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Octopus of Odstock

Oldest Living football league players

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I've done this as a separate topic from the Time Added thread, because the Time Added thread is very catch-all, as a football thread will be.

 

I can only go by the English Football League, as I don't have access to the Scottish records, but hopefully someone can copy and paste the Scottish only players for reference here.

 

There are a number of people definitely alive and they come in the first set of information.  Of those that I'm not certain of, there will definitely be some alive but there's no report recently on them to confirm that, or no general "oldest player" posts or snippets on the web.

 

Barry Hugman's Footballers was the backup source for the list and basically it's been going through Google, BHF, UK and Ireland Family Records, Scottish Death Indexes and Probate searches to eliminate other possibilities. Some footballers I couldn't find death records for but when some clubs have gone "such and such is our oldest player" then it's made life easier.

 

Here's the edited to include 1930-1932 births:

First Name Surname DoB Clubs Google Other names
Graham Bailey 22/03/1920 Huddersfield, Sheff Utd alive Thomas Graham
Mike Kelly 30/11/1920 Crewe, Wolves x Michael John
Eric Hampson 11/11/1921 Stoke, Stafford Rangers Australia?  
Syd Ward 26/11/1923 Bradford, Upton Colliery x  
John Taylor 24/06/1924 Bradford, Kilmarnock d. Canada? 1997  
James Kelly 16/02/1925 Carlisle, Tottenham, Glenavon x James Patrick
Ted Harding 05/04/1925 Crystal P, Coalville x Edward James
Bill  Mellor 29/06/1925 Accrington, Droyslden probably dead William   
Bill Parker 15/08/1925 Reading, Swindon, Exeter x  
Eryk Kubicki 18/08/1925 York, Polish Army x Eugeniusz
Joe Lancaster 28/04/1926 Accrington, Manchester United alive Joseph Gerard
Ray McKee  16/06/1926 Northampton, Finchley alive Raymond Trevor
Eddie Lewis 21/06/1926 Leyton O x  
Trevor Hitchen 25/09/1926 Southport, Wigan, Oldham, Notts Cty, Wellington, Halifax alive  
Ken Williams 07/01/1927 York, Doncaster x  
Gordon Revel 19/09/1927 Mansfield alive in 2004 Gordon Harold
Robert Williams 25/10/1927 Liverpool, Shrewsbury, Wrexham x Robert Raymond
Bobby Godwin 03/02/1928 Swindon, Old Headlandians alive Robert Geoffrey
Charles Campbell 27/02/1928 Oldham, Rutherglen Glencairn x  
Reg Chapman 14/06/1928 Crewe, Hereford x  
John Scott 18/07/1928 Leeds, Workington alive John Alfred
Dick Taylor 21/08/1928 Southport, Everton alive Richard Marshall
Bernard Kelly 21/08/1928 Brentford, Bath City d. 2007? Bernard Alexander
Harry Jarvis 08/10/1928 Notts County, Worksop alive  
Alan Layton 27/11/1928 Barrow, Bolton Alive in 2012, Canada  
Cecil Steeds 11/01/1929 Bristol City, Bristol Rovers alive  
Harry Williams 24/02/1929 Swindon, Bury, West Ham, Man U x Henry George
John Core 29/03/1929 Halifax alive  
Joe Harris 08/04/1929 Oldham, Blackburn x  
Ernie Bond 04/05/1929 Carlisle, Man Utd alive James Ernest
Don Gibson 12/05/1929 Leyton O, Sheff W, Man U alive Thomas Richard Donald
Roy Martin 16/05/1929 Chesterfield, Derby, Birmingham alive in 2011, Largs Robert
Ron Steel 03/06/1929 Darlington, Bishop Auckland x  
Ron Baynham 10/06/1929 Luton, England alive  
John Cook 26/06/1929 Bristol Rovers x John Albert
Roy Killin 18/07/1929 Lincoln, Man U alive Harold Roy
Terry Robinson 08/11/1929 Brentford, Northampton, England Amateur alive  
Johnny Langland 09/11/1929 hartlepool, Blyth, Chesterfield, Sunderland, Silksworth alive  
Tommy Banks 10/11/1929 Bolton, England alive  
Liam Coll 16/12/1929 Accrington probably dead William Sean
Johnny Moffatt 22/12/1929 Brighton, Bellshill x John Black
Ron Harbertson 23/12/1929 Lincoln, Darlington, Wrexham, Grimsby, Bradford, Brighton, Newcastle alive  
Jim Storey 30/12/1929 Darlington, Rochdale, Bournemouth, Newcastle, Exeter x  
Eric Marsden 03/01/1930 Crystal Palace, Southend, Winchester, Shrewsbury alive in 2020  
Reg Pearce 12/01/1930 Peterborough, Sunderland, Luton alive Reginald Stanley
Fred Higgins 21/01/1930 Crystal Palace GRO OKAY Frederick Thomas
Albert Uytenboogaardt 05/03/1930 Charlton alive in RSA Albert George
Cecil  Law 10/03/1930 Derby, Bury GRO OKAY probably dead in RSA Cecil Richard
Jack Hobbs 17/04/1930 Bournemouth, Swanage GRO OKAY John Eric
Ray Woods 27/04/1930 Crystal Palace, Southend, Peterborough prob dead  
Len Edwards 30/05/1930 Crewe, Brighton, Sheff W, Wrexham GRO OKAY Leonard Owen
Doug Fletcher 17/09/1930 Scunthorpe, Bury, Sheffield Weds, Darlington, Halifax    
Albert Childs 25/09/1930 Liverpool alive Albert Robert
Allan Senior 29/09/1930 Halifax GRO OKAY Allan Gordon
Colin  McDonald 15/10/1930 Burnley and England alive Colin Agnew
Eric Gill 03/11/1930 Brighton, Charlton alive Eric Norman
Peter Higham 08/11/1930 Bolton, Doncaster, Nottm Forest, Preston, Portsmouth, Wigan alive  
Ray Bell 06/12/1930 Lincoln, Seaham Colliery Welfare GRO OKAY Raymond Lloyd
Tommy Derbyshire 10/12/1930 Hartlepool, East Yorks Regiment   Thomas L
Robert Harrison 23/12/1930 Carlisle, Stockport, Mossley    
Bert  Carberry 16/01/1931 Gillingham, Port Vale, Norwich, Exeter   Robert
Laurie Adams 14/02/1931 Watford   Laurence Edward
Arthur Tyrer 25/02/1931 Aldershot, Shrewsbury, Leeds Utd alive Arthur Spencer
Matt Gemmell 10/03/1931 Portsmouth, Swindon    
Alex Bell 13/03/1931 Exeter, Grimsby, Partick   Alexander Stewart
Jimmy Thomson 17/03/1931 Southend, Raith alive Bridge of Allan c. 2017 James Donaldson
Dennis Maskell 16/04/1931 Watford, Hemel Hempstead alive in Oxfordshire, 2021  
Ralph Granville 23/04/1931 Clyde, Nottingham Forest, Gateshead alive in 2005 in Scotland? Anthony Ralph
Dennis Churms 08/05/1931 Coventry, Exeter, Rotherham alive Dennis John
Tommy Wilkinson 08/05/1931 Hartlepool, Blackhall Colliery    
David McDonald 09/05/1931 Crystal Palace, Dundee Violet   David Anderson
Joe Eaton 16/05/1931 Mansfield, Langwith BC GRO OKAY Joseph David
Willie McInnes 20/05/1931 Southport, Accrington alive  
William  Devlin 30/05/1931 Carlisle, Peterborough   John Robert
Dick Pearson 14/06/1931 Portsmouth, Gosport Borough   Richard John
Eric Jones 23/06/1931 Accrington, Southport, Doncaster, Preston, Nottm Forest alive  
Brian Cripsey 26/06/1931 Hull City, Wrexham alive Brian Samuel
Ron Stockin 27/06/1931 Cardiff, Grimsby, Walsall, Wolves alive  
Mick Cullen 31/07/1931 Derby, Grimsby, Luton, Scotland alive Michael Joseph
David Hawkins 11/08/1931 Gillingham, Sheppey United GRO OKAY David John
Ken Scott 13/08/1931 Derby, Mansfield    
Don  Cowan 17/08/1931 Darlington GRO OKAY, alive 2011  
Bill  Finney 05/09/1931 Rochdale, Crewe, QPR, Birmingham, Stoke   Charles William Thomas
Billy Waters 19/09/1931 Millwall, Wrexham, Swansea, Southend, Stoke, Blackpool GRO OKAY, alive 2010 in wales William Anthony
Des Palmer 23/09/1931 Swansea, Wales, Liverpool, Derby alive in Australia Desmond Frederick
Charlie Calow 30/09/1931 Bradford PA, Cliftonville GRO OKAY/alive 2020 Charles John Herbert
Brian Makepeace 06/10/1931 Doncaster alive  
Gerry Smyth 05/11/1931 Chester, Cardiff    
Bert Harris 21/11/1931 Everton, Tranmere, Southport alive Albert Edward
Ken Jenkin 27/11/1931 Grimsby   alive  
Noel Gilbert 25/12/1931 Norwich City alive  
Len Roe 11/01/1932 Brentford, Ruislip Manor alive in 2014 Maurice Leonard
George Brown 12/01/1932 Crewe, Stenhousemuir    
Bill  Leivers 29/01/1932 Doncaster, Manchester City, Chesterfield alive William Ernest
Len Choules 29/01/1932 Crystal Palace, Sutton alive 2010 Leonard George
Joe Sharman 02/02/1932 Derby, Gresley, Bradford alive (Joseph) Donald William
John McTavish 02/02/1932 Manchester City   John Robert
Byron Davies 05/02/1932 Newport, Leeds alive in 2017  
Jimmy Rolfe 08/02/1932 Crewe, Barrow, Chester, Liverpool alive in 2017  
Pat Thompson 11/02/1932 Brighton, Topsham   Patrick Alfred
Dave Richardson 11/03/1932 Barrow, Swindon, Grimsby, Leicester alive in 2017  
Ray Snowball 16/03/1932 Darlington alive  
Alan Gee 16/03/1932 Rotherham      
John McGrath 21/03/1932 Notts County, Darlington prob dead  
Tommy Quigley 26/03/1932 QPR, Portsmouth, Barry Town   Thomas Cook
Calvin Symonds 29/03/1932 Rochdale, Bermuda alive Roderick Calvin Hilgrove
Ron Ward 29/03/1932 Darlington, Tottenham   Henry Ronald
Jimmy  Walker 29/03/1932 Northern Ireland, Doncaster, Linfield    
Eric Doughty 09/04/1932 Arsenal, Plymouth alive  
Keith  Abbiss 26/04/1932 Brighton, Letchworth   Keith Douglas
Ken Smales 03/05/1932 Hull alive  
Peter Rees 05/05/1932 Tranmere alive Peter Noel
Peter Smith 06/05/1932 Gillingham, Fleetland   Peter John
Robert Scrugham 15/05/1932 Workington, Cleaton Moor alive  
Ray DeGruchy 18/05/1932 Grimsby, Chesterfield, Nottm Forest alive Raymond Philip
Len Kell 27/05/1932 Chelsea, Norwich alive Leonard William
Roy Vairey 10/06/1932 Stockport      Roy Henry
Colin Bettany 15/06/1932 Torquay, Birmingham, Crewe alive Colin David
Arthur Barnard 20/06/1932 Bolton,Stockport, Southport alive  
Robert Bloor 08/07/1932 Crewe    
Ron Tulloch 15/07/1932 Berea, South Africa, Hull   Roland
Ray Hampson 27/07/1932 Reading, Bournemouth, Manchester United, Aldershot alivein 2015 Raymond Geoffrey
Johnny  King 09/08/1932 Crewe, Stoke, Cardiff alive John William
Gordon Davies 04/09/1932 Southport, Manchester City, Chester    
Micky Stewart 16/09/1932 Charlton, Corinthian Casuals alive Michael James
Jim Lovie 19/09/1932 Peterhead, Bury, Bournemouth, Chesterfield alive in 2013 James Theirs Harrison
Joe Thomas 22/09/1932 Barnsley, Wolves, Mansfield, Chesterfield   John Charles
Terry Medwin 25/09/1932 Tottenham, Swansea alive Wales
Jack Harrison 30/09/1932 Crewe     
Colin Askey 03/10/1932 Mansfield, Walsall, Port Vale alive     
Harry Sandys 08/10/1932 Torquay, Yeovil   Harold Albert
Norman Crickett 13/10/1932 Carlisle, Raffles Rovers alive  
Peter Thomas 18/10/1932 Exeter, Cardiff, Newport   Peter John
Tommy Clish 19/10/1932 West Ham, Darlington alive 2010 Thomas Partridge
Gordon Jago 22/10/1932 Charlton alive Gordon Harold
Jimmy Belcher 31/10/1932 Brentford, Ipswich, Crystal Palace, West Ham, Leyton Orient alive in 2015, Dagenham James Alfred
Reg Tapley 02/11/1932 Crewe, Rochdale alive in 2010  
Stan Taylor 17/11/1932 Southport       
Ronnie Sharp 22/11/1932 Doncaster, Arbroath    
Bobby Williams 24/11/1932 New Brighton, Chester   Robert Francis
Ronnie Waldock 06/12/1932 Sheff Utd, Gillingham, Middlesbrough, Plymouth, Scunthorpe, Coventry alive     
Richard Jackson 13/12/1932 Rotherham, York   Richard George
Mike Tomkys 14/12/1932 QPR, Fulham alive Michael George
Tommy Cronin 17/12/1932 Reading, Fulham   Thomas Patrick
Bernard Weakley 20/12/1932 Rotherham   alive in 2010  
Derek McLean 21/12/1932 Hartlepool, Middlesbrough alive in 2019 John Derek
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Awesome work OoO - much respect.

 

Ironic in a way that these players have outlived the Football League lives of some of the clubs they played for. Seems unlikely we'll see the likes of Barrow, Workington, Chester, Bradford PA or Southport back in the league any day soon, though Barrow have lately hauled themselves into play-off contention for the National League

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Jack Vitty is a weird one. Wikipedia uses the Post War English & Scottish Football League A–Z Player's Database to give a DOB as 19/1/1923. 

However, this Ancestry tree says he was born in 1926 and died in 2001. At the bottom it mentions he was a professional footballer for Charlton and Brighton.

Further add to the confusion this article from 2016 that has a recent picture of him and says he's 72 (typo? should it have said 92? or is it a rehashed old article?).

Very puzzling.

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3 hours ago, Ulitzer95 said:

Jack Vitty is a weird one. Wikipedia uses the Post War English & Scottish Football League A–Z Player's Database to give a DOB as 19/1/1923. 

However, this Ancestry tree says he was born in 1926 and died in 2001. At the bottom it mentions he was a professional footballer for Charlton and Brighton.

Further add to the confusion this article from 2016 that has a recent picture of him and says he's 72 (typo? should it have said 92? or is it a rehashed old article?).

Very puzzling.

 

It's a safe bet he was born in January 1923. The government's General Records Office list an entry registered in Sedgefield, just down the road from Chilton.

 

The Ancestry tree is most likely someone put two and two together during their research and came up with five. There was a John Vitty born in Gateshead in 1926 who probably died in 2001. Our guy is very much alive in 2016.

 

The Chronical editorial age is just a copy and paste error; I found a rehash of the story dated a year later and he was still 72.

 

 

vitty.jpg

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One of the aims of this list was that early on when U95 put the original list together, there was surprise that such a large age gap could exist between Smith and the next contender. I'm pleased that, already, we have someone who wasn't on any of the official lists now in 2nd place. And who knows, he may not be 2nd, there may yet be others to be found.

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You're basing that conclusion on the editorial "and was believed to be the oldest surviving Dundalk player".  I'll trust your skills at researching more than whoever wrote that sentence for the paper.  Believed by WHOM to be?  Who kept track?  See.... problems with that statement (I'm the Tuskegee Airmen person so, I know the drill).  If I were you I'd put an asterisk or summat by Lavery rather than a skull+crossbones lol.  As you said above, always finding new people, or new info on existing ones.
SC

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SC, you make very good points actually. 

With Lavery, I'm going on intuition but who would've thought Simpson was still alive. I think I'll take your advice and put him in some kind of symbol to denote thst he probably is dead but can't be sure. 

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Edited and put Lavery in.

 

However,  Mick Nagy (b. 1929) died as long ago as 1970, so he's been removed.

 
       
 
       
 
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Leeds United have just celebrated their 100th birthday and as a result have found their oldest player - Royden Wood, who is NOT in the above list, having just turned 89. - https://www.thesquareball.net/leeds-united/leeds-united-1-0-birmingham-city-100-chances/

 

I'd say this is quite accurate because they've clearly gone to lengths to make sure they could find their oldest. So of those on the list that actually played for Leeds it appears to remove * (Yes, I know there's nothing certain but there's a difference between a blog post that says "believed" even if it is linked to the site and the club inviting its oldest player to a gala dinner),

 

Frank Taylor (1923)

Jock Finlay (1925)

Ralph Harrison (1926)

George Miller (1927)

 

However I think John Scott (1928) is still alive. He played 111 times for Leeds and is listed as a past president here (it is the same man if you Google - https://www.cumbria-golf-union.org.uk/executives). So was it that Scott couldn't attend and actually Wood was the oldest who could? Because that changes the whole situation.

 

FWIW, I think Taylor is likely dead, so I'll mark him as red. Miller emigrated back to South Africa so we may not know for a while if he's still alive. The other two didn't really have long careers there so could quite easily also be gone so they're all marked as red. If it wasnt for Scott, I'd be more inclined to go for certainty with the above report.

 

Ernie Whittam, Brian Woodward and Jimmy Forrest never played a league game for Leeds but were on their books.

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Jimmy Elder (March 5th 1928) who played a single game for Portsmouth in November 1949 before a successful five year stint at Colchester confirmed still living at 91 by the Pompey History Society through detective work. Not even on the lists in the opening post. 

 

https://www.portsmouthfc.co.uk/news/2019/october/last-surviving-member-of-championship-team-re-discovered/

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Yep, because Portsmouth were adamant Leather was the oldest and all others were dead when McGhee died. 

Good, I'll amend the list

 

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No. 8 on your alive section, Bert Mozley, has just died according to Wikipedia and Getty Images. 

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As the wonderful findmypast site is free of charge and as they have the 2007-2017 deaths available, I've been able to strike a couple more off the list.

 

Len Kane (1926) - ex Preston, Plymouth who was alive in 2010, died in 2011 - https://www.findmypast.co.uk/transcript?id=BMD%2FD%2FMILLEN%2F002133997

 

Also gone:

Tom Mason (1925) ex Hartlepool

 

 

It also increases the chances - so long as they live in the UK - of some of the rarer names being alive as they're not on any death record from 1911-2017.

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2 hours ago, Octopus of Odstock said:

As the wonderful findmypast site is free of charge and as they have the 2007-2017 deaths available, I've been able to strike a couple more off the list.

 

The GRO Death Index has recently been updated to cover deaths from 1984 to 2019 :blink: although the index only gives year of birth and not full d.o.b.

It's free to search, although you need to register.

Still a gap between 1957 and 1984, but FreeBMD has that pretty much covered.

https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/indexes_search.asp

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19 hours ago, Toast said:

 

The GRO Death Index has recently been updated to cover deaths from 1984 to 2019 :blink: although the index only gives year of birth and not full d.o.b.

It's free to search, although you need to register.

Still a gap between 1957 and 1984, but FreeBMD has that pretty much covered.

https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/indexes_search.asp

Thanks Toast!

 

Obviously no full date of birth makes it tricky to be certain we have the right man but these two have definitely gone, both in the last year.

 

DICKENS, LEO     1927  
GRO Reference:  DOR  Q1/2019 in Wakefield  (097-1A)  Entry Number 518647755

 ex-Chester and Rotherham

 

ELLIOTT, FREDERICK  FRANCIS George 1929  
GRO Reference:  DOR  Q4/2018 in Carmarthenshire  (822-1A)  Entry Number 518226801

 

ex Mansfield, Fulham, Stoke, Swansea, Merthyr Tydfil

 

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Blackpool have just confirmed Cyril Robinson has died aged 90.  The last player from their successful 1953 fa Cup final 

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Never played in the football league, but one of the oldest living footballers is Glentoran's Bertie Wright - 100 years old: 

 

https://www.belfastlive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/glentoran-hero-bertie-wright-celebrates-17145318

 

Gordon Astall - a full spread by the Daily Mail, physically he looks well - he has dementia though https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-7668571/His-mind-grip-dementia-Astalls-eyes-light-mention-debut.html

 

Another source that says Royden Wood is the oldest Leeds player (Scott did play in goal so I do think the other three mentioned above are dead as they are all outfield and surely someone would've brought at least one of them up) - https://theathletic.co.uk/1282784/2019/10/14/the-player-who-shared-a-dressing-room-with-stanley-matthews-and-the-beatles/

 

and finally a nice article on Bert Mozley - https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/poignant-tale-of-bert-mozley-england-s-oldest-player-7gfljx9mr

 

 

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Liverpool & Bolton's Johnny Wheeler dies aged 91.

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2 hours ago, time said:

Liverpool & Bolton's Johnny Wheeler dies aged 91.

Second casualty from the Matthews 1953 FA Cup final in a week.

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1 hour ago, redrumours said:

Second casualty from the Matthews 1953 FA Cup final in a week.

 

This leaves Doug Holden as this game's last surviving player. 

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