Wattie Aitkenhead

Wattie Aitkenhead : Blackburn Rovers

Walter (Wattie) Aitkenhead was born in Maryhill, Glasgow in Scotland on 21st May 1877. He played as centre-forward for Partick Thistle in the Scottish League.

In 1906 Robert Middleton, the manager of Blackburn Rovers, signed Aitkenhead. Blackburn finished in 12th place in the 1906-07 season.

It took Aitkenhead some time to establish himself at Blackburn. In his first three years he only scored six goals. It was not until the 1909-10 season that he obtained a regular place in the first team. That season Blackburn finished in 3rd place behind Aston Villa and Liverpool. Blackburn's 45 points was the best total they had ever accumulated in a season. Wattie Aitkenhead was top scorer with 14 goals.

Blackburn's away form in the 1910-11 season was disastrous with their only win coming on the last day of the season. Although they won 12 games at home they could only finish in mid-table. This was very disappointing considering their 3rd and 4th positions in the previous two seasons. Wattie Aitkenhead had a good season and scored 13 goals in league games.

Jock Simpson joined Blackburn from Falkirk in 1911 for a fee of £1,800. The 1911-12 season began badly with Blackburn Rovers losing two of its first three games. Blackburn's form gradually improved and the team went on an unbeaten run that lasted three months. This took them to the top of the league. Despite being defeated by Bolton Wanderers and Arsenal, Blackburn went on another good run and by the end of the season they had three more points than main challengers, Everton. It was the first time in Blackburn's history that they had won the Football League title. Wattie Aitkenhead, was the club's top scorer with 15 goals.

On 16th March, 1912, Wattie Aitkenhead won his first international cap playing for Scotland against Ireland. He made an immediate impact on his international debut with two goals in the first 23 minutes but was never selected again. After leaving football he was managing director of a textiles firm in Blackburn.

Blackburn started the 1912-13 season very well and were undefeated until December. This was followed by five successive defeats. In an attempt to regain the championship, Robert Middleton broke the British transfer record by buying Danny Shea from West Ham United for £2,000. He also purchased another forward, Joe Hodkinson for £1,000. Shea scored 12 goals but it was not enough and Blackburn finished 5th that season. Edwin Latheron (14) and Wattie Aitkenhead (13) were the club's top scorers.

In the 1913-14 season Blackburn once again won the league title. Danny Shea was in great form scoring 27 goals. Edwin Latheron also did well that season with 13 goals. Both men also won international caps for England that season. Wattie Aitkenhead had difficulty getting in the first team that year and only scored 7 goals.

The following season Blackburn Rovers broke the transfer record again when they bought Percy Dawson for £2,500 from Heart of Midlothian. Blackburn scored 83 goals in 1914-15 season. However, their defence was not as good and Blackburn finished 3rd behind the champions, Everton. Wattie Aitkenhead again struggled and only scored 8 league goals.

Aitkenhead retired from football in 1915. During his time at Blackburn Rovers he scored 75 goals in 210 games. After leaving football he was managing director of a textiles firm in Blackburn.

Wattie Aitkenhead died in 1966.