Strange Alf Image 6 Sheffield Wednesday 1933

Strange Alf Image 6 Sheffield Wednesday 1933


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Marehay, Ripley, Derbyshire born right half Alf Strange began his football career as a centre forward with his works team, Marehay Colliery, in 1919, and played for Marehay Athletic in 1920 and Ripley in 1921, before being spotted by scouts from Third Division (South) Portsmouth, for whom he signed as an amateur in October 1922, scoring 7 goals on his reserve team debut the same month against Reading, turning professional in December 1922, and making his Football League debut the same month against Luton Town. The following season he scored 7 goals in 11 appearances as Pompey won the Third Division (South) Championship, but, unable to get regular football at Fratton Park, he joined Port Vale for £500 in November 1924 after 16 goals in 25 appearances for Portsmouth.

He second top scored to Wilf Kirkham with 17 goals in 1925-26, including 4 goals in a 5-0 victory over Blackpool in February 1926 and a hat-trick against Clapton Orient the previous month, missing only one game during the season, and during his three seasons at Vale they finished 8th in the Second Division in three successive seasons.

In February 1927, after 29 goals in 103 appearances for Vale, he was transferred to Sheffield Wednesday, with Harry Anstiss and “a substantial financial consideration” moving in the opposite direction. He soon became club captain at Wednesday, and moved into the half back line where his career blossomed, and he missed only one game as Wednesday claimed back to back League Championships in 1928-29 and 1929-30, missing only a further 5 matches over the following three seasons as they recorded three successive third place finishes.

Strange was selected to represent The Football League three times, before receiving his first England cap for the match against Scotland at Wembley on 5th April 1930, the first of 20 caps for his country. He played at right half as England won 5-2, with Vic Watson and Strange’s Wednesday teammate Ellis Rimmer each scoring twice. Two other Sheffield Wednesday players, Ernie Blenkinsop and Billy Marsden, also played in this match. In May 1930, he accompanied England on a European tour where he played against Germany and Austria, both matches being drawn. He continued to be selected for England over the next few years, being appointed captain for a 5-2 loss to France on 14th May 1931, a 4-1 win over Belgium two days later, and a 3-1 win over Wales on 18th November 1931. His final England appearance came at White Hart Lane on 6th December 1933, when he was able to gain revenge for the defeat by France two years earlier, with England winning 4-1, George Camsell scoring twice.

After a broken leg in April 1934 restricted his appearances, he signed for Second Division Bradford Park Avenue in May 1935 after 22 goals in 273 appearances for Wednesday, but he played only 1o more games for Bradford during his single season at Park Avenue, before joining non league Ripley Town in 1936, playing for Raleigh Athletic in 1937 and Corsham United in 1938. He was playing with the Royal Army Ordnance Corp during the war, from where he obtained permission to manage and coach Bedford Town in the Southern League, and he was manager there until January 1947.

NB In the image Alf Strange stands behind England teammate Joe Hulme at Hampden Park, Glasgow, on 1st April 1933 before an international against Scotland, which Scotland won 2-1.

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