Pilsley, Derbyshire born left half Sam Weaver began his football career at local side Pilsley Red Rose in 1925 from where he moved to Midland League club Sutton Town in 1926. His performances for Town attracted the attention of Hull City and in March 1928 he moved to the Tigers for £50, making his Football League debut at Wolverhampton Wanderers the same September, immediately establishing himself as a first team regular. In November 1929, after 5 goals in 50 appearances for Hull City, he left Anlaby Road for First Division Newcastle United, netting City a huge profit when moving for a £2,500 transfer fee. He proved a success at St James’ Park, winning the FA Cup with the club in 1932 when they beat Arsenal 2-1 in the Final at Wembley. As a player Weaver was noted not only for aggression but also for his long throw-ins which reached up to 35 yards in length.
He was first capped for England when he played in a 3-0 win over Scotland at Wembley in April 1932 and he also played in a 1-0 win over Ireland at Bloomfield Road in November 1932. His final cap came in a 2-1 defeat to Scotland at Hampden Park in April 1933 in front of 136,000 spectators, although he was also selected as a non playing reserve when England beat France at White Hart Lane in December that year.
He scored 14 goals for Newcastle in 1933-34 including a New Year’s Day hat-trick in a 9-2 win over Liverpool, finishing the season as United’s top scorer, but despite his goals they suffered relegation at the end of the season. He stayed with The Magpies for a further two seasons in the Second Division, before he moved to First Division Chelsea in August 1936 for £4,166 after 43 goals in 230 appearances. He was at Chelsea both sides of the Second World War although his career was substantially interrupted by the War. During the conflict he was a regular guest player for Leeds United during the 1942-43 season and was also injured removing an incendiary bomb that dropped directly onto his house in November 1940. After 4 goals in 128 appearances, he left Chelsea in December 1945 for Stockport County, making just two appearances for The Hatters in September 1946, and retired in the 1947 close season.
Following his retirement Weaver returned to Leeds United to join the coaching staff. He left the club in June 1949 to take up a similar role at Millwall and remained in this position until January 1954. After a spell out of the game Weaver took on the role of coach at Mansfield Town in September 1955 before being promoted to the role of manager in June 1958 in succession to Charlie Mitten. He was dismissed in January 1960 during a season in which Mansfield were relegated from the Third Division. Following the appointment of Raich Carter as his successor Weaver made a surprise return to Mansfield the following month after Carter offered him the position of assistant trainer. Weaver continued in this role under Tommy Cummings, before being made chief scout under Tommy Eggleston, a role in which he remained, having a brief spell as Mansfield’s caretaker manager in November 1971, until he retired from football.
Alongside his football career Weaver also played first class cricket for Somerset County Cricket Club, featuring in two matches in 1939 as a left-handed batsman who also bowled left arm.
NB this photograph was taken ahead of his final cap for England against Scotland at Hampden Park on 1st April 1933.