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Club News


15 November 2016

Former striker Bobby Campbell passed away at the age of 60.

  • Former Wigan Athletic striker Bobby Campbell passes away at the age of 60
  • Club send its condolences to friends and family of Bobby Campbell
  • “Very sad news, he was a one off ” – Ray Mathias, the manager who brought him to Springfield Park.
The club is saddened to hear of the passing of former striker Bobby Campbell at the age of 60.
Campbell had an Indian Summer of a spell at Springfield Park at the end of a career which started at Aston Villa and also included spells with Halifax Town, Sheffield United, Huddersfield Town, Vancouver Whitecaps, Brisbane City, Derby County and Bradford City, for whom he remains their record scorer with 143 goals in over 300 appearances in two spells.
Belfast-born Bobby was only at Latics for two seasons, between 1986 and 1988, and yet he is revered among the supporters, such was his impact at the club.
Ray Mathias was the manager who signed him. He said tonight: “I really am so saddened by the news, Bobby was an absolute one-off and definitely the best £20,000 I ever spent. David Hamilton was my first signing at the club, but Bobby followed soon afterwards and what a bargain he proved to be. 

“People talk about what he was like off the field and it’s probably all true and more. He was an incredible character, not a day would go by without some kind of incident involving him. But you had to love him for it.
“I remember one Monday morning all the lads came in with their clean kit, which we washed at home in those days. Sure enough within a few minutes Bobby had wrestled three or four lads to the floor and covered them in mud. They got him back, though, he gave it but he could take it in return, that was Bobby.
“As for his antics of a night-time, you had to turn a blind eye really, otherwise you’d never sleep.  He was always there the next morning at training though, fit and ready to play. And when it came to Christmas time and the party for the junior fans, Bobby was the one to put on the Santa beard and dish out the presents. For all his ways, he was such a likeable guy.

“On the field, however, it was a different story. He was fearsome, a real competitor, maybe his best years as a player had been in previous seasons but any fears I might have had that he was coming to take it easy were dispelled soon enough. He gave everything and scored some great goals.
“I think his best moment came against Doncaster Rovers when there was a race to reach a long through ball. He wasn’t the quickest, but through sheer force and determination he got in front of the centre-half and unleashed a dipping volley that gave the keeper no chance – that’s why we loved him, he was a character but he was also very talented. 

“He was great with the younger players around him too, and Paul Jewell will tell you how good he was for him and how he enabled him to have the freedom in the box to score some crucial goals.
“We got to the FA Cup Quarter finals in 1987, losing to Leeds United, but beating Norwich and Hull along the way and Bobby was such an integral part of that side. We didn’t get to Wembley that season, but we did the season after in the Mercantile Credit tournament and I remember Bobby was so devastated when he missed a penalty that day – I think it was against Sheffield Wednesday - that he didn’t say a word to anyone afterwards and just disappeared out of the dressing room, we only saw him back in Wigan when he reported for training with a big smile on his face. 

“It’s a really sad day because Bobby is one of those people that no one will ever forget, whether you knew him as a friend, a colleague or as a supporter.”

Jonathan Jackson, Wigan Athletic Chief Executive, added: “It’s very sad news. I, like many supporters, remember watching Bobby playing centre forward in that brilliant team in the mid-80s. Although it was at the end of his career after he joined us from Bradford City, he quickly became a firm favourite amongst those who watched him at Springfield Park. A great character and a great player. The club sends its sincere condolences to the friends and family of a truly unique player who touched the hearts of every supporter."

Campbell signed for Mathias and Latics in the summer of 1986 and went on to score 27 league goals in 69 league appearances, 36 goals in 88 appearances in all competitions. He helped Latics not just to that FA Cup Quarter Final but also to the Play-Offs in League Division 3 (League One).

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