ROBERT DOYLE, footballer

Pompey are mourning the death of Bobby Doyle

Old Kilpatrick man Bobby Doyle, skilful soccer player who has died,aged 65.

By Democrat reporter

Tributes are being paid to retired footballer Bobby Doyle, who has died at the age of 65.

Doyle, who learned his soccer skills from coach Jack Gilroy at St Patrick’s High School in Dumbarton, will be remembered a part of the Portsmouth squad who delivered the English Division Three championship in 1983.

Journalist Jim McGhee said this week: “RIP my old school pal Robert Doyle (or Bobby, as he became known in English football).

“From Old Kilpatrick, he was one of the best players I saw play at schoolboy level.

“He went straight from St Patrick’s High School, Dumbarton, into Barnsley’s first team in the old Second Division and was a favourite at the various English clubs he played for in his career.

Former Arsenal player Bobby Campbell, who managed Portsmouth, made Doyle a key figure in his title-winning side, playing a total of 44 of the 46 league games that season.

That contributed to a total of 188 appearances in royal blue, delivering 18 goals.

Doyle arrived at Fratton Park in December 1980 after Frank Burrows paid Blackpool £75,000 for his services, a large sum of money at that time.

He joined a side who were looking to make an impact in the third tier after gaining promotion the previous campaign.

Doyle made 25 appearances in that first season, bagging four goals, as Pompey finished sixth before a mid-table finish ensued the next term.

By that stage, the West Dunbartonshire player had been moved centrally from a wide position and established his penalty expertise.

Doyle went on to form a midfield partnership with the likes of Mick Tait and Neil Webb, as he anchored midfield with Campbell’s side winning the third division in record-breaking fashion.

The former Barnsley man spent two further seasons with Pompey under Campbell and Alan Ball, as his team missed out on promotion to the top flight on goal difference in 1985.

Alan Knight was one of Doyle’s team-mates through his time at the club and spoke of a fine passer of the ball who had a significant impact on his own career.

Knight said: “I always remember Bobby bringing me back down to earth when I was selected for England under-21s.

“My head was in the clouds but Bobby and Mick Tait soon ensured I didn’t get too carried away.

“Bobby was a senior pro in that side which won the title.

“He was an elegant and graceful passer of the ball who could spray it and mix that with the physical side of the game.

“It’s so sad to hear this news and my thoughts are with his family.”

3 comments

  1. Good to see a fellow fp take the time to comment on the passing of the best player I played with or against.
    Robert was a lovely guy.
    RIP
    Well done, Spider.
    Cheers Charlie Mc Garvey

  2. Bobby Doyle. Mentioned in an announcement at Fratton Park yesterday(4th May) referencing ex Pompey players who had passed away during the season. A wonderful attacking mid field player with style and abounding energy. Very sad. I remember him well. Condolences to his family.

  3. I knew Robert from St. Marys and St. Pats , always a nice guy and lovely footballer. I followed his career down south and was very proud of his achievements. RIP Rab.

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