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Crook Walter Image 1 Bolton Wanderers 1947
£8.95 – £49.95
Whittle-le-Woods, Lancashire born left back Walter Crook began his football career with Blackburn Nomads and signed for First Division Blackburn Rovers in January 1931, making his Football League debut against Liverpool in March 1932. He spent his first three seasons on the fringes at Ewood Park, making only 4 appearances, before his eventual emergence into first team regularity in December 1934, from when, despite Blackburn’s relegation to the Second Division at the end of the 1934-35 season, he was an ever present for four whole seasons until peacetime football was abandoned due to the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939. Indeed Crook holds the record for most consecutive Football League appearances by a Blackburn Rovers player, 208 between 1934 and 1946.
He helped Blackburn Rovers to win the Second Division Championship in 1939, and made one wartime international appearance for England in a 3-2 win over Wales at Wrexham in November 1939. At the end of the War he returned to Ewood Park, and made 23 appearances for Blackburn Rovers in the first season of peacetime football, his final appearance for Rovers of 240, during which he scored twice, coming in a Fifth Round FA Cup defeat to Charlton Athletic in February 1947.
He joined Bolton Wanderers in May 1947 and spent one season at Burnden Park, making 29 appearances for The Trotters before retiring from playing in the summer of 1948. He then embarked on a career in football coaching and management. Crook managed Dutch side Ajax between 1948 and 1950, before taking charge of Sparta Rotterdam in the summer of 1950. However his spell with Sparta was relatively brief and he returned to England in June 1951 to become manager of Accrington Stanley, where he stayed until March 1953. He again returned to Ajax as their manager between 1953 and 1954, before becoming the manager of Wigan Athletic, then still a non league side, whom he managed until 1955, after which he ended his career in professional football.
NB in the photograph Crook stands on the left with Bolton team mate Nat Lofthouse.