Ilkeston, Derbyshire born centre forward Frank Sugg was best known as a cricketer but as a footballer he began with Bolton Wanderers in 1882, joining Sheffield Wednesday in 1883 were he also captained the team, Derby County in November 1884 where he also captained the team and he then joined Burnley in March 1885, again as captain. Sugg was described by a commentator as a “play anywhere footballer as long as he could play football”. When football entered the Football League era in 1888, he joined Everton and made his Football League debut against Aston Villa in October the same year. He played 9 times for Everton in their inaugural League season without scoring, making one further appearance in March 1890 in a 3-0 win over Derby County at Anfield. He re-joined Burnley for the 1890-91 season but never made their first eleven.
As a cricketer he played for England in two Test matches in 1888 and for three county cricket clubs – Yorkshire in 1883, Derbyshire from 1884 to 1886 and Lancashire from 1887 to 1899. He was six feet tall and strongly built and had a sharp eye for the ball, revelling in the drive and hook over square leg. Sugg was shaky at the start of an innings, but once settled hit the ball very hard, and was also an excellent outfielder.
Though born in Derbyshire, he lived his early life in Yorkshire and made his first-class debut for Yorkshire in 1883.In the 1884 season, Sugg went to play for Derbyshire where he was top scorer for the club and regarded as the best bat in a team that suffered the rare ignominy of an anti-perfect season losing all ten of its county games. In the 1885 season, Sugg scored 187 against Hampshire at Southampton and was second in the averages to Ludford Docker. He was second in the averages in the 1886 season to William Chatterton.
With Derbyshire’s fortunes declining, in 1887 he went to Lancashire, and it was during his term at Old Trafford that he appeared for England in two Test matches. England won both Tests that Sugg played in by an innings. In 1890 he was one of the “Nine Great Professional Batsmen” profiled in Wisden. Sugg scored 1000 runs in a season five times, all during his time with Lancashire. He was one of the first players (after James Southerton) to represent three teams in county cricket. His benefit match in 1897 raised £1,000.
Sugg had massive biceps and took part in weightlifting, long distance swimming and shot put. He also played in the final of the Liverpool amateur billiards championship, won numerous prizes in rifle shooting and held the record for throwing a cricket ball.