Haverton Hill, County Durham born full back Frank Piercy played for South Bank in 1898 before joining Second Division Middlesbrough making his Football League debut at Leicester Fosse in October 1899, but only playing 5 times for the first team during his five seasons at Ayresome Park.
In 1904 manager Syd King signed Piercy for Southern League West Ham United, along with Christopher Carrick. He made his Hammers debut against Millwall that September He was also the captain of West Ham between 1907, replacing David Gardner, and 1911 when Tommy Randall took over the job.
Nicknamed “The Old War Horse” during his time at West Ham, Piercy had a tough tackling style and was regularly in trouble with referees. He was once suspended for a month, in September 1907, for punching Swindon’s veteran centre-half Charlie Bannister. This is how the Stratford Express described what happened between the two men:
“Most of the spectators must have been made angry by the game which took place between West Ham and Swindon at Upton Park on Monday evening. Incidents which reflected discredit on those taking part were frequent, and eventually the game resolved itself into a scramble. One incident – a very regrettable one – will be enough to indicate the kind of game it was. In the second-half Swindon were leading by two goals. One of the Swindon defenders handled the ball, and a penalty was given by the referee. Grassam, in semi-darkness, converted the kick. A West Ham player was walking towards the centre of the field, after the penalty goal had been scored. A Swindon man, who was following him, either accidentally or purposely trod on his heels. The West Ham player – most likely without thinking – turned round and retaliated with his fist. The Swindon man required the services of the trainer before the game proceeded. It is a pity that such unseemly conduct should prevail amongst players of the great national game, for nothing will do more to jeopardise its popularity. And this was not the only incident which occurred; the players were not always particular about their methods of tackling. While everybody likes to see a vigorous display, it is not well to be too vigorous. Whether the matter will go any further it is impossible to say, but it certainly should.”
The Football Association agreed with the reporter from the Stratford Express. The referee cautioned Frank Piercy and Charlie Bannister during the game. However, the FA thought this was too lenient and Piercy was banned for four weeks. Bannister, who started the trouble, received a six week suspension.
In October with little regard for his previous suspension he was sent off again in a match against Millwall. Piercy tackled Millwall’s Charlie Comrie, resulting in him being carried from “the field in an unconscious state”. Piercy was again suspended.
Piercy became the first West Ham United player to play 200 games when he appeared on 17th April 1911 against Southampton. Injuries forced Piercy into retirement in 1912, his last game of a total of 231 appearances came against Plymouth Argyle in January 1912, suffering an injury during the game. He also scored 7 times for The Irons. Piercy was then appointed assistant trainer under Charlie Paynter with responsibility for the reserve team.
He was awarded two benefit matches. The first in 1910 when he was allowed to keep the gate receipts from a West Ham game against New Brompton and posthumously in 1931 when an Isthmian League side played West Ham on 1st October 1931.
Probably the younger brother of Bob Piercy, who also played for Middlesbrough winning the FA Amateur Cup with them in 1895.