Leyland, Lancashire born goalkeeper Frank Moss began his football career in junior football with Farington Villa in 1924, playing for Lostock Hall and Leyland Motors in 1925 before joining Second Division Preston North End on amateur forms in October 1927, turning professional for them in February 1928. He made his Football League debut against Clapton Orient early in March 1928, taking over from Tony Carr, and he held the gloves until the end of the 1927-28 season, making 13 appearances. But in 1928-29 he was understudy to the massively experienced Jock Ewart and only played a further 12 times for Preston, before he joined Oldham Athletic, initially as understudy to England No. 1 Jack Hacking in May 1929. In December 1930 he got his chance at Boundary Park, having previously managed just 4 appearances, and remained Oldham’s principal goalkeeper for much of 1931 before signing for Arsenal for £3,000 in November 1931 after 30 appearances for The Latics.
Moss immediately took the first-team keeper’s jersey from Charlie Preedy, and was a near ever-present for the Gunners for the next four seasons; he won a hat-trick of First Division titles (1932-33, 1933-34 and 1934-35) and played in the 1932 FA Cup Final, which Arsenal lost to Newcastle United after a controversial equaliser from Jack Allen, where the ball went behind the goal-line and out of play before being crossed back in for Allen to score.
Moss also won four caps for England, making his debut on 14th April 1934 against Scotland at Wembley, keeping a clean sheet as England won 3-0, and then playing twice on England’s summer tour against Hungary and Czechslovakia. His final match for England was the “Battle of Highbury” match against World Champions Italy on 14th November 1934 at Highbury, in which seven Arsenal players started the match; England won 3-2. He also played twice for The Football League.
Moss is also the only Arsenal goalkeeper to score in a first-class match. On 16th March 1935, in a First Division match against Everton, Moss dislocated his left shoulder; with no substitutes allowed in those days, Moss was forced to play the rest of the game on the left wing and incredibly, he scored Arsenal’s first goal in a 2-0 win. That match also proved to be Moss’s downfall, however. He found it hard to recover from the injury – he played five more matches in 1935-36 but the injury quickly recurred. He was finally advised to retire in the summer of 1937, at the age of only 27. He played 162 matches for Arsenal in total.
After retiring as a player, Moss was appointed manager of Heart of Midlothian, where he became both the club’s youngest manager and the first to enjoy complete autonomy in matters of team selection. He led Hearts to a second place League finish in his first season in charge, however with the outbreak of World War Two he resigned in 1940 and left football altogether.
NB In the photograph he welcomes goalkeeper Gerry Matier to Highbury along with manager George Allison.