Soo Frank Image 7 Stoke City 1936

Soo Frank Image 7 Stoke City 1936


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Buxton born wing half Hong Ying “Frank” Soo was born of mixed Chinese and English parentage. He was first player of Chinese origin footballer to play in the English Football League, and the first non-white player to represent England (in unofficial wartime matches). He initially began his career at inside-left, though later became more established at half-back. A quick and intelligent player, he was an excellent passer of the ball. He grew up in Liverpool and began his playing career with West Derby Boys Club in 1930, joining Prescot Cables in 1931, before he joined Stoke City for a £400 fee in January 1933.

He made his Football League debut at Middlesbrough in November 1933, and after recovering from a broken leg he established himself in the first team shortly after the start of the 1935-36 season, when Stoke finished fourth in the League. He was an ever present in the final two seasons of peacetime football but he then lost most of his best playing years to the Second World War, by when he had scored 11 goals in 188 appearances for The Potters, leaving him only able to serve in the Royal Air Force and play for Stoke in wartime games. He also guested for Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers, Everton, Chelsea, Reading, Brentford, Port Vale, Crewe Alexandra, Millwall, and Burnley, and played for England in 9 unofficial Wartime and Victory internationals between 1942 and 1945.

He was sold on to Leicester City for a fee of £4,600 in September 1945, playing two FA Cup ties in the 1946 competition, but he was then moved on to Second Division Luton Town ten months later for £5,000, where he enjoyed two seasons scoring 5 goals in 78 appearances. He joined Chelmsford City of the Southern League in May 1948, making a total of 82 first team appearances for the club and scored 10 goals before he retired as a player to join St Albans City as manager in May 1950. His management career lasted 16 years and included a spell as manager of Norway for the 1952 Summer Olympics, but included a spell in Serie A at Padova between 1951 and 1952, and a season as manager of Scunthorpe United for the 1959-60 season. He managed a variety of the best known Danish, Swedish (winning the Swedish Championship with Djurgården in 1954-55) and Norwegian clubs and was known as a stern task-master.

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