Samuel Aitken

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Sam Aitken
Sam Aitken, Ayr FC (1902).jpg
1902 sketch from Dundee Evening Post
Personal information
Full name Samuel Aitken
Date of birth 19 May 1878
Place of birth Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland
Date of death 7 March 1930(1930-03-07) (aged 51)
Place of death Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland
Position(s) Defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1897–1903 Ayr 99 (18)
1903–1910 Middlesbrough 227 (6)
1910–1912 Raith Rovers 62 (2)
1912–1913 Ayr United 24 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Samuel Aitken (19 May 1878 – 7 March 1930) was a Scottish footballer who played in the Football League for Ayr and Middlesbrough before the First World War.[1]

Aitken was born in Ayr, the son of John Aitken, a carter, and Jessie Mitchell Aitken.[2]

Aitken served as captain for the Ayr team through 1903, and was described by the Dundee Evening Telegraph in 1902, "Sam Aitken at centre half-back is of the Anderson, Kilmarnock, type, here, there, and everywhere following up the ball, never seeming to be content unless in close touch with operations."[3]

Aitken transferred to Middlesbrough in mid-1903, but eventually returned to Ayr in 1912. By then into his early 30s, he was still in top form, as was noted by an English newspaper: "Sam Aitken, late of Middlesbrough and Raith Rovers, is playing a great game at centre-half for Ayr United in his native town. He is still fit for First League football, and Raith Rovers have not an abler defender than their old captain."[4] However, he was released from Ayr in 1913. In September 1913, the Dundee Courier bemoaned, "Whatever were Ayr United thinking about when they let Sam Aitken go? His shoes have not been filled."[5]

Aitken then fought in the First World War, serving with the King's Own Scottish Borderers. His eyesight declined and he was nearly completely blind by May 1924, when the Scottish Football Association council voted to give him £10 in aid (equivalent to £1,000 in 2020).[6] His blindness may have been caused by a war injury, as in early 1925, he was admitted to St Dunstan's nursing home, then at Winfield House in Regent's Park.[7] He died five years later. At the first Ayr F.C. match after his death, the players wore black arm bands and the flag at Somerset Park flew at half-mast in his honour.[8]


  1. ^ Joyce, Michael: The Football League player's records 1888 to 1939 (ISBN 1899468676).
  2. ^ "1878 AITKEN, SAMUEL (Statutory registers Births 578/ 300)". Scotland's People. National Records of Scotland. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  3. ^ "The Scottish Cup Surprises". Dundee Evening Telegraph. 13 January 1902. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Our Scottish Letter. Interesting Items from Over the Border". Sheffield Star Green 'Un. Sheffield, England. 14 September 1912. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Football Facts". Dundee Courier. 3 September 1913. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  6. ^ "S.F.A.'s Short Meeting". Dundee Courier. 29 May 1924. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  7. ^ "Football – Snapshots". Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian. 14 February 1925. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  8. ^ "Points for Ayr United". The Scotsman. 10 March 1930. Retrieved 6 August 2017.