Fairclough Albert Image 3 Derby County 1924

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Description

St Helens, Lancashire born centre forward Albert Fairclough began his football career with Windle Villa in 1909 and played in local Lancashire football for St Helens Town in 1910, St Helens Recreation in 1911 and Eccles Borough in 1912 before signing for Manchester City in April 1913 along with his brother Peter Fairclough. He made his Football League debut at Bradford City in October 1913, but didn’t play again until the following March when he scored against West Bromwich Albion. With Tommy Browell and Fred Howard ahead of him in the pecking order, opportunities were limited, and he played only once at Middlesbrough in 1914-15 before peacetime football was suspended due to the onset of the First World War, during which time he served in the Army in France, Belgium and The Middle East.

Fairclough resumed with Manchester City but only played twice more for the first team in December 1919, before joining Southend United in May 1920. He scored both goals in Southend’s inaugural Football League match, a 2-0 win over Brighton in August, and the next month grabbed a hat-trick in Southend’s 3-1 victory over Grimsby Town. Despite playing only 26 games he was the club’s top scorer with 15 goals, before Second Division Bristol City’s manager Joe Palmer paid £2,300 for him in March 1923.

Before the season end he had scored 5 goals in 8 games but Bristol City narrowly missed out on promotion. He stayed another three seasons at Ashton Gate top scoring in all three seasons including 23 goals when they won the Division Three (South) Championship in 1922-23, scoring 47 goals in 94 games including hat-tricks against former club Southend United in October 1922 and an FA Cup treble against Wrexham in January 1923 before joining Derby County in July 1924.

In his third match he scored four goals in a 5-1 win over Fulham that September, and he scored a further hat-trick against Portsmouth in a 6-1 win in January 1925. He scored 22 goals in his first season at Derby and was their top goalscorer as they narrowly missed out on promotion to the First Division, but couldn’t get into the team after, albeit scoring almost whenever he did, scoring 4 goals in 5 matches over the next two season before moving to Gillingham in February 1927 after 26 goals in 37 games for The Rams. He scored 3 times in 11 appearances for Gillingham before retiring from playing that summer.

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