Robin Blair Player Profile

Player Details

  • Full Name: Robert 'Robin' Blair
  • Born: November 10th, 1908 (Ballymena)
  • Died: June 5th, 1979 (Ballymena)
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • Signed: June 28th, 1929
  • First Manager: Selection Committee
  • Left Club: August 15th, 1936
  • Career Totals: 58 appearances
  • Also Played For: Coleraine, Sligo Rovers, Summerfield


Playing History

Season Win % Draw % Loss %
1935-1936 38 0 0 0 26.3% 18.4% 55.3%
1934-1935 10 0 0 0 50.0% 20.0% 30.0%
1931-1932 1 0 0 0 100.0% 0.0% 0.0%
1930-1931 9 0 0 0 66.7% 0.0% 33.3%
Totals: 58 (0) 0


 Apps = First Team Appearances (Sub Appearances) | Gls = Goals
 Cln = Clean Sheets | W/D/L - Games won, drawn or lost as percentage of games played in
 Yel = Yellow Cards/Cautions | Red = Red Cards/Dismissals

 Recent First Team Starts
 25/04/36 vs. Portadown (A) 0 - 2
 14/04/36 vs. Ards (H) 4 - 1
 13/04/36 vs. Bangor (A) 1 - 2
 28/03/36 vs. Glentoran (A) 0 - 4
 25/03/36 vs. Linfield (H) 3 - 0

 Recent First Team Goals
 None

 List of Goals Scored
None

 List of Games Played (click to expand)
 25/04/36 vs. Portadown (A)  0 - 2
 14/04/36 vs. Ards (H)  4 - 1
 13/04/36 vs. Bangor (A)  1 - 2
 28/03/36 vs. Glentoran (A)  0 - 4
 25/03/36 vs. Linfield (H)  3 - 0
 14/03/36 vs. Belfast Celtic (A)  2 - 2
 07/03/36 vs. Distillery (H)  2 - 4
 29/02/36 vs. Cliftonville (A)  2 - 2
 22/02/36 vs. Coleraine (H)  1 - 1
 15/02/36 vs. Derry City (A)  0 - 6
 12/02/36 Round 1 vs. Distillery (A)  1 - 4
 08/02/36 vs. Glenavon (H)  0 - 1
 01/02/36 Irish League vs. Larne (H)  3 - 2
 25/01/36 Irish League vs. Glenavon (A)  0 - 2
 18/01/36 Irish League vs. Glentoran (H)  2 - 4
 11/01/36 Round 1 vs. Portadown (A)  1 - 3
 04/01/36 Irish League vs. Coleraine (A)  0 - 1
 28/12/35 Irish League vs. Ards (H)  1 - 1
 26/12/35 Irish League vs. Cliftonville (A)  4 - 5
 25/12/35 Irish League vs. Linfield (H)  1 - 1
 21/12/35 Irish League vs. Portadown (H)  2 - 2
 14/12/35 Irish League vs. Bangor (A)  1 - 2
 07/12/35 Irish League vs. Derry City (H)  2 - 2
 30/11/35 Irish League vs. Distillery (A)  0 - 1
 09/11/35 Irish League vs. Larne (A)  1 - 3
 06/11/35 Semi final vs. Distillery (N)  1 - 2
 02/11/35 Irish League vs. Glenavon (H)  2 - 1
 05/10/35 Irish League vs. Ards (A)  5 - 1
 28/09/35 Irish League vs. Cliftonville (H)  2 - 1
 21/09/35 Irish League vs. Linfield (A)  2 - 3
 18/09/35 Quarter final vs. Glentoran (H)  3 - 2
 14/09/35 Irish League vs. Portadown (A)  1 - 8
 07/09/35 Irish League vs. Bangor (H)  4 - 3
 04/09/35 Round 1 vs. Cliftonville (A)  4 - 2
 31/08/35 Irish League vs. Derry City (A)  0 - 1
 24/08/35 Irish League vs. Distillery (H)  1 - 0
 20/08/35 Irish League vs. Newry (H)  1 - 5
 17/08/35 Irish League vs. Belfast Celtic (H)  1 - 3
 27/04/35 vs. Cliftonville (A)  2 - 0
 23/04/35 vs. Glenavon (H)  2 - 1
 22/04/35 vs. Distillery (A)  2 - 3
 20/04/35 vs. Coleraine (A)  1 - 0
 13/04/35 vs. Ards (H)  3 - 0
 30/03/35 vs. Linfield (A)  0 - 2
 23/03/35 vs. Newry (H)  4 - 2
 21/03/35 vs. Portadown (A)  1 - 1
 27/02/35 vs. Derry City (A)  1 - 7
 16/02/35 vs. Bangor (H)  2 - 2
 24/10/31 Irish League vs. Bangor (H)  6 - 4
 02/05/31 vs. Bangor (H)  6 - 1
 18/04/31 vs. Glenavon (H)  5 - 1
 11/04/31 vs. Coleraine (A)  3 - 2
 07/04/31 vs. Glentoran (H)  1 - 5
 06/04/31 vs. Newry (A)  0 - 1
 24/01/31 Irish League vs. Bangor (H)  1 - 4
 21/01/31 Irish League vs. Glenavon (H)  6 - 1
 03/01/31 Irish League vs. Derry City (A)  2 - 1
 27/12/30 Irish League vs. Newry (H)  6 - 1


Biography

Talented goalkeeper from Harryville that starred ended up winning a League of Ireland title after leaving Ballymena United!

Born and raised in Ballymena, Robin Blair first came to the attention of the Ballymena selectors playing in goal in the local summer leagues in the late 1920’s which led to his signature on amateur forms for the Irish Cup holders in the summer of 1929.

21-year-old Blair would have to wait until December 1930 to get his first break-through in the Ballymena first team, as he was drafted in during the festive games following an injury to William Black for a comfortable 6-1 win over Newry Town. After a steady debut, Robin stayed in the team for four games but was dropped for James McKean at the end of January – as it proved to be a campaign of goalkeeping flux with Ballymena using no less than six different goalkeepers during the 1930/1931 season.

Blair finished that season as the first-choice stopper (finishing with nine appearances and two clean sheets) but struggled for gametime the following year (1931/1932) with the introduction of experienced Scottish player James King now between the sticks, with only one further appearance in senior football. Robin remained a dedicated and reliable clubman featuring mostly in the Reserves for 18 months.

In search of first-team football, Robin dropped into the Intermediate League to Summerfield in December 1932 and quickly established himself as one of the top goalkeepers in the Intermediate League. By the following season, he was promoted to vice-captain of the Flixton Park club and was being tipped by the press as prime for a return to senior football. He also won his first medal, as Summerfield shared the McElroy Cup with Crusaders during the 1933/1934 season.

During this time Ballymena had retained his registration for senior football, but the new look Ballymena United club that had emerged in the 1934/1935 season came calling in January 1935. Robin quickly became part of a small band of players to have played for both Ballymena FC and Ballymena United FC when he made his debut in a 2-2 draw with Bangor in February 1935. He remained first choice until the end of the season and throughout the club’s entire City Cup campaign.

Robin was finally installed as first choice Ballymena United goalkeeper for the 1935/1936 season, amassing 38 appearances, albeit with only two clean sheets as the Light Blues finished a disappointing tenth in the Irish League table. His first full season between the sticks at the Showgrounds would also be his last, as he made his 58th and final appearance for the club in a 2-0 defeat at Shamrock Park against Portadown in April 1936.

In a shock transfer in July 1936, Blair was lured by former team-mate J.P. Surgenor to join a growing contingent of Braidmen at Free State club Sligo Rovers which included Robert Gourley, Pat O’Kane and Billy Miller. In a remarkable tale, Rovers went onto win their first ever title at a canter with Blair a key figure within the team, as the club became the first team to take the League of Ireland championship out of Leinster. In fact, Robin missed only one game of a remarkable campaign, and that was due to a family bereavement.

Despite his success in Sligo, the much sought after goalkeeper returned to the Irish League and rejected the advances of former club Ballymena United to sign for derby rivals Coleraine in July 1937. Robin made his Bannsiders’ debut in August in a 4-1 league defeat Linfield at the Showgrounds. It proved to be a difficult season at the Ballycastle Road as Coleraine finished one place above the bottom of the table after a dismal second half of the league season. Robin eventually made 38 appearances for Coleraine during the 1937/1938 season, with only two clean sheets to his name.

Blair rejoined Summerfield in May 1938 for the final throws of the season and eventually remained at the club for next three full seasons until the outbreak of the Second World War. His footballing career drew to a close at the end of the 1940/1941 season at the age of 31 years old, with Irish League football in a state of uncertain flux.

Upon his retirement from senior and intermediate football, Robin stayed involved in the game through coaching and refereeing locally within Ballymena, and even on occasion putting the gloves back on if required. His interest in Ballymena United continued into the 1970’s when his sons Jeff and George both turned out for the Sky Blues, latterly his grandson goalkeeper Macauley Cairns followed in footsteps becoming a third generation Ballymena United player in 2012.

Robin Blair passed away in Ballymena in June 1979, aged 70.

Career
(Jun 1929) Ballymena; (Dec 1932) Summerfield; (Jan 1935) Ballymena United; (Jul 1936) Sligo Rovers; (Jul 1937) Coleraine; (May 1938) Summerfield

Honours
(with Summerfield)
McElroy Cup: (winner) 1933/1934
(with Sligo Rovers)
League of Ireland: (winner) 1936/1937

Last updated: 14 February 2024



Debut

December 27th, 1930
Newry Town (City) 1 - 6 Ballymena United

League (Irish League)


Timeline

  • Date of Birth

    Robin was born on this date in Ballymena.

  • Signed For Ballymena United

  • Left Club

  • Date of Death