Spiers Cyril Image 1 Aston Villa 1922


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Witton, Birmingham born goalkeeper Cyril Spiers played junior football for Brookvale United in 1917, Handsworth Central in 1918 and Halesowen Town in 1919 before signing for Aston Villa in 1920, where he made his debut against Manchester United on Christmas Day that year in a 4–3 home defeat. He had 7 seasons at Villa Park but was only a regular choice in 3 of them, fighting for the gloves with first Sam Hardy, and then mainly Tommy Jackson. He was forced to retire after suffering a serious injury in 1926 and, believing that he could never play again, Aston Villa released him after 112 appearances. However he underwent experimental surgery and was able to return to football with Tottenham Hotspur in December the following year, making 169 appearances between then and March 1932. Spiers was ever present in seasons 1929-30 and 1930-31 but missed the entire 1932-33 season through injury. He eventually left the club and became player-coach, and subsequently, assistant manager, to Frank Buckley at Wolverhampton Wanderers. He made eight appearances for Wolves over 2 seasons before hanging up his gloves in 1935.

In April 1939 he took over as secretary-manager at Cardiff City but his rebuilding of the team was cut short following the outbreak of World War Two. He stayed at the club throughout the war and set up a number of nursery teams, including Cardiff Nomads who would go on to bring local football talent, including Alan Harrington and Colin Baker, to the club. He fell into dispute with the club over money and left in April 1946, and was soon appointed to manage Norwich City in June 1946. He was back at Cardiff in December 1947 as manager to replace Billy McCandless, bringing the Cardiff Nomads back with him having adopted the club for Norwich when he joined. He took them to promotion to the First Division during the 1951-52 season but after 2 seasons in the First Division eventually left to manage Crystal Palace in September 1954, staying until June 1958. He later had a spell scouting for Leicester City before taking his last managerial post at Exeter City in May 1962 but left in February 1963.

NB the photograph was taken on 4th November 1922 at Boundary Park and shows Cyril Spiers, while Aston Villa’s goalkeeper, punching clear from Oldham Athletic’s Chris Staniforth. Aston Villa won the game 2-0.

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