Leicester born inside right Arthur Leonard (Bamford – he dropped his surname and played most of his career using his first and middle names) played Army football with the 17th Leicestershire Regiment in 1896 before spending 1897-98 on the books of Second Division Leicester Fosse without making a first team appearance for The Fossils.He joined Rushden in 1898 and moved to Southern League Sheppey United in 1899, before moving to Ireland early in 1900 with Glentoran. He did well enough to be selected by The Irish League to play against The Scottish League in February 1900 in a 6-0 defeat at Easter Road, Edinburgh, and played against the same opposition exactly a year later in a 2-1 defeat at The Oval, Belfast. He then played against The Football League at Plumstead (Arsenal’s then home) in November 1901, all three under his surname Bamford, and despite their 9-0 thrashing he was signed by First Division Small Heath (Birmingham City) a few weeks later for £140. It is possible that the original transfer fee was £120 and that Small Heath then paid a further £20 to Leicester Fosse who still held his Football League registration.
He made his Football League debut against Sheffield Wednesday that December, scoring in 1-1 draw and immediately establishing himself in their first eleven. Although they were relegated at the end of the season he top scored with 16 goals in 1902-03 to help Birmingham win promotion back to the First Division as Second Division runners up. Among this total he scored 4 goals in their record equalling 12-0 victory over Doncaster Rovers in April 1903. He was a big hit with the Birmingham fans, a “bag of tricks”, and was regarded as the star performer in their side.
In January 1904, after 26 goals in 71 appearances for Small Heath, he transferred to Stoke, but he was a fringe player at The Victoria Ground and towards the end of 1904, after 3 goals in 14 appearances, he moved to Scotland to join St Bernard’s in Edinburgh. He then joined Southern League Reading for a single season in 1905 and returned to Football League action with Second Division Clapton Orient in 1906, where he managed 7 goals in 37 games. In the summer of 1907 he moved to Plymouth Argyle and spent a single, successful campaign with Argyle, scoring 11 goals in 38 appearances. The club handbook for that season describes him as “a really artistic player” and also “one of the best Baseball players in the world”, Leonard having a reputation as a strong all round sportsman. Leonard finished his career with a further spell at Reading, joining them in the 1908 close season but he stayed only one season before retiring from the professional ranks.
He joined Bradford City as Assistant Trainer and was at Valley Parade when The Bantams won the FA Cup in 1911. He also later was the manager of non league Fryston Colliery Welfare FC in Yorkshire from 1919 to 1925 and for some years scouted for Charlton Athletic.
This photograph was taken at Gigg Lane, Bury, before the League match between Bury and Small Heath on 10th October 1903. Bury won 1-0.