Ludlow, Shropshire born right back Philip Back moved to Middlesbrough as a child playing for Middlesbrough Swifts as an amateur, and was signed by the local club, Middlesbrough, then also an amateur club, straight from school He also represented Cleveland. He became club captain and in 1895 led them to a famous FA Amateur Cup triumph over Old Carthusians. During the summer he moved to Southern League Reading and spent two seasons with the club and was their club captain before returning to the north east to join First Division Sunderland in June 1897.
He made his Football League debut in a 1-0 victory at Sheffield Wednesday on 4th September 1897. In his first season at the Newcastle Road club, Sunderland finished as runners up in the League Championship with Bach making twenty appearances. On 18th February 1899, Bach made his only international appearance against Ireland. The match played at Roker Park, Sunderland’s new ground, ended in a 13-2 victory for England, with four goals from Gilbert Smith and three from Jimmy Settle. The scoreline in this match is the record number of goals scored by England in a single match, and also the highest aggregate goals (15) in a game involving England.
While England were playing at Roker Park, Sunderland were away to Sheffield Wednesday. In Bach’s absence on international duty, Andy McCombie took over at right back in a 1-0 victory. Bach was unable to regain his place, making only two further appearances to total 47 for The Wearsiders.
Two months later, in April 1899, he signed for Middlesbrough again, but failing to break into the first team he was on the move again a year later joining Southern League Bristol City in the close season. Bach made his debut for Bristol City in a 1-0 win at Swindon Town on 1st September 1900. Bach made 29 appearances in the Southern League, 10 appearances in the Western League and 3 appearances in FA Cup ties during 1900-01 as Bristol City finished Southern League Championship runners up. Bristol City gained Football League status for 1901-02 but in the summer of 1901 manager Sam Hollis signed Billy Tuft from Walsall who established himself as the regular right back for the next four seasons. Bach spent four years at Ashton Gate after helping City gain Football League status in 1901 making only 3 further League appearances in 1903-04. Bach played at right back in the 5-0 win over Glossop on 12th September 1903 and twice in February 1904, featuring in another big win, 6-0 over Stockport County. In 1904 he was re-instated as an amateur, turning out for Cheltenham Town in the Gloucester & District League. He retired sometime before 1911.
He returned to Middlesbrough for the third time becoming a director in February 1911. In July he was appointed the club’s Chairman in place of the disgraced Thomas Gibson-Poole. He was charged with re-building the club following the match-fixing scandal involving Gibson-Poole and manager Andy Walker. He appointed Thomas H. McIntosh as the new manager, who guided the club to their highest ever League position, third in the First Division in 1913-14, but with a potential Championship winning team taking shape his plans were interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War. During the War, ‘Boro released their players and closed down, while Ayresome Park was used as a munitions store.
Bach served as Chairman until 1925, and again from 1931 to 1935. He later served on the FA Council from 1925 until his death in 1937 and was on the International Selection Committee from October 1929. He was also on the Football League Management Committee and was President of the North Eastern League.