Tom Brittleton

Last updated

Tom Brittleton
Personal information
Full name John Thomas Brittleton [1]
Date of birth 23 April 1882 [1]
Place of birth Winsford, Cheshire, England [1]
Date of death 22 February 1955(1955-02-22) (aged 72) [1]
Place of death Winsford, Cheshire, England [1]
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) [2]
Position(s) Wing half
Youth career
1892–1894 Winsford Juniors
1894–1896 Winsford Celtic
Senior career*
1896–1902 Winsford United
1902–1905 Stockport County 59 (15)
1905–1920 Sheffield Wednesday 343 (30)
1920–1925 Stoke 114 (5)
1925–1928 Winsford United
International career
1912–1914 England 5 (0)
Managerial career
1925–???? Winsford United (Player-manager)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

John Thomas Brittleton (23 April 1882 – 22 February 1955) was a professional footballer. He was one of the pioneers of the long throw-in. [3] With a career spanning over 30 years, including 24 seasons in the Football League, he is the oldest person to play for Sheffield Wednesday in a competitive game.


Early years

Brittleton was born in Winsford, Cheshire on St George's Day 1882. He started his football career by playing for Winsford Juniors at the age of 10. Whilst at his next junior club, Winsford Celtic, he played in every position including goalkeeper. [3]

After leaving school at the age of 14, Brittleton signed for the town's senior side, Winsford United. He went on to play many County League games and earned several winners medals in the Cheshire Amateur Cup, appearing in three district finals in one season. [3]

Whilst at United, a Stockport County fan, who was visiting his girlfriend in Winsford, watched Brittleton play a match and informed the Stockport management of his skills. Shortly afterwards he signed amateur forms with County at the age of nineteen. [3] He continued his job at the Winsford Salt Works, and even, on one occasion, missed a Stockport game that he was due to play in so that he could instead play for Winsford in a Cheshire Amateur Cup game. [3] Despite his apparent lack of commitment to County he eventually signed professional forms with the club and hence started his Football League career.

Professional career

Stockport County

Brittleton began his league career with Stockport County in 1902 as an inside forward. He went on to score ten goals in forty-five appearances for the Lancashire club, and after County had played a game at Ashton in December 1904, the referee sent a report to Sheffield Wednesday recommending the player. Wednesday immediately sent a £200 bid to Stockport which was rejected. Undeterred, the Owls improved their offer to a club record fee of £300, [4] and Brittleton signed for the Yorkshire club on 6 January 1905.

Sheffield Wednesday

Brittleton made his debut for Wednesday on 14 January 1905, [5] playing in the inside right position in place of Harry Chapman. During his early time at The Owlerton Stadium, Brittleton played in most of the outfield positions before becoming established as a wing-half and a long-term replacement for Harry Ruddlesdin. [3]

Brittleton played in all of Sheffield Wednesday's matches in the 1906–07 FA Cup, [6] culminating in the club's 2–1 victory against Everton in the final at Crystal Palace.

In 1911, Brittleton was invited to represent the Football Association for a summer tour of South Africa. However, the player, once described as "the biggest home bird you could ever meet", [3] declined, preferring instead to spend the off-season fishing.

Brittleton made his international debut on 10 February 1912 at the age of 29 in a match against Ireland which England won 6–1. [7] He won four more international caps, and did not lose a game that he played for his country. [8]

In 1919, Wednesday allowed Brittleton to move back to Winsford, although he continued to play for the club. He went on to make a total of 373 appearances for the Owls in all competitions, scoring 33 goals in the process. His last match for Sheffield Wednesday was against Oldham Athletic on 1 May 1920; aged 38 years and 8 days, Brittleton became the oldest man to play for the Owls. [3] After more than 15 years with the club he was rewarded with a free transfer.


After looking set to re-join non-league Winsford United, Brittleton moved to Second Division Stoke. [1] Brittleton family folklore has it that he actually signed for Winsford before moving almost immediately to Stoke and that the Cheshire club received a small transfer as part of the deal, however no records have been found to back up the claim. [3] He joined Stoke at the age of 41 and many questioned as to Brittleton could still play a part in professional football. [1] However, despite his advancing years he still commanded respect and was indeed able to play as through he was in his twenties. [1] Due to his experience he was appointed player-coach at Stoke working alongside Arthur Shallcross. [1] He helped Stoke gain promotion to the First Division in 1921–22 but Stoke struggled the following season and Shalcross was sacked. [1] Jock Rutherford took over but soon left and Brittleton was given the opportunity to become manager but he rejected. Instead he carried on playing in the 1924–25 season playing in eight matches at the age of 45, a record not to be surpassed until Stanley Matthews. [1]

Return to Winsford

After retiring from League football Brittleton returned to his hometown to take up the position of player-manager at Winsford United whilst also working for ICI. [3] When he finally stopped playing, he became the landlord of the town's Navigation Inn.

Personal life

His younger brother, Sam (b. 1885), was also a professional footballer with Stockport County, Preston North End and Southampton. [9]

His son, John (1906–1982), played for Aston Villa for three seasons in the 1920s. [10]

Career statistics


Source: [11]

Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
ClubSeasonLeagueFA CupTotal
Stockport County 1902–03 Second Division 16400164
1903–04 Second Division29630326
1904–05 Lancashire Combination 14550195
Sheffield Wednesday 1904–05 First Division 12300123
1905–06 First Division19310203
1906–07 First Division31180391
1907–08 First Division36610376
1908–09 First Division33441375
1909–10 First Division32620346
1910–11 First Division32100321
1911–12 First Division29220312
1912–13 First Division34041381
1913–14 First Division30151352
1914–15 First Division24120261
1919–20 First Division31210322
Stoke 1920–21 Second Division41410424
1921–22 Second Division14050190
1922–23 First Division16120181
1923–24 Second Division35010360
1924–25 Second Division800080
Career Total5165047356353


Source: [12]

National teamYearAppsGoals
England 191230

Related Research Articles

Christopher Robert Turner is an English former footballer and who is now director of football at Wakefield. He made 589 league and cup appearances in a 19-year career as a professional in the English Football League, and then took charge of a further 469 matches as a manager.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lewis Buxton</span> English footballer

Lewis Edward Buxton is an English former professional footballer who played as a defender.

Albert Quixall was an English professional footballer who played as an inside-forward. He joined Sheffield Wednesday as a youth and debuted in their professional side in 1951. He played almost 250 league games for Wednesday and became known as the "Golden Boy", also being capped five times for the England national team. Quixall joined Manchester United in 1958 for a record transfer fee, a signing made by Matt Busby to rebuild his team following the Munich air disaster. Quixall played 184 games for United and was regarded by Bobby Charlton as key to many of his goals in this era. He ended his football career at Oldham Athletic and Stockport County. In retirement he lived in Greater Manchester and ran a scrap metal firm.

Harry Catterick was an English football player and manager. As a player Catterick played for Everton and Crewe Alexandra, in a career that was interrupted by World War II, but he is most notable as a manager. After spells with Crewe, Rochdale and Sheffield Wednesday, with whom he won the Football League Second Division title, he took over at Everton and won the English Football League twice and the FA Cup with the Merseyside club and is regarded as one of Everton's most successful managers. He finished his managerial career at Preston North End.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Steven Fletcher (footballer)</span> Footballer (born 1987)

Steven Kenneth Fletcher is a professional footballer who most recently played as a striker for Scottish Championship club Dundee United.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nantwich Town F.C.</span> Association football club in England

Nantwich Town Football Club is a semi-professional football club based in Nantwich, Cheshire, England. The club was founded in 1884 and is nicknamed The Dabbers, a reference to the town's tanning industry. They currently compete in and play their home matches at the Weaver Stadium - for sponsorship reasons, also known as the 'Swansway Stadium'.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Glenn Whelan</span> Irish footballer

Glenn David Whelan is an Irish former professional footballer who played as a defensive midfielder. He represented the Republic of Ireland national football team. He is currently a first-team coach at Bristol Rovers.

Kevin Paul Pressman is an English football coach and former professional goalkeeper, who is the current goalkeeping coach for Grantham Town.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chris Adamson</span> British footballer

Christopher Adamson is an English former football goalkeeper who played for 13 clubs in a 13-year career. Adamson is currently goalkeeping coach at Mansfield Town, as well as a coach at non-league side Bustleholme.

Andrew Wilson was a Scottish footballer who played the majority of his career at Sheffield Wednesday, and was also selected for the Scottish national team. At Wednesday he won the Football League in 1903 and 1904, and the FA Cup in 1907. He holds the club's all-time records for appearances made and goals scored.

Harry Burgess was an English footballer who played at Inside-left for Stockport County, Sheffield Wednesday where he won the league championship in 1929–30, and Chelsea. He won four caps for England scoring four goals.

Joseph Nibloe was a Scottish professional footballer who played for Kilmarnock, Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday in a 15-year career between 1924 and 1939, during which time he made 459 club appearances including cup games. He also made eleven appearances for Scotland.

Stanley James Smith was an English footballer. A forward, he scored 25 goals in 92 league games in an eight-year career in the English Football League. He spent 1950 to 1957 with Port Vale, and later had brief spells with Crewe Alexandra, Oldham Athletic, Witton Albion, Macclesfield Town, Stafford Rangers, Runcorn, New Brighton and managed Winsford United and Alsager Town.

Samuel Brittleton was an English footballer who played at inside-left for various clubs in the 1900s. He was the brother of England international Tom Brittleton.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1929–30 Port Vale F.C. season</span> Port Vale 1929–30 football season

The 1929–30 season was Port Vale's 11th consecutive season of football in the English Football League, and their first in the Third Division North. They finished as champions and were thus promoted back to the Second Division. With 67 points they broke a division record. After winning the North Staffordshire & District League in 1909–10 it was their first league title, as well as their first ever promotion in the Football League. They also racked up a still-standing club record Football League wins in a season, winning 30 of their 42 games. They were the most southerly team in the North Division.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2011–12 Sheffield Wednesday F.C. season</span> Sheffield Wednesday 2011–12 football season

During the 2011–12 season, Sheffield Wednesday F.C. competed in League One, the FA Cup, the League Cup, and the Football League Trophy. It was their second consecutive season in the third tier of English football, and their 110th season in the Football League. At the end of the season they completed their aim of automatic promotion to the Football League Championship, after a remarkable season with so many twists and turns.

During the 2013–14 football season, Sheffield Wednesday Football Club competed in three professional football competitions. Sheffield Wednesday competed in the 2013–14 Football League Championship, 2013–14 FA Cup, and the 2013–14 Football League Cup. It was the Owls' second consecutive season in the Football League Championship having secured promotion from League One in the 2011–12 season and then securing Championship safety on the last day of the 2012–13 season. The Football League season kicked-off at the beginning of August, along with the League Cup in the same month. Meanwhile, with Sheffield Wednesday being within the top two-tiers of the English football league system the club did not enter the FA Cup until the beginning of January 2014 where they entered at Round 3 of the competition.

The 2015–16 season was Sheffield Wednesday's fourth consecutive season in the Championship. Along with competing in the Championship, the club also participated in the FA Cup and League Cup.

The 2017–18 season was Sheffield Wednesday's sixth consecutive season in the Championship. Along with competing in the Championship, the club also participated in the FA Cup and EFL Cup.

The 2020–21 season is Sheffield Wednesday's ninth consecutive season in the Championship. The season covers the period from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Matthews, Tony (1994). The Encyclopaedia of Stoke City. Lion Press. ISBN   0-9524151-0-0.
  2. Trentsider (21 August 1922). "Few big transfers in the First Division of the Football League. Nottingham Forest". Athletic News. Manchester. p. 5.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Jason Dickinson & John Brodie (2005). The Wednesday Boys: A Definitive Who's Who of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club 1880–2005. Sheffield: Pickard Communication. pp. 43–44. ISBN   0-9547264-9-9.
  4. Andrew Drake. "Transfers". The Owl Football Historian. Archived from the original on 30 June 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2008.
  5. Jackson Stuart. "Tom Brittleton profile". The Sheffield Wednesday Archive. Bullock, Adrian. Retrieved 17 August 2008.
  6. "SWFC Legends A–C". Sheffield Wednesday Official Website. Sheffield Wednesday F.C. 27 June 2008. Retrieved 17 August 2008.
  7. "Match Statistics". The Football Association. Archived from the original on 29 October 2007. Retrieved 17 August 2008.
  8. "John Brittleton Playing Career". The Football Association. Retrieved 17 August 2008.[ dead link ]
  9. Duncan Holley & Gary Chalk (1992). The Alphabet of the Saints. ACL & Polar Publishing. p. 46. ISBN   0-9514862-3-3.
  10. "John Brittleton". Aston Villa player database. Archived from the original on 6 September 2008. Retrieved 31 December 2008.
  11. Tom Brittleton at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
  12. Brittleton, Tom at

| Tom Brittleton at