Robert Kay (footballer)

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Robert Kay
Personal information
Place of birth England
Playing position Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1888–1889 Burnley 5 (0)
1889 Burnley Union Star ? (?)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Robert Kay was an English professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper. He played five games for Burnley in the first-ever season of the Football League.


Robert Kay made his debut on 29-Sep-1888 at Stoney Lane, West Bromwich, then home of West Bromwich Albion. Robert Kay, an amateur footballer, came into the side at goalkeeper and replaced William Smith who had already conceded 12 goals in 3 games. Burnley had a goalkeeper problem in 1888-1889 as Robert Kay was the 2nd of three goalkeepers they used in that inaugural season. Burnley got off to a great start and built up a 2-0 lead. Albion were well marshalled by the Burnley defence but in the last five minutes of the half Albion got two goals and were level. However, before half-time Burnley re-established their lead and went in 3-2 up. The 2nd half belonged to Albion. Kay saved well from Albion inside-left, Tom Pearson. Eventually Albion equalised and then Albion pursued a winner. They got a winner but it was controversial. In the last minute Albion winger B Shaw claimed to have placed a shot under the Burnley crossbar for the winner. This was hotly disputed by the Burnley players, especially Robert Kay who thought he had made a save. However, referee, Mr Jope, ruled that the ball had gone under and so Albion won 4-3.[1]

Kay made five consecutive appearances that season and shipped 19 goals. So, after the disastrous 6-1 hammering at Trent Bridge, Nottingham by Notts County Kay was dropped and never played League football again. In 1889 he left Burnley to play for Burnley Union Star. Burnley finished 9th and conceded 62 goals in 22 games, the second worst that season.[2]


  1. ^ Metcalf, Mark (2013). The Origins of the Football League. Amberley. ISBN 978 1 4456 1881 4. 
  2. ^ "English National Football Archive". Retrieved 2018-01-08.  (registration & fee required)
  • Joyce, Michael (2004). Football League Players' Records 1888-1939.