Arthur Herby Image 1 Blackburn Rovers 1884

Arthur Herby Image 1 Blackburn Rovers 1884


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Blackburn born goalkeeper Herby Arthur played for local Blackburn sides Lower Bank Academy and King’s Own  before joining Blackburn Rovers as a right-half during 1880-81 season. He volunteered to play in goal for the reserve side, where he remained. He joined Southport Central in the 1890-91 season, before returning to Rovers the following season. He won the FA Cup with Rovers in 1884, 1885, 1886 and 1890, and played in Blackburn Rovers’ inaugural Football League game in September 1888, a 5-5 draw at home to Accrington. Arthur played in both of Blackburn’s 1889 FA Cup semi Final matches, when they lost in a replay to Wolverhampton Wanderers at The Alexandra Recreation Ground, Crewe, but when Blackburn reached the 1890 Final he was one of six goalkeepers tried during the season and Johnny Horne was preferred for the semi final and Final, which Blackburn won beating Sheffield Wednesday 6-1. Only 16 other players filled all 10 outfield positions during the season!

Arthur won 7 England caps between his debut against Ireland in Manchester in February 1885 and his final appearance exactly two years later against Wales at The Kennington Oval. He was also a non playing reserve the following month for the Scotland match at Blackburn. With his final England appearance, Arthur became the most capped goalkeeper, previously a record held by Albermarle Swepstone since 1883. He held the record until 1900, although he shared it with Billy Moon from 1891, when Southampton’s Jack Robinson passed the mark.

The Lancashire Daily Post recalls one particularly extraordinary incident during the First Division match against Burnley in December 1891, at Turf Moor. The match was played in terrible conditions, with driving wind and rain. At half-time Burnley were leading 3-0: “Burnley was the scene on December 12th, 1891, of an incident with which Arthur’s name will ever be associated. SIr Charles Clegg, now the president of the Football Association, was the referee, and in a blinding snowstorm Burnley led at half-time by three goals. The second half had not been long in progress when two players, between whom there had been earlier friction, squared up again. Both men received marching orders. The wholeof the Rovers team, with the exception of Arthur, followed to the dressing-room, and could not be persuaded to return. Thereupon, Mr. Clegg, as he then was, directed Burnley to recommence the game―with ‘Herby’ Arthur against ten men. In this predicament the goalkeeper successfully claimed for offside, and rallied so long in taking the free kick that the refeer applied the closure.”

Arthur left Blackburn Rovers at the end of 1891-92 season after 47 League and Cup appearances for Blackburn during their League era.

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