South Bank, Middlesbrough born left back Ted Catlin played youth football with Middlesbrough Schools and his local junior club South Bank in 1929 before signing for League Champions Sheffield Wednesday in 1930. He made his Football League debut for The Owls in a 4-0 win over Leicester City on 28th March 1931, but that was his only appearance that season and it was some time before Catlin became a regular in the side being kept out by England international left back Ernie Blenkinsop. He played 19 games in 1932-33 and then 18 games in the 1933-34 season, becoming Wednesday’s regular left back when Blenkinsop was surprisingly transferred to Liverpool in April 1934. Many Wednesday supporters were angered by the sale of Blenkinsop, however Catlin proved to be a more than adequate replacement.
In the 1934-35 season Catlin played in all six FA Cup ties as Wednesday lifted the FA Cup beating West Bromwich Albion in the Final at Wembley in a season they also finished third in the League. He was also a member of the Wednesday side which won the Charity Shield at the start of the following season with a 1-0 win over Arsenal at Highbury in October 1935.
Catlin’s good form led to five England caps in the 1936-37 season, making his debut in a 2-1 defeat against Wales at Ninian Park, Cardiff on 17th October 1936 followed by matches against Ireland, Hungary, Norway and finally Sweden in Stockholm on 17th May 1937. During that time he also played for the Football League in a 2-0 win over The Scottish League at Goodison Park in October 1936 and in an international trial for the Probables against the Possibles at Burnley in March 1937; fellow Wednesday player Jackie Robinson was playing for the Possibles.
Catlin lived in Wadsley Lane at Wadsley during his time as a Wednesday player and was a close neighbour of Roy Hattersley, Hattersley remembers Catlin in his autobiography, “A Yorkshire Boyhood”, saying “Mr. Catlin, in his time the best left back in England, would sit on the wall at the end of his front garden, and I used to see him dangling his famous feet on the pavement almost every time I was taken to the Wisewood Co-Op.”
Sheffield Wednesday were relegated to Division Two at the end of the 1936-37 season, despite talk of a possible transfer he stayed with Wednesday. However he lost his England place to Eddie Hapgood and never played for the national side again. Catlin had a lucky escape just before Christmas 1938 when the car he was travelling in along with fellow player Bill Fallon skidded in snow at Wadsley Bridge and hit a telegraph pole. Both players went to hospital and were out of the team for several weeks.
Catlin played his last game for Wednesday and last official career game in a 1-0 home defeat to Plymouth Argyle on 2nd September 1939, the day that Britain declared war on Germany. Wednesday held his registration throughout the Second World War, meaning he was on their books for 14 years. He played 96 games for Wednesday during the War appearing in the 1943 (North) War Cup Final which Wednesday lost to Blackpool over two legs. It was in the second leg of this final that Catlin was badly injured in a collision with Blackpool’s Jock Dodds, an injury which effectively ended his career although he did play on for two more years. Although Catlin never scored a goal in an official match in his 8 1⁄2 year career in 231 appearances for The Owls, he did score in the wartime league game against Notts County in 1944 which Wednesday won 6-1 at Hillsborough.
After the War Catlin returned to Sheffield and became chief scout for Sheffield Wednesday for a time before leaving football. In May 2006 Ted’s 1935 FA Cup winners medal came up for sale at Sotheby’s in London and sold for £3,600, also in the same sale was Catlin’s first England cap which sold for £1,100.