Bullock Eli Image 1 Exeter City 1921

Bullock Eli Image 1 Exeter City 1921


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Newcastle-Under-Lyme centre forward Eli Bullock had been involved with the Army from an early age. In 1911 aged 16, despite hereditary deafness, he was a voluntary reserve North Staffs Regiment at the Barracks, Newcastle-under-Lyme. He then was a private soldier in the 8th Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment and transferred with a group of about 300 men to the 2nd Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment in May 1915 after the outbreak of the First World War a year earlier. He was an officer’s servant (bagman). He played football in the army and won a gold medal among other successes. He sailed to France in May 1915 and remained there during Battle of Loos until sailing via Marseille for Alexandria, Egypt in October 1915. Thence to Salonika where he spent the rest of the war, with a spell in Malta with malaria.

In the aftermath of The Great War he played for Potteries sides Chesterton PSA, Parkhouse Colliery and Hartshill White Star and became a professional footballer at Cheshire County League club Crewe Alexandra in August 1920 and in November 1920 he signed for Newcastle & District League club Silverdale St Luke’s, where his brother Ernest played at centre half, but only remained there for a very short time before signing for Macclesfield Town later in November 1920. He didn’t make his debut until the middle of December but after was almost ever-present to the end of the season scoring 14 goals in 20 appearances. His one hat-trick came in the first round of the Cheshire Senior Cup when Tranmere were beaten 5-0 at The Moss Rose.

He then joined Arthur Chadwick’s Exeter City in May 1921 (on £3 10s a week) for whom he made his Football League debut at Charlton Athletic in August 1921. Described in a newspaper article at the time as “the man with the twinkling feet”, his relatively brief career in senior football lasted only a single season, during which he played 27 times in Division Three (South) and scored 4 goals for The Grecians before he returned to North Staffordshire.

He played local football during the 1922-23 season with Silverdale St Luke’s once again, and also played 3 matches for Congleton Town in September 1922, re-signing for Macclesfield in the summer of 1923.  Initially he played in the reserve team, first appearing in the senior team  at the end of September 1923 out of position at inside right, returning to centre forward early in November and remaining there until early March when Henry Barnett became the preferred centre forward, although Bullock played a further three matches at inside right.

Bullock moved to Runcorn for the 1924-25 season gaining a winners’ medal in the Cheshire Senior Cup. He then retired from playing at the age of 31 owing to his increasing deafness but seems to have come out of retirement to play for Cheshire County League club Altrincham between October 1928 and January 1929, where former Crewe teammate Fred Birtles was in the team, scoring 4 goals in 14 matches for The Robins.

NB many thanks to Mr Glyn Aubrey, one of Eli Bullock’s descendants, for his help with this biography.


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