Writer: Peverell Green
Date:Monday September 30 2013
Former Argyle player and manager Bobby Saxton is the subject of Peverell Green's Where Are They Now series.
BOBBY SAXTON - Born 6th September 1943 Dalby Nr.Doncaster.
Bobby began his football career playing non-league football with first Gainsborough and then Denaby United before signing for Derby in February 1962.
Bobby was a regular in the Derby team and was made team captain until an emerging Roy McFarland led him to being dropped to the reserves. The arrival of Brian Clough signalled the end of his time at the Baseball Ground and after making 96 appearances and scoring a single goal; he was put on the transfer list with an asking price of £20,000.
Argyle manager Billy Bingham who was looking for a tough tackling defender to try and keep his team in Division 2 (Championship), managed to persuade Derby to let him go for £12,000.
Bobby made his debut on 3rd February 1968 in a 2-0 defeat at Preston. Despite slowing down the goals conceded, 1.9 a game before he arrived to 1.5 a game with him in the team, Argyle still finished bottom and along with Rotherham were relegated.
Back in Division 3 Argyle had a far more successful season, they conceded 23 less goals and managed to score 15 more than in 1967-68 and finished fifth.
As well as helping to stop goals going in he even managed to score one, he got the third in a 3-0 home win over Hartlepool with Danny Trainor and Mike Bickle getting the others.
Before the start of the 1969-70 season Bobby was involved in a serious car accident, ending up with a badly broken leg and he was unable to make a single appearance that season.
After a season of recuperation Bobby was an ever present throughout the 1970-71 season, playing in all 46 league matches and both cup games and was also made captain.
The team were scoring regularly with the forwards, Mike Bickle, Derek Rickard, Jimmy Hinch, Keith Allen and Don Hutchins all among the goals. Bobby even managed to double his previous best for goals in a season with two.
The first came in a big away win at Mansfield, they came home with a 5-1 win after goals from Mike Bickle (2), Don Hutchins, Bobby and Keith Allen had destroyed the Stags unbeaten home record.
Bobby's other goal that season was at Home Park; he scored the second goal in a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Swansea, with Don Hutchins scoring the other goal.
The arrival of Dave Provan saw Bobby out of contention for first team football for a large part of the 1971-72 season, he only made fourteen appearances and scoring one goal, that came in a 4-3 defeat at Rotherham, he scored Argyle second between goals from Hughie Reed and Derek Rickard.
1972-73 saw Bobby move to midfield and once again became a regular first teamer, playing in 31 league and five cup games.
He even managed to score three of only 25 goals Argyle scored before Christmas, luckily they almost doubled their scoring in the second half of the season netting another 49 times to finish 8th.
Bobby's first came on August 29th in a 3-1 win over Grimsby, quite why the fixture compilers thought it was a good idea to make a team travel from one side of the country to the other on a Bank Holiday is best known to them, Bobby scored the first goal and two from Alan Welsh made the long journey home a happy one.
His next came in a 1-1 draw at Port Vale and his third in the last game before Christmas when he scored the first in a 3-2 defeat at Watford with Derek Rickard also scoring.
Although he would spend another two years at the club that would be his last goal for us.
With Bobby now playing back in the defence the highlight of the 1973-74 season was their League Cup run.
It started on a sunny day in August with a 2-0 win over Torquay at Plainmoor thanks to two goals from Steve Davey.
In the next round Pompey came to Home Park and were easily beaten 4-0 another two from Steve Dave and one apiece for Ernie Machin and Paul Mariner.
The reward for that win was a long trip to First Division Burnley, Argyle came out 2-1 winners thanks to an own goal and one from Neil Hague.
Two more away games followed against first division teams, QPR were comfortably beaten 3-0 with goals from Alan Welsh(2) and Steve Davey setting up a trip to Birmingham, the same two scorers helped Argyle to a 2-1 win and a place in the semi-final. Manchester City came to Home Park for a mid-week afternoon game due to the electricity restrictions caused by various strikes that were going on at the time.
Another Steve Davey goal, his seventh of the competition saw Argyle come away with a 1-1 draw on a rain sodden pitch watched by a crowd of 30,390.
Although they gave all they had in the return leg City won 2-0 and Argyle's Wembley dream was over.
1974-75 saw a fully fit Billy Rafferty form a partnership with a young Paul Mariner that would be the talk of Argyle fans for years to come.
Between them they scored 46 goals, Argyle ended the season as leading goalscorers for the division and runners-up behind Blackburn.
Although he had been a stalwart in defence Argyle manager Tony Waiters decided at 32 Bobby wasn't up to Division 2 football and after playing in only one game was transferred to Exeter.
His final game was on September 13th in a 1-0 defeat at Orient. Bobby made 257 appearances scoring seven goals.
After initially joining City as a player, when former Argyle player and now City manager John Newman left to take over at Grimsby, Bobby was appointed manager.
In January 1979 after Malcolm Allison left the club Bobby returned to Home Park as manager.
In 1981 he was approached by Blackburn and asked to take over at Ewood Park.
He spent five seasons at Blackburn before leaving in December 1986. After a short break he took over at York.
When he left York he worked in a number of roles at Newcastle, Manchester City, Blackpool and Sunderland, at Roker Park he worked as assistant to future Argyle manager Peter Reid.
As far as I know Bobby is still working for Sunderland as a scout.
Bobby's son Neil followed his father into football management when in 2011 after giving up playing he was appointed manager of Whickham who play in the Northern League Division 2.
Bobby was more than happy to pass on his fifty years of experience on to him as he took his first step on the managerial ladder.
Date:Monday September 30 2013
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Where Are They Now - Tommy Grozier (Monday December 9 2013)
Argyle To Play Port Vale In Cup (Sunday December 8 2013)
Reid Is Argyle Player Of The Month (Sunday December 8 2013)
Argyle Do Well In Cup (Saturday December 7 2013)
Stats: Plymouth Argyle v Welling United (Saturday December 7 2013)
Ball Number 58 (Thursday December 5 2013)
Argyle Half Season Tickets On Sale (Wednesday December 4 2013)
Ref For Argyle v Welling (Tuesday December 3 2013)
Where Are They Now - Kevin Nugent (Monday December 2 2013)
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