Blackman Fred Image 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 1909

Blackman Fred Image 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 1909


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Kennington, London born right back Fred Blackman had been on the books at Arsenal in 1907-08 without making their first eleven and played for Hastings & St Leonards in 1908 before joining Brighton & Hove Albion in May 1909, where he made a big impression prompting The Athletic News to label him as “wonderfully quick on his feet, sure kicker with either foot, fearless tackler”, and he was ever present as they won the Southern League Championship in his first year at the club. In September 1910, he was a member of the Albion team that beat Aston Villa 1-0 at Stamford Bridge to win the Charity Shield with a goal from Charlie Webb.

He twice represented The Southern League against the Football League. In January 1911 he was given an England trial at Tottenham, without being selected for the full England squad. After making 88 appearances for The Seagulls, he signed for Second Division club Huddersfield Town for £300 in May 1911, making his Football League debut that September against Barnsley and quickly establishing himself as a fixture in the first team. When Arthur Fairclough replaced Dick Pudan as manager at the end of the campaign and appointed Blackman captain; he missed just two games and led them to a fifth place finish in 1912-13.

He was a regular in The Terriers’ first team until February 1914, when he joined Leeds City after 96 mstches for Huddersfield Town for a fee reported to be “upwards of £1,000”. According to the Leeds Mercury, the transfer “caused quite a sensation in Huddersfield soccer circles yesterday, and the action of the Huddersfield Town directorate in parting with their most reliable defensive player was somewhat adversely criticised”. The Yorkshire Post described him as “possibly the most stylish and polished back in the Second Division” with “few equals as a tackler”; the Leeds Mercury claimed he was “regarded as one of the best full-backs in the Second Division… a cool and resourceful defender, who kicks to a very useful length. He is a man of fine physique standing 5ft 11 ¾ in and weighing 11st 1lb”.

Blackman continued playing regularly before peacetime football was halted by the onset of the First World War in May 1915. After 46 appearances for Leeds City, Blackman returned to London at the end of the 1914-15 season, though City retained his registration, and he guested during the War years with Fulham, where he played 125 wartime matches, the second highest total for any player behind Jimmy Torrance.

After the War he signed for Southern League club Queen’s Park Rangers in July 1919 and when they joined The Football League a year later Blackman played in their inaugural Football League match against Watford in August 1920, making 43 appearances for Rangers during their first two League seasons before his retirement.

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