Costello Frank Image 2 Merthyr Town 1910

Costello Frank Image 2 Merthyr Town 1910


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Birmingham born inside forward Frank Costello began his football career with Soho Villa, from where he joined West Bromwich Albion in September 1904. Failing to make their first eleven, he moved to Halesowen Town before moving to the south coast to join Southern League club Southampton in the 1907 close season. He made his professional debut on 14th September 1907, scoring in a 2-0 victory at Luton Town. He initially played at inside right alongside Bert Hodgkinson on the outside and either Frank Jefferis, John Lewis or George Smith in the centre. Described as “a trifle slow, he was clever with the ball and had a habit of disconcerting the opposition by making for goal when he was expected to make a pass”.

He also played in all six FA Cup matches as The Saints reached the 1908 FA Cup semi final, In their fourth round replay against Everton at The Dell on 11th March 1908 he played his best game for The Saints. In the first half he hooked a John Johnston cross past Everton goalkeeper Billy Scott. With the score 2-1 to Southampton at half-time, the second half “belonged to Frank Costello”. He was involved in most of Southampton’s attacks and when John Bainbridge swung over a deep cross from the right it appeared to have been overhit and going out of play. Suddenly, “out of nowhere”, Costello arrived and met the ball with his head, sending it back over the goalkeeper into the far corner of the net. According to Duncan Holley in “Match of the Millennium”, “a contortionist would have had problems attaining a position … to reach the ball.” Southampton won the match 3-2, but in the semi final they lost to eventual winners Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge with goals from former Southampton players Wally Radford and George Hedley.

Injury kept him out of the team for the early part of the 1908-09 season; he had a run of five matches at inside left in November before being switched to centre forward as replacement for Arthur Hughes who had suffered a bad leg injury. Although Costello scored in his first match in his new role in a 4–2 victory over Plymouth Argyle on 12th December 1908, he was not a success and in March 1909 he was transferred to West Ham United, with Jack Foster moving in the opposite direction.

He scored 3 goals in 12 Southern League appearances for West Ham before the season end before moving on to Bolton Wanderers. However he failed to make the first team at Bolton during 1909-10 and after spells with Lancashire Combination club Nelson and Southern League club Merthyr Town he returned to Hampshire, where he turned out occasionally for Salisbury City.

After the outbreak of the First World War he enlisted into The Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He saw action at the Battle of Le Cateau and at Marne, Aisne and Messines, and was killed in action aged 32 in France on 19th December 1914. He is commemorated at the Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing in Hainaut, Belgium.



Additional information

Weight 0.25 kg

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