Colchester, Essex born outside left Bert Gosnell began his football career with The Albion of Colchester and played for Colchester Town (the predecessor of Colchester United at Layer Road) in 1900, from where he joined Southern League club New Brompton (now Gillingham) in 1901, moving to Kent League club Chatham in 1902. It was from Chatham that he signed for First Division club Newcastle United in 1904, making his Football League debut in a win over Middlesbrough that November, immediately establishing himself as a regular in The Magpies’ first eleven. He played in 8 FA Cup ties in his debut season, which ended with his inclusion in their 1905 FA Cup Final team which lost 2-0 to Aston Villa at The Crystal Palace, as Newcastle missed out on completing The Double, finishing as the 1905 League Champions.
Gosnell missed only three matches in 1905-06 as Newcastle again reached the FA Cup Final where they were beaten by a single Everton goal at The Crystal Palace, and he was rewarded for his consistency with selection for England, playing for his country in a 5-0 win over Ireland at The Solitude, Belfast, in February 1906, which turned out to be his only international cap. He remained a regular in Newcastle’s 1906-07 line up as they again won the League Championship, and he also played in March 1907 as they beat The Corinthians in the Sheriff of London Charity Shield match at Craven Cottage. However he lost his place in October 1907 and spent three years on the fringes at St James’ Park, adding only 21 more appearances to his total of 18 goals in 125 appearances for The Magpies, including 5 matches as Newcastle again won the League Championship in 1908-09.
In July 1910 Gosnell signed for Tottenham Hotspur, where he featured in 7 matches in all competitions during 1910-11. After his brief spell at White Hart Lane, he went on to play a season at Northern League club Darlington. In the summer of 1912 he signed with Port Vale, who at the time were plying their trade in the Central League. He appeared fairly regularly over the course of the 1912-13 season, though on 9th November, in a match at Liverpool Reserves, he was mistakenly sent off for kicking an opponent during a 1-0 defeat. He was a member of the side that took home the Birmingham Senior Cup in 1913, but left the club in the summer of that year.
Having finished his playing career, Gosnell was later Norwich City’s seventh manager, replacing Charles O’Hagan in charge at The Nest in late December 1920. Under his management The Canaries finished in lower mid table in the Third Division (South) in each of his six seasons with a best finish of 11th in 1923-24. He was replaced as manager by former boss Bert Stansfield in February 1926.
NB This superb image was published on a postcard published before the FA Cup Final at The Crystal Palace on 15th April 1905, which Newcastle United lost 2-0 to Aston Villa, with both goals scored in either half by Harry Hampton. This was to be the first of four FA Cup Final appearances in 6 years, although they only managed to win it in 1910.
The team line up, from left to right, is:
Back Row – Andy Aitken, Billy McCracken, Bert Gosnell, Jimmy Howie, Jock Rutherford
Middle Row – Andy McCombie, Peter McWilliam, Ronald Orr
Front Row – Jimmy Lawrence, Jack Carr, Colin Veitch
In reality Billy McCracken, who played some of the games in April 1905 and was still a young player, and Ronald Orr didn’t play in the Final, Alec Gardner and Bill Appleyard, both not pictured, played. Regardless, it’s a beautiful image.
A similar postcard of the Aston Villa team was also published.