Bobby Irvine (footballer, born 1942)

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Bobby Irvine
Personal information
Full name Robert James Irvine[1]
Date of birth (1942-06-18) 18 June 1942 (age 75)[1]
Place of birth Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland[1]
Playing position Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
Carrick Technical School
1957–1963 Linfield
1963–1966 Stoke City 25 (0)
1966–1967 Altrincham
1967–1974 Wellington Town/Telford United
National team
1962–1965 Northern Ireland 8 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Robert James "Bobby" Irvine (born 18 June 1942) is a former Northern Irish footballer who played in the Football League for Stoke City.[1] His younger brother Willie was a star striker for Burnley in the sixties.

Club career[edit]


Irvine was signed by Linfield as a teenager in 1957 from Carrick Tech and established himself in the first team at Windsor Park when at 16. In the fifties, he featured in some of the south Belfast club's earliest European Cup games.[2] Irvine found disfavour with the Linfield selection committee during the 1960–61 season and at one stage it seemed he would be released.[3]

Stoke City[edit]

In June 1963 Irvine was transferred to Stoke City for £6,000 and made his debut in the opening game of the season, a 2–1 defeat of Spurs. He lost his place after seven games, however, to Lawrie Leslie and remained out of the side for the most of the season. Irvine did pick up a League Cup runners-up medal at the end of his first season. He was largely out of favour in 1964–65, making just one league appearance but returned to the first team the following year. Irvine was given the honour of captaining Stoke in a League Cup tie against Burnley, who were captained in that game by his brother Willie. The idea of them both captaining their sides came from Clarets' manager Harry Potts.[4] The brothers met in the centre circle to shake hands and toss the coin and then played against each other for the first time since schooldays.[5] Irvine's career at the Victoria Ground was brought to an end after an FA Cup third round game against Walsall.[1] He gave away a penalty that helped the Third Division side to a 2–0 win. Furious with Irvine's antics, manager Tony Waddington never picked him again.[6]

International career[edit]

Irvine was capped at both schoolboy and Under 23 level for Northern Ireland before making his senior debut against the Netherlands in Rotterdam in 1962. He was brought in to replace Harry Gregg and would keep his place for the next six international matches. Irvine made his eighth and final international appearance in 1965 against Wales.

Career statistics[edit]

Club Season Division League FA Cup League Cup Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Stoke City[1] 1963–64 First Division 11 0 0 0 1 0 12 0
1964–65 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 0
1965–66 13 0 1 0 3 0 17 0
Career Total 25 0 1 0 5 0 31 0


  1. ^ a b c d e f Matthews, Tony (1994). The Encyclopaedia of Stoke City. Lion Press. ISBN 0-9524151-0-0. 
  2. ^ Northern Ireland's Footballing Greats
  3. ^ Ibid
  4. ^ Clarets Mad
  5. ^ Ibid
  6. ^ NIFG

External links[edit]