Hooper Mark Image 1 Darlington 1926

Hooper Mark Image 1 Darlington 1926


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Darlington born right winger Mark Hooper played as an amateur for Cockfield from 1922 reaching the FA Amateur Cup semi-final in the 1922-23 season where they lost 4-2 to Evesham Town. He signed professionally for local club Darlington ahead of the 1923-24 season, joining his brother Bill, who was already a Quakers player. He made his Football League debut against Walsall in March 1924, The pair were key members of the team which won won the Third Division (North) Championship in the 1924-25 season to put Darlington in the Second Division for the first time in their history. Hooper scored 11 goals from the right wing during that promotion campaign and bettered it with 18 the following year in Division Two. On 27th March 1926 of that season Darlington beat Second Division Champions elect Sheffield Wednesday 5-1 at Feethams with Hooper having an exceptional match, a performance which undoubtedly influenced the future direction of his career.

The following season Darlington struggled in Division Two and would eventually be relegated at the end of the season. The Darlington directors decided to change the team midway through the campaign and sell Hooper to Sheffield Wednesday in order to use the money to purchase Jimmy Waugh, a defender, from Sheffield United. Darlington directors met Sheffield Wednesday officials in York on 21st January 1927 and the deal was done, with Hooper signing for Wednesday for a fee of £1,950. Darlington then added £50 to the fee and promptly signed Waugh for £2,000 to bolster their defence. Hooper knew nothing of this and had to be summoned from a night out at the cinema to be told that he had been sold to Sheffield Wednesday after 43 goals in 124 appearances for The Quakers.

Hooper made his Sheffield Wednesday debut the following day on 22nd January 1927 in a 2-2 draw with Leicester City at Hillsborough. He played 15 games over the remainder of that season scoring twice. The following season, he netted 22 goals for Wednesday (a record at the time for a winger) as he finished as the club’s top scorer and played a vital part in Wednesday’s “Great Escape” season of 1927-28. Towards the end of that season he was joined at the club by left winger Ellis Rimmer and the pair were feted as one of the best pair of extreme wingers in the game. Another accolade often aimed at Hooper in his time at Wednesday was that he was “the best uncapped winger in the country”, during his best years he was unlucky to be kept out of the England side by Derby County’s fine right winger Sammy Crooks.

Hooper was a consistent performer and remained injury free for much of his career. Between April 1928 and April 1932 he amassed 189 consecutive League and Cup matches for Sheffield Wednesday to create a new club record, which stood for 55 years, until February 1987 when it was beaten by Martin Hodge. In the 1928-29 and 1929-30 seasons Hooper was an ever-present as Wednesday lifted back to back League Championships. He played in Sheffield Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat by Arsenal in the Charity Shield at Stamford Bridge in October 1930. In 1933-34 he was joint top scorer with 13 goals along with Neil Dewar and Harry Burgess as Wednesday finished outside of the top three in Division One for the first time in five seasons. In 1935 he won a FA Cup winners medal as Wednesday beat West Bromwich Albion 4-2 in the Final. Hooper scored the second goal for the Owls with a shot that went in off the post.

Hooper lost his place in the Wednesday team after suffering relegation from the top division in 1937. A knee injury led to a cartilage operation in May 1937 and he only made eight appearances in 1937-38 and none the following season as he became player-coach of the A team. His last game for the first team was on 7th May 1938 against Spurs. Mark Hooper left Wednesday to join Rotherham United in May 1939 just before the outbreak of World War II, he amassed a total of 423 games for Sheffield Wednesday in all competitions and is tenth on the all-time list of appearances. He scored 136 goals in 425 appearances for The Owls and is fifth on the all-time list of goalscorers for the club.

Hooper joined Rotherham in 1938 as a player-coach at the age of 37, and made 3 appearances for the club in the 1939-40 campaign and after the Second World War played 4 FA Cup ties for the club as Rotherham reached the 4th round before losing to Barnsley in January 1946. He remained at Rotherham until 1958 as a coach, being caretaker manager for 7 matches from October to December 1958.

His brother Bill had an eight-year-long professional career with Darlington, Oldham and Rochdale while other brothers Carl (Lincoln City, Chesterfield and Norwich) and Danny (Oldham Athletic) had brief periods in the paid ranks. His uncle Charlie Roberts captained Manchester United and England.


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