Campbell Forsyth

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Campbell Forsyth
Personal information
Full name Robert Campbell Forsyth[1]
Date of birth (1939-05-05) 5 May 1939 (age 78)
Place of birth Plean, Stirlingshire, Scotland
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1955–1960 St Mirren 104 (0)
1960–1965 Kilmarnock 75 (0)
1965–1968 Southampton 48 (0)
Total 227 (0)
National team
1964 Scotland 4 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Robert Campbell Forsyth (born 5 May 1939) is a retired Scottish footballer, who played as a goalkeeper for St Mirren, Kilmarnock and Southampton. He also made four appearances for Scotland in 1964.

Football career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Born in Plean, then in Stirlingshire, Forsyth was briefly a trainee at nearby Falkirk before joining Junior Football club Shettleston from the east end of Glasgow.[2] He joined St Mirren in April 1955, shortly before his 16th birthday, where he stayed for five years, making over 100 first-team appearances.


In November 1960, he joined Kilmarnock; at the end of his first season with "Killie", the club gained the runners-up position in the Scottish League Division One. After finishing fifth in 1962, Kilmarnock were again runners-up in both 1963 and 1964, but in 1965 they finally claimed the title. Although Campbell had been the first-choice keeper throughout most of the championship-winning season, an ankle injury during the run-in put him out of the last few weeks of the season, with Bobby Ferguson replacing him for the last-day triumph.[3]

Earlier in the championship-winning season, Forsyth had been involved in Kilmarnock's first-ever European tie, against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. Having lost the first leg 3–0, Kilmarnock pulled off a 5–1 victory in the second leg, with Forsyth making a "great save from Schämer's boot".[4] Unfortunately, in the next round Kilmarnock went down 6–1 on aggregate to Everton.

Campbell made his international debut for Scotland in a memorable 1–0 win over England on 11 April 1964, in front of over 133,000 fans at Hampden Park. England had arrived at Hampden after a run of six consecutive wins, in which they had scored 28 goals, yet Campbell and the Scottish defence kept a clean sheet with Alan Gilzean scoring the only goal of the match after 72 minutes.[5]

Campbell made three further appearances for Scotland at the end of 1964, but as a result of his ankle injury he lost his place to veteran Bill Brown.


In December 1965, he moved to England when he was signed by Southampton, then in the Football League Second Division, for a fee of £10,000. The deal had been arranged by manager Ted Bates some weeks earlier, but had been "put on ice" while Kilmarnock remained in the European Cup. Their defeat by Real Madrid in the First round proper enabled the deal to be finalised.[6] Campbell immediately replaced Tony Godfrey and settled in quickly at The Dell, with his fine displays between the posts playing a prominent part in "The Saints" successful push for promotion.[2]

He made his Southampton debut within days of his signing, in a 4–1 victory over Plymouth Argyle on 11 December.[6] At the time of his debut, Southampton were seventh in the table, having lost seven of their first twenty games, but with only three further defeats, they ended the season as runners-up, one point ahead of Coventry City, thus securing promotion to the First Division for the first time in the club's history.[7]

Forsyth retained the No. 1 shirt for the start of the Saints' debut season in the top flight but in the eighth game of the season, on 17 September 1966, he broke a leg in a collision with Denis Hollywood and Liverpool's Ian Callaghan, being replaced in goal by David Webb.[8] With the only other professional 'keeper available being 19-year-old Gerry Gurr who was not considered ready for the First Division, manager Ted Bates signed Dave MacLaren from Wolverhampton Wanderers for a fee of £5,000, despite his having conceded nine goals to the Saints almost exactly 12 months previously.[8]

By the start of the following season, Forsyth had fought his way back to fitness and was preferred to Eric Martin (who had been signed in March to strengthen the side). Forsyth was unable to re-discover his old form however, and was dropped in October after conceding a goal to Leicester City's 18-year-old goalkeeper, Peter Shilton. Forsyth misjudged Shilton's long punt upfield, which, instead of splashing harmlessly in the mud, spun off The Dell pitch and flew over Forsyth's head into the goal. "The Saints" lost the game 5–1.[2]

Martin played the next five games, but after three straight defeats, Forsyth was recalled but was unable to halt the club's slide down the table. Forsyth made his final Southampton appearance in a 5–3 defeat at home to Chelsea on 6 January 1968, in which he was blamed for two of Chelsea's goals.[9] After a spell in the reserves, Forsyth decided to retire in May 1968.[2]

International appearances[edit]

Forsyth made four appearances for Scotland as follows:

Date Venue Opponent Result[10] Goals Competition
11 April 1964 Hampden Park, Glasgow  England 1–0 0 British Home Championship
3 October 1964 Ninian Park, Cardiff  Wales 2–3 0 British Home Championship
21 October 1964 Hampden Park, Glasgow  Finland 3–1 0 World Cup qualification
25 November 1964 Hampden Park, Glasgow  Northern Ireland 3–2 0 British Home Championship

Later career[edit]

After retiring from football, Forsyth was employed by the pub and brewery chain, Watney, as a representative for 28 years. He then became a corporate host for the Marriott hotel and country club at Dalmahoy near Edinburgh.[2]

He also continued to serve Southampton as a scout; amongst the players that he recommended to the club were Jim Steele and Gerry O'Brien.[2]




  1. ^ "Campbell Forsyth". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Holley, Duncan; Chalk, Gary (2003). In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. Hagiology Publishing. p. 512. ISBN 0-9534474-3-X. 
  3. ^ "Killie Clinch Championship on the Final Day!". Retrieved 9 April 2010. 
  4. ^ "Dramatic Four Goal Deficit Comeback Sees Killie Win Their First Euro Tie!". 22 September 1964. Retrieved 9 April 2010. 
  5. ^ "Sweet victory for the Scots at rain-swept Hampden". 11 April 1964. Retrieved 9 April 2010. 
  6. ^ a b In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. p. 83. 
  7. ^ In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. pp. 86–87. 
  8. ^ a b In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. p. 89. 
  9. ^ In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. p. 95. 
  10. ^ Scotland score first

External links[edit]