bobby steel - fact file

1908 -1916        forward/defender


Born on 25th June 1888 in Newmilns, Ayrshire, Scotland.

Height : - .m  (5' 10")

Weight : -  - kgs    (11st 9lbs)


Bobby was the youngest of the three Steel brothers who represented THFC and was versatile in his ability, being able to play at inside forward or centre-half. 

Steel came to Tottenham as part of a double deal with William Bulloch, with their club Port Glasgow asking £700 for them, but a tribunal reduced that to £450.  While Bulloch failed to make the grade at Spurs, Steel went on to spend seven successful years at the club. 

His first game was the first in the League for the club; at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers and showed from the off that he enjoyed nothing more than to run with the ball and demonstrated a liking for what was to become a “push and run” style of play.  His play set up a number of chances for Bert Middlemiss and Vivian Woodward, but was also a skilled finisher, racking up 12 goals in Tottenham's promotion to the First Division at the first attempt. 

Bobby liked to get the ball down at the earliest opportunity and his control and willingness to run up and back along the line gave him a formidable reputation, which grew in the top flight, when the other sides in the country saw what he was capable of.  As an influential member of the team he was appointed captain and his presence was crucial to the success of the side, so  much so that he wanted to stay as part of the team.  So much so, that he played on when injured in 1912 to try to make his place in the side secure with the new manager Peter McWilliam.  It only made the injury worse and Steel was left out of the side and was replaced by new striker Bert Bliss.   

Having been out of contention for a place in the side for six months, a place in the team became available because of injury to Charlie Rance, who had displaced Bobby's brother Danny at centre-half.  Willing to play in an unusual position, Bobby stepped in to fill in for the injured Rance, but when the injury proved longer-term than the original diagnosis, Steel made the position his own.  As a centre-half, he appeared to put to use how he played as a forward into his tactics in dealing with opposition strikers.  As the game was being played out in front of him, it allowed Steel to read the game well and the fact that he could use his passing ability from the back made him an unexpected asset to the side. 

With the First World War drawing players from the club, Steel stayed and was a vital experienced presence, but even that could not prevent Tottenham's relegation in 1914-15 – the last season before football was suspended.  With the London Football Combination being the remaining competition, Bobby Steel became a real utility player, playing in almost any outfield position in the team, before choosing to represent his country in the conflict. 

When he came home from war in 1919, manager McWilliam decided that he could do without Steel's services, so the player took up refereeing in the Southern League before joining Gillingham for the remainder of the season, on the recommendation of his brother Alex. 

Bobby Steel holds a  unique place in Tottenham's history with his brothers, with all three playing in the same Spurs side in a match against Bradford City in January 1910; the only time three brothers have played in the same side for the club.

Later in his life, he returned to Winchmore Hill to live and took a keen interest in Tottenham's affairs.  Became a football referee and also captained the England Bowls team.

He and his wife had a daughter Gladys.

Bobby Steel died in Winchmore Hill, North London on 28th March 1972.



Career Record
Club Signed Fee Debut Apps Goals
Port Glasgow ?? ?? ??  ?? ??
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1908 ?? 01.09.1908  v  Wolverhampton Wanderers  (Second Division) (Home)  won 3-0  ?? ??
Gillingham 1919 Free ??  ?? ??

Career Record
Port Glasgow
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- Other appearances; goals
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- Other appearances; goals

- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- Other appearances; goals

- international
- full caps;  - goals
Under-21 caps; goals
- Cup winners medal 19---

- appearance



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