O’Rourke Frank Image 3 Bradford City 1910

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Description

Bargeddie, Lanarkshire born centre forward Frank O’Rourke began his career playing for Kirkwood Juniors in Bargeddie in 1897 before joining Scottish League Airdrieonians in 1898. A year later he joined Albion Rovers but returned to Airdrieonians in 1900, for whom he won a Division Two title winning medal in 1903. He won his one and only cap for Scotland scoring against Ireland on 16th March 1907 scoring in a 3-0 victory at Celtic Park before a month later signing for Second Division Bradford City. He had been playing at Valley Parade in a friendly for Airdrieonians after which the City board woke him from his hotel room in Leeds to sign for The Bantams. He scored on his Football League debut on 6 April 1907 in a 2-1 home defeat to Nottingham Forest, then two more goals in his second game and a fourth goal in his third.

He then top scored for the club in each of the next four seasons. In his first full season he bagged 21 goals including four in a 7-1 victory over Gainsborough Trinity as City won the Second Division Championship. 1911 saw Bradford City win its only major piece of silverware in its history when they defeated heavy favourites Newcastle United in the 1911 FA Cup Final in a replay at Old Trafford. O’Rourke scored just one goal in the run to the Final when he netted the first goal in the 3-0 semi-final victory over Blackburn Rovers at Bramall Lane. The first game of the Final had finished 0-0 at The Crystal Palace with the only goal of the replay being scored by captain Jimmy Speirs. Some sources has credited the goal to O’Rourke, but he denied touching the ball.

O’Rourke was now 32 and his games and goals dried up, as he made just 46 more appearances in the final four seasons before the First World War netting 11 goals. But his final tally of 88 League goals from 192 League appearances, stood as a club record for 69 years when Bobby Campbell broke it in October 1984 on his way to 121 League goals for the club. In total O’Rourke scored 93 goals in 212 appearances including cup ties, playing his last match in an FA Cup tie against Norwich City in March 1915. Oddly despite his finishing playing, his playing contract wasn’t terminated until September 1922. He remained as The Bantams’ first-team trainer until 1926 before he retired from football.

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