Andrew Watson is one of the most important figures in football history and is considered the first black international footballer, the first black player to captain his country and the sport’s first black driver.
And on Tuesday, exactly 138 years after he first played for Queen’s Park, the pivotal figure – who played for Scotland between 1881 and 1882 – will be honored by Google.
Watson is featured on the Google homepage logo, also known as Google Doodle, which the search engine regularly updates to commemorate key achievements and dates throughout the calendar year. Sportsmail explains below who Watson is and what his meaning is.
Andrew Watson (top center) is one of the most influential black players in football history
Who is Andrew Watson?
As mentioned, Watson has made significant football history by becoming the first black international player, the first black footballer to captain his country and the first black football manager in history.
Born in Georgetown, the capital of Guyana, in 1856, Watson spent his early years in South America with his British Guyanese mother, Hannah Rose, his wealthy Scottish businessman, father, Peter Miller Watson, and his older sister, Annetta.
Watson would move to the UK with his father and sister at the age of five, leaving his mother behind.
The former Scottish international will be honored by Google on Tuesday 18 October
He spent his childhood in West Yorkshire, studying at Heath Grammar School in Halifax, before traveling to London to study at King’s College School.
Watson, although he developed a love of football in London, was relatively inexperienced when he moved to Scotland to study natural philosophy, mathematics and engineering at the University of Glasgow, where both his passion for the game and his skills really developed.
However, football was an amateur sport at this stage, so in addition to his games, Watson also started a warehouse wholesale business at the age of 21, having inherited his wealth after his father passed away eight years earlier.
Outside of football, Watson married twice, had two children with his first wife, before she died in 1882, and two with his second. He was also related through his father to the long-serving British Prime Minister.
Watson died of pneumonia in 1921 at the age of 64.
Watson’s Football Career
Of course Watson’s football career is what he’s known for – although it’s not the only sport he was adept at, as he won countless high jump competitions as a youngster.
His breakthrough came when he played for Glasgow’s Maxwell, who he joined in 1876, where he began to make a name for himself as a flying fullback.
Watson then moved to Parkgrove FC, where he also served as the match secretary and became football’s first black administrator.
Watson captain Scotland to a 6-1 win over England on his debut
In April 1880 Watson would join Queen’s Park, one of the largest clubs in the UK at the time; they won the Scottish Cup in 1981 and 1982, making him the first black player to win a major trophy.
The pinnacle of his football career – representing Scotland – was not long after. Watson was captain on his debut in March 1881, beating rivals England 6-1 in London. It remains England’s most emphatic home defeat to this day.
After becoming the first black player to captain his country, Watson would again captain Scotland a few days later, leading his side to a 5-1 home win against Wales.
And Watson would get one last chance to play for Scotland – again against England – beating their rivals 5-1 in Glasgow in March 1882.
Watson’s career in Scotland would have continued had he not chosen to move to London in 1882, rendering him ineligible. He played for Swifts where he became the first black player to play in the English Cup before joining Corinthian FC.
Watson finished his career with Bootle in Liverpool, joining in 1887. They broke the mold by paying their top players at the time. And if Watson did get a paycheck, it would make him the UK’s first black professional footballer.
Why was Watson used as today’s Google Doodle?
Given Watson’s importance in football history, it’s no surprise that — exactly 138 years after he first played for Queen’s Park — Google chose to honor him.
They will also publish an online exhibition about his career.
The Doodle was illustrated by London-based guest artist Selom Sunu, who explained the meaning behind his illustration.
He said: “When I was asked to create a Doodle dedicated to Andrew’s achievements, it felt like a dream come true. After reading about his incredible life, I decided to illustrate not only his career, but also the trajectory of those who have followed his path.
London-based artist Selom Sunu described illustrating the Doodle as a ‘dream come true’
“So soon after the euphoric celebrations of the Lionesses’ victory, it was important for me to capture that connection in the Doodle – to show that one person’s contribution can set off a positive and lasting chain reaction. That’s why I came up with the idea of including other generations in the Doodle, and hence the original sketches depict Andrew himself with a soccer ball, proudly watching as other generations follow in his footsteps.
“I wanted to capture the beauty of football: the pace, the excitement, the vibrancy and most importantly the fun. Each character has their own experience with the ball, just as each footballer has their own unique style and strength.
“I feel very proud and humbled that I was chosen to create this Doodle, and I sincerely hope that people feel that it not only captures Andrew’s legacy, but the legacy of everyone who follows in his footsteps.”