Bradford, Yorkshire born outside right Albert Geldard played his youth football with Bradford Schools and Manningham Mills in 1929 before he joined Second Division Bradford Park Avenue as a professional on 1st September 1929. His Football League debut came against Millwall at The Den on 16th September, so becoming the youngest player to appear in the Football League at just 15 years and 158 days old. He left Bradford Park Avenue having scored six goals in 34 matches over three years at the club, signing for First Division club Everton on 14th November 1932 for a then record fee of £4,000. His Toffees debut came at Middlesbrough where he scored in a 2-0 win and also on his home debut in a 2-2 draw with Bolton Wanderers a week later. In his first season he went to Wembley with Everton and emerged with an FA Cup winner’s medal as they beat Manchester City 3-0 in the 1933 FA Cup Final, with Geldard’s cross making the third goal. In October he played in the 1933 FA Charity Shield as Everton were beaten 3-0 by League Champions Arsenal at Goodison Park.
Geldard was first called up for England in May 1933 aged 19 when he played in a 1-1 draw against Italy in Rome, winning his second cap a week later against Switzerland in Berne. He won 2 further England caps in a defeat to Scotland at Hampden Park in April 1935 and in a 5-1 win over Ireland in Belfast in October 1937. He also represented The Football League on one occasion, playing as they beat The Irish League 3-0 at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool in October 1937.
Historian Tony Matthews described him thus: “Geldard was a slippery customer who possessed an exceptional turn of speed, could shoot with both feet and enjoyed taking on opponents, either on the outside or inside.” Taking part in the “cup tie of the century” on 30th January 1935, Geldard scored two goals to help Everton progress into the fifth round of the 1935 FA Cup after their 6-4 defeat of Sunderland.
After 37 goals in 180 matches for Everton over six seasons at Goodison Park, Bolton Wanderers signed Geldard for £7,000 in July 1938, and his debut came against Charlton Athletic on 27th August 1938, and he scored his first goal for The Trotters on 18th February 1939 against his former club Everton. Tommy Lawton was disappointed at the trade of Geldard saying; “He was the fastest thing on two legs over ten yards. We had other wingers like Torry Gillick, Wally Boyes and Jimmy Caskie, but Albert had played for England only the season before, when he’d kept Stan Matthews out of the team. I thought we’d miss him.”
But only just after a year after his Bolton transfer his career was interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939. He was enlisted in the 53rd Field Regiment Royal Artillery (Bolton Artillery) in May 1939 to fight along with 14 of his Bolton team mates, after a single goal in only 24 matches for The Trotters and during the War he represented The Army at football. He returned from the War to play for Bolton in their 1946 FA Cup campaign when they reached the FA Cup semi-final, which he played in as they lost to Charlton Athletic at Villa Park, and in total he played 18 more matches for The Trotters, scoring once more, but was forced to retire from professional football after a knee injury in May 1947. He later played for Lancashire Combination club Darwen joining them in December 1949 before his eventual retirement.
NB in the photograph he stands second from the left with (l-r) Ted Critchley, Jimmy Dunn, Dixie Dean, Tommy Johnson and Jimmy Stein.