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20 March 2020

Bob Holmes

Preston North End FC

7 appearances, 0 goals

P 7 W 6 D 1 L 0 F 11: A 7
93% successful


captain: three
minutes played:


Robert Holmes
Birth Sunday, 23 June 1867 in Preston, Lancashire [registered in Preston, September 1867].

According to the 1871 census, Robert is the oldest of three children to Thomas and Margaret (née Mayor). His father is a yachtsman, and they live at 13 Bird Street in Preston.

  According to the 1881 census, Robert, a plumber, is the oldest of four children living with their widowed father at 7 Kingswood Drive in Preston, along with two of his aunties. His father is an unemployed sailor.

According to the 1891 census, Robert is stated as being a professional footballer lodging with the Yates family at the Graper Inn, 42 Church Street in Preston.

Marriage to Sarah Smith, on Thursday, 26 April 1894 at St. Paul's Church, Preston [registered in Preston, June 1894].
Bob is stated as still living at 42 Church Street, and professed himself to be an athlete.
Sarah is a barmaid, living at 9 Grimshaw Street. Her father, John, is a publican.

According to the 1901 census, Robert is a licensed victualler and is married to Sarah with one daughter, Margaret (b.11 November 1894). They have two servants. Living at 9 Queen Street in Preston.


According to the 1911 census, Robert is a football trainer, still married with one daughter, and three boarders, two of them Scottish footballers, William Robertson and James Johnston, living at 266 Deepdale Road in Preston.

  According to the 1939 register, Robert is general labourer, still married to Sarah, three daughters, Margaret, Helen (b.5 May 1911) and the married Alice Askew (b.31 May 1901). They still live at 266 Deepdale Road.
Death Wednesday evening, 16 November 1955 at Preston Royal Infirmary, aged 88 years 146 days [registered in Preston, December 1955].
A couple of reports state he died on the 16th, a fair few more state he died on the 17th. However, his probate and inquest state the 16th.


"Last of 'Invincibles,' Bob Holmes, dies.
"A GREAT footballer of the old days, Mr. Bob Holmes, died at his native Preston to-day, aged 87. He played as a full back for England seven times and was the last surviving member of the famed North End 'Invincibles' team of 1888-89 that accomplished the rare double of winning both League and Cup honours in one season. Aston Villa did likewise in 1897 and the feat has not been achieved since.
"Mr. Holmes collapsed in the yard of his home on Tuesday and was admitted to the Royal Infirmary with a broken leg. An inquest will be held tomorrow.
"Bob Holmes (writes Walter Pilkington) was a marvel of physical fitness for his age. When well in the 80's, he still had the energy and alive faculties of many a man 20 years his junior, and until his powers began to fade some months ago, was not troubled by his advancing years, and still took as keen an interest in sport as anyone.
"He had followed the fortunes of his beloved North End, man and boy, for over 70 years. He was a player at Deepdale in his teens, and an assistant groundsman there when well past his normal retiring age. His love of cricket was hardly less fervent.
"He worked for Preston Cricket Club for a long time after his playing days had finished as assistant to groundsman Joe Wormald at the West Cliff ground. Quite recently a match organised by the club was played for his benefit.
"Holmes' pride in Preston North End transcended all else. He played in one Cup Final and helped to bring the trophy to Preston. As an old player, he was the club's guest at four other finals.
"His greatest disappointment was that he did not see Tom Finney on the winning side at Wembley two years ago. He felt it as keenly as if he had been one of the losers himself.
"He was the proud possessor of a special cap awarded by England for playing against Scotland in three successive matches, yet he was hardly less proud of playing at full back for both England and Preston, alongside another Prestonian, the late Mr. Bob Howarth."
Lancashire Evening Post, Thursday, 17 November 1955.
  "'Accidental death' verdict.
"A verdict of 'Accidental death' was recorded at a Preston inquest, to-day, on 88-year-old Mr. Bob Holmes, who died in Preston Royal Infirmary on Wednesday night. Miss Helen Holmes said she lived with her father, a widower, at 266, Deepdale-road, Preston. On Tuesday, he went into the yard at the back of the house and shortly afterwards she heard a bang and her father calling to her. He was lying on the ground and said his legs had given way. He was taken to Preston Royal Infirmary with a fractured right thigh. Dr. Charles S. Fowler, senior house officer, said Mr. Holmes' condition deteriorated rapidly. The cause of death was inter-cranial haemorrhage accelerated by shock. The Coroner (Mr. W. Blackhurst), said Mr. Holmes probably had a dizzy spell which caused him to fall."
- Lancashire Evening Post, Saturday, 19 November 1955
  "HOLMES.―The DAUGHTERS of the late ROBERT HOLMES desire to express sincere Thanks and Appreciation to all Relatives, Friends, Neighbours, the Rev. J. C. H. A. Fordham, M.B.E., Doctors and ursing Staff of Preston Royal Infirmary, Directors, Players and Staff of Preston North End Football Club, Committee and Players and Staff, Preston Cricket Club, and Messrs. R. Moorcroft for all kind expressions of sympathy, letters of condolence, prayers and beautiful floral tributes received during their sad loss of a very dear one.―266 Deepdale-road, Preston." - Lancashire Evening Post, Wednesday, 23 November 1955
Probate "HOLMES Robert of 266 Deepdale-road Preston Lancashire died 16 November 1955 at The Royal Infirmary Preston Administration (with Will) Lancaster 10 February to Margaret Holmes and Helen Holmes spinsters and Alice Ellison Askew (wife of Gilbert Wilson Askew).
Effects £1616 1s."


Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990] &

Playing Career

Club(s) Began his playing career with Preston Olympic FC, and joined Preston North End FC in 1884, Holmes retired from professional football in May 1900 and was reinstated as an amateur and played his final league game in Division Two on 26th December 1902 against Manchester City FC after a two year absence. City won 2-0. He was also placed on the Football League referees' list and remained with North End as a trainer. 
League History
300 appearances, 1 goal
Preston North End FC 1888-1902 300 appearances, one goal
debut: 8 September 1888 Preston North End FC 5 Burnley FC 2.
only goal: 19 October 1895 Preston North End FC 1 Burnley FC 1.
last (second division): 26 December 1902 Preston North End FC 0 Manchester City FC 2.
Club honours FA Cup runners-up 1887-88, winners 1888-89 (five appearances, one goal);
Football League Champions
1888-89 (22 apps), 1889-90 (18), runners-up 1890-91 (22), 1891-92 (25), Division One runners-up 1892-93 (28);
Individual honours Football League (three appearances);
Lancashire FA (1886);
Distinctions Holmes was the last of the players who performed in the first League season of 1888-89 to retire, when he did so in 1900.
He was the last 'Invincible' to die, and the sole survivor for over eleven years, after Sam Thompson died on 23 December 1943.
Height/Weight 5' 8½", 11st 7lbs [1888], 5' 8" [1889]


Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990] & ENFA.

Management Career

Club(s) Holmes worked as a trainer for Preston North End FC after he gave up playing, and was then appointed by Bradford City AFC in the same capacity from 18 May 1904 up until becoming trainer/manager of Blackburn Rovers FC from April 1905 until he announced his retirement on 30 October 1913. Also coached at several public schools.
Club honours Football League Champions 1911-12;

England Career

Player number One of five who became the 147th player (148) to appear for England.
Position(s) Right-half, right/left-back;
First match No. 34, 7 April 1888, Ireland 1 England 5, a British Championship match at Ulster Cricket Ground, Ballynafeigh Park, Belfast, aged 20 years 289 days.
Last match No. 53, 9 March 1895, England 9 Ireland 0, a British Championship match at Derbyshire County Cricket Ground, Nottingham Road, Derby, aged 27 years 259 days.
Major tournaments British Championship 1887-88, 1890-91, 1891-92, 1892-93, 1893-94, 1894-95;
Team honours British Championship winners 1887-88, 1890-91, 1891-92, 1892-93, 1894-95;
Individual honours He was the designated trainer for England against Ireland in 1906 and also the 1908 Continental Tour.
Distinctions Holmes worked as a football coach and in April 1908, he was appointed trainer to the English amateur international team.

Beyond England

Holmes worked on the railways whilst playing his football with Preston North End FC. In December 1900, Holmes opened a business in Preston town centre. Also played a significant part in the foundation of the Association Footballer's Union, on 22 December 1897, it lasted two years. He returned to Deepdale and acted as an assistant groundsman, well into his sixties, as well as at the West Cliff ground, home of the Preston Cricket Club. - An English Football Internationalists' Who's Who. Douglas Lamming (1990). Hatton Press, p.135-6./Spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk.

The Numbers
parties Appearances comp. apps minutes captain
9 7 7 560 0 three
minutes are approximation, due to the fact that many matches rarely stuck to exactly ninety minutes long, allowing time for injuries and errors.
7 6 1 0 11 7 +4 0 2 1.571 1.00 92.9 +6

Match Record

Venue & Comp P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts % W/L
Home British Championship 4 4 0 0 22 3 +19 0 2 5.50 0.75 100.0 +4
Away 3 2 1 0 11 4 +7 0 0 3.667 1.333 83.3 +2

Tournament Record

British Championship Competition
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L
BC 1887-88 1 1 0 0 5 1 +4 0 0 5.00 1.00 100.0 +1
BC 1888-89 0 0 0 0 0 0 =0 0 0 0.00 0.00 00.0 =0
BC 1890-91 1 1 0 0 2 1 +1 0 0 2.00 1.00 100.0 +1
BC 1891-92 1 1 0 0 4 1 +3 0 0 4.00 1.00 100.0 +1
BC 1892-93 2 2 0 0 11 2 +9 0 1 5.50 1.00 100.0 +2
BC 1893-94 1 0 1 0 2 2 =0 0 0 2.00 2.00 50.0 =0
BC 1894-95 1 1 0 0 9 0 +9 0 1 9.00 0.00 100.0 +1
BC All 7 6 1 0 11 7 +4 0 2 1.571 1.00 92.9 +6

All Competition
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L
BC 7 6 1 0 11 7 +4 0 2 1.571 1.00 92.9 +6
7 6 1 0 11 7 +4 0 2 1.571 1.00 92.9 +6

Match History

 Club: Preston North End F.C. - seven full appearances (560 min)

F.A. International Select Committee - seven full appearances (560 min)x

Age 20
1 34 7 April 1888 - Ireland 1 England 5, Ulster Cricket Ground, Belfast BC AW Start rh

Age 21
36 2 March 1889 - England 6 Ireland 1, Anfield Road, Liverpool BC HW withdrew

Age 23
2 43 4 April 1891 - England 2 Scotland 1, Ewood Park, Blackburn BC HW Start lb

Age 24
45 5 March 1892 - Wales 0 England 2, The Racecourse, Wrexham BC AW withdrew
3 46 2 April 1892 - Scotland 1 England 4, Ibrox Park, Glasgow BC AW Start rb

Age 25
4 48 13 March 1893 - England 6 Wales 0, Victoria Ground, Stoke-upon-Trent BC HW captain lb
5 49 1 April 1893 - England 5 Scotland 2, Athletic Ground, Richmond BC HW Start rb

Age 26
6 50 3 March 1894 - Ireland 2 England 2, Cliftonville Gardens, Belfast BC AD captain
inj. off 20

Age 27
7 53 9 March 1895 - England 9 Ireland 0, Derbyshire Cricket Ground, Derby BC HW captain lb