Bearpark, County Durham born outside right Sammy Crooks was a stalwart of Derby County and the second most capped England international of the mid war years behind Eddie Hapgood. One of (purportedly) 16 children from a North East mining community, Sammy worked in the coal mines and played for the colliery team Bearpark Welfare and Brandon Juniors in 1923, and then for Tow Law Town in 1924 until problems with rheumatism forced him to abandon his career underground. When his health was restored he joined Third Division (North) Durham City in June 1926 making his Football League debut for them that September at Accrington Stanley.
After only 16 games and 4 goals, Derby County signed him for £300 in April 1927, Crooks having been spotted by Derby manager George Jobey, making his debut for The Rams against Leicester City that September, and he would be pivotal to the excellent Derby County teams of the next few years, when they were twice League Championship runners up in 1930 and 1936.
He made his England debut against Scotland in April 1930, making a total of 26 England appearances over the next six years (a very high number of caps for the day), scoring 7 goals. His final England appearance came in a 6-2 victory over Hungary at Highbury on 2nd December 1936 playing alongside Derby County colleagues Raich Carter and Eric Keen. He also made five appearances for The Football League.
His career was interrupted by World War Two but despite that he returned to score in every round of the 1946 FA Cup except the Final, which he was unlucky enough to miss due to a knee injury. He played 3 times in the inaugural 1946-47 First Division before finally retiring after 111 goals in 445 appearances for Derby. He became their Chief Scout resigning in August 1949 and later managed among other teams from May 1950 Shrewsbury Town, who were elected to the Football League Division Three (North) for the 1950-51 season. He remained with the Shropshire side until June 1954 and managed Burton Albion in 1957, as well as Retford Town, Gresley Rovers (twice) and Heanor Town.
NB in the photograph he stands on the far left next to (l-r) George Collin, —, Tom Cooper and Dally Duncan.