Wigmore Walter Image 2 Birmingham City 1907

Wigmore Walter Image 2 Birmingham City 1907

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Description

Pucklechurch, Gloucestershire born centre half Walter Wigmore began his football career with Kiveton Park in 1888 and played for Worksop Town in 1889 before joining Sheffield United’s books in 1892. He returned to Worksop Town before re-joining The Blades in June 1894 and made his Football League debut, and only senior appearance for Sheffield United, at Burnley in February 1896. He moved to newly elected Second Division club Gainsborough Trinity in the summer of 1896, where he played in their inaugural League fixture at Newton Heath and struck up an excellent strike partnership with Bob McRoberts.

He moved into the forward line in February 1897 and scored a hat-trick against Lincoln City that October in a 4-0 victory. He scored 20 goals in 1897-98 and had already scored 21 goals in 1898-99, including hat-tricks against Blackpool and Manchester City when in February 1899, terms were agreed for Wigmore to join The Wednesday, but reports that the transfer had taken place were premature, as Wigmore rejected the move. A few weeks later in mid-March, Second Division Small Heath paid a fee of £180 to reunite him with McRoberts after 46 goals in 86 appearances for Trinity, and at Small Heath, later Birmingham, he would become a considerable stalwart.

Tried at centre-half when Alex Leake was injured in September 1899, he impressed so much that for nine years he remained first choice in that position, making the last of his 355 appearances for (by then) Birmingham only a few days before his 39th birthday in February 1912 before joining non league Brierley Hill Alliance that summer, having scored 25 goals for the club. He was for many years the club’s captain.

It was said of him that he “shines as a defensive player, his tackling being quick and effective”. But he was often penalised for dangerous play due to his unusual reluctance to head the ball, preferring to use his feet however high the ball came to him. He helped Small Heath to two promotions, in 1901 and 1903, both times as Second Division runners up, but they were relegated again in 1908 and he spent his last four seasons at St Andrews in the Second Division. He won representative honours when he played for The Football League in a 2-2 draw with The Scottish League at The Crystal Palace in March 1900.

Two much younger brothers also were professional footballers, Joe played once for Huddersfield Town in February 1913 after being on the books of Glossop and Blackpool, Clive played for Barnsley and Rotherham Town before the First World War, joined Aston Villa’s books after the War without making their first team, and played for Gillingham in 1920 including playing in their inaugural Football League match.

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