In this postcard image of the Southern League Champions, Portsmouth, issued to celebrate their victory in 1920, Frank Stringfellow is at 7 o’clock on the clock face.
Sutton-in-Ashfield born inside forward Frank Stringfellow played junior football with Ilkeston United from 1907 before signing for First Division Sheffield Wednesday in 1908, making his Football League debut for Wednesday at Preston North End in February 1909. After an initial 7 matches in 1909 he had to wait another year for more opportunities, scoring at both Newcastle United and Bury in February and March 1910. Three more goals followed in 1910-11 including a winner at Middlesbrough in January 1911, but after 5 goals in 21 appearances he joined Southern League Portsmouth in the summer of 1911. He played both sides of World War One for Portsmouth and during the War was a Private in the Machine Gun Corps, being wounded in action in September 1918. He recovered and was discharged from service 3 months later. He re-joined Portsmouth and won the 1919-20 Southern League title with them ahead of 2 seasons for them in the Football League where he scored an impressive 28 goals in 63 games and was top scorer with 13 goals in their inaugural Football League season in Division 3 (South), 1920-21, scoring in their first Football League fixture, a 3-0 win over Swansea Town in August 1920. In 1921 he joined Heart of Midlothian and spent 2 years on Hearts’ books, for whom he played 48 games and scored 9 goals between February 1922 and April 1923, but clearly with some effect, as his goal saved them from relegation:
“Hearts could not build upon their achievements, as many of the older players were nearing the end of their careers. Willie McCartney’s rebuilding job was made even more difficult with the introduction of automatic promotion and relegation in season 1921-22. Three clubs went down from twenty-two and unfortunately, in a transitional year, the club had one of its worst ever campaigns. Hearts avoided relegation by only two points, finishing nineteenth, the club’s lowest ever ranking.
The maroons made a terrible start in the League recording their first victory in the tenth match (4-1 v Falkirk). The team then had a sensational 2-0 win over Rangers at Ibrox but this proved an isolated success and Hearts fell quickly into the relegation zone. Hibs even recorded a League double for the first time in twenty years. Hearts were eventually left with the task of winning the last game of the season at Aberdeen to definitely stay in the First Division. In a hale storm, the team duly won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Frank Stringfellow. The whole crowd of 8,000 cheered and Hearts were saved, although in actual fact, Dumbarton drew at Falkirk and even if defeated, the Maroons would have stayed up on goal average.”
In 1923 he returned to the South coast with non league Weymouth before joining Welsh League Pontypridd a year later. His return to Football League action came with Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic in the summer of 1925, where he enjoyed 3 full seasons before losing his place in the autumn of 1928, and having scored 33 goals in 133 games for the Cherries, he went on to play for Midland League Champions Scunthorpe & Lindsey United in 1929 forming a forward line with among others former England striker Ernie Simms before retirement, already aged 40.