a penalty, as Scotland defeated Northern Ireland 2-1 at Ibrox Park. He also managed a brace in his second game as Scotland lost 4-3 to England at Hampden Park on 3 May.
Wilson played for Dunfermline for a while after the restoration of peacetime football when the Pars were part of the rebel Central League, a body outside of Scottish Football League jurisdiction. He gained the first six of his twelve full Scotland caps while playing with Dunfermline. His debut came in a 1-1 draw with Wales at Ninian Park on 26 February 1920, and he opened his Scotland account in his second appearance, scoring the first goal in a 3-0 win over Northern Ireland at Parkhead on 13 March.
When the Central League returned to SFL control in 1921, all players previously contracted to a Scottish or English League side were obliged to return to whichever side held their registration and Wilson rejoined Middlesbrough in time for the 1921/22 season.
After returning to Ayresome Park he scored fifty-one goals in 77 League games. In 1923/24, his final season for Boro, he scored eight goals in thirteen games, enough to make him the club's leading scorer for the season despite leaving in November. He joined First Division Chelsea for a then record fee of £6,500, and repaid a chunk of that money by scoring five goals in nineteen games to top their scoring charts. Ironically, Middlesbrough and Chelsea were both relegated to the Second Division at the end of the season.
He helped Chelsea regain their First Division spot in 1930 and scored 59 goals in 238 League appearances over eight years for the Stamford Bridge outfit.
Wilson signed for Queens Park Rangers of the Third Division South early in 1931/32. He scored three goals in twenty League games before leaving at the end of the season to joined French side SC Nimes, where he spent two years. He returned to England in 1934, managing Walsall for three years before coaching at a number of clubs, including Gravesend and Northfleet and Chelsea.
A gifted and versatile sportsman, Wilson represented England at Lawn Bowls, had a single digit golf handicap and made century breaks at snooker.
He died on 15 October 1973.