Bobby Ancell is the latest inductee to the 2023 Hall of Fame.
Bobby was born in Dumfries on 16 June 1911 and began his footballing career with Lockerbie side Mid Annandale.
Having impressed, he was scouted and later signed for St Mirren in 1930 where he went on to make his first-team debut later that season. A left-back by trade, Bobby made a winning start to life in Paisley with a 3-1 win.
Gifted with technical ability on the ball, Bobby was hugely an impressive full-back in the 1930’s as he went against the norm of just clearing the ball.
Cementing his place in the St Mirren side, he would go on to feature in 188 league games and his skilful play meant he was scouted by numerous clubs, one of which was Newcastle who paid £2,500 for Bobby’s services in 1936.
Thrown straight into the team, Bobby made his debut for the Toon just a day after his transfer which was the first of 105 appearances for Newcastle.
He earned his first Scotland cap in his time in England and began his transition into the coaching world during the war.
Spells with Dundee and Aberdeen as a player/coach would follow next before a move to Berwick Rangers and Dunfermline in 1955.
His relationship with Motherwell started in July of that year, when he was named manager of the club.
A successful start to life in ML1, Bobby won his first six games, where his side scored 24 whilst only conceding an impressive three.
He applied his managerial philosophy, which was to bring in promising, young players. He would sign players that he considered were ‘men of character’ and ‘footballers as opposed to full-back and forwards as such.’
His coaching approach seen rewards start to come to fruition in the 1958-59 season, when a team that was jam packed with star youngsters, finished third in the table behind Rangers and Hearts.
Featuring players such as Willie McSeveney, Charlie Aitken, John Martis and Ian St John, Bobby’s Motherwell team was composed of Scottish born and bred talent that provided rich entrainment for supporters with skilful and attacking football.
In 1958, their ages were remarkably young; Willie Hunter & John Martis 18, Billy Reid 19, Ian St John 20, Andy Weir 21, Pat Quinn 22, he nurtured young talent that would go on to become legends of the club themselves.
Bobby had become a MFC legend and the Ancell Babes name was born, with his side playing, as some described, “the most attractive football in Scotland.”
Continuing to nurture young talent, Bobby left for pastures new in 1965 where he described his move away as “I have reached a stage where perhaps the people need a new face” which drew his ten years as the Fir Park boss to a close.
Bobby passed away on 5 July 1987 at the age of 76.
He may not have one silverware in his time at Motherwell but he did discover and trust one of our most vital principals as club in playing and developing young footballers to make them better players and men. He built and managed one of the most memorable Motherwell sides in our history.
Managing 438 games for Motherwell we want to thank him and ensure he is eternally remember as a true legend of the club. To do that, he takes his rightful place in the MFC hall of fame.
We will never forget those who have forged the path to where the club sits at present day. Some with us and some sadly not, we want to come together to celebrate the proud history we have at Motherwell Football Club.
This year, the event will take place at Dalziel Park Hotel on Friday 17 November, with host Tam Cowan inducting five new names.
If you would like to attend our night of celebration, tickets cost £66 for adults and £30 for children under the age of 12 are on sale now.
You can buy tickets for the dinner online or contact the commercial department on 01698 338011.
Please note than some of the colourful language on the night may not be appropriate for young children or those easily offended.