Owen Archdeacon

Name: Owen Archdeacon
Date of Birth: 
Place of Birth: 
Nationality: Scottish
Position: Winger
Signed: June 1955 from Dunoon Atheltic
Departed: April 1957 – Released
Debut: 10th September 1955 v Raith Rovers (2-2)
Final Match: 
Apps: 5
Goals: 1
Honours: None

Left winger Archdeacon joined Saints in June 1955 from Dunoon and made his debut a few months later against Raith Rovers on the opening day of the 1955/56 league campaign at Kirkcaldy, starting in the number 11 jersey along with fellow forwards Tommy Gemmell, Jim Rodger, Archie Straiton and Sam Wilson.

After only 5 appearances in two seasons, Archdeacon was released in April 1957, however almost 40 years later his son Paul would play for the club making 49 appearances.

Thomas Anderson

Name: Thomas Anderson
Date of Birth: 
Place of Birth: 
Nationality: Scottish
Position: Inside Forward
Signed: January 1954 from Ardrossan Winton Rovers
Departed: October 1955 Released
Debut: 23rd January 1954 v Clyde (0-1)
Final Match: 22nd April 1955 v Hearts (1-1)
Apps: 27
Goals: 4
Honours: None

Paul Archdeacon

Name: Paul Archdeacon
Date of Birth: 11th October 1976
Place of Birth: Greenock, Scotland
Nationality: Scottish
Position: Midfield
Signed: April 1993 from St Mirren BC
Departed: July 1998 to Stranraer
Debut: 26th March 1994 v Airdrie (2-0)
Final Match: 21st March 1998 v Falkirk (1-2)
Apps: 49
Goals: 2
Honours: None

Paul Archdeacon joined St Mirren in 1993 as a sixteen year old rookie, following in the footsteps of his father, Owen, who had played for the club some forty years beforehand and also keeping the strong footballing tradition in his family going as brother Owen Junior was currently still a professional at the time with Barnsley, having made almost 100 appearances for Celtic the previous decade.

This was a period of great uncertainty at the club, with massive financial restrictions put on the manager Jimmy Bone as debt close to £2million was being serviced, forcing the former Saints forward to develop younger players and Archdeacon was one of many dozen who made their debut for the club during this period.

The youngster was a tidy left sided player, who was used predominantly as a central midfield player, adding some much needed energy and balance to a floundering Saints side once he became a first team regular in the 1995/96 season, although it was as a 17 year old at Broadwood on the 26th March 1994 that Archdeacon made his first debut, coming off the bench to replace Alex Bone after 79 minutes during a 2-0 win in the First Division. (second tier)

A few months later on the opening day of the 1994/95 season, the midfielder made his full debut for the club against recently relegated Dundee at Dens Park in front of 4,125 fans, but the injury hit Saints fell to a 2-0 defeat. This was one of only two appearances the now 18 year old would make that whole campaign, but regular first team football was not far away.

Three days after the Greenock youngster turn 19 in October 1995, Archdeacon made his second start for the club as a run of six matches without a win finally came to an end with a 3-2 win over Dumbarton on the 14th October 1995, with Archdeacon popping up with a goal after 23 minutes to give Saints a 2-1 lead after falling behind to an early penalty. The youngster was actually playing left back that day as Bone desperately tried to halt the issues at the club which were far worse than just poor form and included a season ending injury to captain Norrie McWhirter on the opening day; top scorer for the past three seasons Barry Lavety in drug rehabilitation; and ageing players in the squad simply not good enough anymore to play at this level.

Archdeacon would use this match as a springboard to almost immediately become a first team regular along with fellow youth team-mates Brian Hetherston and Brian Smith; but in addition to this trio; Ricky Gillies, Barry McLaughlin, Stuart Taylor, Martin Baker and Jamie Fullarton were all still young enough to make the Scotland under 21 side and already all important first team players, therefore Bone bought Mark Yardley from Cowdenbeath for £25k and Paul Fenwick from Dunfermline for £10k to bolster the squad. All these players including Archdeacon made a significant impact as Saints eventually finished mid-table after this dreadful start had them bottom of the table as late as November 1995, but the season finished with the foundations much healthier for the seasons ahead.

At the end of that season, Archdeacon won several young player of the year awards from various Supporters Clubs after making 22 appearances for the side, however further turmoil wasn’t far away when Jimmy Bone quit the day after Saints had thrashed Berwick Rangers 4-0 in a League Cup 2nd round match at Love Street on the 13th August 1996 in which Archdeacon came off the bench, with the manager citing the sacking of his assistant Kenny McDowall by the Saints board as a ploy to force his resignation.

With the league season only days away, Tony Fitzpatrick took over on an interim basis, only to be snubbed for the permanent post by Iain Munro a few weeks later, who sensationally quit after just 24 hours in charge to take over at Raith Rovers, and Fitzpatrick then finally appointed on a full time basis. All of this meant Archdeacon and his young team-mates had three different managers in as many weeks!

A mixture of injuries and additional players being added to the squad such as Tommy Turner (who would be a first choice pick in central midfield for Fitzpatrick), meant opportunities for Archdeacon were becoming surprisingly rare (particularly as he had impressed so much the previous season) after Jimmy Bone departed, and the midfielder made just 22 appearances in the following two full seasons, paving his way for a move to Stranraer with former Saints team-mate Campbell Money now manager, in the summer of 1998 after 49 appearances for Saints.

GoalsOppositionFinal Score
14/11/95Dumbarton (H)3-2
13/4/96Dumbarton (A)1-0

Bobby Ancell

Name: Bobby Ancell
Date of Birth: 16th June 1911
Place of Birth: Dumfries, Scotland
Nationality: Scottish
Position: Left Back
Signed: February 1930 from Mid Annandale
Departed: August 1936 to Newcastle United
Debut: 8th March 1930 v St Johnstone (3-2)
Final Match: 8th August 1936 v Albion Rovers (3-0)
Apps: 210
Goals: 0
Honours: None

Dumfries born left back Bobby Ancell was a fine defender for Saints in the 1930’s after signing as a 19-year-old from Mid Annandale, a Lockerbie based club relatively local to his hometown, where he was already known as a fine all-round sportsman after representing his town at cricket and rugby as a teenager.

Golf however seemed to be the sport that Ancell excelled at initially, and he actually turned professional in the year before Saints took him to Paisley in 1930, however this change of sporting heart allowed him to turn his focus entirely to the beautiful game, and it would prove an inspired decision.

Ancell played at a typically inconsistent time for the club, with the massive success of the John Cochrane era ending in 1928 and the club still adjusting to his departure. It was however John Morrison who brought Ancell to Paisley towards the end of the 1929/30 campaign in which Saints finished a very respectable 5th, however positions of 15th, 5th, 7th and 17th in the next few seasons indicated real inconsistency partly due to ageing goal machine Davie McCrae suffering injury and form loss as he reached his mid-thirties, but Ancell had established himself firmly as a first team regular and stood out due to his technical ability, very rare in a pre-WWII full back, and his intelligence.

Ancell was part of the team that made the 1934 Scottish Cup final, however the side had struggled in the league throughout the season and in these days between world wars, the league campaign finished after the Scottish Cup, therefore the players still had the threat of relegation and three more scheduled First Division matches to play after the showcase event, which incidentally attracted a crowd of 113,430; the third highest crowd ever recorded for a club football match at the time.

It was a day that ended badly however as Saints were thrashed 5-0 at Hampden, but a few weeks later stayed up in the league to avoid a first ever relegation by just one point, despite a 6-0 defeat on the final day at Central Park as bottom placed and already relegated Cowdenbeath embarrassed the Paisley side.

The following season Saints finally did succumb to relegation but bounced straight back in 1935/36, scoring a club record 114 goals, but Ancell would finish his time at Saints a few months later after 210 appearances for the club and no goals to show for his efforts; top division Newcastle United taking him south for a fee of £2,750 in August 1936.

As seems to happen with Saints players throughout history, Ancell was capped for Scotland at the first time of asking a few months later when just through the door at the Geordies, and would later play for Dundee and Aberdeen after WWII (when he was employed as a trainer for the army like many footballers) before retiring from the playing side in 1950 aged 39, after 334 official appearances (his wartime record of several hundred matches is unofficial) scoring just one goal in his long career, during his time at Newcastle.

Ancell then became a hugely successful manager at Berwick Rangers and Dunfermline, before joining Motherwell where eight of his great young players dubbed the “Ancell Babes” were capped by Scotland, including Ian St John. Indeed it was Ancell who sanctioned the transfer of Gerry Baker to Saints in 1958 from ‘Well, with the prolific scorer unable to break into the Fir Park starting XI.

A return to Dundee would be Ancell’s final job in football, taking over in 1965 and leading the Dens Park side to the Semi Final of the Inter Fairs Cup (renamed UEFA Cup and then Europa League) in 1968, where they narrowly lost 2-1 on aggregate to eventual winners Leeds United.

The former Saints man would retire in 1970 at the age of 59 where he resumed his golf playing until his death in July 1987, a few months after Saints had lifted the Scottish Cup again, but a hero to many thousand football fans at multiple different clubs.

Fernando Azevedo

Name: Fernando Azevedo
Date of Birth: 19th May 1941
Place of Birth: Brazil
Nationality: Brazilian
Position: Forward
Signed: July 1965 from FC Guatemala City (Guatemala)
Departed: Released October 1965
Debut: 11th September 1965 v Morton (0-1)
Final Match: 11th September 1965 v Morton (0-1)
Apps: 1
Goals: 0
Honours: None

Fernando Azevedo was the first and as of April 2022, the only Brazillian to ever play for St Mirren, but his time at the club was fleeting to say the least and he was released after only three months but would eventually play professionally again in 1967 over in the USA, where the man who took him to Saints, Doug Millward, signed him again!

The summer of 1965 was a curious time in Scottish football, with the game going through a golden era where domestic clubs would challenge for European honours right up until the 1990’s, therefore South American agent Jose Ramos decided to target the market in Scotland with the most coveted commodity on the sporting planet at the time; Brazilian footballers.

Two of the leading clubs during this period, Celtic and Dunfermline, (Jock Stein was now Celtic manager having managed the Pars to great success) were targeted first by Ramos with various players, but at Love Street arrived forward Azevedo and centre back Roberto Faria for a trial, with the club expected to pay travel and accommodation for the South American pair throughout any stay at the club. Saints boss Doug Millward was impressed enough at first and decided to sign both on short term contracts to see if they could adapt to Scottish football.

As Millward waited on international clearance for his new signings, Saints took on Northampton Town on the 7th August 1965 in the now defunct Paisley Charity Cup Final in front of 6,000 fans, who were entertained by a ball juggling Azevedo at half time to whet the appetite of the home support, but with Archie Gemmill breaking his ankle and a 2-0 defeat to the English club it’s unlikely any fan in attendance rushed home to talk about the half time show.

Just over a month later and with all the paperwork now in order, Azevedo was picked by Millward for the opening day of the 1965/66 top flight season, and a derby against Morton at Love Street. Just under 8,000 fans were in attendance for the first ever sighting of a Brazilian in Scottish football, however any thoughts of Saints unearthing the next Pelé were quickly forgotten as the performance of the 24 year old centre forward was overwhelmingly below average.

A few weeks later, Azevedo appeared in a Renfrewshire Cup match against Babcok and Wilcox along with Roberto Faria, and despite winning 3-1, this was their last ever involvement with the first team and both would leave the following month. Where Faria ended up after Paisley is unknown, but Azevedo signed for newly formed USA side Baltimore Bays in 1967, scoring 8 times in 15 matches for the club before vanishing into obscurity.


Tommy Ashe

Name: Tommy Ashe
Date of Birth: 13th July 1920 (Died 1997)
Place of Birth: Paisley, Scotland
Nationality: Scottish
Position: Inside Left
Signed: November 1937 from Mossvale Strollers
Departed: December 1944 released
Final Match: 
Apps: 39
Goals: 3
Honours: None

Inside Forward Tommy Ashe joined Saints in November 1937 aged just 17 from local side Mossvale Strollers, a fine feeder team for Saints in the early 20th century. Before his career could really get going however, WWII broke out in September 1939 and football put on an “unofficial” status.

Ashe was released in December 1944, but made a good reputation for himself at Dumbarton after the war, appearing almost 50 times for the Sons. Tommy remained in Paisley all his days, and passed away in 1997 aged 76 in the town.