Chris Anderson (footballer)

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For the English footballer born 1990, see Christopher Anderson (footballer).
Chris Anderson
Personal information
Full name Christopher Anderson
Date of birth (1925-08-30)30 August 1925
Place of birth Aberdeen, Scotland
Date of death May 1986 (aged 60–61)
Place of death Aberdeen, Scotland
Playing position Wing half
Youth career
Mugiemoss
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1946–1947 Hartlepool United 2 (0)
1948–1953 Aberdeen 71 (1)
1953–1957 Arbroath 56 (2)
Total 129 (3)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Chris Anderson OBE (30 August 1925 – 27 May 1986) was a Scottish footballer, educator and football administrator. He is best remembered for his time as Vice-Chairman of Aberdeen F.C., where he was regarded as one of the game's most forward-thinking and innovative characters. He was inducted into the Aberdeen FC "Hall of Fame" as one of the founding members in 2003.

Playing and coaching career[edit]

Anderson was born and grew up in Aberdeen, and showed promise as a player from an early age. He was capped by Scotland Schoolboys and joined the Junior team Mugiemoss as a teenager. Bill Struth, manager of Rangers, expressed an interest in the young Anderson, but instead he signed for his local team in 1943.[1]

Wartime delayed his senior debut until 1948, and his time as a player at Pittodrie coincided with a lean period in the club's fortunes. One of the few highlights of his time there as a player was a Scottish Cup tie in 1950 against Celtic at Parkhead, in which Anderson scored the only goal. This was the first time that Aberdeen had beaten Celtic in a cup tie in Glasgow.[2]

During his time as an Aberdeen player, Anderson spent a short period, most likely on loan[citation needed], at Hartlepools United, playing only two games for the English club.[3] According to the Aberdeen official website,[4] he was only denied senior international honours by a knee injury sustained playing against Celtic. In 1953, Anderson was transferred to Arbroath, where he ended his playing career.[5]

Anderson was forced to give up the game in 1956 following a series of injuries, but stayed with Arbroath as assistant to the manager, Tommy Gray.[6] The following season, he was appointed chief coach (rather than manager) in place of Gray, and steered Arbroath to promotion in 1958–59. The following campaign in the first division ended in relegation, however, and Anderson was replaced as manager by John Prentice before the end of the season.[7][8][9]

Educator and Administrator[edit]

Anderson joined the board of directors at Aberdeen in 1967, and was made vice-chairman three years later.[4] He also had a distinguished career in education, and before his retirement he was secretary of RGIT, a prominent technology college, later granted university status. His OBE was awarded for services to both education and sport, but it is as a football administrator and visionary that he is best known.

Anderson's time on the board at Aberdeen coincided with the most successful period in the club's history, and he is considered to have been a driving force behind that success.[10] As well as being instrumental in the development of Pittodrie as one of the first all-seater stadia in Britain, he was a prime mover in the creation of the Scottish Premier Division in 1975, a response to the declining attendances of the time.

As a member of the Aberdeen board, he was responsible for the appointment of Alex Ferguson as manager in 1978. Ferguson noted that

He was a gentleman, and his unfailingly progressive thinking brought huge benefits to the club[11]

Death[edit]

Anderson took early retirement from his post at RGIT in 1984, intending to focus more of his energies on running the football club as chairman. However, following an operation to correct a hernia in 1984, he noticed a stiffness in his right side, which was diagnosed as motor neurone disease. He continued to serve on the Aberdeen board in spite of his increasing disability, and was still well enough to attend the 1985 Scottish League Cup Final victory over Hibs. He realised that this would be his last visit to Hampden Park:

When I went to Hampden for the League Cup final in October and Willie Miller stepped up to receive the trophy, I found myself looking round the great stadium and knowing it was the last time I would see it.[12]

By the time of the 1986 Scottish Cup Final, later that season, Anderson was unable to move independently, and was only able to communicate with technological assistance. He died 17 days later, at the age of 61.[13]

The Chris Anderson Stadium in Aberdeen is named after him.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Webster, Jack (2003). The First 100 Years of The Dons: the official history of Aberdeen Football Club 1903 – 2003. Hodder and Stoughton. p. 240. ISBN 0-340-82344-5. 
  2. ^ Webster, Jack (2003). The First 100 Years of The Dons: the official history of Aberdeen Football Club 1903 – 2003. Hodder and Stoughton. pp. 240–241. ISBN 0-340-82344-5. 
  3. ^ "In the Mad Crowd, A Hartlepool United resource – Chris Anderson
  4. ^ a b [1] Red Web – Aberdeen Hall of Fame: Chris Anderson] (registration needed)
  5. ^ Webster, Jack (2003). The First 100 Years of The Dons: the official history of Aberdeen Football Club 1903 – 2003. Hodder and Stoughton. p. 241. ISBN 0-340-82344-5. 
  6. ^ A concise post war history of the Red Lichties – 1956–57
  7. ^ A concise post war history of the Red Lichties – 1957–58
  8. ^ A concise post war history of the Red Lichties – 1958–59
  9. ^ A concise post war history of the Red Lichties – 1959–60
  10. ^ Webster, Jack (2003). The First 100 Years of The Dons: the official history of Aberdeen Football Club 1903 – 2003. Hodder and Stoughton. p. 305. ISBN 0-340-82344-5. 
  11. ^ Ferguson, Alex (2000). Managing My Life: My Autobiography. Coronet/Hodder and Stoughton. p. 232. ISBN 0-340-72856-6. 
  12. ^ Quoted in Webster, Jack (2003). The First 100 Years of The Dons: the official history of Aberdeen Football Club 1903 – 2003. Hodder and Stoughton. p. 307. ISBN 0-340-82344-5. 
  13. ^ Webster, Jack (2003). The First 100 Years of The Dons: the official history of Aberdeen Football Club 1903 – 2003. Hodder and Stoughton. p. 308. ISBN 0-340-82344-5.