91 Years Of Football Through 7 Players: From Leeds United, 1920 to West Ham, 2011

By on Feb 9, 2011 in History, Latest | 0 comments

An article on the front page of the When Saturday Comes website bemoaned the airbrushing from history of anything from before the beginning of the Premier League, but the time-line of football is considerably more textured than this. With this is mind (and from a post on the WSC forum, which is probably the best place on the internet to discuss football), here is a rambling six degrees of speculation. From Leeds United’s first season in the Football League to West Ham United vs Blackpool in the Premier League on the 2nd February 2011 in seven players. Feel free to have a go at this in the comments and knock mine into a proverbial cocked hat.

Centre-half Ernie Hart joined Leeds United in September 1920, a year after they were formed. He was a regular in that team – he left Leeds in 1936 – alongside…

Jack Milburn (cousin of Jackie), who signed for Leeds in November 1928. Jack was in the Leeds team until the outbreak of war in 1939, and in January 1938 Leeds signed the sixteen year-old winger…

David Cochrane, who went straight into the first team and became a regular himself. David’s career was interrupted by the war, but he re-signed for Leeds after it and, in April 1949, he played alongside…

John Charles, who played for Leeds for nine years, before going to Juventus until 1962. His return to Leeds at the start of the 1962/63 season (which only lasted a dozen matches or so before going to Roma), however, coincided with the debut against Southampton in September 1962 of a 15 year and nine month old…

Peter Lorimer, who left Leeds in 1978 to play some NASL, but came back in 1983. As noted in one of the Nick Hornby books (either “My Favourite Year” or “Fever Pitch”), he played against Cambridge United during the 1983/84 season, for whom was playing…

Andy Sinton, who was a 17 year old in his first season with Cambridge. Sinton did his thing at QPR and Spurs, before going on to join Wolves for the start of the 1999/2000 season, and his league debut for them was – I think – a 1-0 win at Manchester City, and the scorer of the only goal in that match was…

Robbie Keane, who played the first two league matches of the season before going to Coventry City. Keane made his debut for West Ham United agaainst Blackpool last week.

Note: I confess that there is a degree of speculation going on here. Finding Leeds United teamsheets from before the war was, umm, challenging, but Hart and Milburn feature in the same team photo, as do Milburn and Cochrane, and the photos were both taken on the day of matches. For me, its inconceivable that they didn’t play together.

Likewise, Cochrane and Charles were in the same squad for over a year. I have confirmed that Charles played in Lorimer’s debut match (apparently it was the “best performance” of his brief return to Elland Road). On the off-chance that Sinton didn’t play against Manchester City (Keane definitely did), they certainly both played in a pre-season friendly against Spurs.

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