ALTRINCHAM FC Pre-War Players, Part 1


Altrincham's Pre-War Players
Who Progressed to the Football League.

By Terry Rowley. Reproduced from "The Robins' Review", October 2003.

As part of the centenary of the name Altrincham Association Football Club we intend to run a series of historical pieces looking at various periods and aspects of the club's history. To begin with, we start with Altrincham players who have progressed to football League clubs. Over recent years the published list of Altrincham players noted as having moved directly to football league clubs has tended only to list players to have done so since the Second World War. In an attempt to extend the list further we have tried to track down players that moved from Altrincham directly to League clubs prior to the Second World War. Obviously these details are not always easily available or consistent. It is intended to list all the players uncovered to date in alphabetical order along with brief biographical and career details over the next few editions of the Robins Review. Obviously there will be omissions but at least, it’s a start.

1. John Joseph Allmark

Altrincham to New Brighton, 1938.

Born Liverpool 26/5/1912. Died 1981. 5ft 9 and a half ins. 11st 7lbs. Outside Right or Centre-forward. Joined Manchester City from Colwyn Bay 7/1/37 and played one game for them. Played on loan for Altrincham, moved to New Brighton 1938/39 playing 19 games and scoring once.

2. Albert Beech

Altrincham to Huddersfield, 1934.

Born Fenton, nr Stoke on Trent, 24/9/1912. 5ft 9ins. l0st. Left-Half. Orignally with Port Vale for whom he played in his first spell. Came to Altrincham season 33/34 before joining Huddersfield Town in the close season where he played 22 games and scored 4 goals. Joined Notts County for 37/38 season and played a further 13 League games.

3. Norman Beedles

Altrincham to Stockport 1930.

Born: Ardwick 13/6/1907. Died Beblngton 14/8/1972. Full Back. Started with Altrincham before Stockport County. Played 42 games for the Hatters before Barnsley for the 34/35 season but made only a single appearance there. Joined New Brighton the following season (35/36) and played 19 games and scored 1 goal.

4. Herbert Kitchener Blackshaw

Altrlncham to Oldham Athletic 1930.

Born Altrlncham 8/6/1916. Died Wisbech 18/2/1999. 5ft. 9ins. 11st. 8lbs. Inside left, or outside left. A local player he joined local side and immediately aroused interest amongst League scouts. Broke his leg against Hyde United in March 1934. Had trials with a number of league clubs including Notts County in September 34, Manchester City in August 35 and Sheffield United (July/August 1936) before joining Oldham Athletic in October 1936, spending the first year in the reserves. Eventually scored in his first three games for the first eleven. All told he played 62 games scoring 15 goals. During WW2 he guested for Carlisle United and played for Luton Town in the first post war season prior to joining Wisbech Town in January 1946 as player/manager.

5. Frank Briggs

Altrincham to Port Vale 1937.

Born Salford 1/2/1917, died Bury 11/4/1984. 5ft 8ins. 10st. 10lbs. Left half. Local player who came through the reserves before joining Port Vale, first as an amateur, becoming a professional in December 1937, making 8 appearances during season 37/38. Frank then moved to Aston Villa for season 38/39 without making a first team appearance. Frank signed for Wrexham and played the beginning of the 39/40 season which was unfortunately curtailed due to the outbreak of war. Frank continued to play for Wrexham when available during the war seasons and when war ended Briggs rejoined Non-League football with Oswestry Town.

6. William Henry (Harry) Broome

Altrincham to Bury, 1926

Born Chorlton 16/4/1904. Forward. Joined Bury (26/27) from Altrincham but did not make the first team. Moved on to Colwyn Bay, Bangor City and Caernarfon Town before starting his League career properly with Crewe Alexandra during 29/30 season when he played 30 League games and scored 5 goals. Moved to Accrington the following season where he played a further 33 games and scored 9 goals and then moved to Mansfield Town where he played another 48 games over the next two seasons scoring a further 9 goals.

7. Edward (Teddy) Bullen

Altrincham to Bury, 1906

Born Warrington 1884. Died 1917 at Vaux, France. Left-half played for Altrincham during season 05/06 Joined First Division Bury in May 1906 and played 188 league games and scored 7 league goals between 1906 and 1914. He was the only Bury player to be killed in WW1. Played for Altrincham Reserves in the Manchester Federation season 03/04 but missed the following season due to work.

8. John Clacher

Altrincham to Burnley, 1934

Born Kirkaldy 1/1/1912. Half back. 5ft 8ins. 1st 6lbs. Started with St Andrew's Athletic and then moved to Alloa Athletic where he spent three seasons. Persuaded to move south he tied up with Altrincham. Good form and solid displays soon attracted league attention with him joining Burnley for the 34/35 season, playing for the Clarets until the 36/37 season. He made a total of 35 League appearances and scored 1 goal. He transferred to Darlington for the 37/38 season and made a further 36 League appearances and scored a further 2 goals.

9. Ray Clipson

Altrincham to Rochdale, 1936

Born Lincoln 18/4/1909. Died 1970. Full Back. Started his career with his hometown club Newark Town before transferring to Bury where he managed 7 league games between 30/31 and 33/34 . Joined Bristol City for season 34/35 playing a further 17 league games. Joined Altrincham for the 35/36 season before moving to Rochdale for season 36/37 where he made 31 league appearances.

10. Thomas (Tommy) Cunliffe

Altrincham to Oldham, 1919

Born Wigan 1886. 5ft 7ins. 10st 12lbs. Outside Left. Started as a schoolboy with Audenshaw in 1898 moving on to join Hooley Hill FC in 1902, then Earlestown in March 1905. A year later he joined Blackburn Rovers but was released and joined St Helens Recreation in June 1907. He joined Liverpool between February 1916 & October 1917 (playing 57 games in the Lancashire Combination) before moving to Altrincham. Signed by Oldham Athletic from August 1919 to June 1920, playing just 2 games for the "Latics" and on his release he joined Mossley.

11. George Daniels

Altrincham to Stoke City

Born Winsford 1913 5ft 9ins. 11st 10lbs. Right-Half or Centre Half. Registered at Leeds United as an amateur before joining up with Altrincham. Joined Stoke City playing 2 games during season 33/34. Joined Torquay United where he played 49 games and scored three goals, joined Crystal Palace and played 7 further games and then joined Hartlepools United and made 1 further appearance before finally ending up at Carlisle United.

12. Ray Eastwood

Altrincham to Aldershot, 1938

Born Moston 1/1/1913. Right Back. Started with Bacup Borough before moving to Oldham Athletic but never made the first team and joined Altrincham. Signed for Aldershot and made 12 league appearances. After World War Two joined Accrington Stanley and made 3 further League appearances.

13. Tommy Edmunds

Altrincham to WBA, 1936.

Born Openshaw, Manchester on 19 November 1915, (though some sources give d.o.b. as 26/5/1912). Died 1991. He was an ex-Manchester Schools right-back and captain who was signed by WBA initially as an amateur on 23 December 1936 from Altrincham for £100. In April 1937 he captained the Birmingham County FA in their "junior" international v Republic of Ireland Juniors at The Hawthorns. He played in the Central League (reserve) defence on a number of occasions, but did not make Albion's first team and on 17 March 1938 he joined Port Vale on a free transfer. The "Albion News" of 19 March 1938 reports his departure and includes a small head and shoulders picture of him in an Albion shirt. After he retired, he moved to Sinderland Road in Altrincham until his final illness. Thanks to Tommy's nephew, Stephen Barratt, for much of this information

14. George V. Elmore

Broadheath to WBA, 1902 & Altrincham to Glossop 1907..

Born Wednesbury 9/1884. Played for Wednesbury YMCA before moving north and playing, first, for Witton and then Broadheath, where he was the star player. Signed by WBA for £10, made 3 appearances for WBA in 02/03, scoring 1 goal. From there, he moved to Bristol Rovers (then in the Southern league) and from there to Witton Albion and then back to Altrincham, where he captained them in their inaugural FA Cup campaign. From Altrincham he moved back into the League with Glossop, making a further 34 league appearances and scoring 14 goals and then moved on to Blackpool, where he played another 34 games and scored 6 goals. He then moved up to Scotland where he joined Partick Thistle.

15. Robert Spencer (Spencer) Evans

Altrincham to Port Vale, 1936.

Left-half. Came to Altrincham via Rhyl and Chester (making 1I League appearance). Played for Altrincham for 34/35 & 35/36 seasons then joined Port Vale for 36/37-37/38 seasons where he made 68 league appearances. M oved on to Northwich.

16. William Alexander (Bill) Gowdy

Altrincham to Aldershot, 1938.

Born Belfast. 5ft 7ins, 10st 11lbs. Right-half or left-half. 6 full international caps for Northern Ireland and 3 appearances for the Irish League. Started with Ards before joining Hull City, originally on trial, in June 1929 where he played 65 league games between 29/30 and 31/32. Moved to Sheffield Wednesday in December 1931 and played once [in the league] during the 31/32 season [and once in the FA Cup]. The following season, he went to Gateshead and played 4 league games. He then moved back to Ireland with Linfield in close season 1933 before joining Hibernian in December 1935. He then moved south to Goole Town [on loan from Hibs] in 1936 and then joined Altrincham for the 37/38 season in July 1937, spending one season at Moss Lane. He joined Aldershot during the close season and the following season (38/39) made a further 3 league appearances.

FOOTNOTE: [When] "Hibernian received a satisfactory bid for his services, the surprising source of the £500 offer were another non-league club, Altrincham" says NI Blogspot.

17. T. Harper

Altrincham to Manchester City, 1937/38.

Local 'keeper, who was signed by City but never played a first team game.

18. Joseph J. (Joe) Harrison

Altrincham to Crewe, 1930.

Left-back. Born Betley. Club captain who joined Altrincham after spells at Stoke City Peterborough United. Signed by Crewe during 29/30 season and went on to make 6 League appearances the following season. Moved to Stafford Rangers.

19. James Albert (Jack) Helme

Altrincham to Stoke City, 1920.

Born Altrincham, 1887. Inside-left, had a brief spell as an amateur at Stoke during the 20/21, playing 4 League games and scoring once before returning to Altrincham.

20. George Heywood

Altrincham to Port Vale, 1935

Born Clayton 12/1/1907. Died 1985. Full-back, played 3 seasons for South Salford Lads' Club, winning schoolboy international honors in 22/23 against Wales, before joining Manchester City as an amateur in 28/29 and going on to play 11 games for their Central League side. Signed for Altrincham during season 30/31. He gave 5 years' excellent service which attracted league club interest which eventually led to him joining Port Vale for £250 where he played from 35/36-36/37, making a total of 23 League appearances. He joined Southport during the 36/37 season and played a further 14 league games before returning to non-league football with Hyde United, Northwich and Stalybridge Celtic.

21. Clarence George (Clarrie or Lal) Hilditch

Altrincham to Manchester United, 1916

Born Hartford 2/6/1894. Right half, centre-half or left-half. Started with Hartford before moving on to Witton Albion and then Altrincham. Signed, after a few weeks' trial, by Manchester United in January 1916. Played from 1919/20 to 1932, making 301 League appearances for the ‘Reds', scoring 7 League goals. Only player/manager in United’s history, (October 1926 - April 1927). Played in Victory international against Wales in 1919 and toured South Africa with the FA party in 1920. He also represented the Football League XI.

22. Edward (Eddie) Holmes

Altrincham to Crystal Palace, 1927

Born 15/11/1900. Died 1975. Left-back who joined Crystal Palace from Aitrincham during season 27/28, played 17 League games, joined Reading the following season without making the first team and joined Barrow for season 29/30 making a further 11 League appearances and scoring his only league goal.

23. Walter Herbert (Swappy) Leigh

Broadheath to Grimsby, 1900

Born Yardley 11/1874. Died 1938. 5ft 11ins, l2st. Inside-right. centre-forward or inside-left. Started his career with Cadishead Amateurs, prior to joining Aston Villa where he made 1 league appearance during 1898/99 season. The following season (1899/00) he turned out for Broadheath during and was possibly Altrincham’s first full time professional. Leaving Aitrincham, he joined Grimsby Town in June 1900 playing for them between 1900/01 and 01/02, making 48 League appearances and scoring 12 goals and winning a 2nd Division championship medal. He then moved to Bristol City for the 02/03 season and played 30 League games and 3 FA Cup games, scoring 5 and 1 goal respectively. Next, he moved to New Brompton before signing for Clapton Orient for the 05/06 season where he played 23 league games and scored 8 goals. He moved, then, to Hastings and St Leonards before a last spell in League football with Clapton Orient during the 07/08 season, where he played a further 17 league games and scored a further 3 goala. Ended up at Kettering Town.

24. J. Liddle

Altrincham to Aldershot, 1939

An Altrincham keeper whose career was cut off by the War. Signed by Aldershot in 1939, he did get to play War-time games for the ‘Shots' during the War and also the first three games of the 45/46 season.

25. William Miller

Altrincham to Bolton Wanderers, 1929

Born 31/3/1908. Died 1974. Centre-half. Another player who struggled to make the grade at League level. He had trials with Everton in 27/28, which came to nothing, and ended up at Altrincham. His appearances here attracted Bolton Wanderers to sign him during 29/30 season but he failed to make the first team. He moved to Luton for the 31/32 season and made 3 League appearances before being allowed to leave and join Runcorn. He joined Stockport County for the 33/34 season but again failed to make the first team and drifted to Stalybridge before making another attempt at League football with Southport in 35/36, playing 1 game. He rejoined Stalybridge and went on to have spells with Macclesfield and Lancaster. His brother also played for Altrincham, as a winger.

26. Thomas (Tommy) Mort

Altrincham to Rochdale, 1921

Born Kearsley, near Bolton, 1/12/1897. Died Wigan 1967. 5ft.8ins, 12st. Left-back. One of the most successful Altrincham players of the pre-War era, he moved up from non-league football to win full England honours with Aston Villa. His career started with Kearsley St Stephens and Newton Lads before he joined the army and played for the Lancashire Fusiliers. On demob he joined Altrincham but was quickly spotted by Rochdale, playing 28 league games during 21/22 season. Villa signed him and he played for them between 21/22 - 34/35, retiring with a total of 368 League and cup games with 2 goals, making him the 14th highest appearance holder for Villa. His 3 caps came against Wales (3/3/24), France (17/5/24) and Scotland (17/4/26). Played in 1924 Cup Final against Newcastle United.

27. Reginald George (Reg) Neal

Altrincham to Liverpool, 1935

Born Blackpool. Inside-left, Started with South Shore Wesleyans before joining Blackpool where he spent 2 seasons but made no first-team appearances. Signed for Altrincham in 34/35 season. Joined Liverpool, again playing no first team games. Joined Yovil and Petters United before joining Southport where, again, he failed to make the first team, eventually achieving this at Gillingham in 37/38 where he played 14 League games and scored twice.

28. Henry (Harry) Parkinson

Altrincham to Oldham, 1921

Born Little Hulton 1899. Died Oldham 22/1/1994 Centre-forward or inside-right. Started his career playing for local sides Walkden Primitives, Raphael Street Wesleyans and Breightmet United, then signing for Altrincham during the 1920 close season. Signed for Oldham in November 1921 but made only 3 League appearances, finding the pace of 1st Division football difficult to come to terms with. He was released and joined Macclesfield and then Hazel Grove before having another go at establishing himself in League football with Brentford, where he made 7 League appearances and scored 2 goals in his one season. Released, he joined Lytham and went on to have spells at Morecambe, Lostock Hall, Lytham (again) and Ribble Motors.

29. Edward (Ted) Partridge

Altrincham to Crewe, 1930

Born Lye 13/2/1891. Died 1970. 5ft. 7ins. l0st 4lbs. Teddy’s best years were behind him when he came to Altrincham. Started with Lye Schoolboys and Stembehill St Marks before moving to Ebbw Vale. Joined Manchester United in June 1921 and made his debut against Oldham in the October. Played 148 League games for United between 20/21 and 29/30, scoring 16 goals as well as playing in 12 FA cup games in which he scored another 2 goals. Joined Halifax, briefly, during 29/30 and played a further 15 league games. Moved to Manchester Central and joined Aitrincham for 30/31. Signed for Crewe in 30/31 and played 13 games, scoring 2 goals. Finished his senior career at Darwen. Cousin of Ray Westwood of Bolton Wanderers.

PART TWO is here