Walter Joe Image 1 Bristol Rovers 1921

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Walter Joe Image 1 Bristol Rovers 1921

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Description

Eastville, Bristol born outside right Joe Walter’s early footballing experience came playing Army football while serving in The Gloucestershire Regiment during the First World War, when he represented the Third Battalion of The Glorious Glosters, before joining Bristol junior club Horfield United in 1918 after demobilisation, and from there he joined local professional Southern League club Bristol Rovers after the end of the First World War in 1919. When they became founder members of the Third Division (South) he made his Football League debut a season later at Newport County in September 1920, playing 38 times in their inaugural Football League season in 1920-21.

After 11 goals in 73 appearances for The Gas he was signed by First Division Huddersfield Town in the summer of 1922 and he played 28 games as Town won the Football League Championship under Herbert Chapman in 1923-24. However the following season, when they were again crowned Champions, he only played 7 times and left Leeds Road to return to the South West with non League Taunton United in 1925 after 5 goals in 57 appearances for The Terriers. He soon returned to the highest level joining Blackburn Rovers in 1926 although he was never a regular in the Rovers first eleven over two seasons at Ewood Park, scoring twice in 27 appearances before returning to Bristol Rovers in the summer of 1928. His second spell with The Pirates was short, he scored once in 7 more first team appearances before joining non league Bath City in 1929.

In Huddersfield’s final game at Leeds Road, against Blackpool on 30 April 1994, he was the guest of honour. He was also present for Town’s visit to Bristol Rovers’ Twerton Park. On 5th November 1994, he made English football history as he became the oldest living professional player at 99 years, on the death of former Brighton & Hove Albion player Zillwood March in his 102nd year. Walter died on 23rd May 1995, less than three months before what would have been his 100th birthday. His funeral was attended by the entire Huddersfield Town squad and their then manager Neil Warnock.

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