Them and us – Bob Pryde (Blackburn Rovers and Wigan Athletic)

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This short trip to Ewood Park for a game in which a draw will be likely to save Latics’ top flight status and relegate their hosts, gives TNS the opportunity to look back at the career of Bob Pryde.  When Bob plied his trade at Ewood Park the prospect of a game between these local club and the repercussions of it were a million miles away!

Bob, full name, Robert Ireland Pryde was an uncompromising centre half born in Methill on 25th April 1913.  After being spotted playing local football he signed for St Johnstone in 1932.  He signed for Blackburn Rovers in May 1933.  His career at Ewood Park was interupted by a loan spell at Brechin City and the Second World War.  He played in the War Cup Final of 1940 at Wembley  in which Rovers were beaten 1-0 by West Ham United and then he enlisted into the Armed Forces.  He still made 174 war time appearances for Rovers, scoring 11 goals and he had a game for West Ham United and he also played for Liverpool in a war time derby game against Everton.

When hostilities had ceased he returned to Ewood Park to carry on his Rovers career.  In 1946 he made the first of his two English Football League representative appearances and in those days it was rare indeed for a Scot to feature in that type of game, because such games were used as practice by the national team.  The game was against the League of Ireland representatives at Dalymount Park in Dublin and also playing in the English team were Stan Mortensen and Stanley Mattews.  In total he made 320 league appearances for Blackburn Rovers, scoring 11 league goals.

He arrived at Springfield Park as player manager at the start of season 1949/50 and he made his Latics league debut on the opening day of the season on 20th August 1949 against Barrow Reserves in a Lancashire Combination fixture at Springfield Park.  The game resulted in a 2-2 draw and Billy Lomax, who was also making his debut, scored both the goals.  Bob’s team finished as runners up to Nelson in the title race and they were knocked out of the Lancashire Combination Cup at the semi final stage by, wait for it…  Nelson!  Bob played 22 league games that season, scoring twice (one of the goals was a penalty) and they were his only games for the club.

For the following season he concentrated solely on his managerial duties and Latics duly won the league title race with Nelson this time finishing runners up to the Blues.  The Lancashire Combination Cup run was however, ended by Nelson, this time at the Final stage!  Nelson proved in the end to be Bob’s nemesis because on 12th January 1952 Latics were beaten 3-0 by Nelson away from home and immediately after the game he handed in his resignation.  As a result, Latics who were doing very well in the League, slipped to finish the season in fourth place behind, yes, Nelson, Lancasster City and Netherfield Town.  The club didn’t employ another manager until the start of the following season

Bob retired from the game following his spell at Latics and he passed away in June 1998.

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