Jimmy Philip

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Jimmy Philip (18??-1930) was the very first manager of Scottish football club Aberdeen FC. He was in charge of the club from its foundation in 1903 until his retirement in 1924. He died in a car crash in Belfast in 1930.

Early life[edit]

Little is recorded about Philip's early life, but it is known that he was a native Aberdonian, that he had a wide range of sporting interests, and that he had proposed to underwrite the very first overseas tour by a Scottish international team. He was also a referee, although by profession he was a wood-turner.[1]

Aberdeen FC manager[edit]

Philip was appointed part-time manager for the first competitive game of the new club, a 1-1 draw with Stenhousemuir on 15 August 1903. In that first season, Aberdeen won the Aberdeenshire Cup, and subsequently made a bid to be elected to the Scottish League First Division. Philip was despatched to Glasgow to make the club's case, and returned with the promise of enough support. However, the final decision of the existing league members was to elect Aberdeen to the Second Division.

During that second season, the Qualifying Cup was won at Dens Park in Dundee, a 2-0 victory over Renton, former Scottish Cup holders. Progress in the league was not so straightforward, and the club ended the season in seventh place of twelve. However, a proposal by Celtic to expand Division 1 to 16 clubs meant that places were available for the 1905-06 season, and Aberdeen were duly elected.

Thereafter, progress was steady rather than spectacular, the club finishing in 12th position in the next two seasons, although there was a Scottish Cup semi-final in 1908, in which Celtic prevailed at Pittodrie. For the next few seasons, Aberdeen seem to have been genuine contenders for League honours, topping the table on more than one occasion, but never at season's end. In the 1910-11 season, both Rangers and Celtic were beaten at Pittodrie for the first time, and another Cup semi-final followed. That game, too, was lost to Celtic, but the strength of the side that season led to an invitation to a close season tour of Bohemia, Moravia, and Poland.

After the end of the 1911-12 season, Philip served as a referee at the Olympic Games in Stockholm.

In April 1920, Philip's position became full-time,[1] in spite of the relative penury of the club at this time, but during wartime, the position reverted to part-time. The manager and players struggled on through the early years of the war, the team often made up of locally billeted servicemen, but by early 1917, the strain on finances, and the lack of public enthusiasm was too much, and the club withdrew from competition.

On the resumption of football in 1919, Philip was offered his old, full-time post at a salary of £350 per annum; a move which caused some controversy among the directors at the time. Philip accepted, and prepared to take the club forward into the new decade.

The early 1920s proved no more fruitful for Philip and his team than the prewar era, but one record was set which still stands as of 2017 - Aberdeen's record victory of 13-0 over Peterhead in 1923. There were two further unsuccessful Cup semi-finals, in 1922 and 1924, but Philip's reign came to an end with no senior silverware to show for it.

Final years[edit]

Philip retired as Aberdeen manager at the end of the 1923-24 season, becoming a director, and was also involved with the Clan MacGregor. He died in a road traffic accident in Belfast in 1930.[1]

Managerial Honours[edit]


Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 6 December 2013.
Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Aberdeen 1903 1924 644 221 172 251 34.32


  1. ^ a b c "Jimmy Philip". Aberdeen FC. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  • Webster, Jack (2003). The First 100 years of The Dons: The official history of Aberdeen Football Club 1903 - 2003. Hodder & Stoughton, London. ISBN 0-340-82344-5.