Little Tommy Image 1 Bradford Park Avenue 1914

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Description

West Ham born inside forward Tommy Little had played as an amateur for Isthmian League Ilford since 1906, joining Southern League Southend United in 1908 with whom he retained his amateur status, before turning professional when he joined Second Division Bradford Park Avenue in October that year. He went straight into the team for his Football League debut at Gainsborough Trinity, a match in which he scored in a 2-1 defeat. Such was his value that in 1913 he received a benefit match which realised £500, on which it was commented at the time “it is doubtful if a benefit has previously been given to so young a player”.

Over twelve First World War interrupted years he scored a century of goals for Park Avenue including scoring 24 times as they won promotion to the First Division in 1914 as Second Division runners up, although Jimmy Smith topped the goalscoring charts that season with 27 for The Avenue. His first hat-trick for Avenue came in a 6-0 triumph over Lincoln City in January 1911, and he scored all three goals in a win over Nottingham Forest in March 1913, a hat-trick in a 4-3 win over Bristol City the same September, and a top flight hat-trick in a 6-1 thrashing of Aston Villa after the First World War had passed in September 1919.

During the War he served in the Armed Forces. By the time he joined Stoke in December 1920 he’d scored 111 goals in 247 games for Avenue. He was their leading goalscorer in 1910-11 and 1912-13. However his Stoke career was finished by injury in September 1921 after a single goal in 21 appearances for The Potters.

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