1929–30 Torquay United F.C. season

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Torquay United
1929–30 season
Chairman England Charles Dear
Manager England Frank Womack
Third Division South 19th
FA Cup First Round
Top goalscorer League:
Joe Pointon (18)
All:
Joe Pointon (18)
Highest home attendance 8,299 v Plymouth Argyle, 4 September 1929
(Third Division South)
Lowest home attendance 2,730 v Watford, 28 December 1929
(Third Division South)
Average home league attendance 4,271
Home colours

The 1929–30 Torquay United F.C. season was Torquay United's third season in the Football League and their third consecutive season in Third Division South. The season runs from 1 July 1929 to 30 June 1930.

Overview

Needing a replacement for Percy Mackrill, who had left the club before the end of the previous season, Torquay United appointed former Birmingham City full back Frank Womack as their new manager.1 Womack soon set about putting a together a new squad in an effort to improve upon the lowly finishes of Torquay's first two seasons in the League. Debutants on the opening day of the season included centre half Harry Bruce, inside forward Harry Keeling and the ex-Sheffield United FA Cup winner Dave Mercer.1 However, the Magpies made a slow start to the campaign, losing their opening four games, and it was not until the introduction of forwards Joe Pointon and Les Robinson that results slowly began to improve. Effectively displacing Keeling and United mainstay Dan Kelly from the team, Pointon and Robinson ended up scoring a total of 34 goals between them by the end of the season. Robinson became the first Torquay player to score four goals in a League match in the 5–2 win over Walsall in November and, not to be outdone, Pointon repeated the feat in a famous 7–0 victory over Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic the following March. Indeed, it was Pointon and Robinson who scored the goals at Gillingham to secure Torquay's first and only away win of the season.2

However, United's fortunes took a turn for the worse in the New Year when a January storm tore off the entire roof of the Grandstand at Plainmoor. With Torquay's finances already in a perilous state, there was a real possibility of the club going out of business altogether.13 But, with the help of public donations and some hastily arranged friendlies, Torquay just about managed to avoid financial ruin, although a run of three consecutive 5–0 defeats to Clapton Orient, Brentford and Brighton did not help to improve the spirits of the team or its supporters.

Nevertheless, reason for optimism arrived with that emphatic 7–0 win over Bournemouth at Plainmoor. The match marked the debut of a 17-year old winger from Dartmouth named Ralph Birkett. Although only making a handful of appearances for the Magpies before the end of the season, he would eventually become one of the finest players ever to appear for Torquay United. Ironically, the match also saw the final appearance of another local hero Sid Cann.2 The Torquay born full back had put in some impressive performances since joining United and the club had no option but to accept an offer to sell the young defender, as well as fellow full back Fred Corbett, to First Division side Manchester City.3

Despite the emphatic win over Bournemouth, Torquay were still struggling at the bottom of the table as the season drew to a close. Defeat in the final game of the season against local rivals Exeter City would have seen United again having to apply for re-election to the Football League. As it was, a 2–1 victory over the Grecians was enough to see Torquay finish in 19th place, only narrowly avoiding the need for re-election.1

Although, safe for another season, it was clear that Frank Womack and Torquay United still had plenty of hard work ahead of them.

League statistics

Third Division South

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts Promotion or relegation
1 Plymouth Argyle (C) (P) 42 30 8 4 98 38 2.579 68 Promotion to the Second Division
2 Brentford 42 28 5 9 94 44 2.136 61
3 Queens Park Rangers 42 21 9 12 80 68 1.176 51
4 Northampton Town 42 21 8 13 82 58 1.414 50
5 Brighton & Hove Albion 42 21 8 13 87 63 1.381 50
6 Coventry City 42 19 9 14 88 73 1.205 47
7 Fulham 42 18 11 13 87 83 1.048 47
8 Norwich City 42 18 10 14 88 77 1.143 46
9 Crystal Palace 42 17 12 13 81 74 1.095 46
10 Bournemouth & Boscombe 42 15 13 14 72 61 1.180 43
11 Southend United 42 15 13 14 69 59 1.169 43
12 Clapton Orient 42 14 13 15 55 62 0.887 41
13 Luton Town 42 14 12 16 64 78 0.821 40
14 Swindon Town 42 13 12 17 73 83 0.880 38
15 Watford 42 15 8 19 60 73 0.822 38
16 Exeter City 42 12 11 19 67 73 0.918 35
17 Walsall 42 13 8 21 71 78 0.910 34
18 Newport County 42 12 10 20 74 85 0.871 34
19 Torquay United 42 10 11 21 64 94 0.681 31
20 Bristol Rovers 42 11 8 23 67 93 0.720 30
21 Gillingham 42 11 8 23 51 80 0.637 30 Re-elected to the Third Division South
22 Merthyr Town (R) 42 6 9 27 60 135 0.444 21 Failed re-election to the Third Division South

Source: "Football Club History Database". 
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal average.
(C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted

Results summary

Overall Home Away
Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts W D L GF GA GAv W D L GF GA GAv
42 10 11 21 64 94 0.681 31 9 6 6 50 38 1.316 1 5 15 14 56 0.250

Source: [1]

Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; GAv = Goal average; Pts = Points

Results by round

Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42
Ground A H H A A A H A H A A H A H A H H A H A H H A A H A A H H A H H A H H A A H H A A H
Result L L L L D D W L W L D D L W D L D W L L W W L L L L L D D L W L L W D L L D W L D W
Position 18 19 22 22 22 22 21 21 16 19 19 17 18 17 16 17 16 16 16 19 16 15 15 15 18 18 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 20 19 19 19 19

Source: [2]
Ground: A = Away; H = Home. Result: D = Draw; L = Lose; W = Win; P = Postponed.

Match of the season

TORQUAY UNITED 7–0 BOURNEMOUTH & BOSCOMBE ATHLETIC
Third Division South
Plainmoor, 8 March 1930

Soccer.Field Transparant.png

High
Kelly
Keeling
Waller
TORQUAY UNITED
BOURNEMOUTH
TORQUAY UNITED:
GK 1 England Archie Bayes
RB 2 England Frank Womack
LB 3 England Jack Fowler
RH 4 England Stan High
CH 5 England Sid Cann
LH 6 England Bob Smith
OR 7 England Ralph Birkett
IR 8 Scotland Dan Kelly Goal Goal
CF 9 England Joe Pointon Goal Goal Goal Goal
IL 10 England Harry Keeling
OL 11 England Harry Waller Goal

Having not won a match since the previous December, few would have expected Torquay United (currently lying 19th in the Third Division South table) to get much out of the visit of 6th placed Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic. The Plainmoor faithful had already witnessed a 5–0 thrashing from Clapton Orient back in January, and the travelling fans were treated to two more defeats by the same scoreline in their next two away matches. Not many then would have been expecting the Magpies to record their biggest League victory to date when the Cherries came to town.

Helping himself to four of the seven goals that day was centre forward Joe Pointon, doubling his tally for the season so far, although he would go on to score another ten goals before the end of the campaign. Dan Kelly and Harry Waller scored the other three between them while the Torquay defence held firm behind them, despite the 41-year old Frank Womack selecting himself at right back. (In fact, this was manager Womack's sixth match in succession and he ended up playing in every game for the rest of the season, even appearing as an inside forward when Torquay were themselves victims of a 7–0 humiliation at Walsall in April).2

The match also has a unique place in history as it was the only time that two of Torquay's greatest ever home-grown players appeared together. Born in Babbacombe, Sid Cann had joined the Magpies the previous season at the age of 16 and quickly developed into an extremely effective full back, eventually displacing the more experienced Willie Brown from the team. In his second season he had proved his versatility by being able to fill in at centre half, a role he fulfilled in this game.2 Unfortunately, this was to be Cann's last match for the Magpies before leaving for Manchester City. Ironically, the same game saw the debut of another local lad with Ralph Birkett, a 17-year old amateur from Dartmouth United, appearing on the right wing.3 Birkett had a storming debut for Torquay setting up four of United's goals and the youngster signed a professional contract with the club shortly afterwards.1 While Cann's move to a First Division side was a major accomplishment for a Torquay player, Birkett would go on to eclipse his achievements when, after three full seasons for United, he would sign for Arsenal and then Middlesbrough before eventually appearing for England in 1935.13

Results

Third Division South

FA Cup

Club statistics

First team appearances

Nat Pos Player Total Third Division South FA Cup
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
England GK Archie Bayes 18 0 18 0 0 0
England GK Harold Gough 18 0 17 0 1 0
England GK Laurie Millsom 7 0 7 0 0 0
England DF Jack Fowler 29 0 28 0 1 0
England DF Sid Cann 28 3 27 3 1 0
England DF Fred Corbett 22 1 21 1 1 0
England DF Frank Womack 20 0 19 0 1 0
England DF George Goucher 6 0 6 0 0 0
England MF Bob Smith 41 1 41 1 0 0
England MF Harry Bruce 29 0 28 0 1 0
England MF Stan High 28 0 28 0 0 0
Scotland MF Bill Hunter 6 0 6 0 0 0
England MF Cecil White 5 0 5 0 0 0
England MF Bill Clitheroe 1 0 1 0 0 0
England MF Harry May 1 0 1 0 0 0
England FW Joe Hill 33 8 32 8 1 0
England FW Harry Waller 30 5 29 5 1 0
England FW Dave Mercer 29 0 28 0 1 0
England FW Joe Pointon 28 18 27 18 1 0
England FW Les Robinson 24 16 23 16 1 0
England FW Harry Keeling 22 7 22 7 0 0
Scotland FW Dan Kelly 19 5 19 5 0 0
Scotland FW Andrew Martin 13 0 13 0 0 0
England FW Jack Burn 7 0 7 0 0 0
England FW Ralph Birkett 6 0 6 0 0 0
England FW Harry Rice 3 0 3 0 0 0

Source:2

Top Scorers

Place Position Nation Name Third Division South FA Cup Total
1 FW England Joe Pointon 18 0 18
2 FW England Les Robinson 16 0 16
3 FW England Joe Hill 8 0 8
4 FW England Harry Keeling 7 0 7
5 FW Scotland Dan Kelly 5 0 5
= FW England Harry Waller 5 0 5
7 DF England Sid Cann 3 0 3
8 DF England Fred Corbett 1 0 1
9 MF England Bob Smith 1 0 1
Own goals 0 0 0
TOTAL 64 0 64

Source:2

Transfers

In

First appearance Nat. Pos. Name From
31 August 1929 England MF Harry Bruce Gillingham
31 August 1929 England MF Stan High Leicester City
31 August 1929 England FW Harry Keeling Notts County
31 August 1929 Scotland FW Andrew Martin Rochdale
31 August 1929 England FW Dave Mercer Shirebrook
4 September 1929 England FW Jack Burn Worcester City
4 September 1929 England FW Harry Rice Shrewsbury Town
4 September 1929 England DF Frank Womack Worcester City
7 September 1929 England MF Harry May Unattached
11 September 1929 England FW Joe Pointon Brighton & Hove Albion
11 September 1929 England FW Les Robinson Thames
18 September 1929 England DF Fred Corbett Worcester City
19 October 1929 England DF George Goucher Nottingham Forest
26 December 1929 Scotland MF Bill Hunter Walsall
8 March 1930 England FW Ralph Birkett Dartmouth United
29 March 1930 England MF Cecil White Leeds United

Out

Last appearance Nat. Pos. Name To
7 September 1929 England MF Harry May Released
11 September 1929 England FW Harry Rice Evesham Town
9 November 1929 Scotland FW Andrew Martin Released
7 December 1929 England FW Jack Burn Hereford United
18 January 1930 Scotland MF Bill Hunter Released
25 January 1930 England DF Fred Corbett Manchester City
15 February 1930 England MF Bill Clitheroe Released
1 March 1930 England FW Les Robinson Released
8 March 1930 England DF Sid Cann Manchester City
29 March 1930 England GK Harold Gough Retired
19 April 1930 Scotland FW Dan Kelly York City
19 April 1930 England MF Cecil White Wigan Borough
3 May 1930 England GK Archie Bayes Retired
3 May 1930 England MF Harry Bruce Colwyn Bay
3 May 1930 England DF George Goucher Shirebrook
3 May 1930 England FW Joe Hill Newark Town
3 May 1930 England FW Dave Mercer Released
3 May 1930 England FW Joe Pointon Bristol Rovers

Source:2

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Edwards, Leigh; Gibbes, Jon; Lovis, John (1999). Torquay United, The Official Centenary History, 1899-1999. Yore Publications. ISBN 1-874427-38-0
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Edwards, Leigh (1997). The Definitive Torquay United F.C.. The Association of Football Statisticians. ISBN 1-899468-09-9.
  3. ^ a b c d Holgate, Mike (1999). Torquay United Football Club 1899-1999. Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-1814-9

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