Portrack, Stockton-on-Tees born centre forward Micky Fenton started his football career with Portrack Shamrocks in 1931 and South Bank East End in 1932 before joining First Division Middlesbrough in March 1933. He made a scoring Football League debut against Blackburn Rovers in May 1933, gradually replacing George Camsell as Boro’s leading goalscorer. Camsell was Boro’s top scorer for ten consecutive seasons, though the club would soon become equally reliant on Fenton’s goals. The Ayresome Park club struggled in the lower half of the First Division table in the 1933-34, 1934-35, and 1935-36 campaigns.
Fenton was initially a fringe player, first coming in to any regularity of appearing for the first team in September 1934, when he made 22 appearances during 1934-35, but he was again relegated to the fringes in 1935-36. Once established in the first eleven, Fenton scored 22 goals in 1936-37, to become the club’s top scorer, as ‘Boro rose to seventh place in the League. He then hit 26 goals in 1937-38 and 35 goals in 1938-39 as the club posted top five finishes. Such goalscoring inevitably attracted the England selectors and Fenton gained his one and only England cap on 9th April 1938 in a 1-0 defeat to Scotland at Wembley. The Football League was then abandoned due to the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 by when he’d already bagged 3 goals in the first three 3 games of the new season.
During the War he continued to score goals for Middlesbrough, and also guested for Port Vale, Notts County, Rochdale, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Blackpool while serving with the Royal Air Force. After the War, despite being wanted by Everton, Fenton returned to Teesside, where he continued his scoring record, ending as top goalscorer for the next four seasons. He scored 23 goals in 1946-47 (level with Wilf Mannion), 29 goals in 1947-48 and 12 goals in 1948-49. However David Jack’s Middlesbrough failed to break into the First Division’s top ten.
He scored a total of 165 goals in 272 League and FA Cup appearances for Middlesbrough, leaving him fifth in the club’s all-time goalscoring charts. He grabbed his first ‘Boro hat-trick in a 3-3 draw against Preston North End in November 1934 and scored 5 further hat-tricks, as well as twice scoring 4 goals (both sides of the War), during his ‘Boro career, grabbing all 4 goals in a 4-1 win against West Bromwich Albion in May 1936, and latterly in a 5-4 victory over Stoke City in September 1946. He became Middlesbrough’s player-coach in March 1949 and played his last game at Aston Villa in January 1950, his playing retirement came at the end of the 1949-50 season, at which point he joined the ‘Boro backroom staff until his retirement from football in 1966.
There is a corporate lounge named after him at The Riverside Stadium.
NB although published in 1938, the white shoulders suggest this image was probably taken c.1934.