We have just received news of the death of Johnny Watt who died on 2nd March aged 78.
Born in Crookedholm, Hurlford, he was educated at Kilmarnock Academy where he played rugby. Johnny was spotted by a Blackpool Scout when playing with Saxone Juveniles and became one of four players from that club to be apprenticed at Bloomfield Road turning professional in August 1960.
Johnny had five appearances in Blackpool’s first Division team when still a teenager making his debut at West Ham when deputising for Alan Ball. He joined Stockport County after being released at the end of 1962-63 season and had 39 games in 1963-64 season scoring twice. He made a further 17 appearances for County the following season before being signed by Willie Cunningham shortly before the March transfer deadline. He made a favourable impression playing in the last ten games of the season and notching a couple of goals.
Johnny was involved in a little bit of football history when half an hour into the third game of the 1965-66 season against Doncaster Rovers he was injured and became the first Southport player to be substituted. Dick Marshall came off the bench to replace him and did so well that Johnny spent much of the rest of the season in the Reserves playing in 30 Lancashire Combination games and scoring 7 goals to add to his 7 League games( and one substitute appearance).
Released at the end of the season Johnny returned to Scotland where he met his wife Margaret who passed away some eighteen months ago. He became an overhead crane driver and continued to turn out for Cumnock Juniors and Darvel Juniors and after his playing days were over he organised and trained schoolboy teams In later years Johnny worked for Glacier Metal at Kilmarnock as a machine operator.
On 28th February Johnny fell at his Darvel home breaking his hip and died two days later. He leaves two sons, Colin, and Steven, three grandchildren Ethan, Emma and Zach and a daughter Lynsey who loved nothing more than to listen to her father tell stories of his footballing days.