Stephenson Eric Image 2 Leeds United 1938

Stephenson Eric Image 2 Leeds United 1938


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Leytonstone, Kent born inside left Eric Stephenson represented London in the London v Glasgow Schoolboys match that was played at Hampden Park in January 1930.  He had then moved to Yorkshire later in 1930 and began his football career with Outwood Stormcocks in 1931 playing for Harrogate in 1932, signing amateur forms with Leeds United in January 1933 and turning professional in September 1934 on his 20th birthday. He made his Football League debut against Portsmouth in March 1935 and soon showed his goalscoring prowess with two goals in his second appearance in a 4-4 draw with Everton at Goodison Park. Understudy to Billy Furness in 1935-36, he became a regular in the Leeds first eleven from September 1936, and missed only four games in 1937-38, one as he was first selected for England in April 1938 when he played in a 1-0 defeat to Scotland at Wembley. The same November he won his second cap in a 7-0 victory over Ireland at Old Trafford, but the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 curtailed his career after 22 goals in 115 appearances for The Lilywhites.

As well as playing wartime fixtures for Leeds, he played once each for Bradford City, Hull City and Mansfield Town in the 1939-40 season. He played in representative games for the Army, in February 1940 he was part of a representative team that played France. He also played for the F.A. and was reserve for England against Scotland at Newcastle on 8th February 1941. His last games of football were played with Reading where he played twice and scored once in the 1941-42 season.

After leaving Leeds in 1941 to become a Major in the Gurkha Rifles, he died in active service in Burma in September 1944 aged 30. His younger brother Ernest was also killed in action during the conflict. A benefit match was played in his honour between Leeds United and Celtic in May 1947 to raise money for his widow.

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