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 Post subject: a brief glimpse of the stars
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 9:18 pm 
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Derek John Blackburn was born in Wakefield on July 5th, 1931. A 6 foot tall centre half, he played for Yorkshire Schools before joining Ossett Town as a 17 year old. He worked as a miner and later was a part time pro with Burnley in the 1953-54 season and Chesterfield in the 1954-55 season. He didn't make the first team at either club. Burnley had finished 7th in Division 1 in 1954 and were starting to put together the side that won the League title in 1960. Chesterfield were in Division 3 North, but their centre half Dave Blakey played in all 46 games in 1954-55 and went on to set a Chesterfield record of 619 appearances. Derek returned to Ossett Town and at some point in November 1956, he was watched by Division 2 Swansea Town's new chief scout, Tom Kiley, who had been Swansea's centre half until retiring through injury the previous month after a match with Middlesbrough. Kiley was struck by the resemblance of Derek Blackburn to Reg Weston, who had been Swansea's centre half when they won the Division 3 South title in 1949. He recommended Derek to Swansea boss Ron Burgess and Derek was invited to Swansea for a 2 week trial. Derek's first game was a reserve team match v Plymouth Argyle, Swansea were impressed and offered Derek a contract. Derek gave up his job as a miner to become a full time pro and Swansea wrote out a cheque for £1,350 made payable to Ossett Town, who promptly marched up Dale Street and bought a plot of land called Ingfield near the town centre then promptly marched back down Dale Street and told the Committee at Fern House where to shove their exorbitant rent rises.

Derek's first game in Swansea's first team was in January 1957, playing against German side Essen in a friendly. A few weeks later he played in the Welsh Cup against Hereford United, there after he was in the reserves for the rest of the season as the first choice centre half, Dudley Peake played every game. Swansea finished 10th place.

On September 25th, 1957; Manchester United's assistant manager Jimmy Murphy, in his other job as Wales team manager picked 5 Swansea players for their World Cup match v East Germany, Wales won 4-1. 4 days later, Swansea were at home to Blackburn Rovers. Dudley Peake was out of the team, so Derek Blackburn came in for his Football League debut. The Swansea team was: Reid, Thomas, B Jones, Charles, Blackburn, A Woods, A Morris, Griffiths, Palmer, M Morris and C Jones. The Blackburn team was: Leyland, Taylor, Kennedy, Clayton, M Woods, McGrath, Douglas, Cairns, Briggs, Vernon and Swindells. The attendance was 20,767 and Blackburn won 4-0, 2 goals each for Ron Cairns and Roy Vernon. I'm sure Derek must have been devastated afterwards, it can't have been of much consolation that Rovers went onto win promotion to Division 1 and reach the FA Cup semi finals that season.

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Last edited by SOUTH OSSETTIAN on Mon Dec 29, 2014 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: a brief glimpse of the stars
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 9:38 pm 
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Derek returned to the reserves and Mel Charles switched to centre half. Derek's next first team game on November 16th, when Rotherham United were the visitors. Swansea's team: King, Pope, Brown, Nurse, Charles, Blackburn, L Allchurch, C Jones, Griffiths, I Allchurch, B Jones. Rotherham's team: Ironside, Johnson, Silman, Williams, Noble, Keyworth, Webster, Kettleborough, Farmer, Burns, Partridge. The attendance was 12,984 and Rotherham won 3-1, goals from Barry Burns, Ken Keyworth and Barry Webster. There was no consolation in this result, Rotherham finished the season 18th.

This was Derek's last ever game in the first team, he was back in the reserves; Dudley Peake returned to the first team, then Mel Charles had another go at centre half, before Ron Burgess signed his old Welsh International colleague, the former Arsenal and Sunderland centre half Ray Daniel, from Cardiff City before the March transfer deadline. Swansea narrowly avoided relegation, finishing the season in 19th and only 1 point above relegated Notts County. Burgess placed 11 players on the transfer list and Derek Blackburn and reserve keeper David Jones joined Yeovil Town in the Southern League. Burgess himself left a few weeks later when Swansea appointed former Cardiff manager Trevor Morris as general manager.

While all this was going on, 3 Swansea players (Mel Charles and the Allchurch brothers) were picked for Wales' World Cup squad in Sweden. Wales reached the quarter finals, losing to Brazil 0-1, 17 year old Pele scoring the goal.

Derek spent 5 years at Yeovil Town. The 1958-59 season the Southern League had expanded to 2 divisions and Yeovil were in the South & East division, finishing 4th. In the FA Cup, Yeovil beat Southend United but lost to Colchester United. In 1959-60, Yeovil were in the new Premier Division, finishing 11th. In 1960-61, Yeovil finished 3rd and won the League Cup. They also beat Walsall in the FA Cup but lost to Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic. In 1961-62, Yeovil finished 4th and lost to Notts County in the FA Cup. Oxford United were Southern League champions in 1961 and 1962 and were elected to the Football League. In 1962-63, Yeovil finished 11th and lost to Swindon in the FA Cup. In all, Derek had played 159 games for Yeovil Town, scoring 15 goals. Probably just to annoy him, the season after he left, Yeovil went and won the Southern League title.

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 Post subject: Re: a brief glimpse of the stars
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 9:49 pm 
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It's not known if Derek continued playing after he left Yeovil. The book "Swansea Town/City players" says about Derek "in later years he returned north and took up employment as a catering officer with Barnsley Council".

And that pretty much sums what I know about Derek Blackburn (in some books he is referred to as Derrick and his birthplace is given as Ryhill).

Early in the 1994-95 season, our President, John Carter, came through the turnstile just before kick off as was his custom. He then got involved in a conversation with a man I didn't know. I had to walk past them to get somewhere else and I distinctly over heard this stranger tell John Carter "I saw Derek Blackburn last week, i'll get him to come over here to see you" John Carter didn't reply and I didn't hear the rest of the conversation because I was walking away from them. Sadly, John Carter died not long after, aged 88. I never did find out if Derek came to visit John or visit the club, as the programme editor at the time, I would have liked to have asked him some questions about his career and his time at Ossett Town.

A couple of years ago, the Daily Mail asked a question about sportsmen playing for or against teams with the same names as themselves. I can't remember the answers given, I dare say Yorkshire's old cricketer Jack Hampshire playing against Hampshire would have been mentioned; but the one I remember is a Derek Blackburn from Wakefield writing to tell the Daily Mail that he made his debut against Blackburn Rovers.

If you know Derek, let Spoff know, I'm sure Spoff would love to do an article about Derek and any other old Ossett Town players.

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 Post subject: Re: a brief glimpse of the stars
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 10:09 pm 
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Swansea's manager, Ron Burgess, had been captain of Tottenham Hotspur's league title winning team in 1950-51. He was described by his team mate, Bill Nicholson, as "the perfect player". He had been at Spurs since 1936 and like most Tottenham players, had spent some time as a youngster playing in the Kent League with Northfleet, which was Tottenham's nursery team (Arsenal had a similar arrangement with Margate). He played 32 times for Wales and in 1954, at the age of 37 joined Swansea Town. Swansea's boss, Bill McCandless, had the unique achievement of winning Division 3 South titles with Newport County, Cardiff City and Swansea. McCandless died suddenly in 1955 aged 62 and Burgess took over as manager. Swansea finished 10th in his first season in charge, but he sold Terry Medwin to Tottenham and the £18,000 fee was not wisely invested. Swansea signed Derek King from Tottenham but he had to retire after 5 games, it turned out he had not had a medical, which would have shown up an old knee injury. Then the first choice centre half Tom Kiley had to retire through injury, other players, including Tottenham striker Len Duquemin didn't want to sign for Swansea, the star players like Mel Charles and Cliff Jones were looking elsewhere for their futures and Burgess had a large turnover of local and non league players in the team.

Burgess left Swansea in August 1958, he later joined Watford's coaching staff before taking over as manager and winning promotion from Division 4 in 1960. He also signed the young Pat Jennings from Irish side Newry Town, but Burgess was replaced in 1963 by former Huddersfield player Bill McGarry. Burgess later managed Hendon, Bedford Town and Harrow Borough and coached Fulham.

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 Post subject: Re: a brief glimpse of the stars
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 10:25 pm 
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Also at Swansea during Derek Blackburn's time were:

IVOR ALLCHURCH MBE. He left Swansea in October 1958 to join Newcastle United, he was 29 and he saw it as his last chance to play in Division 1. He later played for Cardiff before returning to Swansea. After spells at Worcester City and Haverfordwest, he was still playing at the age of 50 for Ponterdawe.

LEN ALLCHURCH. Ivor's younger brother, he joined Sheffield United in 1961 and later played for Stockport before returning to Swansea. He also played for Haverfordwest.

MEL CHARLES. He joined Arsenal in 1959, signing for Cardiff in 1962. Later played for Portmadoc, Port Vale, Oswestry Town and Haverfordwest before going into the Swansea Senior League with Cwmfelin.

CLIFF JONES. Cliff signed for Tottenham at the end of the 1957-58 season. He scored 159 goals for Spurs and was a key member of Bill Nicholson's side, so much so that Nicholson turned down bids from Athletico Madrid and Juventus. Cliff left Tottenham in 1968 for Fulham and later played for Kings Lynn, Bedford Town, Wealdstone, Cambridge City and Wingate.

BRYN JONES. Cliff's brother joined Newport in 1958 and later played for Bournemouth, Northampton, Watford, Chelmsford City and Folkestone Town, where he was also manager.

TOM KILEY the man who spotted Derek playing for Ossett Town didn't stay with Swansea Town for long. He gave up football altogether and became involved on the admin side of things at Swansea Rugby Union Club. He also played For Swansea cricket club and worked as a legal executive.

DAVID JONES the keeper who went to Yeovil with Derek stayed there until he retired through injury in 1967.

DUDLEY PEAKE transferred to Newport in 1958 and later played for Romford and Merthyr Tydfil.

RAY DANIEL joined Hereford United in 1960, he had a short spell as manager but reverted back to playing, retiring in 1967.

MEL NURSE young centre half was coming through the ranks during Derek's time, he replaced Daniel as first choice centre half and later played for Wales. He joined Middlesbrough and later played for Swindon before returning to Swansea. Later was on the board of directors at Merthyr Tydfil and Swansea City.

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 Post subject: Re: a brief glimpse of the stars
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 10:45 pm 
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Tom Kiley compared Derek Blackburn to Reg Weston, a former Swansea player. Reg had played for Northfleet before the war but wartime service in the Royal Navy brought him to Pembroke Docks and he was spotted by Swansea while playing locally. Reg played in a celebrated half back line with Wales International, Roy Paul (who played alongside Ron Burgess for Wales) and former Wolves player Frank Burns. Roy Paul later joined Manchester City and lifted the FA Cup in 1956, alongside the likes of Bert Trautmann and Don Revie. Reg Weston joined Derby County and was replaced in the Swansea team by Tom Kiley. Weston later was player manager of Burton Albion.

Swansea's manager at this time, Bill McCandless, was an Irish International who had spent 10 years with Rangers before returning to Ireland, managing Ballymena before moving to Wales.

When Tottenham won the league title in 1951, their manager was Arthur Rowe. He had played for Tottenham & England before the war and he too had learned his early football at Northfleet. He retired through injury in 1939 and was appointed as a football advisor to the Hungarian Government, but that ended with the outbreak of war. One of the students at Arthur Rowe's coaching sessions was a young man called Gustav Sebes, who in 1953-54, was the coach of the "Mighty Magyars" who thrashed England 6-3 and 7-1. Rowe was an Army PTI during the war and managed Chelmsford City before returning to Tottenham in 1949 and winning the Division 2 title at the first attempt. His "Push and Run" style helped to revolutionise English football (the Hungarians did the rest 2 years later). His first signing as Tottenham manager was Southampton's right back, Alf Ramsey. Ramsey's England playing career ended after the Hungarian debacle and later as a manager he won the league title with Ipswich Town before winning the World Cup with England. Rowe resigned through ill health (his last signing was Danny Blanchflower from Aston Villa), though later Rowe recovered to work with Crystal Palace.

Bill Nicholson, who came from Scarborough, also went the Northfleet route into Tottenham's team. He retired in 1955 at the age of 36 and joined the coaching staff, replacing Jimmy Anderson as manager in October 1958. He won the League title and FA Cup in 1961, the FA Cup again in 1962, then the European Cup Winners Cup in 1963, FA Cup in 1967, League Cup in 1971, UEFA Cup in 1972 and the League Cup again in 1973. He resigned in 1974 but continued scouting for Tottenham.

Another member of that Tottenham team was left back Arthur Willis. He was born in Denaby and joined Tottenham as a youngster, he followed Burgess to Swansea in 1954 and was still playing when Derek Blackburn arrived.

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 Post subject: Re: a brief glimpse of the stars
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 10:58 pm 
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The "elephant in the room" as far as Swansea's problems in the 1957-58 season goes, is Mel Charles' older brother John Charles. He had left Swansea in 1948 to join Leeds United. In 1953-54, he set a record of 42 goals and such was his reputation, that early in the 1955-56 season, a record attendance 29,477 was set for Vetch Field when Leeds arrived in town (it was later beaten by an FA Cup match with Arsenal). Leeds won promotion that season and in 1956-57, John hit 38 goals in Division 1. Juventus wrote out a cheque for £65,000. Whereas there was a maximum pay limit in British football, there was no limit in Italy and what John was earning would have been mind boggling to all the Swansea lads and others when ever they met up for internationals. No wonder the likes of Mel Charles, Cliff Jones and Ivor Allchurch became unhappy and wanted to move elsewhere.

John had 5 very successful years in Italy, but he rejoined Leeds in 1962 and the move was a mistake. He was soon back in Italy with Roma, but then returned to Wales to link up with his brother Mel at Cardiff. He ended his league career here and later played for Hereford United and Merthyr Tydfil. In later years, he ran a pub in Leeds but hit straitened circumstances and Leeds for once did the decent thing and cleared his debts and gave him and Bobby Collins a joint testimonial. John died in Pinderfields Hospital in 2004.

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 Post subject: Re: a brief glimpse of the stars
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 11:11 pm 
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I consulted a number of books "Swansea Town/City players" by Colin Jones; "The official biography of the Swans" by David Farmer; "Tottenham Hotspur The Complete Record" by Bob Goodwin; "Football Managers" by Dennis Turner and Alex White; a history of the Southern League by Leigh Edwards and various Soccerdata publications by Tony Brown, as well as various Rothmans books.

This is what happens when you put sh*te on the tv over christmas :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: a brief glimpse of the stars
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 9:28 am 
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More fantastic work, i've not been on here for ages - expect to see this in the programme soon!

Any pictures of Mr Blackburn by any chance?

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 Post subject: Re: a brief glimpse of the stars
PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:58 am 
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there are some old team photos on the Wakefield Council website on a page called Twixt Aire and Calder, mainly 50's and 60's, from Fern House and Ingfield with the old mill where the bus station and Prospect Road is now.

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 Post subject: Re: a brief glimpse of the stars
PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 10:33 pm 
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researching the Bradford City stuff on another thread recently, I read a story about Alan Gilliver's transfer from Huddersfield Town to Blackburn Rovers in 1966. Blackburn paid Huddersfield £30,000, but when they realised Gilliver had a long standing back injury, they complained to the Football League and Huddersfield were ordered to repay half the transfer fee. After this, the Football League ordered medicals to be carried out at all transfers. This was 10 years after Swansea had been involved in a similar incident with Tottenham with Derek King as mentioned earlier in the thread.

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 Post subject: Re: a brief glimpse of the stars
PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 10:41 pm 
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when Derek Blackburn joined Yeovil, the Yeovil player manager was Jimmy Baldwin, a former Blackburn and Leicester wing half. Baldwin was replaced in 1960 by former Portsmouth player Basil Hayward, who came from Leek and had been in Port Vale's 1953-54 Division 3 title winning team and lost to West Brom in the FA Cup semi finals. Basil's had two brothers who were also pro's, Eric played for Blackpool in their 1948 and 1951 FA Cup final teams, Doug played for Newport. Basil left Yeovil in 1964 and later managed Bedford Town, Gillingham and Telford United. Later he was chief scout at Norwich City.

Amongst Derek's team mates at Yeovil, probably the best known was Don Travis, who scored 160 goals in the Football League, mainly with Oldham, Chester and Accrington. Another team mate was Dennis Coughlan, who played for Durham City and Barnsley before joining Yeovil, later he joined Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic, where he scored 40 goals in 88 games. After that, he played for Swansea, Exeter, Chelmsford City, Kings Lynn, Bedford Town and then back to the north east to end his career with South Shields.

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 Post subject: Re: a brief glimpse of the stars
PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 11:15 pm 
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the top side in the Southern League at this time were Oxford United. Their manager, Arthur Turner, had been approached by Leeds United in April 1959 to replace Bill Lambton, but Oxford matched the offer Leeds had made and so Arthur stayed at Oxford. Leeds instead appointed QPR boss Jack Taylor, got relegated in 1960 and Don Revie replaced Taylor in March 1961.

Oxford's captain was Ron Atkinson, who had been at Wolves and Aston Villa before joining Oxford. He was joined by his younger brother Graham Atkinson. Also playing for Oxford were former Wolves players Cyril Beavon and Maurice Kyle, who had both played for Wath Wanderers. Former Sheffield United striker Geoff Denial and ex Bradford Park Avenue player Bud Houghton were also at Oxford.

Elsewhere, Bath City had a long serving full back, Tony Book. In 1963, Bath appointed Malcolm Allison as their new manager, he soon moved to Plymouth and then Manchester City, Tony followed him, making his Football League debut at the age of 29, and picked up a league title winners medal in 1968 at City.

At Weymouth, their player manager was former West Ham & Ireland player Frank O'Farrell. He later managed Leicester City and Manchester United. Their keeper was the former Hull City keeper Billy Bly.

Romford were managed by 3 former Tottenham players. Jack Chisholm (ex Sheffield United) was replaced by former England keeper Ted Ditchburn, who was in turn replaced by former England centre half Harry Clarke. Also playing for Romford were former Wales striker Trevor Ford, former West Ham defender Malcolm Allison and former Tottenham striker Len Duquemin.

Cambridge City's player manager was Jack White, brother of Len White. Kettering's boss was former Portsmouth & England player Jack Froggatt. Chelmsford City exploited a loop hole in the Football League's rules to sign Wolves striker Bobby Mason, the Football League banned Chelmsford from applying for election to the Football League for 5 years, Mason later played for Orient. Former Welsh cap Ray Daniel played for Hereford United, former Scottish cap Jimmy Logie played for Gravesend & Northfleet, another Scottish cap, Ian Black, kept goal for Bath City.

Tonbridge manager Jack Tresadern, a former West Ham & England wing half, died aged 69 on Boxing Day 1959. He was replaced by Barry Town boss Harry Haslam, who later managed Luton Town and Sheffield United, signing Alex Sabella, amongst others. Happy Harry had already caused a stir while at Barry by signing some Swedish and Finnish players, so his adventures in South America while boss at Bramall Lane should really have been no surprise.

a lot of this info is taken from a history of the Southern League written by author Leigh Edwards. In this book, he lists all the players who have transferred from the Football League to the Southern League at some point in their careers, but only those who have made over 50 appearances in the Football League are listed. There are 9 pages, listing approximately 2000 players; so you can imagine how many thousands more, who, like Derek Blackburn, only made a small number of FL appearances and would not have been included in this book.

I hope some day a similar history of the Northern Premier League is produced.

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 Post subject: Re: a brief glimpse of the stars
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 2:14 pm 
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on the 1963-64 team photo for Chesterfield, there is a Derek Blackburn sat next to the manager Tony McShane, but he looks nothing like the Derek Blackburn in the book I have about Swansea City.

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