Clark Archie Image 1 Tranmere Rovers 1938

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Description

Shoreham, Kent born centre half or right half Archie Clark began his football career with Aylesford Paper Mills and played for Southern League club Grays Thurrock United in 1925 before joining Third Division South club Brentford in March 1927, making his Football League debut, and only first team appearance for The Bees, in a goalless draw at Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic in April 1927. But he had caught the attention of scouts at Arsenal (probably from playing against them in reserve team football), who signed him only weeks later for £700 in May 1927, his only appearance for The Gunners coming in a 4-1 defeat at Blackburn Rovers in November 1927. Clark was more prominent in the Football Combination where he played 56 times for Arsenal, sometimes even as a centre forward.

Clark transferred to Third Division (South) club Luton Town for £600 in November 1928 where he established himself as a first team regular the following year, scoring 11 goals in 92 appearances for The Hatters before he was signed by First Division club Everton in August 1931, and he missed only 3 matches during Everton’s 1931-32 League Championship winning campaign. That season he was selected for England’s squad to face Spain at Highbury but he was a non playing reserve and never won a cap for England. Indeed he lost his place in the first team at Goodison Park at the start of the following season with Cliff Britton and Joe Mercer preferred, and only played twice more for The Toffees in May 1935 before transferring to Tranmere Rovers the same month after scoring once, in a 9-2 thrashing of Leicester City in November 1931, in 42 matches for Everton.

He became club captain at Tranmere and after helping them to finish third in the division in 1935-36, missed only one match as they won the Third Division (North) Championship in 1937-38, although he lost his place in their Second Division team, playing his final match for Rovers on the last day of 1938 as Tranmere suffered immediate relegation. In August 1939 he became the manager of Southern League club Gillingham after a single goal in 112 appearances for Tranmere Rovers, and he led The Gills through the Second World War years to the Southern League Championship in both 1947 and 1949, and then back into The Football League in 1950, although except for a fourth placed finish in 1954-55 they struggled during his eight seasons in charge as a League team, and he was sacked after 19 years’ service to Gillingham in November 1957 after another poor start to the campaign. He joined Sheffield United, where he served as caretaker manager from November 1958 to April 1959 after Joe Mercer left the club, and until John Morris’ appointment. Clark finished his career as a scout at Sheffield United.

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