Robert Connelly remembered

Robert Connelly remembered

When OVF purchased Bob Connelly’s cup winning medal and presented it to the club, little did we realise that the publication of the article would lead to OVF being contacted by a relative of the Port Vale star.



An OVF team presents the medal to Port Vale FC in 2010

Let’s start at the beginning… in 2010, OVF user Ollynpatch contacted us to let us know that a rare Port Vale medal was available.

It turned out to be Bob Connelly’s Staffordshire Cup winner’s medal. OVF’s Barry Edge subsequently purchased it and it was duly presented to the club by the OVF team during the game versus Northampton Town in March 2010.

Fast-forward to April 2011 and OVF received an email from Jim McKechnie, the nephew of Bob Connelly.

Here’s what Jim had to tell us:

[I]“Really interested to see that a medal of my late Uncle Robert “Bob” Connelly has found its way back to its home. I look forward to perhaps one day visiting to see his medal. I am sure I have some photos of him which I’ll scan and send onto you if you want.”[/I]

Robert “Bob” Connelly in Port Vale kit

Well, we were indeed interested and Jim kindly passed on the vintage photographs that have been used in this feature.

Here’s some more details from Jim on the former Valiant’s fascinating life story:

[I]“He died in the late 1940’s and is buried at Cadder graveyard in Bishopbriggs just outside Glasgow after an illness, TB I think. He died at Law Hospital.

He was one of nine children, Bob being the second eldest born c1902. He had worked in the mines and did feature in a Pathe News film at the time, I remember my mother, his sister, telling me how they all had to sit through the film to see the Pathe News item.

His Grandfather had come over from Cork marrying a girl (maiden name Howard) from the north of Ireland (Enniskillen). Bob’s father was a great Trade Union man in the Railways and due to fact they lived to the east of Glasgow, Bob and his father were great Glasgow Celtic fans, even though they were Protestants! One of Bob’s brother John ‘Jackie’ was a great Glasgow Rangers fan so it must have been interesting at times.

The Port Vale team circa 1929

On finishing his time at Port Vale, Bob played with Congleton Town before coaching with Drumcondra in Dublin and I believe in Holland. He bought a Tobacconists shop in Glasgow which he ran with his wife till he died.

For years my mother had Bob’s winners medal for the Div3 North promotion campaign, Robert never had it engraved and my mother remembers her father wearing it on his pocket watch chain. Sadly, I am unaware of where it is now.

Incidentally Jackie’s (Bob’s brother) grandson, Gordon Connelly, played for Airdrie, York City, Southend Utd, Carlisle Utd and Queen of the South in the 1990’s. My brother, Ian McKechnie was a goalkeeper for Arsenal prior to Bob Wilson, then he had two years at Southend Utd before finishing his career at Hull City.

I am hopeful that the Connelly genes are alive and well in my two year Grandson Charlie McKechnie who is never without a ball.

My mother visited Robert at Hanley and we had a picture of Robert’s wife standing outside the bungalow they had, perhaps provided by Port Vale.

Though I’m a Clyde fan, and that’s nothing to boast about just now, I always look out for the Port Vale scores and their fortunes as they are fondly remembered in our family to this day.

Incidentally Bob was always referred to as Robert in the family and indeed one of his brother-in-laws was also Robert but was called Mac, so as not be confused with them both.

I do hope these items are of interest to you!”[/I]

Bob Connelly FactfileScottish midfielder Robert “Bob” Connelly started his career with Townhead Hibernians and later Shettleston Juniors, before joining Port Vale in August 1921.

Over the next eleven years he played in 341 matches (324 in the league) and scored 18 league goals. He also managed 127 consecutive appearances between January 1927 and November 1929, and was ever present during the 1927–28 and 1928–29 seasons.

He eventually left on a free transfer to Congleton Town in 1932.

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