Football – Methley United League Footballers

I am indebted to Alan Hodgson of Mirfield who in researching aspects of West Yorkshire football has sent abstracts relating to former Methley players who have gone on to play league football at a higher level :-
Methley’s League Footballers
Many talented footballers have worn the Methley shirt over the years with several having trials with Football League clubs and some going on to play at the game’s highest level. Below are the brief stories of eleven such men who in varying degrees left their mark on the game’s history.
Alan Hodgson
LAMBERT, Jack (born Greasborough, 22 May 1902; died 1940)
Known as Jack but actually christened John, Lambert is without doubt the most successful player to date ever to have donned the Methley shirt. Having played for both the Army and his hometown club Greasborough, his form whilst at Methley Perseverance soon attracted scouts from Sheffield Wednesday who invited him for a trial in 1922. The Owls however let him go and, although he had signed forms for Leeds United that November, he was then ‘poached’ by Rotherham County for whom he scored on his only appearance. Leeds complained vigorously to the Football League who ordered him to return to Elland Road and slapped a hefty fine on Rotherham! Back with Leeds he played just one game during their 1923/24 Division Two championship winning season before joining Doncaster Rovers. Some 13 goals in 34 appearances followed for the blossoming centre forward who was then signed for Arsenal in June 1926 for £2000 by legendary manager Herbert Chapman.

Over the next few years Jack was to experience great things at Highbury and in 1930 scored his side’s first goal in their 2-0 FA Cup final win over Huddersfield Town. During 1930/31 he then netted 38 goals in 34 games (including seven hat-tricks!) to create a new club record as the Gunners won the League title. After having played in Arsenal’s 1932 FA Cup final defeat by Newcastle United, he contributed 14 goals in a dozen games as the Gunners took a second League championship in 1932/33. The total included five goals in a spectacular 9-2 demolition of Sheffield United on Christmas Eve 1932. As Arsenal built for the future though the ageing Lambert was transferred to Fulham in October 1933 for £2500 and spent two seasons there before ending his career at Margate where he was player-manager. A tough centre forward, he had collected a formidable tally of 109 goals for the Gunners in 159 matches and returned to Arsenal in 1938 to coach the club’s reserve team. Tragically he was to die from injuries received in a car accident in Enfield in December 1940.

● LILLEY, Thomas (born New Herrington, 1900; died 1964)
Having started his football career with Methley Perseverance, full-back Tom was snatched from relative obscurity by newly promoted Huddersfield Town and was to play three First Division games for them during 1922/23. He then left in November 1923 to join Nelson for whom he played 14 times in their only season of Second Division football. He next moved on to Hartlepools United and played 60 times in Division 3 (North) between 1924 and 1926, being an ever-present during his second season there. A brief return to top-flight soccer followed with one game for Sunderland in 1927 after which he spent some time with Scottish side St Mirren. 1930/31 saw a nine-game swansong with Fulham in the Third Division (South) before he dropped back into north-eastern non-League circles. Tom would play there for Annfield Plain, New Herrington Welfare, Shiney Row Swifts and lastly Sunderland District Omnibus Company.

● LONGBOTTOM / LANGLEY, Arthur (born Leeds, 30 Jan 1933)
An inside forward who first came to prominence with Methley United, Arthur signed for Queen’s Park Rangers in March 1954 and became something of a fixture in the side over the next six seasons, playing over 200 games and netting 62 goals. He then joined Port Vale in May 1961 for whom he was an ever-present the following season. In January 1963 returned briefly to London to play for Millwall, and appears to have become so sensitive about his surname that he now changed it by deed poll to ‘Langley’! In August that year he then moved to Oxford United and stayed there until October 1964 when he was transferred to Colchester United. Despite his goal scoring efforts the U’s were relegated at the end of the season after which he left for Scarborough where he ended his career.

● PARKIN, George Henry (born Pendleton, 19 Feb 1900; died 1967)
A centre-forward, he played for works team Redpath Brown’s before joining Methley, later moving on to West Salford. From there he joined Third Division (North) side Southport and during the 1922/23 and 1923/24 seasons made ten appearances for the Sandgrounders scoring three goals. He then moved to Tranmere Rovers but never played a League match for them before dropping back into non-League circles. George was then to turn out for Chester, Northwich Victoria, Morecambe and BOCM before hanging up his boots.

● PELL, Dennis (born Normanton, 19 Apr 1929)
After playing for Methley he signed for Second Division side Rotherham United in May 1952. Something of a reserve winger he made twelve League and FA Cup appearances and scored four goals for the Millers over the next three years. January 1955 then saw him move to Grimsby Town where once again he was on the first team fringe. He played twice and scored once as the Mariners gained promotion from Division 3 (North) that season. but only featured in one more game before ending his career at Frickley Colliery.

● RICHARDSON, Stuart (born Leeds, 12 Jun 1938)
Perhaps recommended by Arthur Longbottom or Keith Rutter, the two ex-Methley United men who were then playing for Queen’s Park Rangers, wing-half Stuart Richardson joined his former team-mates at Loftus Road in November 1956. However, he was destined to play just once for QPR’s first team prior to his transfer to Oldham Athletic in July 1959. The Latics though were in for a torrid time and, as Stuart made 22 appearances, finished next to bottom of the old Fourth Division. Oldham gained re-election but Richardson decided to retire from the game at this point.

● ROSE, William W. (born Sunderland, date unknown)
Details are somewhat scant regarding Billy Rose although it is known that, following his time at Methley Perseverance, he played one game in the First Division for Bury during the 1925/26 season. The inside-forward switched to Barrow the following season and managed three goals in 14 Division Three (North) appearances for the struggling Shipbuilders who finished bottom but were fortunately re-elected. He then left to play for Spennymoor United before ending his career down at Aldershot.

● RUTTER, Keith Gregg (born Leeds, 09 Oct 1931)
Another former Methley United player who was to make his name with Queen’s Park Rangers, central defender Keith Rutter signed for the Londoners in July 1954, four months after Arthur Longbottom made the same move. He was to play over 400 games for QPR (being an ever-present in three seasons) eventually leaving for Colchester United who signed him for £4000 in February 1963. A further 68 games followed over the next two seasons before he retired from League football. Keith ended his career after further spells at Romford and Ashford Town.

● SHREEVE, Frederick Daniel (born Newhall, 17 Dec 1882; died 1962)
Full-back Fred Shreeve was to end his career with Methley Perseverance after playing most of it outside the Football League. He is recorded as having turned out for Stanton, Newhall Swifts and Gresley Rovers before Burton United (then a Second Division club) signed him on for the 1905/06 campaign. Fred notched up 34 appearances for them but after a poor season, in which they finished next to bottom, left for pastures new. Spells at still non-League sides Millwall Athletic, West Ham United and Doncaster Rovers followed before he wound down his career at Bentley Colliery and finally called it a day with Methley.

● WADE, Thomas (born Leeds, date unknown)
Another player for whom details are scarce is Tom Wade. Having started out with Methley Perseverance he was signed by Huddersfield Town in November 1927 and played just one First Division match for them in 1929. In May 1930 he joined Darlington on a free transfer but never made the first team there and subsequently disappeared from the record.

● WOOD, James Lindsay (born Byker, 15 Jan 1901; died 1982)
James Wood played centre forward for the Close Works team prior to joining Methley, and was to have a brief experience of League football with Hull City during 1922/23. He scored two goals in two Second Division games for the Tigers and also appeared in an FA Cup tie. After leaving Hull he returned to the north-east and later played for non-Leaguers Bedlington United and Jarrow before switching coasts and ending his career over at Workington.
•· ATACK, Sid
Sid went on to play for Halifax Town – joining them in 1937 but was to play only five times for the Shaymen in Division Three (North) before World War Two effectively ended his career. A centre-half or right-half, he also managed one goal which proved to be the decisive strike in an exciting 5-4 win at Rochdale in February 1939. Sid served in the Army during the war and was to die in 1983.

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