Bridgett Arthur Image 3 Sunderland 1905

Bridgett Arthur Image 3 Sunderland 1905


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Forsbrook, Staffordshire born outside left Arthur Bridgett played junior football with the Stoke school sides, namely St Peter’s, before joining Burslem Park in 1900 and Trentham in 1901. Joined Stoke as an amateur in 1902 making his Football League debut against Sheffield United that September. Within months and after only seven League appearances, he had signed professional forms with Sunderland that December, where he remained for over ten seasons, becoming the club captain, making 348 appearances, scoring 116 goals.

Bridgett’s first England call-up came in February 1905 for the international with Ireland at Ayresome Park, but he was a non playing reserve and made his international debut against Scotland on 1st April 1905, when England won 1-0 with a goal from Joseph Bache at The Crystal Palace. His second cap came three years later on 4th April 1908, again against Scotland at Hampden Park. This match was played in front of a new world record crowd of 121,452 and ended in a 1-1 draw. Bridgett was then part of the squad chosen for England’s first overseas tour in 1908, playing in all four matches against Austria, Hungary and Bohemia; he scored in both of the matches against Austria which England won 6-1 and 11-1. The following year, he played in the British Home Championship matches against Ireland, a 4-0 win at Park Avenue, Bradford, and in a 2-0 win over Wales at The City Ground. He was again selected for the summer tour of Europe, playing in all three matches, scoring in the 4-2 victory over Hungary. The last match of the tour, against Austria on 1st June 1909, brought his international career to a close, having scored 3 goals in 11 England appearances. He also represented The Football League twice.

Bridgett was Sunderland’s top scorer in 1905-06 with 17 goals as they finished in 14th place. The following season, Bridgett was again Sunderland’s top scorer with 26 goals in the campaign, but Sunderland were only able to improve their League position to tenth. After 10 seasons with Sunderland, he left the Wearside club to take up management with first North Eastern League club South Shields as player-manager in July 1912 for £175. managing them both sides of the First World War and leading them to successive North Eastern League Championships in 1913-14 and 1914-15.

He guested for Port Vale during the War years, and in November 1923 he signed for Port Vale once again, already over 40 years of age, featuring for the club in the Football League as a 41 year-old. Ninety seconds into his first Vale game for over six years he had scored; this was the only goal in a win over Clapton Orient at The Old Recreation Ground on 10th November 1923. He scored 7 goals in 15 appearances during 1923-24 but lost his place in the first team and in February 1924 he joined non league Sandbach Ramblers before his eventual retirement.

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