Name: Andrew Anderson
Date of Birth: 1883
Place of Birth: Glasgow, Scotland
Position: Outside Left
Signed: October 1904 from Ashfield
Departed: May 1908 to Newcastle United
Andrew Anderson is something of a mystery considering the outside left played a significant part in Newcastle United becoming champions of England at the end of the 1908/09 season following his move from Saints prior to the start of that campaign.
You would expect to find substantial information available for someone of this calibre, however even pinpointing where and when Anderson was precisely born has been near on impossible due to the number of people with the same name born in and around the Paisley area during his likely time of birth (1894 give or take) but the talented winger deserves mentioned given his undoubted pedigree.
Anderson initially played for Glasgow Juniors club, Ashfield, and was signed by Saints in October 1904, scoring on his debut against Dundee at Love Street during a 1-1 draw. This would be his only goal during a maiden professional season where Saints finished tenth out of fourteen clubs, but throughout his time in Paisley, the young winger would get progressively better before his big money move to England.
Saints improved the following season finishing eighth of the now sixteen top-flight, and Anderson increased his goal tally to five this campaign with the highlight being a fine double at Love Street on the 13th January 1906 that helped Saints to a 3-2 win over Rangers.
This trend of improvement continued in the 1906/07 season, when Saints moved up to seventh place with the league now containing eighteen clubs. Anderson managed his best total to date in a Saints shirt, scoring eight times in the league as the side finished this season in extremely encouraging fashion, losing just one of the last fourteen matches and continued this form into the following campaign with Anderson the inspiration.
Saints were unbeaten eleven matches into the 1907/08 season, winning eight times and topping the first division in mid to late October 1907 due to this scintillating return where only three points had been dropped from a possible sixteen. Anderson was in sensational form during this period and scored in seven of these eleven matches, including a double in the 2-0 win over Queens Park on the 5th of October.
As so often happened, Saints couldn’t keep this going in the league but as mentioned in the John McCartney section the one defeat in twenty-nine topflight matches stretching over the two seasons is some of the finest form in the entire history of the club at that level, and only possible due to the goals of Anderson. By the end of the season the winger was solely responsible for the team collecting eight points, the difference between finishing seventh and thirteenth.
One tournament where Saints form remained solid was the Scottish Cup. The club had never appeared in the final despite three semi appearances in the past nine seasons but this time they made it after beating Kilmarnock 2-0 after a replay in the penultimate round. Motherwell, Hearts and Third Lanark had also been beaten along the way, and this provided great distraction from the terrible league form which had only yielded four victories since the great start to the season ended in mid-October.
The team still finished seventh again however, but a meeting in the final against champions Celtic who were on the verge of clinching their fourth consecutive title was probably met with trepidation from the Saints players given the goalscoring powers of the prolific James Quinn who led the Parkhead attack.
Anderson started the match in his familiar number eleven shirt, but Saints were hit by stage fright and were completely overwhelmed as the Glaswegians strolled to a 5-1 victory which would have been worse for the heroics of keeper Jimmy Grant and captain Andrew Jackson.
The following month Anderson was sold to Newcastle United for a “substantial fee” and the player said to be “desirous” about the switch which would undoubtedly increase his weekly wage substantially despite the salary cap in England which was having disastrous results for the Geordies who had offered several first team stars the maximum allowed and still hadn’t agreed terms with them.
The winger is reported to have played a “significant” part in the fortunes of the North East club that season as they became champions of England, with Anderson credited with setting up many goals for his teammates with his “blistering pace” and “deft touch” looked upon favourably by the English press.
Anderson would spend four seasons at St James Park, but became a squad player in his later years at the club, scoring seven times in sixty-seven matches in total during his time in England before signing for Third Lanark in 1912. World War I would effectively end his playing career, but in 1919/20 Anderson returned to Paisley and signed for Abercorn, playing for the Abbies during their last ever season in football before the lease on their New Ralston Park ground in East Lane was terminated by the Paisley Burgh council leading to their sad demise in 1922.